OPEN: Hey, Good morning and welcome to STAG, I'm Jack. Things are coming to a head pretty fast. We need to prepare spiritually as well as physically. How solid are you in your belief of God? What do you have that proves He even exists? Time to focus on God. We'll investigate the authority of Christianity compared to other systems. I also want to bring you a couple important recent news developments.
Re: Obama saying no to Netanyahu on support for an attack on Iran
82 page draft report that is going around DC. Jewish lobby has copies and are furious at the US government.
Report is published and agreed to by all 16 US intelligence agencies, plus the Pentagon, Chairman Gen Dempsey of the Joint Chiefs. The report is titled, Preparing for a post Israel middle east. Here is a quote, "Israel, given its current brutal occupation, and belligerence, cannot be salvaged. Israel is out of touch with the political, military and economic realities of the middle east. Israel is a bloody aggressor, militant nation, it's a rouge nation. Its criminal activity is illegal and immoral and that Israel is lying about Iran's nuclear capabilities."
All 16 agencies say that Iran has no nuclear weapons, they are not developing nuclear weapons and this is just a flat out lie by Netanyahu and Israel, who are determined to get America into a war. Gen Dempsey just went to Israel in August and met with Netanyahu. He must have briefed him on this report.
This is still in draft form. It's just been leaked.
Romney has promised, if elected, he'd kill it. Obama has promised to publish it.
Texe reported: Dempsey told Netanyahu the US wouldn't support Israel if they attacked Iran. He told the Iranians that as long as they didn't mess with US resources, troops in Iraq and Afghanistan or the ships in the gulf, we would not be involved if Israel attacks.
Romney went to Israel a few weeks ago and promised them he would go to war with them if he was president. He and Netanyahu graduated college together and were placed by the Mossad and CIA, working together at the Boston consultancy, then later at Bain Capital, which was run be a former Israeli Mossad spy officer, Ilite Gedish. So the chairman of Bain, the same company that Romney spent two decades with, I believe is an Israeli front group. So Mitt Romney an Israeli covert spy.
An Atlanta newspaper, a Jewish newspaper, the editor, Mr. Adler, published an article in which he threatened. He said, if Obama will not go along with what Israel and Netanyahu want, we will have to assassinate him.
Texe feels that what Obama told Medvedev when the mike was still on, about having more flexibility after his re-election, was about Israel. He was saying that they could work together on stifling Israel's war efforts. This report says of the Israeli Firsters and Zionists that they are engaging in gross interference in the internal affairs of the US.
ON HIGHEST AUTHORITY
I always want to know the basis for a decision. I like to see the reason behind the action. That's why I'm fascinated by wildlife films. The unusual actions of wild animals is a real source of interest for me. Most times I need a reason for doing things. And it's reasonable to say, the bigger the action, the more important an action is, the more solid should be it's foundation. If you're buying a candy bar and it turns out to be a dud, you're not out very much, so you don't mind taking a chance on a brand new kind. If you're buying a house, on the other hand, maybe you should be a little more careful.
So, whenever I get into a discussion about belief systems, I always like to ask the other person about the foundation of their belief system; what founds their participation in it. We mostly base our actions on authority of some kind. We do some personal research, we ask our friends, we shop for the "name brands". We like to have assurance that our goals will be met by our actions. We always want our money's worth.
The frame of reference for this discussion is that of a person entrusting large amounts of time, effort and money to a belief system, the result of which is salvation, eternal life, Nirvana, heaven, becoming God-like, etc.
This doesn't include lip-servers. The world is full of people who talk endlessly about how great their system is, how it improves your life, but we never see those beliefs take the form of action. Just take a look at all the hypocrites walking around saying how good they are, and how bad we are. It kills me how two denominations of the same belief system, Christianity, can subscribe to the concept of God loving everyone and in the next breath say that those others are going to hell because they don't go to church on the right day. Those kind have a bad case of "MY Way Christianity." To my way of thinking, if you're not sticking your neck out for your belief system, you don't have a belief system.
How many of you out there ever bought something on looks and were sorry later? The time that happens to me is when I sucker-in to something in the Sundown House catalogue, or United States Buying Exchange, or Fingershack. Then, when the product breaks on the second use, I always wind up saying, "Well, you get what you pay for."
How many of you out there ever bought a house the same way? When you're spending sixty to a hundred thousand dollars for that house, I know you're going to do some kind of research to make sure you get your money's worth. You'll get a realtor, have a termite inspection, do some comparison shopping, make a title search. The more time, effort and money, the more assurance you want.
The question then arises, "How much research should a person do when his eternal soul is at stake?" How high an authority would you want to have to lay your soul on the line? Would you be willing to take some stranger's word for a thing like that? Myself, I wouldn't trust the word of any mere human being for something so important. And yet, that's what I see people doing everywhere.
People are either taking someone else's word, or their own. In either case it's a mere human being that's placed in the position of authority. All we humans make mistakes, and taking our own word as the foundation for risking our souls is the biggest of our mistakes. I know there are some who start out, probably cautiously, by depending on a friend's word that this or that group is on the right track. They attend a gathering, or read the special book that tells "all about it", but from then on it's their own personal experience that sustains them in the acts of that system.
Few people ever go outside of their belief system to verify what they think or have heard. If it feels OK, that seems to be all that most people ask. People spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in pursuit of salvation based solely on how it feels. They're taking their own word for it. These same people wouldn't risk a twenty dollar bill on most anybody else's word for something.
We hardly base anything on personal experience alone. We always research for objective evidence. If we take another person's word, it's because we're satisfied with their credibility.
Feelings are less than reliable. They're transitory, and being based in perception, are prone to error because of all the filters we use when taking in information. It's easy to mistake a smile for a sneer when we're particularly self conscious.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for following your feelings or intuitions. But feelings are too short-term. They're like the proverbial policeman, never around when you need them. Feelings can't carry us over the bumps. Solid knowledge and understanding can. We need concrete, rational, objective fact to arrive at the most beneficial outcome. It's the way we arrive at the surest understanding. Better understanding means a well-done, efficient job. Don't we always want to hire the roofer with twenty-five years experience? Or the mechanic who works on nothing but our kind of car?
Again, I'm not saying that you can't trust yourself. We've got to step out in faith and trust ourselves. But whenever possible, we try to lessen the apparent risk. It's a matter of degrees. We're trying to determine the degree to which we can risk, based only on personal experience.
One reason we get trapped into accepting our feelings as a high-enough authority for our religion, is that everyone is an expert on religion. Have you ever noticed that you can't get a straight answer from a mechanic about your car's electrical problems? He may have done electrical for five years, but won't commit until he does some testing. Yet this same person will give you sure opinions on his religion, and even on yours. We have the misconception that there's nothing to religion. Talk to any real "religious expert" and you'll probably find that he talks a lot like your mechanic. It's like the old saying, "The more you know, the more you find you don't know."
In addition, we have the many people that "do" their religion for reasons other than their spiritual development. They're a New-Ager because it's in. Or they grew up in the Baptist church. Or those Pagans have a lot of fun when they worship. Or even out of a sense of their own guilt, as some kind of penance.
Another point of confusion is that our personal experience might include things that confirm what we're doing. Things start going right. Our lives seem better, we're seeing results, it's working. I have to drag out our frame of reference to counter that argument. Remember that we're not looking for a better life here and now. Although most systems say you'll have a better life, we're after the after-life thing, salvation or whatever you call it. That's where faith comes in.
See, no one I know ever went to heaven and came back to be on Johnny Carson to tell everybody about it. You can't prove eternal life. It's the improvable that we're risking our souls on. You can't know you're right 'till it's too late to change your mind. Personally, I want to collect every piece of available evidence I can, and build the broadest base of concrete fact that's possible.
The first thing I want to understand is the process of my system. What do I have to do to get to Nirvana? Are you sure that's the way to do it? Who can I find that's studied this thing a lot, and maybe wrote a book that explains what I have to do? Is the original writing in a foreign language? If so, has that language been translated faithfully? Well, let's see how some of these questions are answered in the Christian frame.
Christianity mainly uses the Bible as a base for it's teaching. There are two major divisions in the Bible. Writings from before the time of Jesus are in the Old Testament. Writings after Jesus are in the New Testament. However, both the Old and New Testaments tell the same message about God's grace. Most of Old Testament prophesy has to do with Christ's coming, while most of the stories are typical of some aspect of Christ in God's plan for the salvation of humanity. Then in the New Testament we get the fulfillment of the prophesies and story types.
It's sort of like understanding shadows. Something of substance casts a shadow when lighted. Well, when God's light shines on Jesus, we see the New Testament. Falling away from that substance, the shadow of Christ is the Old Testament. Contrary to what many folks think, the Bible is a whole and complete book called the book of Christ. A "New Testament" Christian can be heard remarking about, "the God of the Old Testament." As though there were two different Gods of the Bible.
What does the Bible have to say about salvation? Even a beginning Bible reader soon knows that the New Testament abounds with the concept that we are saved by three or four things. God's grace is one. By the number of mentions, faith seems to be as important as grace. We also find the blood of Jesus listed, probably believing could be counted, too. God's grace, Jesus' blood and believing can be eliminated.
Further study soon discovers that God's grace is based on faith or believing, and, as an accomplished fact, that Jesus death is an element that's out of our control. So, we're left with faith and belief. Interestingly enough, Biblical faith and belief are exactly the same. But we can only find that to be true by doing some more homework. We have to go to the original language, Greek. Strong's Concordance is the best tool I know for finding out what the writers wrote instead of what some translators wrote.
With one exception you'll find that every time you see faith in the Bible, it's being translated from the Greek word pistis. Every time you see the word believe, it's being translated from the Greek word pisteuo. Maybe you can guess where the word pisteuo comes from. Right, it comes straight from pistis. But we still don't have a good handle on the definition of faith (pistis) because we see that pistis is taken from another word, peitho. And the buck stops at peitho, 'cuz peitho is a primary verb. Keep in mind that verbs act. You ought to be able to see someone peitho; which means that you ought to be able to see someone pistis the same way you can see someone run or sing.
The words used in defining pistis or faith are persuasion, credence, and conviction. The words used to translate pistis are faith, trust, belief, and fidelity. Remember that pistis is the verb form of these words. There's only one word defining peitho, to convince. The words that are translated from peitho gives us a fuller understanding about that convincing. The words are, obey, persuade, trust and yield.
So then faith is, conviction that obediently yields in trust. In trust of God, of course. And remember that believe is exactly the same. Every time you see the words faith or believe you know that some kind of action is taking place. When you get the chance, open the Bible to the New Testament, it's in the back of the book, and test this out. As you read some passage that talks about someone's faith, substitute the words trusting action and see if the passage doesn't make a little more sense than it did. But be sure to give a little lee-way for the way faith is being used. It sometimes is used to describe the faith-action process, so it feels like a noun.
Now you know more about the Bible than some people who've gone to church all their lives and still aren't saved because they've gone all this time thinking that just believing in God was enough. They were never told that faith is an action. If they had been told they quickly would have asked what action.
It's a sad state of affairs when a so-called Christian doesn't know the basic tenet of his religion. But I can't lay all the responsibility on that individual. It's true some people aren't interested enough to do any hard work, and so don't do any personal study, but even when a person wants to learn about Christianity, chances are they'll turn to some form of denominational study format. All the denominations, and even those who don't like to be thought of as a denomination, have some form of study guide like a weekly or quarterly publication.
The trouble with the publications I've seen is that they are so watered down that only the message of being good comes out the other end. All the ways that a "Good Christian" should live. All the do's and don'ts-and nothing about faithing; that yielding, obedient action of trust. Bible study sessions like that make my head spin with all the rules I'm supposed to follow. Don't you know that one of the main jobs of a denomination, and the local church, is to gain members; either new converts, or people won over from other churches?
I've come to the conclusion that most churches, along with their pastors, don't know enough about faithing to live it. Rules about what day to hold church, there's a concept that's clear. "If I can just find a few verses of scripture and take them out of context, maybe I can convince some one else that Tuesday midnight is the true and proper time to go to church. If I'm real lucky I might get them to join my church."
But defining faith is easy. The hard part is establishing God's credibility. I know that sounds easy, but in this case you spell God, B-i-b-l-e. Boy, do we run into trouble when it comes to proving the Bible. We again run into the "experts" who think that opinion can stand for scholarship. There are almost as many theories why the Bible can't be relied on as there are pages in the Good Book.
Three main categories are used to discredit the Bible. They are: faulty translation, faulty transmission, and fallible writers. I find that most people who try to diminish the Bible's veracity are basing their opinions on hearsay, with some tradition thrown in for good measure. Another factor is the use of our filtering system. Just the existence of Filtering is bad enough, but when we filter along with ignorance, what most Bible "experts" do, we're really asking for trouble. Let's take a closer look at faulty translation, transmission and writing.
There isn't one translation argument that I've heard that holds water when carried to a second step. That step being going to the original language. We all know that it's very hard to communicate the precise concepts of one language with the less than precise concepts of another. The only translations that come close to complete translation are those that use pages to explain a sentence or two. Bible commentaries are a good example of this process.
A good Bible commentator will use a whole chapter to describe the meaning of one verse. Luther's commentary on the little, six-chapter book of Galatians looks like a small novel. And he wasn't satisfied with one. He did a second.
Superficially, the translation argument seems valid. That's the reason many ignorant Christians can't counter the argument, and wind up trying to prove the validity of the Bible by their personal experience. Personal experience can be easily riddled with holes by a clever opponent.
The translation argument is a sand castle when confronted with a tool like Strong's Concordance. This is beginning to sound like a Strong's commercial. You see, even when working with one of the worst translations, the King James, I can get right to the word used by the original writer, and discover the meaning to my own satisfaction. In fact, I can do better than most translations that I've seen because by following the word's root meanings back to the primary word, my understanding is far more complete than I can find in one translated word in the best of translations. So by using a little more effort in researching the original meaning of the words used, a person need have no fear that the writer's message will be lost.
I don't want to spend a lot of time on the transmission argument. Any person with the ability to use the library can soon find mountains of evidence that the Bible has been more faithfully transmitted than ANY other 2000 year old document extant. With amazing frequency, archeology has turned up manuscript after manuscript that verifies that the Bible of today is the same as originally written. For instance, even the book of Isaiah, which has been transmitted through some 2700 years, has been proven accurate through the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. 2700 years!!!
The fallibility of the writers is a little more difficult to disprove. True, they were just men. Men pushed around by harsh circumstance. Men who had, like us, the capacity for protecting themselves. The capacity to say or do what would be most convenient to their comfort, or more importantly their safety. They could say, "Thus saith the Lord," to give their following statement more authority. I have no doubt that in a weak moment that very thing may have happened. These were fallible men, and we know it. We can be sure of it because we have never met, and know we never will meet, a person that's infallible. That brings us to the Inspiration factor.
The Bible is always said to be the inspired word of God. In other words, fallible men may have done the actual writing, but they were under the inspiration of God, and wrote what God wanted said, not what they felt was best. Another thing that must be remembered is that most of the stuff these guys said wasn't very popular. Especially the prophesies of doom.
You may say, "I've got you now! There's no way you can prove that a passage of scripture was written under the inspiration of God. You weren't there. You can't know." You're right. I've never seen an objective, non-Biblical, credible, historical account that tells of someone witnessing one of the Biblical writers being overcome with God's inspiration and writing a book. But I know you can see the nonsense of that argument, so let's go on.
This is where a lot of hard work comes in. The only way I know of to prove the God-inspiration of the Bible is by the study of history and of the Bible itself. Prophesy is the most easily understood way to do this. The test of a prophet is, if what he said came true. But do you see what a job of extensive research that leads to? First you have to study the prophesy to see who it pertains to and when it will happen. Second, you have to find those people in today's world and see if their history contains the fulfillment of the prophesy. One simple prophesy can lead to hundreds of hours of research.
For instance, if God hadn't inspired the people involved and the writer of the book of Genesis, the promise to Isaac's wife Rebekah would be so many words on a page. The circumstances of the prophesy are surpassingly difficult. The story can be found in Genesis twenty-four of Abraham sending a servant to secure a wife for his son Isaac. It's important to get the context in order to appreciate the prophesy in verse sixty.
After agreeing that Rebekah go with Abraham's servant, out of the blue, her mother and brother prophesy that she will be, "the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them." That sounds like some TV evangelist mumbo jumbo. Try to imagine going about proving that prophesy. And Rebekah's mother and brother weren't even what we'd call true prophets. God's inspiration had to make the rounds of more than just the writer of Genesis twenty-four. He had to inspire Abraham, the servant, the mother, the brother, and Rebekah. You'll see all that if you go read the story.
Now look what we're in for. We really have to hit the books. We have to search through the Bible to keep track of the people who carry that promise through history. And believe me, there isn't one Bible scholar in ten who can sort out the Biblical accounts and be able to tell who those people are even before the Biblical account of them runs out and we have to switch to history.
The historical record is no easier to sort out. Ever try to trace the history of a group of people over a period of 3600 years? You see, this prophesy was given around 1600 BC! To complicate the matter, these people made many migrations during that time. It's not like they stayed in the same location.
But if the Bible is truly God-inspired, we should be able to find that the promise was kept to Rebekah. Somewhere in today's world we should be able to find an extremely large population group, like the Blacks, Chinese, or the Celtic peoples, that are in control of the major traffic ways of the earth.
The Celtic nations happen to be her descendants, and they possess Gibraltar, the Panama canal, the Suez canal, the Cape of Good Hope, and more. But it may take a person a couple years of piling up the evidence before psychological certainty sets in and they "know" this is true; they can eliminate all possibility of coincidence. This prophesy is only one of hundreds that can be
dug out of scripture. The prophesies concerning Christ alone are a lifetime study-which brings me to another very important consideration when proving God's inspiration of the Bible.
The way the whole book fits together is astonishing. One person didn't write the whole Bible. But I guess you knew that. The Bible wasn't written at one time. Each prophesy may not be complete as stated in one place, but may be enhanced two or three times over many generations. As a result, we may find that three or four men contributed to a certain prophesy and wrote their part separated by as much as three hundred years from the other writers.
The point is that you don't find all this out by hearsay, or by just reading the Bible. I constantly meet people who are very quick to tell me how many times they've read the Bible through. So what!? Try learning a foreign language by reading, or even memorizing, a vocabulary list. You have to understand how the words fit together.
I'm telling you, the arguments of faulty translation, faulty transmission, and fallible writers is found to be no more than pish and tush in the light of even preliminary research. And if the Bible is true, then by association we have established God's credibility. In other words, we now have enough evidence to give us the confidence to act on the stuff in the Bible that we can't prove with objective evidence. We have a starting point for faithing. We have a solid authority outside of our personal experience. One that we know can't be mistaken.
All that just concerns Christianity. Let's take a look at some other belief systems. New Age with it's channeling, Paganism, and ironically, even most of Christianity, with it's legalism and good works, don't seem to be able to produce the kinds of concrete, objective fact, that is available to worshippers of the God of the Bible.
All three examples promote the same plan for salvation. The basic tenet of these ways is that salvation can be earned, or worked out by applying will to the knowledge of right and wrong. Good Works, and Be Good. Well, I'm here to tell you that those two ways get you nowhere with God.
They are a sure-fire formula for a happier life here on earth. That's probably why God says we should live that way. But His Word says nothing about this way of life resulting in salvation. The opposite is the fact. An integrated study of the Bible will show that there is only one way to salvation. God has to give it to you. There's no way to merit it. That's what grace is. Unmerited favor.
The New Ager says that if we'll just pull ourselves together, we'll leap into a new conscious state and reach "Christ Consciousness." We'll transcend all the evils of this present life. The Urantia followers are taught that with proper effort they can attain the God-perfection the same way Christ attained it. Every time I've studied channeled information, I find the same message. It's no more than a dressed up version of the old Positive Thinking techniques that were so heavily touted some years back.
Paganism is no different. Paganism goes all the way back to early Babylon, circa 2000 BC. They were the guys who invented St. Peter at the Gate. When you die, you stand at the gate of heaven, and Janus (St. Peter) weighs out your good and bad earthly behavior. If there's more good, you get in. Obviously the Babylonians didn't invent St. Peter. He wasn't born yet. St. Peter was substituted for Janus by the Roman Christian church to shore up their legalistic performance-for-salvation frame.
They transplanted many Pagan elements for their own use. Christmas and Easter are the most notable examples. Christmas celebrates the Feast of Tammuz (his birth), and Easter is the festival of Ishtar, a Babylonian Goddess (Tammuz' mother). As already said, even Christianity abounds with Do-It-Yourself salvation through works and being Good. The Fundamentalists seize on keeping all the rules of the Bible. They will be very quick to ask if you adhere to the Ten Commandments, in such a way that makes it clear that if you don't you're NOT, and CAN'T BE saved. Evidently they don't know that the Ten Commandments weren't written for Christians. Perhaps their denominational studies never included verses twelve through fourteen of the second chapter of Colossians. There Paul says that Jesus blotted out "the handwriting of ordinances, took it out of the way, and nailed it to his cross."
The other Christian folks go by rules of good behavior. Good being synonymous with loving. They do all those loving good works for the hungry, helpless, and poor. They do a lot of "love thy neighbor." But those things don't necessitate God's help any more than do the keeping of a bunch laws or rules. That's the crux. Salvation takes God's help. He has to help out by supplying His grace. The performance of rules and good works can be accomplished without God's grace. And when they are, they most definitely do not contribute to our salvation. The way to salvation is by faithing.
The fact that faithing takes ninety percent courage is the reason why it's so important to establish the credibility of the Bible. When we act in faith, we're always having to overcome some very real-looking obstacles; financial loss, lack of popularity, etc. The more confidence we have in a person's word, the more easily we can act on it.
God's reason for laying out the whole Celtic/Lost Tribes scenario is two-fold. One, through the fulfillment of the hundreds of prophesies concerning these people, He shows His faithfulness in keeping His Word. Two, the show of faithfulness allows us the foundation on which to base our pistis. Remember pistis? The Greek word that means conviction that obediently yields in trust?
We see His work, believe, act or faithe, and get salvation. God went through all that just to save us. He really went way out of His way for us. That's Grace with a capital G. Belief systems promise certain things for certain acts. I find that the systems which end in salvation sound pretty much the same. Pretty good. You get a better life down here, and after this life something so good it can hardly be compared to the very best of this life. But that's where the similarity ends, because the authority of systems other than Christianity is missing.
How about my system? It works. It works for me. It fulfills all my requirements. It's a system that's very simple and easily understood. But as I always say, simple usually means very difficult. Running a four minute mile is very simple, but extremely difficult to accomplish.
My system is understandable on a personal level. I don't have to go through a lot of mental gymnastics trying to translate abstract concepts into practical terms. I just find a promise of God, apply it to my circumstances, and use it to reach my goal. When I start doing this faithing stuff, I see blessings coming out here. I find that unlikely circumstances come together to help me along. Lucky "coincidences" keep happening. My system stands the tests of logic, and history. If I want to spend the time, I can easily find enough evidence to found my system.
Lastly, my belief system has a top-rate plan for the here-after: eternal life, a glorified perfect body, joyous happy existence, fully becoming all that which I am, and more.
How about your belief system? Don't you think it's worth your soul to live by a defensible belief system? I'll wager that if a person doesn't live by their belief system, that they don't have enough concrete evidence to defend it, no matter how much lip-service they give it. It's my idea that we don't get to the point of true belief in something without being able to defend the belief. A true belief comes with its defense built in.
When it comes to belief systems, faithing comes on the Highest authority. The basis for faithing is not a vision, not some voice in the night, not something automatically written, not some improvable entity claiming to be an angel speaking through a person, not some human construct of how to live the perfect life. Faithing comes on the Highest authority. Demonstrable historical fact. You ought to try it.
1-Look, things are getting worse every day and you're going to need all the help you can get. god's help is the only help you can really count on.
2-If you want to talk about this or anything else, STAG is a comfortable place to do that.
3-We're at 88 Briceland Rd. in Redway. The number is 707 923 ALLY (2559). On the web at stag.ws or the mail is email@example.com. Check out the radio archive. Something like 250 shows up there.
4-If things hold up that long, I'll be back here on Nov 4.
5-Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice." did you hear anything today? God is real, and does everything He says He'll do. That includes protection.
This is Jack, bye.
I love mail.