The Apple Of God's Eye

February 12, 2011

What Did Christ Look Like In The Flesh?

pressthat.wordpress.com

The debate on what Jesus Christ looked like in the flesh has many contradictions. The Bible does not give an exact description of Jesus, but a simple study of the Bible shows that Christ could not have looked as modern pictures or movies represent Him.

As a human being, Jesus Christ was a Jew (Heb. 7:14) and looked like a normal Jewish man of His time. He was also a carpenter, working outdoors. That means He was tanned in the summer and wind-burnt in the winter, with a healthy, weathered look about Him. Since carpenters at the time of Christ were also familiar with stone masonry, Christ would have been muscular enough to carry and place large stones in homes and buildings. He was definitely not weak and feminine looking like modern pictures depict Him.

Bible description of Christ

The only Biblical description of Jesus Christ in the flesh is given as this: “[H]e hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2). In other words, Christ had no distinguishing features or handsomeness that made Him stand out in a crowd. He even used this fact to His own advantage many times. He was able to escape harm by blending safely into a mass of other Jews on more than one occasion. Remember also, Judas had to point Him out to the authorities with a kiss (Matt. 26:48-50).

It is also important to recognize that the Jews of Christ’s day considered it a great shame for a man to have long hair (1 Cor. 11:14). So Christ would never have looked like the pampered, long-haired, easy-to-point-out man modern pictures make Him appear to be.

Other than these conclusions, we have no more information about his actual physical countenance. In fact, anything else is a matter of speculation and uncertainty. The New Testament is likely silent on these points because it is more important to center attention on the message, rather than the messenger.

Idolatrous image of Christ

Still, there is a general “standardized appearance of Christ that is largely accepted today. The image of a fully-bearded Jesus with long hair did not become established until the 6th century in Eastern Christianity, and much later in the West. Earlier images were much more varied. Beliefs that certain images are historically authentic, or have acquired an authoritative status from church tradition, remain powerful in both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. The Shroud of Turin is now the best-known example, though the Image of Edessa and the Veil of Veronica were better known in medieval times.” (Wikipedia)

The modern depiction of Christ is wrong, of course, but that hasn’t deterred Christianity at large from  using that false image in an idolatrous way through pictures, on crosses, etc. But God wants us to think of Jesus Christ as He actually is today. The Bible states:

“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:14-15).

As the living Son of God, Jesus Christ’s face shines with fiery brilliance. His spirit body burns like molten brass. We could not look into His face and not be harmed by the experience. All false representations of Christ through crucifixes, pictures and statues fail miserably to represent Him as He truly is. They are wholly false and must be discarded if true Christians are to worship God in spirit and in truth.

January 30, 2011

Vanity: Our Greatest Weakness

communio.stblogs.org

In the epic battle in the wilderness, after Christ had fasted for 40 days and forty nights, Satan thought he could get to Jesus through vanity (Matt. 4:3). Notice he said IF you REALLY are the Son of God, then you aught to at least be able to turn these rocks into bread. Why should you go hungry obeying God when you have the power to appease yourself?

The question was first one of vanity and second of fleshly appeasement. Sure Christ could have been indignant at being called something less than God’s very Son, but that would have been vain. And He could easily have turned the stones to bread to relieve His great hunger, but that would not have helped Him grow spiritually stronger in his battle with Satan. The very purpose of fasting is to draw close to God, for strength in the fight against our adversary. Christ answered by speaking the mind of God:

“….it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4).

When Satan tempted Christ a second time by saying He could easily have His angels protect Him if he threw Himself  from the temple, he again resorted to vanity. Surely Christ had the protection of God at His disposal in any situation?

But ” Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Obviously, vanity does not put God first, and Christ set a sterling example of humble submission to His Father. (more…)

February 18, 2010

How Does A Christian "Bless" God?

God rules the universe supreme! He owns everything that exists. Yet each of us can bless God and bring Him pleasure, delight and joy. How? If we examine the context of the passages that instruct us to bless God, we find exactly what this term means. Notice Psalm 34:1: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

To bless God, therefore, means to praise Him. But why do we praise God? Just because He tells us to? No. The true, wholehearted praise God desires is the praise of sincere thankfulness and appreciation for all the blessings He first gives us: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).

The awesomeness of God is worthy of continual praise:

“I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3).

Psalm 96 shows us that God is also blessed in song and worship, and by declaring His salvation to all the world. Psalm 100:4 shows that we bless God by coming before Him in worship, praise and thanksgiving. This attitude of reverence, fear and respect for God and the laws He has given carries over into our daily lives as we obey Him and become living sacrifices for Him (Romans 12:1). God wants us to be living witnesses to others around us of the true way of abundant Christian living (Matthew 5:16). In this way we set an example and bear fruit, which glorifies God (John 15:8).

Jesus said there is great joy in heaven over every sinner who, being called by God and seeing the good example of true Christians, repents and begins on the way to salvation and membership in God’s own Family (Luke 15:10).

God created humankind to ultimately become His children (Revelation 21:7). The greatest blessing we can give God is to fulfill our purpose in life — yield to God, overcome and qualify for salvation — become a child of
God!

August 29, 2009

America’s Decline—From Sinatra to Michael Jackson

Editors Comment: Thought I would post this article, from TheTrumpet.com in its entirety. It effectively shows how America has lost its moral compass, and how it has glamorized the cult of celebrity worship to the point of dragging most of the free world along with it. A good read indeed!
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Media coverage of the funeral for Michael Jackson was massive and global. Such was the almost universal appeal of the Jackson entertainment machine. Yet, just a single lifetime ago, the style of “entertainment” embraced by generations of Jackson worshippers would have been relegated to the world of the weird and the perverse, if not the downright demonic.

How did the sense of taste and the social values of society descend to such a morally destructive level?

Reading David Gates’s article on Michael Jackson, the cover story for the July 13 newsstand edition of Newsweek, brought back memories of the timeless piece written by Herbert W. Armstrong about society’s reaction to Beatle John Lennon’s murder.

Gates placed Jackson in order of descent in a line of pop idols that have emanated from postwar Anglo-American “culture.” “True, for a while he was the king of pop,” he wrote, “and he’s the last we’re ever likely to have. Before Michael Jackson came Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beatles ….”

Thirty years ago, Herbert Armstrong nominated the same entertainment icons of the postwar era as being part of a trend that indicated “[t]his world is fast losing all sense—if it ever had any—of true social values. The lower the standard of social values, the more popular they become in a misguided and deceived humanity” (Worldwide News, Dec. 22, 1980).

Ever one to seek the cause of a phenomenon, rather than just highlight its effect, Herbert Armstrong traced the history of the postwar trend to idolize the human icons of entertainment:

In a way, the Beatles started this modern trend in a new Satan-influenced lifestyle of a degenerating culture and sense of social values. But John Lennon was their band-leader in this.

It picked up what had been started by Frank Sinatra, when teenage girls ran screaming half out of their minds for his autograph. It was revived and intensified by Elvis Presley. Then the Beatles delivered Satan’s knockout blow to any public sense of social values in the world.

It is interesting that journalist David Gates would choose exactly the same trend, employing exactly the same examples, as Herbert Armstrong to describe this postwar phenomenon. But Mr. Armstrong highlighted the result, in his lifetime, of 35 years of pop idol worship—each one of those “idols” becoming more degenerate than the rest.

Commenting upon the powerful influence of the Beatles on society, Herbert Armstrong observed:

The hippie fad followed. Down went morality, rising triumphantly was promiscuous sex, “pot,” drugs, divorce, broken homes.

The world will deify and worship one who can start humanity on such a downward plunge. Lennon left a fortune, managed by his Japanese wife, of some $230 million—but that’s OK with the public as long as he was in “show-biz” and leading a misguided humanity further into Satan’s way of life.

Lennon even made the statement at one time that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. He had millions—untold millions—of worshippers.

Clearly, the spirit that uses the entertainment industry as a tool to aid in the destruction of the moral fiber of whole nations was not finished when John Lennon met his demise. There would be one more “idol,” and his influence on generations of children would mold their minds into a state where no longer could they differentiate between that which was clearly manly and upright on the one hand and soundly feminine on the other. A whole confusion of spirit as to the intended orientation of God-created humanity would result.

“As the prepubescent frontboy of the Jackson 5, he sang in a cherubic mezzo-soprano of sexual longing he could not have fully felt. As a young man … he seemed to never fully inhabit himself—whoever that self was. In middle age, he consciously took on the role of Peter Pan … with what he seemed to believe was an ageless, androgynous physical appearance … thanks to straightened hair and plastic surgery. … He did his best to construct an alternative reality on top of what must have been an initially miserable life …” (Newsweek, op. cit.).

In essence, Jackson ultimately embodied elements of the two pop idols who preceded him, by marrying Elvis’s daughter and buying the Beatles’ catalog of songs. But as David Gates points out, Jackson was to descend even further down the slippery slope of decadence than Elvis and Lennon, becoming “the most sinister of superstars” (emphasis mine throughout). He was to eventually morph into what looked “like both a vampire and a mummy—Peter Pan’s undead evil twins.”

In its eulogy for Jackson, the Economist noted that “He told his biographer, Randy Taraborrelli, that he had ‘deep, dark secrets.’ They were encased in a voice as soft as a whisper, a handshake that felt like a cloud, a face as pale and delicate as plastic surgery and Porcelana skin-bleach could make it. Dark glasses and surgical masks kept the world away from him. … He shared his meals with a chimpanzee and his bed with young boys …” (July 2).

To a pre-baby boomer, that’s just plain weird!

Then again, I hail from a generation when men were, overwhelmingly, really men, and women really women, and very happy to be so! To appear as anything else, to in any way have the slightest doubt of one’s gender—or very humanness for that matter—would have then rendered one ostracized from society … for the good of society!

As to dining with a monkey? The great problem with presenting such a confusing image to the world, wrapped in the trappings of huge success as an entertainer, is the effect on the minds of the young. The Economist noted, “But he had sold 750 million albums and, from Riga to Rio, children danced like him.”

Yes, children all over the world danced like Michael Jackson—their idol. What effect does having such a confused individual as their “idol” have on young minds?

Believe it or not, it has a deep effect on the molding of a child’s mind, particularly influencing what it ultimately accepts as normal. It creates an impression in the mind that the perverse—going far beyond the bounds of acceptable norms—is acceptable behavior. It places the stamp of approval on social behavior that is way beyond the bounds set by generations of the past when a nation was great, a nation founded upon clear guidelines as to what is truly male and truly female behavior—true social standards.

The all-too-ready acceptance by parents of the “appeal” that outlandish behavior has on impressionable, immature minds clouds the judgment of adults when faced with a choice between permitting their children exposure to entertainment which is educational, uplifting and morally sound and that which is clearly perverse. In short, it creates confusion—and that points right to its source (1 Corinthians 14:33).

The upshot is we now have a generation in their 30s and 40s who, having grown up exposed to Jackson idolatry, their social standards shaped by such weirdness as portrayed in his top-selling Thriller album, make decisions at government and corporate level that affect multiple millions. The White House currently has in residence a president who has stated he grew up with Michael Jackson’s music and is happy he’s “being remembered primarily for the great joy that he brought to a lot of people ….” “Still have all his stuff on my iPod,” the president said.

Herbert Armstrong was right: “This world is fast losing all sense—if it ever had any—of true social values. The lower the standard of social values, the more popular they become in a misguided and deceived humanity.”

It’s that loss of true social values, once reflected in Anglo-American society during the heights of its greatness, that now results in the leading lights of the gender-bending movements being entertained at the White House and at Number 10 Downing Street. It’s such a degenerative influence in society that leads the oldest political party in the world, the British Tories, to strongly endorse perverse lifestyles and even predict that one day they shall place one who embraces confusion of gender at the helm of the nation.

Most worrying of all to those who embrace the fundamental virtues upon which successful societies are built is the inference by a world leader that he will work to endorse historically anti-social behavior, “step by step, law by law, mind by changing mind.”

Trouble is, these days it takes a really enlightened mind to see such an insidious process for what it is and to deduce where it is ultimately leading.

Then when one does see it, comes the question, as asked by Herbert Armstrong in the article previously quoted, “What hope is there in such a world?”

It truly takes a mind enlightened by the Creator of mankind to provide the answer to that burning question. Herbert Armstrong gave the only patently true answer 30 years ago, upon the death of an earlier pop icon, in words that are even more appropriate today in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death.

Of that hope, Herbert Armstrong declared, there is just one. It’s time we all pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And put our hearts and energies in our prayers, as disciples, like this now dead “hero” put his into the raucous loud squawk and scream with the fast beat. The world can put real energy into the things of Satan. Can we put some real energy into our prayers?

How seriously do we really want God’s Kingdom to come? Let’s put some energy into our prayers for it!

July 2, 2009

Should A Minister Be Addressed By The Title "Reverend?"

anunveiledface.wordpress.com

anunveiledface.wordpress.com

When we look into the Bible, we find the word “Reverend” refers ONLY TO GOD — not once is it applied to man. In Psalm 111:9 we read: “He (God) hath commanded his covenant for ever: HOLY AND REVEREND IS HIS NAME.”  God alone has a NAME worthy of REVERENCE. No man, including any minister, has a name worthy of such respect or worship.

You will not find a single place in the New Testament where Peter, Paul, John, James or any other ministers were ever called “reverend.” The use of religious titles, such as “Reverend,” began when the great apostasy set in at the close of the first century. Ministers put themselves “IN THE PLACE OF CHRIST.” Hence they took upon themselves the attributes and titles of divinity. God’s true ministers (in His one true Church) throughout the ages have never done so.

Notice the instruction of Jesus Christ in Matt. 23:8-11: “But you [Christ’s disciples], do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Our Savior commands that those He calls to serve the brethren of the church should not take upon themselves titles that arrogate God and Christ’s own titles and positions, such as “Teacher” and “Father.” Instead, as servants and brothers, ministers should live and work in humility as servants of God.

However, it is proper for ministers to be called, “Elder,” “Pastor” “Evangelist,” etc., for these are titles used in the New Testament. See Matthew 23:8-10.

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