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God – the Heavenly Hierarchy

The word ‘God’ is used in two basic ways in the Bible.

On one hand, it’s the corporate name given to the Father, Son, and Spirit who have worked together in the creation, care, and judgment of mankind. This is Hebrew el-o-heem – our God in plurality from the beginning (i.e. Genesis 1:1-2 & John 1:1-14).

Different beings labeled as ‘God’:
Father: the father of spirits (Hebrews 12:9), the father who gives us the Spirit (Luke 11:13), and the father who forgives (Matthew 6:14-15). The name of our Heavenly Father of Spirits: Jehovah. We, beginning with the Jews, are instructed to call Him by this name.

Son: came to earth and took human form (spirit in body like us) to become the sacrifice for all. He has earned the right to rescue us from judgment. He sits in the kingdom of heaven at the right side of God the father (Ephesians 1:19-20).

Spirit: described as the ‘breath of god’, He is currently on earth to guide and instruct those who follow the Christ (John 16:13).

But, they’re corporately the same just like company employees or a husband and wife may be of one mind. Jesus pointed this out when claiming that He and His father were one and the same (John 14:11).

On the other hand, God has been used as a title for our heavenly father, who is also labeled as the father of spirits. This makes sense considering His creation of the spirit in mankind.

Unfortunately, manmade doctrine has distorted our understanding of God – His character and name, and hierarchy alike. Jehovah, our creator, will one day judge all spirits for how they used the body while on earth whether for evil or good works. We’d better figure out who He is and what He wants . . . and in a hurry!

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from http://www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Evangelism: When enough is enough . . .

I’ve often witnessed someone focusing on trying to maintain what ends up being a tumultuous and unhealthy relationship because they believe they’ll eventually ‘lead the other person to Christ’. In business, this could be considered a bad ROI – Return on Investment – of the resources spent trying to ‘save’ someone.
We’re not responsible for saving people, only for passing on the good news of salvation from God’s wrath to come. The receiver must choose what to do with the information and any prompting by the Spirit of God. Granted, evangelizing that good news will benefit from relationships; however, you may reach a point when ‘enough is enough’ – especially if the relationship is emotionally or spiritually harmful to you. And, your time may be better spent in moving forward in telling others the good news and discipling those who become willing participants in a covenant with God through the Christ.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” —Matthew 9:37-38.

“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.” —Matthew 10:14.

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” —Matthew 7:6.

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!
And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from http://www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Back from mission ‘Disciple Africa’

Back from mission ‘Disciple Africa’ and, as Joanne says, “Our eyes have seen things our minds can’t comprehend“.

Please check out a summary of the trip and some photos at

http://findingrevelation.com/FindingDiscipleship/Africa%202015.htm

Remember: We’re ALL called to preach the good news of salvation, and some are called to teach. Those who don’t/can’t travel to evangelize or teach can still be obedient to the commandment for the Church to do so by funding those who can!  Will you consider partnering with us to return to Kenya and Uganda in 2016 to ‘train the trainer’ as we’ll teach nearly 300 pastors to train their villagers in discipleship and evangelism?

Blessings,

Ron Braley

Being Nice is, well, nice . . . but Kindness is the Commandment!

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. —James 2:14-17.

But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. —Matthew 21:28-30.

A smile or nice word may make the initiator and recipient feel good. But being ‘nice’ or tickling peoples’ ears by saying what we think they want to hear does nothing for obedience to our God or Christ’s commandments. And that’s what matters.

Instead, love others with the love of our God and Christ – the kind of love that exclaims, “I’m going to do the right thing by you despite how I feel” – the Greek ‘agape’ love. Smile or not. Wax eloquent in speech or spew words dripping in honey . . . or don’t. Regardless, act out of faith and honor your heavenly Father in true worship (i.e. self-control of your body) and your fellow human through benevolence. After all, that’s how we’ll be judged in the last days.

“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. ‘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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’” —Matthew 25:34-36.

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

On the Last Day . . .

As revealed in the last blog, an end to this age and judgment are coming! There’s no point in sugar-coating the basic truth regarding how things will end, and of the salvation God has offered from His judgment to come:

  • Jesus came to save the lost and accomplish the will of His Father: reconcile with His creation.

This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” —John 6:30-40.

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. —2Corinthians 5:18-20.

He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —Colossians 1:22.

  • All will be raised in the last day: some for punishment via hell, prepared for all disobedient spiritual beings; others for reward and eternal life as they’re reconciled with their creator.

Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. —Daniel 12:1-3.

 “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” —John 12:48.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. —Revelation 20:11-15.

  • After the last day, The Father of Spirits (as He’s referred to by the writer of Hebrews) will destroy the old creation and usher in a new heaven and earth. At that time, He will dwell amongst those rewarded for their faithfulness. They will be His people, and He will be their God.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” —Revelation 21:1-4.

Where will you be on the last day . . . or the day after?

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Apocalyptic Misquotes . . . Part X

“God is Love!”

Misquote: God is Love!Actually, God IS love; however, this ‘love’ is grossly misunderstood. And, the common misunderstanding of the love that God is and does lends itself to a dangerous and pervasive view that anyone in His good favor should never suffer and will have anything they want . . . Please see my earlier blogs titled “God has a plan for me!”, “I can do all things Through Christ”, “No Weapon Formed Against me will Prosper” and “In Jesus’ Name” in Apocalyptic Misquotes Parts I, IV, and VI for more information related to this prosperity Gospel and spiritual rock star mentality so prevalent in churches today.

This misunderstanding is based on 1John – 1John 4:8 and 16 in particular. The first thing we must do is understand the context of John’s comments about God being love. The next thing we’ll do is explore the meaning of that ‘love’, which you’ll learn is consistent, appropriate action – not emotion.

The theme and context of 1John Chapter 4 boils down to a fair and just God that will judge the world and save the righteous. This text serves as a reminder that our actionable love, which is obedience to Jesus’ commandments out of our faith, mirrors God’s just nature and is the basis for our coming salvation. Here’s a breakdown of the verses.

Verses 1-6: Differentiating ourselves from the world.

Verses 7-17: God is actionable love. He has promised a savior for mankind and kept His promise.  We should be like Him and actionably love one another because He has done the same for us as we abide in Him and He in us through the Spirit.

Verses 18-21: A sobering reminder that actionable love born of our faith is critical to salvation – rescuing from God’s judgment to come. Being nice, feeling spiritual, belief alone, or having lots of knowledge about the Bible kept private are of no use to God, our Christ, or the Church.

I keep mentioning ‘actionable’ love, which is based on the Greek agape and agapao (is love and action born of love). Nowhere does Scripture or the New Testament Gospel or letters suggest God is ‘nice’ or that we should be that way. With the exception of a few uses of a Greek-based phil love (i.e. Philadelphia – brotherly love), the only ‘love’ you’ll see related to God and our Christ is actionable, non-emotion-based, agape/agapao love. This is one that equates to, “I’ll treat you appropriately despite how I feel.” Instead, we’re to be fair, kind, patient, repentant, self-controlled, etc.  Hmmm . . . sounds a lot like the actions (fruits) shown by those who belong to God and, therefore, have the Spirit as they abide in God and He in them . . .

So, God is love because He has treated us appropriately and kept His promise to send a savior despite the way He has ‘felt’ toward mankind at times throughout history. He is just to save and to forgive when we are in covenant with Him as so many of the New Testament letters show. Please see my earlier blog titled, “True Love” for more background on the kind  of love God had and has for us, and we should have for each other.

Act fairly, justly, kindly, and consistently as our God also has done for us . . . and live!

For a very comprehensive and detailed study of this and other related topics, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Next week, we’ll look at more great examples of personal interpretation and bad hermeneutics as we continue to explore common misquotes and abuses of Scripture. The next misquoted or misunderstood topic: “Jesus can’t come back until we evangelize the world!

Paying to Hear a Word?

Interesting . . . Once local bishops began collecting money and property for the ‘church’ in the second-third century, Pandora’s box had been opened. Instead of sharing resources to care for each other, we’ve demanded resources for the ‘business’ of church – generally under the guise of a tithe (another sore subject!). Blessings. rb