WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH?

First, let me say that I am not judging anyone that is a leader in the Church. I must say this, but it brings me no joy. I know that I will step on some toes and cause some spiritual pain, but I believe that I must say this, because no one else is.

Scripture says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Mat 6:24 NIV)

Has the Church become a system that demands serving two masters? If someone makes a career of preaching then aren’t they trying to serve both money and God?

If a preacher’s livelihood is tied together with his desire to preach the Bible then doesn’t it create problems that lead to a separation of interests?

Suppose the minister learns from Scripture that the Founding Fathers were rebels against God, tenants that took the land from the legal owner; law breakers that would not pay their taxes. Therefore this Country was not a gift from God, but formed in rebellion to God. (Romans 13:1, 2, 6&7) Now if that minister hated money and loved God then he would want to tell the congregation what he has learned. However, because of the worldly view the people of this country have, and want to maintain, that minister would probably be looking for a new job the next day.

I have never heard a sermon about the United States that was based on Romans 13:1&2 and I have never heard one that quoted Romans 13:6&7 either! Why not?

Nor have I heard a sermon on money that quoted Matthew 6:24 or Luke 16:13. Every sermon that I have heard on money did not correctly convey that money is a master that opposes God. When money is preached The New International Version of the Bible is used because it says money is the root of all “kinds” of evil. The King James Version is not used because it says money is the root of all evil. The word “kinds” is not in the original text. The preacher can not explain that money is another master, because most of the congregations serve money and it would alienate them. It is also hard to tell others that money is another master while earning more than half of those who are listening.

The position of leaders of the Church has become the position of “The” leader of the Church. “The” leader of the Church is Jesus Christ; not a man.

The leader of a branch of the Church today is the “nice guy”. He has to be in order to keep his job. He will teach you to be a “nice guy” also and if you swallow that line then there will be no one to wake up the congregation.

The whole system has become corrupted and is attempting to serve both money and God. I know a young man that wants to serve God and thinks the best way is to become a minister, but the seminary demands thousands of dollars every semester to attend. In other words, they demand that he first serve money and then they will teach him to serve God! In my humble opinion, he is better off, because he doesn’t have the money.

Scripture says that we should be meek and so we should, but no one should try to use that command to muzzle those who understand something that is not being taught. You may think that I am not being meek, because I am saying this, but meekness means showing patience and humility. It does not mean to be weak. Weakness is an antonym of patience.

If you are a leader of a congregation, do you make more money than the average person that attends? Do you go on mission trips that are thinly disguised vacations? Have you ever turned down a raise? Do you take more than two Sundays off per year? Have you hired an assistant minister to cover the days you are absent? The bottom line is “Do you lead by example or do you attempt to lead with words”?

14 Responses to WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CHURCH?

  1. I have heard sermons on this topic and have given them, so it is out there.

    Once upon a time, I was a paid full time pastor. I left that, started my own business and now serve as a pastor on a purely volunteer basis. We do not take offerings and do not have a church bank account.

    You are right that there is a conflict at times between doing God’s thing and not ticking off the people who are “paying” for it. Smalelr churches wrestle with this more because there is so little money to pay for the ministry. This is one of the reasons we don’t take offerings and no one gets paid.

    Be encouraged, there are many, many “pastors” who don’t serve money.

  2. astudent says:

    Not For Itching Ears,

    Thanks for the input.

    I do not make the same mistake as Elijah, when he thought that he was the only one of God’s profits left. Whatever God has given me I believe that He has given even more to others. So I am encouraged by your words, but the truth is it very hard to be discouraged when one understands Scripture. That is not to say that I understand all Scripture.

    I am curios. Do you meet in homes or do you have a church building?

    I am not completely against taking up offerings as the early church did so and if a branch of the church has a building then there are expenses to cover. Also in these times there are members that need a little help. It is a pleasure to help others and if the Church as a group gives there is less chance of the individual being thanked instead of God. God should be the only one that receives any glory for it.

    I am leaning against paying someone to oversee and I believe that you are correct not to take wages to lead: Paul did not and he did so to set an example. It seems to me that when someone wants the job, it is a calling and when they want a raise, it is a job.

    I also understand that Paul said, “For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” And he used it to justify a material harvest from the church for those that work for the church.

    Has no one realized that the ox has to stop treading out the grain in order to scoop up some grain and if the ox is allowed to eat too much it will soil the grain?

    I do not know about all branches of the Church, but from what I have seen the ox is eating too much and the grain is getting dumped on. The ox is telling the grain to be like Jesus and keep quiet, but Jesus did not keep quiet when the Church was being defiled. (Mat 21:12, Mark 11:15 and John 2:15)

    Is today’s Church a “den of robbers”? If man has not and can not change then aren’t we apt to make the same mistake again?

    Anyway thanks again. I viewed your blog “Not For Itching Ears” and I found it very interesting.

  3. Its me again,

    We meet in homes and businesses. It is really easy to do, but you can’t have the big Mega-church mindset. Because we do have that mindset, it is almost impossible for us to think that we could have jobs outside the church and pastor too.

    I don’t have a problem with churches taking offerings either. I was discipled and firmly planted in Christ by the ministry of a church with a huge budget. They work.

    Paul was a self-employed guy, so he could support himself and serve the Lord the way he did. He was a model for us. If I could teach one class back at Bible College, it would be Tentmaking 101.

    I was thinking about your friend who wanted to go into ministry and needed to go to Seminary. There are many ways to get the training ones needs to serve as a traditional pastor. His church, if they see God’s call on his life, may be willing to pay for his classes. I know taht we always did that. Many churches do. He could also go to a Bible College, which are cheaper. Some churches have Ministry Training type institutes. So there is hope!

    Thaks for checking out my site!

  4. astudent says:

    Not For Itching Ears,

    Thanks for the advice for the young man, but I could, or rather will not pass it along. I believe young men should learn to work with their hands, just as Scripture says. (Eph 4:28, 1 Th 4:11) There is plenty of time to learn what God wants before seeking a position in the Church. Those who lead should be elders, not youngsters. One has to have time to pry the log from one’s own eye before attempting to remove the speck from others and it takes time even to identify the log.

    I spoke briefly with the young man and he has found a job working with his hands. I would not counsel him to do anything different.

    It seems to me that we all think of ourselves as more important than we really are. We think that we can do, and therefore should do the work of God, but we are only children.

    When I was a child, I did not even consider that I could do the work of my father. I did not know how, was not strong enough, not smart enough, not tall enough, just not qualified in any way. My father would have only laughed at me for suggesting that I could do his work. How much less am I qualified to do the work of God?

    As I understand, I should love my God with all my heart, soul, and strength, and do to others as I would want them to do to me. If I do so, then my light will shine and others may stand in it, but that is their choice.

    It seems to me that we go to far sometimes when we try to enlighten others. We obey the second royal command when we tell others about Jesus, but we disobey when, in our enthusiasm, we attempt to force others to listen. If I didn’t understand that I was lost and headed for Hell, I would definitely want someone to explain it to me, but if I decided I didn’t want to hear it then those who would continue to try to explain would not be doing to me as they would want me to do to them.

    God does not make anyone listen against his or her will and neither should we. No one would worship God in truth if God made him or her do so. Instead of the old cliché,”The Devil made me do it”, it would be “God made me do it”.

  5. PAGAU says:

    Hi astudent,

    I am very much in agreement with you here, but not completely.

    astudent says:
    “If a preacher’s livelihood is tied together with his desire to preach the Bible then doesn’t it create problems that lead to a separation of interests?”

    PAGAU says:
    Yes, absolutely. I think the term is “conflict of interests” but yes, I agree.

    astudent says:
    “The position of leaders of the Church has become the position of “The” leader of the Church. “The” leader of the Church is Jesus Christ; not a man.”

    PAGAU says:
    Yes, I agree this is indeed another corruption of the Church.

    astudent says:
    “You may think that I am not being meek, because I am saying this, but…”

    PAGAU says:
    You are right to resist in this way. But as for your use of the term “meek”. I find it “weak”. The true nature of what you are doing is resisting the establishment. You are taking the position that error should be resisted no matter where it comes from–whether it comes from the leaders in the church or outside the church. It is a form of rebellion and it is right and just. But when I read some of your other comments concerning rebellion and authority, I’m sure you disagree with me on this point. You may never come to accept that there is a place for rebellion to authority, but I intend to convince you there is.

    astudent says:
    “Suppose the minister learns from Scripture that the Founding Fathers were rebels against God, tenants that took the land from the legal owner; law breakers that would not pay their taxes. Therefore this Country was not a gift from God, but formed in rebellion to God. (Romans 13:1, 2, 6&7)”

    PAGAU says:
    It is too bad you hold the founding fathers in such contempt. I think they would agree with you regarding this topic you have raised– at least with the basic premise. However, I think they had a much greater understanding of the topic than you. These “law breakers that would not pay their taxes” as you call them, showed us their wisdom and understanding in the laws they created. It is interesting how you raise the tax issue in this way. You judge them from the laws of today which have been corrupted. Judge them instead from the laws they created. Start with the constitution which remains today the highest law of the land. Taxing the labor of the citizens is unlawful according to the constitution and remains so today. The lawbreakers of today are those who violate the highest law of the land. A proper investigation of the tax issue will reveal the true lawbreakers to be those who violate those laws created by wise men who understood the injustice inflicted on them through taxes.

    The wisdom of the founders can be seen in the legacy they left us — but not all can see it. It is like saying the glory of God is revealed in his creation. Not all can see it. But no one can see it without an understanding of the fallen nature of this world. Otherwise, one might be confused between the works of God (the creation) and that of Satan (the curse). Christians understand the curse and do not allow it to obscure the glory of God that is seen in His creation. Christians understand there will be a day when the curse is lifted and the lion will lay down with the lamb.

    So it is with the legacy that the founders left us. Though it is true in many ways that this nation was doomed from the start. I do not allow the fallen nature of this nation obscure the works of God that I see in its founding. The Christians of that age were of such influence that it permeated all levels of society — and to such an extent that even the deists of the day spoke like a Christian and held the Word of God in high regard — and it was the Word of God that brought it about — as I shall show you.

    This nation was indeed formed in rebellion, as you say–but not in rebellion to God. Our nation’s motto — as printed on our coins — is “LIBERTY”. But it was almost not so. Our motto came very close to being “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God”. This phrase best expressed the sentiments of those engaged in the resistance at the time. Today it seems like an outrageous thing to say. The concepts are foreign to us in this age. But I respect our founding fathers for having a clear understanding of these principles.

    I think we in this age would do well to revisit these same principles. Most of the errors in the Church today I believe are rooted in more recent events and are not traceable to the founding of this nation. One is the creation of the I~R~S and taxes on the labor and income of the people. Two is the Corporatization of the Church and its acceptance of 501C3 tax status. Both of these did not exist at our nation’s founding and have done more to corrupt the Church than anything else. Prior to this corruption corporations were taxed while people and churches were not. This is an element of the forgotten legacy. Today the people and the churches have been robbed of this legacy — not by any new legal means, but by deceit. There are many shocking truths to be uncovered when studying this subject. One such shocking truth is this: When a Church becomes 501C3 it becomes a creature of the state and becomes subject to the laws governing corporations. Non-profit corporations need 501C3 status, Churches do not. Churches are tax exempt by virtue of simply being a Church and need not be incorporated. It is by deception and not by any new law that this is being done in violation of our constitution. Here is the problem with all this: The I~R~S requires an authoritarian hierarchy of corporations. Jesus requires a servant hierarchy of the Church — as I am sure you know.

    There is a teaching in the church today that spiritual authority is delegated from God through men–from the top down. Much of this error today can be traced to the teachings of Watchman Nee and his book Spiritual Authority. There is another teaching in the church today that private interpretation of Scripture is dangerous and rebellious. This is a catholic interpretation of 2nd Peter 1:20 that has crept into the Protestant churches. Both of these were thoroughly debunked by the early reformers and it was precisely this hierarchial mode of authority that was the greatest error of the Catholic church. The Catholic Church exercised authority over the people from the top down. Jesus said in Matthew 20:25:
    “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    So today, while you bemoan the fact that, as you say; “The position of leaders of the Church has become the position of “The” leader of the Church”, you do not recognize the role that corruption of tax law plays in this corruption of the church. If we follow the I~R~S in the direction they wish to lead the Church, the I~R~S will displace Jesus as lord of the Church. You see my point? This will lead us back the bondage we rebelled against — through much bloodshed — during the time of the Protestant reformation.

    The rebellion on which our nation was founded can best be understood as an extension of the Protestant reformation.
    Key point #1: The Protestant reformation was a rebellion. It was a just cause and it was bloody. Remember, and do not forget Bloody Mary!
    Key point #2: It was a rebellion against the church — actually two churches in particular, the Catholic church, and the Church Of England.
    Key point #3: Those engaged in the rebellion at the time believed themselves to be in obedience to God.
    Key point #4: Those fighting against the rebellion at the time also believed themselves to be in obedience to God.
    Key point #5 This conflict produced a large number of people who were very devoted to God and yet very rebellious and anti-authority and came to the “new world”.

    The biblical teaching of the priesthood of all believers was anathema to the Catholic church. Private interpretation of Scripture was forbidden — otherwise the people might read Jesus’ words for themselves and come to understand — which would undermine the power of the Catholic Church.. It was illegal for anyone to translate the scriptures in the language of the common people. Early bible translators were heros and martyrs and rebels who had a deep conviction their work was indeed the work of God. Many of the most devoted and brilliant scholars this turbulent period produced found themselves in exile together in the nation-state of Geneva. There they found a safe haven where they could combine their efforts to produce what was later to be called The Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible was the first study-bible translated from original languages for the english speaking masses. The translators made a point to use manuscripts not under the control of the Catholic Church. This Bible was loaded with much commentary from the scholars to help the people understand the Bible. The persecution at the hand of the church establishment was fresh on the minds of the scholars and their commentary reflected these views that were so seared into their collective conscience. The commentary, to put it mildly, was not favorable to the Catholic Church. The direct language in the translation together with the commentary from the translators drew the ire of the entire church establishment. The King of England was so enraged that he (as you might expect from a tyrant) sponsored the King James Bible project as a strategy to displace the people’s Geneva Bible. This is why the King James Bible is referred to as the “Authorized Version”.

    I own a Geneva Bible. I bought it so I could better understand our forgotten heritage When the pilgrims landed in the new world they were on a mission from God and they brought their Bible with them. The Bible they brought was not the King James’ “Authorized Version”. No, it was the forbidden Geneva Bible with all that commentary that lit their fire of revival in their hearts. It was this Bible that gave the english speaking masses their faith and determination to spread the gospel [unto the uttermost part of the earth]. It also gave them their high regard for liberty and their disdain for all forms of tyranny. Although many came to the new world for many reasons, these people came as missionaries. They had not known the scriptures before. It was new to them. When they read that Geneva Bible and believed, they became an unstoppable force.

    When you said our founders were “tenants that took the land from the legal owner”, you completely misunderstand this as well. What really happened was a clash of two very dissimilar views of the earth. The two did not understand each other. Perhaps a few did–and exploited it. The settlers had come out of a form of tyranny called feudalism. Under feudalism, it was through land ownership that the power of tyrants was preserved. In that context the early settlers viewed individual private property as being key to protecting themselves from tyranny. Private property and liberty were inseparable. These settlers happened to carry this view of private property into a land where the native inhabitants had no concept of property ownership at all. This in itself is irony of biblical proportions that is well worth a study, but it does not mean those settlers came here to steal land from the legal owners. That is a smear on the Christian heritage of this nation. Many thieves and every form of riffraff came over to the new world. But their influence pales in comparison to that of the missionaries with the fire of revival. This nation was born out of a revival which was born out of persecution. Don’t seek to diminish it, seek instead to stoke those old embers because tyranny has returned and we have failed to resist it. You may be resisting in a small and meek way by starting this topic and challenging the establishment, but tyrants go for blood. They are closer than you think.

    Where all this will lead, Christians should know. The nature of the tyranny at our door is revealed in Revelation 13. “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. ” From the vantage point of today it is quite obvious what level of tyranny is described in this prophesy. In 2nd Thessalonians 2, we are told of the “rebellion” and what the NIV commentary calls the “restrainer” which precedes the fulfillment of this prophesy. The NIV commentary says there have been many suggestions as to the identity of this restrainer. The Bible itself does not say. I think its meaning is hidden until the time of the fulfillment of the prophesy. But from where I stand today, the only restrainer I see is those throughout history who have resisted tyranny. Those of every age who resist tyranny as our founding fathers have done, delay fulfillment of this prophesy until the great rebellion and the revelation of the man of lawlessness. When he is revealed, refusing the mark will be an act of rebellion. On that day will the rebellion be a rebellion against God? Or will it be a rebellion against the man of lawlessness? While pondering the answer, keep in mind that the man of lawlessness will be in authority.

    Look up!
    PAGAU

  6. astudent says:

    PAGAU,

    Glad to see that you are still considering what is said. You knew that I would disagree with you: didn’t you?

    As for the Founding Fathers, I do not hold them in contempt. They are just sinners like all of us: me included. However, I do hold their actions in contempt.

    There can be absolutely no compelling reason to rebel against God, or any excuse for doing so. Scripture states, (Rom 13:1&2) “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Those are not my words, but the words of God. He doesn’t say that it is OK to rebel against Him if you do not like the authorities or how they rule. God knew what they would do even before they were born. Yes, to rebel against what God has instituted, in my opinion, is to rebel against God.

    If God had wanted this Country to be a democracy, He would have planed it so there would have been no rebellion.

    The Founding Fathers had the same Scripture that we have today and it says pay your taxes and do not rebel against the authorities. He is in charge and He had appointed the King of England as the King of the Colonies.

    The Founding Fathers and all those who vote believe man should appoint their own authorities and are putting their trust in man and not in God. We have swallowed Satan’s line about choosing someone to represent us when it is God that should. He would have, but we decided that we could do it better. Just look at the condition the Country is in and ask yourself if we are succeeding.

    We say that we trust in God and then we attempt to control everything. There are some who would say, “Ask God who to vote for”. Well, in my opinion, asking such a question is an insult to God. What do you think God’s reaction is to those who say they trust God and then attempt to choose their own authority when God said He would do it?

    This Country does indeed trust in god and that god is money. Those who do not understand believe it is the answer for all problems. Money was why this country was founded. It was founded by those who wanted to keep money instead of paying God’s servants, which gave their full time to governing (Rom 13:16).

    Jesus could have replaced the ruling authorities, but he did not. As I understand he could do so today, but he does not. Jesus did only what the Father wanted, so it stands to reason that God did not want what He had instituted to be changed. If even Jesus would not rebel against the authorities, even though they nailed him to a cross, then should any man? Jesus even knew that the authorities would murder him: it wasn’t merely a matter of paying taxes.

    PAGAU, I am blessed because I do not have a Geneva Bible. I have many translations, but I do not study what man says. If the Geneva Bible includes commentaries that encourage rebellion against governments then it encourages rebellion against God.

    God’s words are very clear about rebelling against the authorities and any Bible that adds or subtracts from God’s word interferes with what God wants. It is very dangerous to do so. Deu 4:2, 12:32, Prov 30:6, and Rev 22:18&19.

    Do not resist tyranny. Tyranny is only evil people. (Mat 5:39-48 NIV) But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Accepting the mark of the beast is rebellion against God, but refusing it is not necessarily rebellion against the government. The penalty for not receiving it is spelled out, just as the penalty for murder and though murder is wrong it is not rebellion against the government.

  7. PAGAU says:

    astudent said:
    “As for the Founding Fathers, I do not hold them in contempt… …However, I do hold their actions in contempt.”

    PAGAU says:
    OK, subtle difference. I would suggest that when you judge their “actions”, you also credit them with the “actions” it took to produce the freedom you now enjoy to speak your mind freely on the internet as you are now doing. This freedom is vanishing fast — and in large part due to the inaction of those who do not value this freedom.

    astudent said:
    This Country does indeed trust in god and that god is money. Those who do not understand believe it is the answer for all problems. Money was why this country was founded.

    PAGAU says:
    Here you take what is essentially the fallen state of this nation and mankind as a whole and project it on the founders as if money worship was their creation. Money was not why this country was founded. On the contrary, what you observe as the money problem of today is caused by straying from God, the constitution as well as the intent of the founders who actually had the foresight to warn us against the money problems we face today. We did exhaust this subject in another excellent topic you started here:
    IS MONEY THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL?
    https://astudent.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/is-money-the-root-of-all-evil/

    astudent said:
    “The Founding Fathers had the same Scripture that we have today…”

    PAGAU says:
    Actually it was the Geneva Bible they used, which is indeed different — not just because of the commentary — but also because of the manuscripts it was translated from.

    astudent said:
    PAGAU, I am blessed because I do not have a Geneva Bible. I have many translations, but I do not study what man says…

    PAGAU says:
    Any Bible student on one degree or another studies what man says. If everyone seriously took this attitude (I do not study what man says) no one would ever bother coming here to your blog to read what you have to say. Actually, on this subject we should take the advice of Jesus in Matthew 23:2-4. But wait! If you read this Scripture yourself from most of today’s Bible translations you may be getting an incorrect rendering or perhaps [God forbid] a slanted version of what Jesus actually said. You may need the help of a man to understand this one. You need a man who is a better translator than you. You may need a professional expert in Hebrew with direct experience in translating the Dead Sea Scrolls. Well, here he is with a lesson on what Jesus really said in Matthew 23:2-4
    Jew teaches Christians about Jesus
    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=232341

    A small blurb from this site follows.

    ~~~ snip ~~~

    “The King James translation of Matthew 23:2-4 has befuddled Christians for hundreds of years. While Jesus indicted the Pharisees, calling them “vipers” and worse, He seems to suggest doing what they say to do in this verse: “Saying the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”

    But, according to Gordon’s translation of the recently discovered Hebrew text of Matthew, there is a slight, but important, mistranslation of the verse – probably a result of an original error in the Greek. Some scholars believe Matthew originally wrote his gospel in Hebrew.

    What it actually says, according to Gordon, is for followers to do what Moses says, not the Pharisees. When the Pharisees would sit in Moses’ seat, they would read from the first five books of the Bible – the words of Moses. Jesus, or Yeshua, was telling His disciples to heed the scriptural text and disregard the man-made teachings of the Pharisees, explains Gordon.

    Gordon’s research reveals that the more “modern” Greek text of Matthew, from which the Western world’s versions were translated, depicts “another Jesus” from the Yeshua portrayed in the ancient Hebrew version of Matthew. Gordon explains the life-and-death conflict Yeshua had with the Pharisees as they schemed to grab the reins of Judaism in the first century, and brings that conflict into perspective for both Jew and Christian alike.”

    ~~~ snip ~~~

    So it would seem that with Gordon’s interpretation, Jesus is saying we should not study what man (the Pharisees) says, but what Moses says. That sounds a lot like what you said “I do not study what man says” except you needed the help of a man to get there. I find it also interesting “the life-and-death conflict Yeshua had with the Pharisees” that Gordon describes. Somehow todays Bible translations seem to minimize this [rebel] aspect of the life of Jesus. I agree with Gordon on this point. When I look up Matthew 23 in my Geneva bible I am delighted to find the translation/interpretation in perfect agreement with Gordon’s — with the commentary (what man says) driving the point home even more forcefully than Gordon.

    I like my Geneva Bible, and I also like my NIV Study Bible. The NIV study notes will often alert you when there are differences among the various manuscripts. But in the case of Matthew 23:2-4, it slipped through the cracks and has the wrong rendering in the text. It says: “you must obey them and do everything they tell you.” The NIV translators viewed some manuscripts more reliable than others and had a preference for those manuscripts which Gordon believes to be the lesser ones. I agree with Gordon but for perhaps different reasons. I believe the early reformers on the Geneva Bible project were wise to choose manuscripts not under the control of an authoritarian regime. ‘Nuff said.

    astudent said:
    “Accepting the mark of the beast is rebellion against God, but refusing it is not necessarily rebellion against the government. The penalty for not receiving it is spelled out, just as the penalty for murder and though murder is wrong it is not rebellion against the government.”

    PAGAU says:
    Really? refusing it is not necessarily rebellion against the government? I beg to differ. This argument I have raised does indeed take the leggs out from under your hyper-passive position. Your rationale (equating the act of refusing the mark with the act of murder) not making sense to me. The mark will force the end-time church to make a tough choice. Your position will lead them to make the wrong choice. Sorry guy — had to say it. Like you said: “I know that I will step on some toes and cause some spiritual pain, but I believe that I must say this, because no one else is.”

    Look up!
    PAGAU

  8. astudent says:

    PAGAU,

    I like discussing topics with you. Probably because you view things from a different angle than I do. Let me explain my angle.

    I view God as always right and because He is always right then anything that He says is always right. If He says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; and the powers that be, are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, shall receive to themselves condemnation.” (Romans 13:1&2 Geneva Bible) Then that is right and anybody that says otherwise is wrong. We know that He is speaking about governments, because the next words are, “For Magistrates are not to be feared for good works, but for evil” and the word in the original text (archon) means chief, magistrate, prince, or ruler.

    The text of the Geneva Bible says exactly what the KJV says. It does translate the word “krima” as “condemnation” and the KJV uses the word “damnation” and the Geneva Bible translates the word “archon” as “Magistrates” when the KJV uses “rulers”, but the words all mean the same.

    My faith in God tells me that He knew what the rulers would do even before He gave them life and that includes the evil they do. I believe that He allows evil because it must happen as part of His plan.

    He tells me in these verses to obey those that He put in charge and to do less is unbelief. If God appointed someone to power and I try to find a way, or even a reason, to disobey or remove them from power, then I am saying, in effect, that God was wrong to appoint them. More than just wrong, because He even knew what they would do before He even appointed them.

    How could I believe that God is all powerful, all knowing, and is doing everything for the good of the believer and then say He is wrong by rebelling against someone that He appointed? Instead of rebelling against them shouldn’t I be trying to understand why He appointed them?

    This life, in this world, is only a test for each individual. We have the opportunity to determine if we want to live forever with God or not, even if we do not understand everything that He is doing. But we can understand! He has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to teach us. I don’t think anyone can understand what God is doing by listening to other men. You may read and think about what I have said, but you will not understand it until you test it with the Bible and only the Bible. Be it the Geneva, King James, or even the New International Version.

    You seem to believe that we are better off because of the rebellion of our Founding Fathers, but that is a baseless conclusion. How much better off would we have been if the Founding Fathers had not rebelled? If everyone would obey the second royal command, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” then there would be no reason for a government.

    The basic responsibility of the government is to punish those that do not obey the second command. If no one offends anyone else, then who is there to punish?

    I certainly agree that freedom is vanishing, but it is a result of the downfall of mankind: all mankind. This is a country that is supposed to be ruled by the people, but the truth is we choose other men, politicians, to rule us. God doesn’t vote: we do: we chose. That is not a subtle difference. Those that we chose are not servants, they are rulers. No one in their right mind would let a servant make decisions that affects their livelihood, or the livelihood of their children and yet we think that we do! Are we in our right mind?

    In our infinite wisdom, we have chosen rulers that do not even know that islands do not float! It wouldn’t surprise me if the government doesn’t create a whole new branch of the Navy. They could appoint captains, admirals, and crews of The Islands! Of course, they would have to increase our taxes in order to pay for it. Think of all the money required just to build the giant rudders that would be required! Yes, I do know that is ridiculous, but how much more ridiculous is the idea that we chose someone to make decisions about our Navy, that doesn’t even know the difference between a ship and an island? The average 7 year old knows that! If you missed that google “Guam tipping over” and be sure to watch the utube video.

    We have chosen an antichrist as president! “O” he claims to be Christian, but he also claims Islam is a beautiful religion! No Christian could make that statement! It is a religion that has no Savior! One that claims God has no son! It approves of murder and lies! It is the religion of the antichrist! It opposes the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

    No one that believes in this government will admit that we made such an error, because it demonstrates that the system does not work. If it did the United States would be advancing, but it should be apparent, and is apparent that we are destroying ourselves and the speed that we are doing so is increasing with each passing day. It is the result of relying on ourselves instead of God.

    You are indeed correct when you say, “the money problem of today is caused by straying from God”, but it began when the Founding Fathers started us straying.

    PAGAU, you do not understand what I am trying to do here. If any man says something to me I consider what he says, but I study (believe) only the Bible. I find men usually wrong when compared to Scripture. When I compare what you say to the Words of God in the Geneva Bible you are wrong. If I compare your words to other men’s commentaries included with the Geneva Bible you may seem right. I don’t know any other way to explain myself.

    Well, you say, “I may need the help of another man to understand this one”, but Scripture says that I have the Holy Spirit to teach me all things and I do not need anyone to teach me. (1 John 2:27 NIV) “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.”

    What man do you refer to when you say “except you needed the help of a man to get there”?

    As for Mr. Nehemia Gordon, he is a Jew and does not even believe in Jesus. What could I learn from him? You are doing as I am and you prove it when you said that you were delighted to find the translation/interpretation in perfect agreement with Gordon’s. You did not take the word of a man. Instead you tested it against the Bible. I too agree with Mr. Gordon, but I see no rebellion in the actions, or words of Jesus.

    If I might try to explain myself, murder is rebellion against God, but not against the government. Again the basic responsibility of government is to punish the wrong doer (For he is the minister of God for thy wealth, but if thou do evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword for nought: for he is the minister of God to take vengeance on him that doeth evil. (Rom 13:4 Geneva Bible))

    Rebellion against the government would be attempting to change the government itself, not to commit some other crime. It might help to view the law and the government as two separate entities. The laws (given by God) are the rules to be obeyed and the government (also given by God) is the body that punishes the lawbreaker. Murder is not rebellion against the government. It justifies the very existence of governments.

    I use to think that the basic responsibility of the government was to protect the citizens from foreign countries, but it is God that does that. God does not violate His own rules and His second basic rule is “Do to others as you would have them do to you”, therefore He does not take the life of a murderer, because He does not want someone to take His life: for any reason.

    It is necessary, for the good of society, to rid the earth of those who murder, so God declared, (Gen 9:6 NIV) “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” God did not take Cain’s life for murdering Abel: He even put a mark on Cain to protect him from others.

    I can not be held responsible for someone making a wrong choice when all I am saying is, listen to God: not to man. Especially when I include myself with men.

    Do not worry about stepping on my toes, or hurting my feelings in any way. To hold back and not say what you believe should be said would be less than truthful on your part. I do not want that and if you say something that I do not fully understand and that causes me to verify your understanding with Scripture then I am grateful.

    When that happens, and it has, you may say that you taught me something, but I do not learn from man. If you prefer to look at it that way then I can not teach you different, but then we both know that: don’t we. Ha, ha

    It is not that I do not want to learn from man, but God made man and God made iron and God gave both their properties. If iron could sharpen iron, then man could sharpen man, but it can not. Listen to God by testing what I say with the Word of God. Test commentaries with the same test that you tested Nehemia Gordon.

  9. PAGAU says:

    astudent said:
    “What man do you refer to when you say “except you needed the help of a man to get there”?”

    PAGAU says:
    Gordon, of course.

    astudent said:
    “As for Mr. Nehemia Gordon, he is a Jew and does not even believe in Jesus. What could I learn from him?”

    PAGAU says:
    You could learn the correct translation for Matthew 23:2-4 for which most western translations are in error.

    I believe the blurb I sent you is in error regarding the King James Version. As you correctly pointed out; “The text of the Geneva Bible says exactly what the KJV says.” I don’t believe Gordon would include the KJV among those western translations he was critical of — maybe he would, I don’t really know. But this I do know; the Geneva is closer to the KJV and as for the particular error Gordon pointed out regarding Matthew 23, I can confirm the error does indeed exist in my NIV, but not in my KJV.

    Many years ago, before I heard of the Geneva Bible, I took an interest in the “KJV-ONLY” debate. I grew up with the KJV but I also read the NIV and others. Many of the KJV-ONLY arguments are ludicrous but not all of them. Some argued that the manuscripts used for the KJV were superior in spite of the fact that most modern translators regard them as inferior. The KJV-ONLY people claimed the Dead Sea Scrolls were confirming their position in this regard. This I thought was a credible argument that deserved some respect. But today I know what I didn’t know then — it was the Geneva Bible that really blazed this trail. The KJV was actually a sanitized (commentary removed) version of the Geneva Bible. It was not until recent years that translators began to rely more on the Latin Vulgate. It was this drift towards the Latin Vulgate that the KJV-ONLY people objected to — and rightly so IMHO. It is the Latin Vulgate that is the ultimate source of the error that Gordon (an expert with the Dead Sea Scrolls) has put his finger on — thereby vindicating the KJV-ONLY people. It is the Latin Vulgate, in my opinion, that protestants should not rely on regardless of what modern translators say.

    This is the context from which I am speaking when I said I was “delighted to find the [Geneva Bible] translation/interpretation in perfect agreement with Gordon’s”. It was not so much that I was testing what Gordon said against Scripture as you suggested. I cannot test what he says against Scripture when the very subject of which he speaks is exactly that: what the Scripture actually says. You must first determine the proper translation/interpretation of the Scripture before you can test anything against it. This is where Gordon (the man) can be of help. Whether he is a Jew or not. you can learn something from him.

    astudent said:
    “…But we can understand! He has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to teach us. I don’t think anyone can understand what God is doing by listening to other men. You may read and think about what I have said, but you will not understand it until you test it with the Bible and only the Bible. Be it the Geneva, King James, or even the New International Version.”

    PAGAU says:
    “You must first determine the proper translation/interpretation of the Scripture before you can test anything against it. This is where Gordon (the man) can be of help. Whether he is a Jew or not. you can learn something from him.” [Is there an echo in here?] Notice the position you take here “He has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to teach us” would be an act of rebellion against the government during the time of the reformers.

    astudent said:
    “The basic responsibility of the government is to punish those that do not obey the second command. If no one offends anyone else, then who is there to punish?”

    PAGAU says:
    Agreed. This was Paul’s point (in Romans) as well. It is when government steps outside this role that government itself becomes lawless. Despots and dictators tend to seek the apparatus of government for their own ends. Their purpose is not to “punish those that do not obey the second command” as you say. No, their purpose is to destroy anyone or anything that is opposed to them and their position. It is a lust for power and authority and glory that motivates them. It is the same thing that motivates Satan to seek what rightfully belongs to God. This has been a constant theme throughout history that will continue to repeat until the end. When the end comes, it will be the same — but with one major difference — the goal of world domination will have been achieved — but they will say it was not through a despot as in times past. Then the lawless one (despot) will be revealed. Then it will obvious [to those with eyes to see and ears to hear] the constant stream of kings, despots, dictators and the destruction in their wake will not end until the deceiver is put away.

    astudent said:
    “This is a country that is supposed to be ruled by the people, but the truth is we choose other men, politicians, to rule us. God doesn’t vote: we do: we chose. That is not a subtle difference. Those that we chose are not servants, they are rulers. No one in their right mind would let a servant make decisions that affects their livelihood, or the livelihood of their children and yet we think that we do! Are we in our right mind?”

    PAGAU says:
    Your words here reflect a world view 180 degrees from the world view of the founders. It is no wonder you do not understand them. You say they “are not servants?” The founders would disagree. Consider the words of George Washington; “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like a fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” They clearly understood the paradox. It is evident in their choice of words “a troublesome servant and a fearful master”. They believed in order to restrain evil, government should be governed. But there is another paradox they clearly understood. They did not believe in the “country that is supposed to be ruled by the people” as you suggest — not in the sense of a direct democracy. The founders established a republic, not a democracy. They regarded democracy as yet another form of tyranny. Their views on this is best understood in an unknown quote of their day and what is known today as the fatal sequence.

    ~~~ snip ~~~

    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

    Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.

    ~~~ snip ~~~

    At the close of Constitutional Convention of 1787, when asked as he left Independence Hall what form of government they were establishing, Benjamin Franklin said: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” In other words, they were very aware of the fragile nature of what they had established. They understood it to be flawed and at best it represented man’s best attempt to establish a just government. The people placed servants in power to govern with the consent of the governed. This is why government officials, and police officers in particular, are called “public servants” as this was the original intent of the founders. They were not called rulers. They were ruled by law — not by a ruling class of people. Today the term “public servant” is reduced to a euphemism for master as we enter the final stages of the fatal sequence: “…from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.”

    astudent said:
    “My faith in God tells me that He knew what the rulers would do even before He gave them life and that includes the evil they do. I believe that He allows evil because it must happen as part of His plan. He tells me in these verses to obey those that He put in charge and to do less is unbelief. If God appointed someone to power and I try to find a way, or even a reason, to disobey or remove them from power, then I am saying, in effect, that God was wrong to appoint them. More than just wrong, because He even knew what they would do before He even appointed them. How could I believe that God is all powerful, all knowing, and is doing everything for the good of the believer and then say He is wrong by rebelling against someone that He appointed? Instead of rebelling against them shouldn’t I be trying to understand why He appointed them?”

    PAGAU says:
    Of course He knew what the rulers would do — but don’t credit God with the evil He allowed the rulers to commit. God established the office — not the evil within it. You build this whole construct from one Scripture and do not take the whole counsel of God into account. Scripture is riddled with examples of those who defied earthly authority in obedience to God. Your logic here seems to be; All authority comes from God. Therefore any evil that comes from authority must be part of God’s plan. The founders had quite a different take on it. They believed in the Providence of God. They believed that God governs in the affairs of men. They believed God put them on this earth for a reason. They considered it their duty to God to resist evil on this earth in a tangible way. These were not passive men. They were men of action. This does not make them less godly than you. But it does make you more passive than them.

    astudent said:
    “Rebellion against the government would be attempting to change the government itself, not to commit some other crime. It might help to view the law and the government as two separate entities. The laws (given by God) are the rules to be obeyed and the government (also given by God) is the body that punishes the lawbreaker. Murder is not rebellion against the government. It justifies the very existence of governments.”

    PAGAU says:
    On the contrary, to “view the law and the government as two separate entities” as you say might have applied in Jesus’ day, but not today. Under Roman occupation the Jewish people suffered under two levels of authority. Our government today is defined as a government of laws as opposed to a government of rulers. This has been a constant refrain from government officials these days as those same officials run roughshod over the laws that govern them. When the government disintegrates to this level, it is time to do as you said [not] to do “Rebellion against the government would be attempting to change the government itself” This is the essence of the Declaration of Independence as summarized in the preamble:

    ~~~ snip ~~~

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    ~~~ snip ~~~

    They said “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” while you said: “Rebellion against the government would be attempting to change the government itself.” You consider this rebellion against God. They considered it obedience to God. You can’t take this passive position. To do so would be to say Daniel was in rebellion against God when he said; “I will not bow” Likewise, to do so would be to say you will be in rebellion against God when you say; “I will not take the mark”

    I really believe, if you were living during the time of the reformers, if the Queen Bloody Mary told you to take down your blog or die. Stop reading your Bible for yourself or die. Stop preaching the gospel or die. You would defy any law, any government, any authority that demanded such unjust things of you. You would understand the authorities were not acting as agents of righteousness but as agents of tyranny. You would be indignant. You would be a rebel in obedience to God. You would seek an earthly government that respected your right to practice your religion.

    Look up!
    PAGAU

  10. astudent says:

    PAGAU,

    I don’t understand what different meaning there seems to be in Matthew 23:2-4. I understood the verse the first time I read it: well, God gave me the understanding I didn’t know because of my own intelligence.

    The scribes and Pharisees were the authorities and as authorities were appointed by God. They used the law that God gave Moses in order to control the people, but the bottom line, or the basic understanding of God demands that people should obey them. The words they used to control the people were the Words of God. Therefore, it is right to obey the law and wrong to use the law to control others. What is the wrong interpretation that you think I had which required a man to teach me?

    There are twelve Bibles in my e-Sword program and though many words are different, the thoughts are the same. I must have a mental block, because I cannot come up with a different meaning in the NIV from the KJV.

    Don’t take what I said as disagreeing with you about the translation that any one uses. I have used the NIV for years, but I see a conflict between those who control the translation and God. What I mean is they are trying to serve both money and God. They have a copyright on the translation! They have a copyright on the Words of God! The purpose is to generate wealth! I usually compare Scripture with other translations and that is why. I find that all of the translations convey the same thoughts, but some are clearer on some verses and less clear on others.

    I see what some would call subtle differences between how we say things. You said that you were delighted to find the Geneva Bible translation/interpretation in perfect agreement with Gordon’s. I would say that I am delighted to find Gordon’s interpretation in perfect agreement with the Geneva Bible.

    The Geneva Bible is not an interpretation: it is the Word of God. I believe that it is important to acquire one’s interpretation/understanding straight from God: not man. Let me say it one more time The Bible, no matter what “translation”, is not an “interpretation”, it is a “translation”, the Words of God; interpretations are from man and may or may not be accurate. They cannot be trusted.

    The idea that man needs another man to explain what God means has led to all kinds of sin. The Pharisees used that method to acquire wealth and power, just as the Catholic Church and most Churches do today. God says that we cannot serve both money and Him, so doesn’t it stand to reason that the more money a church has and or has to have, the more they serve money? Yet men in their own wisdom will say having a large church is serving God better. That is not how I see it. I must accept the Words of God, over the words of man.

    I see another basic difference in our views. Ronald Reagan said, “The government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem”. That is right as far as it goes. It is almost the basic understanding, but going farther back to the basics, it is clear that ‘Man is not the solution to the problem, man is the problem’. Governments are only groups of men.

    You say that I do not understand the Founding Fathers, but I believe it is you that do not understand. The Founding Fathers were only men. Men that rebelled against the authorities that God established. You agree with me that they knew, or should have known it was wrong when you agreed that the Geneva Bible said the same thing that the KJV did in Romans chapter thirteen.

    If you want to understand Romans then consider the life of Jesus. Jesus did only what his Father told him to do and said only what his Father told him to say. Jesus lived under the authorities that executed him and he knew they would. He trusted God and though he had all of the power of God, he did not rebel against the authorities. All I am saying is, do as Jesus did. He was the perfect representation of God on this earth and if Jesus did not rebel against an oppressive government then we should not.

    By the way, have you studied the revolution, looking for what England was doing to the Colonies that was so wrong? I did and I could not find “anything”!

    Do not accuse me of accusing God of any evil.

    You cite many “snips” of what men say, but I am citing what God says and it does not matter how many men say the Founding Fathers were heroes, God said they were rebels.

    Jesus said, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.” and that is what believers in this government are doing. You cannot accept God’s Word in the thirteenth chapter of Romans and claim the Founding Father’s actions were right. The actions speak louder than the words.

    If the government told me to stop this blog, then I would stop. The Government is not God and cannot stop God from accomplishing what ever He wants, so it would not alter God’s plan for the universe if my blog were no longer here.

    If the government demanded that I stop reading the Bible or die, then I would die. The situation that you cite has a penalty for disobeying. That would not mean that I was rebelling against the government. The government killed Jesus and if he had rebelled, we would have no hope and if I disobeyed the government, I would not be following his example. For me to die is gain. It is also a sure thing.

    Well I do have to laugh! What earthly government respects my right to practice my religion? This one?

  11. PAGAU says:

    astudent said:
    “I don’t understand what different meaning there seems to be in Matthew 23:2-4… – …What is the wrong interpretation that you think I had which required a man to teach me?”

    PAGAU says:
    I was not saying you had the wrong interpretation — but that you very likely did have the wrong interpretation as did the NIV translators. You had said nothing about it as I was the first to mention it. I just thought this was the perfect Scripture to discuss because of how it relates to the two topics: obedience to authorities and private interpretation of Scripture. I brought up Matthew 23 because here Jesus says very much the same thing you have said (study what god says, not what man says) and it gives great insight into the rather dim view Jesus had on the authorities of his day. However, it is easy to get the opposite meaning of this Scripture and believe it to mean we should obey and accept everything coming from these teachers of the law because of their position of authority. There are two ways to go with this Scripture. 1) it confirms your position on obedience to authority. or 2) it confirms your position on private interpretation of Scripture. But it does not confirm both positions. The NIV wording seems to confirm your position on obedience to authority as it says we should obey the teachers of the law because of their position — they sit in Moses’ seat. The Geneva Bible’s wording seems to confirm your position on private interpretation of Scripture. It says we should hear the teaching coming from those who sit in Moses’ seat. Much of what they say is good as it comes from Moses while much of what they say is bad as it comes from man. Jesus is saying we should accept the word of Moses as the word of God, but the words of man we should disregard and not follow the example of these oppressive authoritarians. We should separate the good from the bad and the true from false by gleaning the words of Moses from the lips of the teachers. Jesus called these teachers vipers and blind guides. My Geneva Bible commentary actually calls them “wicked teachers.”

    The commentary from the Geneva Bible follows:

    ~~~ snip ~~~

    23:2 1 We ought to hear whatsoever any wicked teachers teach us purely out of the word of God, yet so that we eschew their evil manners.
    2 Because God appointed the order, therefore the Lord would have his word to be heard even from the mouth of hypocrites and hirelings.

    23:3 1 Provided always, that they deliver Moses his doctrine which they profess, which thing the Metaphor of the seat showeth, which they occupied as teachers of Moses his learning.

    23:4 1 Hypocrites for the most part are most severe exactors of those things which they themselves chiefly neglect.

    23:5 1 Hypocrites are ambitious.
    2 It was a thread, or ribbon of blue silk in the fringe of a corner, the beholding whereof made them to remember the laws and ordinances of God: and therefore was it called a Phylactery, as ye would say, a keeper, Num. 15:38; Deut. 6:8, which order the Jews afterward abused, as they do nowadays, which hang the St. John’s Gospels about their necks: a thing condemned many years ago in the Council of Antioch.
    3 Word for word, Twisted tassels of thread which hung at the nethermost hems of their garments.

    23:6 1 When assemblies and Councils are gathered together.

    23:7 1 This word Rabbi, signifieth one that is above his fellows, and is as good as a number of them: and we may see by the repeating of it, how proud a rule it was. Now they were called Rabbi, which by the laying on of hands were uttered and declared to the world to be wise men.

    23:8 1 Modesty is a singular ornament of God’s minsters.
    2 Seek not ambitiously after it: for our Lord doth not forbid us to give the Magistrate and our Masters the honor that is due to them, Augustine desermone verbi Domine ex, Matt. 11.
    3 He seemeth to allude to a place of Isaiah, chapter 54:13, and Jer. 31:34.

    ~~~ snip ~~~

    The above commentary reflects a balanced view on these issues.

    astudent said:
    “The Geneva Bible is not an interpretation: it is the Word of God. I believe that it is important to acquire one’s interpretation/understanding straight from God: not man. Let me say it one more time The Bible, no matter what “translation”, is not an “interpretation”, it is a “translation”, the Words of God; interpretations are from man and may or may not be accurate. They cannot be trusted”

    PAGAU says:
    There is a certain amount of “interpretation” involved in all “translations”. Some more than others but a pure translation is not practical. For an example of what a pure translation may be like, look at a linear bible. No one would want to read that. Translating is as much an art as a science. Men have disputes over what a correct translation is depending on one’s own interpretation.

    astudent said:
    “I have used the NIV for years, but I see a conflict between those who control the translation and God. What I mean is they are trying to serve both money and God. They have a copyright on the translation!”

    PAGAU says:
    Yes, I agree. No version of the bible should ever be copyrighted. Copyright laws corrupt everything they touch. This is one area of government that needs to be reined in.

    astudent said:
    “If the government demanded that I stop reading the Bible or die, then I would die.”

    PAGAU says:
    You don’t really mean this, do you? Were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego wrong to disobey the authorities and say “we will not bow”? Was Paul [as well as any Christian martyr] wrong to disobey the authorities and keep preaching Jesus?

    Look Up!
    PAGAU

  12. astudent says:

    PAGU,

    It seems that the more we talk the more we agree. It is just that we are viewing the same thing from a slightly different viewpoint and what seems as a disagreement is only because of the different angle we are standing from the subject.

    To me Mathew 23:2-4 does confirm both of my views: obedience to authorities and my understanding. The two choices are different. One can obey the government and yet not do what they do. I balk at the term private interpretation. I think of it as understanding. Sometimes I understand and sometimes I do not. I try very hard to let the Holy Spirit teach me, but I am only a man and sometimes I do not understand what He is saying, but it is understanding that I seek not interpretation.

    If one is willing to accept that God is always right then the Holy Spirit can teach that person from any translation. After all the Holy Spirit is the mind of Christ. To believe that He cannot teach correctly from any text is something that I cannot accept.

    I think that we agree that the authorities, both then and now, say one thing and do another. The only thing we do not agree on, is should we obey them, or is there some reason not to. If God said obey the authorities because He appointed them, then I believe Him to be always correct and because I feel that to honor His Word is to honor Him, then I am going to obey the authorities. That does not mean I will stop reading my Bible if they make a law that I must or I will die.

    I feel that I must clarify my statement. I would not go, stand on the street corner, and read my Bible aloud. Therefore, if they caught me I would die, but they would have to catch me first.

    The authorities caught Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They did not rebel against the king. Look at what they said, (Dan 3:16-17) “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, WE DO NOT NEED TO DEFEND OURSELVES BEFORE YOU IN THIS MATTER. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and HE WILL RESCUE US from your hand, O king.” God will do the same for me, but His rescue may be that He takes me to Heaven to live with Him forever at that time. Those who do not understand might say that I died because of the injustice, but not me.

    The authorities that would make a law that tried to stop anyone from reading the Bible would be guilty of sin and if I rebelled against them, I would also be guilty of sin: not believing God would rescue me.

    Look at David. God had already told him that He would give the kingdom to him. He found himself in a dark cave with Saul and instead of killing him and taking the kingship, which is what the Founding Fathers would have done; he only cut off part of Saul’s robe. He understood that God would make him king, not that he would or should make himself king. Do you think that he did right? Was Saul a tyrant?

    Let me see if I can explain myself. I did not make this universe, this world, this government, or even myself. This is not ‘all about me’. It is all about God. If the government is corrupt, and all governments are and God appointed the authorities, then I believe that He has a reason, so I am going to obey it: until it makes a law against God. When that happens and it will, then I will disobey the unjust law and probably suffer the consequences, but I will not try to change the government. Disobeying the law is not what Romans 13:1&2 means. It means trying to change what God has set in place.

    You cite Paul as an example, well, did Paul try to change the government, or did he just disobey the unjust law and suffer the consequences? Yes, he did suffer the consequences.

    Because God has promised us eternal joy does not mean it starts now. Now is the time that we must “prove” that we believe God is who He claims to be and does what He says. The one, who rebels and tries to alter the course of history, by changing the government, does not yet understand, as he ought to.

  13. Joseph Lule says:

    Please see this article and you will be amazed.

    With Money on Their Minds
    “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13).
    In the Old King James version, Jesus gives money a name — Mammon. In so doing He personifies the god of Materialism, which works to steal our affections away from the One true God. Barnes in his commentary writes, “Mammon is a Syriac word, a name given to an idol worshipped as the god of riches.”
    Did you know that there is a competition for your heart and soul? It’s a winner-take-all contest, and you are the one who will cast the deciding vote. The Lord Jesus calls you to walk with Him in faith, trusting in His word and experiencing His presence daily in many personal and powerful ways. Mammon, on the other hand, holds forth the promise of security through riches; power through wealth; influence through affluence. These two Contestants are incompatible. And both leave the mark of their work upon the lives of their worshippers.
    Five things will be unmistakably true of you if you serve Mammon. You will live in constant anxiety over still unmet needs, no matter how much wealth you acquire. You will live in dreadful fear about your financial future, which will cause you to hoard what riches you do possess. You will live in constant doubt about the Lord’s love and faithfulness, for your life will be disturbed with the piercing interference of Mammon’s suspicious whispers. You will live outside the circle of the Lord’s blessing, in disobedience to His word, and will miss the miracle of His hand at work in your finances — multiplying the bounty of your estate as you increase in generosity. And, finally, your heart will become cynical and suspicious against anyone who says the kind of things I just wrote.
    Such are they who spend their days with Money on their mind.
    On the other hand, Jesus will fill your life with peace in His provisions, hope in the future, confidence in His love and faithfulness, blessings which abound in your obedience to His word, and a joyful outlook on life that sees the Hand of God at works in everything.
    OK. It’s time to cast your vote. Which God do you want to serve?

  14. astudent says:

    Joseph Lule,

    Now that man understands. It was clear and well written.

    I am more encouraged than amazed.

    James Ryle was right in everything he said, but there is one thing that I would say different.

    There is no guarantee that God will increase our worldly finances. I do not believe it would be the best thing for me. I do not want the burden of trying to decide who I should help with “my” generosity. God knows who would benefit from an increase in wealth: I do not know.

    That is in no way an attempt to justify not giving. If God only gives me what I need and I see someone that needs help and I feel that God wants me to help, then what I give is truly a sacrifice: as it should be.

    (Prov 30:8 NIV) Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.

    Perhaps God is using a disaster to teach someone and I step in and determine they need my help. Then I spoil God’s plan. If God only give me what I needed, then I cannot make that mistake. There is also the danger of the recipient believing the gift came from me, instead of from God.

    It is easy for us, in our enthusiasm, to make God’s work more difficult. Jesus told those that he healed not to tell, but the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it (Mark 7:36).

    He gave a strong warning to the man that he cured of leprosy (Mark 1:40-45) not to tell, but he did. And the result was that Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. It made the work of Jesus more difficult, but how difficult was it for the one that was healed to keep his mouth shut when he had been healed by God? What seemed right to the man created problems.

    It seems right to say God will multiply the bounty of your estate as you increase in generosity and maybe He will, but maybe He will not. Claiming God will do something, when He did not say He would, just creates problems.

    I know (2 Cor 9:10-11 NIV) Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

    However I do not believe “in every way” means worldly wealth (estate). The increase of the store of seed is, I believe, the ability to understand the word of God and it is real wealth that one can keep even when we leave this earth. To share the truth would “enlarge the harvest of our righteousness”, but sharing money has no eternal benefit. Jesus only fed the multitudes once and that was symbolic. We feed the poor and think they will turn to God because of it, but do they?

    It may seem that I am picky, when I make such a big thing out of only one small thing that I disagree with, but I am picky. LOL

    That withstanding the post was great.

    Thanks for posting it so that we all may see.

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