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Inclusion

God’s Broken Promises


Copyright 2008
Joan Saunders

Introduction

The Bible contains many contracts. Unlike King John of England, in 1215, when he
signed the Magna Carta under great duress, God was not under pressure when He formed
the contracts of the Bible. El, El Shaddai, Elohim – names that portray the mighty power
of our creator – is also Jehovah, the God of the Covenant. The first Biblical covenant was
made in the Garden of Eden, and was broken by Adam. God said to Adam and Eve that
on the day that they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that they should
surely die. It has been argued that they did die, spiritually, and that a spiritual nature did
not return to man until the time of Jesus.

Is this the case? Or did God have mercy?

A covenant is a contract. A contract is an agreement between two parties. The contract


gives each party certain rights. Repeatedly, God did not choose to enforce His rights.

The New Testament contains strong language about the necessity of accepting Jesus
Christ as Savior in order to get into Heaven. This book of life also contains many
instructions about love and about the evils of man judging man.

What is necessary for salvation?


1. Is everybody saved?
2. Are we judged according to our works?
3. Is believing in a superior being enough?
4. Are all that do not accept Jesus as Savior damned?
5. Is Jehovah-rohi, God our Shepherd, so loving that he will even accept those, or
some of those, that do not accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ?
6. Can we totally know of our own salvation and be ignorant of the state of salvation
of others?

The contention of this book is that the last question has an affirmative answer. God in
His mercy chooses. Jehovah communicates individually with His people. El, the mighty
and strong, has chosen not to enforce contract after contract, from The Beginning.

God fulfills His part of His contracts. After the fulfillment of God’s promise that
Abraham’s progeny would be as numerous as the stars of the heavens, not only did the
aged Abraham father Isaac and Ishmael, but he also sired Zimran, Jokshan, Medan,

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Midian, Ishbak and Shudah as well as children by concubines. The whole Jewish race
traces their ancestry to Isaac, and the Moslems trace theirs to Ishmael.

God promised that David would be king – and David became a great king after years of
being a fugitive while the previous ruler plotted to kill him.

But, God on numerous occasions did not fulfill His promises. God told Abraham to kill
the child of promise, and then God rescinded His command. David should have been
killed as an adulterer early in his reign. Actually, he never should have had a reign,
because his great grandmother should have been ostracized by his great grandfather.
David never should have been born.

And God blessed those He should not have blessed. Again and again, in the Bible, we
find people gathered in, that should have been cursed, or at least excluded from the
goodness of God. Yet, through the ages, men have chosen to emphasize the unfulfilled
negatives in the Bible while failing to embrace the example lived within the pages of this
book. The promises of retribution and punishment are far outnumbered by appeals for
love and forgiveness. The demand that we leave judgment to God is repeated ad
infinitum, while hell is seldom mentioned and only sketchily described.

It is said that our children learn more by what we do than what we say. As God’s
children, shouldn’t we do the same? Isn’t He the perfect example? God loved and loves.
God forgave and forgives. Jesus wept at the grief of man.

Instead, man wishes to take upon himself the authority of God – that which God
specifically did not delegate. We wish to exclude on any excuse. There are many
examples where the Bible cries out against this type of attitude. This was the attitude of
the Pharisees, whom Jesus criticized and even cursed again and again. Paul said it best, in
my opinion:

Romans 2 (New International Version)

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at
whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass
judgment do the same things.

We cannot express love to a person we are judging. They cannot fully accept our gifts
when they feel our condemnation. And none of us wants society to pass judgment on us.

Matthew 7:11 (New American Standard Bible)

12"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for
this is the Law and the Prophets.

God never tells us to condemn others. Our instructions are to love:

Matthew 22 (New American Standard Bible)

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37And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR
HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' 38"This is the
great and foremost commandment. 39"The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR
NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'

We limit God. We limit God by our expectations of how He will accomplish His
promises and we also limit God by becoming enforcers of that which only God Himself
has the right, or the ability, to enforce. And most of all, we limit God by our
disobedience, in not fulfilling what we are commanded to do, while breaking God’s law
in our negative attitude towards others.

Chapter 1 – Broken Covenant

God is extremely consistent in His desires for us. While Deuteronomy is a book laden
with “Thou Shalt Nots”, the following passage is indicative of a greater philosophy found
throughout this book of the law, and throughout the Bible as a whole:

Deuteronomy 10 (New American Standard Bible)

12"Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD
your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with
all your heart and with all your soul, 13and to keep the LORD'S commandments and His
statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?

This major purpose of the Bible is reiterated many times. Love God and keep His
commandments.

It is for our good that we are to keep the commandments. Certainly, many of them are
fundamentally the same in virtually all religions. Respecting life, properties and the rights
of others are necessary for civilized society. Others, such as not eating pork or shellfish,
were advantageous in the time in which the rules were written. It is also for our good to
learn to obey God in all things. What does God command?

17"For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the
mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.

18"He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien
by giving him food and clothing.

19"So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

God is commanding that His people love the outsider, the alien. Did these aliens worship
Jehovah, the one God? Almost certainly not. But, God’s people were to love the alien –
not tolerate, or put up with - but love.

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Love God; love the alien. Love God and man.

God fulfilled His commandments to love, but there are many edicts He did not fulfill.

Deuteronomy lists a number of very direct rules, among them:

Deuteronomy 23 (New International Version)

3 No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the
LORD, even down to the tenth generation.

And very direct consequences for following or not following those rules:

Leviticus 26 (New American Standard Bible)


14'… if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments,

16I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and
fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you will sow
your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up.
17'I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies;
and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.
18'If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more
for your sins.
20'Your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce and the
trees of the land will not yield their fruit.
21'If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase
the plague on you seven times according to your sins.
22'I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your
children and destroy your cattle and reduce your number so that your roads lie deserted.
25'I will also bring upon you a sword which will execute vengeance for the covenant;
and when you gather together into your cities, I will send pestilence among you, so that
you shall be delivered into enemy hands.
26'When I break your staff of bread, ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and
they will bring back your bread in rationed amounts, so that you will eat and not be
satisfied.

Horrible punishments for a lack of obedience. So, the Israelites were definitely not to
invite the Moabites to worship service.

But, Matthew lists the genealogy of Jesus, and in it we find Ruth.

Matthew 1 (New American Standard Bible)

5Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and
Obed the father of Jesse. 6Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father
of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.

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Ruth was a Moabitess, the daughter, presumably, of a Moabite, and she was also King
David’s great-grandmother.

Ruth 1 (New American Standard Bible)

4They took for themselves Moabite women as wives; the name of the one was Orpah and
the name of the other Ruth. And they lived there about ten years.

Ruth 4 (New American Standard Bible)

13So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the LORD
enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.

David was chosen to be king of Israel and he was only three generations from Ruth.

The curse for allowing a descendent of a Moabite into the Congregation of the Lord was,
among other things, infertility. But, Ruth’s descendents include the greatest kings of
Israel and Jesus Christ himself.

God broke His own covenant. God blessed what He had said should not be blessed.
Jehovah included that which He said should be excluded.

Chapter 2 - David and Solomon

The two greatest kings of Israel were David and Solomon. Yet both committed atrocious
sins. David was punished several times – but not to the full extent of the law. First of all,
he was born ineligible to be king – being the recent descendent of Ruth the Moabitess.
But he was chosen, as a child, by direct prophesy of God through Samuel, one of the
greatest prophets in the Old Testament. In his youth, he killed Goliath, miraculously
displaying the courage of a great ruler. But, during his monarchy, David committed both
adultery and murder.

Leviticus 20:10 (New International Version)

10 " 'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife—with the wife of his neighbor—
both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

The law said that the adulterer MUST be put to death. Uriah and Bathsheba were David’s
next-door neighbors. The king developed a bad case of lust by watching the beautiful
wife bathe on her roof. After the monarch used his power to seduce her, Bathsheba
became pregnant – while her husband was off at war. And then David the king murdered
the husband of his lover by having him put in a hopeless situation in battle. There is no
exception made in the Bible for the offenses of kings. David should have been put to
death.

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Numbers 35 (New International Version)

31 " 'Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. He must
surely be put to death.

And yet, in David’s old age, God said that this king of Israel was a man after His own
heart.

David loved intensely. He cried and mourned and rejoiced and totally believed Jehovah.
When God scolded him, this monarch repented in sackcloth and ashes. His involvement
with the Lord was as total as if Jehovah was David’s physical father.

David and Bathsheba later had a son who succeeded David as king. Solomon was the
wisest man who ever lived.

1 Kings 4 (New International Version)

29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as
measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon's wisdom was greater than the
wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was
wiser than any other man, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Calcol and
Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations.

Since Solomon was wise, he should have known and followed the commandments of
God.

Psalm 111 (New International Version)

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have
good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

And early in his reign he did.

I Kings 3 (New International Version)

3Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the statutes of his
father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

This was still a major offense, but God apparently applied grace in this area for Solomon.
Why? I have no answer.

Exodus 20:1-3 (New International Version)

2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 "You shall have no other gods before me.

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God chose His own people. He commanded that the Hebrews not associate with other
nations or worship other gods.

Joshua 23 (New American Standard Bible)

6"Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses,
so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, 7so that you will
not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of
their gods, or make anyone swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them.

12"For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain
among you, and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you,
13know with certainty that the LORD your God will not continue to drive these nations
out from before you; but they will be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides
and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the LORD your
God has given you.

And yet God chose Solomon to build His temple. As much as Jehovah loved David,
Solomon’s father, He didn’t want the temple built by a man of war with blood on his
hands. And so the temple was built by a man of peace and wisdom, who associated with
heathen women and heathen gods.

And God continued to warn Solomon about the repercussions of worshipping other Gods.

1 Kings 9 (New International Version)

1 When Solomon had finished building the temple of the LORD and the royal palace,
and had achieved all he had desired to do, 2 the LORD appeared to him a second time,
as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 The LORD said to him:
"I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this
temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart
will always be there.

4 "As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your
father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish
your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, 'You
shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'

6 "But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and
decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will
cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have
consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule
among all peoples. 8 And though this temple is now imposing, all who pass by will be
appalled and will scoff and say, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to
this temple?' 9 People will answer, 'Because they have forsaken the LORD their God,

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who brought their fathers out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and
serving them—that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.' "

25 Three times a year Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on
the altar he had built for the LORD, burning incense before the LORD along with them,
and so fulfilled the temple obligations.

But, the wisest man who ever lived was tempted away from the true God, who had done
so much for him.

1 Kings 11 (New International Version)

1Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh:
Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2from the nations
concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, "You shall not associate with
them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after
their gods." Solomon held fast to these in love. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned
his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as
the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the
Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the
eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.

The curses for this behavior included war and a lack of bread. But God did not punish
Solomon, but gave him a prosperous and peaceful reign.

Chapter 3 – God Disgraced His Own

Most of us have heard at least part of the story of Jonah and the whale.

Jonah 1 (New American Standard Bible)

1The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2"Arise, go to Nineveh
the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."

But Jonah didn’t want to go, so he took off in the other direction and ended up being
swallowed by a whale and vomited up near Nineveh.

Jonah 3 (New American Standard Bible)

1Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2"Arise, go to
Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you."

3So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh
was an exceedingly great city, a three days' walk. 4Then Jonah began to go through the

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city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be
overthrown."

5Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth
from the greatest to the least of them. 6When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he
arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and
sat on the ashes. 7He issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the
king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them
eat or drink water. 8"But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let
men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence
which is in his hands. 9"Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning
anger so that we will not perish."

10When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented
concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did
not do it.

The account states that Jonah went to Nineveh according to the will of God. Jonah was a
prophet of God – he spoke for God.

Deuteronomy 18 (New American Standard Bible)

18'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My
words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19'It shall come
about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I
Myself will require it of him. 20'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in
My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of
other gods, that prophet shall die.' 21"You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the
word which the LORD has not spoken?' 22"When a prophet speaks in the name of the
LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the
LORD has not spoken The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be
afraid of him.

So, Jonah said what God told him to say – that in 40 days, the city would be destroyed.
Did God destroy the city? No. God relented. He gave in.

So according to God’s own test, when what Jonah said did not come true he was
disgraced and could have been put to death for falsely stating what God said. God made
Jonah a liar. God caused Jonah to flunk the qualifying test for being God’s own prophet.
Jonah was exceedingly displeased.

Why did God do such a thing? Grace, compassion, pity.

Jonah 4 (New American Standard Bible)

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11"Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than
120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as
well as many animals?"

The Lord God of whom it was written:

Numbers 14 (New American Standard Bible)

18 ' The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, forgiving iniquity and
transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers
on the children to the third and the fourth generations.'

took pity on the children and animals of a wicked people because they repented. There
were 120,000 children who had not learned right from left yet. God had sufficient
compassion to be willing to disgrace his prophet in order to preserve these little children.

Matthew 22 (New American Standard Bible)

36"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"

37And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL
YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'

38"This is the great and foremost commandment.

39"The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'

40"On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

God, in His mercy and goodness chose to follow His own commandment and live by the
law of love in dealing with the errors of men, even when it caused disgrace to His own.

Chapter 4 – God Lied?

Numbers 23 (New International Version)

19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his
mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

The answers appear to be “Yes” and “Yes” - if the result is merciful.

Consider Abraham and Isaac.

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Abraham is the father of both the Jewish and the Moslem faiths. Additionally, he had
other children in his old age. He is indeed the father of many nations as was prophesied.
But, Abraham had to wait many years to see this fulfilled.

At the time of the following passage, Abraham had circumcised himself and all his
people on the basis of instructions from God. Abraham had left his home and traveled to
the promised land – again on directions from Jehovah. This patriarch had seen Sodom
and Gomorrah destroyed, after angels had foretold the event and discussed it with him.
Further, Abraham had seen the fulfillment of the promise that Sarah would conceive,
many years after she had passed menopause.

Abraham knew when God was talking. But, his only other child had been exiled and
Sarah was very, very old.

Genesis 22 (New International Version)

2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the
region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will
tell you about."

Abraham knew that Isaac was the fulfillment of a promise from God. Abraham had also
seen Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed and no doubt knew that Lot’s wife had been turned
into a pillar of salt. What did he think? Did he believe that God really wasn’t going to kill
this child of promise? Did he believe that if Isaac died that Sarah would get pregnant
again?

Or did he just know that God was God and Abraham wasn’t? Did Abraham just realize
that Jehovah was someone who had proved that He could do the kind of destruction that
was done to Hiroshima, and just figured that obedience was required.

In the end, it was a test. Abraham bound his son and placed him on the alter and then God
told him to sacrifice a ram instead.

And they all lived happily ever after.

But, God cruelly manipulated Abraham. He told Abraham to murder his own child. God
lied. Jehovah apparently had no intention of letting this child of promise be destroyed –
but God lied to the man whom He Himself had chosen to be the father of nations.

And Abraham continued to follow God. Why?

Abraham was subject to no law but God’s law, no morality but Jehovah’s. This man had
experienced God and God’s angels throughout his life. The father of many nations had
personally experienced Jehovah’s omnipotence. The patriarch had fully and totally been
immersed in the magnitude of Adonai’s power. Adonai – master. The Master had full
power – more power than a General has over a Private – full, unaccountable power.

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We do not understand. Our culture prevents us from understanding. Master! Lord! Poof! I
am dust – Thy will be done.

Our Master still has this Power. It is beyond our comprehension. We have rights! By
whose hand? Earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes demonstrate, not the wrath of God,
but the power we do not have. Wind and waves are subject to Jesus,

Matthew 8 (New International Version)

26He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked
the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the
waves obey him!"

They are not subject to us. Because we bombed Hiroshima, do we think that we are equal
to the God who destroyed Gomorrah? “Look, we can do it, too. We can be gods, too.”

Abraham knew he was nothing compared to God, and he recognized the voice of God.
Abraham knew his Master and therefore he obeyed.

Chapter 5 – Omnipotence

God is Omnipotent – all powerful. This concept was understood in ancient times when
people didn’t understand earthquakes or eclipses or tsunamis. It was inherently obvious
in societies where the king could arbitrarily say, “Off with his head!” and it was done.

In the modern age, where nations are ruled by the people and for the people (in concept),
the idea of any Being other than ourselves having control over our lives is inconceivable.
We “make them pay” when an accident occurs and someone is injured. Eye for an eye is
legally achievable as often as not. The value of an eye can be looked up in a chart and the
insurance company pays. Whose insurance company? Ah, that is the food and drink of
lawyers.

Omnipotence – total power.

Deuteronomy 28 (New American Standard Bible)

1"Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His
commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above
all the nations of the earth.
2"All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your
God:
3"Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

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4"Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the
offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
5"Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
6"Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
7"The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before
you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.
8"The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put
your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
9"The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you
keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.
10"So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD,
and they will be afraid of you.
11"The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in
the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the
LORD swore to your fathers to give you.
12"The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your
land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many
nations, but you shall not borrow.
13"The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and
you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God,
which I charge you today, to observe them carefully,
14and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right
or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

These blessings encompass everything – everything one puts one’s hand to. Follow the
Lord and have children and prosperity. Be established as a people. Be an
example to all.

15"But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all
His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses
will come upon you and overtake you:
16"Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country. 17"Cursed
shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
18"Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the
increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
19"Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.
20"The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to
do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your
deeds, because you have forsaken Me.
21"The LORD will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the
land where you are entering to possess it.
22"The LORD will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation
and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew, and they will
pursue you until you perish.
23"The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under
you, iron.

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24"The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall
come down on you until you are destroyed.
25"The LORD shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one
way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example
of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
26"Your carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and
there will be no one to frighten them away.
27"The LORD will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab
and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed.
28"The LORD will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of
heart;
29and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not
prosper in your ways; but you shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none
to save you.
30"You shall betroth a wife, but another man will violate her; you shall build a house,
but you will not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit.

The curses include a variety of illnesses as well as environmental ruin. It has been said
that it is better to be a poor man with good health than to have all the riches of the world.
The punishment for disobedience included sickness, poverty, infertility and the
destruction of crops.

God spoke and the heavens and earth were made. Is this literal? Christians argue that
point daily. However, in this world of automation and computer design, it should be less
unbelievable than in historical times. And yet there is greater doubt.

Our ancestors had an advantage – at least in the area of faith. They were ruled by
monarchs whose every whim must be obeyed. Land could be stolen; children taken away
as servants, soldiers or concubines, and life ended at the word of the king or emperor. It
was the monarch’s right to do so. The power that allowed these minor injustices (their
standards, certainly not ours) also prevented marauders from coming through and raping,
stealing and murdering. The king provided order in a world of chaos. The people
respected being subject to power as being necessary for survival.

In the past, people believed in the total, awesome power of God. The actions of many
were governed by a fearful respect of both El Shaddai and of the consequences of failing
to serve. Primitive superstition? Or knowledge of a truth that has been lost as we increase
in knowledge? The Old Testament is a history of the Hebrew people. It shows the cycle
of their rising to greatness and falling into servitude in cycles of decreasing magnitude.
When did they grow in power? When they acknowledged God and his laws. And when
did they fall? When they believed that their greatness was their own doing. God seldom
struck them with the full blow of the punishments He decreed. Just another account of
how God lied – for the sake of mercy.

God foretold of our situation today:

14
Genesis 11 (New American Standard Bible)

4They said, "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach
into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad
over the face of the whole earth."

5The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
6The LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language.
And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be
impossible for them. 7"Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that
they will not understand one another's speech." 8So the LORD scattered them abroad
from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.

9Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language
of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the
whole earth.

We are again becoming one people and there seems to be nothing which is impossible to
us. Reread verse 4 and verse 9. In ancient times, the very thing which mankind wished to
accomplish, God prevented as a result of man trying to do it alone. Who is great? God.

Chapter 6 – Dreams and Kings

God doesn’t restrict Himself in the means with which He will use to accomplish His
purpose. While Jehovah was building a nation of His chosen people and
separating them from the rest of the world, He never-the-less spoke through
leaders of other nations. The Hebrews trace their lineage back to Abraham. When
Abraham misrepresented the truth to protect himself, God spoke to the heathen
king through a dream.

Genesis 20 (New American Standard Bible)

1Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between
Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.
2Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister " So Abimelech king of Gerar sent
and took Sarah.
3But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold, you are
a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married."
4Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, "Lord, will You slay a nation,
even though blameless?
5"Did he not himself say to me, 'She is my sister'? And she herself said, 'He is my
brother ' In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this."
6Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you
have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you
touch her.

15
7"Now therefore, restore the man's wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you
and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and
all who are yours."

The man of God in this instance was not obedient, so Jehovah spoke to another. The man
who heard was not one of God’s own. If the vessel is worthy of divine use, do we have
the right to judge it?

God also gave dreams to alien kings in order to work miracles through His own people.

Daniel 2 (New American Standard Bible)

1Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams;
and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him.
2Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the
Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king.
3The king said to them, "I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the
dream."
4Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic: "O king, live forever! Tell the dream
to your servants, and we will declare the interpretation."
5The king replied to the Chaldeans, "The command from me is firm: if you do not make
known to me the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your
houses will be made a rubbish heap.
10The Chaldeans answered the king and said, "There is not a man on earth who could
declare the matter for the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked
anything like this of any magician, conjurer or Chaldean.

19Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the
God of heaven;

Daniel described and interpreted the dream, which gave him great status with the king.

The dream was used to influence the king in Daniel’s behalf. God worked through the
unbelieving king in order to change the course of events. Nebuchadnezzar was
used to work God’s own purpose.

Perhaps the most famous of dreams in the Bible:

Genesis 41 (New American Standard Bible)

1Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he
was standing by the Nile.
2And lo, from the Nile there came up seven cows, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the
marsh grass.
3Then behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and gaunt, and
they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile.

16
4The ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke.
14Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the
dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have
heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."
16Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a
favorable answer."

And Joseph interpreted Pharoah’s dreams and was promoted to second in command. This
dream was an integral part of God’s purpose in making Israel a nation.

God repeatedly used people who were not His own, who did not worship the one Deity.
Why did Jehovah choose these people for His use in performing miracles? Once
He used them and they believed enough to declare that God be worshiped, did
that not “convert” them? If some people were converted due to miracles, when
they almost certainly wouldn’t have believed otherwise, then how is that fair to
others? Is God fair?

Chapter 7 – God’s Purpose

God has a purpose. And God has power.

He will use us for His purpose if we will cooperate.

It was prophesied that The Messiah would be the first person to heal a man born blind.

John 9 (New International Version)

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi,
who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the
work of God might be displayed in his life.

The man in question was a grown man. He had been blind his entire life in order that
Jesus could heal him and fulfill a prophesy.

6Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on
the man's eyes. 7"Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent).
So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

I find the methods of Jesus to be pretty unusual, even given that He was and is a
miraculous healer. However, as unorthodox as the directions were, the blind man
followed them and was rewarded.

17
13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14Now the day on which
Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. 15Therefore the
Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the
man replied, "and I washed, and now I see."

This person wasn’t chosen randomly. He was particularly chosen to reveal the glory of
God. In order to be part of Jewish society, to work and to buy and sell, one had to be a
member of the synagogue. These questioning officials were able to ostracize people. It
took courage to stand up to these inquisitors.

17Finally they turned again to the blind man, "What have you to say about him? It was
your eyes he opened."
The man replied, "He is a prophet."

18The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until
they sent for the man's parents. 19"Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say
was born blind? How is it that now he can see?"

20"We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind.
21But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of
age; he will speak for himself." 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the
Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was
the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 23That was why his parents said, "He is of
age; ask him."

This blind man had been outside the normal cycle of human events his whole life.
Finally, he was given the chance to be a participating member of society, and then he was
immediately threatened with being thrown out of the synagogue.

24A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God," they
said. "We know this man is a sinner."

30The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from,
yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the
godly man who does his will. 32Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man
born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."

34To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And
they threw him out.

God chose this man from birth for God’s own purpose. And after years of suffering,
when he had merely received something which most people take for granted, the man
stood up for God. How many others would have said, “Why me?” or “How can you
believe in a God who lets people suffer?”

18
And the blind man is remembered still, for being the vessel of both a miracle and the
fulfillment of prophesy.

Chapter 8 – Faith

The Bible tells us again and again that there is a contract. That we can be assured of our
salvation once we have confessed that Jesus is Lord.

Why should we believe THIS contract? Why not one of the other religious books? Why
is the Bible even made up of that which it is? Why weren’t other books chosen to be in
it?

The question has no scientific answer. Faith is the answer – and it is not vague and
mindless as many people think. Faith is found when some part of a person reaches a place
of knowing. How do you reach that place? Ask.

Matthew 7 (New American Standard Bible)

7" Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to
you.

All the experts and authorities and loud witnesses in the marketplace cannot get you to
the place of knowing. Prayer and God alone can. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. You
may feel as though you are asking the air; ask anyway. Ask Him to reveal your path.

Trust in the Lord.

Stop periodically to listen for an answer – just sit quietly and observe a tree, the sky, the
cat – quiet is the issue. Listen. Consider. Invite God again to give you the answer.

Faith is from God. And God will answer.

Here is a beautiful promise which is commonly memorized and quoted:

Proverbs 3 (New International Version)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart


and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

But it isn't something we should consider as optional. We ask the question, "Why are we
here?" I believe that the passage above, along with the commandment of Jesus to love
God and love our neighbor as ourself, reveal the reason.

19
We are here solely to learn to love and to trust.

Why did the Israelites wander in the wilderness for 40 years?

Deuteronomy 9 (New International Version)

22 You also made the LORD angry at Taberah, at Massah and at Kibroth Hattaavah.
23 And when the LORD sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, he said, "Go up and take
possession of the land I have given you." But you rebelled against the command of the
LORD your God. You did not trust him or obey him. 24 You have been rebellious against
the LORD ever since I have known you.

The Hebrews made God angry by not trusting Him. God wanted to make them victorious,
but the Israelites were afraid.

The verse says that they did not trust or obey Him. Is obeying without trust good enough?
And how can we obey him if He commands us to trust Him and we do not?

There are many promises based solely on our trusting God:

Nahum 1 (New International Version)

7The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,

Psalm 125 (New International Version)

1Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures
forever.

God will take care of us IF we will trust in Him.


And there are promises for obedience. But, what are we to obey? The Ten
Commandments? Jesus came to redeem us from the law because the law wasn’t working.
People weren’t able to obey it. What are the priorities?

Joshua 22 (New International Version)

5But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the
LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his
commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."

The top priority is to love God and be committed with all our heart and soul. How can we
love Him with ALL our heart and soul and not trust him?

Matthew 25 (New International Version)

20
14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted
his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and
to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The
man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and
gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the
man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his
master's money.
19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with
them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he
said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful
with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's
happiness!'

22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with
two talents; see, I have gained two more.'

23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful
with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's
happiness!'

24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that
you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have
not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See,
here is what belongs to you.'

26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I
have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have
put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received
it back with interest.

28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For
everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not
have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant
outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Why did the servant bury the talent? Did he wish to steal? No. Was he lazy? Perhaps -
but how much effort would it have taken to give it to the money changers? Probably less
than it did to bury it. He was afraid. He was afraid of a powerful master and the
repercussions of making a mistake. And because of the servant acting on his fear, instead
of on faith and trust, he received worse than he could have imagined.

1 John 4 (New International Version)

21
18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with
punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Love is the first commandment. When we act in fear, we aren't loving.

1 John 4 (New International Version)

16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in
love lives in God, and God in him.

We can rely on God’s love. We don’t need to live in fear.

The Greek word for 'believe” used here means to trust in.

John 6:29 (New International Version)

29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

That is a strong summary. The work of God is to believe, to trust in.

Trust in the Lord and he shall direct your path. Trust in Jesus and he shall give you
whatever you ask according to his will. Trusting in the Lord sounds like such a trip to the
candy store. Why couldn't the Hebrews do it? It's hard. Why? Any loved five year old
fully understands trust. It’s easy to believe in someone until you have been hurt or trained
in ‘reality’. Pain brings fear of more pain – and trust goes out the window.

But, we are commanded to trust in the Lord. It isn't optional. It's required. Trusting God
fully, after experiencing loss and pain, is the greatest test in our sojourn on earth.

Chapter 9 – Testing God

God is invisible. So is air and wind. Our power was out for hours and trees were down all
over town due to wind recently.

Wind is a real force; so is God. But, how do we know it's God?

I hear instructions in my head during my devotionals and other times, and some of them
are just not from God. How do I tell the difference? Sometimes, my heart knows.
Sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I realize that it probably wasn't from the Lord, but that
He used it anyway. How do we know if we are hearing from God? We are told to test
what we hear:

1 John 4:1(New International Version)

22
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from
God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Test against what? Against what the Bible tells us. So we test the thought, and it passes
the exam, and we perform the required task – but then we become convinced that we
were wrong. What if it wasn't from God? What is a loving father going to do?

Romans 8 (New International Version)

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who
have been called according to his purpose.

He'll take care of it. Yes, we are walking blind much of the time. But, God is directing
our steps - if we are trusting in him.

I was saved with a miracle. I was diagnosed with a heart condition that would have killed
me had it gone untreated for another year. It was only diagnosed because my family
changed doctors. The procedure to repair my heart was brand new and there was exactly
one doctor who would perform the operation on children and only one other who would
do anything of the kind in the world. The appropriate doctor was only 90 miles from our
house. My parents took me there on my father's vacation. I was diagnosed, but they
couldn't get me in - until a conference was cancelled and the doctor performed the
surgery that week. After the operation, I wouldn't stop bleeding. The wound just kept
oozing blood. There was no Tylenol and they hadn't been doing this kind of thing long
enough to know how other pain killers would affect the healing process. So they gave me
no pain medication after surgery. At first they let me scream as they put in staple after
staple to try to stop the bleeding. Then the other children couldn't handle my cries of pain
so they had me squeeze my father's thumb. It turned purple. And then, my mother told me
about Jesus and told me that if I would accept Him as Lord and ask Him to heal me, I
would be healed. And I did and I was. The bleeding stopped and didn't start again. Two
weeks after surgery, I was outside jumping off the picnic table giving my mother heart
trouble. I had never felt good before. It was 1964. I was on a new device called a
heart/lung machine for 18 minutes during the surgery.

I have had prayer after prayer answered.

So many 'miracles' were 'trivial'. I would pick up a sample at a previous job and someone
would call in and want it when I was five minutes from their office and four hours from
mine. God cares. He demonstrates His presence to me often. When there is something I
need to hear, I'll frequently hear that message three times in a week from different
sources. God is real.

How can I ever doubt? How can I be afraid? How could the Israelites watch the miracles
in Egypt and then build a golden calf? How could people see the miracles that Jesus did
and not believe?

23
We say we don't believe because we do not see - they did see, but many did not believe.

And, if we are honest, we must admit - at least I must admit - that I see.

Does one cheat on their spouse because they aren't in the room at the moment? How 'in
our faces' does God need to get?

When we are cranky, unloving and mad at our situations - isn't that a lack of trust in God?
If we believe that he's directing our steps, isn't the blinking light at the checkout stand
when we are finally next in line one of the steps? That happened to me yesterday and
when I changed lines it happened again. For once, I laughed inwardly. I've been subject
to a lot of such things lately, and I figure that it's a lesson. If I don't pass this lesson, I'll
get to keep repeating it. As soon as I laughed, the first line opened up and I was out of
there quickly.

Life is full of lessons. We can learn easy, or we can learn hard. Or we can refuse to learn
and God will leave us alone – subject to the winds of random events without help from
Him.

Random. God created physics. Physicsally, there are certain events with associated
probabilities. You can affect the probabilities of events with prayer and belief. You can
affect probabilities positively by being an optimist. You can affect them negatively by
being a pessimist. Or you can subject yourself to taking whatever comes by being a
passivist in life. It is your choice. Why did Ralph get cancer? Because he smoked for
twenty years? Because it was part of his test on this earth? Because he feared it? Or
because he was subject to random events? Any of these answers could be true – and,
since I am not Ralph, I will probably never have a clue. We should not judge others. It is
not our place.

The test is not a result of bad living. It can be just the opposite. What doesn’t kill us
makes us strong. Pain can lead to empathy and mercy. Poverty can lead to richness of
spirit. This isn’t to say that we should seek pain and poverty. Faith leads us to believe that
if we have given God control, that He is IN control.

Romans 8 (New International Version)

31…
If God is for us, who can be against us.

Ralph can be confidant and can have peace. Will Ralph be miraculously healed? Maybe.
Maybe not. The purpose of this life is not to live a vacation. Life is a test made up of
smaller tests. And everything we do affects and is affected by those around us. God can
heal. If a miraculous healing is the best result for everyone, then God will heal. I have no
doubt.

24
Follow it through. If God sent an angel to rescue every kid that ran out in front of a bus,
then all the little kids would run out in front of buses in order to be rescued by angels.

If there are no repercussions for bad decisions, why should we make good ones? How
will we know what a good decision is?

Test God. How do you know something is from God? Peace. When you seek heartily,
and then, as a result of the seeking, come to a place of peace – then you know.

Proverbs 3 (New International Version)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Trust God to fulfill His positive promises.

Psalm 73 (New American Standard Bible)

24With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

Trust is active. It requires seeking God and His will in your life.

Psalm 5 (King James Bible)

11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because
thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

Seeking God is key. A refuge is a refuge only if you enter it.

Psalm 46 (New American Standard Bible)

1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Chapter 10 – Condemnation

Jesus did not live a life on this earth in order to condemn. The life of the Son of God was
an invitation. This earth is a dark place relative to what is to come. The Messiah came to
illuminate and to reveal the greatness awaiting us.

John 3 (New International Version)

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes
in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the
world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Jesus releases us from condemnation. Whose condemnation? The verse below explains
that men hide from the light because each knows that his own deeds are evil.

25
18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands
condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of
light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will
not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Jesus is the light and illuminates hearts – so men choose to hide from Jesus. They are
afraid that others will see their deeds. Why are they afraid? Because in their hearts they
are ashamed of their own actions. Who condemns us?

We each condemn ourselves.

1 John 3:20-22 (New American Standard Bible)

20in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all
things. 21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;

Jesus came to accept. He was sent to promote inclusion. God’s words are powerful. God
spoke the world into existence. Jesus is the Word of God. What Jesus spoke is truth.

John 12 (New International Version)

47"As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him.
For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.

God sent Jesus to help – not to judge.

Condemned means to be found guilty. According to the Christian Bible, if we believe


that Jesus is the Son of God and accept Him as our lord, then we are released from the
consequences of our bad deeds. However, Jesus knows of the wrongs that we have
committed and accepting Him as our lord means facing up to our past. If we do not do
this, then we face divine condemnation – being pronounced guilty of all our failures.

What then? Is outer darkness or the lake of fire a necessary consequence? The Bible
doesn’t say a whole lot about the punishment of those who are to be condemned. God’s
word emphasizes future rewards, not future punishment. It emphasizes how to be
accepted, not rejected.

And the Word of God also mentions many ways of being welcomed in. Consider the
multitude of verses that accept people on the basis of something other than direct
confession of Jesus as Lord:

Luke 6 (New International Version)

26
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be
condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Which takes precedence? If you don’t believe you will be condemned? Or if you don’t
condemn you will not be condemned?

The Old Testament states that being a Hebrew is required for salvation. However, Jesus
disagreed.

Romans 2:26-32 (New International Version)

26If those who are not circumcised keep the law's requirements, will they not be
regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically
and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and
circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward
and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is
circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is
not from men, but from God.

Jesus came to increase acceptance. To include. If this is so, and if God has always
welcomed those who obey – then aren’t there obedient people included under grace –
even without direct confession of Jesus as Lord?

1 John 4 (New American Standard Bible)


7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born
of God and knows God.

This verse promises that everyone who loves knows God.

Is this the answer?

Jesus said:

John 10 (New American Standard Bible)


30"I and the Father are one."

If loving us makes us know God, and Jesus and God are one, then loving makes us know
Jesus. Jesus then is the ticket to heaven for everyone who loves.

Jesus often spoke of knowing the heart. He spoke of nuances of human behavior. The
Son of God approached the tax collectors and the prostitutes and those of nationalities
that had been excluded from the promise. He spent two days in a Samaritan village,
choosing to introduce Himself to a woman of ill-repute at the well. Jesus accepted the

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rejected. After the resurrection, Peter was told to minister to the Gentiles. The Good
News was to be sent to all the world. The truth of acceptance was revealed to all.

Who is written in the Book of Life? The Bible teaches that if we believe in Jesus that we
are written in the Book. If we actively reject him, then we are not. We also know that
rejection of Jesus is not permanent – look at Paul. Paul actively persecuted the Jews. He
was called Saul at that time:

Acts 9 (New American Standard Bible)

1Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to
the high priest,
2and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any
belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

And yet God chose him as a disciple. And this murderer became a great evangelist and
wrote letters that became a substantial part of our Bible.

How long do we have to accept or reject Jesus? Does it have to be before we die? This is
generally assumed, but is not stated. Can it be that at the time of our death, when our
whole life flashes before us, that we see salvation in the light of eternal truth? That then
we know, and have one last chance to fall down before God and confess our error?

Philippians 2 (New American Standard Bible)

9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is
above every name,
10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven
and on earth and under the earth,
11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father.

If every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, then everyone is going to believe at some
time.

Christian religions tend to teach that there is a point at which one must have the correct
response. The scenario seems to be that a celestial voice calls down, “Is that your final
answer?” Then the giant buzzer in the sky makes a great heavenly fart and a giant voice
shouts, “WRONG!” Sometime later, Jesus appears and everyone’s heart is convicted of
the truth and all bow.

That scene bothers a lot of people, including a great number of Christians.

God is love and the Bible states that those who love know God. God includes. God
accepts. Yes, God rejects those who reject, but He welcomes in those who love.

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In the Old Testament, God is said to be both merciful and vengeful – even blaming
children and children’s children for the sins of their ancestors.

Exodus 34 (King James Version)

7Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will
by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and
upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

But, this is clarified by a prophet, changed, made an exception to:

Ezekiel 18 (New International Version)

13He lends at usury and takes excessive interest.


Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he
will surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head.

14 "But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though
he sees them, he does not do such things:

15 "He does not eat at the mountain shrines


or look to the idols of the house of Israel.
He does not defile his neighbor's wife.

16 He does not oppress anyone


or require a pledge for a loan.
He does not commit robbery
but gives his food to the hungry
and provides clothing for the naked.

17 He withholds his hand from sin


and takes no usury or excessive interest.
He keeps my laws and follows my decrees.
He will not die for his father's sin; he will surely live. 18 But his father will die for his
own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong
among his people.

God contradicts His own rules. He acts with grace.

Chapter 11 – Grace

Grace is unmerited favor given by God.

John 1 (New International Version)

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16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For
the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Grace is really the whole concept of The Book. It is the result of God breaking his
promise of punishment.

Romans 3 (New International Version)

20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather,
through the law we become conscious of sin.
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which
the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in
Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall
short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption
that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through
faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he
had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to
demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those
who have faith in Jesus.

God sent Jesus to make things fair. From the beginning, God had let many sins go
unpunished. Jesus fulfilled the contract and made it fair and legal to not punish
sins. Instead of people walking around knowing that they are guilty and that the
law said that they could and should be punished at any time, Jehovah provided a
way for each and every person to know that no punishment would be
forthcoming. In place of hope of divine mercy, He allowed certainty.

Christians preach about the consequences of sin. But, for generations, God has left many
sins unpunished. He has not consistently followed through on the promise of
retribution for moral transgressions since the beginning of time. What right has
man to judge and cry out for punishment when God Himself frequently chooses
not to do so?

And we ourselves are no better than those we choose to judge.

Romans 2 (New International Version)

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at
whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you
who pass judgment do the same things.

God knew of our need for grace and provided it. We need to put grace in operation in our
lives both by realizing that we are freed from the threat of punishment and also by
acting in the knowledge that grace was granted to everyone.

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Chapter 12 – Stealing Salvation

God cares for all of us. God is merciful. God forgives, with one exception.

Matthew 12 (New International Version)

32"And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but
whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this
age or in the age to come."

What is the sin against the Holy Spirit? God forgave those who killed His Son. What
could be a greater sin than that? Perhaps the sin against the Holy Spirit is stealing the
salvation of someone whom Jesus loved enough to sacrifice all. Those who judge and
condemn turn people away from God. Perhaps this is the unforgivable sin.

Romans 2 (New International Version)

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at
whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass
judgment do the same things.

Blasphemy is slander against the things of God. It is saying that which isn’t so. If God
says that all our sins will be forgiven and that He loves us, and we say things that lead
people to believe that God does not love them and does not want them, then we are in
direct defiance of the often repeated command not to judge. Is this not slandering God?
Are we not attributing to Him things He neither said nor intended? Is this not speaking
against the Holy Spirit?

Mark 3 (New International Version)

28I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29But
whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an
eternal sin." 30He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit."

In this example, the religious people were attributing the work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus
to a devil spirit. They were slandering the power of God.

Christians are commanded to be positive examples. Failing to do so is a sin worthy of the


curse of Jesus. Hell fire is seldom mentioned in the Bible, but failing to do good to others
is punishable by the same penalty as is reserved for Satan and his disciples.

Matthew 25 (New American Standard Bible)

41"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the
eternal fire which has been prepared for)the devil and his angels;

31
42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me
nothing to drink;

43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick,
and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'

44"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or
thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'

45"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to
one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

46"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Jesus reviled the religious leaders of His time. He commands us to be different. Jesus
came to bring acceptance. When He accepts us, God forgives everything that we ever did
wrong. When we turn around and teach unforgiveness and judgment to others – is not this
the only sin for which there is no forgiveness?

Matthew 18 (New International Version)

23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his
servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was
brought to him.25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife
and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will
pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let
him go.

28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a
hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!'
he demanded.

29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will
pay you back.'

30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he
could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly
distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all
that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your
fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers
to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

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35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your
brother from your heart."

These are very strong accounts. God expects us to give as we have received. The law to
love our brother as ourselves is a law, it is not a mild request.

Notice in the parable, the master HAD cancelled the debt. But he brought it back – he
uncancelled it due to the unforgiveness of the servant.

God wants us to welcome others. Jesus says that as we do good to others, we do it to


Him.

Matthew 18 (New International Version)

5"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6But if anyone
causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have
a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

7"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must
come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

Jesus healed and loved. But He also became angry. The anger came when people were
hard-hearted. When they wanted to turn away little children. When people cheated others
in the name of God. When they robbed others of their salvation by living their own
religion in a repulsive manner.

Matthew 21 (New International Version)

12Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
13"It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be called a house of prayer,'but you
are making it a 'den of robbers.'"

And immediately Jesus went back to doing good.

14The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

His anger was in those stealing the treasures of God from His people.

While Jesus healed and preached the love of God, the religious leaders tried to trap Him,
as they had trapped many in the past. Jesus expressed His disgust with these religious
leaders.

Matthew 23 (New American Standard Bible)

24"You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

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25"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup
and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.

26"You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the
outside of it may become clean also.

27"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs
which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and
all uncleanness.

Read the gospels. Hear the truth. As we do good to each other, we minister to Jesus.
Jesus, the King of the Jews, accepted Samaritans and Gentiles. He healed the ear of the
servant of a soldier taking Him off to death. Jesus said that as we do good to others we do
it to Him. We are relating to Jesus, being with Jesus, as we do good to our brothers. And
God’s son also said that as we fail to do so, we are condemning ourselves to the fires of
Hell.

Matthew 23:13 (New American Standard Bible)

13" But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom
of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who
are entering to go in.

“Woe to you” – woe expresses deep and terrible regret. This passage describes people
entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, but the Pharisees cause them to withdraw. Do we
not see this today? People wanting the message of Jesus, but not the rejection that they
see in the churches?

Matthew 23:14 (New American Standard Bible)

14" Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses,
and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater
condemnation.

People turn away from Christianity, because they see their mothers and aunts sending
money to television evangelists who preach long prayers and do no discernible good to
society.

Why do we wonder about the unforgivable sin? Jesus was quite clear when He walked
this earth as to the one thing that made Him mightily angry. He forgave murderers. He
forgave adulterers. But, religious leaders who turned others away from the Kingdom of
God He condemned again and again.

Chapter 13 – All Together

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What is the real purpose of Jesus spending time on earth?

Ephesians 1 (New International Version)

9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which
he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their
fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even
Christ.

All heaven and earth are to be brought together under Christ Jesus. Jesus came to join us
together.

Sometimes the Bible seems to contradict itself.

Matthew 10 (New American Standard Bible)

34" Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace,
but a sword.

35"For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST
HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW;

37"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves
son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Did Jesus come to draw us together? Or tear us apart?

John 12 (New International Version)

32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."

Jesus came to give us new bonds. We are to be bound to God first, and then to our
brother – and father and mother and daughters. We aren’t to be divided into a lot of little
groups or separate family units. We are to be part of the great family of God. Society
frequently segments itself into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Protestant and Catholic, Moslem and
Christian, black and white, liberal and conservative. Our loyalty should be to God first.
Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son – the son of promise – because it was vital that
God be his first love and closest connection.

God first. When we love God first, then He gives us everything else:

Matthew 6 (New International Version)

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31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall
we wear?' 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be
given to you as well.

God knows that we need the support of others.

Genesis 2:18 (New International Version)

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper
suitable for him."

And He will provide.

Philippians 4 (New International Version)

19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

But, just as Abraham had to relinquish his son to God, we need to relinquish our
relationships to God. If we are all bound to the same Lord, then we are bound to each
other by a common link.

This was the reason that Jesus came – not to judge or condemn, but to bind.

Chapter 14 - Introductions Please

How do we know Jesus?

Ask the question in front of an evangelical Christian and you will get a predictable
answer. This answer is equivalent to being told to walk up to the door and ring the
doorbell because the speaker knows that He is home.

But, are there other answers? Can you know Jesus by another name? Could you have
spoken with Him on the subway, or in the trenches, or on the job and never knew His
name?

Matthew 25 (New American Standard Bible)

34"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35'For I
was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me
something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you
came to Me.'

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37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed
You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38'And when did we see You a
stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39'When did we see You sick, or in
prison, and come to You?'

40"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it
to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

This passage clearly states that many serve Jesus unaware of having done so. Who are
these people? In the passage, they are those on His right – a position of honor. Is this
passage stating that those who serve will be seated on the right hand of Jesus – whether
or not they knew they were serving The Christian Lord?

There is a Hindu parable of blind men and an elephant.

The first blind man said that an elephant is very like a wall – because he was feeling its
side.
The next blind man said that an elephant is very like a sword – because he was feeling its
tusk.
The next blind man said that an elephant is very like a rope – because he was feeling its
tail.
Another blind man said that an elephant is very like a snake – because he was feeling its
trunk.
The next blind man said that an elephant is very like a tree – because he was feeling its
leg.
And yet another blind man said that no, an elephant is much more like a sail – because
he was feeling the ear.
And to this parable, I add the blind men who wondered around the area fruitlessly,
finding no elephant to touch, and therefore denied the presence of the elephant.

Jesus, who is a spirit, took the form of a man. Jesus was brutally beaten and killed, and
yet He rose in His human form and ate and taught. Jesus is most obviously not bound by
our rules. Christians accept that Jesus may be called HeyZeuss by our Spanish brothers
and sisters in Christ. Is it not possible that Jesus appeared in other forms to other peoples
and taught them of the same Father whom we know? Perhaps they worship the elbow of
God, while we worship the thumb. We do not know.

Each of us does know the truth we personally have received. We know, because the part
of us that can be convinced, is convinced. Mature faith is knowing. You know whether
or not the light is turned on in your living room. You know whether the light has been
turned on in your heart.

If you are not sure, then it is not on. Ask God to reveal the truth. Ask repeatedly, whether
or not you are even convinced that there is a God. And when you feel led, follow the

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peace. The leading of God is always surrounded by peace – even in the midst of conflict.
I cannot convince you, and God will not convince you, unless you ask.

Matthew 7 (New American Standard Bible)

21"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he
who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name,
and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO
PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

Certainly the converse is true. Being Christian in name only will not guarantee salvation.
Perhaps one can be Christian in spirit without being so in name.

Chapter 15 - Jesus

Jesus is the source of the most powerful religion on planet Earth. He is the self-
proclaimed Messiah, prophesied since the beginning. He was there, in the beginning,
creating the universe with God.

John 1 (New American Standard Bible)

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being
that has come into being.

One would expect this source of power and light to be born from a virtuous lineage.
Surely, as He fulfilled prophesy after prophesy, He would also choose not to break the
laws of God His Father. Yet the birth of the Messiah broke many laws and conventions.

Only a few women are listed in the genealogy of Jesus: Tamar, the woman who
pretended to be a harlot in order to seduce her father-in-law; Rahab, the prostitute who
hung out a red thread after helping Joshua; Ruth the Moabitess, and Bathsheba who
committed adultery with King David - a man after God's own heart.

In Deuteronomy 22, it states that David and Bathsheba should have both been put to
death. In Deuteronomy 23 it says that a person begotten out of wedlock shall not enter
into the congregation - nor shall their children up to the tenth generation. You can count
for me, but I believe that David was the tenth generation of Perez who was born out of
wedlock due to his mother having seduced her father-in-law. And it says that no
descendent of a Moabite shall ever enter into the kingdom of God - forever. Jesus was a
descendent of Ruth.

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I have had a member of a Catholic sect (offshoot of Catholicism) tell me that they
believed that all the women ancestors of Jesus were born through immaculate conception.
They didn't read their Bible. Rahab was no virgin when she married into the Jewish
congregation.

The law was 'perfect' - and yet it would have excluded the greatest king in the history of
Judaism and our Savior Himself.

And Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, broke many laws. It was against the law to harvest on the
Sabbath.

Matthew 12:1-5 (New International Version)

1At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were
hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2When the Pharisees saw
this, they said to him, "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath."

And it was unlawful to associate with those who were not Jewish:

John 4:8-10 (New International Version)

9The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How
can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

And this woman was an immoral woman. It was very compromising for Jesus to speak
with her at all, let alone in the manner in which He did.

The rules of God cut out those whom God himself cut in. There can be no earthly rules
which exclude that can do so with total justice. We have to have rules, and we have to
enforce them. But we need to always look with our hearts in doing so.

The life and deeds of Jesus were prophesied in the Old Testament. There were a number
of Hebrews, including Judas, who believed that Jesus was the Messiah until it became
clear that He was not going to be a triumphant military leader. The Bible frequently does
not say when an event will occur, and in the case of Jesus, He himself revealed a twist –
that all that He had to accomplish would not be accomplished between His birth and
death – part of it would wait until later – much later as it turns out.

The prophesy from Isaiah predicted many of the things that Jesus came to do:

Isaiah 61 (New International Version)

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,


because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

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to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor


and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—


to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins


and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

But, when Jesus read the scroll, and claimed that it referred to Himself, He did not read
the whole passage:

Luke 4 (New International Version)

17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the
place where it is written:
18"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,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

20Then 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, 21and he began by
saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

The earthly life of Jesus stopped without visiting any vengeance of God upon us. Instead
of destroying, He healed.

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Many Christians have tried to live their lives by saying, “What would Jesus do?” Well,
what DID Jesus do.

He woke each morning and spent significant time with God. He healed and taught. And
He also made time to be alone and to be alone with His friends.

Jesus loved. He reached people with gifts of healing, with miracles, with food. He loved
the unlovable. The Son of God touched the untouchable – the leper and the woman with
the issue of blood both were unclean and Jesus should have had a period of ceremonial
uncleanness Himself after each episode. But, the Savior chose to risk Himself and His
busy schedule in order to act with compassion. This wasn’t His only violation of the
Jewish law. The Messiah healed the sick and instructed His disciples to pick wheat on the
Sabbath. He ate with tax collectors and Samaritans. He healed a Roman child.

Jesus did good – whether or not it was according to the rules. He followed a higher
commandment, one that was frequently at cross-purposes with the law that had been
given by the very God whom Jesus served. As Jehovah’s representative, the Messiah did
what was most expedient in order to accomplish the most good. Isn’t obedience good?
How can breaking the rules be right? How can doing wrong be right? Isn’t failing to
follow the law wrong?

The Christ stated that God reads the heart.

Jesus also became very angry many times. He trapped Pharisees in their own words. He
gave them scathing rebukes – including calling them empty tombs, well scrubbed on the
outside. Jesus was in frequent conflict with a variety of religious leaders. He condemned
rules that fail to acknowledge the individual. He threatened damnation to those who
rejected others. In tiredness and pain, the Savior acted with love to the hurt and the
broken hearted. He forgave thieves and adulterers. Later, the Son of God recruited
murderers to His service.

The only, only thing that made this religious leader angry was a lack of compassion in
religious leaders.

What did Jesus do? He led by an example of love and He condemned those in authority
who showed no compassion.

Chapter 16 – Assuredness of Salvation

God did follow through on some very dramatic negative promises. Lot’s wife was turned
into a pillar of salt when she looked back at the destruction of Sodom after being told not
to do so. The Egyptians were punished dramatically for not releasing the Hebrews.
David’s son of adultery died.

Jehovah is loving, but He is also very powerful, and He does get angry.

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How does one acquire assurance of salvation?

Other religions of the world teach of enlightenment and of endless rebirth until one gets it
right. Many of the goals of these religions are similar to those of Christianity. The major
differences are that Christianity, as Islam and Judaism, teach of one God who must be
worshiped. And Christianity teaches of Jesus, the Christ.

God did fulfill the positive promises in the Bible. And yet, His people did not maintain
fellowship with Him.

God is an infinite being. It was difficult for man to connect or relate with this omnipotent
and omniscient one. And so God sent a part of Himself, to be born as a human being and
live and be frail as a man.

The Lord replaced a great book of regulations with one requirement.

Romans 10 (New American Standard Bible)

9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God
raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he
confesses, resulting in salvation.

Many refuse to accept this because they feel that it excludes. I have had so many people
tell me what amounts to, “I don’t want to go to a heaven that wouldn’t accept Ghandi.”

It is important to read what is stated and not read what isn’t stated. If you were standing
in line at Disney World and the gatekeeper motioned you to go to the head of the line – it
would be a gift to you. It might or might not affect the day of those still waiting in line. It
would mean that you did not have to wait in line.

Jesus said:

Matthew 5 (New American Standard Bible)

17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to
abolish them but to fulfill them.

The Savior came to save. He didn’t come to add rules and regulations, Jesus came to
make it easy, to cut through the red tape and to include everyone.

Romans 1 (New American Standard Bible)

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16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of
everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Christianity is about inclusion.

Jesus came to add love and acceptance – not rules and condemnation.

Under the rules of many religions, enlightenment is sought for lifetimes. Under the
Jewish law, one did not necessarily know of one’s salvation. Up to the time that Jesus
came, there was no shortcut, no assuredness. One did the best one could and hoped it was
enough, or one ignored or rejected the teachings of those who sought fellowship with the
God of creation. The Messiah came to give a ticket to salvation:

Romans 10 (New American Standard Bible)

9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God
raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes,
resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

If one accepts Jesus as Lord, then there is assurance of salvation. One knows. Don’t we
want to KNOW?

Chapter 17 – Aggressive Christians

Hollywood frequently portrays Christians in a less than favorable light. These born-again
Christians get in people’s faces, claim to know the only truth and are quite adamant about
wanting everyone else to accept it as well. They are blatantly intolerant.

In dealing with any difficult person, I have always found it most helpful to look at their
motivation. It is seldom that people are evil. In most cases, the worst motivation present
is having a personal agenda. In the case of these Christians, this isn’t even the case. Many
of these adamant and annoying individuals are quaking in their boots, wishing they were
anywhere else.

So, why do they do it?

They believe that the Bible states that only those who know Jesus will go to heaven and
they want YOU to go to heaven. Oh, some of these people are wrapped up in some sort of
score card for their religious organization. But, the reason behind the recruitment in the
first place is being scared to death that people that they love, respect, or for whom they
merely feel compassion may not go to heaven.

And so they try to cram Jesus down your throat.

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Chapter 18 – Why Are We Here?

Continually, I hear the argument that God does not exist because there is evil in the
world. Why are we here?

I find it impossible to believe that we are merely a bunch of hamsters that are born to eat
and drink, soil our environment, raise pups and die.

Then, where did we originate and where do we go? And WHY?

Within each person is a place of knowing and seeking. Why do we even ask why? If we
are hamsters, why don’t we just accept whatever comes? It is because of our souls that
we want to KNOW. And it is within our souls that we recognize truth.

Are we created for the very first time when we are conceived? I don’t know. Are we
sentient beings prior to birth? Again I don’t know. Do we continue on beyond this life?
Yes. I KNOW that we do. Is this life important to the next life? Yes, vitally.

If we are born to an existence with no conflict where everyone loves one another and no
one does anything wrong – then why experience this world at all? I am totally convinced
that a life of ease is not the purpose of our glimpse of humanity. Being loved teaches easy
love. Easy love is valuable. Every child of five should be totally versed in it.

But, we are here to learn essential lessons that we will carry with us into the next world.
THAT is why we are here. And poverty, adversity and pain teach us.

Who do you know who is wise? What kind of life did they live?

Who do you know that you respect? How easy has it been for them to become worthy of
that respect?

Where do you go for examples of how to live? Who touches you? The rich kid who took
over his father’s business and spends all his time and money on work and himself? Or the
amputee who overcame his adversity to become a success, and who gives generously of
both time and money to help others?

We know, YOU know that having it rough and getting through is what makes us strong.
It is how we learn. External loss can lead to dejection, depression and a useless life, or it
can lead to victory and enormous internal growth. Passing through the fire changes us. It
turns us into ashes, or into finished gold.

There IS a deeper meaning to life. There is joy. But, the joy does not come from getting
what we think we want. The joy comes from fulfilling our purpose here.

The following passage is called The Beatitudes. Jesus preached it to the masses. It
confuses many modern Christians.

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Matthew 5 - (New American Standard Bible)

3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

These are the humble, who seek after God. They do not exalt themselves, or feel that they
can do it all alone.

4"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Mourning indicates intimate personal loss and suffering as a result.

5"Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

When is there need for gentleness? When dealing with the small, the wounded, the
helpless – with those who are hurting or who are vulnerable to pain.

6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

When do we hunger and thirst? When there is food and drink before us? Or when there is
none to be found? Is this not saying “Blessed are those who see or suffer unrighteousness
and continually seek to right the wrongs and see good win out”?

7"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

In a kind and gentle world, would there be need of mercy?

8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

In a world without corruption, all would be pure.

9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

And without war and conflict, there would be no need of peacemakers.

10"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs
is the kingdom of heaven.

11"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds
of evil against you because of Me.

12"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they
persecuted the prophets who were before you.

For years I have puzzled over The Beatitudes. I thought life’s goal was perfection and
these verses just do not fit with that goal.

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But the goal is learning. The goal is to be in the fray, resisting corruption, bringing peace
and gentleness to those who are hurting. We are here to love and mourn; to fight for right
in the face of wrong; to seek peace in the face of conflict. We are to experience the great
sea of humanity, risking pain and sorrow and loss. We are to endure.

James (New American Standard Bible)

12Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will
receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

13"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made
salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled
under foot by men.

We are not here to live a bland life. We are to be tried and tested and persevere. We are to
be salty. Life is a test. It is a piece of a greater life. This is boot camp – it isn’t pleasant –
it isn’t meant to be. It is meant to determine if we have what it takes.

Chapter 19 - Reincarnation

Does the Bible teach reincarnation?

Matthew 11 (New International Version)

10This is the one about whom it is written:


" 'I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.' 11I tell you the truth: Among those born of
women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in
the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 13For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied
until John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

Elijah was born in the Old Testament, and he was born hundreds of years later in the New
Testament. Isn’t this reincarnation?

Buddhism and Hinduism teach of a rebirth cycle whose goal is to be released. Does that
really conflict with our Bible?

Revelations has confused Christians since it was written, but yet it was chosen as the
conclusion of our Holy Book. LeHaye wrote best sellers of the end times, based very
directly on Revelations. These books describe a final dramatic attempt to get people to
accept The Christ, the Son of God.

Why would there be such an intense push if the people living in the end were just the
people who happened to be born last? Isn’t this unfair? Uncle Joe goes to hell with no
one particularly caring about it, but Great Niece Matthilda gets to see the sky darkened

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and the oceans turned to blood, and so she confesses Jesus as her savior and is eternally
rewarded. Doesn’t it make more sense if Uncle Joe is also actually Matthilda’s friend
Jeremy? Joe’s had a chance to believe being poor, rich, Indian, American and now he has
a chance with signs and miracles. Joe’s had EVERY chance to believe that God IS the
creator, God IS in control and that God has sent a contractual easy ticket to eternal life –
Jesus, who loved the world enough to die for it.

Now it makes sense. It makes sense on many levels.

Other Biblical issues make sense as well. Why did God order his people to kill whole
villages of people? If the lost souls were only going to have this life and then hell, it
seems cruel for God to order them sped along their way. However, if the result was
reincarnation, then it makes perfect sense to end the lives they were wasting and let them
try again.

The religions that teach reincarnation state that the goal is release from the endless cycle
of birth and rebirth. The Christian Bible says:

John 3 (New International Version)

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes
in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus is the way to another life – a life away from this existence. A precious life:

Matthew 13 (New International Version)

44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid
it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

When we find truth, and it strikes our hearts, the declarations of others cannot uproot it.
Our vision, all human vision, is narrow. There is a place of knowing in our hearts, and
there is a place of fear. Sometimes we get the two confused. The Christian Bible speaks
of accomplishing reunion with God in one lifetime. Therefore Christians ASSUME that it
cannot be done in more than one lifetime. In our place of knowing, we who have
accepted Jesus KNOW that he is THE answer to all our questions. But, do we KNOW
about what others feel? If people know in their place of knowing that there is
reincarnation, and we deny it from our place of fear, then they will not be able to hear
anything else we have to say. If you tell me that the sun will not rise tomorrow and
obviously believe it, I will cease to hear you as you speak of other things, for I am certain
that you are mistaken. If I cannot believe you in something that I know, how will I be
able to believe you in something I do not know?

Reincarnation does not challenge our Christian beliefs in any way.

Mark 16 (King James Version)

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16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be
damned.

The references to damnation don’t say when. In every other way, Jehovah is a God of
many chances. Christians visit those on death row to convert them. Why does
reincarnation challenge these beliefs?

Chapter 20 - Filling in the Blanks

The Bible says that those who reject Jesus will be condemned and many Christians
believe that that means that one must formally confess the Lordship and Divinity of Jesus
in front of other Christians in order to be saved – in order to be accepted in the family of
God.

However, the study of logic teaches us that failing to accept does not equal active
rejection. I have already discussed the possibility that acceptance of Jesus may be
accomplished in ways other than doing so in a church experience, and that God has a
long history of accepting those whom the Bible stated would be rejected.

Who did God include after they were excluded?

Moabites, Ninnevites, Murderers, Samaritans….

Gentiles:

Romans 2 (New American Standard Bible)

12For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all
who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13for it is not the hearers of
the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14For when
Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having
the Law, are a law to themselves,

Gentiles are simply ‘not Jews’. And even in the earthly lifetime of Jesus, before He died
on the cross for our sins, the Messiah said that they were accepted if they followed the
rules of Jehovah. Jesus preached a universal acceptance based on the heart.

And there is the question of timing. In the case of Jesus and the Isaiah prophesy, there
was a pause of at least two thousand years between verses. We don’t know the timing of
God. We don’t know if there is a second chance after death or when the soul is hanging
between this life and the next, or in another life – either here or in a place that has neither
been mentioned nor described. A place that is neither earth, nor heaven, nor hell. Do we

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have parallel existences as physics describes? I personally reject this option because I
believe in divine guidance and free choice. But my opinion hardly makes it so.

There are possibilities and worlds beyond what we can imagine. We should not limit
God. We are so small and limited in what we know.

Hebrews 2:6-11 (New International Version)

6But there is a place where someone has testified:


"What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
7You made him a little lower than the angels;
you crowned him with glory and honor
8 and put everything under his feet."
In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at
present we do not see everything subject to him.

Someday everything will be subject to God. Will all men be given a chance to willingly
accept this responsibility? Will that give the unsaved a ticket to salvation and into the
presence of God?

Conclusion

The Christian Bible says that those who fail to believe in Jesus will be condemned. But it
also says that those who don’t judge others will not be condemned.

The Bible says that those who accept Jesus will be saved. Jesus walked the earth as a
man, but none of us alive today knew Him in that form. So how do we know Jesus? The
Bible says that those who love know God. Do we automatically become familiar with
Jesus when we love? When we serve others are we serving Jesus as the Bible says?

Christians accept that a murderer can be ‘saved’ on his death bed. Christians also accept
that there is life after death. Can we be saved after this life has ended?

Condemned is a word that means to be found guilty. The word does not carry with it an
implied punishment that is the result of being found guilty. The New Testament talks
very little about the punishment for failing to believe. It talks a lot about the rewards of
believing.

The Old Testament, by contrast, talks about both punishment and rewards. God always
granted the rewards and seldom granted the punishment. Jehovah failed to enforce his
own law again and again and again. God granted mercy.

Jesus came to gather in his sheep with healing and love and promises of great reward.

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The emphasis of many churches has moved from belief in a loving Father who will do
almost anything imaginable to bring His children to Him, to a rigid set of rules. The
rigidity frequently found today reflects the attitude of the authorities that Jesus called
‘whited sepulchers’ when He walked this earth.

Again and again, the Bible says “Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged”. Again and again it
says, “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.”

These are our instructions for living. God is not The Enforcer. We need to realize that He
has infinite power and could be the enforcer. But, God is Love. This is the primary
message of the Bible. Love.

Love is the commandment of Jesus. Jesus said that the whole law and the prophets is
summarized in the commandments to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Judging other people precludes love. The Bible also directly states many times that
judging others is prohibited. When we judge, we condemn. We are not to judge others or
ourselves.

1 John 3 (New International Version)

16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought
to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his
brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear
children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then
is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his
presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he
knows everything.
21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God

We are not qualified to judge, and we have been forbidden to do so. We have been given
more positive tasks to do than we can do in a lifetime. Our hearts and minds
should be concentrated on the acts of love that we have been commanded to
perform.

And, the end does not justify the means. Striking fear in people’s heart in order to save
them is not what God intended.

1 John 4:18 (New American Standard Bible)

18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves
punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Hellfire and damnation may have apparently saved the souls of ignorant people in ages
past – but it has alienated intelligent people by the millions. And it is not what the

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Bible teaches. Does the Bible mention it? Yes, in the heavily allegorical book of
Revelations and in specific contexts elsewhere.

By contrast, the Bible speaks of mercy, love, and forgiveness throughout its many books.
It forbids us to judge in hundreds of verses. And the Bible says that there is no
fear in love. Fear is not the path to God’s plan of love.

Love is the message.

God teaches:
Forgiveness. Acceptance. Giving. Receiving. Love. Love. Love.

Teach the true message and who can resist?

The End

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.


Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by
permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

"Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,


Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

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