Did Jesus Predict Judas’ Actions??

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”~Matthew 12:43-45 NKJV

unclean-spirit

When He was teaching and speaking with the great multitude, did Jesus predict Judas’ actions and betrayal of himself while speaking of the unclean spirit’s return? Does this teaching not speak directly to Judas and his actions? Was he not cleaned and renewed when called to follow the Christ and then tempted and fallen from grace, so-to-say? While the answer to the betrayal of Jesus is a big YES, but was this teaching in and of itself another prophetic insight to Judas’ betrayal of the Son of God? Quite frankly, after so many years of reading the bible and studying of the scriptures, I am very surprised that I did not see this before now.

Not quite certain where and when it hit me, but it was the week prior to Easter Sunday. Now, of course, I am speculating and I also believe I am one of but a handful of people that may see it this way, but I honestly believe that Jesus was showing what happens to many of us. We become saved and are enamored by the newness of our salvation. (But Judas was seeking a different kind of king, wasn’t he? He sought one to rid his country and fellow countrymen of the bane of the Roman Armies and occupational force.) And then as time wears on, we become disillusioned and have a completely different kind of experience, or expected a much different kind of Messiah. Then temptation arises and we seek a way, usually the easy way, to make things turn out the way we want…but it all plays out so much differently than we ever expected.

deceptionWhile we seek the Lord’s will in our lives, we tend to hear what we want to hear and sadly tend toward deceiving ourselves to believing that it is or must be the Lord’s will. Yet, it never plays out in such a way…and lo and behold…we find out we deluded ourselves and tricked ourselves into this false sense of belief. We all seem to be pro’s at this sort of thing. After all, it has been going on since the beginning of time on earth…well, almost…at least since the 6th day. By deceiving ourselves, we will blind ourselves to wisdom that God provides us through the temptation of ease and comfort. We fall into this trap all of the time, which expounds and expands upon our humanity and our human nature of sinfulness. Perhaps, one day we will all learn!

It is my opinion that the evil one left Judas for a short time after he was called to follow Jesus. As Judas spent more time with Jesus learning as none of the Apostles had ever learned before. Greater knowledge as was explained far more in-depth than ever before. Judas was claimed once again by the very Son of God who was sent to claim us all. But as time wore on, I believe Judas had a different vision of his present Messiah, one which was more militant, perhaps. Then he became more easily tempted, as we all do as we allow our minds and hearts to wander.

“…and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” ~Matthew 12:45 NKJV

And Jesus gave each of us a warning, and not just one but several times throughout the New Testament! In other words, if we do not watch out, we can and will suffer a similar fate as Judas himself. The generation of Jesus’ time and all the generations thereafter were destined to suffer similar or worse fates. If we are not careful to follow His word and dictates, we will be destined to our own disasters by our own choices!

Time and again I have mentioned in this blog that we are a product of our choices. Also, that we have been given a great blessing and a great curse at the same time…THAT OF CHOICE. It is a blessing, in that, through the culmination of our choices WE each determine our our destinies. So far as we choose our direction and our path, one of wisdom and knowledge or that of foolhardiness and ignorance. WE CHOOSE, no one else makes our choices for us…which in turn would be a choice of deferring our fate to another. But keep in mind, our greatest curse is the choice itself…one of morality and ethics. Is our choice moral and ethical?

Do you remember in my blog post Woe To You…?

“If there is no God…then everything is permitted…” ~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Без бога-то и без будущей жизни? Ведь это, стало быть, теперь всё позволено, всё можно делать?’ ‘А ты и не знал?’” (The original Russian)

While the sentiment is true from certain perspectives, IF you believe in God and a Eternal-Damnation-3moral lawgiver of such greatness (such as the One True God & Creator) then you must believe there is a final judgement after you die. In so far as saying, your very soul which lives on for eternity will either be seen as being worthy to go to Heaven for eternal blessing or adjudicated as being unworthy and sentenced to eternal damnation in Hell. You see, God does not send you to Hell. YOU, throughout your entire life have made the eternal_lifechoice through desire, want, lust, greed, envy, and murderous behaviors, etc. and made the demand to God to send you to such a place. BUT at the same time you also can make the choices to follow the Word of the Living God, by doing so YOU CHOOSE LIFE ETERNAL. We each hold eternal life in our hands, but we are forever choosing to spend our time arguing with others on Facebook or holding Tweet Wars against another. Wasting our lives on watching the 24/7 News channels. Building up our angst toward each other by holding to our agenda, which really isn’t our own…but we tend to own it without thinking about it.

God gives us each the choice to repent and turn toward His way of thinking, up until the very last breath we draw. God desires each and every one of His creatures to enter into His Glorious Kingdom for eternal life! Choose God! Claim Jesus! Repent of your past sins! As God will take you as you are and if you place your soul into His hands and care…He will guide you into a whole new life eternal.

Remember: DEATH comes to us all…

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

How do I start reading the Bible?

I was speaking with a co-worker the other day and invited them to our church’s Easter service. She has been in Christianity since she was a child but recently started reading the bible. We have been talking, off and on, for years concerning Christianity, the bible, Jesus, God, etc. So I thought this might be a good addition to the Prodigal’s Sons Ministry posts for those new to the reading of the bible. I found this article which describes quite a bit of what I desired to say. [ORIGINAL ARTICLE]

A lot of people would like to become more familiar with the Bible’s characters, readingstories and message. That’s a worthy ambition, but where do you begin? Many would-be readers are paralyzed by the sheer size of the Bible and by not knowing where to start.

Here’s a Good Question from a reader: I’d like to start reading the Bible, but it feels like a massive undertaking. I’m not even sure what the Bible is or how it’s laid out. Is there a good way to start?

First, it’s important realize that the Bible is not an ordinary book that reads smoothly from cover to cover. It’s actually a library, or collection, of books written by different authors in several languages over several thousand years. But it’s a readable library, and you can get through it. Its books are “shelved” by type and topic, just as in a public library: history, the Law, the Prophets, poems and wisdom literature, eyewitness accounts of Jesus (the Gospels), collections of letters, and mind-blowing apocalyptic descriptions of the past, present and future. What a treasure trove to explore!

We talked to Bob Grahmann, Ph.D., InterVarsity’s Link Director. For years, he has taught students in the U.S. and Eastern Europe how to get into the Bible and mine the truths it contains. “If you’re digging in for the first time,” he says, “start with the Gospel of Mark, and then go on to John.”

Why start in the New Testament? Bob replies, “Martin Luther said that the Bible is the ‘cradle of Christ.’ All biblical history and prophecy ultimately point to Jesus. The book of Mark is quick and fast-paced, while John focuses on the things Jesus claimed about himself. Mark tells about what Jesus did, while John tells about what Jesus said. In John are some of the simplest and clearest passages, such as John 3:16, but also some of the deepest and most profound passages. It appeals to students and is worthy of study.”

Keep reading

When you’ve read through John, simply go on to the next book, Acts. This is Luke’s sequel to his account of Jesus, picking up the story at the point of Christ’s ascension. In this action-packed book we learn how the early church got started and how the gospel spread throughout the Roman Empire. “Students are into community,” says Bob, “and Acts is about community—with all of its ups and downs.” Understanding the letters of Paul, Peter and others that follow in the Bible will be much easier once you’ve read Acts. You’ll have a better feel for who the recipients of those letters were.

Next move on to Romans. “This is completely different—a letter that introduces us to the Apostle Paul and the Christian faith. Paul describes the basic teachings of the Christian faith in one book, and it’s all about God’s grace.

[ORIGINAL ARTICLE – read more…]

Understanding Balaam’s Error

balaams error

Now this is a tough one, to say the least; as there are differing opinions as to what Balaam’s error actually was. It is quite the dilemma in my mind as well, but let us delve into this to see if we cannot come to an understanding of his problem and what he had done wrong in God’s eyes.

Now, I will not insert the full biblical reference, but rather will start off with Numbers 22 and you can refer back to it in the bible. Let’s see if we cannot weave in and out of this menagerie of problems.

Let us face it, we as the species of man have a tendency, perhaps even the habit, of using God’s gifts blessed in our care for our own, meaningless, and even selfish reasons and purposes. We tend to misuse the numerous gifts (the breath of life, our life in general, our work, our abilities to sing, organize, wisely & thriftily spend the resource of money in our care, and many many other known and unknown gifts – but we use them for selfish and meaningless reasons and purposes. That being said, let us move along with Balaam and his dilemma…

As we start out in Numbers 22 we see that Balak son of Zippor saw what Israel had done to his neighbors, the Amorites. Fear set in his mind, and as always in every society when the unknown occurs fear is promoted and preached among the people. This is the only way politicians can get anything done in their own societies.

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country. ~Hermann Goring

This seems to be the way that not just the politicians, but also numerous small groups who desire to play the victim while all the time creating the havoc around them. People, mankind , in general, does not do any homework and believes the majority of what he hears in the news or from others. Instead of what they should be doing and that is the use of the brain and God given wisdom which he had received at birth and throughout his maturing years. But we no longer teach our children HOW to think, but rather what to think and to jump on the bandwagon. There was a book published back in 1928: PROPAGANDA By EDWARD L. BERNAYS who was the German Propaganda Minister for Adolf Hitler. Moving on…

Now, Balaam had a great reputation of knowing who was blessed and who was cursed. If he blessed them, they indeed were blessed; if he cursed them, they were indeed cursed. And the bible indeed indicates, in Numbers 22:12 where it states: “you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” And God warned him not to go with the leaders sent by Balak to bring Balaam to curse the Israelites. You just cannot get any clearer than that where God stated to him: “You shall not go with them” ~Numbers 22:12. One of the first errors of Balaam was he told the leaders: “Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” ~Numbers 22:13. Which is interpreted to mean in today’s vernacular: “Well, I really, really, really want to go with you, but my Father won’t let me.” Which is an enticement for the other party to help entice you even further into sin. Instead, Balaam should have stated precisely what God stated to him. (1)

Another error accomplished by Balaam was that of falling into a form of greed. Balak sent other leaders, more numerous and more distinguished than the first group. But they offered riches and wealth. And by going was giving into such weakness of man…greed. It indicated to others, or could be inferred by others, that maybe God will change His mind if I go with them and see what Balak sees. (1)

I will reward you handsomely” ~Numbers 22:17 NKJV

Balak sent an offer to Balaam. And by Balaam’s answer, as mentioned, it could be inferred other ways. Meaning, perhaps, that God might just change His mind concerning this invading people and Balaam could obtain some extra money on the side.

Now, I do not know about you but I always had problems discerning the error(s) with respect to the avenging Angel, the donkey, and Balaam. On the cursory view of the matter, everything appeared to be on the up and up, with respect to the mandate of God which is spelled out in verse 20.  And as you read the passage, it still is not spelled out for us. However, we must go by inference with respect to the problem(s) at hand. He is associating and even working with those who are against God’s chosen people. For example, there are those of us (knowingly or unknowingly) who associate with or work with those companies or charities that are blatantly anti-Israel. (3) If we are truly men and women of God we will/would always align with God’s people. We do such things in order to garner support, favor, and acceptability with the secular society. In so doing we are cursing Israel and going against God. We are reminded in the Book of Genesis:

I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” ~Genesis 12:3 NKJV

Matthew Henry’s Commentary spells out quite a bit, in which, the Israelite people’s presence is so that they (Moabites) might come to know the righteousness of the Lord (MHC reference, Micah 6:5 KJV). Balak sent a diplomatic dispatch, of sorts, to Balaam in order to get the Israelites cursed, but you cannot curse that which God has blessed…can you?

God fulfilled His  promise to Israel by showing His displeasure with Balaam by having His angel stand in the way of Balaam, who was protected by his donkey shich he beat three times. It was at that point the Angel was revealed to him. (Numbers 22:21-34 NKJV, (4), MHC ref) We are intended to, and obligated to, follow God’s word, demands of us, requirements, etc. because if we do not we are in sin against God Himself and we will thus separate ourselves from Him!

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” ~ Isaiah 59:2 NKJV

We have a tendency to be blinded by our thoughts or our desires that we are unable to see the dangers ahead of us. God will give us some warning signs and some of us will notice and change our direction. Unfortunately, if you are like me you tend to be a bit thick in the head, stubborn, or just oblivious to what is happening and blame it all on Murphy’s Law, until such time as you notice it was God all along trying to get your attention.

murphys-law

Eventually, we all show our true colors in any given situation, that is a fact! For example, when you claim a friendship with someone and say you are there for them, excepting only those times when they truly need you…you know, stuff like that! But getting back to Balaam, when he told the second set of ambassadors to remain the night. The reason this was wrong, as with many of us, is that we tend to think God will change His mind for our benefit, because it is something we desire to do. There is no need to check with God a second time for anything, as His word is final and is the Law. We need to face something…God’s word is final. (2)

I am truly hoping that I ave not confused any of you, and that I was able to aid in your understanding of Balaam. It is quite difficult, at best. I needed to do some extra biblical reading on the subject, myself.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

References:

(1) The Error of Balaam

(2) Balaam the prophet of error

(3) Balaam’s Error

(4) Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Balaam

 

 

…a new birth of freedom…

immancipation-proc

— that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. ~The Gettysburg Address

With our present election, for 2016, all but a joke…in my humble opinion…it would seem that the dreams of our founding fathers and that of Abraham Lincoln are all but trampled into the ground with our rights and liberties being buried deep within the earth, right along side of the dreams of the founders of this once great nation. There is an old adage that tells us that God gives us bad leadership because of a judgement against us. This could not be any truer today! Even during the time of Moses when the people chose to be lead by a king like all other nations, were enticed by their fellow man and coveted what they had. The Israelites were not content or happy with what they had. They rejected God. Consider the following:

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also.” ~1 Samuel 8:6-8

We the species of man are always looking for the greener pastures, the easiest way out of doing something, the wealth without any of the work — so-to-say! We want the brass ring. You have to wonder, will we ever learn? Our youth strive toward socio-communistic ideologies. Generally people grow wiser as they get older, but it doesn’t seem to be a rite of passage for everyone these days. I believe this speaks volumes from Winston Churchill:

churchill

 

While this particular blog, along with others are inspired by the election, it’s process, and other political banter, it/they are not invalid in their contextual belief. Is America a great nation? Well, the answer to that question is for the most part relative to each person and their definition of “what makes America truly great” in the first place. If you truly desire America to be great, as well as any other nation in the world…they must align with God and His word! (…and all of the tenets and doctrines therein! None of this mix-n-matching to suit your own personal needs or desires.)

At one point in time in the history of this once great nation, we believed in God as the basis of our rights and liberties, now those have all but been transferred over to the government. So if the government says you don’t have a particular right…you have lost it. hmmmmmmmm! Sad, but a truism for certain. God, our Creator, is the basis and the author of our lives and all of our rights and liberties while we are alive with the breath of life that He has blessed us with. That includes the right to life, liberty, and happiness; although, we must chase after each with a passion and hold on to them with a defensive fury, if you will, and must do so eachone for ourselves and for our neighbors.

voltaire quote

There are many a time where we do not agree with those we keep company with, but we must be willing to see and understand their point. Does that mean you must change your belief, no; but it does mean that you need to see and understand their point with the possibility and potential that you could be wrong…but they may be wrong as well. This is why we share our faith with others so they can understand where we come from and we can also see the potentiality of we  being wrong or even having a weak argument for our position. We have an obligation to God and our faith to be strong in our faith and rethink our arguments. If there are holes in our arguments, by sharing our faith we will expose them either to ourselves or through those we are discussing them with.

The new birth of freedom is that which lies within us, to include but not limited to:

  • Our Faith
  • Our Beliefs
  • Our Integrity
  • Our Character
  • Our Rights
  • Our Liberty
  • Our Sovereignty
  • Our Understanding of Our God, His Son, and His Spirit…

By paying attention to our beliefs, our faith and our arguments with which we share our faith to others we will grow stronger. While in the beginning of our walk with the Christian faith we may get some things wrong, we may get some arguments wrong…in fact, we may get a lot wrong and sense we have failed God, as well as our faith. But you have not, you simply had another learning lesson within your long life of what you may consider failings in life…but instead they are only lessons we have learned from. Something you may not understand right now, but in time you will grasp hold of it: Our heroes, all of them, spent at very least 70% of their time failing at something…YES! You read that right…70% of their time at being great they failed!

Here is a speech you may, or may not have heard before from the movie “ROCKY BALBOA”, it truly gives you the crux of a new found freedom within each and everyone of us. It is not necessarily a Christian message, but my understanding is that Stallone is a Christian. However, this is a great and motivating speech…listen up, my friends…

When life gets tough for each of us we, those of us who are not so great, tend to blame someone or some thing as to why we didn’t make it, didn’t win. Guess what, that is rationalism…those are excuses. If you want to win in life, in Christ, in business…you must remember life was never promised to be easy. It was just promised to you, YOU must fight to live as a good man or woman. You have to fight to be honorable. You have to fight to be the best you can possibly be, because life was a gift (including everything in it) but to make it the best life you can you must fight to be the best that you can be and that includes staying on the straight and narrow path that God has set before you.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD