Blogtext: At the cross, at the cross.

Crosses, one, two and three.

You see them as decorative bling bling in the ears and navels of people, or as  tatoos on various body parts; as signs of office on priests chests and bellies. You see them on mountain tops in the Alps, on church-spires and as worship inducing elements in churches. You see them, and they are perceived in various ways by those who see them. Responses to them include everything from total indifference to veneration, from sheer hatred to deepest respect.

Say "Red Cross" and benign humane Rescue and Aid comes to mind. Say "cross roads" and you intend to speak of choices to be made about how to direct your steps on ongoing journeys. 

Say "Hot Cross Buns" and you have Easter Morning breakfast in view. As a symbol it has a multitude of different meanings to whomever wears it , hates it, loves it or ignores it. It is hotly disputed politically and theologically and is used to crucify men and women to whom the cross and its original meaning is their reason to live. It is their "spes unica" = only hope! And has often been used to effectuate their physical death.

In the wrong place the carrying of a cross is a death warrant. You get killed either for it or on it. In the right place it is the most powerful image in the world. It is your only way to salvation and determines the ultimate condition of being lost. The two aspects go together. They are in fact inseparably connected. How come?

Great men of the christian church have often warned of a future christianity without the cross, of holiness without the Holy Spirit and of preaching without power to change peoples lives. That scenario is no longer in the future, it is here now.

How did it come about to be such a loaded symbol? What gave rise to such a fearful aspect?

Begin the begin.

To understand the cross at all we must start at the first dawn of human existence. All things that now are had a beginning. This is it:

  • Man was made to be in a relationship with His Maker
  • Man was made to be steward and tiller of the ground under his feet 
  • Man was made in two entities called male and female to be together
  • Man was made whole and in harmony with himself, in command of all his facilities.
You might say that as far as his relationships are concerned he has four arms embracing him. Four, just as many as the arms of any cross. The first three are easy to see. The last one is slightly out of sight to us because it is the one closest to us. To attempt an awareness of that fourth embracing harmony is  not unlike trying to be aware of your eye while looking at an object in the room. But we sure know when that harmony is missing. It creates a number of voids  and causes fears and shame in the presence of the Maker and in deed over against the entire creation.

The mankind that "Elohim" made was first 'adam' (of the earth) only but containing all the ingredients of woman in itself. And having found no match for man among all the other living beings in the whole world, God separated out of man that which was to be woman, independent in space but united with him in a myriad ways. The very idea of human marriage is embodied in the twosome unity. With it came a joyful command of sexual reproduction and the population of the whole world with beings all like to Adam's self. While Adam remains in the image of God, it is that image which would be reproduced through them. Then the calamity of sin intrudes and all Adam can do from now on is "bring forth a son in his own image". (Gen 5:1-3) Outside the garden of order (farsi language: paradise) disorder reigns ever since.

To be man and able to communicate with the Maker, the Creator, Owner , Lifegiver and the sole source of understanding for how to live in the new world was the starting point, and it hung in the balance of only one thing. Allowing God to be God and refusing any attempt to try and be God's equal. And most importantly, to consider God's word as the First Opinion to be for ever the measureing rod for every second opinion.

The word obedience is crucial. Was..Is.

Towards the Earth under his feet there was a commanded framework of ruling over, caring for and utilizing what God had made for survival, multiplication and harvesting what produced fruit enough for all living beings to feed on. Man is the "head" of creation, the head in which the Creators rules are placed for the entire created order. Ignore that and all will be destroyed. Global warming is not the cause of calamity, it is only one effect of it. (To think that the singling out of that reality is the critical one is like finding a scratch on your bumper and losing sleep over it when in fact the engine has gone bust and the crankshafts are sticking out of the engineblock.)

In "The greatest story ever told" we see how it all fell apart and why. If you consider the four relationships in which God placed mankind then the similitude of a cross is formed. The vertical part of the cross points to heaven above and the earth below, indeed it is planted in the earth and designated by heaven. And only as long as heaven is allowed to rule can the cross stand in the earth. If it loses its upward thrust it becomes a fallen tree along the face of the earth only.
The horizontal part is above the earth but alongside it. On the right hand side is the relationship to his 'own flesh and blood'. Woman taken out of Adam left the man and became his other self in order to be a dynamic partner for all that which God had made them.

  • To be the walking, talking, thinking, loving and obeying image of the Creator. Together!
  • To be the creative co-worker with God on behalf of all the world and every living being. To have dominion, never to be a slave.
  • To be true 'Adam' together and never allow that they should ever be independent of each other. 
  • To be at peace, not at war.
  • To be God-dependant not selfpropelled

On the left hand of the horizontal bar is our relations
hip to ourselves.
As I said above it is less apparent to ourselves, but of primary importance. Let me try to explain why.

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul in the process?"

"It is not what goes into man by the way of his mouth that makes man unclean, but that which comes out of his heart."

"But when he came to himself, he realised that every servant in his father's house was better off than he, so he said, I will arise and go to my father."

"Oh wretched man that I am! The good I would do, I do not! And the evil I would not, that I do! What is the matter with me? Sin reigns in my body..."

"And as God was walking in the garden in the cooling evening, Adam hid from the Lord. And God said: "Adam where are you?" I was afraid because I am naked."

"My guilt/punishment is to hard for me to bear."

"Love your neighbor as yourself"

Our most critical and universally true dilemma is our lost identity!

God was never lost. Man is. He has lost himself and whatever he finds in life will only add to the lostness until he finds himself, returns to himself and his true being, the child of a Father. Reconciliation, the act of moving out of the way every obstacle that blinds man to his Maker, Redeemer and Restorer begins with this confession: "I have sinned against You and against heaven". Adam could not have sinned unless he first found it in him to become untrue to his own real nature. The image of God does not sin,it has to give room to the progression of sin as seen in James 2:13 "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death."

Sin starts as a temptation to which we chose to accept as a reasonable action to gain something. And, for the record, "the Devil never made you do it" unless you had already become possessed in a real way.

I imagine this conversation between Adam and the Lord:
-How did you come to break faith with me, to transgress an explicit command, to sin and take the fruit that I had forbidden?
-I lost my self to the words of my lovely wife, after all I saw her eating, and she didn't die on the spot, so I thought that I must have misunderstood the First Opinion about the tree.
-Did I make you to listen to your wife on matters that I committed to you? Why do you think, Adam, that a Second Opinion is needed? Was my command so diffuse, so incomprehensible? I said: do not eat! What was it in the word NOT that you did not understand? Was it the N the O or the T?
-Ah, but the wife that You had given me, took and ate and gave to me. How could that be wrong?
-Because I said so.

How are we lost to ourselves? How do we know? 

Which are the main questions that all of mankind constantly battles with? 

Who am I?
What am I?
What am I doing here?
How can I live in this crazy world?

The lack of sufficiently reliable answers is the driving motor  of all psychopharmacology, the root of every mental disorder, the major cause behind every crime. It is the cause of rising costs for dealing with the means of escape from these questuions by the abuse of various substances in the world. It is the driving engine in the entertainment industry, the prime motivator for make up and fashion.

"Adam where are you?" "I hide because I am afraid and naked."  Who told you that you were naked? I became aware of it the moment I lost my true innocent self. Love kept fear at bay. Love gone leaves the field free for self loathing and shame.

I have lost myself. True self is God-self. All that is left by sin is the Ego.

I note in passing that when Moses finally turns aside from his own ways and goes to see what God is doing in the burning bush then he eventually wants to know the name of God. Not unreasonable since his world was filled with things claimed to be gods but who could tell if any of them were worthy to be God? Did they have what it takes to be god at all?

-"What is your name?"
-"I am who I am, remain what I was, and will be what I will be."

Is it not remarkable that our use of the 'I' from cradle to grave is (mis)using the name of God for ourselves? Have we not then made ourselves into gods? And have we then not also broken the first commandment of the law? Indeed we have. That is how lost we are to ourselves until we return to the great "I am". When the lesser is swallowed up by the greater, then the lesser can again become great enough to be a real human.

The first and lost cross is then this four-dimensional cross of our original relationships. It is broken and in every one of the four arms there is a gap between man and the four directions. Broken relationships to God, to the very ground under our feet, to our co-human consorts and to our selves. Read any daily paper, watch any TV news and you will see the truth of our disaster.

Who am I? Either a self with the "great I am" or a lesser ego without the "I am". There are no further options.

The second cross is one we all bear. But you will not find it spoken of as a cross in the scriptures. All the same it is  part and parcel of our daily experience and the shape of the idea is not important except as a way of remembering what it is.  It is the "cross sight" of the weapons aimed at mankind since the beginning. The story told us of the serpent being wiser than anything else and the one who came to Eve with the tempting ideas that God was really shortchanging man by the forbidding of that fruit.  In essence Satan (the accuser) said "God is withholding something GOOD from you! Emancipate yourselves, eat and be free to be God's equals!"

Satan is portrayed as the deceiver of mankind, the killer and liar from the beginning. His lies are so efficient that few people believe that he exists. He denies that God's word is what it says, including any traces of himself, and he is the server of every second opinion that questions the moral uprightness of God. He acts true to his nature and accuses God of being unjust. That is the upward thrust of the second cross image. In so many words: "God is unfair in imposing conditions on your life. You are his slaves! Step out of this childishness and become mature by doing what God forbids."

Read the book of Job and you see the same: God is being accused of being unfair in that he gives man all good things and thereby bribing them into believing in God. "But let me touch the man and all he has and you will soon have him screaming curses at you!"  But not only is there the upward accusation against God, there is also that most insidious accusation of man before God. "That clayish moron called man cannot be good of his own will, he must be selling out his soul, his confessions of loyalty to God in return for '"a pie in the sky when you die". You do not believe in God for God's own sake, but only for what you get from God." (There is at least one other word for it: prosperity gospel.)

"Now have come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, he who accused them before our God day and night!  They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death!" (Rev 12:10-11)
"And in all these things Job sinned not but said, naked I came into this world, naked I go, blessed be God, Yes, though God slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15)

The crossbar of the devilish weaponsight are the other two subtle but constant accusations. Listen to the very words: false accusations, slander, bearing false testimony, betrayal, etc etc, they are the more or less elegant covers pulled over what today is called 'fake news'. It is an ongoing process in the entire world, and it it is divisive, inciting to murder and war, it sets brother against brother and nation against nation, ideology against ideology, religion against religion etc since the fall of man. It is not hard to see, but although everyone knows it few understand that it is part of the original strategy of the would be world ruler, the spiritual ISIS power which is said to be the one in whose hand the whole world is presently held captive.

Accusing man before other men. Anybody who does not believe it happens?

But lastly and fourthly, as difficult to define as the relationship of man to himself in the previous cross, there is the inner accuser where I am being accused by myself for all kinds of imagined and real crimes comitted. 

So the four arms of this cross are these:

  • Satan accuses God before man.
  • Satan accuses man before God.
  • Satan accuses man before man.
  • Satan accuses me to myself.

These four directed and unrelenting attacks are the basis of Satans strategy, and they were devised by extreme wisdom of the created order before mankind began to live on the earth. It is such a perfect stratagem that it has never been revamped or reviewed. It is effective to the final degree. The apostles, the emissaries of God, have told us that we must not be ignorant of the Devil's devises. We should know of these strategies and weapons used against us all. But the christians go unarmed into battle, and suffer defeat because they lack the first armor: knowledge of the enemy's devises.

This is the cross we all bear, wether we took it up of our free will or not.

If a man sins before God. He can be forgiven by God.
Break trust with a fellow man and you can be forgiven by them.
But if you are your own accuser and defender, as well as your own judge, who will forgive you then?
And now the clincher: do you blame God for this and that in your life? Have you also joined God's accusers? Will you forgive him?

What? Do we need to forgive God? Not really, no. But if you believe the One who tells lies about God then you will have any number of issues with God the way He actually is. And you cannot committ to someone you do not trust explicitly and implicitly. You see: the second opinion is always accusing God of being unfair, or worse. And once that suspicion is harboured in your mind and heart, your life will show it.

The third cross, the cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow.

"At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
and the burden of my heart rolled away;
It was there by faith I received my sight
and now I am happy all the way."

Arms outstretched, feet and hands fastened to the wood of a cross by hammered nails. Bleeding from the wounds inflicted by crown of thornes and nails one man is readied for death on behalf of and for all men. On a hillside with the look of a scull due to it being part of a sedimentary rock formation with various caves dug into the frontside there were three crosses erected and as the afternoon progressed the three men thus crucified suffered through the agony of that particularly brutal execution.

On the center cross was nailed the body of Jesus Christ. The one cross in a thousand others that stands out as being unique because he who hung there did it on purpose! The thousands of other similar crucifixions were all, without exception, things  the hapless victims would have avoided at all costs. Not so the Christ. "The Son of Man has come to give His life as a ransom for many". 

This was the cross of reconciling what had been broken. It was the only reasonable and effectual answer to the first cross that we started out with in this text. "For it pleased the Father that in Christ all fullness should dwell, and that having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself - by him I say, whether they be things in heaven or o
n earth."Col 1:19-20 

"The Spirit of the LORD God is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and a day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."(Isaiah 61:1ff) cp Luke 4:17-21

The third cross in our consideration is at the heart of the very stumbling-block of christian faith.
A crossless faith is not christian. We preach Christ and Him crucified, the power of God to those who will be saved, but a stumbling block to those who do not care for God's remedy to the issues raised by the fall. But the death of Christ is the only door to any rescue operation possible. Because only that perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God "can take away the sins of the World". Only the sinless giving His life on the cross can heal by the same cross that cross of the relationships which was broken in pieces by the sin of the first Adam.

"For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.... for so it is written: the first man was made a living soul. The last Adam was made a quickening, lifegiving spirit." 1 Cor 15:41-47

So the christian is  someone proclaiming the message of reconciliation, the restoration of all that was lost in the fall of man. The third cross on Calvary's mountain, the cross of Christ is the answer to the disaster at the beginning of the human existence. "And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was active in Christ, reconciling the word to himself, no longer holding them accountable for the trespassing, and giving this task to us, this Word of reconciliation... for he has made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor 5:19ff

So the confession is made: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; but not really I, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now life in this fleshly frame, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Gal 2:20 Preach less than this and the cross is of no effect. Here is the serious note: the proper meaning of the cross is entirely linked with what happened on it for us all. To reduce the cross to an element of church decoration, to be a piece of jewellry in a belly button, to use it as a means of forcing people to the monstrosity of christianity or what ever else man is cajoled to use it for, quickly runs into this scathing asessment by the Holy Spirit through Paul: "Many walk, I have often warned you about this, as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their God is their belly, and their glory is their shame as all they mind are things of the earth." Phil 3.18-19

In our modern times many sneer at the old simple gospel songs such as this:

"On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame.."  and there are fewer and fewer who confess that they cherish that old rugged cross where the dearest and best of this world was deliberately there, to be slain, because of our  desperate need for being saved. And we have had three thousands years to prove that we cannot save ourselves.

Three crosses then. On the hill of Calvary. One for the deeds of man, one for the viles of the devil, and one for the glorious act of God.  The sinner who repented not did not enter paradise, no restoration of that which was lost in his case. The other responded to the suffering saviour and was given assurance of presence with ths Saviour in the eternity of God's kingdom. And in between those two "the Man of sorrows, familiar with shame, temptations, ills and woes of mankind." On His cross in His last hours you see how the broken relationships of the fall are indicated as being restored. The sun was darkened, the earth shook, the dead were raised, the temple veil rent asunder from top to bottom, the widow about to lose her son was given a new relationship with one disciple. And Jesus did not die, he called out to His Father and having tasted the bitterness of utter isolation from God by the sin he bore in our place, he could say that all was now finished and closed that chapter by saying "Father into your hands I commend my Spirit."

Unjustly accused! You see that is where the hidden cross of the enemy is in plain view. Over his thorn-crowned head we see the accusation: INRI. Iesous Nazareus Rex Iudaeorum! False accusation all together but fabricated along the lines of the old pattern. "Say not that he is the king of the jews! Say only that he claimed to be it. We don't recognize him as such!" So said the scribes and the Sanhedrin. But Pilate is adamant: "What I have written I have written."

Pray, friend, tell me, what are the accusations written boldly above your head? They were nailed to the same tree, why are you still carrying them around?

The satanic cross has only one true opposition: the Word of God. Which is the only sword of the Spirit that bites against those powerful lies. My heart shudders to see how little knowledge in the Word that the majority of the professing christians have.

No wonder that the cross is so abused. So little understood, so often emptied of all it's life-changing power.

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster Jan 31 2018


Blogtext: May I introduce you to Ichabod?

Within a few days of her expected firstborn child's arrival, the wife of Pinchas Elison is sitting waiting for news from a battlefield where her husband and his brother is fighting for his nation. The battle is between Israel and the Philistines, once again. The things are going badly for the Israelites and the leaders are casting about for desperate stop-gap measures to stem the tide of defeat and continued slavery.

This happened at the endtime of a period in the history of Israel which was characterized by two main elements: "There was no king in Israel", that is: no unifying central power. And secondly: "Every man did what was right in his own eyes", that is: moral anarchy and spiritual bankcruptcy. The nation had been ruled by various and shifting individuals (sometimes even shifty) from one or the other of the twelve tribes of Israel. The events have led us to the last of these judges, Sh'mu'el or Samuel Elkhanason, born of the noble lady Hannah whose one hope in life was that she would be fruitful. In the terms of the former covenant that meant having live offspring.To be barren was the worst thing a woman could face. When God hears her pleas and she does bring forth a son that son is called 'God hears' i e Samuel.

She weans her son at about three years of age and brings the child to the temple which at that time was the same tabernacle/tent that God many many years ago had commanded Moses to build, "according to the pattern shown unto Moses". The town is Shilo, one of three places that later became part of Samuels circuit as a Judge of Israel. In Shilo the present incumbent in High priestly office is a man called Eli. He has two 'good for nothing' sons, Hophni and Pinehas. The religion is corrupt, the practices of it are corrupt and the very central fact of what the Tabernacle was to be was hardly known. The new Testament comment is succint and to the point: "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof."

The tabernacle consisted of an outer courtyard with a building mostly in the western half of it. The building itself was a prefabricated and mobile unit constructed of man-sized burdens and could be assembled and dissambled in a few hours and moved whenever the Cloud by day or the Pillar of fire by night was seen to lift off from the westernmost part of the tent of the tabernacle. The temple itself was divided into two parts, one, the front room which was called 'the holy' and the other and inner, called 'the holiest'.

No time or place here to cover all the details but the most essential and also most hidden from man's view. The entire instructions are found in the bible so I advise the reader to study for themselves. (Exodus, Hebrews) But here we are looking at mr Ichabod and so the central object of the innermost chamber is of interest to us. What has a name of a man to do with the most sacred content of a temple?

Not merely furniture

"And they shall construct an ark (a box for safekeeping) of acacia wood about 75 cm long, 50 cm deep and 50 cm wide. Cover it inside and outside with Gold. Make four feet under its four corners, fasten a ring to each foot and make carrying poles of wood and covered with gold to be permanently in place, so that the ark can be ready to move wherever God directs. Put into the ark the two tables of the law that God dictated to Moses. And out of about 30 kgs of gold you shall make a lid for the ark, at each end of the lid you shall make a cherub so that two cherubs are facing each other with a space between them. Their wings shall be arched up over the space between them and so protect the place of atonement, the mercy-seat. The cherubim are to be of hammered work, one with the seat itself, and this is the lid placed on the ark. And there I shall meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from above the cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel."

These were, briefly, the commands directing the building of the ark and it's one and only rightful use! A place of safe keeping of the written words of God for humanity and the place of continued revelation of God to man, further expanding, explaining and applying those written commands into the real life of mankind. It had a physical outer form of precise definition and could and should be a central part of the faith they had since Abraham. But never faith in the wood and gold or angelshapes, but in the God who chose this way of showing Himself. When the tabernacle had been finally ready for its use and had been built and erected as the pattern had prescribed this happened: "Thus  Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord (YHWH) filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle."(Ex 40:33-38)

The "Shekinah", the glory of the Lord, the presence of a living and loving God, was symbolized by the building and the furniture. But the physical objects were not the thing they symbolized, that was a spiritual reality apart from the objects themselves. Here is the crucible of religion. Religion means having faith in the visible symbols, doing obeisance to things made with human hands and to remain largly ignorant of the spiritual reality they are meant to point to. While Moses was on the mountain receiving God's own writing, Aaron let the people loose to pursue their understanding of religion: "We grew up in Egypt, we can't believe in a God we cannot see, cannot kiss, cannot physically bow down to. Make us a golden calf!"
(The christian faith has NOTHING to do with that sort of religion! Or, rather sadly, should not.)

Has the glory of God ever descended on a Bull? Has the glory of God ever been something you can purchase for money? Has any building ever been the equivalent to God? Has the glory of God ever located itself in a machine or an organisation? Never, ever.

Back to the battlefield on the mid western section of Israel. The armies are drawn up near Aphek, a city some miles north of Jaffa, in the middle of the land. The Israelites lose 4000 men in the first engagement. They cry out; "Why has the Lord defeated us?" Indeed why? Had he not said to them that they would always be the head and not the tail? Yes, he had said that, but on one condition! That they kept the content of the ark in living reality and not only in fond memory! "If you do evil in my sight, you will suffer defeat from the hands of your enemies, every time!" (read: Deuteronomy 27-28)

If we forget that the Word of God is one whole salvation history and start to treat it as if we were allowed to pick and chose what suits our taste and self will then we will soon be at the end of our tether. And back to the very same spiritual reality of the times of the Judges: each man does what it right in his own eyes.

So the defeated Israelites apply their misapprehension of God and His Word and come up with a solution to their dilemma. "So the people sent to Shiloh and from there they carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD of Hosts who sits above the cherubim, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Pinehas were there with the ark of the covenant of God."

Shall I elaborate? The people thought that the symbols of Gods presence would guarantee the same presence even though they had broken the covenant conditions a thousand times over. They thought nothing of allowing the two most corrupt malpractitioners of their religion to carry the ark into battle. They had a token understanding of 'the LORD of Hosts' but ignored the implications. Generally that is the same word of old: 'Yahweh Sebaoth' as seen in Isaiah 6, Psalm 24, and means 'The commander of the army of the LORD'. Joshua met him face to face outside Jericho. He will again stand on the Earth as the final winner in the final battle. But God is NOT ON OUR side unless we firmly stand on His side first. So Joshua asked of this man with a drawn sword: "Are you for us or against us? No, I have come as the commander/captain of the army of the LORD". And Joshua fell on his face to the Earth and bowed down and said: what has my Lord to say to his servant? And the captain of the army of the LORD said:"Remove your sandals from your feet for the place where you are standing is holy." (Joshua 5:13-15) 

No such thing at Shiloh. No such response from the sons of Eli, none from the people of Israel. Not one of them understood that you cannot use the things of God for human ends. If you do it ends humans.

The story goes on: when the ark was brought into the camp, in the right manner: carried on the shoulders of priests, there was a loud  cry of victorious hope. The earth shook under the cries. The Philistines heard it and soon sussed out what was afoot. "The Philistines were afraid for they said, "God has come into the camp" And continued: "Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before..who shall deliever us from the hand of these mighty gods.The very ones that smote Egypt with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness! Take courage and fight or we will be slaves to Israel as Isreal has been slaves to us!" Their understanding of their own gods tainted and hightened their fears but also gave indications of what Israel had lost.

Unless God himself is present the symbols are useless!  As an example: Do not think for one moment that water will save you in Baptism unless you have a saving faith in the mighty Saviour!

The Philistines fought as never before and not only did they capture the ark, they also killed Hophni and Pinehas. Men with false gods fight better than men who have forsaken God but still hope He will save them. A Benjaminite runs to Shilo with the bad news, ashes on his head and all. Eli, the priest who could no longer tell the difference between a human being pouring out their soul and one who had been pouring in alcohol, was sitting on his usual perch when the messenger came to him.

"And it came about when he mentioned the ark of God that Eli fell off the seat backwards, broke his neck and died, for he was old and heavy."
His daughter in law, Pinehas wife, was far gone in her pregnancy, and when she heard the news of the death of her husband and father-in-law the pangs of birth came over her, she bent down and the child was born. And as she was about to die the women assisting said "dont worry, its a boy." She ignored them but with her dying breath she said: "Call him I-chabod, for the glory has departed from Israel, because the ark of God has been taken."

(As a remarkable parenthesis the story tells us what happened when the Philistines brought the ark of God into their own temple in one of their cities. They worshipped the fish-god Dagon. An image of a man with a fish head. They placed the ark of the LORD before this miserable idol. Next morning the image lay prostrate before the ark in an abject show of worship! They raised it up, it fell again next night and both head and hands were broken off on impact with the threshhold. There is more reverence of God and awe of His glory among some dead things than among most living people.)

What had Israel lost apart from the battle, their freedom and many lives? The very essential symbols of that which was their major reason for existence! They lost the symbols because they had already lost the reality! God had chosen them to be the express testimony to God in a godless world. To be the one people among whom the glory of God was to be seen.

Is not Ichabod a suitable name for that which today is loosely labeled christianity? Where is the glory of God? Who cares for the glory of God as long as there is all this human enterprise to be praised? Why bother about submission to God when deliberate opposition to God fills so many churches?
Why not celebrate the symbols if that is all you have left?

Ichabod lives on, but is almost unheard of again. Except for one thing in 1 Samuel 14.  The battle against the Philistines carried on long after Samuel stopped running. Saul took up the gauntlet. Not always sucessfully, at least until David finally clobbered Goliath. But one slender note tells the continuation of Ichabod. "And the people who were with Saul numbered about 600  men as well as Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Pinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD's Priest in Shiloh wearing an ephod."

The one whose name said that 'the glory had gone', was not made a priest after his father, but his brother's son was named. (Ahijah may have been a firstborn and therefore in line anyway but we do not know if his father Ahitub was ever a priest). But even so it would have been odd to be ministered to by a man whose name was 'the glory of God is gone' while in fact the ark was away in the home of Abinadab on the hill. And while Israel mourned the loss of their God for 20 years. 1 Sam 7:2 (But see also "Mary, supposing Him to be the gardener said. " They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where have they laid Him!" (John 20:2) Can the Lord be mislaid? Was God ever lost?)

Read the end chapter 2 in 1 Samuel for a breathtaking prophecy concerning Pinehas and Hophni and their father.

What has this to do with us? Well may you ask. Paul explains the purpose of the existence of the church of Christ:  "Blessed be the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, even as he has chosen us in Him from before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and whithout blame before Him in love, having predestined us to be His own adopted children by Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of His good will, to the praise of the  glory of His grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the Beloved!

..That we who first trusted grace should be to the praise of His Glory..
Eph 1:1-23

What in the world of christianity today shows forth the glory of God? There is not that much that needs God and His glory as it's sole explanation.

Or was it simply prophetic: Ichabod rules? Is that not the predicted 'falling away' from the truth of the gospel? You see: all things are written beforehand for our instruction so that we who live at the end of our time would be wise and learn from it.

The Holy Spirit was given to bring glory to God
The angels at the Birth of Christ sang of the Glory of God
The saints before the white throne will sing of god's glory.
All creation sings of His glory.

Ichabod would silence them all. If the glory is gone all that is left is wood, hay and stubble. And no, you were not redeemed by silver and gold but by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Not by any affiliation to a christian organisation.

So instead of seeing the words of God obeyed and done we have to listen to the same things that Samuel heard when he came to ask King Saul if he had obeyed the Lord. "Yes I have done everything that the Lord said!" "Oh indeed? Then pray tell me, what is this bleating of sheep and lowing of oxen I hear from your yard?" "Ah, you mean those? Well that is no fault of mine for you see the people decided that it was a pity to kill them on the spot so they brought them to sacrifice to God." " Samuel turned to him and said: "Obedience is better than sacrifice." " Because you have not obeyed, the kingdom has just passed out of your hands." 1 Sam 15:20-23

Ichabod! The glory is departed..

Father glorify thy Name!

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster  Jan 29 2018

Blogtext: How evil is Harry Potter?

As on every other issue there is a deep division between those who think  that the world of Harry Potter is of the Evil one and those who love, cherish, live and honour it.

I confess to have never read one chapter of any of the books, I have not seen more than snippets of a few of the films on TV, and although I saw at least four different shops selling Harry Potter and other witchcraft paraphernalia in the Shambles in York alone, I have never been tempted to buy a cloak that might make me invisible, or whatever it will do for my flying ability. I have observed close hand people caught up in the Hogwarth world however and followed the hype. Close at hand.

Like all other multimillion business enterprises the entire success depends on the grip that Harry Potter gets on the minds of the readers. If the storyline did not find a ready harbour in the minds of people, giving them "something to feed their need" then the story would have been merely a literary exercise in the realm of fantasy literature. And there is plenty of that, for better or worse, on the shelves. Some of it is from christian authors and is as well received by the public as the Potter Emporium. Case in point: The C S Lewis Narnian Chronicles, or the Tolkien Mega Hits about the famous quest for the Ring. Are those 'better' or less 'bad' because they are written by men who believed in the God of the Bible, if they did, than the works of J K Rowling who seems to ignore that issue altogether?

Apart from individual preferences and pure caprice, who is to say that any fairy story is morally right or wrong? If it brings people to a wider awareness of the world at large and adds new instruments of discernment, then fine. There are many ways to enter into the unseen realities behind that which seems to be. Live and let live? Right?


Those who see no evil in Potter and those who see it as utterly seductive and negative, lack common ground for thinking one or the other. There are two distinct and very different positions regarding good or bad, right or wrong. Unless you have that as basis for any discussion about it, then the conversation is bound to be rather much a matter of lobbing hand-grenades over verbal barriers.

Two mutually exclusive and different views

1.) Every thing is relative, there is no ultimate right or wrong but what we chose to call so. There are no absolutes, each human has to be allowed the right to decide for itself, that is the true meaning of freedom. We have the inner quality of making right judgments if we would but listen to our inner voice. If a majority believes Potterism to be good, that must be decisive. "They can't all be wrong"! 

2.) There is a universal standard of what is right or wrong which does not arise out of human consensus, but is independent of what any man or woman thinks. It is a standard above and beyond the capriciousness of changing fads, it follows not the changes of the times over time but is like a buoy fixed in the flow of the river. No matter how much water and debris flows down the stream, the buoy stays and marks the dangerous rock on which the vessel will strand, yesterday, today and tomorrow. The flow of water in  the furrow does not change the danger in the deep.

The absurdity of relativism

There is both moral and intellectual dishonesty in the first position. Intellectually because if the statement about the relativity is to be taken literally then it contradicts itself. "Everything is relative" is an absolute statement.  Allowing no exception from the rule it rules that there is an absolute while denying the very existence of it. If everything is relative then no position on any issue is better or worse, because nothing that exists can be anything but relative to the other existing views and positions. All being equal then all are both wrong and right.
In fact wrong and right, good or evil cease to be meaningful categories. If something can be good one day and bad the next, chaos is the order of every day.

Only the majority view, the majority having the might to decide what is more right, can then be made into law. But no law can be claimed to be absolute, and when governments change, the previous rights may well become wrongs. Leaving the people in a constant flux of deciding either to change their morals or to fight against the new ones, begs the issue. It is not because they know whether either is right but because they don't like change that they fight. If ethics and morals are found to be based on Might only, then Might makes things Right, even when disastrous, and then madness sets in. 

Apply such relativism to the every day traffic for 15 minutes and you will see where it leads us. Exactly nowhere! One major traffic jam with zero mobility. And considerable loss of human lives.

The relative view is also helpless against new majorities. We do not think that rape is a desirable human trait and although it is a miserable reality it still is not elevated to the status of a law in the post christian cultures of the western European strands. Rule by rape is however a matter of fact by considerable masses in tribes in Africa and Asia and the Middle East, and the entire Muslim world, 1.6 billion, say that a woman who walks unaccompanied by a male and with uncovered head has only herself to blame for being raped.  Do those who defend a relativistic morality not see that their standards are nothing but a figment of imagination resting on quicksand? The day that the other Might takes over, Right becomes Wrong and Wrong becomes Right.

The Solidity of the Universal standard

The second and utterly contrary position is that of the biblical described set of absolutes. They begin with the creator and the creator's right to assert the principles and rules for how that creation is to be maintained. In every new book there is a phrase: "The author's right to this publication has been determined by law" or some such phrase. Jewish and christian morality takes it's starting point from the same insight. At least in theology and on paper. God, the HaShem, the YHWH of the Yeshua has asserted His right to His entire creation and His rules are not fluid or fickle. They are based in Himself, they are not mere expedients of temporary consideration. They are as eternal and as unchangeable as God is in the God self. He (for as a He he identifies himself) asserts His right to decide what is good or evil. "Be holy as I am holy" is the standard. If holiness did not have a fixed content it would not be holiness but 'anything goes-ness'.

So how about 'Harry Potter'? How about 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. One christian and the other not at all. The literary use of the witch in  the writings of C S Lewis is totally on par with that of the magicians in the Potter books. They are instrumental to the stories as they appeal to something inside of the readers. It does not mean that the reader necessarily and literally starts believing in the existence, power and claims of either. But they symbolize things in the inner world of imagination.They may titillate the imagination of the powerless to assume control over their destinies. They are helpful and useful in extrapolating some of our darker desires for world control onto some thing outside ourselves. If I am under the spell of a witch anything I do is not my fault! Various strong elements are included in the charms and incantations of the magicians.Together they are a powerful means of taking over the inner life of the individual. 

"If they have nothing inside them to stand against it."

In the absolutes of God sorcery is on par with things like incest, homosexuality and all forms of idolatry. 
"You shall not allow a woman who practices sorcery to live. Whoever lies with an animal must be put to death. He who sacrifices to any god other then to the Lord alone, shall be put under a ban for destruction." Exodus 22:18-20
"For he rebuilt the idolatrous high places which his father Hezekiah had torn down; and he set up altars for the Baals and made the Asherim, and worshipped all the host of heaven and served them. He built pagan altars in the house of the Lord, of which the lord had said, "My Name shall be in Jerusalem for ever." He built altars for all the host of Heaven.. he made his sons pass through the fire as an offering to his gods in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, and practiced sorcery, and dealt with mediums and spirits. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger."2 Chron 33:3-6
"Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: They are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,(total irresponsibility and lack of self control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy. fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions promoting heresies, envy, drunkenness, riotous behaviour, and other things like these. I warn you before hand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal 5:19-21
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate by perversion, nor those who participate in homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers nor swindlers will inherit or have a share in the kingdom of God." 1 Cor 6:9f
Where is every man or woman on earth? In the kingdoms of men. That is never the kingdom of God as such. "My kingdom is not of this world" In order to enter that Kingdom, you must acknowledge the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and bow your knee to him and you must repent of whatever life style you had before and accept the fact that God has the right to decide what is right or wrong. Becoming a christian means accepting God's own holiness as the standard of what is good or bad, right or wrong. If that is not your concern, read no further.

To him who is pure everything is pure, and nothing can separate us from the Love of God, not even the reading of all the Harry Potter books. That purity is not self achieved by us, but is the imparted life and nature of Jesus Christ in us. To them that are outside the kingdom with no wish to enter it it matters not at all.

They may however be inspired to find the  answers to the eternal questions in the imaginations of the Potter books, answers that are already given by God, elsewhere. They will not soon be lead to the requirements of God's word but to the very sources God forbids. If Harry Potter prevents people from the Word of God, then it is truly evil. Only God is Good.

Are there many christians filled with the Holy Spirit among the Harry Potter fan club members? (There are preciously few even among church goers.)

If they want the real answers to the real questions then J K Rowling is a broken reed to be leaning on. By all means, if you want to use the time at hand in the short span of your life to read all about a world that is forbidden by God for you to enter, then read what you will. But don't then be surprised at being found outside the Kingdom when it's doors close.

If you adhere to the 'everything is relative' then you also lack the ability to discern between that which is allowed by God and that which is forbidden. It is not forbidden because it does not exist, but because it leads you away from God.

So how evil is Harry Potter? As bad as everything else that prevents you from turning to God while you have that option. It is as bad even as the worship of the bible instead of God. Or the life of the Snooker world, the Premier League, La Liga or your personal brand of religion.

If there is an absolute standard, if there is a plumb-line held up in the midst of us, that is what shows if something is good or bad. It is not our own arbitrary ideas that count, or a majority vote that defines that.

"The Sum of your word is Truth, Oh God."

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster 18th of January 2018

Blogtext: When should woman be silent?

The modern day massacre of the scriptures is never more vociferous than when it comes to the Apostle Paul and his views on women in the church. Pauline ideas are not only severely questioned, the whole of his ministry is frequently rejected or at least ignored. People who on the whole know nothing at all of the bible, the little they know is not infrequently to refer to these ideas seemingly aimed at all women, and therefore belonging to antiquity along with all other forms of slavery.

And it is true: Paul is very adamant that women should not be in authority in the church, that women should not be in authority over men. Even that wives in all humility should be submitted to their husbands. He even makes a note saying that if women behave much like Sarah who deferred to her man Abraham then 'woman shall be saved by the child-bearing'. Making it sound a lot like the mormon church teaching (if still held) that woman cannot be saved unless she is married to a mormon man. (In a later blog I will come back to this issue)

Rarely if ever do these critics even attempt to place Paul's statement back into context. And I do not merely refer to the fact that he addresses these issues to individual churches which obviously had some practices and problems that his letters to Corinth and Galatia and Ephesus address.  Paul is nothing if not schooled well and thoroughly in the phariseic teachings of the Bible. That is, of the Old testament. Beginning there we might well see the very good reasons for the command that women's views should not be allowed to govern the christian church.

Most fundamentally: it was and is the deep understanding of all who know anything of the canonical writings of the former covenant that sin entered the world in a specific manner. Adam had been given the commands regarding life in God's world. Only Adam. He passed that on  to Eve one way or other. She was not entirely sure of the exact wording of it which is seen clearly when Satan in the guise of a belly crawler questions her. His first address was a sly one: "Has God said, that you may not eat of any tree in the garden?"  The answer is given correctly: "No, that is not so, we have only been given one exclusion from the trees of which we may eat. Only the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. The central plant in this paradise." And she added her own understanding: "We may neither  eat of it nor touch it, lest we die."

The counter attack by the serpent is significative. "You are absolutely NOT going to die; in fact God knows that if and when you eat you will suddenly see things clearly and know the difference between good and evil! You will be like gods yourselves." Now, telling Adam and Eve that they who were made in the image of God could possibly become more divine than they already were, should have elicited a vehement and fierce denial in response. But none came. The aesthetic quality of the fruit, the promise of it making you better than you already were, those things tipped the scale for the woman, the "Isha", and she plucked ate and handed fruit to the "Ish".

Unless the command of God is firmly entrenched in our hearts we will follow our eyes and our own understanding, every time. It may be ever so reasonable, ever so good thinking given the initial premises are ignored. And once a lie has been accepted ("God is denying you something by forbidding this fruit,") the next step is all too easy. She took and ate contrary to the command given to Adam.  The effects are immediate. Shame and fear. Hiding from God in the midst of Gods creation, imagining invisibility and non-accountability by ducking out from under God's eyes.

But to no avail. "Adam where are you?"  In deed! The real issue besetting mankind is not the surplus of females who preach to their men, but rather the deafening silence from the men to speak the words of God in order not to hurt the sensibilities of women. That ignorance on behalf of the men also keeps women in the dark and leaves them to believe the lies of the opponent, the accuser, the perpetually deceitful one, the liar from the beginning. 

Here it is: the blueprint for every deceptive religion in the world:

"There is nothing wrong in doing whatever you want"
"Death is only an other name for a better life"
"Being your own judge of right and wrong is the road to maturity"
"If you deny yourself you will never achieve your potential power"
"The consequences of sinning are not less life but more."
"There is no-one who has the right to tell you what is right or wrong."
"You are the god within, there is no God out there."

Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age, Emergent church ad inf..... go on and put the above template on them all and you will see how successful the deception has been and still is. This deception is particularly attractive to women, Paul seems to think. No woman looking at her newborn child with adoring eyes will even for one moment be inclined to agree that 'since Adam we are all like sheep gone astray'. No Mother wants to believe that her child is just another sinner in need of salvation. That is the truth about life that Adam was told: "The day you eat you will die". Eve did not believe it although she remembered it having been told her, or else she would not have eaten the fruit. 

Women have taken over a significant part of the churches. What do they preach? The primary business of the Holy Spirit in the world is to convict mankind of Sin, Judgment and Righteousness. Those topics do not rate high on the feminist agenda that has moved in where men of God have moved out, or been voted out. Therefore the call to repentance and the need for a spiritual new birth are repugnant to the matriarchal prophetesses of the age. Being "Eve's daughters" they insist that the birthing done by them is the only one needed. It is the Father that tells us  that being once born is not enough. The Mother does less so unless she has been taught and filled by the Holy Spirit.

The aesthetic beauty of the temptation is the most powerful tool. If sin was ugly it would never tempt anyone. What are some of the major money making industries in our day and age? Fashion, health products, beauty products and medicines for those in anxiety because they are not good enough as they are, and entertainment to make us forget that life is not a cabaret after all. Add to it the costs in every society for all the effects of our escapism, alcohol, drugs and Losec/Prozac.

Are women more likely to be deceived than men? Paul thinks so, and he has the Word of God on his side. " The woman was deceived". But it was man who sinned, and is to be blamed for the calamitous condition of the world. "By one man Adam, sin entered the world, by One man truth and righteousness are declared and revealed." The true reason for the insistence that it be men who are challenged to stand up before God and teach the whole counsel of God is not on account of their male sexuality, but of their accountability as the sons of Adam. The ministry of reconciliation is placed on that part of mankind which God holds responsible for the presence of sin in the world.

Questions on that?

It has nothing to do with power and authority intrinsic in the men, but the authorisation by God to men to work towards the healing of that which Adam broke in pieces. What was broken by sin? Sin affects and more or less totally ruins the fourfold relationship that mankind has in the beginning. 

1 His trustful, shameless and completely confident relationship to God the Creator, Owner, Lawmaker and Lifegiver.

2 His relationship to the Earth from which he was formed to be the image of the eternal One.The Earth, his source of sustenance, support and sphere of work. Now enemy of the very ground he treads upon. Cursed because of him.

3 To his other self, the "isha" taken and formed out of his own essence and separated from him only in space but not in his manner of life. Two subjects as one unit in two forms. She becomes his object of blame and that is the root of all male objectification of women as seen today in a million ways.(Hebrew male=ish, female=isha)

4 To himself. He can no longer face God so he must find a hide away at every cost. His fears become his food, and therefore tears become the emblem of remorse. But remorse is no good until it becomes repentance. That he will not do lightly. "I am sorry I got caught out, is not the same as I am sorry I did wrong."

These are the effects of the fall. So go on, tell me again that the bible is a myth? The original meaning of myth is 'the truth told in a parable, or story and includes all the salients facts in a readily accessible package'. So  yes, the condensed three opening chapters of the Bible are myth in that sense. But that is not the same as fairy tale. There are no fairies in the real world and certainly not in the word of God. Sin is real and within all of us. No exception ever, except Christ, and Adam before the falling.

Considering the vital part that the Genesis events play in the whole world since then, the insistence of Paul that women should not usurp authority over men is readily understood and quite reasonable. But the missing part of that statement is that it needs the added information: the men are expected to hear, listen and obey the Word of God at every cost. Even to the antagonism of their bosom partners, the loves of their life and the sunshine in their eyes. Put bluntly:

"When what the woman says countermands and rejects what God has given man to remember, obey and perform, then the woman is to be silent in the church." But so is every man who does the same!

That of course presupposes that the 'church' is not merely an opinion-club of men who play at religion. The presupposition for female silence in church is at least threefold:

"The men in question, the ones over whom women must not usurp authority, are living and acting true to the Word and Will of God."

"The things forbidden to be discussed in church are those that belong to the domestic and private domain.The church is called together for the building of the church so that it truly is the body of Christ in the world. It is not a interchange or data-bank for the latest fashion, soap-opera or baking recipe or the prevalence of varicose veins, stretchmarks or gossip about this  and that."

"Where the women comply with the spiritual prerequisites of being born again, knowing the Lord as their own Saviour and God, filled with the Holy Spirit and truth, and who allow the word of God to be a lamp to their feet and the guide of their heart, then they are as licensed to speak as any man who is also likewise."

When you come together, says Paul, each and every one of you has been given gifts by the Holy Spirit for the building up of all. Those who come to the assembly of the saints, the called out ones, are needed for the building of the whole. To claim that the female portion of the church should be silent is utter nonsense if it is taken to mean that they only can contribute without speaking.

What if the men are absent from the assembling together? What if the husbands have abdicated from the role of being the spiritual head of the home? What if men are absent from the discipleship classes of Christ? Should they still rule on the merits of merely being men? Never..

You see the bible shows what happens not only when men refuse to stand up for the Lord but also what happens when 'woman power' is exercised wrongly. The head of the tribe of Judah on his way to the threshing of the corn sees a woman dressed in the classical garb of the temple prostitute (incidentally proving what the religion was in the land of Canaan) and buys her services, not realizing that she is his own daughter in law. He objectifies the woman, the woman uses her sexual prowess to "use" the man. Well-known story, right?

Solomon starts out champion as the wisest man on earth. But then by alliance-marriages with all the daughters of the kings of the surrounding nations he allowed them to come with their false gods, and fell into the trap of idolatry.

King Ahab marries the daughter of Eth-Baal from Sidon and she usurps all authority over him and rules the nation from the bench and bedroom. And the  end result? Total and utter misery for a whole nation. "Everything written beforehand is written for our instruction!"   And would you believe it, that same evil spirit infiltrates the NT church in Thyatira:  "I know your deeds, your love and your faith and service and patient endurance, and that your last deeds are more numerous and greater than your first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess (claiming to be inspired),and she teaches and  misleads My bondservants so that they commit (acts of sexual) immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent.. but she would not have it." (Rev 2:18-24 AmpC)

Paul is perfectly justified in his demands that such women do not excercise authority in the church. So is Jesus Christ, the head of the church. It is  this that the apostles warn against and act against. Not the proper ministry of the Spirit of God in  women who are baptised in the same spirit as every man, co-inheritors of the same inheritance and sealed with the same token of the eternal life as every man who is a true child of God.

"I will pour out my Spirit over all flesh and the males and females shall prophecy". "Is God a respecter of person in the giving of His calling and equipment? "Whomsoever God calls, he equips for the calling". To say that this excludes half of the human race is showing a stupidity of gigantic proportion.Whom will God call when those men who are called don't heed? Those of a willing heart, irrespective of whether they are men or women.  Spiritual ministry has no relationship to the sex of the voice. No man is called to the work of an apostle, evangelist, teacher, pastor or prophet because he is male. But because he is a Son of Adam. A sinner saved by grace  and therefore a servant of the ministry of reconciliation.

Where men are absent God will not leave his flock shepherdless but involve a shepherdess. To leave the flock drifting without leadership because the only available one happens to be in female form would be God allowing orphans and the lost children to succumb to the wiles of the world without a flicker of concern. If God did that then he would break his own commandments. He does not.
"The villages were without leaders until you Deborah stood up as a mother in Israel"

"I am looking for a man to stand in the breach, but I found none"
If women think that the ministry is a job up for grabs by the brashest and most power-hungry, then they are as misguided about servant-hood as the men are who similarly believe themselves to be suitable because they happen to be men. The proportions of female/male in leadership are to be determined not by quotas of sex but by suitability on account of calling and equipment and ability to do the work of the leadership of the church of Christ. The chief shepherd knows the need of the church. The denomination may not.

Those who do not know either God or the Scriptures have no business standing in any pulpit, irrespective of their theological training, sex appeal or leadership ambitions.

By their fruits you will know them. Not by their genitals.

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster January 16th 2018


Blogtext: "Oh Land, Land, Land hear the word of the Lord."

As most people in the world know the international focus is on the tiny bit of Earth between Syria in the North and Egypt in the South, the Mediterranean in the west and the Transjordanian land to the East. Depending on what your political leanings are you know it as Palestine or Israel. The conflicts within this area of land involve a large part of the nations of the world, and the decisive events of the future will also all happen in this region.

It is not just any piece of land, and it belongs to none of the people who claim it for themselves. I repeat: it belongs to neither the jews or the palestinians.

In the flow of debate about it you will find that claims to the land are made on the basis of one or the other arbitrarily selected starting points in history. 'Israel should go back to the pre 1967 borders', 'Israel should go back to what it was in 1948', or 'back to before the  seemingly misguided events defined in the Balfour declaration ratified by the Nations United in 1917 or the wording of 1926', etc etc. (1)

Pushing the issues further back in time you come to the facts that until the Ottoman empire saw the light of day in the middle East there were hardly any arabs or muslims in the entire area, nor were there many jews since they had been assimilated and spread across the empire of Rome from the year 70 Ad forward. Whereas the islamic nations in modern times claim to have Jerusalem as a holy city their claims are unfounded to say the least, and they only became a factor in the events of the land after the islamic emergence in about 670 AD and onwards.(2)

Why not start at the beginning?

It is obviously not up to us to decide on a starting point where-ever it pleases us. A matter is determined by its beginnings, just as a problem to be solved starts with a set of premises that must be the foundation of the handling of the problem. To ignore any elements means that the equation can never be solved, simply because the missing information makes what is left misleading. Nobody makes an apple pie without the apples. It simply is not apple pie. The biblical history is sufficiently accurate about virtually everything that has been studied to be relied on for finding out what those beginnings are. Let me summarize and recap:

The actual land in case was in the earliest known times populated by a loose alliance of various tribes all more or less interdependent but also all with their own characteristics and names and to some extent known history. The land was called Canaan and was dominated religiously by the worship of Canaanite deities. It is again to be noted that there has never been any atheistic culture on the earth until our present age when many are rallying to be the first of that designation. Their gods may have been savage and bloodthirsty, but gods they were.

Of the Canaanite tribes we know a lot from the bible. They are often collectively given one name for all of them, such as the name 'Amorites', seemingly one of the larger units. What we also know about them is that their moral timbre was of a considerably low standard. In fact, they had accumulated enough 'bad grades' in the eyes of God to be in his  black book. And it was on account of their seeming lack of will to do anything about that that God, the creator of the whole world, the rightful owner of it all, and the decider as to how we should live as His guests, decided to give His possession to the man Abram and his offspring.
("Out of Ur in the Chaldees).. God called Abram and said: go to the land that I will show you. There you shall become a great people, I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. I will bless them that bless you and curse them who curse you. In you all the families of the world shall be blessed." Gen 12:1-3
Was the land empty? No not at all. The history of Israel as a nation has its start in the eventual eviction of the canaanite peoples that lived there at the time of their exodus from Chaldea. At this point some will say: how wicked of God!
That is unfair! God did not respect the people's right to their land! God ignored international law! By the standards of today's debate at any rate.

Is that true? That depends on your view of God.

Listen to words from the begining:  "Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws and you will live safely in the land. Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety...The land must not be sold permanently, because the Land is Mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers."

Consider that the original task that God had given mankind was to 'till the soil', to multiply, to fill the earth, to live off the land and what it produced, mankind is never the owner but the caretaker of someone else's belonging. The red line of stewardship runs right through the scriptures. God asked then:"Have you not eaten that which was forbidden?"  It is the owner who decides the freedoms of the tenant.

Listen again: "We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as well as all our ancestors. Our days on earth  are like a shadow, without hope. Lord our god, all this abundance that we have provided for the building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you... Lord, the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in all your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you."

The peoples spread across the earth after the end of the flood. The canaanite tribes settled in the land of Israel. It was never the land of the philistines, the origin of the word palestine. The gradual effects of the purging flood died out from the decendants of Shem Ham and Japhet and the sins of the people from before the flood judgements soon increased among the descendants of Noah. History repeats itself. Sin is never eradicated until the dawn of that spiritual rebirth of which the Covenant of God speaks after the end of the time of the former covenant. Sin is not cured by law, but by grace.

So the family of Abraham settled among the Canaanites for a time. They bought land for their burials and lived off the land that was unchallenged. At peace with the Canaanites, but never assimilated in among them. Occasional wars between the tribes and surrounding nations from north east and south occurred and of course had impact on the fledgeling people. But the day came when they were sent away. Not the last time either.  They were told that they should spend at least 4 generations in a far off land, in Egypt. And the reason? "As yet the Amorites (canaanites) have not filled their measure of sin."  (Gen 15:16)

In short: mankind's right to live in any land is determined by how they live in it.  God speaks in the law to Israel and says in absolute clear language: "If you behave in my land as those nations lived before you, the very ones I drove out from before you, you shall likewise be driven out."

We could list page up and page down from the Law and the prophets to show the truth of this.

"Therefore ye shall keep my ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were comitted before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein."(Lev 18:28) You shall therefore keep all my statutes and commandments and do them, that the land to which I bring you to dwell in spew you not out!" (Lev 20:22)

The right of any nation to occupy any part of the earth is closely related to how they live according to the statutes of the one and only rightful owner.

The Canaanites were given grace and time enough to repent and return from their evil ways. They were given 400 years to do so. That is an awsome time given for repentance. "What can be known of Gods being and eternal character is revealed in creation. Therefore they were without excuse." They did not have the law. But the laws of righteousness are nontheless sufficiently known that they are held morally responsible. And what was true for the Amorites is true for Israel. God is not a respecter of persons, he chastises more those upon whom he showers his favor. The captivity for 70 years was 'payment' for the sins of Israel. Daniel knows it, Jeremiah knows it. The jews know it.

So now: to whom does any land on earth belong? Not to USA, UK, EU or Arabs or Jews or Swedes or Finns. The land is and was and ever will be God's own belonging. And those who live must take care to live along the protective guidelines of Gods moral prescription in order to stay alive in the land.

Israel, Israel..Dispersed, despised, derogated, defamed and all but devastated in the whole world, has paid roundly for her sins. God has stricken and he has healed. God has kept His promise to Abraham and to Melech David. He gathers  Israel as a shepherd herds his sheep back to the pasture called the land of Israel. Not because Israel is in itself better than the other nations in moral timbre or in sinless perfection. God brings them together in the land that he promised and the whole world is watching and most of it is practicing hatred against that."Why does HaShem love Israel? Is it because they are greater than other nations? No he loves them, because he loves them and has promised their father's something." (Deut 7:1-8)

The hatred of the jews is mostly found among those who also hate the God of the Bible. And those who claim to believe in God but eliminate the restoration of Israel from the purpose and plan of God, do not believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and the one God and Father of the Messiah.

It is in order to bring the chosen people to the chosen land for the Chosen One to be seen by them that they are called together from all the nations among which they have been dispersed. It is to heal them that God has brought them to the clinic of the land. Not because they are already whole and healed.

What rights do they have to be there? Only one right: It is God's choice for them to live in the land where they have their roots and their hearts. Does this now mean that we should uncritically accept all that the nation does in it's self defense against those who would kill both them and all who support them? No.

God does not look through his fingers at anybody's unrighteousness.  And certainly neither party in the conflict is whithout sin.  "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." All..

Even if the churches in the world deny Israel their right to the land, even if all the UN member states deny their right, even if 1.6 billion arabs would rather see them exterminated, none of that has the slighest bearing on their right. It is determined by God the Almighty, and will be brought to its prophesied end.

Now if you don't believe a word of the Bible, you will obviously neither give the slightest reflection to what I have said. So be it. But if you do not understand the elements of the problem, neither will your input make the slightest contribution to a solution.

The only solution to the sinner's problems is in repentance and contrition and a plea for mercy. Before God takes all the world to the judgment throne. Jew, christian, moslem and atheist alike.

History is not frequently understood in the terms of Leviticus 18. And yet there is the archeological evidence of culture after culture; of that which has been, and  come and gone. These ruins are nothing less than the remains after the very land has spewed them all out. USA may well be the next ruined empire, it might be Europe, in the end all nations will. But out of all nations, tongues and tribes a remnant will be there before the throne of God when He has made a new heaven and a new earth.

The people of Israel are crucial in that scenario. So is the land. The land promised by God to father Abraham. The Father of all who live by faith in the promises of God.

Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster



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