Blogtext: Our Father...

"Lord teach us how to pray"

If the present tendency in the main stream churches is anything to go by, then the so called lord's prayer would not have been written by Matthew and Luke, nor would the churches have seen fit to adopt and liturgize the St Matthew version of the prayer for the last 1700 or 1800 years.

American feminist theologians have already many years ago stated that 'we must castrate the jewish father-god image and rediscover the true God behind the outdated imagery. The voices have been saying that since 1985 (Mary Daly) already but have now become wholesale actions in the Swedish Lutheran Church. *

Claiming that God is not human and therefore not a sexual being the term Father will be removed and exchanged for something else, possibly "Our parent who is in heaven". However this change over has some very serious ramifications. 

First of all: it denies the scriptures as being inspired by and outbreathed by God to say what God wanted to say. How they were written is not unimportant because the views of scripture are said to be of eternal consequence. If we do not hold fast to sound doctrine we cannot live sound lives. If we do not defend the faith that was once and for all given to the saints then there is no longer any firm truth to live by, all we have are the random thoughts and capricious interpretations of men and women whose claim to be the voice of God are at best questionable and in the normal run of things indistinguishable from what the scriptures call lies, and lies have only ever one origin.

Secondly: Jesus Christ claims to be the truth and speaks the truth to those who wrote what he had lived and died for. If Christ taught that we should address God as 'Our Father' we have not been given the option of calling God anything else. Jesus makes a distinction between his relationship to the Father and our relationship. But irrespective of that difference, for both Jesus the Christ, before and after the death and resurrection, and for us, there is one God and Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jakob. If we deny that relationship between the Father and the Son then we have no more any reliability for the veracity of anything in the entire gospels. They start out by God the Father declaring "This is my son in whom I am well pleased". They continue right through the gospel texts to repeatedly declare the Father-Son relationship to the extent that anyone who has seen the Son has seen not only God, but God the Father. The primary evidence for false teaching is the denial of the sonship of the Saviour and the total unimportance of and even denial of the Father. "He who does not have the Son does not have the Father" Commensurately: He who denies the Father has no Son. And therefore no saviour. "He will call out to me: 'You are my father, my God, The Rock, my saviour.' (Psa 89:26) "For God so loved the world that he gave us his son" .Therefore to deny the Father is effectively to have another god and therefore to be breaking the first commandment of the law.

Thirdly: It denies and ignores the different responsibilities for earthly fathers over against their own children. It ignores the making of men of God, recreated by the power of Christ's resurrection in men to make them restored men on the pattern of the Son, who in turn is the image, the express outworking of the Father's glory. The very template of male normality is therefore removed from sight. And what is not seen will not be practiced. IT IS CERTAINLY NOT TAUGHT.

But Paul the apostle has made it very plain: "Therefore I bow my knee before Him from whom everything called father on earth has its name, or from whom every family on earth is named."   To remove the Father-image of God is part of the denial of Gods created order for marriage and family structures and  has  nothing to do with the christian faith in any way.

The christian Faith starts with the understanding that the Son knows the Father and makes Him known to us:  "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him."(Luk 10:22)  It is doubtlessly obvious that those 'theologians' who now believe it to be their duty to castrate the jewish father image have no such revelation, and therefore have no right to call themselves either christian or theologians.

It can be anticipated that the next step after substituting Our Father for Our Parent is to introduce Mary as part of that Parenthood  and sexualizing the very Godhead as has already been prepared by the Roman Catholic Church. The idea that Mary is both Mother of God and Co-redemptrix with her Son has already been in place for a few hundred years. Now the defection from the Bible  is running its course in the other churches. The Holy Spirit predicted this falling away and false teaching in the very first church. (2 Tim 3:1-9)

The majestic interference in the normal process of human procreation by the virgin birth is preempted by the equally incomprehensible fact of the Son being born, begotten by the Father. From eternity and before all time there was the event at which the Father said This day have I begotten thee my son. It was a non-female participation in which the Son was brought into his Sonship by an act of non-sexual begetting, followed at the incarnation by the non-sexual begetting of a Son by Mary.

There is therefore no need to castrate God. God is HE not by sexual definition but by Fatherhood without sex. It is  rather remarkable that those who constantly complain about sexualisation of  the officers of the church, preferring males as pastors and teachers for instance, insist on doing to God what they hate done to men and women.

In our age when the only thing left of fatherhood is the sexual nature both in use and abuse the need is greater than ever to set aside the sexual part of fatherdhood and dive deep into what the fatherhood means apart from sexual activity. Only by laying aside the physical function and laying bare the spiritual calling that is in fatherhood will the church survive. Our God is Father and Spirit and those who want to worship the Father and pray to the Father must worship Him in Spirit and truth.  Anything less than that is simply not good enough.

Teddy Donobauer  Doncaster Dec 29th


Blogtext: Christmas Treat

”On the making of a snowstar”

One of the most wellknown statements about life is made by one of the ’great’ greek philosophers.

The unexamined life is not worth living
The unexamined life is not worth living (Ancient Greek: ὁ ... ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ) is a famous dictum apparently uttered by Socrates at his trial for impiety and corrupting youth, for which he was subsequently sentenced to death, as described in Plato's Apology (38a5-6).

Everything that exists in the world has been premeditated, planned and meticulously thought out by someone. The mindless mindset of the times is bent on consuming what it never thinks of or about, until the very consumption begins to have after-effects, not seldom of a terrible kind. ”Go on boy, eat all the cookies on the plate! ” But don’t complain of the stomach ache later on..."

Avoiding bitter afterthought is best done by sweet examination and thinking before hand. It is all so beautifully contained in the wise words of the ”Preacher” in Eccclesiastes 12 ”Remember now the Creator in the days of your young age, before the days of trouble come and those years become yours in which you will say: I hate how things have become.” (My paraphrase)

Remember now! This is the rallying call to every sensible and sentient human being faced with whatever task. We do most things out of habit and do not need to think about getting dressed (except what to wear that day of course) or brushing teeth (provided we have any) or eating breakfast, if we can afford it. A million things have been learnt by us and we never pause to think about them. In other words we take them at face value and also take them for granted.

It is when you become a christian that another possible attitude begins to intrude into this unexamined lifestyle. ”The healthy and reverent respect and awe of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. How often do I hear people say things like: ”You know I have never thought of that!”

Too much thinking can cause untold sleepless nights. Too little thinking does also not the least because of all the pains involved in having to do the same thing many times over before we get it right. Any fool can learn by his own mistakes, the wise person learns from the mistakes and experiences of others. But that means using thought before doing the act. To examine a matter and soundly turn it in your mind before you turn the wood on the lathe is not a bad idea.

So let’s examine the making of these snow stars. When you give a child a pair of scissors and a ready folded cone of paper they may either be dumbfounded and not have the slightest idea what to do next or they will happily snipp away at the paper as fast as possible and then unfold the paper and look at their coarse cuts with glee. They have taken things away from the whole and it is the very holes that make the pattern. The whole was of no use, it is the holes that are the whole trick.

The Cut

I said that I handed that child a ready folded cone. That was of course not the starting point. Before I could hand a cone to the child I had a square of tissue paper. In order to make the snow star I had to do something very important. I placed a plate or other round object in a desired size somewhere on the tissuepaper and drew a circle which I then cut out from the square. To cut a slice of bread or a round of paper you have to separate that piece from the whole of the loaf or the square. To cut and to separate is to set aside. The hebrew word for being holy is ’qadosh’, having the root word meaning ’to cut off’. The making of a simple snow star starts with an act of sanctification, of separating the round from the square. So the making of a simple window decoration starts out exactly the same way the christian life starts: being separated from the common mass of humanity in sinful selfdetermination to become a child of God, to be sanctified for the purpose of God, to be made separate from the world of godless existence to join the kingdom of Light. It is a deliberate and vital starting point. Without that initial separation and ’making holy’, there is no life in God.

Every beautiful real snow-star starts out as shapeless water vapor in the cloud. It is the onset of a sudden drop in temperature that separates that drop of water from the mass and it is the frost that causes the inner properties of the water to become a shape that then falls to the earth or onto my sleeve or upturned face. When examining it with our eyes it is simply frozen water. Whatever brilliant shape it has, that is all it is: water in a frozen state.

Making holes in the whole

Every beautiful window snow-star is still, however fanciful, just tissue paper. But what it looks like is anything but just paper. In fact its beauty comes not from the paper but from what has been removed from the paper. It is the holes and their shapes that creates the pattern. The great challenge is to leave as little of the original paper round as possible! In this respect it is another kind of music! All music that moves us is built up of the pauses between the sounds as well as the pitch and tone and length of the notes. It is the pause that highlights the sound. Tho create pause in between the heard and silent, between the cut away and the retained things is the art of a master. Bach to basics!

To dare to take away, to create a maximum difference between the plain round and the desired snow star is the work of the artist with the scissors. It is not the will of the paper to have most of it removed!! The paper would strive to remain intact! The purpose of the tissue papaer was to act as a covering for a gift, the act of cutting that tissue is a total setting aside of what the paper thinks it is there for and turn it into something it could never become without my scissors. Will it thank me for turning a flat round monochrome into a fascinating decoration at Christmas? Will it gladly accept the change of identity?

Do you see now that the act of turning a round of paper into a star involves losses? As a grain of wheat can never become flour for bread without being utterly crushed to the loss of its own identity so the paper must tolerate the ”holes” being cut in it before it becomes a star. ”What we keep, that we lose, what we give up, that we retain.” The cutting of the holes in the paper is exactly paralell to the hand of God working on our lives to make us true to His image, the one he has in maind, not the one we would seek or desire. It is along the line of ”though being a son, he learned obedience by his suffering, and once He had been made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation” (Heb 5:8-9). It is well for the servants of the Lord if they fare the same way that their master did.

What can it be?

The paper round is folded four times to make a cone shape. The thickness of the tissue determines a number of things. The folding of the paper determines possible outcomes. The thinner the tissue is the finer and truer the cuts made are reproduced. The thickness of the paper folded four times will determine the uniformity of the ’holes’. The importance of exact folding cannot be overestimated. The edges must be laid exact. It is no haphazard business to become a star. It needs to be an examined course. If the edges are not laid straight the star will be lopsided and there will be shapes missing on some of the prongs. The folding means one other thing: you make cuts in the two sides of the cone, but every cut is by definition a cut multiplied by 8. One cut gives eight shapes. Cut right and your work is imediately multiplied. As we start on the cone we have no idea what it will be. The folded up paper is not the end, the end result is an unfolding from something not yet known to something very other than the starting cone.

”Beloved it is not yet apparent what we all shall be, but this we know, when we see Him we shall be like him!”(1 John 3:1-3)

So the folded cone is similar to our hidden life, and the cone knows not what the end shall be, the cutter may know if he or she has done many such cuttings before. It is not for the clay to remonstrate with the potter about what the potter has decided to make. We are challenged not to complain of what happens in life because we trust that there will be an end result that is pleasing to Him. Not primarily for our enjoyment. ”No correction is pleasant while it is going on, but afterwards it will bring the joyful and peacable pleasure of rightousness”. Of course ”the paper feels pain” when we cut away bit by bit. Figuratively speaking. But so what? Is the paper my boss? Is it not my right to do with that which is mine what I desire? What will the paper say when the work is done? It will shout for joy and say ”I never knew I had it in me”. But God the primary potter knows what is in the clay to become. And I as the primary cutter know what may become of a simple cone of tissue.

It is my experince of what may be which allows me to hold the scissors rather than letting the paper cut itself. The paper would not cut itself at all. It would never say to me: ”not my will, but your will be done”. But if any paper is to become a star, someone must cut it to shape. And cut it to give it a shape that it had in itself, but did not have in itself to do to itself. Our true human potential can only be released and made visible by the working of God in us.

So often the church is an assembly of tissue paper squares with a lot of potential, but with an inate horror of everything from sanctification to being shaped by a sovereign God for His purposes. And so there is a lack of stars. But lots of window dressing.

Eight or Sixteen

Less is more? The end product will be either a round paper full of various holes with the look of a crocheted little placemat or anti-macassar (if you know what that is raise your hand), or it may look like a star indeed. With eight or sixteen prongs. The number is determined by how much you are willing to risk cutting away. If both ends of the crescent on the top of the cone are cut free then the result will be sixteen, if you cut away most of one side the number will be eight. A bolder star will have less prongs. Less may then be more. There is a tendency on behalf of God to reduce us and teach us to become more and more focused on the important things and therefore be less ready to spread our selves over more than we can actually cope with. ”He must increase, we must decrease.””I have made it my business among you to preach Christ and Him crucified only”. And not the least Jesus statement to Martha about Mary chosing a better part indicate that although all things are lawful, not all are useful. ”She has chosen the better part” would be as much as saying, yes, she could have made a 16 prong star but chose an 8 prong star. It stands out clearer.

Tackets and Lumummas

One thing finally is a word about the two major shapes used in making the stars. Some cuts will be angular, spikish and sharp-pointed, rather ’maleish’. Some will be rounded and soft and much more ’female’in aspect. Of course there is never a question of whether one or the other is in anyway better, both are needed and it is the way they combine that determines the end effect. The two terms are taken from a Swedish psychologist who used them about how we communicate to one another. Tackets are agressive self-centered modes of putting my view across without much concern for what the listener thinks. A lumumma is a softer, disarming and concensus inviting way of speech that opens up where the tackets shut down. But there is a place for both. Typified in John 3:16-18: ”For God so loved the world that he gave us His son, so that whosoever belives in him shall have eternal life.” That is a clear ”lumumma”. Soft and inviting. But the last part in v 18 is the opposite: ”Whosoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he does not faithfully trust and implicitly believe in the name of God’s one and only son.”

It does not get more ”tackettish” than that. Each ’shape’ has its place. Life is not one or the other and a skilled person learns when to use what to whom and when. Those who endeavour to mollify and soften the word of God by removing all ’tackets’ will find themselves on the sharp end of God’s words. When it is too late to be any longer swallowed up by the ’lummuma’ embrace of salvation.

You now know what my examination of this simple christmas craft signifies to me. I am not just doodling stars the way some clutter their phonebook while talking to grandma on the phone. I have been cutting these stars for over forty years, if not fifty. It started out in my home, my mother taught me. I have done it as a child and that same child has remained with me and in me. I continue to derive immense pleasure from each surprise. Because although I know a lot about these shapes and how they affect the end, I am always surprised by the end result. I normally take the as yet uncut cone and hold it to my ear, and I ask it what sort of shape and form it wants to have. Then I thread my fat fingers ino the eyes of the scissors, take a deep breath and apply the first cut. ”The first cut is the deepest!”

Where did I start this discourse on such a simple thing as a Christmas decoration? By speaking of the unexamined life. I can’t say that I have examined all of life by a very long shot, but some things I have examined deeply. And the joy of doing them is now doubled by seeing the way they parallell those spiritual truths that are in God’s other book. The Bible.

”Man shall not, cannot and will not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

May your experience with the snow stars lead you to this other aspect of being a star yourself: ”Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness , like the stars for ever and ever."

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster 12th of December 2017

Blogtext: Make me a tent!

God has right through the history of mankind shown a considerable interest in the making of tents. In his two major contracts with humanity, those we habitually call the old and new covenant or testament, the tent and with that  the concept of a temporary dwelling-place play a significant part. The invisible eternal and everlasting God who knows of no change of light and drakness. who himself is beyond the ever changing conditions of His creation finds a great pleasure in meeting with us in a tent. He even shows us the pattern of it in the celestial realm before asking us to build it exactly according to the image shown.

There is then a permanent pattern for a most temporal structure. The fact that what we build always will be tarnished by the conditions of the world in which we live, and will always therefore be of a finite nature, does not detract from its usefulness as a meeting place between God and man. The very fact of its earthly character speaks a volume. It is generally connected to the "Word becoming flesh". The divine clothing itself in the frail frame of humanity and taking the earthly and presenting it as the embodiment of the divine to all that is earthly. The very User Friendly Interface between the Majesty on high and its subjects below. And the one given meeting point between that which is of the earth and that which is of the heaven.

Moses is commanded to build a tabernacle, a tent, a place entirely made by human hands according to a divinely given pattern. The only thing in the entire tabernacle made by God are the written instructions on the tables of the law! Moses is then the tentmaker of that first visible meeting place where God decides to make His presence known to his people. Everyone knows for sure that this in no way limits Gods presence in the world, but it is for them who need a physical reality in order to believe, that this "chamber of commerce" between the two worlds is made. "God does not live in houses made by men, the whole world is in His hand and he fills heaven and earth with his glory." But nontheless it has pleased God to make himself knowable in this manner. And so this mobile worship center becomes the very life center of the nation and of the people who agree to the covenant stipulations. "You shall be holy, for i am holy."

The instructions given for the building of anything that is even remotely like what God wants to honor by His presence are mandatory. They are compelling and cannot be tampered with or rewritten as it pleases us. No later fancies can redraw the original pattern. If attempted it will not be the house of God, albeit having the form of godliness but without any power. It will be the house of idol-worship. Almost right is always not right. "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, informing him to say to the people of Israel: raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution... According to all that I am agoing to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so shall you construct it." (ex 25:1-9)

This tent, this dwelling place, is not for any man to sleep in, but to stand before God in. It is not a place of rest but a place of worship. It has several covering layers, one of which is of rams hides dyed red. Another is of 'sea cows' hide and leather, or 'porpoise' as one version has it. But leather it is. The skill of the leatherworker or tentmaker is in the fitting and sewing together the different bits that make up the whole. Skills learnt over time and with many hours of practice. Skills of value in a world of many animals and many varying needs for things made of the hides of living beings. 

No such tent with leather coverings can be made unless lives have been sacrificed for it. The tent of the presence of God goes with the notion of lives spent totally in order to make the covering of the tent. Some even dyed red to show their character of having been sacrificed. The logical result of sin is death. The forfeiting of life cannot be turned to new life without the giving of some other life, one that is innocent and not deprived of life because of its own sin. Only the guiltless can count towards the removal of guilt.

Who else would make a covering for a tent causing that deep sense of gratitude for the constant reminder that the only safe place for the church of Christ, is found in the sacrifice of His own blood? The church, i e the living body of Christ consisting of many many believers all joined together into a well fitted building is the birthright of him who bought her with his blood and paid for it with his own 'hide'. And behold, the tentmaker of the new covenant can speak of "I bear on my body the marks of Jesus".(Gal 6:17). The same man elsewhere makes the same point over and over: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of god and not from ourselves.. we..are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." (2 Cor 4:7-11)

Paul the apostle was by virtue of his jewish upbringing gifted with the learning of a trade. He supplied his own financial needs by working in the trade of a tentmaker, a leather worker, one who made tents as well as utensils of hide. He who knew that our bodies are merely a tent in which we live for the time on earth knew all about the making of tents. Of the art of fitting things together, of allowing the oddities of the individual hides to make their mark on the 'house'. "For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heave; inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." (2 Cor 5:1-4)

Paul would have been flummoxed by the idea of "training for the ministry" as a source of livelihood. To wit: he that shares the good of God with people may rightfully expect that they in turn share their earthly goods with the teacher, but to be dependant on that means of keep was not on the apostles chart. Nobody would ever be able to say: I have made Paul rich, or Paul has robbed us of our possesions. No! said Paul, I will rather work with my hands, than be paid for preaching that which God has given me freely. "I do not do this on behalf of my own interest, no the love of God constrains me."  Godliness is never a means to personal gain of earthly things. Never.

Are you confused? Here we have spoken of three different tents and it might seem that Teddy is mixing his metaphores. That is so. You are quite right. There are three lines along this matter of the tent, the tabernacle, the temporary abode.

1 It is a shadow of a permanent heavenly tent, a temple which is the Lord himself."I saw in the city no temple, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the lamb are it's temple." (Rev 21:22) What was ordered by God to be built on earth was to accurately forshadow and prophecy of the divine and everlasting. This could only be done by following the given pattern precisely. Or else we would be preaching another gospel and even misrepresent God and preach foreign gods. This is the teaching of the tabernacle.

2 It is an image of the church of Jesus Christ, that while it meets in buildings made by men is never the building nor the organisation but the living body of all the believers. "Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthhood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Pet 2:4-5)  And again this time by the Apostle Paul: "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are now fellow citizens with the saint, and are of God's own household, having been built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you ar also being built together into a dwellin of God in the Spirit." (Eph 2:19-22)

If you get the impression that Paul has a similar role in the New covenant as Moses had in the Old, you are quite right.

3 It is a way of describing the individual believer. Each in his or her own 'tent' until the greater tent is made ready and all the individual tents are swallowd up by life itself. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." (1 Cor 6:19-20)

Fitted together? By whom are these individual hides fitted? By the tentmaker naturally. He knows the hides and the way of bringing them into unison. How to sow them seamlessly together. How to make the many seem as one. That is the skill of the pastor and teacher who uses the raw matrials in front of him and works to join them in Christ. That is the work of the tentmaker.

Paul is reported in the Acts of the Apostles to have met up with Aquila and Priscilla and as they were all three of them in the same trade they set up shop together, but on the sabbath they rested from work as the law prescribed and shared the gospel of Jesus with jews and greeks. The heart of this tent maker and his double skills are indicated in his letter to the church in Rome. He has never yet met them, he knows them not by sight but he knows them by their Spirit. And he does not presume to be coming to those ignorant but rather to people who were well versed in much of the scriptural truths. So he resigns himself to 'remind' them of what they could already well know. After all he is speaking to people whose faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.(Rom 1:8)

In Romans chapter 15 Paul shows what the tentmaker understands about the individual 'hides' in the fellowship. "I myself am convinced concerning you, that you are all filled with godness and with knowledge and are able to admonish one another. I have written boldly just by way of reminder." (Rom 15:14f) In his letter to the somewhat more wayward church in Corinth he writes about how to worship God. "What then is the summary of this? When you come together, each one of you, according to the soveriegn and free distribution of the gifts by the Spirit to whom He will, come to serve one another for the upbuilding of the whole by each member in the church." 1 Cor 14:26

The role of the tentmaker becomes clear: each brings his or her portion out of their own life with God. The tentmaker receives all the bits and pieces and stitches them together to form a tent for the congregation of their own contributions. He sows them up, may cut some bits off and may have to add a missing piece himself, but they bring the admonsihing, the encouragments, the insights and revelations which are for the whole church. This is the empowering of the believers to be contributors in part, to the whole. To move from the consumer church of limited dialogue to the church of all-member-interaction is on the cards for tomorrow, but needs a close look now, while there is time to rethink what we are doing as to 'being church'.

But it means that the role of the tentmaker must be both understood and allowed. We seem to be far off that necessity still.

Build me a tent said God. Will we obey?

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster 1 Dec 2017

Blogtext: The confetti approach to the bible.

I propose the following red herring: "if we read any book by any author the way the churches read the Bible we would be hauled to court for infringing on the immaterial rights of the author."

Of course: the bible is in the public domain, no copyrights exist maintained by the original writers or the editing bodies that put it all together in the volume of a minilibrary that it is. So this status of being ancient and seemingly having no-one to claim the usual rights that fill the frontispice of every modern day book with die-hard affirmations of being the intellectual property of the author, is not prevalent when it comes to the one most important book ever written.

(Every modern bible translation as such is copyrighted by the producers but that is for the translation only and not for the original.)

Whereas every other work is to be seen as a whole, read as a whole and considered to have an underlaying masterplan and perspective that runs through the entire work, the bible has fallen into the office shredder of theologians and church potentates and is mostly presented in what can only be considered "confetti fashion". Confetti is snippets of multicolored paper thrown at parties and weddings and is great fun in that arena. But when it is the general feeding pattern of the church it has lost all content of being funny. Then it is a poison. How?

The issue of authorship

It is not any old book. It is not merely a set of varying different literary works collected willy nilly. It is not a librarians whimsy private collection of old time favorites. It makes entirely different claims for itself. The authors, or rather the secretaries that they were, were conscious of writing "what no eye has ever before seen or ear heard", they knew that they were on duty to the Word of God, they also knew that the very text they wrote could always be treated as mere human words and then they would lead to a situation where people would twist and pervert what was written. But they would do so to harm their soul.

Now by example: Hemingway could not care less whether you believe what he wrote, nor will he lay your life in the balance against his writings. God does.

Adding or subtracting from the words written was warned against as it would have dire consequences. The very continuation of your name and place in the eternal roll call is connected to your respecting what has been written as being on another level than the ordinary millions of books written.  See to it that you read and divide the word correctly or you endanger your eternal life. There is no escape from the wrath of God if we ignore the promises made through the work of God as it is written.

The veracity of the author is testified to in a myriad of ways. The things written, although by no means saying everything we could know, are sufficient that whosoever believes what was written will have the very life of which the texts truly speak. To read, to listen and to receive what is read by faith, is intricately connected to the fact that the words given by the Spirit of God must also be explained by the same Spirit. While on earth Jesus told the disciples that he would send them a Helper. This helper would take the very words of Jesus and make them known, understood and applied to their lives!

The bible is the one book in the universe which has an Author who for all time, will be operative along with his work, in them who approach it reverently, and in full respect of the Author. To treat it as if it was merely in the domain of human literature is therefore a fundamental mistake. A mistake which almost guarantees that you will miss the point. You may know the words, but their meaning will pass you by. That happens to numerous scholars and theologians worldwide. They think they can discern the spores of the common fern but fail to see the elephants in broad daylight. Knowing the very words does not mean that you understand their meaning. You may know the words but they were intended to make you know, love and  follow the Word. They were not written to give you an academic degree in biblical studies.

The one who has the copyright and owns the immaterial values of the Word is the Holy Spirit of  God. No less.. Fiddle with that copyright and you will end up with a personal disaster rolling through time into eternity.  The way the word is treated in christianity is disrespectful to the Spirit of the living God. As being one of the holy three that means that you not only quench the Spirit but you also deny the same Spirit and treating the Bible in this manner will be the begining to the end of the churches that do so. God can and will frequently take his light from the lampstands.

The cohesion of the Scriptures 

How will anyone ever have the slightest possibility of   knowing what to do with the excerpt delivered to them unless they have understood that the Scriptures have an inner frame work that is both back bone and firm foundation on which all the other parts are fastened, each in its own place?                                                      
It was not written in fragments, it was written to tell a complete story, to paint a picture of how things began and tell how they will end. The fact that this writing is done over long peeiod of time by different people in different settings in no way detracts from the masterplan, since that is designed not on earth but from above. To know the end you must begin at the beginning. To understand the beginning you must learn to see its logical end. Alfa and Omega, beginning and end, are linked by passages along the way that in various ways illuminate and explain each other by comparison and by allowing them to be studied in their rightful place in the whole. Wrest the fragment from the frame and it dies the way a piece of a body torn from the living will die soon after separation. 

No wonder that the scriptures themselves insist that there is one foundation for the word of God and for the church of God. The same foundation for both: that of the prophets and the apostles. And what was the connecting rod between them?  The prophets of old foretold what the apostles looked back on and explained. They all had one mission: to proclaim Jesus the Messiah as the Saviour of the world. That indeed is the purpose of the scriptures; to make Him known. Many things can be studied in scriptures and many different approaches are indeed used. But they all have one dangerous thing in common. They may never find the Word in the words. Which makes them useless in sight of the one issue to which this revelation is  adressed: the sin of mankind and the saving act of God.

When the Church denies what scripture claims it has no way of understanding it's mission in the world. If the Bible is not given credit for what itself claims about itself and if its cohesion is ignored then the end result is a box of confetti to be strewn to the wind. And it is not confetti that feeds the bride to be.

Growing to full stature of maturity

It needs no nobel-prize quality of study to realize that a confetti bible will prevent the church from understanding "the whole counsel of God". (Or if you prefer: whole purpose..) That whole counsel contains bits of the confetti that are deselected by those who prefer this or that aspect of the confetti, never asking what it was that was cut up into smithereens in the first place. Preaching on 'a text' while disregarding its place in the whole is tantamount to cutting up the bible along the lines of how the horse gallop jolts the rider. To preach on a text without placing it back into its context in the whole council of God empties it of most of that which qualifies it for teaching.

Compare it to what would happen if you wanted to learn how to drive a car and said I can do it the way we read the bible. A verse here and a verse there.   First thumb-verse gives: "Pull the hand brake" (not knowing that this is for parking purposes only) and next thumb-verse gives "Release the clutch slowly with the gear lever in 1st gear." Predictably the brakepads will smoke and smoulder within minutes. You simply cannot brake your way out of an uphill parking. But watch how the churches do: they have next to no idea of the whole so they systematically misunderstand and missaply the details. 

The selections of what they preach are done along lines other than those of the scriptures. The scriptures in their entirety are designed to make men mature in Christ, to equip all believers for every good work, works beforehand prepared by God that we should walk in them. The average church has no intention whatsoever in that direction. They never find that bit of confetti which tells them what the bits and pieces are from or for.

The habit of man is to avoid being reminded of sin, righteousness and judgment. These we prefer to remain untroubled about. Which is exactly the opposite of what the Holy Spirit programmed the scriptures to do. So we have religion without holiness, spirituality without the Spirit of God and the spouting of words far distanced from the Word of God.

Feeding sweets only the eaters become lopsided and thwarted in growth, unfit for the task of the kingdom. Accustomed to sweetmeats only the coming of Christ will be a monumental shock to their system. Avoiding all chastisement and justifying and defending what the scriptures call sin is possible because the whole story is never told. Whatever men and women of the day don't like to hear is left on the shelf. Preaching the word of God degenerates over short time to maintaining the organisation. And rarely does anyone dare to risk his or her standing by saying: "Thus says the Lord".

Think not that such work will receive the approval of the Lord, no not for one moment. "Will the son of Man find faith when he comes?"  There is considerable doubt in the mind of Christ about that. And the reason is brightly clear from the way we deal with his own comission to us: "Go into the world and proclaim the good news of the Kingdom, baptize all nations and teach them to keep all that I have commanded you."

The confetti-bible church baptizes but is unable to teach. And how it imagines that it's baptisms can be of any use unless it does all the other work as well is a well hidden mystery. Faith comes not by baptism, it precedes it. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Baptism without faith is null and void.

"I have not withheld anything of the whole counsel (purpose and will) of God, and am blameless of  your blood." Paul the apostle would have a thing or two to say about the so called christian religion of the day. You want to know what it would be?

I just told you.

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster Nov 30th 2017


Blogtext: The very stones will cry out

Two books to read

The teachings of the Word of God go far beyond mere words. For one thing they are always words that must become flesh. We have the word very sure: "The word became flesh and took up its abode among us."  If indeed  the words are not translated into action in the real world of living men and women, then it is mere noise. And if there is one thing the world needs less of, then it is words  given in profuse amounts but without meaning.  "Do not believe that you will be  heard on account of your many words."  The most sobering thought that we could have is that the approach to God begins with a command "Be still and know that I am God". (Psa 46:10 KV21) or "Stop your own strivings and understand that I am God, the one God whom  the heathen world will exalt on all the earth."  (My paraphrase) The entire message of God through the years has always been connected to the real world in which we live. There is no point in being so heavenward oriented that we cease to be of earthly use.

 It comes as no surprise that the teachings of the word of God are connected to the world that God created by His word. Neither should we be surprised to find that the entire created order not only agrees with God's word but actively supports that word. In fact the apostle can make the point that what may be known about God is revealed in his creation. In other words: creation speaks of the same things that are revealed in the word that we have in written form, but there they are contained in the natural phenomena of which we all can have first hand experience. "For since the creation of the world, His (God's) invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made (visible), so we are without excuse." (Rom 1:20)  Hear hear! The invisible, eternal and unchanging reality of God is manifest in creation. In the very temporal and not everlasting things of the earth all the qualities, characteristics and unique divine properties are made knowable. Knowable: not known!

So why do people not know? Because there is a blindness in man resulting from the fall of man. This blindness is less a matter "of not seeing at all," but rather "a seeing too little" and therefore making that which is seen greater than the invisible.  So Paul continues by saying this: "For they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and fourfooted animals and crawling creatures.-- They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever. Amen"

To note: Satan offers man an assurance that 'his eyes will be opened' if only man wilfully denies what God has clearly said and receives this promised new and far better way of seeing. But then who believes a habitual Liar?  Adam did and continues to do so. This  kind of seeing is in fact a blindness because it prevents us from seeing what the apostle knew could be seen in creation: the reality of the uncreated is hiding in the created, the eternal in the temporal. Why is it hiding? Because the natural never is identical to the spiritual but a shadow and a representative symbol of the greater. When my wife brings me a cup of coffee I receive her love and concern in a cup! But the understanding of what the cup means comes neither from the china ware or the coffee or milk but from the action of love putting the things together. Unless I already have a relationship to my wife, the cup of coffee would not bring the same 'message'. So the reading of creation as to its indication of the eternal presupposes that you submit to the creator, "a priori".(From the outset and before all other considerations.)

The Master's mode of teaching

Read through the gospels in one sitting, set aside a day for just that and take note of how Jesus, the supreme rabbi, teacher, master, taught. The greater the spiritual truth, the more likely that he will call upon all of creation as images in his teaching. Wether he speaks of unshakeable faith in God's provision for life or speaks of the ministry of the most spiritual of all, He will use images known to us from the natural world. Even sparrows falling to their death are noted as being in the providence of the Almighty God. Nothing spiritual is ever passed to us without being linked in one way or other to the natural life. Baptism is a funeral of the old Adam. Did you enjoy your funeral?

Take note how right through the life and times of God's people this double source of information is used by the Master himself and by all who spoke on behalf of God.  Prophet and Apostle alike use the created order of things, the very things all could see and understand, yes the earthly images all and constantly around us, in order to teach that which we did not know, that which was hidden from view, that which belongs to the spiritual realm, that which in that manner of speaking is "from above". Although never ever claiming that God and creation are one and the same, creation is a sublime kind of audio-visual textbook for that which is not merely earthly and physical. 

The word housed in the natural will never pass away, the earthly similitude will."Though heaven and earth pass away, my words will never come to an end." So the message contained in the created things will outlast them. It does not diminsh the content that the medium is of temporal standing. All of our languages and all of means of communication are here dressed in that which is temporal and passing. But just as light will penetrate every crack  so the eternal seeps through even the densest materials. Its those whose eyes are opened to the truth of the word that see it.

Everything written beforehand was written for our instruction.

From the Garden of Eden, an ordered planted and well organised (that is the meaning of the persian word paradise) to the city of the saints in the last chapters of the Bible the same thing is true. It was all written for our instruction. Well now, everyone who has battled with the virtually unpronounceable names of Maher-Shalal-Habash and failed the Shibboleth test has found many things in the scriptures hard to read and hard to pronounce and hard to believe. The long ancestry rolls give a headache rather than an understanding. Hundreds of examples could be given of things that defy our modern day minds. And yet scripture maintains a testimony that all was written for our instruction.  All of it..

The texts are filled with references to places even now known, they refer to events within human history and to places that can be visited even now. The connections between the events that are recorded to have happened there often have a most resounding relationship to the  name of the place. Bethel or as the transliteration would better be: "beit-el" means  'the house of god". Bethlehem or "beit-lechem" means the house of bread. And what happened in those places? Well that is another study. This time I want to take you to a larger and even more incredible message. One that answers to the caption: "The stones will cry out"

As the Christ came for the final time to Jerusalem he was met by the cheering crowds and they all in unison lauded him with Hosannas, spreading of their garments on the ground and the waving of palmfronds.. this accolade to one detested by the authorities was irksome to those who could not hear the word of the Lord on account of their self justification. They demanded of The Messiah that he silence this rabble. (Mind you they had no qualms about using the sentiments of that same rabble  a few days later when the same crowd shouted crucify!)  The answer of Jesus is epic: "If these be quiet the very stones would cry out!"  How indeed could they remain silent as he through whom God made the world was stepping on them? How could the flowers of the wayside have kept quiet when he who is fairer than the lillies of the valleys walked next to them? Jerusalem is the central place of attention since time imemorial. It remains so to this day and it has a counterpart on high that one day will come down from above dressed ready for the wedding feast to end all other.

Jerusalem  is the center of a land promised by the living God to his people, the people of faith. This land was selected and chosen from before the beginning of time. The land itself is a part of the eternal message written in hills and valleys, in rivers and desserts, in shady glens and fertile cornfields, in the caves in the hills and the salty sea in the valley. To pay attention to the scriptures concerning the land is of utmost importance because this is where the end of all ages will have its focus. And looking closer you will see some astonishing things. I will try to explain what I have found and how I have interpreted what I found. Oh how conscious I am that this is not a result of my skilful studies but rather the application of my mind to the Spirit of God speaking through the word and the land itself.  Peter once was eagerly answering the question posed by Jesus: "Who do you think that I am?"  Our ever ready boyscout Peter knew the answer: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the God Most high!" The response of Jesus is of immense importance: "Blessed are you! Flesh and blood has not revealed that to you, but my Father who is in heaven!" But you listened, that was the point. So I confess I have listened to the word of God. Listen with me:

The spiritual topography of Israel

Central to this little land is a river running straight through the center of it. At least  through most of it. But there was a time when it ran all the way from Mount Hermon in the snowy north down to the Gulf of Aqaba.  It was then like Egypt is now. The northgoing central nerve of Egypt is the Nile. The exact opposite image was on the other side of the Siniai tract of land. For the river Jordan that is now truncated by the deep ravine of the Dead Sea once flowed straight through this land. "So Lot looked and saw that the valley of the Jordan was well watered everywhere-this was before the Lord destroyed and overturned Sodom and Gomorrah; it was all like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar at what today is the southern end of the dead Sea."( Genesis 13:7-12) The area was so rich and attractive that Lot, the nephew of Abraham, choose to live there when the pastures and wells that they had been accustomed to for  a while became too small and too few. It was the main caravan route between Egypt and Mesopotamia. (It was the seat of the first full scale demonstration of sexual abberration and social injustice on a city wide level. See: "Behold, this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, buy she did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and comitted repulsive acts before me: therefore I removed them when I saw it. Hezekiel 16:49)  It was the richest and the worst. Along the river Yarden. But hold it a moment.

Names are important in the scriptures. Each name has significance. The name of the river, that central nerve of the land given to the people of Abraham is frequently presented to us by jewish as well as messianic writers as "Down-water from Dan" Which makes sense in one way because the source at Banyan for the river is within the part of the land given to the tribe of Dan. There are however two catches to that assumptions.

The first is that it is know as Yarden/Jordan at least two generations before Dan was even born. That maybe explained by saying that when Moses wrote the text he referred to the river by the name it had by his time become known by. But that sort of thing does occurs in the scriptures elsewhere and is always designated as such: "this place known as.., formerly called..," 
 is the formula then used. Not so in Genesis 13. See for instance: The house of Joseph spied out Bethel (now the name of the city was formerly Luz) Judges 1:23."
Now although there is the tribe called Dan with a given territory, it is equally clear from scripture that the tribe never actually possessed their inheritance! Judges 1:34, 5:17, 18:1 They failed to posses what God had given, and stole other land without divine right. They fell on an unsuspecting city called Laish and renamed it after themselves so as to end credibility to their theft. Father Jacob on his deathbed had blessed his sons with various strongly worded blessings. The one for Dan reads: "Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a venomous serpent in the way, a fanged snake in the path, that bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backwards. Gen 49:16-17. Waters coming down from Dan? Dan like a serpent going along the path? A serpent moves the way a meandering river moves. The waters going down in judgmental fashion? Sin when judged brings what? Death. Hold the thought. 

In later years Dan became one of the centers of idol worship of the northern kingdom under Jeroboam. The tribe however disappears with that kingdom as the city of Samaria fell. And would you believe me if I said that Dan having failed to inherit what God had given also has no place in the future? Look at Revelation 7:4-8  12 tribes are counted but not Dan! Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. In the list given they contribute 12000 to the complete number as Manasseh and Joseph.

I noted that the area was known as "Dan" decades before the tribe of Dan was even in existence. Gen 14:14 says that at "Dan" Abraham had a stop before pursuing his enemies to a place called Hobah north of Damascus. 

Now we know the name Dan is hebrew for "Judge" . "Then Rachel said,"God has judged and vindicated me, he has heard my plea and given me a son through my maid." So she named him  Dan "he judged". Gen 30:6 Does it not seem that the combination of  "Judge and fall" in the name of the river speaks louder than anything else of what happened in the garden of Eden? Adam sinned and fell under the judgment of death, and his course through the land leaves the trail of a serpent. Signified by the river Jordan in its meandering flow down the valley. "Yea though I walk in death's dark vale, yet will I fear none ill."

So back to our consideration of the words of the scriptures and the river of death downstream.

"So Lot looked and saw that the valley of the Jordan was well watered everywhere - this was before the Lord destroyed and overturned Sodom and Gomorrah; it was all like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar at what today is the southern end of the dead Sea." 

The rivers of the world have one thing in common. All of them have one aspect  that they share with every other river. They have what is known as 'a fall'. That is so self evident that no-one gives it a thought. Of course they must have a fall or they would have to flow uphill and not down hill. I don't know the meaning of all the river names of the world, but I do know that the river Jordan is one that is called what it is: "The fall". The verb in hebrew is  "yara", meaning 'to fall'. And the river Yarden/Jordan is therefore named just that: "The falling..all the way from Dan" Undoubtedly this name is  easily connected in  your mind to that monumental event called 'The fall from Grace' and experienced by our ancestors "Ish and Isha", i e  the male and female, also known under operative names describing their essential qualities. "Adam" because of the word for soil, earth which is "edom" since he was taken from the soil. Eve or "Chavva" since she was the first that bore a living child, she is the mother of the living, the lifegiver, the first mummy and first female human mammal.

They were what there names indicate, just as the river is named for what it is: a falling. Again 'Satan' is not primarily a name but a description of a fundamental characteristic: this time "The opposing one". The one that stood against both God the Almighty and Adam, the male and female made in the image of God. In the same garden of Eden, that place which is now and forever "paradise lost" Adam and Satan met. And the meeting resulted in something that to this day determines much of all human endeavour and slakes human hope again and again. That thing called death.  "In Adam we all died." "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, so death spread to all men because all sinned..death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the manner of Adam, who is a type of Him who is to come." Rom 5:12-14

The central feature in the land is the course of water, from mount Hermon in the far north to the gulf of Aqaba in the far south. It includes the Sea of Galilee, otherwise known as the Lake Kinnereth or the lake Genesareth. The middle name Kinnereth comes from the fact that it is similar in shape to the ancient musical instrument of the Lyre. Incidentally it is also a look alike to the placenta in the womb from which all children are created. We will return to that theme in a moment. It includes the winding, twisting, serpentine river Jordan which for the time being is captured and held hostage to the dead Sea. For the time being only! It was not so before the judgment of God on Sodom and Gomorrah, it will not be so after the coming of the Lord to the Mount of olives. "Every mountain and hill will be laid low and the deep places will rise, every valley shall be lifted up."(Isa 40: 1-8) (Zachariah 14:4-8)But notice this: the central and dominating feature of the land is the same as the central and dominating theme in the Bible! The Fall and its consequences. Book and land agree.

The fall of man and the death of all in sin!  And God's restoration of Adam through the second Adam! In other words the map of Israel is a synopsis of the message of the Bible. Because not only is the river Jordan a central feature but also the Mount Zion, the city of David, in the Jerusalem of the north of Judea. For the prophetic promises of God have their natural geographical centre in Jerusalem, and it was from Jerusalem that the life giving and death conquering flow of life came through the death and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. No clearer is this foretold than in Hezekiel ch 47. From under the altar in the temple a flow of a river runs out and goes east and flows down to the Sea of the Arabah, The dead Sea, and makes that sea so full and rich of life that it is  described as being one continuous fishing camp from Ein Gedi to Ein Eglaim, from the north of the lake to the south. Only puddles of the now super salty lake will remain for future use of their salt deposits.

The Dead sea is a startling image of  Death. But how come? The Lake Kinnereth in the north is incredibly rich in all the minerals needed for humongous fertility. Some crops are harvested five times a year in the galilean basin. The richness is attributed to the mineral-rich runoffs from the Mount Hermon, the melting of the snow and the rains bring the richness into Galilee and through the lake the same waters flow south to their destination i the Dead Sea. "It is more blessed to give  than to receive".  I said above that the lake Kinnereth has the shape of the Lyre and the shape of the placenta.

Through the placenta all nutrients flow into the body of the child in waiting. The life of the child depends on that organ doing its work of supplying needed stuff and filtering out harmful. The umbilical cord pumps the very lifeblood into the baby in its amniotic sac. One day it has done growing there and will be delivered. Alas many babies die at birth. Then the placenta and the umbilical cord end in the stillborn baby. Now look at the map: use your imagination for a moment: Kinnereth is the placenta, Yarden/Jordan is the umbilical cord, but the baby is stillborn: the Dead Sea!  In Adam all of humanity died! Did the killing poison come from the mother? No. Sin was not introduced by woman but by man. 

Geographically this is illustrated by the amazing statements made in Joshua ch 3:14-17. There was a city called Adam on the eastern side of the Jordan where the river Jabbok enters Jordan. Opposing Adam, literally on the opposite bank of what was and is the river of life, is the city of Zarethan. It simply means: the opposite! Not very remarkable, not known for anything else than being opposed to something on the other side. Was Satan opposed to Adam? Yes and between them the life flow from God was cut short! So the priests that stepped into a river in full flow,risking to be swept away by it to a certain death in the overflow waters had to risk their lives to do the will of God. As they stepped out in faith, the waters stopped at Adam! Stood on high where once they had flowed freely. Death suspended.

Consider that this is the condition of mankind and the silent witness of the Land itself. Do the stones not cry out? When God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, the flowing river  Yarden that once was like the river Nile on the other side of Siniai was forced to run into a basin 400 meters below the level of the Mediterranean Sea.  The end of circulation spelled the beginning of death, as it does in those who only receive the good things of the word of God and never appropriate it by faith nor ever pass it on. The land around Lake Galilee fell 100 meters below the Mediterranean. And the river Jordan connects the fall of the whole region to the Dead Sea. Incidentally this rift in the surface of the  earth continues right through into Africa and penetrates far into East Africa, it is there known as the Rift Valley and is said to be a visible feature on earth from Space. So the testimony of the land is to the judgment of God on sin. But did God leave matters there?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem you killer of prophets!

No! He did not leave it at that at all. He set the scene from the times of Abraham that the solution to the Dead Sea and the humanity dead in sin would both come from Jerusalem. At the time of Abraham it was know only as the city of Salem/Shalom.(Gen 14:17-20) Later it was taken by the jebusites before David made it his city. But it was to be known as the city of Shalom, of peace. And where  would the Prince of Peace reunite God and man, as well as man and man and male and female but in Jerusalem? Jerusalem, the ever constant killer of prophets could not do otherwise but again be the slayer of the bearer of the very Word of God. 

The crucifixion and the sacrifice to end all sacrifices was staged in Jerusalem and from the temple a river of life flowed out that makes the Dead Sea alive. (Hez 47:1ff) In Christ the spiritual event has already given all men access to the saving grace of God. The land is still waiting for its restoration. So the condition of the land speaks of what still is true of all but those who have received the Christ as their Saviour and acknowledged Him as their Lord. Mankind is still in the grip of that Dead Sea. But from Jerusalem flows the life that makes the Sea sound again.

East of Jerusalem and Mount Zion is the Mount of Olives, it is higher than the mount Zion. The prophetic vision of Hezekiel is that a river, steadily deepening and flowing stronger by the foot, will go straight east towards the sea of the Arabah which is another name for the Dead Sea. But the Kidron valley with the garden of Gethsemane and other features lies between the two mountains. Can water flow uphill? Well in a manner of speaking the Fall was reversed by the uplifting of the Man of Sorrows. He said: "When I be lifted up I will draw all men to me." 

But the answer is not that the water of life will run uphill, but that the hill will be crushed and broken by the weight of the glory of the Lord. Jesus was taken up out of our sight and out of the realm of physical presence from Mount Olives.(Acts ch 1:9-12) But left with the promise that as he left so he would return. And when he does, the mountain itself will not be able to withstand His glory but break in two. (Zach 14:1-6) One part receding north and another to the south, a mighty avenue will open straight towards the east towards the Dead Sea and all things will also in the topography of Israel be as it was "before the Lord overturned Sodom and Gomorrah." 

Truly, every mountain and hill that was made low will rise again, just as He who was laid low in the grave rose so the very land smitten by death will rise. It will happen, it may happen in our life time.

The events of our present age are unbelieveable unless you have believed in the prophesies of the Old Testament scriptures. The regathering of Israel to the land of promise. The gathering of God's people from the ends of the earth. The gradual assembling of all the nations against Israel and the threat of extermination by those enemy nations. The rapid decline and falling away from faith in the churches that have forsaken God and His word. The predictions made about the general decline of morals and ethics. All these and many other things fall under the prophetic perspective. But so does the reality of the coming restoration of the very land itself. The stones do cry out.

The land and the book carry the same message! To visit the land is to step into the most down to earth sermon you will ever hear or see, and the message is that with which all of heaven rings. It is all there in the land and the scriptures, a message for all to see.

"Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord God when I will send a famine, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for the hearing of the words of the Lord. They will go to and fro to seek the Word of the lord, They will stagger from sea to sea and from the north to the east; but they will not find it."  Amos 8:11-12

"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found."

When the book is forbidden and it will be punishable by death to proclaim Christ, then the land will still preach the message of God: You were lost but may be found.  You were deader than the Dead Sea, but you may be made alive!

Today if you hear His voice don't harden your hearts.

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster



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