Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Some Radical Thoughts on Holy Communion

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

I want to share some thoughts with you on something near and dear to my heart…

Holy Communion

Holy CommunionFrom the account in Luke… “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

I have attended and received Communion in churches of many denominations, and there is no shortage of opinions. Opinions about who is eligible to receive, opinions about whether it is a representation or miraculously becomes the actual body and blood of Christ when we partake, and opinions about how often one should receive the elements…. And guess what… I have a rather radical opinion of my own, but I will spring that on you a little later.

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Prophecy in the Ages of Silence

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Prophecy in the Ages of Silence is another topic suggested to me by a friend.  It is a topic I have pondered for some time, so I suppose it is time for me to break my own silence on the subject.

Have you ever heard the phrase “History is written by the victors.”? Revisionist history is a fact. The basis for it is at the root of our human condition. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone will go to great lengths to defend that opinion, and those in power, church or state, have the power to publish that opinion for posterity as fact. This was true in the ancient world and is true today, so we must look at history from a spiritual perspective if we hope to uncover the Truth that God wants us to see.

In some cases, as in the events related in Matthew 1, multiple versions of history survive. A great divide occurred in the Jewish community in that d

ay, one side believing the events were the messianic prophecy unfolding, the other side, determined it was not. The Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H Stern states, “The early Rabbis developed a tradition that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary and a Roman soldier named Pantera.” Whatever their reasons, a small group of leaders could not accept the way this prophecy came to pass, and so discounted it. Those who believed became the ancient Christians, those who did not evolved into modern Jewry.

Prophecy in a historical timeline

Because I believe that God is ultimately in control, I believe that this divide was part of His plan, and similarly, the events unfolding in the world today are indeed part of His plan. We are witnessing another of the prominent religions, Islam, experiencing a great division between radical extremists interpreting their scriptures in a far different manner than a peaceful majority. Just as our Christian cannon of scripture paints the Pharisees and Sadducees as villains, a close look at the Jewish writings of the times paints them as primarily righteous leaders with a few radical extremists muddying up the waters.

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The 80/20 Rule

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Is the 80/20 rule an undeniable fact of life?

A couple of months ago, as an illustration of faith after a painfully detailed ministry potential assessment presentation, Pastor Guy Weatherly quoted from the book of Joshua, Chapter 13, recounting the story of twelve spies sent to collect intelligence and report back to the people after surveying the land God had promised to give them.  Of the twelve, ten came back whining about how hard it would be, if at all possible, to possess this land.  They compared themselves to grasshoppers, too weak and impotent to challenge the current inhabitants. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, focused on the great bounty of this land with the understanding it was already theirs because God had ordained it.  That got me thinking… ten of twelve, or 83%, lacked the vision God intended.

Was the 80/20 rule at play here?

paretto principle - the 80/20 rule

Was the 80/20 rule in fact a biblical principal? Is it really a 90/10 rule as some would say? I continued to consider this and look for examples thinking it would make a great study, but as I began to research the subject, I was pulled in a multitude of different directions.  As I begin to write this piece, I have no idea what conclusion I will come to, but I have amassed a tidy stack of interesting facts, so let’s just see where it leads. (more…)

The First Blood Sacrifice

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Have you ever wondered where the idea of blood sacrifice for atonement came from?


I must admit that was one thing I could never really wrap my mind around, but it did not concern me enough to go looking for an answer.   I understood the concept and how the sacrificial system of the old testament was replaced when God made the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, His Son, to atone for our sin, but none of that explained how the sacrifice of animals was introduced.


A few days ago I had one of those AHA! moments, when something I had read in my bible many times before, took on the status of “golden nugget” as a deeper meaning surfaced.   I am always amazed as my study of scripture continues to reveal deeper and deeper layers of understanding.  With this new “golden nugget” came a revelation that Jesus was NOT the first blood sacrifice God made on behalf of mankind.


Blood Sacrafice

When we discuss the subject of blood sacrifice we tend to focus on the sacrifices the children of Israel made to God. The blood sacrifice of Issac God demanded to test the faith of Abraham, the ram God provided asthe substitution, the paschal lambs whose blood sacrifice protected the Hebrew slaves as the angel of death took the firstborn of Egypt, and the many blood sacrifices made upon the altar of the original Temple of Solomon and the second Temple that was destroyed in 70 AD.

To find the first mention blood sacrifice, we must go all the way back to Genesis.

Blood SacaificeGenesis 3:21 (NKJV)
Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”

Genesis 3:21 (KJV)
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

Genesis 3:21 (NLT)
And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.”

The scripture does not jump right out and call it a blood sacrifice, but up until this point in Genesis, no blood had been shed.  The animals lived in harmony, Adam and Eve were provided for without meat and had no need of clothing, and God alone provided for and met the needs of every living creature.  It was not until they disobeyed that they realized they were naked.

Genesis 3:7-11 (NKJV) ” Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”1 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?””

In the harsh world outside the garden, Adam and Eve would need clothing to protect them from the elements and the environment.  Fig leaves were not going to cut it, so God, in His infinite mercy, made a blood sacrifice and covered them in clothing made of animal skins.  He literally covered their sin, their nakedness and shame, with a blood sacrifice.  It was a supreme act of love.  God took the life of living beings that He created and loved, to meet the needs of man whom He loved more.

And so the first blood sacrifice was made on behalf of Adam and Eve as they were cast out from the Garden. Was God disappointed?  You bet He was!  Was He going to punish them?  BIG TIME!  Did he leave them or forsake them?  Did He stop loving them?  Not for a single moment!


Blood SacrificeThe blood sacrifices that God made on our behalf make a statement about the unconditional and unchanging love God has for us.  The animal sacrifices the people made to God should have been a reminder of His love, even an act of returning His love,  but sadly it became for most a requirement to meet, born of religious doctrine, peer pressure, and fear.  The blood sacrifice carried no weight when it was not brought to God out of love.


And so God’s chosen people began their epic journey through history.  If they would not make the correct choices to be an example to the rest of the world of how blessed they were living under God’s love and protection, by loving Him with all their hearts, their minds and their strength, and loving their neighbors as they loved themselves, then God would accomplish His purpose for them in another way.


They would be raised up time and again, and time and again they would bow down to the idols of the world around them.  They would be taken captive, be persecuted and fall victim to hideous atrocities, they would be murdered in great numbers, they would be scattered to all ends of the earth, but the promise that always loomed large was the promise they would be restored to the land given to their forefathers.  This was for their growth, and also for their pruning.  When redemption finally came, most would not recognize it.  God would send His Son, first to His chosen people, and then to all mankind to teach them the ways of the Living God.


Blood Sacrifice

Finally, He would make another blood sacrifice that would extend the blessings promised to His chosen, to all people who called upon Him in truth, and He would wait patiently for a remnant of the children of Israel to understand the meaning of the blood sacrifice and return to Him forever.


Blessings & Adventure,


Lynn “lynnibug” Rios


Out of Egypt

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

In the biblical account of the Exodus, Moses leads a multitude out of Egypt.


This multitude followed Moses for 40 years, wandering in the desert being cleansed and made ready to receive the things that God had promised to Abraham, Issac and Jacob. I touched on something in my last post, What Color or Race Are Gods Chosen People, that was purely speculation on my part. Writing that post was an emotionally draining experience because I was determined to boldly convey what I felt to be true, but I was ever conscious of the sensitivity of the subject and the potential to offend. After the fact, I felt a need to dig deeper into the historical record to better understand who the people were that Moses led out of Egypt, carrying with them the spoils of this once powerful kingdom, and to find within this story the pearls of wisdom we can apply to our lives today.


This is the biblical account from Exodus 12:37-38 KJV

“And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.”

Whew! Apparently my speculation was well grounded, and not just something stuck in my brain from the narration of Cecil B. DeMille’s version of The Ten Commandments. I was still curious what the historians had to say on the subject and was able to find some great background material that puts the exodus out of Egypt in a historical perspective.


Two websites I found to be enlightening were the Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies and Tour Egypt. I also picked up some tidbits from articles I found about slavery in ancient cultures, specifically Egypt and her ancient neighbors. Slavery was common in the developing ancient empires because the rulers had high aspirations, an abundance of land, and a shortage of workers.

To understand what this mixed multitude coming out of Egypt with the children of Israel means, we need clarity on who they were.

Out of EgyptLet’s start with what defined who would be a free man and who would be a slave. During the middle kingdom rule, Egypt was expanding into the kingdoms of her neighbors. The middle kingdom foreign slaves came mainly from Asia. They were either prisoners of war or slaves from surrounding nations traded by slave merchants. Egyptians were sometimes sold into slavery because of debts, or sold themselves along with their families to escape poverty. Apparently for some, the economic security they gained as indentured servants was worth giving up some freedoms for. Convicted criminals were also forced into lives of labor. Most of these people would likely have longed to get out of Egypt and out of bondage.

Out of Egypt

As Egypt evolved into what historians refer to as the new kingdom, the pharaohs became more committed to conquest and the number of slaves increased with the flood of prisoners of war from conquests in Nubia, Canaan and Syria.


During later campaigns, slaves were often part of the tribute and taxes paid by the defeated. It is recorded that during the reign of Thutmose III, the tribute received from the Hittites included eight male and female black slaves. The Hittites considered them to be a valuable gift as black people were rare in their culture. There are also slaves recorded as payment for taxes from Nubia and Kush.


Out of Egypt

Now, imagine the day that Pharaoh, having been broken by the final plague God thrust upon Egypt, the death of the firstborn, including the heir to his throne, tells Moses to take his people out of Egypt. Slaves from Nubia, Canaan, and Syria, and the black slaves acquired from the Hittites along with their families having survived the 10 plagues along with the Egyptians, become the “mixed multitude” of Exodus 12:38, following Moses out of Egypt. They all follow Moses to the foot of mount Sinai to receive the law. They sinned with the children of Israel and were punished with the children of Israel for their disobedience.


In Exodus chapter 19, God instructs Moses what he is to say to the great multitude gathered at the base of Mount Sinai.

Exodus 20:1-6 KJV

“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

There is nothing exclusionary in this passage. God is speaking to all of the people He brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. If you were among the people that were brought out of Egypt, (those who had faith to follow) then He would be your God! That, my brothers and sisters, is as true today as it was then. Whatever has you in bondage, whether it is drugs, alcohol, a nasty temper, laziness, pornography, racial prejudice, or anything else that prevents you from walking with God, places you in your very own Egypt. God wants you out of Egypt, but it is up to you to be willing to leave, and have the faith to follow Him.


Blessings & Adventure,


Lynn “lynnibug” Rios

“For what great nation is there who has a god so near to them as the Lord our God is to us in all things for which we call upon Him?” Deuteronomy 4:7

He is faithful and if you but ask Him, He will lead you out of Egypt.

 

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