Monday, January 25, 2016

Plural Hebrew words with a Singular Meaning

Here are some words that are plural in form, but can be singular (at times in meaning). This is obviously not an exhaustive list:
  • Heaven (shah’mah’yim)
  • Life (chaim)
  • Water (mayim)
  • Face (panim)
  • Holy One (kedoshim)
  • Teacher (morim)
  • Maker (osim)
  • Husband (baalim)
  • Most High (elyonin, Aramaic).
The word Behemoth is the feminine plural of behemah, the common word for cattle or wild animals. 

The great multi-headed sea serpent Leviathan is also known as Tanninim or Tannim (plurals; Gen 1:21; Isa 51:9; Ezek 32:2; Ps 74:13; Job 7:12).

Physical things like "water" or "sky/heaven" or a human "face" are said to be plural in Hebrew because they have several dimensions to them, because they are not inherently static and always moving; their expressions are constantly shifting or altering; changing facets. There are different kinds of waters (mayim) and sky (shamayim).  And your face (panim) can convey numerous moods, intensities or frames of mind. Life (lives) is also a plural (chayim).

Some nouns which denote actions, when viewed as a series of activities, are also spoken of in plural terms. For example, the words "deliverance/salvation" (yeshuah), "parental love" (racham), or "steadfast love" (hesed) at times appear as yeshuot (feminine plural), rachamim, and hasadim. These are attributes of the boundless works of God that are done on behalf of his people.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

God is One Person, the Father.

The One God, the Father, One Man Messiah Translation 
by Anthony F. Buzzard

“The Lord our God is one Lord” (as read from the NT Greek, citing the LXX, Greek version of the OT). This is a unitary monotheistic and certainly not a Trinitarian creed. “One” is a quantifier, a simple, mathematical numeral, and God is defined here, as innumerable times in the Hebrew Bible and the NT, as one single divine Lord, one Person, one divine Self, one Yahweh. He is so described by thousands of singular personal pronouns, which as we all know designate a single person. Malachi 2:10 encapsulates with delightful simplicity the totality of the Bible’s view of God as one Person: “Do we not all have one Father? Has not one God created us?”

Mark 12.32: The man replied, “Exactly right, Teacher. It is true as you said that God is one Person,[1] and there is no other but He.[2]

Romans 3.30: There is only one God, who is only One Person,[3]

James 2.19: You believe that God is one Person;[4] you are doing well. Even the demons believe that, and they shudder.

[1]A plain statement that Jesus was a unitarian and not a Trinitarian! 

[2]Neither Jesus nor the scribe could possibly have imagined God as a Trinity of three Persons. The concept of a triune God contradicts Jesus at the most fundamental level and disobeys him, substituting a definition of God which Jesus would never approve. 1300 occurrences of the word GOD to mean the Father in the NT simply confirm the easy concept that GOD is a single Person, the Father (cp. Mal. 2:10; 1 Cor. 8:4-6 where the one God of monotheism is the Father and Jesus is the one lord Messiah based on Ps. 110:1, where the second lord (adoni) is never in all 195 occurrences a title of Deity).

[3]God is one, eis in Greek. In the masculine gender this is the equivalent in English of “one person.” Dr. James Dunn’s remark is highly revealing: “‘God is one’ is certainly intended as an evocation of the basic creed of Jewish monotheism, ‘The Lord our God is one Lord’ (Deut. 6:4). Paul takes it up again in 1 Cor. 8:6; cp. Mark 12:29 = Deut. 6:4; James 2:19, ‘God is one.’” Dunn apparently sees no difficulty with the fact that this admitted Jewish monotheism is not that of the Church. How is it that the Church has abandoned the Jewish unitary non-Trinitarian monotheism of Israel and of Jesus?
[4]James speaks for the whole of NT Christianity, including Jesus in Mark 12:29. The NT church did not believe in the Trinity but in the one-Person GOD, the Father, so named as God 1300 times in the NT. The Father is named as God about every 6th verse in the NT. This is massive evidence for unitary monotheism. Jesus affirmed the unitary monotheistic Shema (Hear, O Israel) of Mark 12, which was the oath of allegiance for all Jews including Jesus, whose faith and belief is our model. Our definition of God must be the definition of God which Jesus taught.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Recommended Reading on Pacifism/Nonviolence

Bercot, David, The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down.
Bonhoeffer, D, The Cost of Discipleship.
Boyd, Gregory, The Myth Of A Christian Nation.
Brensinger & Sider, Within the Perfection of Christ.
Camp, Lee, Mere Discipleship.
Claibourne, S, Jesus for President.  
Clouse, R.G. War: Four Christian Views
Dodge, D.L. War Inconsistent with the Religion of Jesus Christ
Drescher, J.M. Why I Am a Conscientious Objector
Egan, E, Peace Be With You: Justified Warfare or the Way of Non-Violence
Ford, J.M. My Enemy is My Guest.
Gray, J.G. The Warriors: Reflection of Men in Battle
Grossman, On Killing
Harnack, Militia Christi
Joseph, S.J. The Nonviolent Messiah
MacArthur, John, Why Government Can’t Save You.
McCarthy, E.C. Christian Just War Theory: The Logic of Deceit.
MLK, Strength to Love
Roth, J.D. Choosing Against War.
Sprinkle, P. Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence
Stassen & Gushee, Kingdom Ethics
Taylor, Dean, A Change of Allegiance
Tolstoy, Leo, The Kingdom Of God Is Within You.
Wink, W,  Jesus and Nonviolence.
Yoder, J, The Politics of Jesus; What Would You Do.
York & Barringer, A Faith Not Worth Fighting For.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Why I’m for Christian non-violence.

It is often said/written that the issue of gun violence is a "heart problem", and not a "gun problem".

I would have to agree with that and add that until you willingly put down your weapons (whatever they may be) and submit to the one who teaches "Love your enemy", "do not repay evil with evil", etc., your heart problem will eventually consume you and those around you.

Before coming to Christianity, not so long ago, I was a person of violence myself. In fact, I was in the security industry most of my life, an industry that oftentimes required us to use violence. My goal in this industry was to eventually require the skills/experience to move on to either the Military or Police.

When I read the NT for the VERY FIRST TIME in my life, I quickly came to the realization that if I was going to sign up to this Jesus-movement I had to radically change many things in my life, beginning with the tough teaching of Jesus’ non-violence stance. This new radical Christian worldview means that we are no longer supposed to be part of the Military industrial complex or it’s Policing. This view is dealt with by the Apostle Paul very clearly when he contrasts Christian behavior in Romans 12 with that of the state/government, Romans 13. In other words, it is the non-Christian state that “bears the sword…for your good” and not the other way around. (Cp. Matt. 26.52 where Jesus rebukes the use of the sword by his followers and heals the enemy.)

For me it was a relatively easy thing to do, perhaps because I was at the end of my rope at the time and needed to make a choice between life and death. But as I grew in the faith I quickly realized that the Christianity I thought I knew was not the Christian faith I was reading (i.e., the Trinity, immortal soul, anything but the KOG Gospel, etc.).

I also quickly realized that this particular topic of non-violence was not only held by a VERY SMALL minority view in the Christian world as a whole, but also by very few in my own biblical unitarian circles. And not only that, it most often than not awoke some very heated, even violent rhetoric/actions. But it was this response in particular that told me I was probably on the right track to doing God's will since, as we well know, those types of reactions/emotions are not compatible with what the NT calls the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5.22-23).

But, like many of you, I will continue to preach the Gospel about the KOG and the things pertaining to our lord Jesus (Acts 8.12), trying to persuade believers and non-believers alike to what I consider to be a fundamental Christian teaching that has all to do with our current living standards in this present evil age.

My only wish and prayer is that you at least think about those teachings that we might read or hear time, and time again, but perhaps not devote enough of that time to meditate on the words of our great Pastor/Teacher; always speaking the "truth in love", always "eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." (Eph 4.3)

"You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike." Matthew 5.43-45