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Thread: Christ's Commandments

  1. #436
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:1 . . Let brotherly love continue.

    Brotherly love is way different than neighborly love. Brothers are kin, while neighbors are outsiders; ergo: one's kin in Christ should always have the priority when forced to make a choice between a brother and a neighbor.

    The directives are different too. Christians love their neighbors as they love themselves (Matt 19:19) while loving their brothers as Christ loves them (John 13:34).
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:2 . . Do not neglect to be hospitable with strangers; for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

    Webster's defines "hospitable" as: given to generous and cordial reception of guests, promising or suggesting generous and friendly welcome, offering a pleasant or sustaining environment.

    Inviting strangers into one's own home could easily result in the murder of your entire family, along with the theft of your belongings. So, I'm thinking Heb 13:2 is not saying that; rather, it's talking about congregations; viz: churches.

    I think it's very important to make non members-- visitors --feel at home in church: make them feel welcome to return. Not only is that the neighborly thing to do, but you just never know if that next stranger through the door was guided there by providence and has the potential to increase your church's spiritual value to God. I say that because the Greek word for angels doesn't necessarily indicate celestial beings.
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  3. #438
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:3 . . Remember prisoners, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

    "the body" isn't referring to the overall, worldwide Christian fraternity. No, it's a specific human body: the one in which Christ was crucified.

    "We are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery-- but I am talking about Christ and the church." (Eph 5:30-32)

    The prisoners mentioned are not just any jailbird in lock-up; but rather, it's limited to those who are "in the body" viz: in Christ.

    "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body" (1Cor 12:12-13)

    The tenor of the command is, I think, restricted to Christians mistreated and/or confined for their religious beliefs and practices rather than actual crimes. There's lot of that sort of thing going on today in Muslim countries. America is well-known for its religious tolerance; other countries, not so much.
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  4. #439
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:4 . . Let marriages be respected: and the bed kept unsoiled; for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

    A number of despicable behaviors are listed in the 18th chapter of Leviticus; and one of them-- listed right along with incest and LGBT --is adultery.

    Rom 1:18 says that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, and goes on to list not only LGBT as one of those ungodly, unrighteous behaviors worthy of the wrath of God, but also sexual impurity and the degrading of people's bodies with one another. Sexual impurity and degradation includes not only sleeping around and/or cohabitating, but also adultery.

    Some Christians don't know the meaning of "respect" when it comes to marriage. It means to treat someone else's spouse as a sacred object. I've seen for myself how some Christians think it's terrible to trespass on private property and/or steal the silverware when they're invited over for dinner; but at the same time get just a bit too chummy with their host's spouse.

    There's a popular song going around with these words:

    You don't own me
    I'm not just one of your many toys
    You don't own me
    Don't say I can't go with other boys.

    The lyrics of that song-- originally recorded by Lesley Gore in 1963 --depict a defiant girl standing up to a possessive boyfriend. Well; those lyrics may be true for temporary lovers; but are very contrary to God's thinking when it comes to marriage.

    There is no Hebrew word for either husband or wife in the Old Testament. No, the English words for husband and wife are derived from the presence of gender-sensitive possessive pronouns; viz: her and his.

    "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Gen 2:24)

    The Hebrew word for "wife" in that passage is 'ishshah (ish-shaw') which just simply indicates a female; regardless of age. The possessive pronoun "his" makes the 'ishshah somebody's wife, i.e. his woman.

    "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Gen 3:6)

    The Hebrew word for "husband" in that verse is 'enowsh (en-oshe') which just simply indicates a mortal; viz: a guy, a male; regardless of age. The possessive pronoun "her" makes the 'enowsh somebody's husband, i.e. her man.

    So the aspect of possession is a key element in marriage; and adulterers are nothing in the world but thieves. In point of fact, in 2007, when a suburban Chicago man, Arthur Friedman, found out his wife was cheating on him with another man named German Blinov, he was heartbroken. But unlike many other people, Friedman didn't "get over" it. Instead, he filed a lawsuit against Mr. Blinov for stealing the love and affections of his wife. A Cook County jury ordered Blinov to pay a total $4,802 to Mr. Friedman for stealing his wife.

    While the idea of suing your wife's or husband's lover for stealing their affections might sound ridiculous, it is indeed quite legal to do so. Mr. Friedman used a lesser-known state law to attack and sue his wife's lover. The law is called the "alienation of affection" law. In fact, there are eight of these types of laws across the United States. It allows violated spouses to seek damages for the loss of love to a wife or husband's lover.

    "The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife." (1Cor 7:4)

    A wedding vow then, could be said to be a transfer of ownership just like signing over the pink slip to a car or the deed to real estate. So then, always keep those possessive pronouns in mind when associating with somebody else's spouse; and keep your pea-pickin' hands off the merchandise!
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  5. #440
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:5a . . Let your conduct be without covetousness;

    Not all covetousness is prohibited; for example 1Cor 12:31 where Christians are exhorted to eagerly desire certain spiritual gifts.

    The Greek word in this instance refers to avarice; defined by Webster's as excessive, or insatiable, desire for wealth or gain; viz: greediness and cupidity.

    Were an avaricious person asked how much and/or how many it would take to satisfy them; their answer would no doubt be "more" because it's in their nature to grasp.
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:5b . . and be content with such things as ye have.

    Since the writer connected this directive with avarice, I would have to say his focus in that verse is on moderation; defined by Webster's as reasonable limits and/or average; viz: avoiding extremes.

    "He himself has said: I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can Man do to me?" (Heb 13:5-6)

    Well, I think the mortgage crisis in 2008, the stock market crash, the 401K meltdowns, the ENRON collapse, the decline in oil production, the GM financial mess, the national debt, massive nationwide lay-offs, the proliferation of Islamic terrorism, and Mr. Bernard Lawrence Madoff easily demonstrate that Man can hurt me quite a bit.

    I lost an appreciable amount from my retirement account when the housing bubble burst, and the market crashed due to the bankruptcy of Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, and AIG; thus proving the Lord's words that thieves break in and steal (Matt 6:49-21) and some of those thieves are managing banks and innocent people's investments!

    However, in spite of all those threats to my peace of mind, I still believe in providence; i.e. the Lord will get me through it all somehow. Well; so far so good.
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:7 . . Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

    The "leaders" of that particular verse refer to the ones who captained Moses' people over the centuries; e.g. Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David. Elijah, Ezra, and Nehemiah; and the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah; et al. about whom the Bible says:

    "Who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies." (Heb 11:33-34)

    "Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- the world was not worthy of them." (Heb 11:35-38)

    "They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." (Heb 11:39-40)

    There was once an advertisement for a beer on television that said, in so many words: "You only go around once, so do it with all the gusto you can get!" Well; Christ's believing followers should not be thinking like that. They don't go around once; the real gusto is yet to come.
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  8. #443
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:9 . . Do not be carried away by strange and varied teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace rather than foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited.

    The words "carried away" weren't translated from Greek words. They're arbitrary insertions; viz: they're words that a translating committee penciled into the English text so as to make the passage say what they guessed it's supposed to be saying. Arbitrary insertions are pretty common and nobody seems to fear they might be adulterating the Bible.

    The word "strange" is translated from the Greek word xenos (xen'-os) which essentially refers to someone or something with which Christians are unfamiliar. For example; though most Christians are familiar with the dietary laws contained in the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God, Christ's followers are under no obligation to comply with them for the simple reason that those laws are contractual. Well; Christians per se, are not contracted with God to comply with those laws. Hence those dietary laws amount to "strange" teachings; viz: they're unchristian.

    Now, what I find curious about Heb 13:9 is the fact that the anointing spoken of in 1John 2:26-27 is supposed to steer those who have it away from deception while at the same time aligning them with the truth. So then, that being the case, then it's clearly possible for those with the anointing to ignore its guidance and buy into strange and varied teachings.

    Another thing I should point out is that according to 1Thess 5:19, it's possible to quench the anointing's guidance; viz: snuff it out like one would snuff a candle so that it no longer produces light to illuminate one's path: and that's not a good thing.

    "This is the message we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." (1John 1:5-6)
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  9. #444
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:16 . . And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

    Doing good and sharing are bloodless sacrifices; and in point of fact are far more likely to be accepted by God than the death of birds and beasts.

    In the first chapter of the book of Isaiah, God lambasted Moses' people for bringing all the correct, God-mandated sacrifices to the Temple. Why? Because those sacrifices were insulting while His people were not only crooks; but also lacking the milk of human kindness. The sacrifices that God preferred over and above the Temple offerings were the below:

    "Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." (Isa 1:17)

    "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." (Hos 6:6)

    So "doing good" consists of doing what's right, and seeking kindness and fairness across the board for everyone; including the disadvantaged and the disenfranchised.

    The US Government has been notoriously negligent in doing good by its chronic failure to honor its treaties with Native Americans. Not long ago I read in my local paper about 50 years of Federal foot-dragging in respect to honoring its commitment to provide tribes situated along the Columbia River with fishing villages to replace the ones that were obliterated due to construction of The Dalles dam. Well; God takes note of that sort of thing; nobody is getting by with anything.
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  10. #445
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:17 . . Heed those who lead you, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

    Christianity is not a democracy. No; it is a theocracy with a monarch at its head-- a monarch who regards dissent and disobedience as insurrection.

    "Has Yhvh as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of Yhvh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry." (1Sam 15:22-23)

    I knew a Christian that actually started a web site for the express purpose of criticizing his church's leadership. Please don't ever do something like that.

    If perchance Christ's believing followers should find themselves under church leadership that they cannot-- in all good conscience --respect, follow, and obey; and/or simply cannot give their whole-hearted, unreserved support; then it's time to abandon ship and move on rather than remain and rack up negative points against themselves that will most certainly erode their reward when they stand before the King for their personal evaluation.
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  11. #446
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Heb 13:22-23 . . I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.

    The epistle to Hebrews hardly seems "brief" but maybe in those days it amounted to little more than a memo.

    Christ's teachings as per the epistles are sometimes regarded as recommendations; viz: as advice, rather than law. That's not the way his thoughts are supposed to be taken; no, not at all. The writer of Hebrews didn't say his word is a collection of suggestions, rather, as exhortation; which Webster's defines as language intended to incite and encourage. In other words: the teachings in Hebrews are meant to be taken seriously rather than with a grain of salt; if you know what I mean.

    Exhortation is taken from the Greek word paraklesis (par-ak'-lay-sis) which is an ambiguous word that not only means exhortation, but also solace; which Webster's defines as a source of relief and/or consolation; viz: encouragement. In other words; the letter to Hebrews is for the reader's own good; in more ways than just rules and laws.

    It's interesting how various people perceive the Bible. Some see it as a threat to human safety and dignity; while others see it as a source of friendship and mentoring.

    "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being rescued and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life." (2Cor 2:14-17)
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  12. #447
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    The epistle of James is another like the epistle to Hebrews whose target audience is the author's "brethren" viz: the twelve tribes of Israel; a.k.a. the Diaspora (Jas 1:1). So then, the epistle is probably best interpreted from the perspective of a Jewish Christian rather than that of a Gentile Christian.

    Jas 1:2-4 . . Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    It is so frustrating to open a package supposedly containing all the parts needed to assemble a complicated device only to discover that some of the pieces are missing. Well, a lot of Christians are like that. They might be really good at church attendance, while at work committing theft by using their employer's computers for personal purposes without authorization and/or in the habit of breaking the law by J-walking and driving too fast, drifting through STOP signs without bringing their vehicle to a complete halt; and given to outbursts of road rage. That's not a complete Christian; no, that's a half-baked Christian.

    Not all tests of faith are intended for behavior modification; but rather, for proof-testing. Take for example Abraham's test in the 22nd chapter of Genesis; which he passed to God's 110% satisfaction.

    Other testing is the kind that engineers do with things like machines, toys, cribs, printers, flashlights, guns, tools, pumps, motors, cars, etc. Before putting a new idea into production, they subject it to a series of tests to determine if it will perform under the circumstances for which it is designed. Nowadays, not all testing is destructive testing, but rather via computer models. But the purpose is the same: to reveal any weaknesses in the design and function of the part; which are then addressed and rectified.

    "Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith" (Prov 25:4)
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 1:5 . . If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

    Within the context of James' epistle, the phrase "any of you" pertains to the recipients of his letter; viz: the Diaspora-- specifically those among the Diaspora whose religion is Christianity. So then, the phrase "gives to all men" has to be interpreted with that in mind; which means that "all men" doesn't pertain to just any and all men on earth.
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 1:6-8 . . But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from The Lord: he is a vacillating man, unstable in all he does.

    Christians should never begin a prayer by saying "God; if you're out there".

    "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is" (Heb 11:6)

    Note the words "impossible" and "must" in that verse. A vacillating Christian who's not sure there's a God out there is an unbelieving Christian, and can just forget a reply from the Bible's God-- the instant the words of a vacillating prayer leaves somebody's lips it goes directly to the dead-letter office.
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    Post Re: Christ's Commandments

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    Jas 1:9 . . Let the brother of humble circumstances glory in his high position;

    According to 1Cor 1:26-29, relatively few prominent people make it to safety when they cross over to the others side.

    What is this "high position" that James wrote about? Well, I can think of no higher position than being legal kin to the Bible's God and a family member around the table in His own home. In my book, that beats an invitation to the White House any day of the year.

    The koiné Greek word for "glory" in Jas 1:9 is kauchaomai (kow-khah'-om-ahee) which means: to vaunt; which Webster's defines as: to make a vain display of one's own worth or attainments; viz: to brag; to call attention to with pride and often boastfully.
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