Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sacrifice (8) Dangerous Place

The spirit called Wrath made tabernacle of God a dangerous place to be.

The Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there will be no Wrath on the Israelite community. So the Levites shall keep charge of the tabernacle of the testimony (Num 1:53).
God dwelt in the Holy of Holies because the Covenant with Moses gave him the right to be there.

The spiritual powers of evil hated this intrusion because they thought the earth belonged to them. They didn’t want the children of Israel being close to God, so they gathered there and did their best to harm those who went near. These evil powers were led by a spirit called Wrath.
God had put spiritual protection in place for the Priests and Levites, by specific sacrifices and keeping them away from activities that could open them up to spiritual attack. They camped around the tabernacle, because they were the only ones who were safe in this dangerous place. They put up their standards to mark the safe area (Num 1:52).

The time when the tabernacle was being packed up was a dangerous time because the boundaries and safe places were less clear.

Whenever the tabernacle is to move, the Levites are to take it down, and whenever the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall do it. Anyone else who approaches it is put to death (Num 1:51).
It is usually assumed that God would put them to death, but that is wrong. Wrath and his evil angels would put people to death, if they got caught in the wrong place.

When Samuel was a boy, the Philistines captured the covenant box, but they experienced terrible sickness. People in the vicinity came out with awful tumours (1 Sam 5:1-10). They had been attacked by the Spirit of Wrath, so the sent the covenant box back to Israel. At Beth Shemesh some men looked into the covenant box, but many were killed.

Then he struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the covenant box of the Lord (1 Sam 6:19).
They thought it was God, but they were most likely struck down by the spirit called Wrath. This spirit hated people drawing near to God’s presence.

When David was taking the covenant box back to Jerusalem, he forgot to involve the Levites. Uzzah touched the covenant box, when the oxen stumbled, and he died beside it. Most English translations imply that God struck him down, but that is misleading. The Hebrew text says that Wrath of God struck him, because he was careless with the things of God. David had failed to follow the instructions that God had given Moses, so the powers of evil got at one of his men.

The spiritual powers of evil hated the covenant box, because it was the place where God met with his people. They wanted to make the people fear it and be unwilling to meet with God.

This raises an interesting question. If the covenant box was so dangerous, how were Moses and David able to draw near to it without being harmed. I will answer that question in my next post.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sacrifice (7) Davids Tabernacle

During the time of Samuel, the Philistines conquered Israel and stole the covenant box and took it to Ekron, because they thought that it was a god. However, tumours broke out amongst them, so they wanted to get rid of it (1 Sam 5). They place it on a wagon and hitched up two cows that had just calved (1 Sam 6). The carried it to Beth Shemesh in Israel. Later it was taken Kiriath Jearim, a town in Judah where Caleb had settled. It remained there for twenty years (1 Sam 7:1-2).

When David became King, he brought the covenant box to Jerusalem and placed it in a tent there.

They brought the covenant box of God and placed it inside the tent David had pitched for it. Then they offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings in God’s presence (1 Chron 16:1).
The tabernacle of the Lord remained at Gibeon, where it had been since the victories of Joshua.
David left Asaph and his associates before the covenant box of the LORD to minister there regularly, according to each day’s requirements...
David left Zadok the priest and his fellow priests before the tabernacle of the LORD at the high place in Gibeon (1 Chron 16:37-39).
God does not seem to have told David to take this action, but he split the tabernacle role. The covenant box was in Jerusalem. The Holy of Holies and the altars remained in Gibeon.

The reason for this is given in Chronicles. David had sinned by counting his “fighting men”. He was given a choice of judgment and had chosen a plague. When it struck, he realised that he deserved the judgment, not the people, and pleaded with God to stop it. David saw an angel with a sword standing over Jerusalem. When the angel sheathed his sword, David knew that God had heard his prayer.

The tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time on the high place at Gibeon. But David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD (1 Chron 21:29-30).
It seems that David kept the tabernacle of the Lord in Gibeon, because he was afraid of the angel of judgment..

Interestingly, God continue to meet with people in the Tent of the Meeting at Gibeon.

Now David had brought up the covenant box of God from Kiriath Jearim to the place he had prepared for it, because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made was in Gibeon in front of the tabernacle of the LORD; so Solomon and the assembly inquired of him there. Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the LORD in the tent of meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it. That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you (2 Chron 1:4-7).
The bronze altar was still at Gibeon. Solomon went there when he became king and God spoke to him about his role. Solomon chose the gift of wisdom. It seems that God still wanted to meet with people in the Tent of the Meeting.

I wonder if David got it wrong. He had a marvellous relationship with God and loved to worship, but towards the end of his life, things turned sour. God never told him to build a temple, because he was happy living in a tent, but David decided to do it anyway. The temple was built in a way that supported worship and the offering of sacrifices. It was not specifically designed to make it easy to meet with God and hear him speak.


the tabernacle of Moses was designed for meeting with God. Offering sacrifices was a secondary purpose.


The Jerusalem temple was designed for offering sacrifices. Meeting with God became less practical.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sacrifice (6) Tent of Meeting

After God had given Moses the law, he told him how to set up the tabernacle that he required (Ex 25-30). While the tabernacle and the furniture were being made, Moses set up a tent outside the camp.

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “Tent of Meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp (Ex 33:7).
This tent was outside the camp, because the people could not cope with God’s presence amongst them.

When Moses went into the tent, the cloud came down and stayed outside the entrance to the tent.

As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses (Ex 33:9).
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face as to a friend.
The LORD would speak with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend (Ex 33:11).
No sacrifices had been offered yet, but Moses had escaped from the guilt that prevents people from hearing God, through his faith in him.

God was happy to come to Moses and speak with him, even though no sacrifice had been made for sin. God was able to receive him, because he trusted him. This is grace.

Once the tabernacle had been established and the sacrifices became operational, the situation changed. God called it the Tent of Meeting.

The LORD spoke to Moses: You are to set up the tabernacle, the tent of meeting” (Ex 40:1).
This is important. We think of the Tabernacle as a place where humans offered sacrifices to appease God. That is wrong. It was a Tent of Meeting where God met with his people.

When the Tabernacle was completed, the glory of God filled the Tent so strongly that Moses could not enter.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle (Ex 40:34-35).
God still met with Moses, and Moses still heard God speak, so I presume that he waited at the entrance to hear God speak.


Moses was in the tent and God stood at the entrance. The Tent of Meeting was Moses’ home.


God was in the tent and Moses stood at the entrance. The Tent of Meeting was God’s home.

The difference was that God had made his home among his people. He continued to speak to Moses face to face, as he had done before the Tabernacle was established (Num 12:8).

The Tent of the Meeting was not set up to appease God. It was a place where God made his home, so he could be with his people.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Sacrifice (5) Trick

One of the worst tricks of the enemy is to make people believe that God hates them and is out to get them. The spiritual powers of evil stir up guilt, because they can use it to make us afraid of God. They prefer that people run away from God, because that gives them more control on earth. The truth is that God loves all people on earth and wants to be friends with them. He is always seeking out those who have run away from him.

The Jews had misunderstood God completely. They thought that God hated sinners, that he could not come and meet with people until they kept all the rules. They were totally confused when Jesus went and sat amongst known sinners. They saw it as proof that he was not from God.

But they had got God wrong. Jesus came to correct their misunderstanding. Jesus demonstrated that God loves the world, that he sent his son to sit among sinners and speak to them. To help us understand God’s attitude to the people he had created, Jesus told the parable of the lost coins.

What woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:8-10).
This parable is not about Jesus. It’s purpose is to help people understand God. He is always seeking out those who have hidden away from him because they are guilty. God is delighted when people have their guilt washed away by Jesus death on the cross and are able to be friends with him again.

God is not the problem. The problem has always been with us. Human guilt keeps us from God. We always flee from his presence. He is gracious and has always been reaching out to us. We cannot see his love until we understand that Jesus had dealt with our guilt.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sacrifice (4) Jesus and the Spirit

Jesus was God’s ultimate plan for restoring his work on earth. Jesus offered himself as a perfect sacrifice that cleansed our consciences from sin.

When this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

The Holy Spirit also testifies… I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds (Heb 10:12-16).
Jesus offered a perfect sacrifice. It offered a complete cleansing from sin, inside and out, for past, present and future sins. This means that those who are united with him by faith are holy and free from guilt. Because we are holy, we can accept the Holy Spirit living within us. Jesus perfect sacrifice means that nothing can force the Holy Spirit out, provide we remain united with Jesus.

Jesus perfect sacrifice sets those who trust them free from guilt. This restores their ability to communicate with God. But Jesus does more. He sent the Holy Spirit to live within all those who trust him. This is better than the garden of Eden. We don’t just have God wandering among us. We have his Spirit living, speaking and listening within us.

With guilt gone, our ability to relate to God is restored. The Holy Spirit can full our lives and communicate to us. He can empower us to go out and restore his authority over the earth and establish his Kingdom.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Sacrifice (3) External Cleansing

The tabernacle sacrifices covered the guilt of the people sufficiently for them to cope with God living in their midst without fear of being destroyed by his holiness. Of course, these sacrifices were only a partial solution.

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins (Heb 10:1-3).
Unfortunately, the regular sacrifices also reminded them of their sin, which increased their guilt. The guilt problem needed a deeper solution.

The tabernacle was real, but it foreshadowed the place in the heavenly realms where Jesus sat down at the right hand of God having made the perfect sacrifice. However, the tabernacle sacrifices only provided an external cleansing, which was enough to allow the people to draw closer to God.

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God (Heb 9:13-14).
The blood of animals provided and external cleanliness (cleanliness of the flesh). They still needed to be cleansed inside (a cleansing of the spirit). Only Jesus could do that.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Sacrifice (2) Tabernacle

The first big step in God’s plan to restore the earth was calling the descendants of Abraham and Jacob into the promised land. He wanted to establish a place on earth where he had authority to speak and act. He rescued the Israelites from Egypt and led him through the desert to Mount Sinai. God wanted to meet with his people on the mountain.

The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking” (Ex 19:9).
God still loved his people and had rescued them. He still wanted to share with them, but guilty people could not bear to be close to him. The elders came and spoke to Moses.
Today we have seen that a person can live even if God speaks with them. But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer. Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey (Deut 5:24-27).
The people heard God speak, but they were scared. They asked Moses to represent them before God and listen to what he is saying. Just like in the garden, God wanted to speak to his people, but they were scared and hid from him. Guilt made it impossible for them to be close to God.

God told Moses how to build the Tabernacle and establish a pattern of sacrifices. God came and dwelt in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle in the midst of the people. Most of the people were still scared of him, but Moses was able to talk to him and hear his responses. God was able to give Moses the wisdom needed for the people to live in peace in the land.

The tabernacle sacrifices dealt with the guilt problem sufficiently for the people to be able to cope with God dwelling in their midst of them. Although most only drew near to God, when they were bringing a sacrifice (Lev 1:3). Most still relied on Moses to speak with God on their behalf.

The spiritual powers of evil hated the tabernacle because they did not want God living in the midst of his people. They did not want the people to speak with God. The spiritual powers of evil knew that if God was present, they would lose out. They hung around the tabernacle in an attempt to destroy anyone who came near to God. They did not want God getting near to his people.

The primary purpose of the offerings on the bronze altar outside the tabernacle was to appease the spiritual powers of evil, who demanded blood for every sin. The sacrifices were offered to keep them at bay. They were not entirely happy, but they had no choice but to accept them, because God said they must be satisfied with the blood of animals, because the animals belonged to humans.

God dwelt in the Holy of Holies. He did not demand blood. The only blood in the Holy of Holies was a little was dabbed on the horns of the altar, once a year on the day of Atonement (Exodus 30:1-10). God is easy to please and a pleasant aroma was all he required.

The tabernacle was not the centre of ceremonial religion, or a type to teach us mysteries. It was the site of an intense spiritual battle, in which God won and enforced a strategic victory that foreshadowed a much greater victory of Jesus cross and resurrection.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Sacrifice (1) Guilt

The fall created a third serious problem for humans. God was present in the Garden of Eden. Humans could see the spiritual as well as the physical world. They could receive the wisdom of God by listening to the Holy Spirit speaking. Life on earth was amazing.

When humans rejected God’s wisdom and aligned themselves with the deceiver, they created a huge problem. God is holy, so their guilt caused them to withdraw from his presence. They still needed his wisdom, but choosing the wrong side of the battle created a barrier between them and their creator. They could not come near God, because their sinfulness made them scared that his holiness would overwhelm and destroy them.

God was not the problem. The problem was with humans. We were created with a capacity to communicate with God. We could see spiritually and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Once sin corrupted that ability, humans cannot bear to be near to God. Guilt shuts down our ability to communicate with him.

When the humans heard God coming into the garden they ran away and hid.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden (Gen 3:8).
They could not bear to be close God any more. God knew that they had obeyed the serpent, but he still came to spend time with them. He was still happy to relate to them, but they could not. Their guilt meant that they could not bear to be close to God.

God did not have a problem. He was happy to communicate with them.

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you? (Gen 3:9).
There is no anger in this question. God was looking for his friends to share with them. He realised they were lost and wanted to find them.

Later, he explained the curse they had placed themselves under by submitting the spiritual powers of evil (Gen 3:14-19). Even then, there is no anger, only sadness at what his friends had lost and the pain they would experience. God knew better than they did what life would be like for his people once they rejected him.

Guilt separated humans from the God who had created them. This was a huge problem. Humans needed God’s wisdom to care for the world. They had submitted to the spiritual powers of evil, so they needed him to rescue them, but they could not come close to him. God had given them authority over the earth, so he could not intervene without their permission. But because of their guilt, they could not bear to let God into the earth. Guilt left humans isolated from God, when they needed him the most. Worse still it shut God out of his creation, at the moment when the powers of evil had gained control.

Once God was shut of his creation by the ugliness of human sin, the powers of evil went to work and expanded their evil empire. For more than a millennium, they wreaked havoc on earth, as humans rejected God’s call to return to him.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Political Hysteria

I am disturbed by the hysteria in the news media and political circles about the Trump-Putin summit in Helskinki.

I am old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. I had just started high school. There was a heightened awareness of the dangers of nuclear war back then (families in the US were digging fallout shelters). I can still remember the fear that we felt, even far away in New Zealand.

The two nuclear powers, the United States and the Soviet Union were attempting to stare each other down, with the leader of each side threatening to launch their nuclear arsenal, if the other did not back down. No one knew who would blink and pull the trigger first. Confidential files that have been made public in the last few years show that the world was much closer to conflagration than we even realised at the time.

Fortunately, the two leaders, Nikita Khrushchev and John Kennedy were able to roll back the tension, and arrive at a solution, despite their political and military advisors wanting to amp the tension up. One reason they were able to do this was that they had met at a summit a year earlier in Vienna. I presume that they did not like each other, and they did not agree on much, but they did establish a working relationship that enabled them to resolve a crisis when this became necessary.

Therefore, I am amazed at the hysterical reaction of the western media and political leaders to the Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki. I think it is good that leaders of nuclear powers sit down and talk with each other. They don’t have to like each other, or trust each other, but dealing with a crisis can be much easier if they have got to know each other a bit.

The greatest threat to the world is still nuclear annihilation. We seem to have got used to it, but the risk has not gone away. Big wars start when the news media get hysterical and stir up political and military leaders. Rash actions are more likely when tension is high. The anti-Russian frenzy of the news media is creating hatred and anger that increases the risk that conflict between nuclear powers could get out of control. This is far more dangerous than any chat between two not-very-nice men in Helsinki.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Salvation (4) Two Holds

Following the fall, humans had two big problems, because the spiritual powers of evil had two holds over us.

  • They had taken humans captive and demanded a ransom. They had gained control and demanded a ransom before setting them free.

  • They also use the law to demand the death penalty for anyone who sins.

Both problems had to be solved.
  • Dealing with the accusations of the accuser was not enough. If the ransom was not paid they could keep them captive.

  • Likewise, paying the ransom was not enough on its own, because they could still prosecute them and demand the death penalty.

Jesus dealt with both problems.
  • The blood he shed on the cross satisfied the demands of justice. The accuser prosecuting the case against humans lost his power, because the penalty that he demanded was already paid by Jesus. Those who trusted in Jesus were declared innocent.

  • Jesus death was the ransom that the spiritual powers of evil demanded. The death of the son of God was sufficient price earn the freedom of all humans. This was necessary, even once sin had been forgiven.

This full series can be found at Kingdom Watcher.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Salvation (3) Economic/Business

When humans sinned, they withdrew their submission to God’s authority and submitted to the authority of the tempter. By obeying his suggestion, they give him authority over their lives. They lost God’s protection and unwittingly placed themselves under the accuser’s authority.

The devil is a cheat, and once he gained a sliver of authority he used it to take humans captive. He refused to set humans free and demanded a ransom they could not afford before setting them free. The ransom that he demanded was blood.

Even when the prosecutor lost his court case because the judge declares the people accused to be righteous through faith in Jesus, the devil refuses to set them free. He does not care whether they are guilty or righteous, because he continues to keep them captive regardless. Even after they were declared righteous in God’s court, the spiritual powers of evil had a hold over humans. They had taken them captive and demanded a ransom before setting them free.

Jesus death paid the ransom that the spiritual powers of evil demanded (1 Tim 2:6). He went into Hades and set the captured free. He did not use physical or spiritual force. He simply went to the devil and said that the ransom was paid. The life of the Son of God was so valuable that it paid the price for all humans. This left the spiritual powers of evil powerless. They had set their price so high, they thought that it could not be paid, but Jesus paid it. They had to set the captives free, because their demands had been met.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Salvation (2) Judicial/Forensic

The judicial forensic language used in the New Testament is often misunderstood. God is seen as demanding a death penalty for sin, but this is wrong.

Paul uses the language of a courtroom, but we must understand who undertakes the various roles.

  • Humans are in the dock. We are on trial.

  • God is the judge. He is righteous and good, so he will do right.

  • The defence lawyer/attorney is the Holy Spirit. He is called the paraclete (John 15:26). He comes beside us to work for our defence.

  • God is not the prosecutor. He is not the one bringing the charge against us. He is willing to forgive us because he loves us.

  • The prosecutor is the one with the name. Satan is the accuser who bring the charge against us. He is the prosecutor who demands the death penalty for our sin.

  • God is the law giver. He gave the law to enable his people to live together in peace. The prosecutor uses God’s law against his people.

God is willing to forgive the failings of the people he created and loves. However, the prosecutor demands the full penalty for sin. He says that it would be unfair if God forgave humans and let them off free, but refused to let Satan and the fallen angels off free.

God’s solution was to send his son to die. Jesus paid the penalty that the law requires and the accuser demands. His payment covers everyone who is united with him by faith. Those who trust him, died with him.

Why did God set up the world in a way where humans had the ability sin and the spiritual powers of evil had the right to demand the death penalty for sinners. We have to trust that God knew what he was doing. Anyway, looking at the amazing ability of humans, to think, to love to create, it seems that God did a great job.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Salvation (1)

I hate the way that some theologians say that there are many metaphors that point to the meaning of the cross, but that we cannot fully understand what the cross accomplished. The expressions used are not just metaphors. Something actually happened. The cross dealt with a real human problem(s) and we must be able to say what they are. If we cannot explain what the cross has done then we cannot really proclaim the gospel. Sharing metaphors is not enough. We must be able to explain what the cross does. We must be able to explain why Jesus had to die.

When Paul describes the effect of the cross he uses both judicial/forensic language and economic/business language. These are not different metaphors describing the same thing. Both are real effects that are important for understanding what Jesus achieved on the cross.

I will explain what these achieved in the next few posts.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Spiritual Warfare

When praying against the spiritual powers that control a nation, God’s people should be careful.

  • Followers of Jesus should make sure that they are led by the Holy Spirit. Human efforts will fail. We need discernment to understand what we are dealing with, and wisdom to understand how to deal with it.

  • Authority is really important. I explain why in Kingdom Authority. Christians should be careful about taking on governing spirits that they do not have authority over. If a spiritual power has been given authority in a town, city or nation by its political leaders, ordinary citizens will not be able to push them out. Many Christians have been beaten up when they took on spirits that they did not have authority to deal with.

  • Prophesying God’s word into a situation is a good way to deal with political spirits and government spirits. Prophecy releases the angels and helps them know what to do. It also wears down government spirits.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Studying the Scriptures

I try to take a holistic approach to the scriptures. I attempt to avoid a proof-texting approach, as I believe it leads to distortions. I have been reading the entire bible over and over again for forty years. I did this to develop a biblical way of thinking. I now find it hard to think in any other way.

So when I come to a new issue, I do not just look for relevant proof texts, I bring the entire scriptures to it (that I have absorbed over many years). When I look at a particular scripture I often see things that others don’t, because I read it through the lens of the rest of the scriptures.

I also try to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. He often points me to other scriptures that I had not considered relevant to the issue.

When I write an issue up, I do not list every relevant scripture because there are usually too many.

I realise that my approach has some risk, but on the whole, I think that it has worked fairly well.

I do not claim that everything I write is absolute truth. I do not care if people reject some or all of my teaching. They are accountable for their own lives.

Saturday, July 07, 2018


I enjoy reading on my Kindle. It is easy to carry around and gives me access to a wide range of books. Shipping a paperback book from Amazon to New Zealand usually costs about $20.00, which is more than the book costs. A book has to be really good to justify the expense. Using my Kindle eliminates the shipping costs.

The other great thing about a Kindle is the ability to download a free sample of a book I am thinking about buying. I can read the table of contents, the introduction/preface and the first chapter of the book, before deciding whether to buy it. This supports a good decision.

Recently something annoying has started to happen. Christian authors have started filling the front of their books with vanity recommendations from big-name Christians. I presume that this is a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” activity, so I don’t take them seriously. Negative reactions will never get published, so the process is obviously biased.

I presume that publishers expect their authors to collect these recommendations. The problem is that most of them are so vague that they could be placed on many books and not look out of place.

I will not read a book because a big-name Christian says that it is good. The book might be helpful for them, but they do not know if it will be useful to me. I prefer to look at the content and decide if it is relevant to me. Unfortunately, this is getting more difficult to do, because the free sample is almost entirely made up of celebrity recommendations.

There are a few good exceptions. I recently downloaded a sample of The Devil’s Redemption by Michael J McClymond, which is a survey of attitudes to “universalism” throughout the history of the church. In hardcover, this book is 1376 pages long, so the free sample is quite substantial and not cluttered with junk. It included most of the first part of the book, which outlines his thesis and summarises his approach. Reading this gave me a good understanding of the book. The book is too heavy for me to digest, so I will not be buying it, but good on Michael for giving readers a useful sample.

I have several books available on Kindle. I refuse to fill the front of the book with recommendations. I want people to purchase my books, because they understand what the book is about and are interested in the topic. I do not want buyers being disappointed because they acted on a recommendation from someone who does not know them.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

OT Prophets

The OT prophets were not turned in automatons by the Holy Spirit. They were human just like us. They had the same Holy Spirit, but in a more hostile spiritual environment. It was not easy for them to hear the Holy Spirit. When they were learning, I assume they would have got things wrong from time to time.

The Holy Spirit made sure that their mistakes did not get into the prophetic books of the Old Testament (Isaiah to Malachi), so there are not examples of mistakes in these books. These books were their best work, not their first work.

There are examples where I presume that they spoke without being led by the Holy Spirit. That often happened when they became too attached to their words or their ministries.

  • Elijah calling down a bear attack on the cheeky youths seems to be an example, as Jesus ruled that kind of behaviour out.

  • Samuel got attached to Saul and found it hard to let go when God moved on and was blessing David.

  • Elijah told the people he was the only prophet of God left in Israel (1 Kings 18:22) although Obadiah had just told him that he has saved 100 prophets of the Lord by hiding them in caves (1 Kings 18:13). I presume that Elijah’s false statement opened the way for the spiritual powers behind Jezebel to attack him and fill with fear, causing him to run and hide.

Only Jesus lived a perfect life. The prophets of the Old Testament were special people, but they were not perfect, so we should not put them up on a pedestal. They had to learn to hear the Holy Spirit speak just as we do, and it is not easy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018


Last night I read an article by a theologian comparing patriotism and nationalism. He said that patriotism is good, while nationalism is bad.

Patriotism can be loyalty to any or all of the following, but none are valid for the people of God.

  • Land
  • People
  • History
  • Government.
We need to think about each one separately.
  • All land belongs to God. He created all land and declared that it is all good. If we raise one piece of land above another, we are dishonouring God’s judgment about it.

  • God loves all the people of the world equally, so we must not raise one group of people above another. We cannot say that one group of people is better than another, because we do not them all, and we are not their judge.

    We are required to love the people in the part of the body of Jesus where we belong. We are also required to care for his body in other places. People who are not following Jesus belong to “the world”. They all need to hear the good news. We must not place one group of people of the world above another, because they are all in the same situation (vulnerable to the spiritual powers of evil). We must not be more loyal to some of the people of the world than to others.

  • We can only honour the history of a nation, if we forget about all the bad stuff that the nation has done, and only remember the good stuff. The history of all nations is full of ugliness. God is the judge of nations. We do not know enough to judge the history of our nation. If we honour the history of our nation, then we are believing a lie.

  • Some Christians want to celebrate their form of government, but we are to be loyal to the Kingdom of God, which is the Government of God. Loyalty to any other government is hostility to God. Confusing a human government with the Kingdom of God is a serious lie.

We must remember what Paul wrote to Timothy.
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen (1 Tim 1:17).
We must be loyal to the King of Kings and celebrate his glory. Giving glory to anything else is idolatry.

Monday, July 02, 2018


Jesus told the seventy disciples sent out to share the good news that they should take no money with them. Instead, they should stay with a person of peace and eat the food given to them (Luke 10:7).

This seems odd.

However, the seventy disciples were healing the sick and casting out demons, so they gave far more than the received. This makes a big difference.