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Friday, October 26, 2012

Jesus not from the tribe of Levi?
hierarchy.jpg
   
“Modernity exists in the form of a desire to wipe out whatever came earlier, in the hope of reaching at least a point that could be called a true present, a point of origin that marks a new departure.” ~ Paul de Man

 
Most of us know there is a genealogy in Matthew that lists Jesus ancestors.


Some of us believe Jesus was not of human origin so Matthews’s genealogy doesn’t count!

 

What is the truth?


Let’s start with what the genealogy says about the tribe from which Jesus came. In Matthew 1 it says...

This is a record of the family line of Jesus Christ. He is the son of David. He is also the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah.”[1]

This puts Jesus under the tribe of Judah according to the genealogy. David was from the same line, see the line of Jesus also says...

“...Obed was the father of Jesse. And Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon.”

Now let’s take a look at Luke, another account that says ...

Nathan was the son of David. David was the son of Jesse.” [2]

Wow! One genealogy line says Solomon, the other Nathan. This is a royal mess isn’t it?

It gets worse...

 

What is interesting to note is that Luke’s account lists 76 generations and Matthew only 41 generations!

Also, Luke’s starts with Jesus and goes backwards which is rather strange for a genealogy account, whereas Matthew has the opposite order which is the more customary genealogy listing.

Matthew is showing the kingly line from which Jesus was linked and Luke seems to be trying to keep the focus on Jesus.

Whatever the reason it is clear the two accounts are different from David to Jesus, but both agree he came from David’s line and Judah’s tribe.

To reconcile these has been an interesting task and to understand these could both be true we need to know of a social custom of the time called a “Levirate marriage”[3]

The Levirate marriage obligates a brother of a deceased man and the deceased brother’s widow to marry. This was to keep the land in the family/ tribal group.

This means that Jesus’ father, Joseph, could have has two fathers, a legal father that is reported in Luke’s gospel as Heli, and a biological father that is reported in Matthews gospel as Jacob. i.e. Joseph had a dad Jacob, who died, leaving his mother (Jesus’ grandmother) to have a child by her husband’s brother who she also married.

This fully describes why we would have two family lines reported. Matthew wants to show Jesus as the messiah, but like wants to show he was fully human and therefore carries the line right back to Adam (which Matthew truncates at Abraham).

Now having explained the genealogy difference, let’s come back to the original question...

Was Jesus of human origin and so does this genealogy tracking even count?

The bible makes statements about Jesus having human origin...

Romans 1 says... “The good news is about God’s Son. As a human being, the Son of God belonged to King David’s family line.” Verse 3.

Then Romans 9 says...” They are the people of Israel. They have been adopted as God’s children. God’s glory belongs to them. So do the covenants. They received the law. They were taught to worship in the temple. They were given the promises. The founders of our nation belong to them. Christ comes from their family line. He is God over all. May he always be praised! Amen.

Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this witness for the churches. I am the Root and the Son of David. I am the bright Morning Star.

Let’s trust Jesus was human based on these verses (there are others you can find if you want to).

So he was human and all Genealogies say he was of Judah’s line!

Now we know that after Moses time all priests were of the line of Levi, not Judah!

Does this mean Jesus was not a high priest because he wasn’t from Judah’s line?

No!

There were high priests from ancient times that were gentile and yet high priests. Melchizedek was one! Note psalm 110:4 says “The Lord has taken an oath and made a promise. He will not change his mind. He has said, “You are a priest forever, just like Melchizedek.


To see the story of Melchizedek you need to read Genesis 14.

How this applies to our discussion is explained by Paul the apostle in Hebrews 7...

Think how great Melchizedek was. Even our father Abraham gave him a tenth of what he had captured. 5 Now the law lays down a rule for the sons of Levi who become priests. They must collect a tenth from the people. They must collect it even from those who belong to the family line of Abraham.

6 Melchizedek did not trace his family line from Levi. But he collected a tenth from Abraham. Melchizedek blessed the one who had received the promises. 7 Without a doubt, the more important person blesses the less important one. 8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die. But in the other case, it is collected by the one who is said to be living.

9 Levi collects the tenth. But we might say that Levi paid the tenth through Abraham. 10 That’s because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in Abraham’s body.

Jesus Is Like Melchizedek

11 Suppose the Levites who were priests could have made people perfect. The law was given to the people so they could become perfect through the priests. Then why was there still a need for another priest to come? And why did he need to be like Melchizedek? Why wasn’t he from Aaron’s family line?

12 A change of priests requires a change of law. 13 Those things are said about one who is from a different tribe. No one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 It is clear that our Lord came from the family line of Judah. Moses said nothing about priests who were from that tribe.

15 But suppose another priest like Melchizedek appears. Then what we have said is even more clear. 16 He has not become a priest because of a rule about his family line. He has become a priest because of his powerful life. His life can never be destroyed. 17 Scripture says,

“You are a priest forever,

just like Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)

18 The old rule is done away with. It was weak and useless. 19 The law didn’t make anything perfect. Now a better hope has been given to us. That hope brings us near to God.

20 The change of priests was made with an oath. Others became priests without any oath. 21 But Jesus became a priest with an oath. God said to him,

“The Lord has taken an oath and made a promise.

He will not change his mind. He has said,

‘You are a priest forever.’” (Psalm 110:4)

22 Because of that oath, Jesus makes the promise of a better covenant certain.

23 There were many priests in Levi’s family line. Death kept them from continuing in office. 24 But Jesus lives forever. So he always holds the office of priest. 25 People now come to God through him. And he is able to save them completely and for all time. Jesus lives forever. He prays for them.

26 A high priest like that meets our need. He is holy, pure and without blame. He isn’t like other people. He does not sin. He is lifted high above the heavens.”[4]

Jesus is a high priest, a special high priest!

Today, we can head off to enjoy our lives knowing that Jesus is justified, that we can reconcile the different genealogies, and more than that, we through accepting Jesus are spiritually part of the family of God as well.

Great thought, right?


[1] Matthew 1 NIRV
[2] Luke 3:31 NIRV
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levirate_marriage
[4] Hebrews 7:4-26 NIRV
Fri, October 26, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Music makes the heart grow strong!
   
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“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.
[1]


Headphones abound! Everywhere people are listening to music over iPods and MP3 players. Before that it was Disc players and before that tape players.

In ancient times and even today it was the human voice that was used. The first musical instruments are supposedly flutes which we think were already being used 43000 years ago.

We all know the joy of singing, even if we only do it where nobody hears us, like the shower. Most of us enjoy music of one form or the other, right?

Yet the Bible actually encourages us towards music and songs. It says...

Speak to each other with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything. Give thanks to him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”[2]

The bible tells us to communicate to each other through songs. I heard a quote, I know not where it came from that said “Music is what feelings sound like.”

Often the exact attitude of heart cannot come from words alone, but words in a musical strain evoke feelings that combine melody with meaning to give us more than the words could express.

God seems to appreciate music from the number of times the bible talks of music in association with worship.

The ancient people also didn’t sit around politely and sing. We read King David danced “He danced in the sight of the LORD with all his might.[3] And in another place we read...

Aaron’s sister Miriam was a prophet. She took a tambourine in her hand. All the women followed her. They played tambourines and danced. Miriam sang to them,

“Sing to the Lord.
    He is greatly honored.
He has thrown Pharaoh’s horses and their riders
    into the Red Sea.[4]

Singing and dancing was a way to celebrate infront of God.

In Africa where I come, from this is understood. It is rare to see people singing without also swaying from side to side(at least). Magnificent voices joined with joyful souls tend to cause the body to follow. Drums add rhythm and combine voices into harmony with beat. Dancing involves the body and provides a further dimension of expression.

We are spirit, soul and body, and in full worship mode, we allow all three to become involved. Then we move closer to heaven! We can enjoy our worship and God does too!

We can’t do this all the time (dancing in the office or street might be considered strange). Perhaps that’s why we see so many people walking with headsets on listening to music.

Unfortunately people rarely sing or communicate with others in songs and psalms as we are encouraged to do by the bible. We need more of this!

As Christians we should also use good Christian music of the many genre’s to pick up our hearts and minds while we do the daily tasks. Listening to the bible audibly is another tool we can use to improve waiting times we all experience at points in our lives.

When feeling down, some good praise songs can chase the demons away. When working a worship song gently playing in the background can keep our spirits high and our joy complete.

There is much pain and strain in life, but we can inject joy and song to counter it.

Perhaps we should try a little of this today? How about you pick up your mp3 player, put on some good christian music and improve your day, worshiping God a little more and adding to your joy?



[2] Ephesians 5:19-20 NIRV
[3] 2 Samuel 6:14 NIRV
[4] Exodus 15:20-21 NIRV
Thu, October 25, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jabal, Jubal, and Tubal-Cain who are they and why do they matter?
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“The search for truth is in one way hard and in another way easy, for it is evident that no one can master it fully or miss it wholly. But each adds a little to our knowledge of nature, and from all the facts assembled there arises a certain grandeur.” ~ Aristotle


 There was once a guy with two wives (legally) and his name was Lamech. We don’t know to much about the guy, except in the bible record he is considered very, very ancient. He is mentioned first in Genesis 4, which is a chapter that starts out talking of Adam, the first of mankind.

The reason Lamech has a claim to fame, is that the bible reports he had three sons.

Here is the account...

 And Methushael was the father of Lamech.

Lamech married two women. One was named Adah, and the other was named Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal. He was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of everyone who plays the harp and flute.

 Zillah also had a son. His name was Tubal-Cain. He made all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.”

Now the bible has lots of times where we cannot clearly tell the order of the stories, but this particular story snippet is interesting, because we have three different timelines connected here.

Jabal was the father of those raising livestock. Now archeology is not an exact science either, but it does have remnants of early civilization to pick through to find evidence of farming with livestock. Apparently, modern genetic research shows cattle may have come from a few aurochs tamed in the upper reaches of Mesopotamia about 10,500 years ago near the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja'de el-Mughara in northern Iraq.[1]

Let’s for the moment consider this was Jabal and family that did this. Then he was already around at 10,500 years ago.

Alternatively this was not actually the first occurence, and what the archeologists have is a more recent repeat of what Jabel did so long ago. Either way its interesting, because if the timelines of archeology are to be believed, then Jabal was walking around at approximately 8500B.C or earlier. Not only that, but he was a wizard at domestication, since those original cows are the genetic links to our modern cow. Not much change since that time!

Now for his brother, Jubal, who was the inventor of the harp and flute, both rather basic instruments. The earliest harp we know of is also from Mesopotamia, but from around 3500B.C. from Sumer[2]. Now harps get broken and lost far easier than cattle bones, so there could have been harps from earlier times, that archeology just has not yet found, but we know that Jubal must have at least been around 3500 B.C. or earlier. Then the flute history is that the oldest flute ever discovered may be a fragment of the femur of a juvenile cave bear, with two to four holes, found at Divje Babe in Slovenia and dated to about 43,000 years ago (according to wikipedia)

The last guy Lamech fathered that we are interested in is Tubal-Cain. He is supposedly the creator of bronze and iron.

This is where the archeologists get a bit bent out of shape. They state with fervor that the timeline for bronze development is earlier than iron development and even use this fact to help date other items in digs. Bronze is supposedly first found about 3300B.C. and supposedly stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age. Iron production took place in Anatolia around 1200 BC although some people believe iron was around from 3000B.C. in minor qualities.

This makes Tubal Cain a very old man if he was connected with these events. Again, we don’t necessarily have the first occurrence of these metals, as archeology may still discover older items.

This is why these three guys are so interesting. Their existence timelines summarised by archeological evidence look something like this;

Jabal             8500B.C  or earlier
Jubal           41000B.C. or earlier
Tubal-Cain    3000B.C.  or earlier

Now logic dictates that these dates do not align unless the “or earlier” is accounted for. This suggests we can still expect some significant archeological finds at a future date.

While I am sure many in the field of archology will turn their noses up at this statement, they cannot disagree that we could still find evidence supporting the “or earlier” proposal. Nobody can prove we cannot find something, but they will state it’s very unlikely.

Yet, science has so often said things are impossible that have been proved possible. Science hasn’t yet even shown us simple things, like how life arose, or how everything can be created from nothing.

Since the bible is not a scientific textbook, and many stories were handed down by oral tradition before writing started, I think it does fairly well at tracking the facts. Notice that all the origins did start in Mesopotamia!

We as Christian’s need to observe the scientific discoveries, find out, understand, support the search for more facts, but we also know that God is before and after science. Our love for him cannot be changed by the facts we experience, but our understanding of him and his amazing word can only increase.

That’s why I love digging into the facts of science and history. It brings our bible alive!

Hey, you have a wonderful day, and enjoy the music, food and metals you will encounter today, knowing that some of God’s original people had a hand in getting these going in a way that we enjoy them today!


[1] Bollongino, Ruth & al. Molecular Biology and Evolution. "Modern Taurine Cattle descended from small number of Near-Eastern founders". Accessed 22 Oct 2012. Op. cit. in Wilkins, Alasdair. io9.com. "DNA reveals that cows were almost impossible to domesticate". Accessed 22 oct 2012.
Wed, October 24, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bieber, Patricia Mallette! A story of hope and Godís interventions
  
Justin_Bieber.jpg[2]
  
I'm looking forward to influencing others in a positive way. My message is you can do anything if you just put your mind to it. ~ Justin Bieber


Justin Bieber is a Christian! This is something for which we need to thank God!

We need people to see that celebrity life and Christianity are not mutually exclusive.

We need to understand God wants people from all walks of life to follow his guidelines.

We need to know that rich or poor, the only truth is what God provides.

What I like about Bieber’s story, is how simple and tough it starts!

Justine’s mother is Patricia Mallette. She had a tough life! Her sister was killed at five years of age, and her parents divorced when Patricia was only two years old. She had a father that she reports was alcoholic and abusive. She was first sexually molested by a baby sitter at three, and this continued with others to 14 years of age. She was date raped at 15! At 16, she left home supporting herself through illegal activities. At 17, she tried to commit suicide by throwing herself in front of a truck.

Wow! Nothing good can come from that type of background right?


Wrong!


God loves us even if we don’t love ourselves. The moment that Patricia started to act on the fact that she had given her life to God (which she did at an early age) things started to change.

She embraced a life with Jesus in a ward at the mental institution where she went after the suicide attempt. Some people would say that’s not the place for religion, Justin’s mother proves otherwise!

This however didn’t stop her getting herself pregnant, but it did keep her from abortion. As a young unwed mom, she worked hard at multiple jobs to support her baby. At age two, her baby was showing interest in music, by age four he was playing drums. Soon his singing, drumming and guitar was earning them money. With the online videos his proud mom published, he gained a popular following.

A jewish man, Braun, looking for a singer discovered Justin by following the trail the video’s provided and within a short time Justin rocketed to fame.

God works in mysterious ways! One of the reasons Justin is so popular is that he sticks to living a good life, honoring God. As fame builds, so does the need to be humble about the fame (as difficult as this is for a young guy).

Without the change of heart in his mother, Justin would not be around to bless the world with his song.

So many times, we hear that there is no way out for those who come from bad backgrounds, who are abused, who have tough childhoods.

This is nonsense!

God specializes in miracles! God can turn any life around if we turn to him. That’s the key part, turning to God and not only accepting Jesus, but immersing oneself in the words of God as revealed and recorded for us in those books of the bible. As we delve into the mysteries of God, the greatest power in the universe is unlocked into our hearts. We rise past the dirt, sin and squalor of life, to sample eternity and heaven. By doing this we allow God to change hurts to helps.

Today as we go about our life’s activities, as the strains of life wear us down a little, let’s turn to God for strength and guidance.

Let us shut out the worlds advice to follow God’s. Let us allow God to give rise to the stars in our life, to help him to promote his great plans instead of allowing the strains of our life to generate the pains that lead to sinful stains.

Let’s remember God’s words...

Even young people become worn out and get tired.
Even the best of them trip and fall.
31 But those who trust in the Lord
will receive new strength.
They will fly as high as eagles.
They will run and not get tired.
They will walk and not grow weak.
[1]

To avoid failing, we need to raise our eyes to the heights God provides, work hard to achieve these heights and let our sight of that goal guide us into victory with Jesus!

Have a great God led day today!
Tue, October 23, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, October 22, 2012

Christian love, a gift and a service!
heart.jpg
   
Core love is not something we easily understand!

It is far too intense and incredible for the average human mind. It is the agape love of God. It blows past our senses and enters with us into the spiritual realm in amazing ways that delightfully contort our senses, and lead us to into unimaginable delights.

Core love is the love of our amazing creator, the God of the universe, the one who builds us up in every way, every day! It is the most amazing of experiences and the toughest of examples. Love is not simply an emotion, but is a deep decision of will, with our will power being tested and developed continually to refine its abilities and depth.

We don’t have to work at love, because it overwhelms us once we understand its power and influence. Love touches us in our darkest moments, and lifts us to incredible highs. Love frees us of our earth constraints and enables us to incorporate an experience of the supernatural heavenly involvement within the mundane pain and strain of life. Love blasts us up past the hell fire of worldly pleasures, into the stratosphere of glorious existence and yet it is so simple, so divine and so special.

In almost every instance, the gentleness of the power of our creator is evident in kindness, caring, and compassionate love, exhibited by those small everyday gifts, or miracles that we experience. “Miracles” being that word that those of us experiencing them, give these Godly life gifts. Love extends us into reaching out to others, to give hope to our world and to rest in our faith.

In the words of the apostle Paul, who walked the earth in those early Christian days,

“Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply, Honor others more than yourselves. Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.”[1]

Honesty and truth! Strange qualities in the modern “fight for self” world!

Are we honest, do we live in truth? How honest are we even with ourselves?

To experience real deep honesty, means opening and exposing our innermost thoughts and beliefs to the eternal God. It means letting him deal with our inadequacies, and forgiving ourselves for having them. It is knowing that we are not and can never be perfect, apart from the perfection God himself imparts to us. That perfection we gain by the grace of being part of that amazing relationship established by Jesus death, and our acceptance of him as the son of God.

True love hates evil!

When people say Christians cannot hate, they are so wrong! We hate evil intensely!

Evil and what it does, to damage and hurt our fellow man, is what expands this hate.

We want to eradicate evil, fight it wherever we see it, we want to destroy evil, we want to know that there will be nothing to hurt others, to mislead others, to cause them to doubt themselves. That there will be nothing to cause others to lose hope. We want to build others up, love them, give them hope and lead them into faith in our amazing God so they can experience his goodness and love.

We want to grab the good in life with both hands, hanging onto it with a vicelike grip. We want to swing it around so that this good impacts those around us and knocks the evil from their lives. We want to experience deep love for those around us. Not just those who earn it by loving us, but those who have difficulty loving anyone because they have had, or are having a raw deal in life.

Love is looking past inadequacies in the way our wonderful God looks past our inadequacies, when he offers us the power of his existence in our lives.

Honoring another, is not only loving the unlovable, but it is respecting the disrespectful!

God has high standard for us as Christians! Yet, he knows we cannot achieve these high standards without his abilities and power. That’s why God sent Holy Spirit into this world and our hearts. God encompasses our lives in a life fire of Holy Spiritual experiences!

As we relinquish control of our life to God, Holy Spirit gives it back to us, polished, shining and full of joy. Physical experiences may not seem to change to outsiders, but what they cannot seem to understand, is the way we can go through them with a joy in our life. To the outsider this seems illogical and somewhat disturbing. Yet we know in an instant, with the right decision of will, they can be transformed into the place we are at, experiencing and understanding everything. We have seen it happen so many times. It happened to us as well, right?

The respect of those others that do not respect us grows from that love we have for them, the unloved! These aspects and actions all contribute to building that expanding love into our hearts. The type of love that grows so big and so fast, that we wonder how our simple frames can contain it. The fire of love overflows and pours continually from us, radiating into the environment of our experiences and touching others. We cannot contain it, it is too fierce and too big! We feed it by our closeness to God, the happy hours reading his words, the experience of joy that comes from sacrificing time and money into life paths that God directs.

Love comes from seeing the fruit of having listened to the ultimate advice. It comes from serving our Lord, not out of a sense of duty, but from deep felt love! It comes from serving our Lord because anything less, fails to give us the experience of love that extends past our senses into the spiritual realm.

If we want that love then we need to hand our life to Jesus unconditionally. We need to sacrifice the “old us” to the flames of Holy Spirit’s power. We need to wash ourselves with the word of God, reading the bible and consuming the words of Christ. We need to step into a holy place, the place where you see the wonder of God and his light illuminates the world with colors and tints of joy that others cannot yet see, with un-enlightened eyes.

This is a courageous but rewarding step. It is a step of faith, because there is no other way to do it. Have courage that others have walked this path and experienced the joy of it many times!

Hey, how about we go and have a wonderful God filled day!


[1] Romans 12:9&10 NIRV
Mon, October 22, 2012 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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