Male and Female
The Role of Women in the Church
The Name of God
Mercy Triumphs over Judgment
Do We Know What Jesus Looked Like?
Page 2: Is it God's Blessings- or Covetousness?
Reaching the Lost with the Gospel
Warning: you are going to need your money in a time of trouble-
DON'T SPEND IT NOW ON YOUR LUSTS
The times of great tribulation are ahead..(oil prices, terrorism, economic collapse, less business, loss of jobs)
BE WISE- only spend for what you absolutely need
I wish we could all agree that these are the last days (or even the last two years), then we would all serve the Lord and the gospel even more.. we would not spend money on future worries or building projects- but instead on getting out the gospel!
TIME IS SHORT
"Therefore...what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God". II Peter 3:11
We may be holding up the Lord's return, by not giving everything we have- in order that the last soul who is going to be saved can be reached with the gospel- then we can go home! Since we don't have much time left, let us not "dig in" here like the world does; instead, be serious minded, and work to rescue souls. You see, time for entertainment, shopping malls, restaurants, new cars, gadgets- is the love of the world and the lust of the flesh- which if you live for you shall die eternally. (Rom.8:13)
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father" Matt. 7:21 The war is not over soldier!...the job is not done laborer! Give up everything- said the master- give your all. (Luke 14:33) Discipline the body- eat only your portion- stay in the race. Make good use of the time we have left. Our reward is guaranteed, and will last for eternity in heaven."We can't even imagine what God has prepared for those who love Him [do His will]". Keep in mind how Jesus suffered for us and the lifestyle He lived. Sacrifice all for the cause of Christ and the gospel- it is the only desire that will be satisfied. To share the gospel with people is the most important thing in the world a redeemed person can do- there is nothing more important! "RESCUE THE PERISHING - CARE FOR THE DYING"
Consider: God created male and female, and intended that there be a distinct difference in appearance. He made hair (a beard) to grow on a man's face, but not on a woman's face. (and this by God's design) [a man to be rough- a woman to be smooth/soft] God had a reason He made us this way- so why should we go against God's intention? Today the world has become "unnatural" blurring the distinction between male and female making the one to look like the other. (what confusion and perversion has this caused?) But what picture do the scriptures present? The men of the Old Testament apparently had beards - see Lev.19:27 / as well as the priests - see Ezk.44:20. Even David- a man after God's heart- had a beard- see 1Sam.21:13. Finally, the one who perfectly represented humanity- the second Adam- Jesus himself, had a beard; and this we have no doubt from Isaiah 50:6. What more proof could we want? What greater example for us men of God could we follow? than the Master Himself! Brothers, we should try to conform to the image of God- no matter what the cost. Because Jesus is OUR example (even in the little things). It seems to this brother that for a man to have a beard is respectable, and a conviction that need not be discouraged- by a pastor or anyone- in fact, such conviction should be prayerfully considered not ridiculed. Remember this brothers, you can put the life our Lord lived under a microscope- everything Jesus did or said was for a reason- you will never be wrong to mimic even the smallest glimpse you see of Him in scripture. 1John 2:6
The Role of Women in the Church
"If a MAN desire the office of a bishop [pastor], HE desires a good work... HE must be the husband of one wife...one that ruleth well his own house" Women as pastors/elders violates God's word. Did you notice the 12 disciples were all men? This has always been God's plan with few exceptions. Despite what this (American) society thinks, a woman is not to teach (a man) or have authority over a man- so says the Bible- God our Creator. She is not permitted to "speak" in the churches; and she is told to be meek and quiet. This may not be a popular message (pastor), but it is the truth and God has not changed it.
Here is a brief consensus of God's word concerning the place of a woman:
"your desire will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" Gen 3:16
"under man's authority" 1 Cor.11:1-10
"under obedience...remain silent" 1 Cor.14:34
"meek and quiet spirit" 1 Peter 3:4
"obedient to their husbands" Titus 2:5
"reverence her husband" Eph. 5:33
"not to teach (a man) or have authority over a man" 1 Tim.2:11
This does not sound like the New Testament is teaching equal rights. (except to salvation) Her joy is to be in children and to be busy "at home". She is told not to dress immodestly as the world, and not with expensive clothes or jewelry, (except the marriage ring). The purpose of clothes is simply to cover the body, not for show (not to spend considerable money on); not to reveal or tempt men to lust (which would be sin for a woman to do). The wife is commanded to "reverence her husband", Eph. 5:33. What she does or says to undermine him or tear him down only hurts herself and the children- and God is not pleased. Yes, and husbands are to "love" their wives; (though she may not perceive his discipline at times as love) but as Christ has instituted discipline for his Church, his Bride- "those whom He loves He rebukes and chastens" The wife is to be in subjection to her husband by comparison as we are to Christ.
If a woman does not live or believe as these scriptures teach, she remains defiant, in sin; and as with the self-deceived world, heading for hell and eternal punishment after death. May the Holy Spirit convict us and bring repentance unto salvation by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Since Eve was tricked by Satan in the Garden of Eden, rebellion against man's authority has always been in the heart of the woman, so she must continually battle this temptation. For her not to obey her husband (father,elder if not married) is as the lust of the flesh- a struggle with sin, just as the man does with his lusts. Therefore, choose this day life or death: "For if you live after the flesh, you shall die; but if through the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live". Rom.8:13
Titus 2:5, Eph.5:33, 1Tim 2:9, Mat 6:28, Rev 3:19, Eph 5:22, 1John 3:6-10, 1Tim 2:14-15
The Name of God
"...a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared the Lord, and who thought upon His name." (Malachi 3:16)
THE NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME
As you look at the name of Almighty God, his name is represented by four Hebrew letters corresponding in English to YHWH. (keep in mind that there are no vowels in the Hebrew alphabet) Perhaps this tetragrammaton could be transliterated into YaHWeH or JeHoVaH. However, in themselves, these letters (YHWH) cannot be enunciated accurately.
The source of the four-letter name is based in the Hebrew verb form HaYaH, which means "self-exist" or "I am". From a similar verb form eHaY, which is a variation of HaYaH, we derive the added meaning of "I will- I will be". So combining these two forms together, we find that YHWH originates from these two root words, which will bring us to the precise meaning.*
As we look at the name of God, this meaning is clearly found in Exodus 3:14: "And Moses said unto God, behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers has sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what is his name?, what shall I say to them?" "And God said unto Moses, I AM that I AM, and he said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the I AM has sent me unto you." "And God said moreover unto Moses, thus shalt thou say...YHWH, the God of your fathers..of Abraham..of Isaac..of Jacob, has sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations."
As we have discovered already there is also in the original Hebrew the thought of "I WILL,I WILL BE" included in this expression"I AM that I AM" now indicating eternity past, present, and future. So we understand the meaning of the four letters YHWH to be "I AM-I WILL-I WILL BE" most emphatically "I AM".
The Forever Name Saves
Now the word JESUS means literally "YHWH is Salvation". The Hebrew form is YeHoWSHua, or (Yeshua) "YHWH-SAVED". Since we know the meaning of YHWH is "I AM", we can declare that the name of JESUS actually means "I AM-SALVATION", or (the I AM-SAVED). The Lord Jesus declared this name "I AM" constantly, especially in the gospel of John, and it is in fact representative of his own name and eternal being. (John 8:58; 17:6,26)
He is now the full and complete revelation of God to his people, as God's salvation that has gone forth from himself. In the Old Testament God was just "I AM" for He had not shown his salvation yet. But in the New Testament we have this same Old Testament name fulfilled and completed in the Messiah, the Christ- complete with salvation; for now the "I AM" has saved And so we have this "forever name", the name of God, when we say the name of JESUS. Now you can see why we glorify his name alone.
Notice this chart which reveals the eternal name of JESUS: Past & Present & Future I AM I WILL I WILL BE SAVED = JESUS (Who Was) (Who Is) (Who Is To Come) (Yesterday) (Today) (and Forever) Now by the Holy Spirit, Christ Jesus is living in and through us as believers. Because JESUS abides in us- the "I AM-SALVATION"- He is our assurance even by his very name. "..even to those who believe in his name." I know "I AM-SAVED" because I know JESUS. Amen!
Baptism In His Name
We remember when the Lord Jesus told us to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. What one name was He referring to? There is salvation in no other name; we preach no other name; we know no other name, than the name of JESUS who is both Lord and Christ.
The apostles in the early church understood what the Lord Jesus meant when He told us to baptize in ONE name (and not three titles). When the Holy Spirit was come- who guides into all truth- they obeyed the Lord's command by baptizing (both Jews and Gentiles alike) in his name. "Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of JESUS CHRIST.." (Acts 2:38) Let's follow this through the book of Acts:
"But when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of JESUS CHRIST, they were baptized...and he commanded them (Gentiles) to be baptized in the name of JESUS CHRIST ...when they heard this they were baptized in the name of the LORD JESUS.. ...arise and be baptized..calling on the name of the Lord.
Christ did not give us a repetitious formula for baptism; He only expressed the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in other terms. He knew the Holy Spirit would soon glorify his name alone, as He testified concerning this: (see John 5:43;14:13;16:13,14)
The name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- One God, One Name, and One Baptism.
Notice the significance of the complete name:
One name- JESUS -who is both Lord and Christ!
"And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the LORD JESUS, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col.3:17) *Hebrew & Chaldee Dictionary, James Strong, S.T.D.,LL.D.
One Name-One Gospel
There is only one Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit of God confesses and glorifies only one name. (John 16:13) Take the following tour through the New Testament and be assured of the name that has saved you:
"Neither is their salvation in anyone else; for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved... the Word which God sent.. preaching peace by Jesus Christ, (He is Lord of all) to him give all the prophets witness, that through HIS NAME, whosoever believeth in him shall receive forgiveness of sins... and fear fell on all of them and the name of the LORD JESUS was magnified... with all who in every place call upon the name of CHRIST JESUS our Lord... wherefore God has highly exalted him and given him the name which is above every name: that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth... that the name of our LORD JESUS CHRIST may be glorified in you, and you in him.."
(Tour stops: Luke 24:47; John 20:31; Acts 3:3,4:12,5:42,8:12,9:29,10:36, 15:26,19:17,21:13; 1Cor.1:2; Phil.2:9; Col.3:17;11Thes.1:2)
If any come unto you preaching any other name than this, they are eternally condemned, "ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." They would even deceive the very elect if it were possible: "..and a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers. Then said Jesus unto them again; truly,truly, I say to you, I AM the Door of the sheep.. my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand"(John 10)
My friend, there is only ONE way you can make heaven and miss hell- receive the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior. He wants to save you before it's too late. Repent, and ask him into your heart right now. Make sure of eternity- it's a long, long time!
In the Lord Jesus Christ, "I AM-SAVED"
Mercy Triumphs over Judgment!
The world's idea of justice is retribution, retaliation, and to "get even". But the follower of Jesus Christ should desire mercy for others as he has received.
Our society has begun a "3 strikes your out" campaign against crime (throw away the key). This attitude finds no place in the teaching of Jesus Christ. Such a law would take away a person's chance to change his life by the grace of God. How can we forgive and love our neighbor, if we don't remember that as part of this fallen human race we are all in this together ? The world has a "better-than-thou" (nose up in the air) attitude. You think you're better, and they deserve what they get, because you don't have someone else's problem. Yet, you don't see your own sin- such as covetousness (to have more than you need) and lust.
The Equality of Sinfulness
"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold." ...speaking to the follower of Christ, we must constantly remember that we are all equally sinners, saved only by God's mercy through Christ, and capable of any sin whatsoever- even the worst- as each one of Christ's disciples had to realize: "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me." And none of them were willing to face the truth that it might be them.
Many people point at the murder, the sex crime, and the sin in the world today, in order to make themselves look better by comparison, saying: I'm not like that- with an attitude of self-righteousness. Even "Christians" can be so proud of their own moral purity, and being law-abiding, tax-paying citizens; but failing to recognize their own equal sinfulness, they lack compassion and mercy- which is more important.
"To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: two men went up to the temple to pray, (one was a "good citizen" and the other a sinner)... the Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: God, I thank you that I am not like other men- robbers, evildoers, adulterers... (but the other man) beat upon his chest and said: God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God."
You see, at the judgment, those who think themselves good moral people, who have not done anything that bad- or as bad as so and so who we know- will all stand equally guilty before God! As part of the human race, you have a terminal disease called SIN, which was transmitted from Eve to Adam and to all of us (see 1Tim.2:14). This condition, if not rectified, will result in eternal death and the fires of hell- no matter how much better you think you are than so and so. Listen to this: "..all are under sin..there is no one righteous not even one...so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world become guilty before God...and so death passed upon all men."(The Bible)
I plead with you to cry out: "God, have mercy ON ME, A SINNER- I'm no better than him- I need the Savior too. Now I can desire mercy for others, and not judgment." To cope with life in true humility is to blame yourself for things that happen- and not other people.
"Out of the Heart the Mouth Speaks"
So often we chatter about things that are not really that important. People seem like they're trying to be funny most of the time; if they say anything deep or serious, it's always with a little chuckle. Many people talk more about the weather & sports, instead of the deeper issues of life that face all of us. But as followers of Christ who are on a mission in life, we should be a serious-minded people, talking about what is important and necessary. There are references in the New Test. about "foolish talking and kidding" as not being of Christ. Remember also what the Bible says of a woman: "The unfading beauty of a meek and quiet spirit is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him "my master"... teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands...to be discreet.. keepers at home...obedient to their own husbands.."
"You are more valuable than.."
Many people today seem to have the priorities in life backwards. There is an amazing concern for the welfare of animals (like the deer,geese). Pets are regarded almost equally with human life. We spend money on the care of pets, and give them the same attention and consideration at home that we give our family. A child's affection is divided by a pet- instead of to a parent, or towards a learning project. Do we have to be reminded that animals do not have an eternal soul or spirit? But again, listen to the wisdom of Jesus Christ: "How much more valuable is a man than a sheep!.. you are worth more than many sparrows."
Is your pet an idol? Do you feed an animal that you are not planning to eat, while your brother in Asia- a human being- is without daily food, and needs to hear the Gospel. If so, ask yourself the question found in James 2:15-17 and in I John 3:17.
"Love conquers fear"
People have an unnatural fear in our society today. Fear causes them to worry about dangers which are remote or just not signifigant. People want a guarantee of safety for everything. The government creates a new law to "protect" us from each perceived danger, while we lose more of our individual freedom each time they do. Here is an example of paranoia you may relate to: when we were kids and went riding in the car, we sometimes stuck our heads out the window to feel the wind against our face. But today because of worry and fear we can't allow them- or pay an $89 ticket! Fear even affects the way we drive: we over-react to a car approaching us too close, and either run off the road or get very angry. There are more police cars watching for speeders than there are catching violent criminals. These are all symptoms of people who live in fear!
The poor now have a difficult time obtaining prescription painkillers or sedatives from hospitals and doctors, because the rich- using the government- are waging their self-righteous "war on drugs", spreading fear and suspicion. But the rich have other addictions of their own (and they can get the relief).
Fearful disciples or faithful followers?
If we would have more faith in the will of God instead of being fearful, we could show more love and compassion to those who are suffering. We who have the Spirit of Christ believe: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear-the one who fears is not made perfect inlove" If we are his followers who know the urgency of our task, we should not fear for our possessions, or even our life! And we wouldn't if we really believed the words of Jesus Christ: "Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has seen pleased to give you the kingdom.
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your (investment) treasure is, there your heart will be" Put your money in the bank of heaven!
Are you an environmentalist? Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow! "for tomorrow will worry about itself,each day has enough trouble of its own"
"The greatest of these is love"
Our human nature does not want freedom; it wants control- by laws and government- to absolve us from decision-making or responsibility. But Jesus Christ sets us free- to love your neighbor (not ruled by commandments) but by freedom. "You shall be free indeed" because He said, "whatever other commandment there may be, is summed up in this one rule: love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." This is what is meant by freedom in Christ- to walk in love through the Spirit. "The law that gives freedom" is love. Our life should be lived in accordance with the person of Jesus Christ- not thewritten moral code or law- but rather to know Christ personally and walk as He walked.(1John 2:6) "above all, love each other deeply,because love covers a multitude of sins", and "they'll know we are Christians by our love".
"Forgive and ye shall be forgiven"
Jesus, who was the Creator of the universe veiled in flesh, and who demonstrated his power, said; "Blessed are the meek". He did not strike back and He ministered to those in need.
There are several scripture verses which infer that Christ did not have long hair- contrary to our modern day pictures. The New Testament says it is a shame and disgrace for a man to wear his hair long; and in one place this is even identified with the effeminate. (pony tails used to be for girls) The world over-reacts to effeminacy with a display of macho- that revels in violence.
Contrary to accepted opinion, homosexuality is a choice that a person makes- not a condition someone is born with and has no control over. Homosexuals can change and they do recover- just like a drug addict or alcoholic. Remember what Jesus Christ said concerning that which causes you to sin: "it is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire".
But we all have lusts- whether it be food, material possessions, or whatever- sin is sin. We must convey a spirit of love, forgiveness, and mercy- as Jesus said, "neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin."
Self-righteousness Destroys Compassion
A self-righteous attitude can effect the Christian especially, because he forgets what he is without Jesus Christ. You begin to have a puritanical attitude towards those in trouble. Do not say those who suffer loss of a job are getting what they deserve. Do not say those who suffer an AIDS disease are getting what they deserve. Instead, have compassion and mercy- if you have received the same from Jesus.
Listen to James 2:13: "speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.Mercy triumphs over judgment!"
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Desire mercy for others- not punishment- as Christ has forgiven you... have compassion... have love for your neighbor- those in need... for Jesus sake. As He taught us, "go and do thou likewise."
Admit you are a sinner
God knew that because the human race is so self-righteous in its rebellion, that they would kill his holy Son- out of hatred of Jesus- goodness and humility. But God chose to forgive us because of this act of his Son Jesus. He will see us through the goodness of Jesus Christ instead of our own weakness. Now, pride and rebellion can never rise again in eternity, because there is no merit of my own- his wounds still visible above for me shall plead!
God is not impressed with what you have done (or with what you don't do). He is impressed with Jesus Christ- period. God gave us his Son- his glorious Son- the only real "holy man" of God. You can relate to this man- you can follow him- He alone is worthy.
Let your self-righteous nature be crucified with Christ. Pray: God be merciful to me, a sinner. I now turn away from my sin, and I receive Jesus Christ as my Savior- by faith (not by holy comunion or baptism). I want to be converted and become a Christian. I shall not ever see the fires of hell... because Jesus overcame death, I too shall live with him forever."
Now, Christian, stop being self-righteous in your attitude: remember what you are without Jesus Christ... walk in love and live in mercy. In Jesus mighty name, and for his sake. Amen?
Disclaimer: This author (now) believes in the death penalty according to Romans chapter 13. But he is here discussing the revengeful attitude and lack of mercy heard from the heart of many professing to be followers of Christ. (who disregard James 2:13/Matt.5:7) (ex. like many years ago when I heard my father say, "good", when it was announced on the news that someone was put to death for murder. It struck me that this attitude was not something that should come from the heart of equally wretched sinners like us saved only by amazing grace.)
Do We Know What Jesus Looked Like?
Down through the years we have seen many pictures or paintings of Christ. You see them in homes, churches, and on gospel tracts that people hand out. Most of these pictures portray Jesus as having long, flowing hair. His hair is usually light brown, and He is made to appear fair-skinned. Now these are an artist's conception of what Christ looked like based on legend and personal preference. Do we really have any idea what Jesus Christ looked like? Why do you suppose the gospel writers never mentioned a physical description of Christ? Surely the Holy Spirit who guided their writing had a reason for this.
I believe these pictures of Christ we have seen everywhere are not of the Lord's doing. Quite the contrary, they are one of the best tricks the devil has ever pulled off. Since God is a Spirit, and we must worship him as such and in truth; Satan would be in his usual character to set up and portray a false image of Christ. Although we do not know how Christ looked, we certainly know what He did not look like. Begin with historic fact and turn to the Word of God.
The Messiah Born a Hebrew
Jesus the Christ was born among the Jews and lived near the Sea of Galilee in Israel. We do not question this historic fact. We should keep in mind , however, that at this time the Jews were not yet dispersed among the nations. There was no mixing of European blood in them. Consequently, their skin was not white like a northern-European caucasian is today. The Hebrew people in the time and place of Christ are recognized as having predominantly black hair, and of mid-Eastern complexion.
The Error of a "Nazarite Tradition"
Most of the pictures of Christ that you see were developed from a well propagated tradition. They supposed that Jesus was a Nazarite and therefore He did not cut his hair. The Nazarites were a religious sect of the Jews who had taken a special vow of separation, which had nothing to do with the people who lived in a city called Nazareth. The rules applied only on the days during the vow: "..when either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite.. he shall separate himself from.." They were not to drink of the fruit of the vine or strong drink. No razor was to come upon their head. They were not to come in contact with a dead body. (Num.6:2-9)
If we examine the life of Christ, we see that Jesus did drink of the "fruit of the vine", which would have been against a Nazarite vow. Christ also came in direct contact with a dead body when the Bible speaks of his taking the daughter of Jairus by the hand and raising her up from death. So we have clearly seen that Jesus was under no restraint to let his hair grow because of a Nazarite vow. Thus these pictures that we have seen of Christ are based on an inaccurate tradition, not on any supportable evidence.
The Case Against Long Hair
As a matter of fact, we know the Jewish practice for men concerning the length of their hair. "They shall not shave their heads, yet they must not let their hair grow long; but they shall keep the hair of their heads trimmed." (Ez. 44:20) Keeping their hair cut short was the rule of law for Jewish men then according to the Scriptures. So we see that they didn't shave their heads (except for special vows) but neither did they let their hair grow long.
Let us hear from one who saw Christ in his lifetime. The apostle Paul includes himself among the names of the other apostles who had seen the Lord. (1Cor.9:1) We know that Paul had fellowship with the other disciples who were with Jesus- Peter for one; so Paul would have accurate knowledge concerning the physical appearance of Christ. Now bearing this in mind, notice that Paul declared, "Does not the very nature of things teach you, that if a man has long hair, it is a shame [disgrace] unto him."(1Cor.11:14) Writing by the Holy Spirit, you can be quite sure the apostle Paul would never have made this statement if Christ (his Lord) had worn his hair long.
We can also see this in the apostle John's vision of the end-time Tribulation period. Satan's demons or fallen angels are seen arising out of their abode having "..hair like the hair of women."(Rev.9:8) Thus long hair on men is suggestive of subjection to the devil, (as well as effeminate). We can reasonably conclude therefore that most of these pictures we see of Christ do not arise out of good intentions.
Linked to Heathen Rituals Why does God not want us to portray Christ by using pictures or carved images? The second commandment of the Ten is separate and distinct from the first; "You shall not make for yourself any graven image, or any likeness that is in heaven above or on the earth beneath."(Ex.20:4) It doesn't matter whether you worship the actual picture-image itself, or not; God says He does not want images! "You must worship Me in Spirit and in truth.. my Word is truth.. you shall not set thee up any image, which the Lord thy God hates." (Deut.16:21;Jn 4:24,17:17)
God further declares this truth when He instructs Moses concerning heathen traditions; "then ye shall drive out all of the inhabitants of the land before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down their high places."(Num.33:52) Some of our churches today resemble heathen temples inside with their high statues, images, or pictures. If Christ were to come through some churches (or homes) today, would it be like when He overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the temple? Only would it be sculptured images and false pictures this time?? "Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divine being is like unto gold, silver, or stone, or an image made by art and the thought of man."(Acts 17:29/Col.2:9;11Cor.5:16)
Cross of Crucifix?
Brethren, the cross of Christ is a symbol of the gospel message; but if one places a carved image or "likeness" on that cross to resemble Christ, they defy the commandment of God. Christ is raised from the dead, not still on a cross! He died for us, but He is not dead! An empty cross declares the empty tomb! Christ is exalted in the heavens as Lord of all.
The Word a True Picture of Christ
We are to exhibit his words rather than having pictures or images. "Therefore, you shall lay up these my words in your heart, and bind them for a sign upon your hand.. any you shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates."(Deut.11:18-21) If you want to display Christ use his words- "they are Sprit and they are life." If you want to see Jesus look into his Word: "But God demonstrates his love toward us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us... we love, because He first loved us." Now that is his Word- it will be the true picture of Christ. (Rom.5:8;1John 4:19)
Not Seeing- Yet Knowing Him
Finally my brethren, the apostle Peter declares the working substance of faith when he says of Christ Jesus, "whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing; you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory." Paul declares the time when we shall see him "face to face", but for now he says, "we walk by faith, and not by sight." (1Peter 1:8;11Cor.5:7)
So then brethren, let us not have pictures or images which can never represent Christ in truth. Let his Word portray who He is, and the Holy Spirit will thus glorify him. And when you pray, believe that HE IS- sitting on the throne of the Father in heaven- hearing you by his Holy Spirit. Let your life be the true picture of Christ, so that when an unbeliever asks you- have you ever seen God?.. you may answer: I have not seen him, but I KNOW HIM, I BELIEVE HIM. My dear Christian friend; study the Word of God every morning; get on your knees in earnest praying- getting to know the Lord.
your comments are welcome,
Your servant in Christ, Dan Selby
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