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Mt. Sinai

Often skeptics or people who want to allegorize or turn the Bible into a tale of Fables, have said:
There is no Ur, there were no Hittites, there was no King David, there is no pool of Siloam, etc.

One by one the archaelogical digs come up with the proof that these people, places, and things existed. Then the cry becomes, 'well it does not mean what you say happened happened.'

Such is the attitude toward Mt. Sinai. 'Please they say, do you really think God came down to the Mountain????'

That is why Every Believer needs to get their hands on a copy of this DVD:

Mountain of Fire: The Search For the True Mount Sinai, DVD
By: Robert Cornuke

I don't care who you buy it from, but a preview of the DVD can be seen here:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=410097&event=CF

Once you see the blackened mountaintop, the split rock, the altars, the boundries, etc. You will get goose bumps. Then give the DVD to your sunday school director.

For a believer: It is proof of a personal God,and if Mt. Sinai is historical narrative, what else is?

For a non-believer: If this happened and matches up perfectly with Bible, what else is true????

Great for opening a line of dialogue.

Exodus 21:5
"But if the servant declares, 'I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,'then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life."

Exodus 21:5 is the defintion of Bond-servant (Gk. Doulos) used by Peter, Paul, James, and Jude in the New Testament. (Rom1:1,James1:1,2Peter1:1, and Jude 1:1)

They became bond-servants out of love, it was vouluntary, it was forever, and the ear piercing was a symbolization of bonding to the House of the Master.

Are you a bond-servant to Christ?

I still don't get it...God acknowledges slavery but doesn't discourage it.He gave specific rules about everything..hebrews are not to be slaves(they are to be freed after 7 years)..but lets say the owner of a slaves beats him and maims him,the owner gets away with it cos the slave is property..
It seems so unfair to me but I know God knows better than I do..I just pray he helps me understand why cruelty should not be dealt with.
God bless you all

I think when you don't forbid a person to do a thing it means you are ok with which means God thought it ok to have slaves and if the slave wasn't hebrew he could be a slave for life.A man could actually sell his kids into slavery...and have two wifes if he treats them right?!!I really never read that part of the bible...I think I'm in for a lot of surprises as I read through the bible

I have the same question as Anka's regarding slavery---- acknowledging but not encouraging. Seems to me lik a play of words. If someone acknowledges that something is wrong which means that you are aware of its existence, shouldn't something be done about it---discourage it?

The Ten Commandments as summed up by the word LOVE indeed. Love of God and of others. Loving others presupposes love of self for we can't love others without loving ourselves first. Without love of self tbere's really nothing to give...

Turning upward, outward and inward, to me, is truly being centered in LOVE!

Anka—I’m thinking slavery, like divorce, comes under God’s permissive will and not under His perfect will. God does not like divorce, but we divorce anyway. To be enslaved to someone, even something, means your life is submitted to that person or thing, we have submitted ourselves or are submitted to that which is not God, kind of something like an unauthorized mediator between those who are enslaved and God. A person then has two masters. Marriage, although possibly looked at as a form of enslavement by many, was intended to be two become one flesh and, as one flesh, submitted to God.

Could it be that the same principal behind God allowing divorce, man’s hardness of heart, is the same reason why God here gives rules on the treatment of slaves?

They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her." But Jesus said to them, "He wrote this commandment for you because of your hard hearts. But from the beginning of creation he made them male and female. (Mark 10:4-6 NET.)


As for prayer postures, Mike, the postures you present all have to do with one thing, submission, the body language takes on the posture of submission. Raised hands indicate surrender to God. When someone points a gun to our heads and says, “Stick ‘um up,” we submit to the authority of the one holding the gun. Lying face down on the floor/ground or assuming the position of kneeling, means you are acknowledging the One who is Over All. Sadly, these postures can all be choreographed to give the appearance of submission and to impress the crowd, but either way, sincere or show, God knows the heart.

Interesting how the commonality of all four readings flows forth from the scriptures and that is submission. Whether in body language, prayer posture, wrongly choosing to submit to man’s laws over God’s, and submitting to words of wisdom, God’s Word, Old or New Testament is the same message presented from different perspectives.

It is said that we all have different learning styles and God covers them all in His Word. Because He created us to have those different styles, God is not a one-size fits all kind of Guy, He meets everyone at their point of need and at their ability.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Anka
I have trouble with this also.
The only way I could justify it is that you were supposed to treat your servants fairly. In doing so you would be like an employer, giving food and shelter.

Regarding slaves, divorce etc...

I'm no scholar or pastor, but my view is that some of the laws given in the Old Testament did not fully reflect Gods perfect holiness. What I mean is it seems He gave the laws to test the people of Israel and gave them the possibility to be "ok" with God by following these laws.

In the New Testament, however, things are a bit different. We are exposed to Gods perfect will:

Matthew 5:48 "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Matthew 5:27-28 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

So while we are exposed to Gods perfect will in the NT we have also gotten Jesus and The Holy Spirit as gifts to enable us to live accordingly.

So God knew the people in the OT couldn't bear His perfect will so instead He made a covenant with them, the laws, which gave them the possibility to be accepted in His eyes.

Since I'm no guru I'd be glad to get some feedback on this idea. (Also please excuse my poor English)

musings:
K-E: God cannot change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He was just as much God in the OT as the new, though He sometimes chooses to work with people in different ways at different times. So many people want to cast off the God of the OT and His covenants, saying they don't apply today. Sure, the ceremonial laws were done away with at the cross because they pointed to Christ and He fulfilled them. The health laws, though I believe were specifically for the Israelites at their time, have been proved in many ways to be a great way to healthful living today.

Debtors/servants I've always wondered how a person in the Bible stories could be 'cast into prison until he had paid his debts.' His family could also pay his debts. What kind of prison work/pay off debts program did they have? I'll study this more.
May God bless our sincere study.

You have really encouraged us to not only read, but study and dig deeply into the Word of God this year. Some of my ‘research’ has been interesting, but not to bore you with. However, since the very beginning in Genesis when God made the Sabbath (7th day) for
ALL mankind (note: this was NOT for the Jews, but everyone!). I decided to check out the 7th day Sabbath more. If any of you have a wife, I suspect she would be very upset if you decided to up and celebrate her birthday or your anniversary on a new day for whatever good reason you might choose. What about humans changing a day God set aside? In Bible.org the author goes into great detail about the new Covenant and why Sunday is set aside by many people; so much detail that it seems that he is only trying to justify himself. (Though I like to read his insights).

When God RE-GAVE the Sabbath, it was REMEMBER the Sabbath, because it apparently had been forgotten. And He wrote it with His own hand in STONE, maybe so no one else would forget it. No one can come up with even one verse in the Bible that says God Himself, or Jesus, changed the holiness of the 7th day to Sunday. In fact, in my mission to be led by the Holy Spirit, I came across sites that make me pause to think, the majority isn’t always right….. and then – apparently the Catholic church takes credit for changing the ‘Sabbath’ or 7th day, to Sabbath the 1st day! This is amazing!
http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/confsund.html

More VERY interesting findings this week:

Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics Are Asked About (1927), p. 136.

"Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that worship should be changed from Saturday to Sunday .... Now the Church ... instituted, by God's authority, Sunday as the day of worship. This same Church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory long before the Bible was made. We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we have for Sunday."
Peter R. Kraemer, Catholic Church Extension Society (1975),Chicago, Illinois.

"Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts:
"1) That Protestants, who accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and religion, should by all means go back to the observance of the Sabbath. The fact that they do not, but on the contrary observe the Sunday, stultifies them in the eyes of every thinking man.

"2) We Catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith. Besides the Bible we have the living Church, the authority of the Church, as a rule to guide us. We say, this Church, instituted by Christ to teach and guide man through life, has the right to change the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and hence, we accept her change of the Sabbath to Sunday. We frankly say, yes, the Church made this change, made this law, as she made many other laws, for instance, the Friday abstinence, the unmarried priesthood, the laws concerning mixed marriages, the regulation of Catholic marriages and a thousand other laws.

"It is always somewhat laughable, to see the Protestant churches, in pulpit and legislation, demand the observance of Sunday, of which there is nothing in their Bible."

T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18,1884.

"I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The Catholic Church says: 'No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.' And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church."

Blessings to all who are sincere keepers of the Word

Debby: Yes, I agree. Perhaps I wasn't clear on what I meant. I wasn't implying that God changes or that the commandments would not apply. Jesus didn't come abolish the law, but he fulfilled it.

Still, do you think the Israelites would have had a chance if God would simply have asked them to be perfect like their Father in heaven is?

My point is the same as Ramona's point regarding divorce:

"Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her." But Jesus said to them, "He wrote this commandment for you because of your hard hearts. But from the beginning of creation he made them male and female. (Mark 10:4-6 NET.)

So what I meant was that even if God didn't forbid slavery or divorce (it was allowed with a certificate of dismissal) doesn't mean He sees these as good things. This is revealed to us in the NT.

Even if this is so, it doesn't change one word in the Law.

Matthew 5:17-18 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

I feel that God made the sabbath day for us -- not him.
It is for us to have a day of rest and to worship Him. I personally don't feel it matters what day you do that as long as we get the rest and worship we need. Of course we need to worship God everyday, but the day of rest is up to us. I really don't think we need to quibble about what day, but to observe a day of rest and worship.

Thanks again for the format and May God Bless All of You.

Perhaps a word from Romans 14 might be useful for us as we banter around the Lord's day vs the Sabbath..."One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he give gives thanks to God; and he who abstains; does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God" (vs 5-6)
When it comes to issues of docttrinal observances I think we would do well to follow the apostle Paul's exhortation in Galatians 5:6 "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
As Karl Bath liked to say, "All theology is a matter of EMPAHSIS." I guess we all tend to emphasize those parts of the Scriptures that reflect our personal biases and cultural values. For that reason Paul's teaching is very freeing. What is most amazing is that Paul is the one from whom we derive so many of our doctrinal perspectives, and yet, on some matters, he allows there to be room for people to holding differing views.

How about this for a thoughtful attitude towards differing views: "In essentials unity, in non essentials, liberty, in all things, charity."

Let us strive to operate fully as the body of Christ and to learn that there is unity in diversity. Just as in the score of a Symphony, not all instruments play the same notes and the same time. So too, our bodies don’t all have parts that operate the same way. Even at rest, our bodies as a whole rest, but there are still function, organs, body systems that continue to work, ‘though slower then when at work and play.

Jesus is our Symphonic conductor let each of us keep our eyes on Jesus and not the second trumpet in the back row, especially if you are not the second trumpet and you happen to be first violin.

Ramona has a lot of different body parts and systems that make up Ramona. However, try as I can, and failing to have the flexibility as I did as a child, my clavicle does not hang out with my Proximal Phalanges. (Shoulder and the first join of my middle toe). And if it could how productive would I be? Our body has nine systems. Not all work the same way and not all do the same function. Our Lymphatic system gets in full gear when and\ infection invades our bodies. Does that mean that it is lazy because it not as active measurably as our Cardiovascular system? I think not. Translate the way our bodies work to the church and just begin to think about it. Are we challenging people to do what we do when they are suppose to be doing something else?

Luciano, thank you for your gracious words.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

What fullfills the Ten Commandments in the New Testament? I have read both from the Old and New Testaments and Jesus said 2 things that I think speak and cover all Ten of the Commandments.
We are to Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind And to Love our neighbor as ourself.
That in my impression of all this summs up the Ten Commandments in ONE WORD
Agape. the God Kind of Love. because God IS Love and Love IS God.
It is the givng of you to Him, God and Love never fails. Amen?

If anyone mentioned this reason for Christians celebrating and worshipping on Sunday I missed it. Sunday was the day of the week that the Messiah appeared to his disciples several times after the resurrection. So we continue meeting on Sunday to honor him.

Susan, I think what fulfills the 10 Commandments in the New Testament (and all the rest of the commandments) is not anything we do. Isn't Jesus the Messiah the only one who ever can and has fulfilled the commandments?

I witnessed a very hurtful discussion/argument regarding Saturday versus Sunday and the Sabbath. I don't wish ever to see it happen again.

I am in agreement with Luciano on this question, and as I read the Bible, God ordained the principle of one day of rest in seven, NOT a specific day on which to observe that rest.

And Paul is exactly the right person to consider; that the views of this man, formerly the most legalistic of Jews, changed so dramatically to emphasize faith is miraculoous. With that in mind, I will also add that Paul taught that the freedom of our faith should not be a stumbling block to ohters. If my conscience is clear to observe Sunday as Sabbath to the Lord, I will not use that freedom to offend or cause to stumble a brother who is convicted to observe Saturday as Sabbath.

I love "In essentials unity, in non essentials, liberty, in all things, charity." - the "motto" of the independent non-denominational Christian church movement in which I was raised.

Well I had thought of the issue of the sabbath...if God is the same yesterday,today and forever...and he gave 10 commandents which included the command to observe the sabbath...then how come we all accept the other 9 and argue if we should have sabbath as God ordered on the 7th day...or just have it on another convenient day....just a thought amongst others I've had so far...thanks for explaining the issue on the slavery.
God bless you all

Time is relative so why should we "squabble" over the observance of Sabbath?

The existence of many religions and churches in the world today is obviously reflective of our diverse interpretation and perception of God's Word.

In the end, we're all talking about one and the same God---the God of infinte Love.

Keep Sunday Sacred is something I have heard many times in the past and I think that it is as true today as ever is was. Not so sure on the slavery issues raised by today’s readings, it seams that if you buy a woman she is yours forever but a man can work his way to freedom, surly we are all god's children and we should all be treated the same. Perhaps I have missed something here but surly god would not allow someone to keep a slave against their will and as for piercing their ears as a mark of ownership, well maybe I am applying modern standards to a subject I don't know much about but it does seam very wrong.

Anka,

That's kind of my point - the principle of the Sabbath is one day of rest set apart out of seven: work six days, and the seventh is Sabbath.

[Very rhetorical, potentially inflammatory question]
Speaking legalistically, if I'm born on a Thursday, must I then work six days, and take Wednesday as Sabbath?

Remember, the Sabbath is created for man, not man for the Sabbath. I don't see where God instituted a specific day of the week (I don't even know the Hebrew names for days of the week - though we see a lot of feasts, festivals, fasts or other holy days referenced by day of *named* months in the OT).

If one chooses to set apart Sunday - or Saturday, or Tuesday, or whatever - as Sabbath to the Lord, is he not observing the principle correctly?

Again - for anyone convicted that Sabbath MUST be observed on a sepcific day of the week: I will be the last one to try to change your mind; you must follow the Spirit as directed by your conscience.

As long as all Christians allow each other the same grace for those matters not affecting our salvation, I think we'll be okay.

Remember:
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

Exodus 19:16-21:21

God sets boundaries for us not because He is some kind of control freak, but because He loves us and planned the best for us in eternity. If we do not cross the boundaries the negative cause and effects of law breaking does not come into existence.

And you will set boundaries for the people all around, saying, "Take heed to yourselves not to go up on the mountain nor touch its edge. Whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death! (Exodus 19:12 NET.)

Ever since “In the beginning …” God has placed boundaries in his creation. The entire first chapter of Genesis God is setting boundaries. In the garden, God tells man, "You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:15-17 NET.)

The Ten Commandments are boundaries for righteous living upon the earth and if crossed, there are consequences. Maybe we look at these boundaries wrongly. If we see them as just a list of ten things not to do, then they are just a burdensome list of do nots. However, if we see them as a safety net to keep us snug and warm provided by a Father who loves us dearly, then the burdensome nature of a bunch of dos and don’ts cease. If we fully understand that God’s desire is to meet every one of our needs, we will wait on Him and not try to get it ourselves.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

I have had many struggles in my christain walk with God as well as in my faith until this day I still do.one of the 10 commandements I been praying to God to help me in and that is using his name in vain.im ashamed to admited but its true.I have been hurt so deeply in other church that I attended.one of which isnt clear to me and that where it says whats so ever I bound in heaven I will also bound in earth etc.the pastor told me if I didnt leave the church the same way I came in that he would turn the keys of heaven so that God would never hear my prayers and would never except me as his child anymore.this is so hurtfull and confusing

Ruth--I'm so sorry to hear about your "negative" church encounter. Please stay and read along with us as we go through God's Word. Find out for yourself what God's Word says. God is a God of mercy and grace and I don't believe that God takes instructions from imperfect folk.

Ruth remember God loves you, no person can keep you away from God, if you accept Jesus as your Saviour then thats exactly what He is and pray for help to overcome the same sins that keep overcoming you..not one of us is perfect and were all learning from the Bible together.God bless you!

A thing that struck me about today's readings is that, on the one hand, in Exodus we are reading about the first part of the law being given by God to the Israelites and, on the other hand, in Matthew we are reading a fierce tirade by Jesus against men whom he describes as hypocrites, blind guides, snakes, a brood of vipers and sons of hell because they abuse the law.

These men shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. They do not practice what they preach. They put heavy loads of law on men's shoulders. But they neglect the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness.

So, I think we have to extremely careful in interpreting the law for others and saying they should do this or that because of the law.

I agree with Susan's comment where she refers us to Jesus statement of the two most important laws:

- We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbour as ourself.

So let us love our neigbours. Let us be merciful and leave judgement to God. And live in the freedom of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings, Andrew

IN THE READING TODAY FROM PSALMS 28:7 The Lord gives me strength. He is like a shield that keeps me safe.SAYS IT ALL I BELIEVE ALL MY STRENGTH IS FROM THE LORD,AND HE IS MY SHEILD. HAVE A BLESSED DAY PEGGY

Debby,
I suspect you posted something you were studying that you found very interesting and wanted to share with others. I believe that Luciano is a theologian and did not mean to discourage you.
I am a bit mistified about him referring to your post as:
"When it comes to issues of docttrinal observances..."

"In essentials unity, in non essentials,"
...Surely Luciano was not referring to the Sabbath with this quote.

Continue to study to show yourself approved unto God.

I have been reading both from Old and New Testament and seeing God of the Old and Jesus of the New. This has really gotten me to see God, How He is what He does and the patience that He has with those like Pharaoh who made me mad at what he kept promising to Moses and the Israelites and then going back on his word and God giving this king all opportunity to repent and to let the people go and each time the heart of that king hardened even more until God smote all the firstborn among the Egyptians.

I read several chapters a day I may slide but then I read that much more the next day. But I have learned a lot from these readings. How patient God is with people and how people still strive in wicked ways not adhering to God.

Moses is interesting in that He wanted Aaron to be the spokesperson for him to Pharaoh. That interests me. Why? And Why did Aaron end up joining in, in help fashion the golden calf. Why could they not wait? It seems to me this was a problem the children of Israel had. Waiting on God to provide. Matthew 6:25-34 says He will provide for all our needs and I see this played out in Exodus when God set them free. The wilderness. Many today us that as a place where man comes to the place where he has nothing and only God to look to for all His needs. You know the problem we have today? We have already all we need to meet those needs but where is God in all this? Left out there in man's wilderness. Man has isolated himself off from the Life source and hooked into the last temptation that Satan tempted Jesus with. It is the things of the world and the lust of them glitter and glamour before them so that they want what they see and not God. So they have turned from God to what the Commandments say not to be doing. Selfishness versus the Agape of God.

That is what I learned from my studies in the Book of Exodus. It seems today parallels a bit like back during those times don't you think?

Mike,
Consider looking into the book Body Prayer by Doug Pagitt. I haven't read it, but it speaks directly to your comments/questions about the way physical posture and position influences our praying.

Personally, I use a variety of postures in order to align the physical with the spiritual, and I do this when praying and when singing (which tends to be melodic prayers). E.g. standing, kneeling, bowing; hands raised, hands cupped; head bowed, head raised. Something always seems wrong when people sing about falling on their knees while standing erect.

Dear Mike,
Jesus came to Perfect the law. If we love Him, then we should also obey Him. This would include aiming toward obeying all the Commandments.

Of course we will fail. We are humans, and our hearts are evil. Yet, we must strive.

As far as the slavery issue, we still have slavery in Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. and it burns me inside as if I were on fire. No! God does approve of this!

The Bible is also an historical book of events. Slavery was part of the history, and God was not going to allow us to cleanse the Bible from its history.

If you will look in 1Timothy 1:3-11, you will find that God does speak against slavery through Paul as he speaks to Timothy. (slave traders are as evil as murderers.)

I'm quite sure if you search a concordance, you will find many more examples. God bless you, and I pray this helps.

jim and debby,

re February 4th posting where I said, "When it comes to matters of doctrinal observances" I meant to say 'religious observances'. I am so sorry for having caused confusion. I never meant to do that but like several others who posted issues related to church disagreements I too have in the midst of these and they have left me emotionally bleeding and bruised. I don't blame anyone but myself. I allowed myself to be spiritually bullied by people who may have been well intentioned but pushed their particular emphasis on those of who were freshly redeemed and we naively bought in without 'studying to show ourselves approved unto God."

thanks for your help in being clear.

A very good book to read on the subject of the Sabbath is "Call the Sabbath a Delight" written by Walter Chantry several years ago.

The 10 Commandments are the best guidelines I have to live a life that is "morally" right. There is nothing hard about them plus they make good common sense any way.

On the post about the Ten Commandments , Jesus and the commandment to love.
What I was referring to was that Jesus did not come to do away with but to fulfill. And I was poiting out that IF we live in accordance with what Jesus said to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself, You will see that walking in the Agape of God applied tpo all 10 Commandments fulfills. Meaning if we Love with the Agape Love, then we will not break any of the 10 Commandments. Because if we are born again then the Love of God IS shed abroad in our hearts to love with the same Love where with God loved us.

Loving God Holy: welcome to the OYB blogroll!
http://www.chipbennett.net/wordpress/index.php/2006/02/loving-god-holy/

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