… prepare yourself for testing …

Sirach 2

My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing. Set your heart right and be steadfast, and do not be impetuous in time of calamity. Cling to him and do not depart, so that your last days may be prosperous. Accept whatever befalls you, and in times of humiliation be patient. For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation. Trust in him, and he will help you; make your ways straight, and hope in him.

You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; do not stray, or else you may fall. You who fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not be lost. You who fear the Lord, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. Consider the generations of old and see: has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed? Or has anyone persevered in the fear of the Lord and been forsaken? Or has anyone called upon him and been neglected? For the Lord is compassionate and merciful; he forgives sins and saves in time of distress.

Woe to timid hearts and to slack hands, and to the sinner who walks a double path! Woe to the fainthearted who have no trust! Therefore they will have no shelter. Woe to you who have lost your nerve! What will you do when the Lord’s reckoning comes?

Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his words, and those who love him keep his ways. Those who fear the Lord seek to please him, and those who love him are filled with his law. Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts, and humble themselves before him. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, but not into the hands of mortals; for equal to his majesty is his mercy, and equal to his name are his works.

(Sirach 2, NRSV)

… Christ the King (2019)…

◆ FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING OR FEAST OF THE REIGN OF CHRIST

This celebration acknowledges the lordship of Jesus Christ over all of creation. This service is always celebrated at the end of the Pentecost season on the last Sunday before Advent begins.

The Feast of Christ the King is a new festal celebration established for the Roman Catholic church by Pope Pius XI in 1925. Although Epiphany, Easter, and Ascension are already feasts of the King, Pius XI felt the need for an additional one to combat the secularization of the world and of society. Working with the older Catholic notion of a Christendom in which God rules the world through the church, Pius XI envisioned Christ the King Sunday as a proclamation for governments and institutions to submit to Christ.
Since Vatican II, the shift in Catholic thought, and thus the shift on the readings, prayers, and themes of Christ the King Sunday, is toward the cosmic and eschatological character of Christ’s reign over the world. This emphasis fits well the theme of Christ’s second coming in the early Sundays of Advent and prepares the worshiper for the expectant waiting of the coming season. This celebration is widely observed in many traditions of Christian worship.

The lectionary texts for this Sunday are as follows:

Old Testament: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm: Psalm 100 or Psalm 95:1-7a
Epistle: Ephesians 1:15-23
Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

Scriptural Words of Greeting

Grace be to you and peace from God, who is and who was and who is to come, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Amen. (Rev. 1:4–5)

Opening Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things to your beloved Son, whom you anointed priest forever and king of all creation: Grant that all the people of the earth, now divided by the power of sin, may be united under the glorious and gentle rule of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Lutheran Book of Worship
Prayer of Confession

Righteous God, you have crowned Jesus Christ as Lord of all. We confess that we have not bowed before him and are slow to acknowledge his rule. We give allegiance to the power of this world and fail to be governed by justice and love. In your mercy, forgive us. Raise us to acclaim him as ruler of all that we may be loyal ambassadors, obeying the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Book of Common Worship

This prayer could be followed by words of assurance from Colossians 1:19-20: “For in Jesus Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of the cross.”

Scriptural Statement of Faith

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Lord.
I believe that Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation;
for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created,
things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—
all things have been created through him and for him.
He himself is before all things; and in him all things hold together.
I believe that Jesus Christ is the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
so that he might come to have first place in everything.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things,
whether on earth or in heaven,
by making peace through the blood of the cross. (based on Col. 1:15–20)
I believe in Jesus Christ, the Lord.
For other scriptural statements of faith or ascriptions of praise appropriate for this Sunday, see Revelation 7:12; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15–16; and Revelation 5:12.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

The following prayer of thanksgiving for the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper includes the themes of the Scripture readings for this day.

MINISTER: The Lord be with you.
PEOPLE: And also with you.
MINISTER: Lift up your hearts.
PEOPLE: We lift them to the Lord.
MINISTER: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
PEOPLE: It is right to give our thanks and praise.
MINISTER: It is truly right and our greatest joy
to give you thanks and praise,
eternal God, Creator and ruler of the universe.
You fashioned this world in love
and govern all the earth with grace and peace.
Nations and monarchs rise and fall,
but your reign is for all time,
and your mercy is without end.
In love you made us to love and serve you.
When we turned from you
and bent our knees to gods of our own making,
you spoke through prophets
to bring us back to your ways.
You gave us a vision of your holy kingdom
that we might hunger after righteousness
and thirst for justice
and long for the day when peace will triumph
over the pride and greed of nations.
Therefore, we praise you,
joining our voices with the servants around heaven’s throne
and with all the faithful of every time and place,
who forever sing to the glory of your name:

(The people may sing or say:)

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

(The minister continues:)

You are holy, O God of majesty,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Born as king in David’s line,
he lived with the lowly
and cared for the least of your children.
His power was revealed in weakness,
his majesty in mercy.
His captors knelt to mock him,
giving him bruises instead of praise,
and piercing thorns for a crown.
His only earthly throne was a cross on which to die.
Even there his arms stretched out
to embrace friends and foes in love.
From the grave you raised him to your right hand,
where he rules again from heaven,
and commands true loyalty from peoples and nations.

(If they have not already been said, the words of institution may be said here, or in relation to the breaking of the bread.)

MINISTER: We give you thanks that the Lord Jesus,
on the night before he died,
took bread,
and after giving thanks to you,
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat.
This is my body, given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way he took the cup, saying:
This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood,
shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.
Whenever you drink it,
do this in remembrance of me.
Remembering your gracious acts in Jesus Christ,
we take from your creation this bread and this wine
and joyfully celebrate his dying and rising,
as we await the day of his coming.
With thanksgiving we offer our very selves to you
to be a living and holy sacrifice,
dedicated to your service.

(The people may sing or say one of the following:)

1
MINISTER: Great is the mystery of faith:
PEOPLE: Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.

2
MINISTER: Praise to you, Lord Jesus:
PEOPLE: Dying you destroyed our death,
rising you restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come in glory.

3
MINISTER: According to his commandment:
PEOPLE: We remember his death,
we proclaim his resurrection,
we await his coming in glory.

4
MINISTER: Christ is the bread of life:
PEOPLE: When we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.

(The minister continues:)

Gracious God,
pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these your gifts of bread and wine,
that the bread we break
and the cup we bless
may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ
and with all who are baptized in his name,
that we may be one in ministry in every place.
As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

(Intercessions for the church and the world may be offered here.)

Lead us, O God, to conform this world
to your kingdom of love, justice, and peace.
Help us to live as the Lord requires:
to do justice,
to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with you, our God.
Keep us faithful in your service
until Christ comes in final victory
and we shall feast with all your saints
in the joy of your eternal realm.
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor are yours, almighty God,
now and forever.
PEOPLE: Amen.

Book of Common Worship

Robert Webber, The Services of the Christian Year, vol. 5, The Complete Library of Christian Worship (Nashville, TN: Star Song Pub. Group, 1994).

Exported from Verbum, 7:24 AM November 24, 2019.

… the LORD is my strength and my shield …

Psalm 28

Prayer for Help and Thanksgiving for It

Of David.

To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, do not refuse to hear me, for if you are silent to me, I shall be like those who go down to the Pit. Hear the voice of my supplication, as I cry to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.

Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who are workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors, while mischief is in their hearts.
Repay them according to their work, and according to the evil of their deeds; repay them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward.
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord, or the work of his hands, he will break them down and build them up no more.

Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard the sound of my pleadings. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. O save your people, and bless your heritage; be their shepherd, and carry them forever.

(Psalm 28, NRSV)

Psalm 52

For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time Doeg the Edomite said to Saul, “David has gone to see Ahimelech.”

Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever? All day long you plot destruction. Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you’re an expert at telling lies. You love evil more than good and lies more than truth.

Interlude

You love to destroy others with your words, you liar! But God will strike you down once and for all. He will pull you from your home and uproot you from the land of the living.

Interlude

The righteous will see it and be amazed. They will laugh and say, “Look what happens to mighty warriors who do not trust in God. They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”

But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.

… in awe of you …

To the leader: for the flutes.

A Psalm of David.

Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil will not sojourn with you. The boastful will not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house, I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.

For there is no truth in their mouths; their hearts are destruction; their throats are open graves; they flatter with their tongues. Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover them with favor as with a shield.

Psalm 5, NRSV

… the cult of repentance …

.. a number of years ago, a famous child tv star and an evangelist from New Zealand, got together and created a system for street evangelism that they called “The Way of The Master.”  this program, in a nutshell, was to ask people a few simple questions that get them to admit that they are sinners. once you get them to admit that they have broken some of the 10 Commandments then you get them to “repent” and say they are sorry to God, then they are “saved for all eternity” because once you repent and tell God that you are sorry, then you are saved for ever and ever …

.. but is that what the Bible teaches?

.. well, here we see that Jesus tells people to repent, but what does that really mean? is that even what He really said?

… for an answer to that question we need to look at some definitions and the words in the original languages of the Old and New Testaments. remember, your English Bible is a translation. it is not the original and sometimes the translations don’t get it quite right. and then, with living languages, words will change their meanings over time. e.g., when we say something is “bad” what are we really saying? and what’s a ‘google’? in 2018 alone, the Oxford English Dictionary added over 1,100 new words to the dictionary …

.. so we can see that the English word repent is about a feeling – the feeling of regret or remorse – or you could even say to feel sorry about. synonyms include regret, deplore and rue. as a side note, the word repentance has synonyms such as penitence, attrition, compunction, contriteness, contrition, penance, penitency, remorse, rue, ruth.

.. is that what the Bible teaches? that you need to feel sorry to God for breaking His commandments and if you can feel sorry, then you are “saved”?

.. in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, we see that the English word “repent” is used 13 times in the ESV, 26 times in the NLT, and 42 times in the KJV. this alone should show that even the translators disagree about how to translate some words. the very first time ‘repent’ is used in the KJV, is in the book of Genesis … ‘repent’ comparison chart

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Genesis 6:6

.. and again in Exodus 6:14 it says:

And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Exodus 32:14

.. and then we read:

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

.. so, in the first 2 verses it says that the LORD repented – but then in Numbers that the LORD has no reason to repent. so, what’s going on here?

.. in all three of the above verses the original word translated as repent, is the Hebrew word נחם [nacham], with a meaning of: to have regrets about something, be very sorry, to change one’s mind. in the ESV translation, they used the word regretted

.. 37 of the 42 times the KJV translation uses the word repent in the Old Testament, it is the same Hebrew original word. another word, used only one time, is the Hebrew word נׄחַם [nocham], from the base נחם [nacham] above, with a meaning of: to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, have compassion …

.. the final Hebrew word translated as repent in the KJV, is the Hebrew word שׁוּב [shuwb] , with a meaning of: to return, turn back, to bring back, to restore, to turn away …

.. and then we move to the Greek of the New Testament. in the ESV there are only 2 Greek words translated as repent. μετανοέω [metanoeo] with a meaning of: to change one’s mind, to feel remorse – and μετάνοια [metanoia], with a meaning of: turn about, primarily a change of mind …

.. the primary definition of the word repent, especially in the New Testament, is to change one’s mind. and so when we get to the third chapter of Matthew, and read the words of John the baptizer, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2) – what he is saying is “Change your mind,” in fact he goes on to say in the 8th verse, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) or as the NCV puts it, “Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives.” (Matthew 3:8)

.. in many, many churches today, the concept of repentance is all about saying you are sorry to God and takes place with or without an actual change of mind. this goes along with a OSAS –once saved always saved theology that teaches if you repent and say you are sorry to God, then there is nothing you can do to loose your salvation …

… back in my 20’s i had a friend who was killed by his bi-polar girlfriend. this man was a nice and generous man, but by no means was he a believer or follower of Christ and although i was a believer, i certainly was not active in my walk at all. in fact, the group i used to run with used to buy our LSD and pot from this man …

… when we went to the funeral, a pastor got up in front of everyone and told us that he was glad that this friend had “given his life to Jesus as a young child” and he was fully assured that he was “in Jesus’ arms for all eternity.” now, this pastor had not seen my friend in years and years, but the OSAS theology was certain that my friend is in paradise… i am much less sure …

… in his letter to the church in Philipi, the apostle Paul wrote:

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Philippians 2:12–13

Work hard to show the results of your salvation.” if you only have to repent to be OSAS, then why would the apostle write this?

… Paul went on to write; “Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be blameless and innocent. You will be God’s children without any faults among people who are crooked and corrupt. You will shine like stars among them in the world as you hold firmly to the word of life. Then I can brag on the day of Christ that my effort was not wasted and that my work produced results.” Philippians 2:14–16

… so Paul is stating that complaining and arguing are things that would keep us from being blameless and innocent before God. if you spend a few minutes, that’s all it will take, and flip through the so-called “Christian TV” channels, you will find a plethora of pastors, teachers, evangelists, deacons and apostles who spend all their time complaining and arguing. these people get their followers to make phone calls and write letters to their elected officials to complain and argue about the things that they don’t like …

… and when they are not complaining and arguing they switch over to name calling and slandering the people they disagree with. back in August of this year, there was a viral video of an ‘evangelist’ who brought up a Jewish comedian in his ‘sermon’ and with all the appropriate arrogance of the self-righteous man, stated: “I hope that God breaks her teeth out and she dies.

… the Man Jesus, called Christ, taught us a different way. He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust. If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that! Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that!” (Matthew 5:43–47)

… so how can a supposed teacher of the Word of God so very clearly go against the Word that he claims to teach? OSAS – he said he was sorry once, and he may have even changed his mind about a few things, but he never actually changed his mind to believe that all the words of the Christ matter. in his discourse against the unsaved Jewish comedian, he went on and on calling her all kinds of names and telling everyone how evil she is …

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:21–22

… but isn’t an evangelist calling for God to kill someone, itself pure evil? he said she was persecuting Christians with her jokes and comments. and that gives an ordained member of the body of Christ the right and license to slander and call for someones death?

Those who try to live a godly life because they believe in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil people and phony preachers will go from bad to worse as they mislead people and are themselves misled.

2 Timothy 3:12–13

… so now we have churches full of people who say they believe in God who say that they are now and forever saved because they said The Sinner’s Prayer®, who say some of the most awful, hateful things about people the Bible teaches are trapped in sin – the very people that Jesus the Christ came to seek and to save …

… these are the people who bring shame to the name of the Christ and to Christians and Christianity world wide. people who said they are sorry for offending God, and so now that they are saved for all eternity, they can do and say whatever they want …

… so now you can understand how people who claim to be “Christians” can speak ill of foreigners, immigrants, and refugees – how they can support taking children from their mothers arms and putting them in cages – how they can so blindly follow leaders who lie, cheat, and steal in plain view.. they simply believe that they have “repented” and now can go and do whatever they want …

After John had been put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee and told people the Good News of God. He said, “The time has come, and the kingdom of God is near. Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News.”

Mark 1:14–15

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The Epistle to Diognetus

The document that is known as “The Epistle (or Letter) to Diognetus” is somewhat of a mystery. A majority of scholars believe that it was written some time between 150AD and 225AD. There are many ideas about who wrote the letter, but nobody really knows.

It is known as one of the earliest writings of The Christian Apologists, the defenders of the faith. Section 5 below, is what the church looked like around 200AD, and what the true church looks like even today..


The Epistle to Diognetus

1. Since I see, most excellent Diognetus, that you are extremely interested in learning about the religion of the Christians and are asking very clear and careful questions about them—specifically, what God do they believe in and how do they worship him, so that they all disregard the world and despise death, neither recognizing those who are considered to be gods by the Greeks nor observing the superstition of the Jews; what is the nature of the heartfelt love they have for one another; and why has this new race of men or way of life come into the world we live in now and not before?—I gladly welcome this interest of yours, and I ask God, who empowers us both to speak and to listen, that I may be enabled to speak in such a way that you will derive the greatest possible benefit from listening, and that you may listen in such a way that the speaker will have no regrets.

2. Come, then, clear your mind of all its prejudices and cast aside the custom that deceives you, and become a new man, as it were, from the beginning, as if you were about to hear a new message, even as you yourself admit. See not only with your eyes but also with your intellect what substance or what form those whom you call and regard as gods happen to have. (2) Is not one of them stone, like that which we walk upon, and another bronze, no better than the utensils that have been forged for our use, and another wood, already rotted away, and another silver, which needs a watchman to guard it lest it be stolen, and another iron, corroded by rust, and another pottery, not a bit more attractive than that made for the most unmentionable use? (3) Are not all these made of perishable matter? Are they not forged by iron and fire? Did not the sculptor make one of them, and the coppersmith another, the silversmith another, and the potter yet another? Before they were shaped by the skills of these craftsmen   p 537  into the form they have,1 was it not possible—indeed, is it not even now possible—for each of them to have been given a different form?2 Might not the ordinary utensils now formed out of the same material be made similar to such images as these, if the same craftsmen were available? (4) Again, could not these things which are now worshiped by you be made by men into utensils like the rest? Are they not all deaf and blind, without souls, without feelings, without movement? Do they not all rot, do they not all decay? (5) These are the things you call gods; you serve them, you worship them, and in the end you become like them. (6) This is why you hate the Christians: because they do not consider these objects to be gods. (7) For do not you yourselves, who now regard and worship them as gods,3 in fact much more despise them? Are you not mocking and insulting them much more when you leave unguarded the stone or pottery gods you worship but lock up the silver and gold ones at night and post guards by them during the day, lest they be stolen? (8) And as for the honors that you think you are offering them: if they are aware of them, then you are in fact insulting them; but if they are not aware, then you are showing them up by worshiping them with the blood and fat of victims. (9) Let one of you undergo this treatment, let someone allow these things to be done to him! Why, there is not a single individual who would willingly submit to such punishment, for a human being has feelings and reason; but the stone does submit, for it has no feeling. Therefore you disprove its ability to feel.4 (10) Well, I could say many other things about the fact that Christians are not enslaved to such gods, but if these arguments should seem insufficient to anyone, then I think it is useless to say more.

3. And next I suppose that you are especially anxious to hear why Christians do not worship in the same way as the   p 539  Jews. (2) The Jews indeed, insofar as they abstain from the kind of worship described above, rightly claim to worship the one God of the universe and to think of him as Master; but insofar as they offer this worship to him in the same way as those already described, they are altogether mistaken. (3) For whereas the Greeks provide an example of their stupidity by offering things to senseless and deaf images, the Jews, thinking that they are offering these things to God as if he were in need of them, could rightly consider it folly rather than worship. (4) For he who made the heaven and the earth and all that is in them, and provides us all with what we need, cannot himself need any of the things that he himself provides to those who imagine that they are giving to him. (5) In any case, those who imagine that they are offering sacrifices to him by means of blood and fat and whole burnt offerings and are honoring him with these tokens of respect do not seem to me to be the least bit different from those who show the same respect to deaf images: the latter make offerings to things unable to receive the honor, while the former think they offer it to the One who is in need of nothing.

4. But with regard to their qualms about meats, and superstition concerning the Sabbath, and pride in circumcision, and hypocrisy about fasting and new moons, I doubt that you need to learn from me that they are ridiculous and not worth discussing. (2) For is it not unlawful to accept some of the things created by God for human use as created good but to refuse others as useless and superfluous? (3) And is it not impious to slander God, as though he forbids us to do any good thing on the Sabbath day? (4) And is it not also ridiculous to take pride in the mutilation of the flesh as a sign of election, as though they were especially beloved by God because of this? (5) And as for the way they watch the stars and the moon, so as to observe months and days, and to make distinctions between the changing seasons ordained by God, making some into feasts and others into times of mourning according to their own inclinations, who would regard this as an example of godliness and not much more of a lack of understanding? (6) So then, I think you have been sufficiently instructed to realize that the Christians are right to keep their distance from the thoughtlessness and deception common to both groups and from the fussiness and   p 541  pride of the Jews. But as for the mystery of the Christian’s own religion, do not expect to be able to learn this from man.

5. For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of humanity by country, language, or custom. (2) For nowhere do they live in cities of their own, nor do they speak some unusual dialect, nor do they practice an eccentric life-style. (3) This teaching of theirs has not been discovered by the thought and reflection of ingenious men, nor do they promote any human doctrine, as some do. (4) But while they live in both Greek and barbarian cities, as each one’s lot was cast, and follow the local customs in dress and food and other aspects of life, at the same time they demonstrate the remarkable and admittedly unusual character of their own citizenship. (5) They live in their own countries, but only as aliens; they participate in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign country is their fatherland, and every fatherland is foreign. (6) They marry like everyone else, and have children, but they do not expose their offspring. (7) They share their food but not their wives. (8) They are “in the flesh,” but they do not live “according to the flesh.” (9) They live on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. (10) They obey the established laws; indeed in their private lives they transcend the laws. (11) They love everyone, and by everyone they are persecuted. (12) They are unknown, yet they are condemned; they are put to death, yet they are brought to life. (13) They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are in need of everything, yet they abound in everything. (14) They are dishonored, yet they are glorified in their dishonor; they are slandered, yet they are vindicated. (15) They are cursed, yet they bless; they are insulted, yet they offer respect. (16) When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; when they are punished, they rejoice as though brought to life. (17) By the Jews they are assaulted as foreigners, and by the Greeks they are persecuted, yet those who hate them are unable to give a reason for their hostility.

6. In a word, what the soul is to the body, Christians are to the world. (2) The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians throughout the cities of the world. (3) The soul dwells in the body, but is not of the body; likewise Christians dwell in the world, but are not of the world. (4) The soul, which is invisible, is confined in the body, which is visible;   p 543  in the same way, Christians are recognized as being in the world, and yet their religion remains invisible. (5) The flesh hates the soul and wages war against it, even though it has suffered no wrong, because it is hindered from indulging in its pleasures; so also the world hates the Christians, even though it has suffered no wrong, because they set themselves against its pleasures. (6) The soul loves the flesh that hates it, and its members, and Christians love those who hate them. (7) The soul is enclosed in the body, but it holds the body together; and though Christians are detained in the world as if in a prison, they in fact hold the world together. (8) The soul, which is immortal, lives in a mortal dwelling; similarly Christians live as strangers amidst perishable things, while waiting for the imperishable in heaven. (9) The soul, when poorly treated with respect to food and drink, becomes all the better; and so Christians when punished daily increase more and more. (10) Such is the important position to which God has appointed them, and it is not right for them to decline it.

7. For this is, as I said, no earthly discovery that was committed to them, nor some mortal idea that they consider to be worth guarding so carefully, nor have they been entrusted with the administration of merely human mysteries. (2) On the contrary, the omnipotent Creator of all, the invisible God himself, established among men the truth and the holy, incomprehensible word from heaven and fixed it firmly in their hearts, not, as one might imagine, by sending to men some subordinate, or angel or ruler or one of those who manage earthly matters, or one of those entrusted with the administration of things in heaven, but the Designer and Creator of the universe himself, by whom he created the heavens, by whom he enclosed the sea within its proper bounds, whose mysteries all the elements faithfully observe, from whom the sun has received the measure of the daily courses to keep, whom the moon obeys as he commands it to shine by night, whom the stars obey as they follow the course of the moon, by whom all things have been ordered and determined and placed in subjection, including the heavens and the things in the heavens, the earth and the things in the earth, the sea and the things in the sea, fire, air, abyss, the things in the heights, the things in the depths, the things in between—this one he sent to them! (3) But perhaps he sent   p 545  him, as a man might suppose, to rule by tyranny, fear, and terror? (4) Certainly not! On the contrary, he sent him in gentleness and meekness, as a king might send his son who is a king; he sent him as God; he sent him as a man to men. When he sent him, he did so as one who saves by persuasion, not compulsion, for compulsion is no attribute of God. (5) When he sent him, he did so as one calling, not pursuing; when he sent him, he did so as one loving, not judging. (6) For he will send him as Judge, and who will endure his coming?…5 (7) [Do you not see] how they are thrown to wild beasts to make them deny the Lord, and yet are not conquered? (8) Do you not see that as more of them are punished, the more others increase? (9) These things do not look like the works of man; they are the power of God, they are proofs of his presence.

8. For what man had any knowledge at all of what God was, before he came? (2) Or do you accept the empty and nonsensical statements of those pretentious philosophers, some of whom said that God was fire (the very thing they are headed for, they call God!), and others, water, and still others some other one of the elements created by God. (3) And yet, if any of these statements is worthy of acceptance, then every one of the other created things might just as well be declared to be God. (4) No, these things are merely the illusions and deceit of the magicians. (5) No one has either seen or recognized him, but he has revealed himself. (6) And he revealed himself through faith, which is the only means by which it is permitted to see God. (7) For God, the Master and Creator of the universe, who made all things and arranged them in order, was not only tender-hearted but also very patient. (8) Indeed, so he always was and is and will be, kind, good, without anger, and true, and he alone is good. (9) And after conceiving a great and marvelous plan, he communicated it to his Child alone. (10) Now as long as he kept it a secret and guarded his wise design, he seemed to neglect and be unconcerned about us, (11) but when he revealed it through his beloved Child and made known the things prepared   p 547  from the beginning, he gave us everything at once, both to share in his benefits and to see and understand things which none of us ever would have expected.

9. So then, having already planned everything in his mind together with his Child, he permitted us during the former time to be carried away by undisciplined impulses as we desired, led astray by pleasures and lusts, not at all because he took delight in our sins, but because he was patient; not because he approved of that former season of unrighteousness, but because he was creating the present season of righteousness, in order that we who in the former time were convicted by our own deeds as unworthy of life might now by the goodness of God be made worthy, and, having clearly demonstrated our inability to enter the kingdom of God on our own, might be enabled to do so by God’s power. (2) But when our unrighteousness was fulfilled, and it had been made perfectly clear that its wages—punishment and death—were to be expected, then the season arrived during which God had decided to reveal at last his goodness and power (oh, the surpassing kindness and love of God!). He did not hate us, or reject us, or bear a grudge against us; instead he was patient and forbearing; in his mercy he took upon himself our sins; he himself gave up his own Son as a ransom for us, the holy one for the lawless, the guiltless for the guilty, “the just for the unjust,”6 the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the mortal. (3) For what else but his righteousness could have covered our sins? (4) In whom was it possible for us, the lawless and ungodly, to be justified, except in the Son of God alone? (5) O the sweet exchange, O the incomprehensible work of God, O the unexpected blessings, that the sinfulness of many should be hidden in one righteous man, while the righteousness of one should justify many sinners! (6) Having demonstrated, therefore, in the former time the powerlessness of our nature to obtain life, and having now revealed the Savior’s power to save even the powerless, he willed that for both these reasons we should believe in his goodness and regard him as nurse, father, teacher, counselor,   p 549  healer, mind, light, honor, glory, strength, life, and not be anxious about food and clothing.7

10. If this faith is what you too long for, then first of all you must acquire8 full knowledge of the Father. (2) For God loved men, for whose sake he made the world, to whom he subjected everything on earth, to whom he gave reason, to whom he gave mind; them alone he permitted to look up to heaven,9 them he created in his own image, to them he sent his one and only Son, to them he promised the kingdom in heaven, which he will give to those who have loved him. (3) And when you have acquired this knowledge, with what joy do you think you will be filled, or how will you love him who so loved you first? (4) By loving him you will be an imitator of his goodness. And do not be surprised that a person can become an imitator of God; he can, if God is willing. (5) For happiness is not a matter of lording it over one’s neighbors, or desiring to have more than weaker men, or possessing wealth and using force against one’s inferiors. No one is able to imitate God in these matters; on the contrary, these things are alien to his greatness. (6) But whoever takes upon himself his neighbor’s burden, whoever wishes to benefit another who is worse off in something in which he himself is better off, whoever provides to those in need things that he has received from God, and thus becomes a god to those who receive them, this one is an imitator of God. (7) Then you will see that though your lot is on earth, God lives10 in heaven, then you will begin to declare the mysteries of God, then you will both love and admire those who are punished because they refuse to deny God, then you will condemn the deceit and the error of the world, when you realize what the true life in heaven is, when you despise the apparent death here on earth, when you fear the real death, which is reserved for those who will be condemned to the eternal fire which will punish to the very end those delivered to it. (8) Then you will admire those   p 551  who for righteousness’ sake endure the transitory fire, and you will consider them blessed, when you comprehend that other fire….11

11. I am not talking about strange things, nor am I engaged in irrational speculation, but having been a disciple of apostles, I am now becoming a teacher of the Gentiles. To those who are becoming disciples of the truth I try to minister in a worthy manner the teachings that have been handed down. (2) Indeed, does anyone who has been rightly taught and has come to love the Word not seek to learn exactly the things openly made known by the Word to disciples? To them the Word appeared and revealed these things, speaking quite plainly as he did so; though not understood by unbelievers, he explained them to disciples who, being regarded as faithful by him, learned the mysteries of the Father. (3) This is why he sent the Word, namely, that he might appear to the world; though dishonored by the chosen people, he was preached by apostles and believed in by Gentiles. (4) This is he who was from the beginning, who appeared as new yet proved to be old, and is always young as he is born in the hearts of saints. (5) This is the Eternal One, who today is accounted a Son, through whom the church is enriched and grace is unfolded and multiplied among the saints, grace which gives understanding, reveals mysteries, announces seasons, rejoices over the faithful, is given to those who seek—those, that is, by whom the pledges of faith are not broken nor the boundaries set by the fathers transgressed. (6) Then the reverence of the law is praised in song, and the grace of the prophets is recognized, and the faith of the Gospels is established, and the tradition of the apostles is preserved, and the joy12 of the church exults. (7) If you do not grieve this grace, you will understand what the Word has to say, through whomever he chooses, whenever he wishes. (8) For we are simply sharing with you whatever we have been prompted to speak with such difficulty by the will   p 553  of the commanding Word, being motivated as well by a love for the things that have been revealed to us.

12. When you have read these truths and listened13 attentively to them, you will know what God bestows on those who love him as they should, who become a paradise of delight, raising up in themselves a flourishing tree bearing all kinds of fruit, who are adorned14 with various fruits. (2) For in this garden a tree of knowledge and a tree of life have been planted. But the tree of knowledge does not kill; on the contrary, disobedience kills. (3) For it is not without significance that the Scriptures record that God in the beginning planted a tree of knowledge and a tree of life in the midst of Paradise, thereby revealing that life is through knowledge. Because our first parents did not use it purely, they were left naked15 by the deceit of the serpent. (4) For there is neither life without knowledge, nor sound knowledge without true life; therefore each tree stands planted near the other. (5) Discerning the significance of this, the apostle blamed the knowledge which is exercised apart from the truth of the commandment which leads to life and said, “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”16 (6) For the one who thinks he knows anything without the true knowledge that is confirmed by the life knows nothing; he is deceived by the serpent, because he did not love life. But the one who reverently has gained knowledge and seeks life plants in hope, anticipating fruit. (7) Let your heart be knowledge, and your life the true teaching,17 fully comprehended. (8) If this is the tree you cultivate, and whose fruit you pick, then you will always be harvesting the things that God desires, things that the serpent cannot touch and deceit cannot infect. Nor is Eve corrupted; instead, a virgin is trusted.18 (9) Furthermore, salvation is made   p 555  known, and apostles are instructed,19 and the Passover of the Lord goes forward, and the congregations are gathered together, and all things are arranged in order,20 and the Word rejoices as he teaches the saints, the Word through whom the Father is glorified. To him be glory forever. Amen.


1 the form they have: so A; Harmer (following Böhl) emends to this form.

2 possible … form: so A and most editors; Harmer (following Lachmann) reads possible for each of them to have been changed in form to represent something else.

3 who … gods: so Harmer (following Lachmann’s emendation). Others, adopting a different emendation, read who think and suppose that you are praising them.

4 Therefore … feel: or possibly Do you not, therefore, disprove its ability to feel?

5 There is an obvious break in the text at this point. According to a marginal note added by the copyist, the break already existed in the document from which he was copying. The following words in brackets were supplied by Henri Estienne (Stephanus), the first editor of the MS.

6 Cf. 1 Pet. 3:18.

7 and not be … clothing: Harmer and Meecham drop this phrase from the text, regarding it as a later insertion based on Matt. 6:25, 28, 31.

8 then … acquire: so Harmer and others, following Gebhardt’s conjecture (katalabe). If the reading of the MS (kai labes, “and if you first acquire”) is adopted, then apparently there would be another gap in the text at this point.

9 heaven: so Harmer (following Lachmann); the MS reads him.

10 lives: or possibly rules.

11 The text breaks off here, as a marginal note in the MS indicates. The missing portion, however, was probably not very long, inasmuch as the author has essentially answered the questions raised in the opening lines of the epistle. Cf. p. 530–31 above.

12 joy: so Harmer, following Lachmann’s emendation (chara). The MS (followed by many editors) reads grace (charis).

13 read … listened: in antiquity it was apparently the custom to read aloud, even when alone; cf. Acts 8:30; 2 Macc. 15:39: “the style of the story delights the ears of those who read the work.”

14 raising up … adorned: or alternatively with Lightfoot a flourishing tree bearing all kinds of fruit, growing up in themselves and adorned.

15 left naked: or perhaps stripped of it.

16 1 Cor. 8:1.

17 teaching: or possibly reason or word.

18 a virgin is trusted: or possibly (with Lightfoot and others) she is believed on as a virgin.

19 instructed: or given understanding, or perhaps interpreted.

20 congregations … order: Both text and meaning are uncertain. The MS reads “candles (kēroi) are gathered together and is arranged in order (meta kosmou).” The problem is that the second verb is singular and does not agree with the plural subject, candles. Some translators and editors simply change the singular verb ending (-etai) to plural (-ontai), “are arranged.” Others make the same change to the verb and also change the subject to “seasons” (kairoi). Goodspeed and Lake make these same two changes but give a different sense to the last phrase in the sentence: instead of “arranged in order,” they translate meta kosmou as “harmonized with the world.” The translation given above reflects Lightfoot’s adoption of two suggestions by Bunsen: (1) he changes kēroi to klēroi which Lightfoot rendered as “congregations”; and (2) rather than making the second verb plural, he supplies a second subject (panta, “all things”) that is grammatically suitable for the verb as it is found in the MS.

.. building a wall …

.. the country where i lay my head at night, is involved in an epic struggle that is causing reaction across the entire globe. it has been said that this country is the richest in the entire world, and it doesn’t take long to show this is entirely true.

.. according to How Much.net the United States is Number #1 in the wealth and greed category. now, these figures are just averages, because we also know that it has been reported over and over again, that 60% of all Americans would have a serious problem if they needed to cover a $500 emergency. that means they don’t have it in the bank, and they don’t have a credit card to put it on.

These are the top ten countries among the OECD with the highest household wealth, together with the average disposable income.
1. United States: $176,076 with $44,049 in disposable income
2. Switzerland: $128,415 with $36,378 in disposable income
3. Belgium: $104,084 with $29,968 in disposable income
4. Japan: $97,595 with $28,641 in disposable income
5. Sweden: $90,708 with $30,553 in disposable income
6. Netherlands: $90,002 with $28,783 in disposable income
7. Canada: $85,758 with $29,850 in disposable income
8. United Kingdom: $83,405 with $28,408 in disposable income
9. Luxembourg: $74,141 with $41,317 in disposable income
10. Denmark: $73,543 with $28,950 in disposable income

.. our southern neighbor has a much different situation;

“Mexico falls at the bottom of the scale, with average adjusted disposable incomes of less than $15,000. ”

How Much.net

… the richest country on the planet is talking about building a wall on it’s southern border to keep the poor out..

… there is a story in the Old Testament that i would dare say, the majority of the entire world has heard of, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.  in this narrative from the book of Genesis, written cir. 1446 BC, we learn that Sodom and Gomorrah had committed sins the LORD had to destroy.

Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

(Genesis 18:20–21, ESV)

.. as the story goes, the LORD sends angels to the city and finds that the city is involved in horrendous sins, so the Bible teaches that;

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

(Genesis 19:24–25, ESV)

… what great sins were Sodom and Gomorrah guilty of that would cause the LORD to have no other choice but destroy them? we are told in the book of Ezekiel, that the ancient nation of Israel had become more evil than Sodom.

As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done. This is what your sister Sodom has done wrong. She and her daughters were proud that they had plenty of food and had peace and security. They didn’t help the poor and the needy. They were arrogant and did disgusting things in front of me. So I did away with them when I saw this.

(Ezekiel 16:48–50, GW)

… did you catch that?

They didn’t help the
poor and the needy.

.. was this the only time the Bible teaches the LORD destroyed a nation for being this evil? no, it’s not. remember, the passage from Ezekiel was about a more evil nation than Sodom, another nation the LORD destroyed into history.

Listen to this message, this funeral song that I sing about you, nation of Israel: The people of Israel have fallen, never to rise again. They lie abandoned in their own land. There is no one to help them.

(Amos 5:1–2, GW)

…. and the billionaire class in America is promoting building a wall to keep the poor and needy out of this country.

… the multi-millionaire university president, of the university that claims to be “the largest Christian University in the world,” was quoted as saying this;

“It’s such a distortion of the teachings of Jesus to say that what he taught us to do personally — to love our neighbors as ourselves, help the poor — can somehow be imputed on a nation.”

“Think about it. Why have Americans been able to do more to help people in need around the world than any other country in history? It’s because of free enterprise, freedom, ingenuity, entrepreneurism and wealth. A poor person never gave anyone a job. A poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume. It’s just common sense to me.”

Jerry Falwell, Jr.

.. building a wall is immoral, and is daring the LORD to destroy this country..

… have we become so arrogant, that our religious leaders are daring the LORD?

.. God help us..

… you must be perfect … or … we need to grow-up ..

.. in the course of conversation on the internet, especially when talking to people who claim to follow the teachings of the Bible, often times someone says, “Only Jesus was perfect.”  this comment usually follows an excuse for some admittedly questionable behavior that the self-proclaiming Bible follower is trying desperately to justify.  it’s the magic wand of phrases that some people think gives them permission to engage in behaviors that they know are wrong, but that somehow, only Jesus has the power to overcome the desire to slander, lie, rape, kill, steal, blaspheme – ONLY Jesus, because He was “perfect.

1per•fect \ˈpər-fikt\ adjective
[Middle English parfit, from Old French, from Latin perfectus, from past participle of perficere to carry out, perfect, from per- thoroughly + facere to make, do — more at DO]
(14th century)
1 a : being entirely without fault or defect : FLAWLESS 〈a perfect diamond〉
b : satisfying all requirements : ACCURATE
c : corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept 〈a perfect gentleman〉
d : faithfully reproducing the original; specifically : LETTER-PERFECT
e : legally valid
2 : EXPERT, PROFICIENT 〈practice makes perfect〉
3 a : PURE, TOTAL
b : lacking in no essential detail : COMPLETE
c obsolete : SANE
d : ABSOLUTE, UNEQUIVOCAL 〈enjoys perfect happiness〉
e : of an extreme kind : UNMITIGATED 〈a perfect brat〉 〈an act of perfect foolishness〉
4 obsolete : MATURE
5 : of, relating to, or constituting a verb form or verbal that expresses an action or state completed at the time of speaking or at a time spoken of
6 obsolete
a : CERTAIN, SURE
b : CONTENTED, SATISFIED
7 of a musical interval : belonging to the consonances unison, fourth, fifth, and octave which retain their character when inverted and when raised or lowered by a half step become augmented or diminished
8 a : sexually mature and fully differentiated 〈a perfect insect〉
b : having both stamens and pistils in the same flower 〈a perfect flower〉
— per•fect•ness \-fik(t)-nəs\ noun
synonymy PERFECT, WHOLE, ENTIRE, INTACT mean not lacking or faulty in any particular. PERFECT implies the soundness and the excellence of every part, element, or quality of a thing frequently as an unattainable or theoretical state 〈a perfect set of teeth〉. WHOLE suggests a completeness or perfection that can be sought, gained, or regained 〈felt like a whole person again after vacation〉. ENTIRE implies perfection deriving from integrity, soundness, or completeness of a thing 〈the entire Beethoven corpus〉. INTACT implies retention of perfection of a thing in its natural or original state 〈the boat survived the storm intact〉.
(Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1996).)

… but then a bigger problem presents itself.  it is recorded that Jesus, the ONLY One Who was or is “perfect”, said;

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
– Jesus called Christ
(Matthew 5:48, ESV)

… so Jesus, the ‘perfect’ Son of God, told a huge crowd of people at His world famous “Sermon on the Mount”©, tells everyone there and by inference, everyone today that we all “must be perfect.”

… a quick search in a concordance will show you that the first time the word “perfect” is used in the Bible, is in a description about Noah.

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9, AV)

… and then there is the law that Jesus is quoting in the passage from Matthew 5;

Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.” (Deuteronomy 18:13, AV)

… if the Bible clearly says, in both the Law of Moses/Torah and in the words of Jesus that the LORD thy God expects His followers to be ‘perfect’, then how can we justify sin by claiming that ONLY Jesus was perfect?

… or, does it mean something else entirely?

τέλειος

… τέλειος [teleios /tel·i·os/] is the Greek word that is translated as “perfect” in all of the verses quoted above. this word is used 19 times in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, and another 19 times in the New Testament.  in the New Testament, the word τέλειος is translated as “mature” in 7 of the 19 instances, “perfect” 11 times, and “full” once.

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:4, ESV)

… “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be “τέλειος” …”

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14, ESV)

… “But solid food is for “τέλειος” …”

“Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”” (Matthew 19:21, ESV)

.. “Jesus said to him, “If you would be “τέλειος” …”

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, ESV)

… “You therefore must be “τέλειος”, as your heavenly Father is “τέλειος” …”

τέλειος, α, ον (Hom. [e.g. Il. 24, 34 of unblemished sacrificial animals] +) gener. ‘attaining an end or purpose, complete’.
① pert. to meeting the highest standard
ⓐ of things, perfect
α. as acme of goodness, as adj. (ἀρετή Did., Gen. 40, 19.—Of aeons, Iren. 1, 1, 1 [Harv. I 8, 2]; Hippol., Ref. 6, 31, 4) ἔργον Js 1:4a (s. ἔργον lb); cp. ISm 11:2. δώρημα Js 1:17 (s. δώρημα). νόμος vs. 25 (opp. the Mosaic law). ἀγάπη 1J 4:18. ἀνάλυσις 1 Cl 44:5 (Just., D. 41, 1). γνῶσις 1:2; B 1:5. πρόγνωσις 1 Cl 44:2. μνεία 56:1. ἐλπίς ISm 10:2 (v.l. πίστις); χάρις 11:1. νηστεία Hs 5, 3, 6. ναός B 4:11 (ἐκκλησία Did., Gen. 69, 14). τελειοτέρα σκηνή (s. σκηνή 2) Hb 9:11.—Subst. τὸ τέλειον what is perfect Ro 12:2; perh. 1 Cor 13:10 (opp. ἐκ μέρους. S. EHoffmann, ConNeot 3, ’38, 28–31). ἐνάρετον καὶ τέλειον (someth.) virtuous and perfect IPhld 1:2. W. gen. τὸ τέλειον τῆς γνώσεως ἡμῶν the full measure of our knowledge B 13:7. Pl. (Philo) τέλεια what is perfect ISm 11:3b (Tat. 13, 2 τὰ τέλεια).
β. as acme of badness (ApcSed 14:7 ἀπόγνωστοι τὴν τελείαν ἀπόγνωσιν), adj. ἁμαρτίαι B 8:1; Hv 1, 2, 1. σκάνδαλον B 4:3.—Subst. τὸ τέλειον τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν the full measure of the sins 5:11.
ⓑ of persons who are fully up to standard in a certain respect and not satisfied with half-way measures perfect, complete, expert (TAM II/1, 147, 4f ἰατρὸς τέλειος; ZPE 3, ’68, 86: Didymus Fgm. 281, 7 τέλειος γεώμετρος; Wsd 9:6; 1 Ch 25:8) τέλειος ἀθλητής IPol 1:3. Esther is τελεία κατὰ πίστιν 1 Cl 55:6. Jesus became τέλειος ἄνθρωπος perfect human ISm 4:2.
② pert. to being mature, full-grown, mature, adult (Aeschyl., Pla., X.+; oft. pap; Philo; Jos., Ant. 19, 362).
ⓐ adj. ἀνὴρ τέλειος Eph 4:13 (opp. νήπιοι, as Polyb. 5, 29, 2; Philo, Leg. All. 1, 94, Sobr. 9 νήπιον παιδίον πρὸς ἄνδρα τέλειον=an immature child compared to a mature man, Somn. 2, 10). In dazzling wordplay: μὴ παιδία γίνεσθε ταῖς φρεσίν, ἀλλὰ τῇ κακίᾳ νηπιάζετε, ταῖς δὲ φρεσὶν τέλειοι γίνεσθε do not think like children, yet do be infants as respects evil, while at the same time grown-up in your thinking 1 Cor 14:20.
ⓑ subst. (Dio Chrys. 34 [51], 8 οἱ τ.; Diogenes, Ep. 31, 3 οἱ τ. … οἱ παῖδες; Ath., R. 17 p. 68, 31) τελείων ἐστὶν ἡ στερεὰ τροφή solid food is (only) for adults Hb 5:14 (opp. νήπιος). οἱ τέλειοι 1 Cor 2:6 is contrasted with νήπιοι 3:1 by WBauer, Mündige u. Unmündige bei dem Ap. Paulus, diss. Marburg 1902 (also Aufsätze u. Kleine Schriften, ed. GStrecker, ’67, 124–30 et al.; s. also GDelling, TW VIII 76–78.) But this may also belong in the next classification
③ pert. to being a cult initiate, initiated. As a t.t. of the mystery religions, τέλειος refers to one initiated into mystic rites (τελετή; s. τελειόω 3; cp. Herm. Wr. 4, 4; Philod., Περὶ θεῶν 1, 24, 12 [ed. HDiels, ABA 1915 p. 41; 93]; Iambl., Myst. 3, 7 p. 114 Parthey; Philo, Somn. 2, 234; Gnostics [WBousset, Kyrios Christos2 1921 p. 197, 1].—Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 133f; 338f; JWeiss, exc. after 1 Cor 3:3, also p. xviiif, Das Urchristentum 1917, 492; HKennedy, St. Paul and the Mystery Religions 1913, 130ff; Clemen2 314; in general, CZijerveld, Τελετή, Bijdrage tot de kennis der religieuze terminologie in het Grieksch ’34). Phil 3:15 and Col 1:28 prob. belong here (s. MDibelius, Hdb. on both passages. οἱ ὡς ἐν χριστιανισμῷ τ. Orig., C. Cels. 3, 19, 13).—CGuignebert, Quelques remarques sur la Perfection (τελείωσις) et ses voies dans le mystère paulinien: RHPR 8, 1928, 412–29; UWilckens, Weisheit u. Torheit, ’59, 53–60 supports Reitzenstein against Bauer.
④ pert. to being fully developed in a moral sense
of humans perfect, fully developed (Hippol., Ref. 1, 19, 16) in a moral sense τέλειος ἀνήρ Js 3:2 (s. RHöistad, ConNeot 9, ’44, p. 22f). τὸν τέλειον ἄνθρωπον GMary 463, 26f (restored). Mostly without a noun εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι Mt 19:21 (EYarnold, TU 102, ’68, 269–73). Cp. IEph 15:2; D 1:4; 6:2. Pl. Mt 5:48a; ISm 11:3a. W. ὁλόκληροι Js 1:4b. W. πεπληροφορημένοι Col 4:12.
of God perfect (Pind., Aeschyl. et al.; Theocr., Diod S, Plut. et al.; Tat.4, 2, 12; 4, 15, 2; Theoph. Ant. 2, 15 [p. 138, 12]) Mt 5:48b (i.e. God is a role model for unlimited display of beneficence; cp. on this verse Hierocles 18 p. 459: the goal is τὴν πρὸς θεὸν ὁμοίωσιν κτήσασθαι ‘attainment of likeness to God’ [oft. in Hierocles]; Marinus, Vi. Procli 18 ἵνα τὴν ὁμοίωσιν ἔχῃ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, ὅπερ τέλος ἐστὶ τὸ ἄριστον τῆς ψυχῆς; Betz, SM ad loc.). Restoration in a corrupt context AcPl Ha 1, 11 (ed. indicates τελέσαι or τελεῖν as alternatives).—RFlew, The Idea of Perfection ’34; FGrant, The Earliest Gospel, ’43; EFuchs, RBultmann Festschr., ’54 (Beih. ZNW 21), 130–36; PDuPlessis, Teleios. The Idea of Perfection in the NT ’59; KPrümm, Das NTliche Sprach-u. Begriffsproblem der Vollkommenheit, Biblica 44, ’63, 76–92; AWikgren, Patterns of Perfection in Hb, NTS 6, ’60, 159–67.—Schmidt, Syn. IV 503f. DELG s.v. τέλος. M-M. EDNT. TW. Sv.
(William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000).)

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” (Philippians 3:15, ESV)

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:4, ESV)

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” (James 3:2, ESV)

… isn’t it time we did what the LORD told us to do and grow up?

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

(1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)

 

… is Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for today?

“As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster.” (Jeremiah 44:16–17, ESV)

‎The Assyrian cylinder seal shows the Tree of Life on the left, then two ibexes fighting with each other, a praying person in the middle, and on the right the goddess of love and war (Ishtar) on a lion, Ishtar’s symbolic animal. Since she is a war goddess, she is pictured with bow and arrow.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices justice is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:4–8, ESV)

… last Friday night we had our annual Passover Seder meal in memory of the Last Supper Passover Seder meal of Jesus called Christ. it was a Passover Seder that Jesus celebrated the night that He was betrayed, the night before He gave His life as the “Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) in our home we have been celebrating the Passover Seder for almost 20 years, having abandoned the holiday of Easter for what we believe is what the LORD intended for us as followers of the teachings of Jesus.

… this was not the way i was raised.  the family i was raised in has a long history of celebrating Easter with it’s colorful eggs and bunnies.  in fact, Easter was one of the two holidays that we would make the five hour trip to my grandparents house where my grandmother, an arts and crafts person, would have set up an Easter Egg tree for our enjoyment, as well as many other Easter themed decorations.  the Easter Egg tree was no small thing, as my grandparents would spend the prior months poking small holes in the top and bottom of eggs and blow out the egg leaving just the shell.  these empty egg shells would be dyed and painted – each one a work of art of there own, and then hung from a tree branch that my grandfather would have fastened to a platform to keep it from falling over.  until there were enough egg shells to complete the tree, my grandfather would have to eat a lot of scrambled eggs – giving up his usual ‘sunny side up’ eggs for the sake of the grand-kids.  we would all get up early on Easter morning to find Easter baskets filled with candy and small toys left by the Easter Bunny.  we would then all get dressed in our finest of dress clothes and head to church for an Easter Sunrise Service where we would sing songs and remember that Jesus rose from the dead by sunrise on Easter Morning.  we would then go back to my grandparents house, have breakfast and then a big Easter Egg hunt in my grandparents yard followed by a day of fun hanging out with our cousins, eating lots of candy, and playing with our new kites and airplanes made of balsa wood.

… a number of yeas ago we attended a messianic synagogue that celebrated the feasts of the Bible with the belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah Who was the fulfillment of many of those feasts and festivals.  of all the various feasts, the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread have been the most fulfilling.  it was at the Passover meal that Jesus proclaimed “This is My body,” and “This is My blood,” instituting what the church calls The Last Supper or The Lord’s Supper.  when the majority of the Jews were having their lambs sacrificed for Passover, Jesus was being crucified – The Lamb of God (John 1:29,36), the final Passover Offering for all time. in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we read “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”” (Revelation 5:12, ESV)

… the first Passover is recorded in Exodus 12 where the LORD tells Moses and Aaron, “This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it is the first to you among the months of the year.” (Exodus 12:2, Brenton LXX En) and then He lays out the requirements for the Passover.  an