Memorandum 5/8/17

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Just as the person is both body and soul, so there is at all times two levels of being for Israel.   One is that hidden spirit, that essential form which never abandons the parameters of Israel’s creation.  The other is the visible event in the present moment, sum of all the vicissitudes of history, witness to both the bravery and the failures of generations, the visible expression of the motive powers contained within, be they for good or evil.

There is also a factor which divides Israel from every other nation on earth.  For most nations that national essence, that hidden form, is the collective aspiration and intention of its people, rooted in their history.  In the case of Israel, the formative gesture which instituted the beginnings of the people called Israel was the covenant sealed between the God of creation and the homeless descendants of Abraham extricated from slavery in Egypt.  No subject of the realm, not even Moses, could claim anything but passive participation in that formation of Israel, the formation of a people of God by the hand of God.

The Israel of God, formed in the desert at the foot of Mt. Sinai, is not the fabrication of the moment, of Zionism, or of any “authority” which falls short of kneeling before the authority of the God of Israel.  Why does the present state of Israel have no constitution?  I am no authority, but I suspect that every lawyer in Israel knows that there can be no constitution of Israel other than the Ten Commandments.  And should they, like Moses, recognize these commandments as the national constitution, the affairs of state would  have to change course quite radically.

The essential Israel of God is God’s own inheritance, God’s holy people, and it is the people which falls under the rule of the Messiah of Israel, the very Son of God, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus of Nazareth, who is now seated upon the heavenly throne in the power and presence of the Father, on the eternal throne of David.  The world at large is very far from recognition of this reality and its bearing on the coming time.

I see the people who consider themselves Palestinians justly complaining of their abuse at the hands of the Zionists, and I see the people who call themselves Jews justly complaining that they should be able to know the fulfillment of residence in the land given by God to their ancestors.  However,  Neither side recognizes the true power seated on the throne of heaven, the Davidic throne, in authority over the essential Israel of God.  That power is Yeshua the Messiah of Israel.

Instead, Islam worships Allah, a false god whom they themselves refuse to confuse with YHVH, the God of Israel, even though they would like to have Others imagine that “we all serve the same God.”  And the most nationalistic Jews of Israel are in large number secular in their outlook, many of them agnostic or atheist.  The remainder, all but a small remnant, seem to be taken up in Talmudic and Kabbalistic revisions of the beliefs of the patriarchs, and are now devoted, not to the Divine Person of the God of Israel, but rather to an unknowable Ein Sof and a faceless Shekinah.

The sense of injustice sustained by both sides has real roots, but it is misdirected against the political Other.  In reality, both sides need to stop, to repent of their arrogance, and to kneel in fealty before the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua of Nazareth, now seated in glory upon the throne of heaven, soon to return and place his feet once again in the dust of the streets of Jerusalem.

Yeshua has taken upon himself the condemnation which is so justly ours.  This he accomplished outside the walls of Jerusalem in approximately 32 A.D.  He now calls myself and every Muslim and every Jew to kneel before him, to repent of our sin, and to join hands in the kingdom which truly owns the blessing of history, the kingdom which owns the promises to Abraham.

 

Lawrence S. Jones

email: lstewartj@sbcglobal.net

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memorandum, 3/11/17

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Years of Jewish rebellion against Rome came to an end in 70 A.D., less than forty years after the death and resurrection of Yeshua our Messiah.  In that year Rome presided over the destruction of the Temple, razed the city of Jerusalem, and banished all Jews from the desolate rubble.

Until that moment the followers of Yeshua were as secure in their Jewishness as were the many who still rejected him.  The followers of Yeshua had simply become a cult-like minority within Israel, the few who had the vision to recognize Yeshua as the long-awaited Messiah.

With the destruction of the Temple, the rites of Temple sacrifice were no longer possible and those who rejected Yeshua and still awaited the hand of God’s redemption were forced to return to the Scriptures and probe for a reconfiguration of the road to God’s mercy.

Those who followed Yeshua were not so bereaved.  In Yeshua sacrifice was brought to an end.  They who loved him saw their redemption now accomplished in the sacrifice of their king at the cross  — the king standing in for his people and achieving that protection foretold since the  blood of lambs was symbolically painted above the doorways in Egypt.

Nevertheless, the loss of the city, of the Temple, and of the glory of Israel was to lay a price at the feet of the followers of Yeshua.  The newly re-engineered Israel of God was now clearly a promise of an eternal country for every person on earth with eyes to recognize and own the royal claims of the anointed king of Israel.  But how to share the glory of this revelation in the wake of the devastation of Jerusalem?!  How to share the news of the transcendent kingdom as glorious hope when the city of hope had just been laid in ruins, the Temple of the God of Israel now in ashes?!

The prevailing tendency, then, was for the followers of the Way to identify themselves as “Christians” while identifying the Jerusalem tragedy with those Jews who had stubbornly resisted Rome and had stubbornly resisted Yeshua.  The followers of Yeshua had little reason to connect him with the recent tragedies in the life of the nation state.  They increasingly identified themselves and their king with a heavenly Jerusalem and a transcendent kingdom.

In fact, the new rule of Yeshua in the hearts of his subjects was a rule achieved through the powerful cords of Spirit stretching throughout the earth into the hearts of his people, and this kingdom was not dependent upon the dust of Jerusalem for its survival.

But it would be a great failure of vision to imagine that Yeshua had turned his back on Jerusalem or that he cared not for his role as Messiah of Israel, or that his real spiritual power was in any way compromised by the reduction of suitable architecture in the capital city, or that he was somehow relegated to the role of generic royalty confined to the mists of the heavenly aether.  Yeshua is, in this time, in all his being, bound to Jerusalem, and he is the Messiah [anointed king] of the eternal Israel of God —  that being the fair name of the polity of those who render him fealty, the people of God.  And now, on a day which fast approaches, his feet will once again be heard in the streets of Jerusalem.

In the two thousand years since 70 A.D., the Catholic institution won for itself a place of power within the common culture, and crafted for itself mastery over the public worship of Yeshua, literally hunting and expelling those who dared to serve Yeshua without recognizing the authority of the ecclesiastical institution.  Further installation of claims of priestly control over the absolution of sin and claims of a priestly power to invoke the very presence and being of God in the bread and wine of the “eucharist” – such “sacraments” were used by the church to cynically insert themselves as mediating power between the person of the individual and the person of God.

Furthermore, beginning with Constantine in the 4th Century, the Sabbath of Yeshua, by ecclesiastical fiat, was abandoned for the sake of the already culturally favored “day of the Sun” observance.  And the feasts of Israel, commanded by God for eternity, were abandoned in favor of the fabrications of Easter and Christmas.

In all, the power of the church to establish human traditions was enthroned over the word of God in Scripture.  And so, not only was the primacy of God’s word ridiculed, but also the vision of the Israel of God was obscured.   Yeshua came to earth to satisfy centuries of expectation directed to the advent of the Messiah of Israel.  The crucifixion was the victory of the love of Yeshua and the fundamental event in the history of the new Israel.  But the church through the centuries increasingly ignored its roots in Israel.  The church became the handmaiden of Gentile temporal power and facilitated a marriage [or at least a tawdry intimacy] between church and state, for the sake of which the cultural relics of Judaism needed to be suppressed.

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Now, in this day, we are witnessing the total degradation of national culture.  Common standards of morality can no longer be applied to our leaders because of their success in claiming dishonesty and extreme decadence as prerogatives of power.  The will of our people is not to invade the nations of the earth or to ignore the needs of the oppressed, but the leaders of the nation and the powers which control them are devoted to a propaganda campaign which paints the Russians, the Chinese, and Muslimms as our mortal enemies.  To “protect” us they are determined to spend unprecedented fortunes on plentiful and sophisticated weapons, and to send our armies into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and even to surround Russia and China with our missiles. Our leaders are demons hunting for chaos.  They betray us.  We find ourselves without a country.

Now more than ever is the time for us to remember that we who belong to Yeshua belong to a real country, the Israel of promise, the mystical country where the Spirit of Yeshua reigns in our hearts with more power than the threats or rewards of any emperor can inspire.  We await the return of our king to this earth, to the dust of Jerusalem. We await the restoration of Jerusalem in bricks and mortar – not as the fulfillment of dreams based on genetic privilege, but as the fulfillment of our dreams of living in the full presence of our king. We await the full measure of his love for us his people, the fullness of justice for the oppressed of the earth, and justice for the destroyers of the earth.

We await the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham – that we will live together in peace under the rule of our divine king in the land of promise.  This is our real hope.  It shall be ours at the end of this era in history – in the coming of the millennium in which Yeshua shall rule the earth from Jerusalem and every nation of the earth bring him honor and worship.

I encourage you to undertake the work of restoration, of sorting between the man-made traditions of the church and the genuine voice of Yeshua our king in Scripture. Renounce the apostasy of the churches.  We must be like King Josiah when he discovered the Scriptures buried in the wall, unknown to the people for centuries: he brought the people together to hear the words of God and to celebrate Passover.  We must look to the Scriptures and immerse ourselves in the culture which God Himself fashioned under the direction of his prophets and kings – a culture which at its core leads always to Yeshua Messiah.

This is the one honest goal of all culture, of all religion, and of all life – the collision of the individual with the  person of Yeshua, to be followed by the love and the work of living within the constant counsel and sustained guidance of Yeshua, he resident in the soul, Lord over every room in the complex chambers of the heart.

“Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens                 the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me.  And the conqueror               shall sit beside me on my throne, as I myself have conquered and sat down                 beside my Father on his throne.”                  Revelation 3.19,20

 

Lawrence S. Jones

Chicago, 3/11/17

email: lstewartj@sbcglobal.net

Cultural Marxism

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a preliminary snapshot of cultural Marxism:

Traditional Marxism awaited the overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat, but the remediation of the harshness of proletarian life left the working classes without motivation for class struggle.  Cultural Marxism rather focuses on the fault lines between majorities and minorities, between those who have privilege and those who do not, between established reservoirs of authority and those who are in any way subject to them —  such reservoirs as traditional family structure, traditional national loyalty, and especially the religious and cultural norms of Western European culture.

 

As for the great wound in the fabric of cultural history – the cultural Marxists might say that it is the dominion of traditional Western culture over oppressed minorities.  In this capacity they share the philosophical territory of the postmodernists.  They also share territory with the Zealots who opposed Rome in the time of Christ’s first mission on earth.  The zealots believed that the wound of their history was that Israel was oppressed by Imperial Rome.

Yeshua was a sympathetic witness to the injustice of Roman imperial rule over Israel, even destined to suffer death at the hands of Rome.  Yeshua had come into the world to break the hold of injustice on his people.  The prophets had foretold it, and his advent was wrapped in consciousness of it.

Yeshua, in the synagogue in Nazareth, in his inaugural announcement of his mission, read to the assembly the words of Isaiah written 700 years previous, and he claimed them as his own:

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him.  Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:  ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”   Luke 4.17-21

Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, at the circumcision of his son, was filled with the Spirit, and, regarding John’s destiny to herald the coming of the Messiah, Zechariah prophesied:

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us – to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies and to enable us to serve him without fear…”  Luke 1.68-74 excerpts

Zechariah saw the coming justice both in terms of an immediate healing of the individual and in terms of the enabling of a future just society through the realization of the promises of God to Abraham.

When Yeshua set foot on earth he saw a world in which all men are sharers in the great wound of history – the wound of pride and rebellion against our Creator as it contributes to the death of the human spirit, the wound that we have chosen personal autonomy at the price of fealty to our rightful king, the wound that we are desperate for love as we scorn the One who truly loves us.

Yeshua came and established the conditions to heal the wound of history – established the way to remove the heart of stone and restore the heart of flesh.  He knew that he had to go to the cross in order to  to heal the true grief of the zealot and peel away the arrogance of the Roman.

There would have been no justice in providing a way for the injured Jew to stand on the head of the fascist Roman, when both were dying of an empty heart.  Inversion is not correction.  Retribution is not healing.

Yeshua remained focused on the wound separating man from God and the essential task of healing that wound.  Yeshua kept his vision focused on the mission to see his blood shed as the Passover Lamb honored by the Father since the beginning of the world.   Only such a sacrifice could restore mankind’s access to the throne of God and bring liberation to Roman and Jew alike.

The freedom of Yeshua means freedom from every fear that culture might have power to inhibit the true liberation of the individual.  In Yeshua individual liberation comes not from mundane history but through release from the matrix of mundane history, through identification with and immersion in the person of Yeshua himself.  Yeshua steps beyond every restraint to reach into the history of the individual in his or her own unique suffering of the wound of history.  In that place the individual chooses to acknowledge or disown the need of healing.  In that place, attendant upon the one who is truly wounded and truly enlightened, Yeshua remains with the person, scorning the rage of every hostile power, and asserting a love that reaches deeper than every failure or loss -– so producing the liberty to live and speak without compromise.

 

Lawrence S. Jones

lstewartj@sbcglobal.net

 

Fiat voluntas tua

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Above all else, there is one event that has come to be definitive of my life, and that is that I have fallen under the power of Yeshua, Messiah of Israel, taking him as my king, striving to know him most intimately and to be known by him, yielding in the hope that His will be done, that I should be his servant and that he should be my God.

And yet, a time came, several years ago, when I decisively disobeyed my God.  There was an act which was clearly against His will.  But I had reasoned with myself about it and had allowed myself to conclude that, “although it is a violation of the expressed will of God, yet for me, at this moment, there is some justification.”  I then willfully violated God’s command.  Afterward, with much regret, I asked for His forgiveness, knowing that I had sinned.

Then, having carved a place for sin through “reasoning with” [lying to] myself, that opening did not just go away.  A few months later I again committed the same sin.  But this time I was able to omit the arduous prologue of reasoning with myself.  I just did it.  Having done this thing, I was surprised to see that my will had swiftly and suddenly bypassed the admonition of God, refusing all communication, turning a deaf ear to His voice.  A little later I pursued this sin yet again, on several occasions.  I now saw the sovereignty of God compromised in me, and saw the reappearance of the bitter sovereign Self.

Wearied by my inability to inhibit this sin, a major rebellious thought entered my heart.  I undertook a new line of reasoning, in an effort to question the truth of my unhappy behavior.  I consciously and deliberately asked God, “What is the purpose of this ‘goodness,’ this ‘righteousness’ anyway?  Is this really what you want in me, for me to be a ‘nice guy,’ a ‘pretty boy,’ a clean liver, a ‘virtuous’ man?  Aren’t you more interested in a rough-and-ready purposefulness? in directed activism that isn’t hung up on personal virtue?”

Chafing, I sought relief through refining a space between us.  But I had no thought of abandoning my God.  Nor did He have any thought of abandoning me.  I was capable of sin, but, by his Spirit, my heart wanted to know the truth.  When we love Him, He puts a hedge around us.  Satan can have at us, and he might make us fall, but he cannot have us.  As Daniel said, God allows us to “stumble, so that [we] may be refined, purified, and made spotless until the time of the end.”  Purity matters.  It also matters that we understand the purpose and gravity of the royal standards of Yeshua.  So God, seeing a fault in my foundation, put it in my heart to ask, “What is righteousness?”

It occurred to me that “righteousness” is one of those words which my brain surrounds in a protective bubble until I crash up against it and directly encounter its substance.  Words like “covenant, blessing, birthright, Sabbath,” and many more have a similarly distant and mostly historical significance in Christian culture.

I started my search by reading the book of Isaiah, in which “righteousness” is mentioned quite frequently.  I framed my questioning as a search for the importance of the “man of law” in the mind of God, and a search for the character of the “man of law.”  Who is he?  What does he do?  What does it mean to be ‘righteous’? Is there more to it than simple obedience to law?

The following is a selection of my notes from Isaiah, passages suggesting the character of righteousness both in men and in God:

“The ‘man of law’ is one who

opens his ears and is not rebellious [50.4,5] “He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.”

seeks Yahveh and even a knowledge of the patriarchs [51.1] “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek Yahveh: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham your father….”

[God’s righteousness] [51.5]  “My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations.”

has the law of Yahveh in his heart [51.7]  “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: do not fear the reproach of men…my righteousness will last forever” [God’s righteousness]

will enter Zion with singing [51.11] “The ransomed of Yahveh will return.  They will enter Zion with singing…”

maintains justice, keeps the Sabbath [56.2] “Maintain justice, and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon  be revealed. [God’s righteousness]  Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

is bound to Yahveh, worshipping Yahveh, keeping Sabbath and covenant [56.3,6,7]  “Let no foreigner who has bound himself to Yahveh say, ‘Yahveh will surely exclude me from his people.’…And foreigners who bind themselves to Yahveh to serve him, to love the name of Yahveh, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.”

is contrite and lowly in spirit [57.15] “For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”

in sin or weakness, is healed by Yahveh [57.16-18] “I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me – the breath of man that I have created.  I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid my face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways.  I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.”

looses the chains of injustice, sets the oppressed free, does not ignore his own flesh and blood [58.6,7] “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

spends himself on behalf of the hungry and satisfies the needs of the oppressed [58.10] “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday.  Yahveh will guide you always…”

In Isaiah I saw that righteousness, by God’s own word, is a most significant aspect of his own character… and that it is much more than mere pursuit of an abstract code of behavior.  In fact, no external code can possibly “stand over” Yahveh.  There must only be his own word, his own oath…He alone who swears by Himself.  And what that word is needs to be investigated.  It is the word of his covenants with men.

Similarly, in Isaiah I could see that in men Yahveh’s idea of righteousness is something much more colorful, more ample than mere adherence to a code of law.  In every instance in Isaiah righteousness involves profound involvement with the person of God or the person of our neighbor.  It would seem that, to the extent that a certain level of behavior is imperative at all times, it is because all our life is lived for and before Yahveh and our neighbor at all times.

As Bonhoeffer so beautifully teaches, in Cost of Discipleship, Yeshua is mediator between us and God and also mediator between us and our fellow man.  There can be no moment of our lives from which our king is excluded.  Between us and our neighbor, between us and Yahveh, Yeshua is always present, always Lord, always calling us to our best, always expecting us to lean on Him for the miracle of His life, of His power and counsel.

“He stands between us and God, and for that very reason he stands between us and all other men and things…The call of Jesus teaches us that our relation to the world has been built on an illusion.  All the time we thought we had enjoyed a direct relation with men and things.  This is what had hindered us from faith and obedience.  Now we learn that in the most intimate relationships of life, in our kinship with father and mother, brothers and sisters, in married love and in our duty to the community, direct relationships are impossible.  Since the coming of Christ, his followers have no more immediate realities of their own, not in their family relationships nor in the ties with their nation nor in the relationships formed in the process of living.  Between father and son, husband and wife, the individual and the nation, stands Christ the Mediator, whether they are able to recognize him or not.  We cannot establish direct contact outside ourselves except through him, through his word, and through our following of him.”[1]

Yeshua is in all things mediator for this is the fabric of the new covenant.  We are in the new covenant.  We belong to Yeshua through the grace–filled promises of God in his new covenant.  The weakness of human resolve is now transcended by the love and resolve of our God to make his home in our hearts and bring to us his Spirit and his life.

Upon reading Isaiah I anticipated all the more that in the Hebrew understanding of “righteousness” lay a greater meaning with which I was not familiar.  I began to search for articles on the meaning of righteousness in the Old Testament, and articles addressing this issue began to appear, most notably an essay by the late Art Katz entitled “Righteousness in the Old Testament.”[2]

Mr. Katz makes the case that the true meaning of “righteousness,” tzadik, is not readily accessible to us in our culture, and he argues that righteousness assumes its true character only in personal relationship, in relationship defined by covenant: 

“Righteousness, as understood in the Old Testament, is a thoroughly Hebraic concept, foreign to the western mind and at variance with the common understanding of the term. The failure to comprehend its meaning is perhaps most responsible for the view of OT religion as “legalistic” …Righteousness is not a behavior that is in accordance with an ethical, legal, psychological, religious, or spiritual norm; neither is it conduct that is dictated by human or divine nature.  It is not an action appropriate to the attainment of a specific goal; neither is it a ministry to one’s fellow man.  Rather, righteousness in the OT is the fulfillment of the demands of a relationship [emphasis mine], whether that relationship be with men or with God…Each of these relationships brings with it specific demands, the fulfillment of which constitutes righteousness[3]

So we see then that when God speaks of his own righteousness, as in Isaiah 51.5[4]—He is not speaking of his adherence to an abstract standard or of his own “goodness.”[5] He is speaking of something specific:

“My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations.  The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.”

Here, when God speaks of his own righteousness he is speaking of his capacity and faithfulness to fulfill his covenant promises, be it the covenant promises to Abraham [still in process], the covenant promises to David [being fulfilled in Yeshua], or the covenant promises of Yeshua in the New Covenant [fulfilled in all who, throughout history, claim salvation through the Lamb of God and not through their own works.]

“There is no norm of righteousness outside the relationship itself.  When God or man fulfills the conditions imposed upon him by the relationship, he is, in OT terms, righteous. … David was righteous because he refused to slay Saul with whom he stood in covenant relationship [I Samuel 24.17;26.23]”[6]

We see then that when Yahveh speaks of righteousness in us he is speaking of our own faithfulness to Him within the new covenant, we being made alive in Christ through the miracle of rebirth which he works in us through the gift of his Spiritual presence within us.

Now in the new covenant it is no longer the failure of the weary promise that we, by our own will, should fulfill and obey the demands of God.  Now in the new covenant we have life due to the promises of God that he would put his law in our hearts, that he would take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, that he would bring to us a new spiritual birth, that he would come and live with us and make us one with himself.  Righteousness in the new covenant is God working a miracle in us, and without that miracle we cannot be righteous.  We do not depend upon our own resolve, as this was the downfall of the old covenant.

Under the old covenant men stood before the expectations of the commandments with only their education and discipline and power of the will to aid them.  It was not sufficient.  Their hearts failed.  The bone of the law was too much for their resolve, and so it came to stand between them and their God.

Under the new covenant, Yeshua awaits us in the chambers of the heart.

“Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and sup with him and he with me.”     [Revelation 3.20]

From the moment of our opening the door he awaits us, teaching us, leading us into a life of love of his law, love of his order, of profound expectancy of his most noble expectations, without fear as he escorts us, as he leads us to new places, as we know that he will provide the strength we need, that he will hold us if we stumble and fall.  He is there.  Through everything He holds the heart and never goes away.  The life of self- reliance must die.  We now find our life in him.

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.”[7]

Now I see the discomfort inherent in the Western idea of righteousness.  I see why Art Katz said that the failure to understand the Hebrew meaning of righteousness leads to the feeling that the old covenant is legalistic.  The issue is this: Does righteousness [law] have an independent existence such that it hangs over us, measures us, and delivers us to judgment?  Or does righteousness [law] live only inside the covenant relationship between God our king and us his subject people.  The answer of the Greek/ rationalist tradition is that all truth is “reasonable” and therefore has an independent existence, even independent of the will of God.  The answer of the God of Israel, under the old covenant, is that the terms of the covenant [law] are dependent, existing in the intimate space between Himself and his people, and that He is a God of mercy.

Then Yahveh, the God of Israel, goes a step farther.  He creates the conditions of a new covenant under which he installs the substantial presence of his own eternal life in our hearts and binds us to Himself through unbreakable cords of Spirit so that the righteousness and justice which he loves can become our love also.

 

Lawrence S. Jones

Chicago, IL

August 20, 2016

 

email lstewartj@sbcglobal.net

website: www. jerusalemgraffiti.com

 

 

[1] Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster , pp 95-97

[2] artkatzministries.org.  See also “Why the Old Covenant Failed,” by Joe Crews

[3] Art Katz, “Righteousness in the Old Testament,” artkatzministries.org

[4] Isaiah 50.5 “My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way and my arm will bring justice to the nations.”

[5] We speak meaningfully of the “goodness” of God when we speak of his provision of all that is needed for life and for the fulfillment of history.

[6] Art Katz, Righteousness in the Old Testament, artkatzministries.org

[7] John 15.4,5

Catholicism: Counterfeit Currency

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The Catholic institution, represented by Pope Francis, is attempting, with some success, to portray itself as the seat of humility, caring for the poor and marginalized of the earth, dressing itself in Christ-like compassion.  We might then expect that in the ritual conduct of the Catholic institution we would discover the living Christ and might expect that the good offices of the Catholic institution surely lead to the knowledge of Christ as savior and lord.

In actuality,  by its core structure and most fundamental precepts, this institution interposes itself between God and the person reaching out to God through his own faith.  Such is the slight of hand by which Catholicism gathers its people into an ecclesiastical hall of mirrors which confuses and inhibits the progress of the faithful toward knowledge of the person of God.

Such is the longstanding threat and danger of the Catholic dogma.  But now, in this century, the time has come that this Gothic deception is insufficient to satisfy the Catholic lust for designing its own “Christianish” version of the Word of God.   Now, in this century, having stunted the expectations of its own people, the Vatican labors to insinuate itself among agnostics, skeptics and atheists by abandoning the divinity of Christ, denying the Creation of man in the image of God, advocating the tenets of evolution, and granting its benediction to the rebel, the homosexual, the Marxist, and the adherents of every sort of religious belief — even those who openly despise the message and divinity of Christ.

The source of the Catholic insult is twofold: on the one hand rooted in the most ancient traditions of its theology, while, more recently, it emanates from the apostasy being crafted by the modern Popes, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis.  Likewise, the damage wreaked by Catholic apostasy is twofold: first in the threat to the individual’s attainment of the knowledge of God, and, second, in the threat to the endurance of our government as a nation founded on rights granted to us by God alone.

This conduct of the Catholic institution cannot be ignored.  The affairs of the Vatican and of its secretive Jesuit army are closely entwined with those of our government.  The Vatican is well on its way to  restoring the tradition of centuries wherein the Pope is the kingmaker of the nations of the earth.  The heresy of the American republic has always been that we believed and enshrined it in our founding documents that we have inalienable rights given us by our Creator, not by church or king.  So stands every citizen of the United States without dependence upon any ecclesiastical authority.   The Vatican, adopting the heresies of George Tyrrell and Teilhard de Chardin, is abandoning the divine individual Jesus Christ and is abandoning the salvation of the individual.  Instead it seeks the salvation of the collective.  The Vatican is perhaps the prime agent encouraging the dissolution of our constitutional government for the sake of humbling us and joining us into a global society, a self-righteous monolith which shall be little disposed to guaranteeing our freedoms.

The threat to our constitutional government is palpable and immediate.  Less obvious and more dangerous is the longstanding threat of Catholicism to the soul of the person who looks to the church for guidance in his search for the knowledge of God.

I address here every person whose passion to grow in the knowledge of God will not tolerate the unjust authority or interference of any institution or hierarchy, no matter how glorious its architecture, no matter how august its history, no matter how rich the robes of its priests, no matter how sonorous the organ and choir.

I offer here a list of warnings on two levels: first, the distortions of God’s word employed by the Catholic church throughout the centuries for the purpose of gathering to itself the loyalties and worship due to God alone, and second, the perversions of all truth being introduced into modern doctrine by the Papacy until it is more accurate to call Catholicism an ecumenical society than to call it a religion.

 

Part I.

1.]  The inflated authority of the Pope, contravening the sovereign authority of Christ over his kingdom

When Constantine presented himself to the bishops of the early church as Pontifex Maximus,[1] chief Roman arbiter between gods and men, they did not refuse him.  Future bishops of Rome ruled the church and held to the title, implying their own claim to both ecclesiastical and mundane political power.  Now the Pope claims ultimate authority over the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of earth.

a.] “I am all in all and above all, so that God Himself and I, the Vicar of God, have but one consistory, and I am able to do almost all that God can do… What therefore can you make of me but God?” –Pope Nicholas [reign 858-867], from “Antichrist” by Ian Paisley

b.] “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”  Pope Leo XIII [reign 1878-1903] in “The Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII” Benzigen Brothers, New York, 1908, p.304

c.] “We declare, assert, define, and pronounce: to be subject to the Roman pontiff is to every human creature altogether necessary for salvation…”  Pope Boniface VIII [reign 1294-1303] in Bull Unam Sanctam

The Pope has another title: Vicarius Christi, “vicarius” meaning “the one who stands in for” or “the substitute for” Christ.  And so he makes himself the “Vicar of Christ,” substitute for Christ on earth….when in fact Christ went to the cross in order to establish the universe in such a way that he could rest in immediate communion with his children on earth, without the mediation or interference of any other being.  As Alberto Rivera asks rhetorically, Was there ever a religion on earth whose leader had the presumption to label himself the “substitute for God on earth”?

To these abominations we respond with the words of Scripture:

“For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth [as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”] yet for us there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”   I Corinthians 8.5,6

May no person who seeks the face of God ever do anything but refuse the authority of Popes to stand between that person and God!  Christ is our only mediator, our only high priest, and in him dwells all the fullness of God: with him we are in the presence of God, and by his Spirit we are held to him inseparably.

 

2.] The endless repetition of a bloodless sacrifice of Christ in the Mass, and the arrogance by which priests presume to bring down Christ from heaven into the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

The great centerpiece of Catholic worship and dogma is the Mass, at the center of which lies ritual participation in the ingesting of the “Eucharist,” a supposed miraculous presence of Christ in a “host,” so conjured by the supernatural power of the priest.  Catholic doctrine claims that in the Mass, the priest is able to consecrate the host and call down God out of heaven so that the bread and wine of the host might become the flesh and blood of God, a miracle known as “transubstantiation.”  The claim of transubstantiation is that in the course of the Eucharist the substance of wheat bread and grape wine changes into the substance of the Body and the Blood of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses [the appearances] remain as before.

In 1551 at the Council of Trent, the church decreed,

“If any one shall say that …[in the Mass] … there remains the substance of bread and wine together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; and shall deny that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into blood, the species of bread and wine alone remaining, which conversion the Catholic church most fittingly calls Transubstantiation, let him be anathema [cursed].”  Council of Trent, 1551, Session 13, Canon 2

The Eucharist of Catholic dogma presumes to “take control” over the very presence of Christ in the world and put that control in the hands of the church and its priests.  This obscene dogma even claims to enshrine the priest with the fantastical power to call down God himself from heaven and conduct him into the gift of his substance to become the substance of the wafer which these victims of the institution then eat:

“When the priest announces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man.  It is a power greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim.”   O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, pp. 255-256

The object of this arrogance then is to bring about the ad infinitum sacrifice of Christ when Scripture states clearly that Christ’s single death on Calvary is the all- sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world, beyond which he is present among us through the dispensation of his Spirit to his children, not through the ingestion of his body!  There is but one meaningful sacrifice, the moment of victory of Christ our king upon the Roman cross, by which he sent death captive and redeemed his people forever:

“For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.  Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.  But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”   Hebrews 9.24-26

 

3.] The Deification of Mary, which is nothing less than the worship of the ancient “Goddess.”

“It is thus that the Pope and the priests of Rome have entirely disfigured and changed the holy religion of the Gospel!  In the Church of Rome it is not Jesus but Mary, who represents the infinite love and mercy of God for the sinner.  The sinner is not advised or directed to place his hope in Jesus, but in Mary, for his escape from deserved chastisement!  It is not Jesus but Mary who saves the sinner!  Jesus is always bent on punishing sinners; Mary is always merciful to them!  The Church of Rome has thus fallen into idolatry: she rather trusts in Mary than Jesus.  She constantly invites sinners to turn their thoughts, their hopes, their affections, not to Jesus, but to Mary!

“By means of that impious doctrine Rome deceives the intellects, seduces the hearts, and destroys the souls of the young forever.  Under the pretext of honoring the Virgin Mary, she insults her by outraging and misrepresenting her adorable Son.

“Rome has brought back the idolatry of old paganism under a new name.  She has replaced upon her altars the Jupiter Tonans of the Greeks and Romans, only she places upon his shoulders the mantle and she writes on the forehead of her idol the name of Jesus, in order the better to deceive the world!”    Former Catholic priest, Charles Chiniquy, in Fifty Years in the Church of Rome

 

 4.] The inflation of the mortal woman, Mary, into “Co-Redeemer” with Christ.

The incarnation of the divine being in the person of Christ is an actual incarnation because God the Father placed his seed in the womb of an actual human being, the woman named Mary.  She was perfectly mortal, therefore she bore a son with a mortal body, who gave his mortal body to die sacrificially for the subjects of his eternal kingdom.  She was not without sin, for Scripture assures us that no mortal is without sin.  And she is certainly not the Queen of Heaven.  That is an ancient pagan title which belonged to Semiramis, to Isis, to Ishtar, to Astarte, and every other foul pagan goddess attempting to usurp the throne of God.  Neither is she the mother of God.  The very phrase is an abomination that should fill us with disgust.  The true and living God is above all things; he is prior to all things; and through Christ alone he reached out into eternity and brought existence to the world of his own creative imagining.

As mortal woman and mother of Christ, the suffering of her son upon the cross unquestionably meant great sorrow for her.  But she also was astute enough to see that she herself could not “stand in for her people,” for we are not “her” people, nor is she our king.  Only the king can stand in for his people.  He alone suffered pain and indignity beyond description, taking upon himself the reward due to generations of rebellion.  Christ alone is the Redeemer of the children of the kingdom.

 

5.] Mary as Mediatrix, “the recipient of the prayers of the faithful.”

Now, shamelessly, Mary is led forward with all the faculties of God Himself!  Catholics are encouraged to pray to her directly and to seek from her everything that they would like to ask of Jesus… for, in their mythology, She, not the Son of God, is Mediator!  So does Catholicism again work to obscure the face of Christ, the very One who loves us and has given his life to draw us and bind us to himself.  The following are the words of Pope John Paul II:

“Thus there is a mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings.  She puts herself ‘in the middle’, that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother.”   Pope John Paul II in Redemptoris Mater [On the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Life of the Pilgrim Church], Encyclical promulgated March 25, 1987          

There could not be a more straightforward description of the Catholic plan to hang yet another curtain between man and God.  We do not need Mary or anyone else in the middle!  We need Christ alone!

Nothing in Scripture even remotely implies that Mary is a goddess.  Mary has died and has gone to join Abraham and Moses wherever souls are preserved dear to the heart of God.  She is clinically and certifiably among those who have died.  Scripture warns us not to pray to those who have died:

Let no one be found among you …who consults the dead.”  Deuteronomy 18.11

We might also mention the first commandment:

“You shall have no other gods [or goddesses or demi-goddesses] before me.”

To bring one’s prayers to Mary rather than to God Himself is to despise the omnipresence and omniscience and endless love of God, by which he most gently calls us to Himself.

Our prayers are meant to go directly to God alone.  As for the above reference to Mary being “invited into the home,” the spirits of the dead are not to be invited into our homes.  Christ our king, however, owns every claim to rule and to share his Spiritual presence with us both in our heart and in our home.

From what quarter comes this Catholic fascination with bringing Mary into every corner of a life, while there is not even a whisper suggesting the opening of the heart to the presence of Christ?  It is inconceivable that this is an accident or a mere meagerness of understanding.  Somewhere deep within the Catholic establishment there is an architectural force eager to build walls between men and God.  It appears in such strength that it is difficult not to suspect that the true program of Catholicism is the work of the enemies of God, carefully crafting a counterfeit religion in order to snare the innocent in their search for God and draw them away into darkness through their counterfeit rituals.

We must stand up to such a force, in the power of the Spirit of our king.  We must respond: Yeshua alone is our true Redeemer, the only one who says,

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and sup with him and he with me.  And the conqueror I will allow to sit beside me on my throne as I myself have conquered and sat down beside my Father on his throne.”   Revelation 3.20,21

 

  1. Mary as Queen of heaven.

In the time of Jeremiah God spoke to Jeremiah and condemned the people of Israel for the worship of “the Queen of Heaven.”

“So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.  Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven.”  Jeremiah 7.16-18

No one is to be worshipped above our God or in tandem with our God.  And yet the Catholic church grants the highest adoration to the mortal mother of Jesus as someone of an importance equal to or greater than Christ.

Pope Pius IX, 1854: “She has been appointed by God to be the Queen of Heaven and Earth.” [made official in 1954 by Pius XII]

Pope Leo XIII, 1891: “With equal truth may it be also affirmed that, by the will of God, Mary is intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense treasure of mercies gathered by God, for mercy and truth were created by Jesus Christ.  Thus as no man goeth to the Father but by the Son, so no man goeth to Christ but by his Mother… Mary is this glorious intermediary.”  [Thus Mary owns all gates of access to God.]

St. Louis de Montfort, in The Secret of Mary: “God chose her to be the treasurer, the administrator and the dispenser of all his Graces, so that all his graces and gifts pass through her hands.  Such is the power that she has received from him that, according to St. Bernardine, she gives the graces of the eternal Father, the virtues of Jesus Christ, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to whom she wills, as and when she wills, and as much as she wills…We must never go to our Lord except through Mary, using her intercession and good standing with him.  We must never be without her when praying to Jesus…Beware, chosen soul, of thinking that it is more perfect to direct your work and intention straight to Jesus or straight to God.  Without Mary, your work and your intention will be of little value.  But if you go to God through Mary, your work will become Mary’s work, and consequently will be most noble and most worthy of God.”

Incredibly M. Montfort would even dare to pen a warning to avoid direct contact with God! This is the worst sort of blasphemy, implying that Christ has not sufficiently covered us by his sacrifice at the cross, implying that we are still not really free to come into his presence without the added merit of another, implying that the very promises of God are false and not to be trusted.  This theology manufactured out of whole cloth does nothing but denigrate God himself, encouraging the faithful to imagine that He is mean-spirited and fiercely judgmental, when in fact He is most loving and boldly has entered into history to jealously intervene on behalf of his people.  We have the promise of full access to the love of our Savior.  By his sovereign mercy and love, by nothing else, our God has opened for us the way to total redemption and intimacy with him:

“God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus [in other words we are to be so totally accepted by him that we are already seen as part of an eternal and transcendent reality], in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship [not Mary’s workmanship] created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2.4-10

 

7.] The Confessional as the Pharisaic presumption of the priest, as mockery of the heart of God, and as mockery of human dignity.

Scripture assures us repeatedly that God himself desires to share in our times of repentance and hear our private confession directly with no intermediary but the ever present Spirit of Christ our king.  Scripture assures us that by the single sacrifice of Christ on the cross we who open our hearts to him and seek his will are made free for eternity.  Nothing can express this better than these words from the Letter to the Hebrews:

“By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”     Hebrews 10.14

We are free to come in total openness before God Himself because of what Christ, our true priest, has done for us:

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10.19-23

And also,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  I John 1.9

In situations where we have brought injury to another person, Christ has told us that we need to make things right with our brother as well as bring our repentance before God.  But this is entirely different from a standing requirement that we tell our faults to a priest who has no relevant interest in our failures other than his false presumption of authority.  Former Catholic priest Charles Chiniquy tells eloquently of the damage that can be done in the Catholic confessional:

“More than once I have seen women fainting in the confessional-box, who told me, afterwards, that the necessity of speaking to an unmarried man on certain things, on  which the most common laws of decency ought to have forever sealed their lips, had almost killed them!  Not hundreds, but thousands of times I have heard from the dying lips of single girls, as well as of married women, the awful words: “I am for ever lost!  All my past confessions and communions have been as many sacrileges!  I have never dared to answer correctly the questions of my confessors!  Shame has sealed m y lips and damned my soul!”

“How many times I remained as one petrified by the side of a corpse when, these last words having hardly escaped the lips of one of my female penitents, she was snatched out of my reach by the merciless hand of death, before I could  give her pardon through the deceitful sacramental absolution!  I then believed, as the dead sinner herself believed, that she could not be forgiven except by that absolution.

“For there are not only thousands, but millions, of Roman Catholic girls and women whose keen sense of modesty and womanly dignity are above all the sophisms and diabolical machinations of their priests.  They never can be persuaded to answer “Yes” to certain questions of their confessors.  They would prefer to be thrown into the flames… rather than to allow the eyes of a man to pry into the sacred sanctuary of their souls.  Though sometimes guilty before God, and under the impression that their sins will never be forgiven if not confessed, the laws of decency are stronger in their hearts than the laws of their cruel and perfidious Church.  No consideration, not even the fear of eternal damnation, can persuade them to declare to a sinful man sins which God alone has the right to know, for He alone can blot them out with the blood of His Son shed on the cross.”   Charles Chiniquy, The  Priest, the Woman and the Confessional, chapter 1

Now we compound to this that the priest does not merely pretend to escort men and women to a place of forgiveness under his control, but he also assigns acts of penance, implying that their God is so mean-spirited that the confession of sin in itself is inadequate to inspire him to forgiveness, even when Christ has gone to the cross and by his sacrifice has taken upon himself  the punishment for all our sins.  The Bible states clearly that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”  Nowhere is there a word about acts of penance.  For the woman caught in adultery, Jesus told her, “I forgive you…go and sin no more.”  He did not ask her to punish herself.  He directed her to a change of heart.  God knows that in a state of alienation from God we are incapable of proving ourselves to him.  He is seeking us, continually trying to draw us to himself so that we can experience a new birth of spirit by allowing the very Spirit of Jesus to reign in our hearts and become life for us.  Our perfect state of health comes not from vain acts of penance or even “good deeds.”  It comes when Christ can say of us, “I am the vine and you are my branch.”

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2.8-10

 

Part II

1.]  The installation of “Modernism” through the Jesuit, George Tyrrell    

The Jesuit, George Tyrrell, was one of the first to articulate a “Modernist” position.  We see in him the restless effort to put off every yoke of traditional ecclesiastical authority.  Confidence in what can and should be seen with his own eyes inspired him to reject all authority but the witness of his senses. Certainly he did well to reject the false authority of the Papacy, but, born into a confusion of ecclesiastical authority with the just claims of God, he threw out God along with the Papacy:

“During his own student days, Tyrrell had been very impressed with the results of the ‘higher criticism’ leveled at the Bible, and with the promise of science to open up the universe.  ‘The Modernist,’ he wrote later, ‘demands absolute freedom for science in the widest sense of that term.’ … The fixed dogmas of Rome were his target.”  Malachi Martin, The Jesuits, Simon & Schuster, p. 273

He turned to reject the fundamental premise of traditional Catholic authority, that the believing church must adhere to the authority of the teaching church.

Nor was there to be any further hierarchy of belief.  It is part of the democratizing effect of science to make all things equal… man is man, cat is cat.  Tyrrell’s was a world in which “holiness” [the condition in which men are “set apart” by God for his own purposes] achieved little currency.  For Tyrrell the Spirit of God could no longer be for the few.  For him, like a page out of Hegel, Spirit is that which “expresses itself in the historical process of science, morality, and religion…. For the Spirit of God is in us all.”[2]  Once again the life of Christ in the heart of the believer – the encounter of a person and the Spirit of Jesus – is denied.  And the majuscule “I” is taken out of the “individual” so that that honor may be given to the “Collective.”

And what does Tyrrell, our warrior in the Society of Jesus, think about Jesus, the Messiah of Israel?

“It is certain that Tyrrell did not believe that Jesus was God-made-man…Christ does not appear as a living Savior dying on the cross to effect the Salvation of the world.  Christ’s personal love for all men and women does not appear….

“…for him belief in Christ entailed no faith in Christ as a teacher and in his doctrine, but [merely] an apprehension of his personality as revealing itself within us.”  Ibid  pp. 278,279

George Tyrrell, in his cheapening of the truths of the gospel and in his assault on Papal authority, became the father of a great field of culture within the Roman institution, particularly among the Jesuits.  According to Malachi Martin,

“What makes Tyrrell’s case most relevant in any assessment of a large number of Jesuits today –as well as an equally large number of theologians and bishops – is the uncanny resemblance between their views and Tyrell’s views, between their attitude to papacy and Church hierarchy and Tyrrell’s attitude.”[3]      

For Tyrrell there is no historical Jesus, no living Savior, no redemption at the cross, no personal love of the Messiah for man and woman.  “We cannot frame our minds to that of a first century Jewish Carpenter.”[4]  For Tyrrell, “Christ” is more like a quality of being, something waiting to emerge from all mankind.  It is this credo, held at the feet of the god of Science, which leads us to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

 

2.] Teilhard de Chardin:  The sanctification of Darwinism and the death of man- made -in-the-image-of-God.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a French priest, born in 1881, twenty years after George Tyrrell.  At eighteen Teilhard became a Jesuit trainee.  He was ordained at thirty.  His studies focused on paleontology, geology and biology.  He took the work of Charles Darwin as essentially inviolable scientific fact, then brought to it a cosmology which would incorporate the presence of “spirit.”  In such works as The Phenomenology of Man he described the growth of complexity in organisms leading to animal consciousness, destined by their material/psychical energy to advance to that consciousness which is a consciousness of self.  Without the detailed Darwinian beginnings, this seems to be just a re-hashing of Hegel.  Hegel, however offered the hope that the consciousness of self can become a consciousness of Self, wherein men discover that their eternal essence is a pre-existent and always living Absolute.

For Teilhard de Chardin, the expansion of consciousness leads to a Collective Consciousness.  The energy of physical evolution is married to an energy which is mental/spiritual and directs the overall movement of evolution toward an end.  In this process, as the evolution of the individual person may appear to slow, the massive growth of consciousness leads the development of the Collective Consciousness into a kind of Collectivism.

“The outcome of the world, the gates of the future, the entry into the super-human – these are not thrown open to a few of the privileged nor to one chosen people to the exclusion of all others. They will open only to an advance of all together, in a direction in which all together can join and find completion in a spiritual renovation of the earth.[5]

For Teilhard, mankind is more important to God than the individual man.  For him the individual historical Christ is of no consequence.  The incarnation of Christ is rather, for him, this whole vast emergence of collective consciousness into the progress of the evolving world, leading to a point which he calls the Omega point, which may be taken as the completion of the incarnation of Christ in the world.  Curiously enough this is equally a picture of an evolving “Christ!”  Here again Teilhard de Chardin differs little from Hegel, since, for each, their Absolute can not have real existence short of the Phenomenon of human historical existence.  So the Geistphenomenologie of Hegel and Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man are intimately related.  Teilhard de Chardin’s compounding of Hegel with a Darwinian “science” of evolution, however, leads to the full rejection of the fundamental pillar of Scripture, the fundamental pillar of human existence: that man and woman were created in the image of God.  Short this fact, the Scriptures are without meaning and the progress of our Savior to the cross is a comical melodrama.  For God to die to “redeem” lizards and chimpanzees would be a true case of overacting.  Where the success of the avowed atheist, Darwin, in peddling evolution is a victory for Satan, certainly the success of Teilhard de Chardin within the halls of religion must reassure Satan of the great value of his efforts to cultivate strong ties within Christian Orthodoxy.

Whatever the lack of originality in de Chardin, and whatever his inconsistencies, of which there are many, it is nevertheless historical fact that he, like Tyrrell, has now evolved from Catholic rebel into a discreetly sanctioned hero, until in this day we have two Popes praising his insights.

 

3.] The White Popes follow the lead of the children of the Black Pope, Superior General of the “Society of Jesus”

On 22 October, 1996, Pope John Paul II issued a statement to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in which he endorsed evolution as being “more than just a theory.”

“Today, almost half a century after publication of the encyclical, new knowledge led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”[6]

“In 1981, on the 100th anniversary of Teilhard’s birth, speculation erupted about a possible rehabilitation.  It was fueled by a letter published in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, by the then-Cardinal Secretary of  State Agostino Casaroli, who praised the ‘astounding resonance of his research, as well as the brilliance of his personality and richness of his thinking.’  Casaroli asserted that Teilhard had anticipated John Paul II’s call to ‘be not afraid,’ embracing ‘culture, civilization and progress.’”[7]

Now, as my final entry on the subject of the Catholic institution, I include again a quote from Father Joseph Ratzinger, become Pope Benedict, from his book, Fe e Futuro.   This quotation is an obscenely explicit renunciation of God Himself, and of everything that is sacred.  It is the most profane statement from a man who is most obviously profane.  As pretender to the throne of the kingdom of God, as pretender to the title of Vicarius Filii Dei, “Substitute for Christ on earth,” this man is a blasphemer and a deceiver of the most extreme kind.  With his leadership it can be certain that the projects of his institution are in no way directed toward the true purposes of the kingdom of God.  Mr. Ratzinger renounces the truth of creation and explicitly renounces the truth of the very word of God.  Without the creation of man in the image of God, without the absolutely solid word of God, there is no humanity, there is no redemption, and there is no hope of salvation.  This man is a traitor at the heart of the world, casting the darkest shadow across the world’s perception of the living and true kingdom of God.  We thank God that the perfidy of this man and the perfidy of his kingdom of deception shall not last.  A day of judgment is coming, in which day the following lies shall all be swept away.

The words of Father Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI:

“Let us look at the critic’s points in broad lines. The difficulty already begins with the first page of the Bible. The idea of the world’s origin developed there is in evident contradiction with everything we know today about the origin of the cosmos. Even if we say that those pages are not a manual of natural history and, therefore, should not be understood as a literal description of the cosmos’ origin, a bad feeling remains. … On almost every page of the Bible such questions persist.

The figure formed of clay that in God’s hand becomes man is largely incomprehensible to us, as well as what happens right afterward with the woman, taken from his side while he sleeps and recognized by him as the flesh of his own flesh, that is, as a response to the question of his solitude.

Perhaps today we have to re-learn how to understand these images as profound symbolic expressions regarding man. … In the next chapter (the history of the fall) new questions rise. How can we reconcile them with the concept that man, as demonstrated by natural science, did not begin from above, but from below? He did not fall, but little by little ascended, increasingly becoming a man from an animal. And what about Paradise? Suffering and death already existed in the world long before man existed. …

Let us continue to examine these questions and contradictions that distress the general conscience in order to appraise with all necessary harshness the problem behind the words faith and knowledge.

After the report of the fall, the Bible continues with its image of history, where Adam is described to us in a cultural period situated around 4000 BC. This date agrees with the biblical counting of time, resulting that around 4000 years have passed from the beginning until Christ. But today all of us know that before this event, a period of hundreds of thousands of years of life and human efforts had already passed, a time not taken into consideration in the biblical image of history, which was restricted to the Eastern understanding of that time.

With this we touch the next point: the Bible, which faith venerates as the word of God, became clear to us in its entire human character through the historical-critical method of investigation. It not only follows the literary forms of its ambience, but also is influenced by the world in which it originated. This influence marked its way of thinking and its religious character itself.

Can we still believe in the God who calls Moses in the burning bush? The God who kills the firstborn sons of Egypt and leads His people to war against the inhabitants of Canaan? Who makes Oza fall dead because he touched the sacred ark? Or were all these things nothing but an expression of the old East, interesting, yes; perhaps even significant as a level of the human conscience; but not the expression of the divine word?

(Joseph Ratzinger, Fé e Futuro, São Paulo: Vozes, 1971, pp. 11-13)[8]

 

4.] The abandonment of every standard of faith under Pope Francis.

Following along the path first marked by John Paul II at Assisi, Pope Francis, increasingly known as “the antipope,” now sets out to open the welcome of his institution to every form of belief and unbelief.  His faithlessness does not merit serious discussion, only serious disgust.  His popular remark, “Who am I to judge?” is the calling card of an ecclesiastical clown.

It is the sacred work of the people of God to discern the path which  leads a man and his brother to God.  If there is no expectation of discernment between benefit and harm, between good and evil, then there is no hope of holding to any path to God.

Do not doubt that God’s word calls us to distinguish between good and evil, to stand up for what is good and to oppose what is evil.  Psalm 94 calls us to dare to be against what is evil:

“Who will rise up for me against the wicked?  Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?”  Psalm 94.16

Paul wrote the same:

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”  Ephesians 5.11

There is no such thing as virtue without discernment between good and evil:

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”  Philippians 1.9-11           

The Catholic power, dressed in satin and gold, does everything in its power to divert the faithful from their honest search for the knowledge of God.  The quest for the knowledge of God is meaningless without seeking to know the will of God, the heart of God, and the judgments of God.  The hope of virtue is not the hope of being a prude.  The hope of virtue is the hope of attaining human excellence.  For Francis there is no excellence, for all is excellence, even the life which despises the Savior of mankind.  A true life of excellence requires discernment and discernment demands the effort of prayer and the study of God’s word:

“For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  Hebrews 4.12

I would prefer to think that Francis is but a clown, but I fear that the truth is far more grave.  He is more like a type of the fabled false prophet, the Pied Piper for the end of the age, dressed in the harlequin suit of the jester, playing his flute, and leading the young and the innocent out of the city to the cliffs of damnation.

 

Lawrence S. Jones

Chicago

email: lstewartj@sbcglobal.net

[1] a title conferred upon the emperor by the State

[2] Ibid. p. 276

[3] Malachi Martin, The Jesuits, p. 275

[4] Ibid, p. 279

[5] The Phenomenon of Man, London, 1966, pp. 244-245

[6]Address of John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences [October 22, 1996] as in October 30 issue of the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano,

http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/vaticanview.html

 

[7] http://christorchaos.com/AnticlimaticBeatificationforanAntipope.htm

[8] http://www.traditioninaction.org/ProgressivistDoc/A_073_RatzingerBible.htm  Thanks to Tradition in Action, Inc.

The identity of the God who knows me

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The Angel of Yahveh found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.  And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

            “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she answered.

Then the Angel of Yahveh told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”  The Angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.”

The Angel of Yahveh also said to her: “You are now with child and you will have a son.  You shall name him Ishmael, for Yahveh has heard of your misery.  He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”

She gave this name to Yahveh who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”  That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.”[1]

 

i

Aristotle held that at the center of all things there is a God, that he is the Prime Mover and First Great Cause of all things.  His God, in order to be God, had to be perfect in all ways.  It could not “do” things which would cause it to abandon its perfection.  Nor could it contemplate things lesser than itself, as that would demean the god and would be a rebuke of its godly perfection.  For Aristotle there was nothing higher than mind, therefore he concluded that God can only be Mind Thinking Itself.  How does such a God set the world in motion?  According to Aristotle its motive force is its pure and unassailable perfection:  the universe turns in adoration of the divine perfection.

Aristotle’s God evoked a perfection of form, particularly in the realm of the heavenly bodies.   There was an enduring prejudice in the ancient world that the motion of the planets must be, by definition, circular, not elliptical, as the planets are in the heavens and belong to the divine.  [The circle is perfect motion around a center at rest.  The finite displacement of the center in the ellipse implies unrest and finitude, not characteristics of perfection.]

Aristotle’s God also claimed a perfection of content, as it contemplated only that which is highest, which is Mind, which is Itself.  To contemplate what is other than itself would violate its perfection, and to act on behalf of what is other than itself would be a supreme self-sacrifice.  Aristotle could not have contemplated the possibility of a God that would sacrifice itself on behalf of what is other than itself, as, for instance, in an extraordinary act of  love.  A purely rational God can act only according to what is necessary, and love is not an expression of necessity.  Love is a free gift, an expression of something beyond necessity.  Love is something which comes from a free person, from a consciousness which is able to choose to act in a fashion which is a sacrifice of self.  Such an act would have deconstituted Aristotle’s god.

Akin to Aristotle there have been many philosophies in recent centuries falling under the heading of Deism.  These theories also consider God to be a depersonalized Power or Force.  They may expect that their God is responsible for Creation, but, in their view, this God is disinterested, aloof from history.  For some, this God is like the clockmaker who assembles a mechanism, winds it up, and lets it go.  Such a God has no reason to make a special revelation of itself to an individual man or woman.  Deism takes no part in “revealed religion.”  Deists do not look to any of the Scriptures which portray God as intervening in human history or communing with specific individuals.  The Deist wants a cosmology in which all truth is accessible purely through reason.

The American founding fathers are often labeled Deists, but they were mostly Unitarians, a religion which in the 18th century still envisioned a God who is active in history, who is the source of Providence, and who is also a provider of justice and the hope of an afterlife.  Coming out of the Age of Reason they wanted God to be God [to have a will and to be capable of independent action], but they wanted him to be rational.  They felt that the human soul was not fallen but neutral, neither good nor bad, therefore free to act and due to be judged by its deeds.  Consequently, they were happy to see Christ simply as a moral teacher, not as their Redeemer.  Theologically they were not so far from Islam.

Whether it be Aristotle or the Unitarian or the Muslim, it is not so difficult to imagine that the aloof God is the cause of an order in the universe which is both beautiful and moral.   Therefore their God can be a force for justice in the world, so that ultimately the sheep and the goats will be separated and history will be worthwhile.  But it is not easy for these philosophers to imagine the aloof and rational God entering into history in specific acts where God conducts himself as an individual person, where his will and consciousness intersect with the will and consciousness of specific individual human beings.  Nor can they fathom such a thing as the incarnation of infinite God in the finite body and self-directed will of a human person.

 

 

ii

YHVH is the four letter equivalent of the Hebrew tetragrammaton   יהוה.  This name of God is variously pronounced Yahveh or Yahweh.  In the Hebrew Scriptures it is this God who revealed himself to Abraham and to Hagar.  He is more complex than all other gods.

No one has seen the God of Abraham face to face, yet he penetrates into human history.  He is above all things, yet he is active within space and time.  He has configured history to make possible the knowledge of himself in individual experience.  He is infinite yet makes himself known through the being and finite activity of the Logos.

The Logos translates casually as the “Word.”  However, its root significance in Greek is as “the fountain of all order and ratio in the world.”  It is a massive word with a meaning close to that of the “Tao.”  In the Chinese New Testament, the Logos is translated as the Tao.

John identifies Yeshua as the incarnation of the Logos and tells us clearly that in the beginning the Logos created the world.    The book of John opens with this analysis:

In the beginning was the Logos [the Tao], and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men…

The Logos became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…. No one has ever seen God, but the One and Only Son of God who is at the Father’s side has made him known.”   John 1.1-4,14,18

The God of Israel has revealed himself in past times through his prophets but in this time through his Son.  So says the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews, and he continues by saying,

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”  Hebrews 1.3

From the earliest days of the history of Israel, Yahveh entered into space time and, in the figure of the Angel of Yahveh, appeared to Abraham, to Hagar, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Moses, and to many others.  The purpose of the shema, asserting, “Hear O Israel, Yahveh our God, Yahveh is One,” is not to reduce Yahveh to a simple monad but to affirm that he who both enters the world and is above all worlds is yet One.  The very name YHVH is an assertion that the actions of God are not an aberration from his character but are the exact expression of his character.

The God of Israel first revealed his eternal name to Moses.  When God spoke to Moses on Mount Horeb and told him that he was to return to Egypt and lead his people out of slavery, Moses asked God to reveal his name.  Moses saw that he was not in the presence of an aloof prime mover: he was in the presence of an in-historical God, a divine Person who entered into human history on the grounds of his own creative desire.  God then spoke his name to Moses, “Ehyeh asher ehyeh.” “I am and shall be that which I am.”

And God [Elohim] said unto Moses, “Ehyeh asher ehyeh”; and he said, “Thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, ‘EHYEH has sent me unto you.’”  And God said moreover unto Moses: “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: “YHVH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me unto you; this is my name forever and this is my memorial unto all generations.  Go and gather together the elders of Israel, and say unto them: YHVH, the God of your fathers, has appeared unto me….”

EHYEH is the first person expression which God says of himself. The phrase, “Ehyeh asher ehyeh,” translates as “I am [now and on into the future] that which I am.”  “YHVH” is the third person expression, which is ours to speak: “He is and shall be that which he is.”  Therefore it is understood that in saying the name YHVH we are saying, “He is, now and forevermore, that which he is.”  Or, more specifically, “He is and ever shall be [in his actions] that which he is [in his essential being.]”

By this name Yahveh affirms the eternity of his essential being and affirms that all his deeds are consistent with his essential being … even as he enters history through the finite actions of Yeshua the incarnation of the Logos and our eternal king.  This meaning of the name YHVH was carried forward when Christ said to the Pharisees, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” and was echoed by John in the book of Revelation when he wrote,

“Grace be to you and peace from he who is, who was, and who is to come.” Rev. 1.4

In Yeshua the Logos became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  In Yeshua Yahveh became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

The being of Yeshua reveals the being of the Father.  In Yeshua it is seen that Yahveh is a free agent who acts rationally and justly and is also free to reach out to his creation in irrational acts of love.  Throughout the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures Yahveh enters history on behalf of his people, healing and instructing those who seek the knowledge of him.  Through Yeshua he has established the grounds upon which the wounds of human rebellion are healed.  In the letter to the Colossians Paul wrote,

“He [Yeshua] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together…For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”[2]

 

iii

There is another vision of the world, a vision which claims its origins in the 7th century A.D. as a “new and final revelation” of God to men, ostensibly through Muhammad, a man who considered himself a prophet.  Muhammad claimed to receive revelations from the supreme God through the angel Gabriel.  He called the supreme God by the name Allah, a name which had historically been attached to the chief god of a polytheistic godhead worshiped at the Qa’aba in Mecca.  Companions of Muhammad wrote down the revelations, and these records were compiled shortly after his death to become the Quran.  Muhammad claimed that Allah is the God of Abraham and Moses, and that they were, like himself, prophets of Allah.

However, the followers of Allah do not recognize YHVH as a name of God, nor do they recognize the role of Israel in bringing into the world the ground of human redemption through Yeshua.   Abraham and Moses both saw the coming of a Messiah out of Israel.  The followers of Allah do not recognize either the divinity of Yeshua or the critical role of his sacrifice on the cross, since they believe that the unity of Allah is a unity of form, and that the purity of Allah is partly a function of his abstinence from the mundane.  This does not allow, by their thinking, either the existence of  the Logos or that it be made flesh.  The Dome of the Rock, on the Temple Mount, is covered with slogans declaring that Allah can have no Son.

Muslims claim that the revelations to Muhammad supersede the revelations of Yeshua.  This would seem to be an oblique claim that Yeshua was either ignorant or not telling the truth, since Yeshua clearly presented himself as uniquely begotten of God, as the very presence and agency of God on earth, and made it clear that he had come with the express purpose of going to the cross to redeem mankind from the curse of death.   The actual claim of Muslims is that all the texts of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures have been corrupted.

Muslims, followers of Allah and Muhammad, believe that suspended between two poles, a good life and adherence to the Five Pillars of Islam,[3] hangs the hope [not the guarantee] that they will spend eternity in Paradise.  [There is no evidence that they intend to share in the promise to Abraham, the ancient promise that the people of God will live in the land of promise under the rule of Yeshua the Messiah of  Israel.]

In this way Islam is much like Catholicism.  Catholics are amillennialists.  Amillennialists do not look for Christ to return and rule [for a millennium] in a brick and mortar rule on earth.  Amillenialists like John Calvin thought it would be “beneath” God to have a kingdom on earth, therefore beneath God to fulfill literally his promises to Abraham.

Catholics also believe that salvation is a treasure suspended between two poles, the deeds of a good life and adherence to the Sacraments[4] of the Catholic institution.  In Islam and in Catholicism, decisive power over individual access to Paradise lies in the hands of the institution.

 

 

iv

We see easily that as the perception of God changes, so is altered every possibility of the nature of the encounter between man and God, the most radical variant introducing itself when one abandons the gods which originate in the imagination and seeks the God who truly knows our face.

Entry into the kingdom of Yeshua is not governed by any religious institution or cultural structure.  The individual person comes to Yeshua in absolute independence and stands alone before God.  The one who seeks Yahveh is called to kneel and recognize the sovereignty of Yahveh and acknowledge that Yeshua is Lord, king upon the eternal and heavenly throne.  Implicit in coming before the heavenly throne is the recognition of the Messiah’s work at the cross and our own need of redemption.  A price had to be paid for human rebellion and Yeshua paid that price.  Even more, a way had to be made for the transformation of our rebellious nature into a spiritual nature capable of fealty to the  person and expectations of a spiritual and holy God.

In Yeshua, Yahveh calls mankind to himself, calls us to a spiritual birth, without which we remain mere observers.  Yahveh is not looking for observers.  He is looking for participants, subjects of the realm, warriors ready to stand for the truth, ready to own the light in a world of darkness.  The “belief” which Christians bandy about is far more than a credo.  It is meant to be total immersion and surrender to the Sovereignty of Yeshua.

Many claim to find satisfaction far short of the all-consuming call of Yahveh.  There are certainly those who have convinced themselves that worlds can orbit in perfect motion and eyes can see and tongues can sing, all without the hand of any Creator, men born with no purpose but to perpetuate their species.  But, these aside, most men have felt the world to be unintelligible without the presence of God, and have found it unlivable without the hope of making appeal to God.

The motive to come into the presence of God is strong and amply recorded throughout our history.  We know that the knowledge of God is often limited by the prevalent religious dogmas of the culture into which we are born.  But we seek God, not to satisfy the demands of culture, but to satisfy the demands of the heart.  Therefore the person who truly seeks to be known by God will reach beyond the pleasantries of common dogma and will search to know if there is or is not a God who sees and hears and answers the call of the heart.

Some are certainly more than satisfied by Aristotle’s God.  The appeal of a distant God is that there is no place for divine judgment upon mankind, nor is there reason to think that man is fallen.  We obviously are not considered to be made “in the image” of such a mechanistic God.  We may imagine that our ancestors started as specks in the primeval slime.  Therefore whatever we are at this moment can only be considered as an amazing accomplishment.  There is no room for judgment nor is there any divine being capable of inspecting or judging us.  Nor does this god require fealty of any kind.  This god demands nothing, therefore leaving man autonomous, owner of complete liberty.

Allah, the God of Islam, does not challenge the integrity of man in his natural state.  Allah does not see man as fallen and in need of redemption.  He only expects a man to do his best and to observe the Five Pillars of Islam.  Therefore Allah asks fealty but does not challenge man to recognize a need for spiritual transformation.

Islamic-world.net has a very informative article on Khilafah [the caliphate or vicegerency of man on earth], in which it states:

“Islam does not contribute to any theory of the ‘fall of Adam’ symbolizing the fall of man.  There was no ‘fall’ at all in that sense.  Man was created for the purpose of acting as vicegerent on the earth and he came to the world to fulfill this mission.  It represents the rise of man to a new assignment, his tryst with destiny, and not a fall.  According to the Quran, ‘Satan caused them both to deflect therefrom.’  Both were held responsible for the act, both repented their transgression, and both were forgiven.  They entered the world without any stigma of original sin on their soul.  Human nature is pure and good.  Man has been created in the best of all forms….Man has not been totally protected against error.  This would involve negation of the freedom of choice.  He may commit errors; his redemption lies in his realization of those errors, in seeking repentance and in turning back to the Right Path.”

In the Hebrew Scriptures, to which Islam refers [while claiming that they have been corrupted], there is no record that Adam or Eve ever repented of their rebellion.  Even if they did repent and were forgiven, there is a question of justice yet to be resolved.  Is simple repentance adequate to restore the rebel to the good grace of a holy God?  Is there no punishment for sin?  If not, then let sin begin, that repentance and grace may flow more freely?  Does not the God who created mankind with the greatest expectations — that we should live and act after the manner of God himself — is he not justified in demanding that, in the face of such rebellion, his continued devotion to the prospects of man on earth must be justified by some cover, some antidote to the seed of unbridled liberty now planted in his creation?  Does not the sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross reveal to us the gravity of God’s law and the depth of his expectations in us?  Does he not amplify his holiness and the honor of his expectations by sending his unique Messiah into the world to bring to mankind the possibility of spiritual transformation?

It is apparent that for Islam man does not need transformation so much as he needs simple upkeep.  Islam does not have absolute laws.  Its morality is greatly situational.  There are many situations in which the Muslim is allowed to deceive or even kill if it is for the sake of the advancement of Islam.  In this they are very much like the Jesuits who are free to act outside divine law if it is for the sake of the welfare of the Papacy.

It also appears that the righteous life of the Muslim individual is dependent on the context of an Islamic social structure within which he is able to pray regularly, tithe, etc., i.e. a society to which his good deeds have meaning.  Furthermore, the Muslim’s divine mission of vicegerency calls him to establish the rule of Allah over the earth, by force if necessary.  This subject is expanded in the above-quoted article:

“The Khilafa [vicegerency] is a common leadership for all the Muslims in the world.  Its role is to establish the laws of the Islamic Shariah and to carry the Dawa of Islam to the world.  The pathetic situation of the Muslims today, due to the absence of a Khilafa, is proof of the saying of the Prophet: ‘Islam and government are twin brothers.  Neither of the two can be perfect without the other.  Islam is like a great structure and government is its guardian.  A building without a foundation crashes down and without a guardian is pilfered and robbed out.’  The state of the Muslims today cannot be helped unless we work to implement in entirety the systems of Islam.  Only then can the justice of Allah the Exalted be brought to bear on earth.”

Then the one who seeks God in the name of Allah does not necessarily come in repentance or in search of rescue from a fallen nature.  Islam allows that human nature is undamaged.  What is required is a good life and simple fealty to the five pillars of Islam.  1.] to recite the Shahada, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” 2.] regular prayer five times per day 3.] to tithe 4.] to fast during Ramadan 5.] to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Is the petitioner then known by Allah?    It may be of the character ascribed to Allah that he be conscious of individual human beings and even pass ultimate judgment upon them, but Allah, for the Muslim, is unknowable, aloof, and would not enter into communication with the heart of an individual.  According to the Islamic scholar al-Faruqi:

“He [Allah] does not reveal himself to anyone in any way.  Allah reveals only his will.  One of the prophets asked Allah to reveal himself and Allah told him, ‘No, it is not possible for me to reveal myself to anyone.’… This is Allah’s will and that is all we have, and we have it in perfection in the Quran…God does not reveal himself to anyone.  Christians talk about the revelation of God himself –by God of God – but that is the great difference between Christianity and Islam.”[5]

Then there is no personal relationship between Allah and the individual, for Allah does not act as person.  Nor is there any expectation that the individual will radically open his heart and person to Allah.  The personality of the petitioner is not of great significance to Allah.  What matters is his submission, which is the meaning of “Islam.”

 

 

 v

Traditional Judaism pursues the God of Israel as he is made known in the revelations to Moses and the prophets.  Traditional Judaism approaches YHVH through the study of the Hebrew Scriptures and through prayer and worship, both public and private.  They hold to the notion that the God who revealed himself through Israel is characteristically the God of the genetic people of Israel, and more recently of the geopolitical nation of Israel.  Modern exponents of Judaism hold that you cannot belong to the God of Israel except through popular inclusion into the people of Israel.

[In this they are like the Catholics and the Muslims, where one enters the faith through the socio-ecclesiastical structure.  Pope Francis claimed quite recently, “It is a dangerous temptation to believe that one can have “a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church.”  This of course is a complete rebuke of all that Christ has said in the New Testament, but Catholics do not consider Scripture to have higher authority than the pronouncements of the church.]

For traditional Rabbinic Judaism, the interventions of YHVH in history are on behalf of the historic people of Israel, not necessarily for anyone else.

Modern Judaism has abandoned most of this traditional faith which centered on the revelations of Yahveh to Moses and the prophets.  Instead there is widespread preoccupation with Qabala.  This is an exaltation of a completely depersonalized god accessible through gnostic insight and through communication with spirits.  It presumes to access the power of God without concern for the person of God as he has made himself known in the history of the people of Israel.  In Qabalistic Judaism neither the person of God nor the persona of him who seeks God is of any relevance.

 

vi

In Yeshua we find the person of Yahveh.  In Yeshua Yahveh  enters history to rescue us from mindless rebellion.  The overwhelming gravity of that intervention is revealed to us at the foot of the cross.  If we cannot meet him there, we cannot meet him.

How do we know that his acts are true?  As Yeshua remarked, Only the true shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand sees the wolf coming and flees.  He, the true shepherd, is the one who knows us:

“I am the good shepherd.  I know my own, and my own know me.”   John 10.14

How does he know us intimately?  This was the concern of the disciples as Yeshua explained to them his crucifixion and coming resurrection.  At that time he explained to them the coming miracle of Pentecost, a plan prepared over centuries, that the Spirit of Yeshua would come to rest in the heart of every person who opens his heart to transformation, to spiritual birth:

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.  Because I live you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you….All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”  John 14.15-20,25-27           

What am I to think if God does not know me or see me?  Am I not alone in the world?  Is there not an impenetrable divide between us all?  The bond of unity lies in the definition, but without the intent of God we have no definition.  We are randomness classified into arbitrary categories, our DNA something we can edit without a thought for the meaning of “human excellence.”

Do we know each other?  Is not the only hope of being known and understood that we by birth be patterned after the plan of the One who made us and that he be even now a living God and that he exist beyond the patterns of necessity and that he be of that very character that is beyond the rational, that is irrational, that is love.  That is our only hope of being known, if the one who made us also loves us and seeks us for himself.

This is uniquely the character of YHVH the God of Israel, whom we know in this time through the person of Yeshua our Messiah.  The very few will answer the call of Yeshua:

“Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and sup with him and he with me.”  Revelation 3.20

It is a call to transformation.  It is a promise that God through his Spirit will maintain a presence in the heart’s house and heal us and instruct us and bring to us the life and the will and the understanding which he has meant to be our possession since the rebellion of the first generation left a huge tear in the fabric of the world.   Those who open the heart to his life are opening their lives to his sovereignty and his loving claim upon their lives.  We would never accept that claim and would prefer our own alienated autonomy if we did not see that in a state of autonomy we are part of the damage in the world.  We accept his love and his sovereignty knowing that in the deepest interior of the heart’s house we seek to be known and loved by our God.

 

 

Lawrence S. Jones

Chicago  2016

lstewartj@sbcglobal.net

 

 

 

[1] Genesis 16.7-15

[2] Colossians 1. 15-20

[3] Proclamation of faith in the Oneness of God and the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad; establishment of  the five daily prayers [ritual and canonical]; paying tithe to the Islamic state or to a representative of a local mosque; fasting the month of  Ramadan; the pilgrimage to Mecca if able.

[4] Baptism, confirmation, communion, confession, marriage, “holy orders,” and the anointing of the sick

[5][5] I. al-Faruqi, Christian Mission and Islamic Dawah: Proceedings of the Chambesy Dialogue Consultation, pp. 47-48

The Sovereignty of YHVH

 

“I, even I, am YHVH, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed – I, and not some foreign god among you.  You are my witnesses,” declares YHVH, “that I am God.  Yes and from ancient days I am he. …I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”[1]

 

*   *   *   *   *   *

There is one God, and his eternal Name, YHVH, proclaims perfection.  Its content affirms that He, in the course of his agency within history, is and ever shall be that which He is in his essential being:

“I AM THAT WHICH I AM.”[2]

            “I am [in my existence] that which I am [in my essential being.]”

In this we know that the perfection of his being will find full expression in the perfect fulfillment of his purposes on earth.  Within his Name, YHVH also gives witness to the fact that he exists in the first person singular, that He, the One God, is also a person, the individual after whom man is patterned.  The Person is the atomic unit of spiritual life.

Inseparable from the eternal being of YHVH is the person of Yeshua, the uniquely begotten Son of YHVH,

“[…in whom] all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”[3]

The mystery of the being of Yeshua is intimately bound into the mystery of his identification with the Logos.  We know from the record of John that the Logos[4] and Yeshua are one:

“In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men. …The Logos became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who comes from the Father, full of grace and truth.”[5]

The Hebrew and Greek Scriptures reveal to us the perfect union of Yeshua and the Father, and they reveal to us the hand of Yeshua as the agency of the Father in the creation of the world, in the history of the world, in the life of mankind.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things and in him all things hold together. …For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”[6]

It is the cross upon which the world stumbles.  All who wish to establish their lives as just, as justified apart from the mercy of God, all refuse to recognize the gravity of sin, of rebellion against the sovereignty of YHVH.  They are blinded to the grave tragedy of the fall of mankind from its original communion with YHVH.

At the cross, Yeshua alone has established that he is the one awaited throughout history, the seed of the woman who crushes the head of the serpent.[7]  At the cross Yeshua took upon himself the curse of the sin of mankind, and then in resurrection YHVH established that Yeshua should own all power over death and Hades.  We, the subjects of Yeshua, know his voice and recognize him as eternal king.  Soon Yeshua will return, and he, with the army of heaven, will conquer and take captive Satan and the armies of darkness.  John witnessed this in the prophetic vision which Yeshua gave him on the island of Patmos:

“Then I saw heaven open wide – and there was a white horse!  His rider is faithful and true, yea, just are his judgments and his warfare; his eyes are a flame of fire, on his head are many diadems, he bears a written name which none knows but himself.  He is clad in a robe dipped in blood [his name is called THE LOGOS OF GOD], and the troops of heaven follow him on white horses, arrayed in pure white linen.  A sharp sword issues from his lips, wherewith to smite the nations; he will shepherd them with an iron flail, and trample the winepress of the passion of the wrath of God almighty.  And on his robe, upon his thigh, his name is written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”[8]

Yeshua is King of kings and his hand is sovereign over the trajectory of history.  We see that his return, from the heavenly throne to the dust of earth, is imminent.  We know that he will return in all strength and power, that he will establish in the visible world the pre-eminence of his kingdom and the welfare of his subjects, even though, at this moment, his transcendent kingdom must undergo persecution and martyrdom at the hand of its enemies.

Sects of all faiths fail in their understanding of the cross.  Christians fail to recognize the cross as the great original victory of Yeshua as king over his people.  They have abandoned the kingdom and the kingship of Yeshua, preferring instead the moral teacher or the private Savior, without any social or teleological imperative.  For this reason they are impotent and without response in the face of the modern advances of Islam throughout the world.

Jews have abandoned the gravity of sin and the hope of a heavenly Messiah.  They have abandoned their belief in a transcendent Israel rooted in the circumcision of the heart.  They have exchanged it for a mundane political entity defined by the circumcision of the flesh.  They hope to establish Greater Israel through the manipulation of their neighbors, through political intrigue and military threat.

Muslims equally, through political maneuvering and through force, are building their world empire.  Muslims reject the true gravity of sin and imagine that the pleas of Allah will redeem them.  They scorn the sacrifice of Yeshua at the cross and lead the world in their contempt for the kingship of Yeshua.  They claim to worship the God of Abraham while rejecting the divinity of Yeshua the Son of God.  Their claim is not valid.  They deserve the response that Yeshua gave to the Pharisees:

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did.  As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.  Abraham did not do such things.  You are doing the things your own father does….If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here.  I have not come on my own; but he sent me.  Why is my language not clear to you?  Because you are unable to hear what I say.  …My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.  Though you do not know him, I know him.  If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word.  Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

“You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.[9]

           

 

Lawrence S. Jones

lstewartj@sbcglobal.net

 

 

 

[1] Isaiah 43.11,12,13;44.6

[2]Exodus 3.13-15;  “YHVH” is the third person expression which we speak, “He is and ever shall be[ that which he is.]”  EHYEH ASHER EHYEH is the first person expression which is spoken by God: “I am  and ever shall be that which I am.”

[3] Colossians 2.9

[4] “The Word”  But the word Logos in Greek does not mean merely speech.  It designates a grand and ancient understanding: the fountain of all reason and order in the universe, an understanding which is perhaps most nearly approximated in the Chinese understanding of the Tao.  In fact the Chinese New Testament translates Logos as the Tao.

[5] John 1.1-5,14

[6] Colossians 1.15-17,19

[7][7] Genesis 3.15  “So YHVH said to the serpent, ‘…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’”

[8] Revelation 19.11-16

[9] John 8.39,40,42,43,54-59

The Fundamentalist abandonment of the kingship of Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel

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i

The renunciation

In a recent post I noted the obscenity of the Papal dismissal of the crucifixion.  But it would be unfair of me to criticize the Pope and ignore the excesses at the heart of modern Protestantism.  The Pope is not alone in redacting whole chapters of the life of our Messiah.  Conservative Protestant theology has taken possession of an equally distasteful renunciation of the Messiah, a renunciation which goes unnoticed because it has been so thoroughly established in the culture of the last century, so well prepared in the preceding centuries of Catholicism.

The conservative Protestants do not wait for the crucifixion to demean their Lord.  They start a week early, on what is called Palm Sunday, the day of the ritual entry of Yeshua into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah.

His entry on a donkey was a culturally explicit declaration that he entered the city as king.  Accordingly he received the honor and adoration of the people as their king:

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”[1]

And, more specifically,

            “Blessed is the king of Israel.”[2]

And, indicating that he was seen as the rightful heir to the throne of David:

“Hosanna to the Son of David.”[3]

Were the people of Jerusalem guilty of hyperbole when they hailed Yeshua as their king?  The priests thought so, therefore they asked him to rebuke and silence his followers.  Yeshua responded with the suggestion that this was a moment which no force of history could impede:

“If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”[4]

Yes. The arrival of Yeshua as king over Israel was so certain and so fundamental to the history of all the world, that, should we fail in recognition, then nature itself feels the wound and must give witness.  It is inconceivable that Yeshua would have accorded himself the form of entry into Jerusalem as king, coupled with the receipt of praise as king, were it not already certain that he, on his way to the cross, was in fact in full possession of his royal role and character.

Then what is the affront of the great majority of conservative Protestants and fundamentalists?   It is that they deny that Yeshua is king upon the eternal throne over Israel, transcendent Israel, the Israel of God.  Nor do they recognize the existence of this Israel.  They see only genetic Israel and the geopolitical construct of recent decades.  They seem to imagine that a seat of royal authority must be a gilded throne within view of the masses.  They fault the Creator of the universe for not having an office in downtown Jerusalem.  They confuse transcendent Israel with an earthly fabrication along lines of Zionist politics and genetic descent.

It has not always been so.  Prior to this century it was common to find members of the church who, given in their hearts to the Messiah of Israel, and not genetically Jewish, still saw themselves as citizens of the transcendent Israel of God.  Witness this hymn of John Newton[1725-1807]:

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, whose word cannot be broken,
Form’d thee for His own abode:
On the Rock of ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

Bless’d inhabitants of Zion,
Wash’d in the Redeemer’s blood!
Jesus, whom their souls rely on,
Makes them kings and priests to God.
‘Tis His love His people raises
Over self to reign as kings,
And as priests, His solemn praises
Each for a thank-off’ring brings.

Saviour, if of Zion’s city
I through grace a member am,

Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in Thy name:
Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show:
Solid joys and lasting treasure,
None but Zion’s children know.

For John Newton, Zion is the home of all children of God, and we, the children of Yeshua, are to the manor born.  Like Abraham, Zion is our home, whether or not it is occupied by others, for we who have eternal life occupy the eternal promise which, in His own time, God will fulfill.

Corruption crept into Protestant thinking.  Belief in the kingship of Yeshua was thrown aside.  Toward the middle of the nineteenth century John Nelson Darby, [1800-1882], an Irish Anglican priest, began to formalize a theology which rested on 1.] the complete separation of the church and Israel, 2.] the belief that Yeshua came as “candidate” for kingship but was rejected by the Jewish people and so returned to heaven in failure, [his hopes dashed?], and 3.] a belief in two completely different destinies for genetic Israel and the church, the church to be raptured up into heaven at the beginning of the final seven years of tribulation, the Jews to remain on earth and tough it out, battling the Beast Kingdom, compensated only by the fact that they are finally rid of those annoying gentiles.  Such a theology has great utility to the Zionists, and brings great pleasure to the architects of Catholicism.

It is useful to the Zionists because it gets Protestants to back off from Israel and abandon their claims upon its destiny.  This allows the secular Zionist to claim for himself, on genetic grounds, all the ancient promises, in particular the promise to Abraham of a land “from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates.”

It is pleasurable to Catholic ambition because it causes Protestants to abandon every earthly claim to the kingdom of God and the promises to Abraham.  As consequence, the Messianic hopes of the church can remain in heaven, up in the sky: this sky within which the Catholic church has sequestered Christ since its inception.  Like the Zionists, therefore, the Vatican also is free to pursue its earthy objectives.  [It has always been the program of the Catholic institution to offer mankind the semblance of the knowledge of God while inserting itself between man and God and usurping to itself the power and authority which rightly belong to God alone, even making the Pope the Vicarius Filii Dei, the” Representative of the Son of God,”  the vicarious substitute for the presence and rule of Christ in the world.  They even ordain each priest with the blasphemous phrase, Tu es alter Christus, “you are another Christ,” further displacing Christ in their cosmology.]

As for the Protestants, this recent deformation of their theology, known academically as “premillennial dispensationalism,” renounces the kingship of Yeshua and hardly deserves a rebuttal, any more than we would wish to debate Scripture with that false prophet, Pope Francis.  Only let it be known that their impoverished line of thought has nothing to do with what is actually written in Scripture.

Nevertheless, Darby’s anemic philosophy broadly prevails within the halls of conservative Protestantism.  On the heels of Darby, who was not widely known, came C.I. Scofield and his vastly popular Scofield Reference Bible in which, through copious footnotes, he and his accomplices interpreted all of Scripture in the light of their redefinition of Israel and the church, in light of their gross mishandling of the triumph of Yeshua at the cross.  So who were his readers to believe? the Expert? or their own eyes?  In laziness they chose “the Expert,” by the thousands.  And with them went the leaders of the Evangelical church and the seminaries.

 

ii

Peter affirms the kingship of Yeshua

Anyone with a basic command of the English language and the ability to think for himself can figure out the falsehood of their pre-tribulation rapture by reading I Thessalonians 4.13-17 and II Thessalonians 2.1-10.  [They can also read the article, Boiling Frogs and the Return of the King, on this blogsite.]

Anyone who thinks Yeshua came as “candidate” for kingship has never read the Bible.

Anyone who thinks that the church of Yahveh and the Israel of Yahveh are mutually exclusive has done nothing but listen to sermons rather than read the Bible.

Anyone who wants to know if Yeshua is on the eternal throne at this moment should read carefully the following Scriptures – and should make personal discovery of the politics of Yeshua through swearing fealty to his person, through kneeling before him who is seated on the heavenly throne, and through opening the heart to the commanding presence of his Spirit.

On the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God first descended in power upon the people of God in Jerusalem, Peter addressed the onlookers, explaining that this was the fulfillment of the prophecies of Joel that the Spirit would be poured out.  Then he told them that even though they, the people of Israel, had crucified Christ, yet God had not abandoned Yeshua to the grave and he had risen from the dead.  Peter then reminded them that David also had prophesied about the coming Messiah, the coming anointed king, and had said,

“that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.”[5]

Peter then continued to explain how recent events were the very groundwork of the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy:

“Seeing what was ahead, he [David] spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.  God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.  Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear….Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Yeshua, whom you crucified, both Lord and Anointed King [Christ].”[6]

Yes, Pentecost and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is the evidence that Yeshua is on the throne of heaven reaching out into all the world to all his subjects in power and healing and instruction.  The Holy Spirit is the matrix and the cement of the kingdom through which Yeshua is able to rule in our hearts as no other king can rule.

Catholics are willing to call Yeshua king as long as he stays at a distance, the tragically abused child of their “Queen of Heaven.”  Their churches often have Latin slogans naming Yeshua as Rex, though not king of the Jews but king of “the kingdom.”  [Rex Regnum Sum.]  This causes them no pain because Yeshua has been shelved in the heavens, co-opted by his mother Mary, and now the Pope wears the actual crown of authority.  In fact his blasphemous crown has three rings or tiers, signifying that he has taken upon himself ultimate ecclesiastical authority, ultimate temporal authority, and ultimate cosmic authority!

Protestants are willing to see Yeshua as their coming king, while in present time he is merely their personal savior.  They expect him to have royal authority in the future, although for all their skill in interpreting the Bible, no one identifies the scenario of the future coronation.

 

iii

Daniel identifies the kingship of the Messiah in the course of history

Daniel, however, received from God quite a different timeline.  For Daniel the royalty of the Messiah and his kingship over his people does not come at the end of history.  It all comes about within the course of the political doings of the kings of the earth.

In the second chapter of the book of Daniel, we find him interpreting a dream of Nebuchadnezzar.  The king has envisioned a statue with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, feet partly iron and partly baked clay.  Prophetically, Daniel shares the divine interpretation that the elements of the statue represent the great kingdoms of history, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar as the head of gold.  The subsequent kingdoms are now recognized as the Medo-Persian Empire [silver], the Greek Empire [bronze], the Roman Empire [iron]… and a later confederation of Rome with other powers, in a ten part division…sounding something like the coming partnership and dominion of the Vatican [Rome], the UN, and Islam [OIC].  And where does the kingdom of Yeshua fit in?  Daniel describes its entry and the outcome.

Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar  that

“while you were watching [the statue], a rock was cut out, but not by human hands.”[7]

In the interpretation Daniel explains,

In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people.”[8]

As for the outcome, in the dream it was noticed,

“It [the rock] struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer.  The wind swept them away without leaving a trace.  But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”[9]

As interpretation, Daniel says,

“It [the kingdom created in the time of those kings] will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”[10]

In other words it is in the course of history, not at the end of history, that we are to find Yeshua as king over his people.  Yeshua first appeared as king within the dominion of Rome.  Now, in a world where every national leader kisses the ring of the Pope, we are in the amalgam of Rome with “baked clay.”  And throughout all this we see the remnants of Babylon and Greece and Persia.  But, in transcendence, the kingdom of Yeshua is more real than every kingdom.

Gideon had thirty- two thousand nominal soldiers, but God told him to take only three hundred tested soldiers.  Three hundred were given victory over the entire army of Midian.  So for us today.  The handful of faithful on earth will march with the armies of heaven and in the coming years will see the victory of Yeshua over the nations who cynically join themselves together, thinking that they will take ownership of the earth.

 

                                                            iv

Prophetically, David sees God’s chosen king besieged by the nations

The second Psalm similarly creates a picture of the Messianic king who has not yet assumed power over brick and dust, who, as Lord over a transcendent Zion, is also “in the time of those kings,” beleaguered by national powers in opposition to his sovereign power.  It is especially now, in the approach of the new global society, that we see revealed the depth and ancient roots of the conspiracy of rebellion to establish a world without the laws of the covenant and without the people of the covenant:

“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.  “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.”  The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.  Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”[11]

Be he in the dust of Zion or on the heavenly throne, the living Messiah, Yeshua, rules substantially in the hearts of his subjects through the power and presence of his Spirit reaching into us and binding us to himself with cords of steel.  We are the ones who have the responsibility to stand in our faith, to own the covenant and to live as the people of the covenant.  Only ignorance and cowardice can cause people to abandon a covenant sealed by the blood of Yeshua.

 

 

                                                                        v

The anointing of Yeshua

The great truths of Scripture, the ponderous informing moments in the life of our Lord, are not intelligible to the masses.  No matter what we have been taught, the great truths of faith are esoteric, not exoteric.  Yeshua delighted in making himself obscure to those who claimed they knew it all.  And when Peter saw what others could not see, Yeshua remarked that it was only through the voice of the Father that he could know such things.

To anyone who does not know Yeshua intimately, the cross is a mystery.  Similarly the anointing of Yeshua is not apparent to the eye of the world, as it expects to witness the affirmation of a Westminster Abbey, of pomp and ceremony.  The anointing of Yeshua is esoterically and spiritually perceived.

To anoint is to ordain or to consecrate.   To ordain is to select and, by virtue of authority, to appoint.  To consecrate is to set apart, to devote.  Mere application of substance, even special oil, by a person without specific authority, could not make anyone the Messiah.   And what oil would the Father use to add gravity to his appointment and consecration of his Son as ruler over his holy people and ruler over all Creation?  Surely nothing could be more grave than his own hand and his own word.

David could not have been anointed by Samuel as king on the throne of Israel, were it not that Samuel acted under the direction and command of God.  Through Samuel, Yahveh himself chose David.  The oil of anointing was merely a witness to the presence of the voice of Yahveh in the selection.

In the appointment of Yeshua, the voice of Yahveh alone, emanating from the heavens, is sufficient.  That moment in which Mary of Bethany broke open the costly container of nard and anointed Yeshua was a moment of powerful significance in the heart of Yeshua.  But it was not within her sphere of power to anoint Yeshua as Messiah. She was a simple woman enacting a very special custom of appreciation.  Yeshua said that her act had special meaning as it looked forward to his burial.  But she did not anoint him as Messiah.

Only the Father can own the authority to choose and appoint and devote his Son to the role of eternal king over his holy people.  Whether or not there has been or is yet to be a day of visible anointing with oil is not a determinant factor.  What is determinant is the explicit act of the Father to designate Yeshua as king over his holy people.

King David had three anointings.  David’s first anointing occurred on the day that Yahveh revealed his choice of David to Samuel.  He was definitively chosen to replace Saul as king over Israel, though the assumption of power was yet to come.

“Then the Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him, he is the one.’  So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.”[12]

It was not just a tentative or nominal anointing as evidenced by the fact that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.”  Prior to the anointing David was a shepherd.  Subsequent to the anointing he was a prince of Israel surrounded by a hedge of God’s presence and power.

Soon after the death of Saul, God told David to move to Hebron.  There he received a second anointing.

“Then the men of Judah came to Hebron and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.[13]

Now he was made ruling king over the tribe into which he was born, the tribe which has always owned the great Messianic promise.  These were his people.  And it was God’s will to establish him as king over them.

Soon Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, led the way in preparing all Israel to recognize David as their king, even conferring with the elders of Israel and telling them,

“The Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’”[14]

David had been chosen by God to be king over Israel, and he was now ruling as king over the people of Judah.  With the third anointing he would assume sovereign power over all Israel:

“When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.”[15]

If David were not already in possession of royal authority he could not have made a compact [covenant] with the people.  A covenant is an oath defining allegiance between a king and his people.

The life of David and the series of anointings sealing his kingship are given to us as a type and as a key to understanding the anointings of Yeshua.

Up to this time we see Yeshua anointed twice in the course of his life on earth, in circumstances analogous to those of David.  It seems that there may come yet a third anointing when at last the rift is healed between Judah and Israel, so enabling the day when Yeshua will freely exercise his sovereignty over all of Israel.

Yeshua’s first anointing came at the time of his baptism in the Jordan.  In that moment Yahveh clearly marked him as the Messiah of Israel’s expectation, and the power of the Spirit of God was brought upon him.  Yeshua’s second anointing came on the Mount of Transfiguration.  In this moment he was again marked as Yahveh’s chosen king, and his children were called to fealty.   In each of these events Yahveh ordained Yeshua as Messiah by speaking highly significant phrases from the heavens in the hearing of those on the ground.  In each anointing he said the words,

“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”[16]

We see that these are the words of divine anointing once we see that they, by God’s own word, announce the fulfillment in Yeshua of the Messianic prophecy, and this we will demonstrate.  First, however, to look at the record of the anointing at the Jordan.

Matthew’s account is as follows:

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’”[17]

Mark’s account is similar:

“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”[18]

What must be shown from Scripture is the significance of these words in the speech of the Father.  But we must also consider the account of what Yahveh spoke on the Mount of Transfiguration.

As the time approached for Yeshua to enter Jerusalem and go to the cross, and being near Mount Hermon, he stopped with his disciples in Caesarea Phillippi, a place devoted to the worship of Roman gods.  Surrounded by the artifacts of false gods, Yeshua asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  and he asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Christ [ha Mashiach, the anointed king], the Son of the living God.”[19] Peter had come to know this, and, since the anointing at the Jordan, this was explicitly true.  Yeshua assured Peter that this was esoteric knowledge, that “this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.[20]  And then Yeshua “warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.”  Yes, at this moment he was the anointed king.  But he was not yet in a position to assume power over all the people of the nation.  He was on course toward the assumption of power over the few, over his very own, over those who hold to him and recognize his sovereignty.  Therefore it was important that he not be hailed as mundane Messiah over the mundane nation.  Furthermore he was directed moment by moment toward the cross, which would become his first great royal achievement for his people.  He wanted no pointless adulation to come in the way of his mission.  For this purpose he insisted that his disciples tell no one that he was the Christ.

A week later Yeshua took Peter, John and James and “went up onto a mountain to pray,”[21] probably onto nearby Mount Hermon.

“As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.”[22]

[Now he had the appearance which John attributes to him[23] in his vision of Yeshua in heaven after the resurrection and ascension into the heavens.]  And now, on the mountain,

“Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.  They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”[24]

But the Greek for “departure” is exodus, and in this context they are referring to much more than his change of address from earth to heaven, but rather the Exodus which would soon be made possible at the cross as he “would deliver his people from the bondage of sin and bring to fulfillment the work of both Moses and Elijah.”[25]

“Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.  As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ [He did not know what he was saying.]”[26]

Even though Peter had been given the insight that Yeshua is the Christ, there still seemed to be limits to his understanding of Yeshua’s divinity, and he imagined Yeshua sharing some sort of architectural honor equally with Elijah and Moses.  Then the voice of Yahveh entered the scene in the hearing of Peter, James and John, and in the hearing of Moses and Elijah:

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.   Listen to him!’”

This time there is an additional appointment: Listen to him!  According to the construction in the Greek, “Listen to him” [Akouete autou] is acceptable but not strong enough.  Because autou is in the genitive case, a preferred translation would be “hearken to him and obey him.”  Yahveh is formally affirming that full authority now belongs to Yeshua.

With this anointing Yeshua is not only marked and set aside for kingship, he is now free to establish a covenant between himself and his people, free to act on their behalf, to undertake the Exodus which will lead them out of bondage to the enemy.  In the final weeks of Yeshua’s life he will act to affirm the actuality of his sovereign power.

 

vi

The prophetic content of the words of anointing

So now at last we look at the origin of the unusually simple words with which Yahveh appointed Yeshua as our great and eternal king.

We look first at one of the earliest Messianic prophecies which refer specifically to the Messianic occupation of royal power.  Here, uniquely, we find Yahveh characterizing the tenure of the role of Messiah in terms of a unique relationship which shall hold between himself and the anointed king over the holy people.  The prophet Nathan relayed to David the words of Yahveh promising David that from his offspring would come the eternal king, and here, as never previously, Yahveh identified the Messiah as his Son:

“’I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, …and I will establish his kingdom.  He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be his father and he will be my son….My love will never be taken away from him.  Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’”[27]

Later, David, prophetically, recalls the words of this foundational prophecy in the words of the second Psalm:

“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”  I will proclaim the decree of Yahveh: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.  Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”[28]

So with the prophecies of Nathan and of David, this unique event in which Yahveh calls someone his Son, this becomes an identifier of the coming eternal king over Israel.  Now then we look at the second phrase spoken each time from the heavens: “With you I am well pleased.” This also has its roots in Messianic prophecy, in Isaiah 42, where Yahveh promises the coming of the one who rules in union with his own will, who is given all the power of the Spirit, and who rules and brings justice to all the earth:

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations… In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on the earth.  In his law the islands will put their hope… This is what God Yahveh says – he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:   ‘I, Yahveh, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.’”[29]

Yahveh, in each event, spoke from the heavens, combining these two key phrases known to be prophetic references to the coming Messiah, and in speaking those phrases in each event, as his Son stood before John and the people gathered in search of righteousness at the river Jordan, and later as his Son stood glorified before the earthly witness of James and Peter and John and the heavenly witness of Moses and Elijah, so Yahveh poured out on Yeshua his absolute appointment of Yeshua as king over his holy people.

 

vii

Yeshua has assumed power over his people, transcendent Israel.  In the coming time he will assume power over all the earth.

Out of the anointing of Yeshua came the affirmation of his royal power.  Yeshua, knowing that the established powers of the Temple were seeking his death, entered Jerusalem as king and received the honor of his people as their true king.  Then, as king, Yeshua went to the cross, so standing in for his people, taking upon himself the penalty of their every shame, setting them free from the curse of death which clings to our sin, bringing to us the freedom to come into the presence of God.   Resurrected from the grave, Yeshua gave us a call to obedient fealty to him, and a mission to carry the gospel of the kingdom into all the world, empowered by the life of his Spirit within our bodies, assuring us at his ascension that,

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”[30]

Yes, it is the gospel of an actual kingdom that must be held up for men to see, especially at this time as the kingdoms of the world descend into what appears to be a conspiracy of global war. Our hope lies only with our king in his transcendent kingdom.  The renewal of all things awaits the completion of our mission.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”[31]

Why does the church not see Yeshua ruling as king over them?  For the simple reason that they are happy to have his salvation, his counsel, and his blessings, but they reject his sovereign authority over them.

 

L.S. Jones

lstewartj@sbcglobal.net

[1] Luke 19.38

[2] John 12.13

[3] Matthew 21.9

[4] Luke 19.40

[5] Acts 2.30

[6] Acts 2.31-36 excerpts

[7] Daniel 2.34

[8] Daniel 2.44

[9] Daniel 2.34,35

[10] Daniel 2.44

[11] Psalm 2.1-6

[12] I Samuel 16.12,13

[13] II Samuel 2.4

[14] II Samuel 3.18

[15] II Samuel 5.3

[16] Matthew 3.17

[17] Matthew 3.16,17

[18] Mark 1.9-11

[19] Matthew 16.16

[20] Matthew 16.17

[21] Luke 9.28

[22] Luke 9.29

[23] Revelation  1.13-18

[24] Luke 9.31

[25] NIV footnote on Luke 9.30, NIV Self-Study Bible, Concordia 1986

[26] Luke 9.32-34

[27] II Samuel 7.12-17 excerpts

[28] Psalm 2.6-8

[29] Isaiah 42.1-7 excerpts

[30] Matthew 28.18-20

[31] Matthew 24.14

A Reading of Revelation, the disclosure from Yeshua Messiah, chapters 1-11

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Revelation chapters 1-11

A Reading of Revelation, the Disclosure from Yeshua Messiah

 

Revelation 1.1-3, the opening

1, ἀποκάλυψις ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ ἣν ἔδωκεν αὐτῶ ὁ θεός, δεῖξαι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει, καὶ ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ τῶ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ ἰωάννῃ,

A disclosure from Yeshua the anointed king, which God gave to him so that he might reveal to his subjects those things which must swiftly come to pass; he disclosed it by dispatching it through his angel to his servant John,

  1. 2. ὃς ἐμαρτύρησεν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, ὅσα εἶδεν.

who stands as witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Yeshua Messiah, things which he saw.

  1. 3. μακάριος ὁ ἀναγινώσκων καὶ οἱ ἀκούοντες τοὺς λόγους τῆς προφητείας καὶ τηροῦντες τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ γεγραμμένα, ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς ἐγγύς.

Blessed is the one who reads, and blessed are those who both hear these words of prophecy and also devote themselves to the things written herein — for the critical moment is at hand.

Revelation 1.4-8, the prologue

4 ἰωάννης ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις ταῖς ἐν τῇ ἀσίᾳ· χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ πνευμάτων ἃ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου αὐτοῦ,

John to the seven assemblies in Asia: Grace be to you and peace from he who is and was and is coming, from the seven spirits before his throne,

5 καὶ ἀπὸ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός, ὁ πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν καὶ ὁ ἄρχων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς. τῶ ἀγαπῶντι ἡμᾶς καὶ λύσαντι ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ἐν τῶ αἵματι αὐτοῦ _

and from Yeshua the anointed king, the faithful witness, firstborn from the dead and ruler over the kings of earth.  To him who loves us and has loosed us from our sins through his own blood —

6 καὶ ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς βασιλείαν, ἱερεῖς τῶ θεῶ καὶ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ _ αὐτῶ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας [τῶν αἰώνων]· ἀμήν.

— who has made us to be a kingdom and priests before his God and Father – to him be glory and sovereign power forever and ever.  So be it!

7 ἰδοὺ ἔρχεται μετὰ τῶν νεφελῶν, καὶ ὄψεται αὐτὸν πᾶς ὀφθαλμὸς καὶ οἵτινες αὐτὸν ἐξεκέντησαν, καὶ κόψονται ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς. ναί, ἀμήν.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, even those who pierced him through, and all the tribes of earth shall smite themselves because of him. Indeed! So be it!

8 ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ ἄλφα καὶ τὸ ὦ, λέγει κύριος ὁ θεός, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ὁ παντοκράτωρ.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and was and is coming, ruler over all things.

Revelation 1.9-11, John describes his call to the vision and his instruction to record it.

9 ἐγὼ ἰωάννης, ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὑμῶν καὶ συγκοινωνὸς ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ βασιλείᾳ καὶ ὑπομονῇ ἐν ἰησοῦ, ἐγενόμην ἐν τῇ νήσῳ τῇ καλουμένῃ πάτμῳ διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἰησοῦ.

I John, your brother and comrade in distress, in kingdom, and in patient endurance in Yeshua, came to be on the island called Patmos for having held to the word of God and the witness of Yeshua.

10 ἐγενόμην ἐν πνεύματι ἐν τῇ κυριακῇ ἡμέρᾳ, καὶ ἤκουσα ὀπίσω μου φωνὴν μεγάλην ὡς σάλπιγγος

On the Day of the Lord I came to be in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a profound voice as of a trumpet-call,

11 λεγούσης, ὃ βλέπεις γράψον εἰς βιβλίον καὶ πέμψον ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις, εἰς ἔφεσον καὶ εἰς σμύρναν καὶ εἰς πέργαμον καὶ εἰς θυάτειρα καὶ εἰς σάρδεις καὶ εἰς φιλαδέλφειαν καὶ εἰς λαοδίκειαν.

declaring, “That which you see, write in a book and send it to the seven assemblies, to Ephesus and Smyrna and Pergamum and Thyatira and Sardis and Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

Revelation 1.12-20, The opening of the vision: John beholds the glorious presence of Yeshua

12 καὶ ἐπέστρεψα βλέπειν τὴν φωνὴν ἥτις ἐλάλει μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ· καὶ ἐπιστρέψας εἶδον ἑπτὰ λυχνίας χρυσᾶς,

So I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and, turning round, I saw seven golden lampstands,

13 καὶ ἐν μέσῳ τῶν λυχνιῶν ὅμοιον υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου, ἐνδεδυμένον ποδήρη καὶ περιεζωσμένον πρὸς τοῖς μαστοῖς ζώνην χρυσᾶν·

and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, in a long robe, girt about the chest with a belt of gold.

14 ἡ δὲ κεφαλὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ αἱ τρίχες λευκαὶ ὡς ἔριον λευκόν, ὡς χιών, καὶ οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ ὡς φλὸξ πυρός,

His head and hair were white as wool, white as snow; his eyes like a flame of fire;

15 καὶ οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ ὅμοιοι χαλκολιβάνῳ ὡς ἐν καμίνῳ πεπυρωμένης, καὶ ἡ φωνὴ αὐτοῦ ὡς φωνὴ ὑδάτων πολλῶν,

his feet like molten brass; the sound of his voice like the sound of many waters.

16 καὶ ἔχων ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ ἀστέρας ἑπτά, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ     ῥομφαία δίστομος ὀξεῖα ἐκπορευομένη, καὶ ἡ ὄψις αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος φαίνει ἐν τῇ δυνάμει αὐτοῦ.

In his right hand he holds seven stars; from his mouth comes forth a great and keen two-edged sword; and his countenance shines like the sun in all its radiance.

17 καὶ ὅτε εἶδον αὐτόν, ἔπεσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ ὡς νεκρός· καὶ ἔθηκεν τὴν δεξιὰν αὐτοῦ ἐπ᾽ ἐμὲ λέγων, μὴ φοβοῦ· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος,

When I saw him I fell at his feet like a dead man; but he laid his right hand upon me, saying, “Have no fear.  I am the First and the Last, 

18 καὶ ὁ ζῶν, καὶ ἐγενόμην νεκρὸς καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶν εἰμι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, καὶ ἔχω τὰς κλεῖς τοῦ θανάτου καὶ τοῦ ᾅδου.

the one living who also entered into death, and yet behold I am alive forever more, and I hold the keys of Death and Hades.

19 γράψον οὗν ἃ εἶδες καὶ ἃ εἰσὶν καὶ ἃ μέλλει γενέσθαι μετὰ ταῦτα.

Therefore write down that which you see, both the things which are and those which must come to pass.

20 τὸ μυστήριον τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀστέρων οὓς εἶδες ἐπὶ τῆς δεξιᾶς μου, καὶ τὰς ἑπτὰ λυχνίας τὰς χρυσᾶς· οἱ ἑπτὰ ἀστέρες ἄγγελοι τῶν ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησιῶν εἰσιν, καὶ αἱ λυχνίαι αἱ  ἑπτὰ ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαι εἰσίν.

As for the mystical symbol of the seven stars which you have seen in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies, and the seven lampstands are the seven assemblies.”

Revelation 2.1-7, Letter to the Assembly at Ephesus

1 τῶ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν ἐφέσῳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ κρατῶν τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἀστέρας ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ, ὁ περιπατῶν ἐν μέσῳ τῶν ἑπτὰ λυχνιῶν τῶν χρυσῶν·

“To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus, write: Thus says he who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands:

2 οἶδα τὰ ἔργα σου καὶ τὸν κόπον καὶ τὴν ὑπομονήν σου, καὶ ὅτι οὐ δύνῃ βαστάσαι κακούς, καὶ ἐπείρασας τοὺς λέγοντας ἑαυτοὺς ἀποστόλους καὶ οὐκ εἰσίν, καὶ εὖρες αὐτοὺς ψευδεῖς·

I know your deeds, both your suffering and your patient endurance, and I know that you cannot bear evil men, and, having made trial of those who call themselves apostles — which they are not — so have you discovered them to be liars.

3 καὶ ὑπομονὴν ἔχεις, καὶ ἐβάστασας διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου, καὶ οὐ κεκοπίακες.

You are enduring patiently and have suffered for my Name and have not grown weary.

4 ἀλλὰ ἔχω κατὰ σοῦ ὅτι τὴν ἀγάπην σου τὴν πρώτην ἀφῆκες.

But I hold it against you that you have allowed your initial love to fall away.

5 μνημόνευε οὗν πόθεν πέπτωκας, καὶ μετανόησον καὶ τὰ πρῶτα ἔργα ποίησον· εἰ δὲ μή, ἔρχομαί σοι καὶ κινήσω τὴν λυχνίαν σου ἐκ τοῦ τόπου αὐτῆς, ἐὰν μὴ μετανοήσῃς.

Therefore call to mind that height from which you are now fallen, repent and do as you did in the beginning; if not, I am returning to you and will remove your lampstand from its place , if you do not repent.

6 ἀλλὰ τοῦτο ἔχεις, ὅτι μισεῖς τὰ ἔργα τῶν νικολαϊτῶν, ἃ κἀγὼ μισῶ.

Nevertheless, you have this to your credit, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

7 ὁ ἔχων οὗς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. τῶ νικῶντι δώσω αὐτῶ φαγεῖν ἐκ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς, ὅ ἐστιν ἐν τῶ παραδείσῳ τοῦ θεοῦ.

He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies: To him who conquers I will give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God.

Revelation 2.8-11,  Letter to the Assembly in Smyrna

8 καὶ τῶ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν σμύρνῃ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, ὃς ἐγένετο νεκρὸς καὶ ἔζησεν·

“Then to the angel of the assembly in Smyrna write: Thus says the First and the Last, who entered into death yet is now alive:

9 οἶδά σου τὴν θλῖψιν καὶ τὴν πτωχείαν, ἀλλὰ πλούσιος εἶ, καὶ τὴν βλασφημίαν ἐκ τῶν λεγόντων ἰουδαίους εἶναι ἑαυτούς, καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν ἀλλὰ συναγωγὴ τοῦ σατανᾶ.

I know your distress and your poverty, but you are rich; so also do I know the blasphemy of those who claim that they are Jews and are not, but belong to the synagogue of Satan.

10 μηδὲν φοβοῦ ἃ μέλλεις πάσχειν. ἰδοὺ μέλλει βάλλειν ὁ διάβολος ἐξ ὑμῶν εἰς φυλακὴν ἵνα πειρασθῆτε, καὶ ἕξετε θλῖψιν ἡμερῶν δέκα. γίνου πιστὸς ἄχρι θανάτου, καὶ δώσω σοι τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς.

Do not fear those things which you must suffer.  Behold it is destined that the Accuser will throw some of you in prison in order to make trial of you, and you will have distress for ten days.  Be faithful even unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

11 ὁ ἔχων οὗς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. ὁ νικῶν οὐ μὴ ἀδικηθῇ ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ δευτέρου.

He who has an ear, let him hear that which the Spirit says to the assemblies: The conqueror shall not be injured by the second death.

Revelation 2.12-17,  Letter to the assembly at Pergamum

12 καὶ τῶ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν περγάμῳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ ἔχων τὴν ῥομφαίαν τὴν δίστομον τὴν ὀξεῖαν·

“Then to the angel of the assembly at Pergamum write: Thus says the one who bears the keen, double-edged sword:

13 οἶδα ποῦ κατοικεῖς, ὅπου ὁ θρόνος τοῦ σατανᾶ, καὶ κρατεῖς τὸ ὄνομά μου, καὶ οὐκ ἠρνήσω τὴν πίστιν μου καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἀντιπᾶς ὁ μάρτυς μου ὁ πιστός μου, ὃς ἀπεκτάνθη παρ᾽ ὑμῖν, ὅπου ὁ σατανᾶς κατοικεῖ.

I know where you dwell, in that place where is the throne of Satan, and yet you hold fast to my Name and have not denied your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, that martyr to his faith in me, he who was slain among you, there where Satan dwells.       

14 ἀλλ᾽ ἔχω κατὰ σοῦ ὀλίγα, ὅτι ἔχεις ἐκεῖ κρατοῦντας τὴν διδαχὴν βαλαάμ, ὃς ἐδίδασκεν τῶ βαλὰκ βαλεῖν σκάνδαλον ἐνώπιον τῶν υἱῶν ἰσραήλ, φαγεῖν εἰδωλόθυτα καὶ πορνεῦσαι·

But I have a few things against you:  that you have among you those who hold to the teaching of Balaam, he who taught Balak to cast a snare before the sons of Israel— even to eat food sacrificed to idols and to indulge in sexual immorality;

15 οὕτως ἔχεις καὶ σὺ κρατοῦντας τὴν διδαχὴν [τῶν] νικολαϊτῶν ὁμοίως.

similarly you have those who hold fast to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

16 μετανόησον οὗν· εἰ δὲ μή, ἔρχομαί σοι ταχύ, καὶ πολεμήσω μετ᾽ αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ ῥομφαίᾳ τοῦ στόματός μου.

Therefore repent: if not, I will quickly come to you, and I will do battle with them with my double- edged sword.

17 ὁ ἔχων οὗς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. τῶ νικῶντι δώσω αὐτῶ τοῦ μάννα τοῦ κεκρυμμένου, καὶ δώσω αὐτῶ ψῆφον λευκὴν καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν ψῆφον ὄνομα καινὸν γεγραμμένον ὃ οὐδεὶς οἶδεν εἰ μὴ ὁ λαμβάνων.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies: To the conqueror I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knows but the one receiving it.’”

Revelation 2.18-29, Letter to the assembly at Thyatira

18 καὶ τῶ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν θυατείροις ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, ὁ ἔχων τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ ὡς φλόγα πυρός, καὶ οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ ὅμοιοι χαλκολιβάνῳ·

“And to the angel of the assembly in Thyatira write: Thus says the Son of God, he who has eyes like flames of fire, and feet like molten brass:

19 οἶδά σου τὰ ἔργα καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην καὶ τὴν πίστιν καὶ τὴν διακονίαν καὶ τὴν ὑπομονήν σου, καὶ τὰ ἔργα σου τὰ ἔσχατα πλείονα τῶν πρώτων.

I know your works, your love as to a brother, your faithfulness, your attentiveness, your patient endurance, and even that your works of late are more abundant than they were at first.

20 ἀλλὰ ἔχω κατὰ σοῦ ὅτι ἀφεῖς τὴν γυναῖκα ἰεζάβελ, ἡ λέγουσα ἑαυτὴν προφῆτιν, καὶ διδάσκει καὶ πλανᾷ τοὺς ἐμοὺς δούλους πορνεῦσαι καὶ φαγεῖν εἰδωλόθυτα.

But I have this against you, that you have given license to that Jezebel of a woman, she who calls herself a prophetess, who indoctrinates and leads off my subjects to indulgence in sexual immorality and to the consumption of food which has been sacrificed to idols.

21 καὶ ἔδωκα αὐτῇ χρόνον ἵνα μετανοήσῃ, καὶ οὐ θέλει μετανοῆσαι ἐκ τῆς πορνείας αὐτῆς.

Though I have given her time that she might repent, yet she does not wish to repent of her sexual immorality.

22 ἰδοὺ βάλλω αὐτὴν εἰς κλίνην, καὶ τοὺς μοιχεύοντας μετ᾽ αὐτῆς εἰς θλῖψιν μεγάλην, ἐὰν μὴ μετανοήσωσιν ἐκ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῆς·

See then, that I smite her upon her bed and smite with great distress those who commit adultery with her, if they do not repent of her doings.

23 καὶ τὰ τέκνα αὐτῆς ἀποκτενῶ ἐν θανάτῳ· καὶ γνώσονται πᾶσαι αἱ ἐκκλησίαι ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἐραυνῶν νεφροὺς καὶ καρδίας, καὶ δώσω ὑμῖν ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα ὑμῶν.

Her children I will condemn unto death; so all the assemblies shall know that I am the one who scrutinizes the innermost heart and feelings; I shall reward each of you according to your deeds.

24 ὑμῖν δὲ λέγω τοῖς λοιποῖς τοῖς ἐν θυατείροις, ὅσοι οὐκ ἔχουσιν τὴν διδαχὴν ταύτην, οἵτινες οὐκ ἔγνωσαν τὰ βαθέα τοῦ σατανᾶ, ὡς λέγουσιν, οὐ βάλλω ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς ἄλλο βάρος·

I say then to the rest of you in Thyatira, to as many as do not hold to this doctrine, to whoever has not, as they say, ‘discerned the depths of Satan’:  I place no other burden upon you;

25 πλὴν ὃ ἔχετε κρατήσατε ἄχρι[ς] οὖ ἂν ἥξω.

only hold fast to what you have until the time when I shall come.

26 καὶ ὁ νικῶν καὶ ὁ τηρῶν ἄχρι τέλους τὰ ἔργα μου, δώσω αὐτῶ ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν,

And the conqueror, he who holds faithfully to my service until the end, I will give him authority over the nations —

27 καὶ ποιμανεῖ αὐτοὺς ἐν ῥάβδῳ σιδηρᾷ, ὡς τὰ σκεύη τὰ κεραμικὰ συντρίβεται,

‘and he will shepherd them with an iron staff, as earthen vessels are knocked together’–

28 ὡς κἀγὼ εἴληφα παρὰ τοῦ πατρός μου, καὶ δώσω αὐτῶ τὸν ἀστέρα τὸν πρωϊνόν.

— [authority] like that which I myself have received from my Father.  And I will reveal to him the morning star.

29 ὁ ἔχων οὗς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις.

He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

Revelation 3.1-6: Letter to the assembly at Sardis

1 καὶ τῶ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν σάρδεσιν ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ ἔχων τὰ ἑπτὰ πνεύματα τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἀστέρας· οἶδά σου τὰ ἔργα, ὅτι ὄνομα ἔχεις ὅτι ζῇς, καὶ νεκρὸς εἶ.

“And to the angel of the assembly at Sardis write: Thus says the one who holds the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your deeds, that you have the reputation of being alive, even though you are dead.

2 γίνου γρηγορῶν, καὶ στήρισον τὰ λοιπὰ ἃ ἔμελλον ἀποθανεῖν, οὐ γὰρ εὕρηκά σου τὰ ἔργα πεπληρωμένα ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ μου·

Wake up, and establish what remains, that which has been on the verge of dying, for I have not found your doings complete in the eyes of my God.

3 μνημόνευε οὗν πῶς εἴληφας καὶ ἤκουσας, καὶ τήρει, καὶ μετανόησον. ἐὰν οὗν μὴ γρηγορήσῃς, ἥξω ὡς κλέπτης, καὶ οὐ μὴ γνῶς ποίαν ὥραν ἥξω ἐπὶ σέ.

Remember therefore the nature of that which you received and heard, observe it carefully and give your mind over to a new purpose.  If thereupon you do not remain awake I shall come like a thief, and you will not know the nature of the hour when I shall come upon you.

ἀλλὰ ἔχεις ὀλίγα ὀνόματα ἐν σάρδεσιν ἃ οὐκ ἐμόλυναν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν, καὶ περιπατήσουσιν μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἐν λευκοῖς, ὅτι ἄξιοί εἰσιν.

But you have a few individuals in Sardis who have not soiled their garments, and they shall walk with me robed in white, for they are worthy.

5 ὁ νικῶν οὕτως περιβαλεῖται ἐν ἱματίοις λευκοῖς, καὶ οὐ μὴ ἐξαλείψω τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῆς βίβλου τῆς ζωῆς, καὶ ὁμολογήσω τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐνώπιον τοῦ πατρός μου καὶ ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων αὐτοῦ.

Thus the conqueror shall be clothed in white garments, and never shall his name be struck from the Book of Life, and I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

6 ὁ ἔχων οὗς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις.

He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

Revelation 3.7-13: Letter to the assembly at Philadelphia

καὶ τῶ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν φιλαδελφείᾳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ ἅγιος, ὁ ἀληθινός, ὁ ἔχων τὴν κλεῖν δαυίδ, ὁ ἀνοίγων καὶ οὐδεὶς κλείσει, καὶ κλείων καὶ οὐδεὶς ἀνοίγει·

“And to the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: thus says he who is holy, who is true, who holds the key of David, who, opening, no one shuts, and shutting, no one opens:

8 οἶδά σου τὰ ἔργα _ ἰδοὺ δέδωκα ἐνώπιόν σου θύραν ἠνεῳγμένην, ἣν οὐδεὶς δύναται κλεῖσαι αὐτήν _ ὅτι μικρὰν ἔχεις δύναμιν, καὶ ἐτήρησάς μου τὸν λόγον, καὶ οὐκ ἠρνήσω τὸ ὄνομά μου.

I know your deeds.  Behold I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut, for though you have little strength, yet have you carefully held to my word and have not abandoned my Name.

9 ἰδοὺ διδῶ ἐκ τῆς συναγωγῆς τοῦ σατανᾶ, τῶν λεγόντων ἑαυτοὺς ἰουδαίους εἶναι, καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν ἀλλὰ ψεύδονται· ἰδοὺ ποιήσω αὐτοὺς ἵνα ἥξουσιν καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν ἐνώπιον τῶν ποδῶν σου, καὶ γνῶσιν ὅτι ἐγὼ ἠγάπησά σε.

Behold, I present [to you] those of the synagogue of Satan, those claiming that they are Jews, while they are not Jews but liars; behold, I will bring it about that they will fall down and worship before your feet and know that I have loved you.

10 ὅτι ἐτήρησας τὸν λόγον τῆς ὑπομονῆς μου, κἀγώ σε τηρήσω ἐκ τῆς ὥρας τοῦ πειρασμοῦ τῆς μελλούσης ἔρχεσθαι ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκουμένης ὅλης πειράσαι τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

Given that you have carefully attended to my call to patient endurance, I will carefully attend to you in the hour of trial which is about to come upon the whole world in order to test the inhabitants of earth.

11 ἔρχομαι ταχύ· κράτει ὃ ἔχεις, ἵνα μηδεὶς λάβῃ τὸν στέφανόν σου.

I come quickly: hold fast to what you have in order that no one seize your crown.

12 ὁ νικῶν ποιήσω αὐτὸν στῦλον ἐν τῶ ναῶ τοῦ θεοῦ μου, καὶ ἔξω οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃ ἔτι, καὶ γράψω ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θεοῦ μου καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς πόλεως τοῦ θεοῦ μου, τῆς καινῆς ἰερουσαλήμ, ἡ καταβαίνουσα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ μου, καὶ τὸ ὄνομά μου τὸ καινόν.

As for the conqueror, I will make him a pillar in the abode of my God, from which never to depart thereafter, and I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my God, and also my new name.

13 ὁ ἔχων οὗς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις.

He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

Revelation 3.14-22: Letter to the assembly at Laodicea.

14 καὶ τῶ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν λαοδικείᾳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· τάδε λέγει ὁ ἀμήν, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς καὶ ἀληθινός, ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ θεοῦ·

“And to the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write: thus says the Certainty, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation:

15 οἶδά σου τὰ ἔργα, ὅτι οὔτε ψυχρὸς εἶ οὔτε ζεστός. ὄφελον ψυχρὸς ἦς ἢ ζεστός.

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot.

16 οὕτως, ὅτι χλιαρὸς εἶ καὶ οὔτε ζεστὸς οὔτε ψυχρός, μέλλω σε ἐμέσαι ἐκ τοῦ στόματός μου.

Thus, given that you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you from my mouth.

17 ὅτι λέγεις ὅτι πλούσιός εἰμι καὶ πεπλούτηκα καὶ οὐδὲν χρείαν ἔχω, καὶ οὐκ οἶδας ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ ταλαίπωρος καὶ ἐλεεινὸς καὶ πτωχὸς καὶ τυφλὸς καὶ γυμνός,

Given that you say, “I am rich and have made myself rich and have need of nothing,” therein you do not recognize that you are one who is miserable, deserving of pity, impoverished, blind and naked.

18 συμβουλεύω σοι ἀγοράσαι παρ᾽ ἐμοῦ χρυσίον πεπυρωμένον ἐκ πυρὸς ἵνα πλουτήσῃς, καὶ ἱμάτια λευκὰ ἵνα περιβάλῃ καὶ μὴ φανερωθῇ ἡ αἰσχύνη τῆς γυμνότητός σου, καὶ κολλ[ο]ύριον ἐγχρῖσαι τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς σου ἵνα βλέπῃς.

I advise you to buy from me gold refined in the fire that you may be rich, white garments with which to clothe yourself and avoid revealing the shame of your nakedness, and also salve with which to anoint your eyes in order that you may see.

19 ἐγὼ ὅσους ἐὰν φιλῶ ἐλέγχω καὶ παιδεύω·  [ζήλευε] οὗν καὶ μετανόησον.

Those whom I love I reprove and discipline:  therefore strive for the goal and give your mind over to a new purpose.

20 ἰδοὺ ἕστηκα ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν καὶ κρούω· ἐάν τις ἀκούσῃ τῆς φωνῆς μου καὶ ἀνοίξῃ τὴν θύραν, [καὶ] εἰσελεύσομαι πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ δειπνήσω μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ καὶ αὐτὸς μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ.

Behold I stand at the door and knock.  Should anyone hear my voice and open the door, so shall I enter and engage with him accordingly and shall dine with him and he with me.

21 ὁ νικῶν δώσω αὐτῶ καθίσαι μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἐν τῶ θρόνῳ μου, ὡς κἀγὼ ἐνίκησα καὶ ἐκάθισα μετὰ τοῦ πατρός μου ἐν τῶ θρόνῳ αὐτοῦ.

As for the conqueror, I will grant him to sit with me upon my throne, even as I have conquered and sat down with my father upon his throne.

22 ὁ ἔχων οὗς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις.

He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

Revelation 4.1-11, John’s vision of the throne in the heavens

μετὰ ταῦτα εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ θύρα ἠνεῳγμένη ἐν τῶ οὐρανῶ, καὶ ἡ φωνὴ ἡ πρώτη ἣν ἤκουσα ὡς σάλπιγγος λαλούσης μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ λέγων, ἀνάβα ὧδε, καὶ δείξω σοι ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι μετὰ ταῦτα.

After that I looked, and, behold, a portal having been opened in the heavens, and the voice which I first heard calling like a trumpet saying, “Mount up to this place and I will show you what must come to pass after this.”

2 εὐθέως ἐγενόμην ἐν πνεύματι· καὶ ἰδοὺ θρόνος ἔκειτο ἐν τῶ οὐρανῶ, καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν θρόνον καθήμενος,

Straightaway I came to be in the Spirit.  And, behold, a throne established in the heavens, and upon the throne one seated,

3 καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ὅμοιος ὁράσει λίθῳ ἰάσπιδι καὶ σαρδίῳ, καὶ ἶρις κυκλόθεν τοῦ θρόνου ὅμοιος ὁράσει σμαραγδίνῳ.

and the one seated on the throne seemed to the eye like jasper[1] and sard,[2]and all around the throne there was a rainbow which had the look of malachite.[3]

4 καὶ κυκλόθεν τοῦ θρόνου θρόνους εἴκοσι τέσσαρες, καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς θρόνους εἴκοσι τέσσαρας πρεσβυτέρους καθημένους περιβεβλημένους ἐν ἱματίοις λευκοῖς, καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν στεφάνους χρυσοῦς.

and round the throne were four and twenty thrones, and upon the thrones were seated four and twenty elders clothed in white garments, and upon their heads crowns of gold.

5 καὶ ἐκ τοῦ θρόνου ἐκπορεύονται ἀστραπαὶ καὶ φωναὶ καὶ βρονταί· καὶ ἑπτὰ λαμπάδες πυρὸς καιόμεναι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου, ἅ εἰσιν τὰ ἑπτὰ πνεύματα τοῦ θεοῦ,

From the throne pour forth lightning, thunder and blasts of sound; before the throne seven torches burn with fire: these are the seven spirits of God.

6 καὶ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου ὡς θάλασσα ὑαλίνη ὁμοία κρυστάλλῳ. καὶ ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ κύκλῳ τοῦ θρόνου τέσσαρα ζῶα γέμοντα ὀφθαλμῶν ἔμπροσθεν καὶ ὄπισθεν·

Also before the throne there is what is like a sea with all the clarity of crystal, and on the median of the throne, in a ring round the throne, are four living creatures covered with eyes before and behind:

καὶ τὸ ζῶον τὸ πρῶτον ὅμοιον λέοντι, καὶ τὸ δεύτερον ζῶον ὅμοιον μόσχῳ, καὶ τὸ τρίτον ζῶον ἔχων τὸ πρόσωπον ὡς ἀνθρώπου, καὶ τὸ τέταρτον ζῶον ὅμοιον ἀετῶ πετομένῳ.

the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like a bull, the third living creature having the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle.

8 καὶ τὰ τέσσαρα ζῶα, ἓν καθ᾽ ἓν αὐτῶν ἔχων ἀνὰ πτέρυγας ἕξ, κυκλόθεν καὶ ἔσωθεν γέμουσιν ὀφθαλμῶν· καὶ ἀνάπαυσιν οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς λέγοντες, ἅγιος ἅγιος ἅγιος κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ, ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος.

And the four living creatures, each of them having six wings, are full of eyes all round and within.  And they desist neither day nor night from declaring,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God,  Ruler over all things,                                                             Who was, Who is, and Who is coming.”

καὶ ὅταν δώσουσιν τὰ ζῶα δόξαν καὶ τιμὴν καὶ εὐχαριστίαν τῶ καθημένῳ ἐπὶ τῶ θρόνῳ, τῶ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων,

And whenever the living creatures render honor and worship and thanksgiving to him who is seated on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever,

10 πεσοῦνται οἱ εἴκοσι τέσσαρες πρεσβύτεροι ἐνώπιον τοῦ καθημένου ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν τῶ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, καὶ βαλοῦσιν τοὺς στεφάνους αὐτῶν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου λέγοντες,

the four and twenty elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and ardently worship him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, proclaiming,

11 ἄξιος εἶ, ὁ κύριος καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν, λαβεῖν τὴν δόξαν καὶ τὴν τιμὴν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν, ὅτι σὺ ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα, καὶ διὰ τὸ θέλημά σου ἦσαν καὶ ἐκτίσθησαν.

“Worthy art Thou, our Lord and God, to receive honor and worship and power, because Thou didst create all things, and through Thy will they came to exist and to have form.”

 

Revelation 5.1-5, The Scroll: Yeshua alone fit to open it.

1 καὶ εἶδον ἐπὶ τὴν δεξιὰν τοῦ καθημένου ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου βιβλίον γεγραμμένον ἔσωθεν καὶ ὄπισθεν, κατεσφραγισμένον σφραγῖσιν ἑπτά.

And I saw at the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll having writing both inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

καὶ εἶδον ἄγγελον ἰσχυρὸν κηρύσσοντα ἐν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ, τίς ἄξιος ἀνοῖξαι τὸ βιβλίον καὶ λῦσαι τὰς σφραγῖδας αὐτοῦ;

And I saw a mighty angel announcing in full voice, “Who is worthy to lay open the scroll, to loose the seven seals of it?”

3 καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο ἐν τῶ οὐρανῶ οὐδὲ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς οὐδὲ ὑποκάτω τῆς γῆς ἀνοῖξαι τὸ βιβλίον οὔτε βλέπειν αὐτό.

But no one, either in the heavens or upon the earth or under the earth, could lay claim to the power to open the scroll or to look upon it.

4 καὶ ἔκλαιον πολὺ ὅτι οὐδεὶς ἄξιος εὑρέθη ἀνοῖξαι τὸ βιβλίον οὔτε βλέπειν αὐτό.

And I wept a great deal because no one had been found worthy to open the scroll or to look upon it.

5 καὶ εἷς ἐκ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων λέγει μοι, μὴ κλαῖε· ἰδοὺ ἐνίκησεν ὁ λέων ὁ ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς ἰούδα, ἡ ῥίζα δαυίδ, ἀνοῖξαι τὸ βιβλίον καὶ τὰς ἑπτὰ σφραγῖδας αὐτοῦ.

But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep.  Behold he has vanquished — he the Lion of the tribe of Judah, he of the stock of David —  that he might lay open the scroll and its seven seals.”

 

Revelation 5.6-14, Gratitude and worship of the Lamb who holds the scroll.

6 καὶ εἶδον ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ τῶν τεσσάρων ζῴων καὶ ἐν μέσῳ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἀρνίον ἑστηκὸς ὡς ἐσφαγμένον, ἔχων κέρατα ἑπτὰ καὶ ὀφθαλμοὺς ἑπτά, οἵ εἰσιν τὰ [ἑπτὰ] πνεύματα τοῦ θεοῦ ἀπεσταλμένοι εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν.

And I saw, in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb positioned as if ritually slaughtered, yet having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

7 καὶ ἦλθε[ν] καὶ εἴληφε[ν] ἐκ τῆς δεξιᾶς τοῦ καθημένου ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου.

And he came forward and took receipt [of it] from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne,

8 καὶ ὅτε ἔλαβεν τὸ βιβλίον, τὰ τέσσαρα ζῶα καὶ οἱ εἴκοσι τέσσαρες πρεσβύτεροι ἔπεσαν ἐνώπιον τοῦ ἀρνίου, ἔχοντες ἕκαστος κιθάραν καὶ φιάλας χρυσᾶς γεμούσας θυμιαμάτων, αἵ εἰσιν αἱ προσευχαὶ τῶν ἁγίων.

And when he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell prostrate before the Lamb, each having a lyre and golden ceremonial bowls laden with incense — which is the prayers of those who are set apart to God —

9 καὶ ᾄδουσιν ᾠδὴν καινὴν λέγοντες, ἄξιος εἶ λαβεῖν τὸ βιβλίον καὶ ἀνοῖξαι τὰς σφραγῖδας αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἐσφάγης καὶ ἠγόρασας τῶ θεῶ ἐν τῶ αἵματί σου ἐκ πάσης φυλῆς καὶ γλώσσης καὶ λαοῦ καὶ ἔθνους,

and they sang a new song, proclaiming, “Worthy art Thou to take the scroll, to open the seals of it, for Thou wast ritually slain, and, with Thy blood, hast purchased for God [souls] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

10 καὶ ἐποίησας αὐτοὺς τῶ θεῶ ἡμῶν βασιλείαν καὶ ἱερεῖς, καὶ βασιλεύσουσιν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

and hast made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they shall reign upon the earth.”

11 καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν ἀγγέλων πολλῶν κύκλῳ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ τῶν ζῴων καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων, καὶ ἦν ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτῶν μυριάδες μυριάδων καὶ χιλιάδες χιλιάδων,

And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels round the throne, and of the living creatures and of the elders, and the number of them was tens of thousands beyond counting, and thousands of thousands,

12 λέγοντες φωνῇ μεγάλῃ, ἄξιόν ἐστιν τὸ ἀρνίον τὸ ἐσφαγμένον λαβεῖν τὴν δύναμιν καὶ πλοῦτον καὶ σοφίαν καὶ ἰσχὺν καὶ τιμὴν καὶ δόξαν καὶ εὐλογίαν.

proclaiming in full voice, “Worthy is the slaughtered Lamb to receive power and treasure and wisdom and strength and worship and honor and praise.”

13 καὶ πᾶν κτίσμα ὃ ἐν τῶ οὐρανῶ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ ὑποκάτω τῆς γῆς καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης, καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς πάντα, ἤκουσα λέγοντας, τῶ καθημένῳ ἐπὶ τῶ θρόνῳ καὶ τῶ ἀρνίῳ ἡ εὐλογία καὶ ἡ τιμὴ καὶ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων.

And I heard every created being in the heavens and upon the earth and under the earth and in the sea, every being in every place, proclaiming, “To him who is seated upon the throne and to the Lamb be praise and worship and honor and sovereign power forever and ever.”

14 καὶ τὰ τέσσαρα ζῶα ἔλεγον, ἀμήν· καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ἔπεσαν καὶ προσεκύνησαν.

And the four living creatures said, “So be it!”  And the elders fell to the ground and prostrated themselves in worship.

 

Revelation 6.1-8, the vision of Yeshua opening the first four seals of the scroll, releasing the four horsemen into the world.

1 καὶ εἶδον ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὸ ἀρνίον μίαν ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ σφραγίδων, καὶ ἤκουσα ἑνὸς ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ζῴων λέγοντος ὡς φωνὴ βροντῆς, ἔρχου.

Then I noticed that the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures proclaiming with a voice like thunder, “Come!”

καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἵππος λευκός, καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν ἔχων τόξον, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῶ στέφανος, καὶ ἐξῆλθεν νικῶν καὶ ἵνα νικήσῃ.

And I looked, and behold a white horse, and the one seated upon the horse was holding a bow, and there was given to him a crown, and he went out conquering and for the sake of conquest.

3 καὶ ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν δευτέραν, ἤκουσα τοῦ δευτέρου ζῴου λέγοντος, ἔρχου.

And when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature proclaim, “Come!”

4 καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἄλλος ἵππος πυρρός, καὶ τῶ καθημένῳ ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν ἐδόθη αὐτῶ λαβεῖν τὴν εἰρήνην ἐκ τῆς γῆς καὶ ἵνα ἀλλήλους σφάξουσιν, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῶ μάχαιρα μεγάλη.

And there went out another horse, red in color, and it was given to the one seated upon it that he should take peace from the earth even to the end that men should slaughter one another, and there was given to him a mighty sabre.

καὶ ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν τρίτην, ἤκουσα τοῦ τρίτου ζῴου λέγοντος, ἔρχου. καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἵππος μέλας, καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν ἔχων ζυγὸν ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ.

And when he opened the third seal I heard the third living creature proclaiming, “Come!” and I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat upon the horse held a balance in his hand.

6 καὶ ἤκουσα ὡς φωνὴν ἐν μέσῳ τῶν τεσσάρων ζῴων λέγουσαν, χοῖνιξ σίτου δηναρίου, καὶ τρεῖς χοίνικες κριθῶν δηναρίου· καὶ τὸ ἔλαιον καὶ τὸν οἶνον μὴ ἀδικήσῃς.

And I heard a sound as of a voice in the middle of the four living creatures declaring, “A measure of wheat for a denarius, and three measures of barley for a denarius, but trade not wrongfully in olive oil and wine!”

7 καὶ ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν τετάρτην, ἤκουσα φωνὴν τοῦ τετάρτου ζῴου λέγοντος, ἔρχου.

And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature proclaiming, “Come!”

8 καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἵππος χλωρός, καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ ὄνομα αὐτῶ [ὁ] θάνατος, καὶ ὁ ᾅδης ἠκολούθει μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἐξουσία ἐπὶ τὸ τέταρτον τῆς γῆς, ἀποκτεῖναι ἐν ῥομφαίᾳ καὶ ἐν λιμῶ καὶ ἐν θανάτῳ καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν θηρίων τῆς γῆς.

And I looked, and behold, a pale horse, and the name of him who was seated forward upon the horse was Death, and Hades[4] was mounted in behind him, and there was given to them authority over the fourth part of the earth, to kill by means of sword, by famine, by pestilence, and by the predatory beasts of the earth.

Revelation 6.9-11, the vision of Yeshua opening the 5th Seal, revealing the expectation of martyrdom

9 καὶ ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὴν πέμπτην σφραγῖδα, εἶδον ὑποκάτω τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τὰς ψυχὰς τῶν ἐσφαγμένων διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἣν εἶχον.

And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar of sacrifice the souls of those who had been slain for the sake of the word of God and for the testimony to which they held.

10 καὶ [ἔκραξαν] φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγοντες, ἕως πότε, ὁ δεσπότης ὁ ἅγιος καὶ ἀληθινός, οὐ κρίνεις καὶ ἐκδικεῖς τὸ αἷμα ἡμῶν ἐκ τῶν κατοικούντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς;

And they called out in urgency, with a great cry, “Until what time, O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, shall you neither judge nor avenge our blood upon the inhabitants of earth?”

11 καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἑκάστῳ στολὴ λευκή, καὶ ἐρρέθη αὐτοῖς ἵνα ἀναπαύσονται ἔτι χρόνον μικρόν, ἕως πληρωθῶσιν καὶ οἱ σύνδουλοι αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτῶν οἱ μέλλοντες ἀποκτέννεσθαι ὡς καὶ αὐτοί.

And there was given to each of them a white robe, and it was commanded of them that they desist for yet a short time, until their number is made complete by their fellow subjects and their brothers who are destined to be killed as they themselves have been.

Revelation 6.12-17, the vision of Yeshua opening the 6th seal, enabling the disturbance of earth and heavens

12 καὶ εἶδον ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν ἕκτην, καὶ σεισμὸς μέγας ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ ἥλιος ἐγένετο μέλας ὡς σάκκος τρίχινος, καὶ ἡ σελήνη [ὅλη] ἐγένετο ὡς αἷμα,

And I looked when he opened the sixth seal, and there came to pass a great earthquake and the sun became black as coarse hair-cloth, and the [full] moon became like blood, 

13 καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἔπεσαν εἰς τὴν γῆν, ὡς συκῆ βάλλει τοὺς ὀλύνθους αὐτῆς ὑπὸ ἀνέμου μεγάλου σειομένη,

and the stars of the heavens fell to earth as a fig tree casts off its winter figs when shaken by a great wind,

14 καὶ ὁ οὐρανὸς ἀπεχωρίσθη ὡς βιβλίον ἑλισσόμενον, καὶ πᾶν ὄρος καὶ νῆσος ἐκ τῶν τόπων αὐτῶν ἐκινήθησαν.

and the vault of heaven, like a scroll being rolled up, was pulled out of place, and every mountain and island was moved from its location.

15 καὶ οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς καὶ οἱ μεγιστᾶνες καὶ οἱ χιλίαρχοι καὶ οἱ πλούσιοι καὶ οἱ ἰσχυροὶ καὶ πᾶς δοῦλος καὶ ἐλεύθερος ἔκρυψαν ἑαυτοὺς εἰς τὰ σπήλαια καὶ εἰς τὰς πέτρας τῶν ὀρέων·

And the kings of earth and the great men and the commanders of thousands and the rich and the strong and every bondman and every free man hid themselves in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.

16 καὶ λέγουσιν τοῖς ὄρεσιν καὶ ταῖς πέτραις, πέσετε ἐφ᾽ ἡμᾶς καὶ κρύψατε ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ καθημένου ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ὀργῆς τοῦ ἀρνίου,

And they called out to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall upon us and hide us from the face of the One seated upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb,

17 ὅτι ἦλθεν ἡ ἡμέρα ἡ μεγάλη τῆς ὀργῆς αὐτῶν, καὶ τίς δύναται σταθῆναι;

because the Great Day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?”

 

Revelation 7.1-8, the sealing of the subjects of the kingdom

1 μετὰ τοῦτο εἶδον τέσσαρας ἀγγέλους ἑστῶτας ἐπὶ τὰς τέσσαρας γωνίας τῆς γῆς, κρατοῦντας τοὺς τέσσαρας ἀνέμους τῆς γῆς, ἵνα μὴ πνέῃ ἄνεμος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς μήτε ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης μήτε ἐπὶ πᾶν δένδρον.

After this I saw four angels stationed at the four corners of the earth restraining the four winds of earth, in order that no wind should blow upon the land or upon the sea or upon any tree.

2 καὶ εἶδον ἄλλον ἄγγελον ἀναβαίνοντα ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου, ἔχοντα σφραγῖδα θεοῦ ζῶντος, καὶ ἔκραξεν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ τοῖς τέσσαρσιν ἀγγέλοις οἷς ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἀδικῆσαι τὴν γῆν καὶ τὴν θάλασσαν,

And I saw another angel rise up from the direction of the rising of the sun, holding the seal of the living God, and he cried out with a great voice to the four angels who had been given leave to do harm to earth and sea,

3 λέγων, μὴ ἀδικήσητε τὴν γῆν μήτε τὴν θάλασσαν μήτε τὰ δένδρα ἄχρι σφραγίσωμεν τοὺς δούλους τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ τῶν μετώπων αὐτῶν.

saying, “Do no harm to land or sea or trees until we seal the subjects of our God upon the forehead.”

4 καὶ ἤκουσα τὸν ἀριθμὸν τῶν ἐσφραγισμένων, ἑκατὸν τεσσεράκοντα τέσσαρες χιλιάδες, ἐσφραγισμένοι ἐκ πάσης φυλῆς υἱῶν ἰσραήλ·

And I heard the number of those sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from all the tribes of the sons of Israel:

5 ἐκ φυλῆς ἰούδα δώδεκα χιλιάδες ἐσφραγισμένοι, ἐκ φυλῆς ῥουβὴν δώδεκα χιλιάδες, ἐκ φυλῆς γὰδ δώδεκα χιλιάδες,

from the tribe of Judah twelve thousand sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,

ἐκ φυλῆς ἀσὴρ δώδεκα χιλιάδες, ἐκ φυλῆς νεφθαλὶμ δώδεκα χιλιάδες, ἐκ φυλῆς μανασσῆ δώδεκα χιλιάδες,

from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manassah twelve thousand,

7 ἐκ φυλῆς συμεὼν δώδεκα χιλιάδες, ἐκ φυλῆς λευὶ δώδεκα χιλιάδες, ἐκ φυλῆς ἰσσαχὰρ δώδεκα χιλιάδες,

from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,

8 ἐκ φυλῆς ζαβουλὼν δώδεκα χιλιάδες, ἐκ φυλῆς ἰωσὴφ δώδεκα χιλιάδες, ἐκ φυλῆς βενιαμὶν δώδεκα χιλιάδες ἐσφραγισμένοι.

from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, and from the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand sealed.

 

Revelation 7.9-17, the great host of the martyrs before the throne of God

9 μετὰ ταῦτα εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ ὄχλος πολύς, ὃν ἀριθμῆσαι αὐτὸν οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο, ἐκ παντὸς ἔθνους καὶ φυλῶν καὶ λαῶν καὶ γλωσσῶν, ἑστῶτες ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου καὶ ἐνώπιον τοῦ ἀρνίου, περιβεβλημένους στολὰς λευκάς, καὶ φοίνικες ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν αὐτῶν·

After this I looked, and behold a great multitude, which no one could possibly number, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white apparel and palm branches in their hands.

10 καὶ κράζουσιν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγοντες, ἡ σωτηρία τῶ θεῶ ἡμῶν τῶ καθημένῳ ἐπὶ τῶ θρόνῳ καὶ τῶ ἀρνίῳ.

And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Deliverance! by the hand of our God who is seated on the throne and by the Lamb!”

11 καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι εἱστήκεισαν [εστήκεσαν]κύκλῳ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ τῶν τεσσάρων ζῴων, καὶ ἔπεσαν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου ἐπὶ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν καὶ προσεκύνησαν τῶ θεῶ,

And all the angels assembled round the throne, and the presbyters and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God,

12 λέγοντες, ἀμήν· ἡ εὐλογία καὶ ἡ δόξα καὶ ἡ σοφία καὶ ἡ εὐχαριστία καὶ ἡ τιμὴ καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ ἰσχὺς τῶ θεῶ ἡμῶν εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων· ἀμήν.

saying, “So be it!  Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever! So be it!”

13 καὶ ἀπεκρίθη εἷς ἐκ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων λέγων μοι, οὖτοι οἱ περιβεβλημένοι τὰς στολὰς τὰς λευκὰς τίνες εἰσὶν καὶ πόθεν ἦλθον;

Then I was addressed by one of the presbyters as he said to me, “These who are robed in white attire, who are they? and from whence have they come?”

14 καὶ εἴρηκα αὐτῶ, κύριέ μου, σὺ οἶδας. καὶ εἶπέν μοι, οὖτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐρχόμενοι ἐκ τῆς θλίψεως τῆς μεγάλης, καὶ ἔπλυναν τὰς στολὰς αὐτῶν καὶ ἐλεύκαναν αὐτὰς ἐν τῶ αἵματι τοῦ ἀρνίου.

And I told him, “My lord, you know.”  And he said to me, “These are those coming out of the Great Distress, and they have washed their garments and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 διὰ τοῦτό εἰσιν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ λατρεύουσιν αὐτῶ ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς ἐν τῶ ναῶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου σκηνώσει ἐπ᾽ αὐτούς.

Consequently they are now before the throne of God, serving him day and night within his Temple, and He who is seated upon the throne spreads his tent of protection over them.

16 οὐ πεινάσουσιν ἔτι οὐδὲ διψήσουσιν ἔτι, οὐδὲ μὴ πέσῃ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς ὁ ἥλιος οὐδὲ πᾶν καῦμα,

No longer shall they suffer hunger, no longer shall they thirst, nor shall sun overtake them, nor any scorching heat,

17 ὅτι τὸ ἀρνίον τὸ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ θρόνου ποιμανεῖ αὐτούς, καὶ ὁδηγήσει αὐτοὺς ἐπὶ ζωῆς πηγὰς ὑδάτων· καὶ ἐξαλείψει ὁ θεὸς πᾶν δάκρυον ἐκ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν.

for the Lamb in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and will lead them to springs of living water.  And God shall blot every tear from their eyes.”

 

Revelation 8.1-5, the opening of the seventh seal

καὶ ὅταν ἤνοιξεν τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν ἑβδόμην, ἐγένετο σιγὴ ἐν τῶ οὐρανῶ ὡς ἡμιώριον.

And when he opened the seventh seal, there came to be a silence in the heavens, for what seemed like half an hour.

2 καὶ εἶδον τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἀγγέλους οἳ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ ἑστήκασιν, καὶ ἐδόθησαν αὐτοῖς ἑπτὰ σάλπιγγες.

And I saw the seven angels who are stationed before God, and they were given seven trumpets.

3 καὶ ἄλλος ἄγγελος ἦλθεν καὶ ἐστάθη ἐπὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου ἔχων λιβανωτὸν χρυσοῦν, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῶ θυμιάματα πολλὰ ἵνα δώσει ταῖς προσευχαῖς τῶν ἁγίων πάντων ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ χρυσοῦν τὸ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου.

And another angel came and stood at the altar holding a golden censer, and there was given to him much incense that he might present it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne.

4 καὶ ἀνέβη ὁ καπνὸς τῶν θυμιαμάτων ταῖς προσευχαῖς τῶν ἁγίων ἐκ χειρὸς τοῦ ἀγγέλου ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ.

And the smoke of the incense rose up with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

5 καὶ εἴληφεν ὁ ἄγγελος τὸν λιβανωτόν, καὶ ἐγέμισεν αὐτὸν ἐκ τοῦ πυρὸς τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ ἔβαλεν εἰς τὴν γῆν· καὶ ἐγένοντο βρονταὶ καὶ φωναὶ καὶ ἀστραπαὶ καὶ σεισμός.

And the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and cast it down to earth.  Then came thunder and loud cries and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

 

Revelation 8.6-13, the blowing of the first four trumpets

6 καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ ἄγγελοι οἱ ἔχοντες τὰς ἑπτὰ σάλπιγγας ἡτοίμασαν αὐτοὺς ἵνα σαλπίσωσιν.

And the seven angels holding the seven trumpets prepared to sound their signals.

7 καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ἐγένετο χάλαζα καὶ πῦρ μεμιγμένα ἐν αἵματι, καὶ ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν γῆν· καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῆς γῆς κατεκάη, καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῶν δένδρων κατεκάη, καὶ πᾶς χόρτος χλωρὸς κατεκάη.

The first blew and there came hail and fire mixed together with blood and it was hurled down to earth. And a third of the earth was burnt up, a third of the trees were burnt up, and all the green pastures were burnt up.

8 καὶ ὁ δεύτερος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ὡς ὄρος μέγα πυρὶ καιόμενον ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν· καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ τρίτον τῆς θαλάσσης αἷμα,

The second angel blew, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was hurled into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood,

9 καὶ ἀπέθανεν τὸ τρίτον τῶν κτισμάτων τῶν ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, τὰ ἔχοντα ψυχάς, καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῶν πλοίων διεφθάρησαν.

and a third of the creatures in the sea, those having life, perished, and a third of the ships were utterly destroyed.

10 καὶ ὁ τρίτος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἀστὴρ μέγας καιόμενος ὡς λαμπάς, καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸ τρίτον τῶν ποταμῶν καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς πηγὰς τῶν ὑδάτων.

The third angel blew, and a great star burning like a torch fell out of the heavens, fell upon a third of the rivers and upon the springs of water,

11 καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ ἀστέρος λέγεται ὁ ἄψινθος. καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ τρίτον τῶν ὑδάτων εἰς ἄψινθον, καὶ πολλοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀπέθανον ἐκ τῶν ὑδάτων, ὅτι ἐπικράνθησαν.

and the name of the star is called Absinth, and a third of the waters became absinth, and many people died of the waters, because they had been made bitter.

12 καὶ ὁ τέταρτος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ἐπλήγη τὸ τρίτον τοῦ ἡλίου καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῆς σελήνης καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῶν ἀστέρων, ἵνα σκοτισθῇ τὸ τρίτον αὐτῶν καὶ ἡ ἡμέρα μὴ φάνῃ τὸ τρίτον αὐτῆς, καὶ ἡ νὺξ ὁμοίως.

The fourth angel blew, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them were darkened and the day wanted a third of its light, and likewise the night.

13 καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἤκουσα ἑνὸς ἀετοῦ πετομένου ἐν μεσουρανήματι λέγοντος φωνῇ μεγάλῃ, οὐαὶ οὐαὶ οὐαὶ τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐκ τῶν λοιπῶν φωνῶν τῆς σάλπιγγος τῶν τριῶν ἀγγέλων τῶν μελλόντων σαλπίζειν.

And I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in mid heaven, crying in a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on earth because of the remaining trumpet blasts which the three angels are about to blow.”

 

Revelation 9.1-11, the fifth trumpet signals the opening of the pit of the abyss

1 καὶ ὁ πέμπτος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ εἶδον ἀστέρα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεπτωκότα εἰς τὴν γῆν, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῶ ἡ κλεὶς τοῦ φρέατος τῆς ἀβύσσου.

The fifth angel blew, and I saw a star fallen from the heavens down to earth, and there was given to him the key to the pit of the abyss.

2 καὶ ἤνοιξεν τὸ φρέαρ τῆς ἀβύσσου, καὶ ἀνέβη καπνὸς ἐκ τοῦ φρέατος ὡς καπνὸς καμίνου μεγάλης, καὶ ἐσκοτώθη ὁ ἥλιος καὶ ὁ ἀὴρ ἐκ τοῦ καπνοῦ τοῦ φρέατος.

And he opened the pit of the abyss, and smoke came up from the pit like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit.

3 καὶ ἐκ τοῦ καπνοῦ ἐξῆλθον ἀκρίδες εἰς τὴν γῆν, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐταῖς ἐξουσία ὡς ἔχουσιν ἐξουσίαν οἱ σκορπίοι τῆς γῆς.

And out of the smoke came locusts on earth, and they were given license to power like the power held by scorpions on earth.

4 καὶ ἐρρέθη αὐταῖς ἵνα μὴ ἀδικήσουσιν τὸν χόρτον τῆς γῆς οὐδὲ πᾶν χλωρὸν οὐδὲ πᾶν δένδρον, εἰ μὴ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους οἵτινες οὐκ ἔχουσι τὴν σφραγῖδα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ τῶν μετώπων.

And it was commanded them that they not harm the pasturelands of earth nor any green thing nor any tree, but only those persons who do not have the seal of God upon their forehead.

καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἵνα μὴ ἀποκτείνωσιν αὐτούς, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα βασανισθήσονται μῆνας πέντε· καὶ ὁ βασανισμὸς αὐτῶν ὡς βασανισμὸς σκορπίου, ὅταν παίσῃ ἄνθρωπον.

And they were ordered not to kill them, but to try them with torment for five months, and their torment is after the manner of the torment of scorpions when they strike a man.

6 καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ζητήσουσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι τὸν θάνατον καὶ οὐ μὴ εὑρήσουσιν αὐτόν, καὶ ἐπιθυμήσουσιν ἀποθανεῖν καὶ φεύγει ὁ θάνατος ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν.

And in those days men will seek death, and will not find it; they will long to die, but death flees from them.

7 καὶ τὰ ὁμοιώματα τῶν ἀκρίδων ὅμοια ἵπποις ἡτοιμασμένοις εἰς πόλεμον, καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν ὡς στέφανοι ὅμοιοι χρυσῶ, καὶ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ὡς πρόσωπα ἀνθρώπων,

And the appearance of the locusts was like that of horses arranged for battle; upon their heads were crown-like things as if of gold, their faces like human faces,

8 καὶ εἶχον τρίχας ὡς τρίχας γυναικῶν, καὶ οἱ ὀδόντες αὐτῶν ὡς λεόντων ἦσαν,

having hair like the hair of women, and their teeth like those of lions.

9 καὶ εἶχον θώρακας ὡς θώρακας σιδηροῦς, καὶ ἡ φωνὴ τῶν πτερύγων αὐτῶν ὡς φωνὴ ἁρμάτων ἵππων πολλῶν τρεχόντων εἰς πόλεμον.

They have body armor like armor wrought of iron, and the sound of their wings is like the sound of many horse- drawn chariots rushing into battle.

10 καὶ ἔχουσιν οὐρὰς ὁμοίας σκορπίοις καὶ κέντρα, καὶ ἐν ταῖς οὐραῖς αὐτῶν ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν ἀδικῆσαι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους μῆνας πέντε.

They have tails like those of scorpions, with sharp stingers, and in their tails they hold the power to do harm to men for five months.

11 ἔχουσιν ἐπ᾽ αὐτῶν βασιλέα τὸν ἄγγελον τῆς ἀβύσσου· ὄνομα αὐτῶ ἑβραϊστὶ ἀβαδδὼν καὶ ἐν τῇ ἑλληνικῇ ὄνομα ἔχει ἀπολλύων.

They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss: his Hebrew name is Abaddon, while in Greek he holds the name Apollo.

 

Revelation 9.12-21, the sixth trumpet and the cavalry that slays the third of men

12 ἡ οὐαὶ ἡ μία ἀπῆλθεν· ἰδοὺ ἔρχεται ἔτι δύο οὐαὶ μετὰ ταῦτα.

The first woe has transpired: behold two more woes are yet to follow.

 

13 καὶ ὁ ἕκτος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν μίαν ἐκ τῶν [τεσσάρων] κεράτων τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τοῦ χρυσοῦ τοῦ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ,

And the sixth angel blew: and I heard one voice arise from the four horns of the golden altar before God,

14 λέγοντα τῶ ἕκτῳ ἀγγέλῳ, ὁ ἔχων τὴν σάλπιγγα, λῦσον τοὺς τέσσαρας ἀγγέλους τοὺς δεδεμένους ἐπὶ τῶ ποταμῶ τῶ μεγάλῳ εὐφράτῃ.

saying to the sixth angel, to him holding the trumpet, “Let loose the four angels bound at the great river Euphrates!”

15 καὶ ἐλύθησαν οἱ τέσσαρες ἄγγελοι οἱ ἡτοιμασμένοι εἰς τὴν ὥραν καὶ ἡμέραν καὶ μῆνα καὶ ἐνιαυτόν, ἵνα ἀποκτείνωσιν τὸ τρίτον τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

And so they were set free, the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year, in order that they should slay a third of mankind.

16 καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς τῶν στρατευμάτων τοῦ ἱππικοῦ δισμυριάδες μυριάδων· ἤκουσα τὸν ἀριθμὸν αὐτῶν.

And the muster of the army of cavalry was twice ten thousand times ten thousand, so did I hear the count of them.

17 καὶ οὕτως εἶδον τοὺς ἵππους ἐν τῇ ὁράσει καὶ τοὺς καθημένους ἐπ᾽ αὐτῶν, ἔχοντας θώρακας πυρίνους καὶ ὑακινθίνους καὶ θειώδεις· καὶ αἱ κεφαλαὶ τῶν ἵππων ὡς κεφαλαὶ λεόντων, καὶ ἐκ τῶν στομάτων αὐτῶν ἐκπορεύεται πῦρ καὶ καπνὸς καὶ θεῖον.

And in my vision I saw in the following manner the horses and their riders: they had body- armor like fire, like sapphire, and like brimstone; the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions, and from their mouths poured forth fire and smoke and brimstone.

18 ἀπὸ τῶν τριῶν πληγῶν τούτων ἀπεκτάνθησαν τὸ τρίτον τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἐκ τοῦ πυρὸς καὶ τοῦ καπνοῦ καὶ τοῦ θείου τοῦ ἐκπορευομένου ἐκ τῶν στομάτων αὐτῶν.

By these three assaults the third of men were slain, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which poured forth from their mouths.

19 ἡ γὰρ ἐξουσία τῶν ἵππων ἐν τῶ στόματι αὐτῶν ἐστιν καὶ ἐν ταῖς οὐραῖς αὐτῶν· αἱ γὰρ οὐραὶ αὐτῶν ὅμοιαι ὄφεσιν, ἔχουσαι κεφαλάς, καὶ ἐν αὐταῖς ἀδικοῦσιν.

For the power of the horses is in their mouths, and in their tails: for their tails are like serpents, having heads, and with these they do harm.

20 καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, οἳ οὐκ ἀπεκτάνθησαν ἐν ταῖς πληγαῖς ταύταις, οὐδὲ μετενόησαν ἐκ τῶν ἔργων τῶν χειρῶν αὐτῶν, ἵνα μὴ προσκυνήσουσιν τὰ δαιμόνια καὶ τὰ εἴδωλα τὰ χρυσᾶ καὶ τὰ ἀργυρᾶ καὶ τὰ χαλκᾶ καὶ τὰ λίθινα καὶ τὰ ξύλινα, ἃ οὔτε βλέπειν δύνανται οὔτε ἀκούειν οὔτε περιπατεῖν,

And the remainder of men, those not slain by these assaults, neither did they repent of the works of their hands, that no more should they worship demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze, of stone and of wood, things without power to see or to hear or to walk about,

21 καὶ οὐ μετενόησαν ἐκ τῶν φόνων αὐτῶν οὔτε ἐκ τῶν φαρμάκων αὐτῶν οὔτε ἐκ τῆς πορνείας αὐτῶν οὔτε ἐκ τῶν κλεμμάτων αὐτῶν.

nor did they repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual transgressions and their thefts.

 

Revelation 10.1-7, a strong angel vows that with the blast of the seventh and last trumpet there shall come the fulfillment of the secret purpose of God.

1 καὶ εἶδον ἄλλον ἄγγελον ἰσχυρὸν καταβαίνοντα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, περιβεβλημένον νεφέλην, καὶ ἡ ἶρις ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ, καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος, καὶ οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ ὡς στῦλοι πυρός,

And I saw another mighty angel descending from the heavens, wrapped in a cloud, a rainbow over his head, his face like the sun, his feet like pillars of fire,

2 καὶ ἔχων ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ βιβλαρίδιον ἠνεῳγμένον. καὶ ἔθηκεν τὸν πόδα αὐτοῦ τὸν δεξιὸν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης, τὸν δὲ εὐώνυμον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,

and holding a small scroll open in his hand.  He placed his right foot upon the sea and his left upon the land,

3 καὶ ἔκραξεν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ὥσπερ λέων μυκᾶται. καὶ ὅτε ἔκραξεν, ἐλάλησαν αἱ ἑπτὰ βρονταὶ τὰς ἑαυτῶν φωνάς.

and he cried out in a great voice as when a lion roars, and when he cried out, the seven thunders spoke their voices.

4 καὶ ὅτε ἐλάλησαν αἱ ἑπτὰ βρονταί, ἤμελλον γράφειν· καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ λέγουσαν, σφράγισον ἃ ἐλάλησαν αἱ ἑπτὰ βρονταί, καὶ μὴ αὐτὰ γράψῃς.

And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write it down; but I heard the voice from the heavens saying, Seal up that which the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.

5 καὶ ὁ ἄγγελος ὃν εἶδον ἑστῶτα ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἦρεν τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ τὴν δεξιὰν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν

And the angel which I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his right hand toward the heavens,

6 καὶ ὤμοσεν ἐν τῶ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, ὃς ἔκτισεν τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῶ καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ καὶ τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ, ὅτι χρόνος οὐκέτι ἔσται,

and he swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and what is in them and the earth and what is in it and the sea and what is in it  — that there will be no more delay,

7 ἀλλ᾽ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ ἑβδόμου ἀγγέλου, ὅταν μέλλῃ σαλπίζειν, καὶ ἐτελέσθη τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ, ὡς εὐηγγέλισεν τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ δούλους τοὺς προφήτας.

but in the days of the seventh angel’s voice, when it is his time to blow, the mystery of God will be brought out, as He did promise his servants the prophets.

 

Revelation 10.8-11, within the vision John receives a specific call to prophecy.

8 καὶ ἡ φωνὴ ἣν ἤκουσα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, πάλιν λαλοῦσαν μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ καὶ λέγουσαν, ὕπαγε λάβε τὸ βιβλίον τὸ ἠνεῳγμένον ἐν τῇ χειρὶ τοῦ ἀγγέλου τοῦ ἑστῶτος ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

And the voice I heard from out of the heavens again spoke with me and said, “Go and take the scroll which lies open in the hand of the angel standing on the sea and on the land.”

9 καὶ ἀπῆλθα πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον λέγων αὐτῶ δοῦναί μοι τὸ βιβλαρίδιον. καὶ λέγει μοι, λάβε καὶ κατάφαγε αὐτό, καὶ πικρανεῖ σου τὴν κοιλίαν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐν τῶ στόματί σου ἔσται γλυκὺ ὡς μέλι.

So I went over to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little scroll.  And he said to me, Take it and eat it all, and it will turn bitter in your gut, though in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”

10 καὶ ἔλαβον τὸ βιβλαρίδιον ἐκ τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ ἀγγέλου καὶ κατέφαγον αὐτό, καὶ ἦν ἐν τῶ στόματί μου ὡς μέλι γλυκύ· καὶ ὅτε ἔφαγον αὐτό, ἐπικράνθη ἡ κοιλία μου.

And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it all, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; but when I had eaten it, it made my gut bitter.

11 καὶ λέγουσίν μοι, δεῖ σε πάλιν προφητεῦσαι ἐπὶ λαοῖς καὶ ἔθνεσιν καὶ γλώσσαις καὶ βασιλεῦσιν πολλοῖς.

And they told me, “It is necessary that you again interpret the thoughts of God for many nations and languages and kings.”

 

Revelation 11.1-2, the measuring of the abode of God by divine measure

καὶ ἐδόθη μοι κάλαμος ὅμοιος ῥάβδῳ, λέγων, ἔγειρε καὶ μέτρησον τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον καὶ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας ἐν αὐτῶ.

And I was given a reed like a poet’s staff, and told, “Rise up and measure the abode of God and the place of sacrifice and the worshippers within.

2 καὶ τὴν αὐλὴν τὴν ἔξωθεν τοῦ ναοῦ ἔκβαλε ἔξωθεν καὶ μὴ αὐτὴν μετρήσῃς, ὅτι ἐδόθη τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, καὶ τὴν πόλιν τὴν ἁγίαν πατήσουσιν μῆνας τεσσεράκοντα [καὶ] δύο.

But exclude the court outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given over to the nations, and the Holy City shall be trod underfoot for forty two months.

 

Revelation 11.3-6, the prophetic mission of the two witnesses

3 καὶ δώσω τοῖς δυσὶν μάρτυσίν μου, καὶ προφητεύσουσιν ἡμέρας χιλίας διακοσίας ἑξήκοντα περιβεβλημένοι σάκκους.

“But I will deliver my two witnesses, and they shall bear witness to the mind of God for twelve hundred and sixty days dressed in coarse hair-cloth.

4 οὖτοί εἰσιν αἱ δύο ἐλαῖαι καὶ αἱ δύο λυχνίαι αἱ ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου τῆς γῆς ἑστῶτες.

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands appointed to stand firm before the Lord of the earth.

καὶ εἴ τις αὐτοὺς θέλει ἀδικῆσαι, πῦρ ἐκπορεύεται ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτῶν καὶ κατεσθίει τοὺς ἐχθροὺς αὐτῶν· καὶ εἴ τις θελήσῃ αὐτοὺς ἀδικῆσαι, οὕτως δεῖ αὐτὸν ἀποκτανθῆναι.

And if anyone wishes to harm them, fire pours forth from their mouths and consumes their enemies; if anyone should wish to harm them, thus must it be that they are slain.

οὖτοι ἔχουσιν τὴν ἐξουσίαν κλεῖσαι τὸν οὐρανόν, ἵνα μὴ ὑετὸς βρέχῃ τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς προφητείας αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἔχουσιν ἐπὶ τῶν ὑδάτων στρέφειν αὐτὰ εἰς αἷμα καὶ πατάξαι τὴν γῆν ἐν πάσῃ πληγῇ ὁσάκις ἐὰν θελήσωσιν.

These hold authority to seal off the heavens, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy, and they hold authority over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with any calamity as often as they so purpose.

 

Revelation 11.7-10, the conquest of the two witnesses by the beast from the abyss

7 καὶ ὅταν τελέσωσιν τὴν μαρτυρίαν αὐτῶν, τὸ θηρίον τὸ ἀναβαῖνον ἐκ τῆς ἀβύσσου ποιήσει μετ᾽ αὐτῶν πόλεμον καὶ νικήσει αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀποκτενεῖ αὐτούς.

“But when they shall bring their testimony to its completion, the beast that ascends from the abyss will wage war upon them and overpower them and slay them.

8 καὶ τὸ πτῶμα αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τῆς πλατείας τῆς πόλεως τῆς μεγάλης, ἥτις καλεῖται πνευματικῶς σόδομα καὶ αἴγυπτος, ὅπου καὶ ὁ κύριος αὐτῶν ἐσταυρώθη.

And the fall of them shall be in the streets of the Great City, that which is named in a spiritual way as Sodom and Egypt, there where even their Lord was crucified.

καὶ βλέπουσιν ἐκ τῶν λαῶν καὶ φυλῶν καὶ γλωσσῶν καὶ ἐθνῶν τὸ πτῶμα αὐτῶν ἡμέρας τρεῖς καὶ ἥμισυ, καὶ τὰ πτώματα αὐτῶν οὐκ ἀφίουσιν τεθῆναι εἰς μνῆμα.

And people will come from among the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations and for three days and a half will look eagerly upon the fallen, and they will not suffer their corpses to be committed to the grave.

10 καὶ οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς χαίρουσιν ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς καὶ εὐφραίνονται, καὶ δῶρα πέμψουσιν ἀλλήλοις, ὅτι οὖτοι οἱ δύο προφῆται ἐβασάνισαν τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

And the inhabitants of earth shall take delight and congratulate themselves, and will send each other gifts, for these two prophets were a painful test of the inhabitants of earth.”

 

Revelation 11.11-13, the resurrection of the witnesses before the eyes of their enemies

11 καὶ μετὰ τὰς τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ ἥμισυ πνεῦμα ζωῆς ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσῆλθεν ἐν αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἔστησαν ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας αὐτῶν, καὶ φόβος μέγας ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τοὺς θεωροῦντας αὐτούς.

But, after the three days and a half, the Spirit of the living God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and a great fear fell upon those who beheld them.

12 καὶ ἤκουσαν φωνῆς μεγάλης ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ λεγούσης αὐτοῖς, ἀνάβατε ὧδε· καὶ ἀνέβησαν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἐν τῇ νεφέλῃ, καὶ ἐθεώρησαν αὐτοὺς οἱ ἐχθροὶ αὐτῶν.

And they heard a great voice from out of the heavens telling them, Come up here! And up they went into the heavens in a cloud, and their enemies observed them.

13 καὶ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐγένετο σεισμὸς μέγας, καὶ τὸ δέκατον τῆς πόλεως ἔπεσεν, καὶ ἀπεκτάνθησαν ἐν τῶ σεισμῶ ὀνόματα ἀνθρώπων χιλιάδες ἑπτά, καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ ἔμφοβοι ἐγένοντο καὶ ἔδωκαν δόξαν τῶ θεῶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.

And in that hour there came to pass a great earthquake, and a tenth of the City fell in ruins, and seven thousand individuals were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were filled with terror and gave glory to the God of the heavens.

 

Revelation 11.14-19, at the seventh trumpet Yeshua takes to himself sovereign power over all the world

14 ἡ οὐαὶ ἡ δευτέρα ἀπῆλθεν· ἰδοὺ ἡ οὐαὶ ἡ τρίτη ἔρχεται τα χύ.

The second woe has passed; behold the third woe comes quickly.

15 καὶ ὁ ἕβδομος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ἐγένοντο φωναὶ μεγάλαι ἐν τῶ οὐρανῶ λέγοντες, ἐγένετο ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ κόσμου τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ, καὶ βασιλεύσει εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων.

And the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and loud voices were heard in the heavens, saying, “The kingdom of the world is now become the sovereign possession of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

16 καὶ οἱ εἴκοσι τέσσαρες πρεσβύτεροι [οἱ] ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καθήμενοι ἐπὶ τοὺς θρόνους αὐτῶν ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν καὶ προσεκύνησαν τῶ θεῶ

And the four and twenty presbyters seated on their thrones before God fell upon their faces and worshipped God,

17 λέγοντες, εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι, κύριε ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν, ὅτι εἴληφας τὴν δύναμίν σου τὴν μεγάλην καὶ ἐβασίλευσας·

saying, “We thank Thee, Lord God, Ruler of all things, who art and wast, for Thou hast assumed Thy great power and dost now exercise sovereign rule:

18 καὶ τὰ ἔθνη ὠργίσθησαν, καὶ ἦλθεν ἡ ὀργή σου καὶ ὁ καιρὸς τῶν νεκρῶν κριθῆναι καὶ δοῦναι τὸν μισθὸν τοῖς δούλοις σου τοῖς προφήταις καὶ τοῖς ἁγίοις καὶ τοῖς φοβουμένοις τὸ ὄνομά σου, τοὺς μικροὺς καὶ τοὺς μεγάλους, καὶ διαφθεῖραι τοὺς  διαφθείροντας τὴν γῆν.

the nations were enraged, but your wrath has come, and also the season for the judging of the dead, and for giving reward to your servants and to the prophets and to those who fear your name, be they small or great, and the season for destroying utterly the destroyers of the earth.”

19 καὶ ἠνοίγη ὁ ναὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ ἐν τῶ οὐρανῶ, καὶ ὤφθη ἡ κιβωτὸς τῆς διαθήκης αὐτοῦ ἐν τῶ ναῶ αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐγένοντο ἀστραπαὶ καὶ φωναὶ καὶ βρονταὶ καὶ σεισμὸς καὶ χάλαζα μεγάλη.

And the abode of God opened in the heavens, and the ark of his covenant was seen inside his temple; and there came flashes of lightning and voices and an earthquake and a great storm of hail.

 

To be continued

 

 

 

 

[1] possibly diamond and not what is commonly called jasper; see Revelation 21.11

[2] the Sardian stone; sard is similar to carnelian but harder and deeper in its red color.

[3] Alternately, emerald.  The Greek is the root of the word smaragdus, under which title Pliny, in his Natural History, groups various stones of deep green hue, including malachite, which is a most profound blue green, and emerald.  Both are derivative of copper.

[4] “god of the nether world”

Francis, the Roman Pontifex Maximus, assesses, in human terms, the crucifixion of Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel

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“Here at the cross is the man who loves his enemies, the man whose righteousness is greater than that of the Pharisees, who being rich became poor, who gives his robe to those who took his cloak, who prays for those who despitefully use him.  The cross is not a detour or a hurdle on the way to the kingdom, nor is it even the way to the kingdom; it is the kingdom come.”[1]                                               John Howard Yoder

 

Today the Roman Pontifex Maximus has publicly made the claim that Yeshua ended his life in failure at the cross.  Given the faith which he pretends to represent, nothing could be a more brazen denunciation and attempted mockery of that faith than his own words:

“If at times our efforts and works seem to fail and not produce fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus Christ, and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.”  September 25, 2015, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Dear Francis, methinks thou dost hasten too much.  You are clearly in a race to abandon every tenet of faith that ever stood under the people of your institution.  You are in a race to reach that lowest common denominator of faith before the world unites in its orgy of globalism without you.  Yes, you are so anxious to be the matchmaker uniting all the ecclesiastical sluts into one seraglio with yourself as trusted eunuch over them so that you can reap the reward of delivering them to the global tyrant.

It is broadly recognized that the Pontifex assigns no value to the sacrifice of Yeshua upon the cross, as he credits those who discount the cross – Muslims, Jews, sodomites, and atheists – as having the same access to divine mercy as those who hold the life and sacrifice of Yeshua to be the doorway to life itself.  For the Pontifex, what matters is simply a certain sentiment of the heart, implying that Yeshua, in going to the cross, was but a master of melodrama.  If only Yeshua had recognized that human rebellion against God is but a little thing, then he might have lived a longer life…wearing purple and scarlet and gold…perhaps even with a little villa on one of the hills of Rome.

This leads us to consider a vision of what Francis sees as the inconsequential gravity of belief of every kind.  Yes, Francis is an advocate of belief, but belief of a special and well- tempered quality.  We are all to have our beliefs, but, according to the Roman Pontifex, we are to hold them so lightly that they never occupy a stance counter to the varied beliefs of others.

In other words, we are expected to maintain private beliefs, never presuming to set a hand to the awkward rigidity of  “universal” or “ incontrovertible” truth.

There is a church in Hyde Park called University Church, in front of which a sign is posted.  Upon this sign they boast that they “Have No Creed.”  I am sure that, if questioned, everyone who frequents the church would admit to believing certain things, but when they say, “We have no creed,” they are saying, “We do not publicly own any creed.”  Their beliefs are discreet and personal. This is what the Pontifex wants, for without this discretion the diverse people of earth cannot be brought into alignment in a One World Religion, that over which he or his successor may soon attempt to place himself.

We may believe whatever we want in the privacy of our own thoughts, but we are not to take ownership and stand publicly for the universal and incontrovertible truth of anything, even if we see our brothers and sisters drowning in half- truths, in misconceptions, in outright lies, grieving to know one day of honesty before they perish in a sea of mediocrity adrift with platitudes.

Yeshua, the Messiah, the Anointed King of Israel, went by his own choice, by his own carefully crafted purpose, to stand in the breach, to go to the cross in the greatest act of love in all the history of God and man.  He took upon himself the cost of human rebellion against our God: Yeshua, the king, standing in for his people.

In the talks which ended World War II, the Allies questioned the share that France should receive, claiming that, while England struggled, France was compromised under the Vichy government.  De Gaulle stood up to the table and declared, “I fought the Resistance.  France fought the Resistance.”  He commanded that the valour of his people be reckoned the same as the proven valour of their leader.  So stands Yeshua before the throne of God.  Having paid the price of sin, being king over his people, and being the true and only Son of God, none can protest his achievement of the mercy of the Father.

Yes, traditionally, even Catholics have shared this belief.  But the Pontifex of Rome judges the ponderous groan of love at the cross to be nothing but the complaint of human failure.

A child runs into the street, is about to be stuck by a car.  A bystander, placing absolute value on the life of the child, runs into the street, sets out his own life in danger of loss, pushes the child out of the way, but himself is struck and killed.  For Francis is this life, in human terms, a failure?

Actually I suspect that even the heart of blackest stone would not call such a life a failure.  My belief is that the Pontifex actually has no idea what happened at the cross, or, worse yet, that he is wedded to the enemies of God, the sleepers at the heart of the New Roman Babylon, who will in the coming years be cast down, due to that very victory of our king at the cross.

In fact, it is only the cross which offends the world.  The primas and primos of popular culture never reach to insult Hinduism or Buddhism or Shintoism or Humanism or Theosophy or Islam or even Judaism.  They mock the cross.  They mock Yeshua the true Messiah of transcendent Israel.  Because the cross alone demands that mankind recognize its rebellion and self absorption.  At the cross God incontrovertibly enters history and declares that we are not our own, that he has a claim on the purpose of time and on the purposes of each man’s soul.  The cross is the looming fact of history upon which the world stumbles, and Francis the Pontifex Maximus of the Roman power has placed himself foremost among the fallen.

“And war broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting with the dragon; the dragon and his angels also fought, but they failed, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer.  So the huge dragon was thrown down – that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, the seducer of the whole world – thrown down to earth, and his angels thrown down along with him.  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, ‘Now has it come, the salvation and power, the reign of our God and the authority of his Christ! – for the Accuser of our brothers is thrown down, who accused them day and night before our God.  But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they had to die for it, but they did not cling to life.  Rejoice for this, O heavens and ye that dwell in them!  But woe to earth and sea!  The devil has descended to you in fierce anger, knowing that his time is short.’[2]

“So he bore me away rapt in the Spirit to the desert, and there I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet Beast covered with blasphemous titles… In her hand was a golden cup full of all earth’s abominations and impurities of vice, and on her forehead a name was written by way of symbol, ‘Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of all abominations on earth.’  I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the witnesses of Jesus… As for the Beast…to perdition he shall go.  As for the ten horns you have seen, they are ten kings who…receive royal authority…along with the Beast;…They shall wage war on the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – the Lamb and the elect, the chosen, the faithful who are with him….As for the woman you have seen, she is the great City which reigns over the kings of the earth.’[3]

 

 

[1] The Politics of Jesus, p. 51, by John Howard Yoder

[2] Revelation 12.7-12

[3] Revelation 17.3-18 excerpts