Monday, May 23, 2011

The Judas Question


May the word of the Lord be on our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts.

Come Holy Spirit....

Well, now that we've survived the alleged "Rapture" that was supposed to happen on May 21, I guess I can continue writing this blog, hehe! Obviously I will have to write an entry about the dangers of false teachers soon, as this "pastor" was a good example of that.

But the topic I felt called to discuss is what I refer to as, "The Judas Question."

This refers to the question that a lot of people have asked over the centuries, and that is, since Jesus had to be betrayed as part of His passion that lead to the Crucifixion, does that make Judas guilt-free? In other words, was Judas committing a grave sin, or was he just doing what he was supposed to do? And did he go to heaven or hell?

Well, I cannot say whether he went to heaven or hell, only the Lord knows that (well, and Judas, of course.) Mystics such as Anne Catherine Emmerich have had visions of Judas in hell, but scripture does not make that clear (don't confuse mystic with psychic, there are not the same thing.)

So, the question is, was Judas guilty or just doing what had to be done?

Christ's words to Judas (that you can find easily throughout the Passion narratives of the Gospels) show that Jesus felt Judas was very much guilty of the choice he made. But if it had to be done, how can that be?

Since Jesus clearly had God's omnipotence, and He hand picked all of His apostles, Jesus knowingly hand picked His betrayer. Keep in mind that in the days and hours leading up to His passion, Jesus foretold that one of twelve would betray Him and even indicated it was Judas, without saying his name, so He proves that He knew ahead of time what Judas' role was, and there is no reason to believe He did not know that when He chose Judas to be an Apostle. So, He chose Judas not because He felt he would be a good apostle, but because He knew Judas was the kind of person that would willingly betray Him for some silver. So He kept Judas around, knowing from day one that when the time came, he would betray Him for 30 pieces of silver and turn Him over to the authorities.

So how did Jesus even interest Judas in joining Him and staying so long? He put Judas in charge of the money the Apostles collected to give to widows and the needy, allowing the greedy Judas an opportunity to skim off of the top for his own personal gain. 

So what does this mean? It means that Judas made his decision in and of his own accord. He was not "led" to do it by any external force, he betrayed Jesus by his own free will. He was chosen as an Apostle because Jesus knew he would do the job willingly when it came time to betray Him. And, of course, that's exactly what Judas did. And that's why Jesus was so harsh to him, because He knew Judas chose to do this willingly. Needless to say, Jesus could read people's hearts, and He knew how dark Judas' soul was.

So yes, the betrayal did have to happen, and Jesus chose as His Apostle the man who He knew would willingly do this evil job when the time came, thereby fulfilling the prophecy, and making Judas fully responsible for his actions.

Godspeed, everyone!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Another Praise Report

I have to take a moment and once again give praise to the Lord for helping me spread the word about this blog and having so many people respond to it!

As of this writing, according to the statistics that Blogger provides me with, since this blog was started in January of this year, it has been viewed 905 times and in countries all around the world, including the Philippines, South America, Canada, the United States, Colombia, India, Nigeria, Germany, the U.K., Sweden, Australia, Russia, and, most surprisingly, China, where religious freedom is very, very limited!

Thank you, Lord, for blessing this blog, and thank all of YOU who read it and spread the word about it to others!

God bless!

Creator and Writer of "Scripture Demystified"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened At Church on Easter....


May the word of the Lord be in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts.

Come Holy Spirit.....

I hope everybody has had a happy and blessed Easter and Easter Week! I received the brand new New American Bible-Revised Edition on Holy Thursday, perfect timing as only the Lord can do, and have enjoyed reading it, so far. I highly recommend it for the added notations alone, it would make a terrific study bible.

So, as I was sitting in the pews during the "sunrise" service on Easter morning, I noticed something. I was seeing people that I hadn't seen in church in 4 months. And when I say 4 months, I mean exactly 4 months! You see, Easter fell on April 24, 2011, exactly 4 months after Christmas Eve, 2010. I am going to wager a guess that I won't see some of them, again, for another 8 months (it's exactly 8 months between Easter and Christmas Eve, 2011.)

We all know of "holiday Christians," or as a friend of mine calls them, "Submarine Christians," because they only pop up every once in awhile. They only attend church on Christmas and Easter (or the evenings before in churches that have Masses or services then.) I guess they figure they should at least show up on the holy days of the year. It's the bare minimum, certainly.

Now, some will say that is better than never attending at all.  On the surface, that is true. However, the book of Revelation gives us a warning:

Revelation 3:14-16 (New American Standard Bible)

Message to Laodicea:
 14"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:  15 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
 16'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

The Lord, here, is warning the members of the church in Laodicea that their lukewarm faith is not pleasing to Him, and as a result, the Lord will spit them from His mouth. In other words, He will not accept them. 

Part of the reason these church members are so lukewarm, is that they feel they don't really need the Lord. They think they are doing just fine as it is, so why bother with all that religious stuff? Most likely, they only went to the Lord when they needed something. Here is what the Lord says in verse 17-18:

17'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,  18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.

God does not literally expect them to purchase gold or garments from Him. These are metaphors for what the Lord offers through His church and by following His commandments, but to "buy" these things, you must have a fervent and lively faith. Obviously the members of this church were doing the bare minimum of their faith, and the Lord warns them of the eternal consequences of this.

The Good Friday and Easter messages should be evidence enough of why the Lord deserves nothing less than a fiery and fervent faith, full of life and action and love for Him (remember the first commandment.) God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, sacrificed everything out of love for us. The torture, the death on the cross, and the miracle of the resurrection, were all for us! They did not endure this for Themselves, it was due to our sins, and it was God's love for us that He sacrificed His only Son so that we may be saved. They gave us everything that They had, how can we live with ourselves when we only give Them the bare minimum in return?

We should be emptying ourselves totally for the Lord, just as the Lord did for us, and that should manifest itself in our faith, and the subsequent actions of that faith. There is nothing that the Lord asks of us that is unreasonable, given what They have given up out of love for us for our salvation.

What if your son sacrificed himself and died a horrible death to save another person? You would never forget it, I am guessing, and would do many things to keep their memory alive forever. And their sacrifice would never leave your heart. And you would want people to remember their sacrifice forever. And yet, some of you dare to have a lukewarm faith, and only give the Lord the bare minimum, when He did that very thing for you? And not to save just one person, but the whole world, generation after generation!  He deserves our very best! Not our very least!

God sacrificed His only Son for you, and that Son willingly suffered a horrible death for you, and the best you can do is attend church twice a year? Or maybe you go more often, but you arrive late and leave early every time. Do you have something more important to do? Or you only attend when it fits into your schedule. When you die and face the Lord, do you really think He will say, "well done good and faithful servant! You squeezed Me in between tee times on the golf course every so often, good job!" No! He will spit you out of His mouth, which is exactly what you deserve for having such a lukewarm faith, such a lukewarm love for the Lord!

We can either be on fire for the Lord, or we can be on fire in hell with the others who did not follow the first commandment and "love the Lord with all our heart."

God is merciful well beyond what any of us deserve, but the warning in Revelation was for our benefit, and we'd do well to heed that warning.

Godspeed to one and all.

PS: I can already hear some of you saying, "I don't need to go to church to worship God." You couldn't be more wrong about the importance of attending church, and I'll explain why in the near future on this blog.

I love you all and wish you a blessed day!