Monday, January 25, 2010

The kingdom of God is within you

The kingdom of God is not what the world expects.  Human nature demands a theology of glory.  When the Anointed One came, His Apostles expected a champion who would defeat the Romans and liberate Israel, "restoring the kingdom." (The people seeing Christ endure humiliation and torture at the hands of Rome without putting up in resistance so much as a word may go far toward explaining why the throngs of Palm Sunday cheering "Hosanna to the Son of David!" were replaced in less than a week by a bloodthirsty mob jeering Him to His death.)

But the Messiah, the great King, chose a different way.  Even though He could have done so, rather than use His divine power to subjugate and conquer, Christ chose to suffer and die for the sins of the whole world.  His theology is a theology of the Cross.  Though Christ accomplished what He had promised, He did not do it in the way men expected.  Jesus liberated God's chosen people -- all who trust in Him are the true Israel, whether Jew or Gentile -- from enemies greater than Rome: sin, death, and the devil.

Many Christians today want a glorious Christianity, a "victorious Christian life."  They want health, wealth, and the good opinion of men.  They want their enemies punished.  And Jesus is an end to their means.  They want a theology of glory.

One way this is expressed is in their interpretation of Christ's "thousand-year reign" mentioned in Revelation.  In their opinion, this reign is literal, with them in positions of authority (just as the Apostles schemed for themselves!).  But as Jesus did during His first advent, so He continues to do: God Incarnate rules through His Word and Sacraments, through grace, through humility.  Though to the world it appears often as though God has abandoned His people, He has not.  Though mockers might boast that "God is dead," He is risen again and will return at the Last Day to judge the world, at which time He will establish His visible kingdom among His people forever.

Some of those Christians who want a theology of glory offer in support of their doctrine Biblical references to believers' ruling with Christ and judging angels and His thousand-year reign mentioned in Revelation.  These factors indicate something other than a literal, thousand-year reign of Christ on Earth:
-John uses many symbols -- including symbolic numbers -- in his Revelation;
-Christ declared that His kingdom is not of this world but within the believer;
-Jesus commanded His people to give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to give to God what is God's; and
-Jesus declared that if He had desired it, His followers would fight to establish His rule on Earth.
It is worth noting also that when Christ speaks to His Apostles regarding His return in Matthew 25, a plain reading of the text doesn't show a Rapture/Great Tribulation/Thousand-year Reign (you pick the order) preceding Judgment Day.  According to His own word, when Christ returns, He will judge us all:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats" (Matthew 25:31-32).
Following are some passages relating to the nature of Christ's kingdom and the rule of believers with Him.  Note in the first that the Apostles will "sit on twelve thrones" and judge the "twelve tribes of Israel."  Note also that this will occur "in the regeneration."  His taking His throne occurs upon His return at the Last Day, as indicated in the Matthew 25 passage above.  This is when the regeneration occurs:
"Then Peter answered and said to Him, 'See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?'

"So Jesus said to them, 'Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first'" (Matthew 19:27-30).
Note in the next passage the contrast between the visible and glorious expression of God's power on Earth when Moses received the Former Covenant and what believers receive now under the New Covenant in Christ's precious blood.  It is no less than the kingdom of God:
"For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, 'If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.' Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, 'I tremble with fear.'
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.' This phrase, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of things that are shaken--that is, things that have been made--in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:18-29).
Next the term "royal" is applied to the Church, much of which endured severe persecution at this time.  In other words, they didn't look like kings:
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
Here's more on Christians judging.  Unlike the passage noted earlier, this is not addressing the Apostles judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel, but all believers judging the world and angels:
"Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life" (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)!
And here's a passage illuminating the judgment of fallen angels.  Note when their judgment is to occur: "the great day":
"And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day . . ." (Jude 1:6).
Here again is mentioned the "day of judgment":
"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment . . ." (2 Peter 2:4-9).
Next, more thrones.  Those who remain faithful to Christ come to life and reign with Him for a thousand years."  This is called "the first resurrection."  Verse 6 notes that those who "share in the first resurrection" will be unharmed by "the second death" (being cast into the lake of fire on Judgment Day), reigning with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).

The rest of the dead (unbelievers) resurrect after the thousand years end, on Judgment Day:
"Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.
"Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4-6).
Next, the believer's throne is contemporaneous with eating and drinking at Christ's table in His kingdom (calling to mind the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven), and it is tied also to Christ's ascending His throne on Judgment Day.  We see also twenty-four white-robed elders with thrones:
"You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:28-30).

"The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne" (Revelation 3:21).

"Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads" (Revelation 4:4).

"And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God" (Revelation 11:16).
And the Judgment of Matthew 25 expanded in Revelation 20:
"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:11-15).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A second American Revolution

Massachusetts.  What an appropriate place for it to begin!

Actually, public discontent has been building a long time, but it boiled over all around the nation last year, as evidenced by the numerous Tea Parties across the country, private citizens emasculating their elected officials in local events, and the huge political defeats for the Democrats in the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey.

Ironically (sadly? encouragingly!), Democratic reaction to their stunning humiliation last night portends even more intransigence in the push toward Socialism. President Obama explained away Brown's victory to people's being upset about not just the last couple of years, but the last eight years. In effect, Mr. Obama is crediting George W. Bush with putting Scott Brown in "Ted Kennedy's seat"! How's that for self-awareness!

(Senator-elect Brown's reply that the seat he sought to fill was not Kennedy's but "the People's seat" illustrates perfectly the chasm between our elected officials and us: Contrary to what they think, they work for us.  We are not their slaves.)

It is true that without Republican malfeasance during much of President Bush's time in office (and his endorsement of it), there is no way B. Hussein Obama would have been elected president (his personal charisma, good looks, and skills notwithstanding).

While the awakening of the American people in defense of its Liberty is encouraging, it cannot stop now.  It must continue until every self-aggrandizing, pompous, condescending tyrant who believes that We the People exist to provide him position -- rather than his position existing to protect our Rights -- is removed from office.

We the People must know and cherish those self-evident truths articulated powerfully in the Declaration of Independence, America's creed.  We must understand and defend the principles of limited government and individual rights codified in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  And we must keep ourselves informed of what the foxes are doing -- especially in the federal hen house -- since traditional media will not tell the truth about their co-ideologues in office.

We must elect honest men and women who will obey our Constitution and actually serve the People, not themselves.

Is it too much to hope that We the People not only can prevent a national euthanasia (Leftists like killing, except when it involves punishing criminals and terrorists; why do mass murderers have a greater right to life than babies, again?), but even roll back decades of Leftist usurpations of individual Liberty?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A subtle enhancement to this site

In the Latin underneath the title banner at the top of this page I've embedded (and then modified) several links. They're time-savers:
The phrase "In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum" ("In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God") links to posts here on Justification, the work of Christ by which He makes righteous all men.

The phrase "Verbum Domini Manet in aeternum" ("The Word of the Lord abides forever") links to posts here on the trustworthiness of Scripture.

The phrase "Verbum diaboli Manet in Episcopis Calvinus et Mahometus" ("The word of the devil abides in the bishops, Calvin, and Muhammad") links to posts on, respectively, Roman Catholicism*, Calvinism, and passages from Islam's "sacred" texts.
Perhaps you'll find these links (and the content to which they lead) useful.
*No, I am indicating no moral equivalence between Roman Catholicism and the devil, Calvinism, and Muhammad. The phrase "Verbum diaboli Manet in Episcopis" was a clever retort by a Reformation-era domestic servant to a bishop who was mocking the phrase stitched on the former's shirt: "Verbum Domini Manet in aeternum."  Since Calvin and Muhammad's heresies are clearly from hell, adding their names to that lying bishop's seemed clever.

The Church of Rome's positions on Justification and Authority are contrary to the clear words of Scripture**. I pray that the Roman church will make the Word of God its sole Source of Authority; from that will flow naturally the pure Gospel, which is this: Sinful Man is saved by God's grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and not by any effort, will, decision, attitude, or act on our part.

**Ironically, those in Protestantism*** who would condemn Roman Catholics as heretics in need of salvation are guilty usually of the same error, they just dress up in more "Bible-based"-sounding language. We don't "choose God," He chooses us. We don't "give our hearts to Jesus," He creates faith in us through His Word and Sacraments. We don't "make a decision for Christ," He took on human flesh, endured our wretchedness, obeyed the Law in our stead, died for our sins, and resurrected in order to bring eternal life to us all.

***One branch of Protestantism (and its progeny) has had a death-grip on Luther's coattails since the 16th century and hasn't let go yet. (You know who you are.) You can't call yourself a Reformation church if you deny its Spirit -- making "Reason" equal to Scripture in authority is neither "reasonable" nor Scriptural. The essential point of the Reformation was Christ crucified, died, and risen from the dead for us.

We should speak the words of God; no more, no less.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Self-loathing Westerners align themselves with shameless apologists for Muhammad's "sacralized" evil

Posted at the 'Blog Which Shall Not Be Named, in response to Mohamed Fadly, that tireless (and tiresome) apologist for Muhammad's hellish depravity:
"Ask and you'll get the information at once, no research necessary . . . " (Mohamed Fadly, emphasis added).
Of course Mohamed doesn't want you to do any research, Moonlite. He wants you to swallow whole his half-truths and outright, bald-faced lies.

I can understand Rory falling for that nonsense -- he'd rather count words than pay attention to what they mean -- but you? And you're a Christian?

Do you care that Muhammad called Christ a "blasphemer"? That he "sacralized" violating all Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule?

That Muhammad practiced genocide, pedophilia, rape, mutilation, torture, slavery, theft, extortion, polygamy, and religious and gender apartheid, claimed that "allah made me do it," and commanded others to do the same?

Did you even notice that Mohamed's quote commands to refrain from killing "those with whom we have a treaty"?

Of course Muhammad didn't want everyone dead; he needed non-Muslims from whom to extract tribute, slave labor, and sexual gratification.

That "my enemy's enemy is my friend," may be true in many cases, but like Mohamed's post, there's more to it when it comes to Islam.

Leftists may welcome a rival to Christianity now, but what you don't realize is that once Christianity is marginalized or dead in the West, you're next.

And Islam is no gentle master. Just ask all those around the world today and from the past 1400 years who've endured Muslim obedience to this:
"the Messenger of Allah . . . would say: 'Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war. . . . When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. . . . Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them . . .'" (Muslim Book 19, Number 4294).
And this:
"fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war) . . . " (Qur’an 9:5).

"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (Qur'an 9:29).

"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter . . . " (Qur'an 5:33).
Ibn Kathir says of this verse: "'Wage war' mentioned here means, oppose and contradict, and it includes disbelief, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways. Mischief in the land refers to various types of evil." So, Muhammad requires execution, crucifixion, or cutting off hands and feet from opposite sides for "disbelief."
"Allah's Apostle said: 'I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle . . . '" (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 24).

"It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise" (Qur'an 8:67).

"Allah’s Apostle said, 'I have been made victorious with terror'" (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220).
So, Mohamed,

You never answered my question (though you deleted it from your site): What is it about Muhammad that appeals to you, the genocide, the mutilation and torture, or the pedophilia?

Are you still defending mid-fifties-Muhammad's raping little, nine-year-old, prepubescent 'Aisha by claiming, "She liked it!"?

Moonlite, do you care at all that you're allying with someone who defends such vile filth? Who facilitates pedophilia, rape, (actual) torture, slavery, and genocide on religious grounds?

Do you care that Rory is unable to denounce such utter evil?

Will you?
It's only moments now until Rory Graycrow Underclass posts something vulgar and nescient.

Update 1/9: To his credit, Rory's posted only a threat to go "Incredable Hulk" [sic] on me.  (Does that mean physical violence, in which case he doesn't know where I live, or does it mean he's going to post in only short phrases and guttural noises?  "'Nuff said!  Arrrgh!")

Here's my reply:
I knew Bill Bixby. You're no Bill Bixby.

And the fact is, not only did you refuse to denounce those atrocities, but now you give Mohamed Fadly -- whose defense of Muhammad's pedophilia is, "But she liked it!" -- a platform here and whatever legitimacy that confers.

You can't justify uncritically endorsing evil by claiming that you "have little time for long winded religious debates." You have a responsibility to know the subject matter you're promoting.

Now's as good a time as any to do the right thing. Do you denounce Muhammad's "sacralizing" genocide, pedophilia, rape, mutilation, torture, slavery, theft, extortion, polygamy, religious and gender apartheid, and blasphemy, his claiming that "Allah made me do it," and his commanding others to do the same, or not?

Update 1/11: Unfortunately, Graycrow could not maintain even a modicum of dignity, creating an account for the sole purpose of agitating, complete with a vile avatar.

Here's the latest:
"Anonymous" was me, of course.

As for name-calling, I did not call you a "useless idiot" (still reading carefully, I see). I used the term "Useful Idiot Dhimmi."

A "Useful Idiot" is someone who allows himself to be used to advance his own demise by those who intend him harm.

A "dhimmi" is a Jew or Christian (and sometimes Hindu or Zoroastrian) under the "protection" of Muslims, as in: "Give us your money, your honor, and your women and little girls, and we'll protect you . . . from us."

You're committing treason against humanity by obfuscating for jihad.

I do not intend to offend you; I'm merely trying to wake you up, prick your conscience, stir your pride.

If you are a Catholic, act like one! Tell the truth. Defend what is good in this world. Stop aiding those who believe it honors God to enslave or slaughter all who refuse conversion to their religion.

As to Qur'an 8:67, Tafsir Ibn Kathir notes regarding the verse that permission to take ransom for prisoners of war (and other spoils) was granted here.

Here are four translations (Pickthall, Yusuf Ali, Hilali-Khan, and Shakir) considered "orthodox" by Yet Another Qur'an Browser, none of which makes jihad a peaceful inner struggle:

"It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise."

"It is not fitting for a prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but God looketh to the Hereafter: And God is Exalted in might, Wise."

"It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made a great slaughter (among his enemies) in the land. You desire the good of this world (i.e. the money of ransom for freeing the captives), but Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise."

"It is not fit for a prophet that he should take captives unless he has fought and triumphed in the land; you desire the frail goods of this world, while Allah desires (for you) the hereafter; and Allah is Mighty, Wise."
Nope, no religion of peace here. Just a religion of offensive warfare, terror, slaughter, and ransom.

Help those harmed by Ft. Hood jihad attack

From here:
LaRue Tactical here in Texas has put together a fund raiser for our soldiers that fell at Ft. Hood in November. Every penny of your money goes to the Chaplain's Fund Office in Fort Hood and is being used to help the families of those impacted by the murders.

Friday, January 01, 2010