Friday, May 26, 2017

Misunderstanding and Misinterpretation

Through my personal studies, as well as hearing others speak and seeing in their writings, I have come to notice that with the many Bible Translations available for our benefit, there are times when interpretations from the original language aren't as accurate as the original is. And we must allow ourselves to question why some translations give the meanings behind the original words they do; and question why they add / leave out words in scripture, and also leave out verses.

*** Related: "If It's In The Bible?" ***

Though this by no means is being critical of the Bible or the Lord, it is being cautious of translations. Now, I do not have actual answers to why some are amiss, but I can only take note when they are revealed. And it must be duly noted that these few misinterpretations and misunderstandings that follow, do not change the Biblical truth that it is only through Christ that one is saved. But what they can do is change or confuse one's understanding of God the Father. He is Agape Love, as is both Jesus Christ (which He demonstrated in His ministry) and the Holy Ghost—Three in One, of One Accord.

When we hold this Agape Love identity as the Truth, we can analyze scripture in that Truth. Whatever filter we use to view scripture with is what we will tend to prove our filter with--if our filter is of a sinner, we will focus on sin; if guilt, on guilt; if Love, on Love; if as in righteousness, righteousness. The latter two is what the Lord sees us as, and those should be our filters (or more accurately, clear view without filters).

So then, when we look at scripture, if some passages don't line up with those Truths of Love and Righteousness, it's good to dig into the original to find out the truth. And we must understand too, that before Christ (who revealed the full nature of God the Father to us) we had only partial understandings of Him. He was a mystery, continually revealed to us through the Law and the Prophets. However, the Old Testament only demonstrates an incomplete and increasing reveal on who He is. Whom He is, is who Christ demonstrated Him to be. No longer a mystery at all!

We must also understand that God’s Grace has never ceased from reality. And though we do see His wrath in scripture under the Mosaic Covenant of the Law, that Law only applied to those under the Law (the Israelites from the time of Moses until the Cross). During that time, God had to abide by that covenant when the Israelites disobeyed. But sin is not imputed when there is no law (Romans 5:13). And since we are not under the Law, no punishment for sins can be imputed to us. His Love and Righteousness is constantly upon us.

And I feel the more we break down scripture with a clear perception of Love and Righteousness, the more we can break down some of the confusing aspects we come across in scripture. Here are some of these instances in scripture:



No Generational Curses

The first is from Exodus 34, but also found in Exodus 20:5, Numbers 14:18, and Deuteronomy 5:9-10. This has been the root for "generational curses" that many believe take place, and also often credited to God for making happen. But the context of the afflicted verse 7 does not align with the character and nature of what the Lord says in verses 5 & 6. So, what is amiss and why the confused nature of God here?

Well, what was interpreted as a curse in verse 7 actually was a continuation of God's Mercy from 5 & 6 in that He is there even for the generations of children born to a father who has done wrong. This is God's Grace on our faults and the faulty nurturing handed down through parenting to the children. He is saying I will take care of the fathers and the children to watch over them and make sure they are free. Thus, there were no generational curses to begin with. And what iniquities were handed down, God was always there in Grace and Mercy to help.

In the verses below, the italicized words are words not in the original Hebrew. The words that are striked-through were words added to the Hebrew for clarification, but not necessarily per the original meaning of the words. For reference, the translated words are paired with the Concordance number and then given the original definitions of the Hebrew word as underlined.

Exodus 34:5-7
And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord , The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no [means H5352 = making clear, pure, and innocent] [clear H5352 = being free from guilt, free from punishment, and free from obligation] the guilty; [visiting H6485= watching over and caring for] the iniquity of the fathers upon, the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Thus, what these passages say (in the Agape Love of God) is as follows:

Exodus 34:5-7
And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord , The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; making them clear, pure, and innocent; being free from guilt, free from punishment, and free from obligation; all-the-while watching over and caring for the iniquity of the fathers, the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

How much have we suffered because of a misinterpretation thinking we were cursed, or that God was going to punish us or our children and their generations to come. We have been tricked into accepting hand-me-down consequences, diseases, “born-this-way” attitudes, or personality types. It was God that was telling us how much He forgives and how much He cares.



He Doesn't Cut Us Off!

This same caring attitude is what He demonstrates when Jesus shares that the Father is a Husbandman (care-taker for a vineyard). But we don’t initially see this in the way these verses are translated:

John 15:1-7
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bears not fruit he [taketh away G142 = raise up, elevate, lift up]: and every branch that bears fruit, he [purges G2508 = cleanses from filth impurity and from guilt] it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Thus, what these passages say (in the Agape Love of God) is as follows:

John 15:1-7
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bears not fruit he raises up, elevates, and lifts up. And every branch that bears fruit, he cleanses it from filth impurity and from guilt, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

The last part of that verse about “not abiding in me” is talking about non-believers. But for those who do believe and abide in Him, the Lord makes sure we are picked up out of the mud into His Light and cleansed from filth and guilt. The verse even explains how the cleaning occurs: through the Word of Christ! He cleanses us, not destroys us. Just as someone attending to a vineyard now, they don’t cut up and decimate their vines but nurture them up in health for them to prosper.

When we think He takes away and purges us from His vine, all it does is create fear of the Lord. And if He did do that, what would cause Him to? We would be perpetually guessing as what we could or could not do. This then inevitably leads us at dead works efforts at righteousness. Yet Christ made us all His Righteousness with all sins of the flesh forgiven us. Since we have already been made clean from guilt, God cannot discard us or cut us off.

Thus, when we know we can’t be cut off and discarded based on anything we do or don’t do (having the Righteousness of Christ), we can relax in Agape Love and comfort that whatever we face in this life He will help keep us clean and keep elevating us into the Light of Christ! God is Love and does not give us a spirit of fear!



He Does Not Kill Us (Ananias and Sapphira)

If we believe God is out there with a quick temper ready to cut us off in life and destroy us when we make a mistake, we can apply that fear & anger filter onto other scriptures. One such is when we read the story of Ananias and Sapphira and their lies.

Acts 5:1-10
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and gave up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

When reading the story, it can be assumed that their death (as a result of lying to the Holy Spirit) was caused by the Holy Spirit. This is a misunderstanding; the scripture does not say the Holy Spirit struck them down or took their life, it says that both Ananias and Sapphira “gave up the ghost”.

What struck me first about the phrase “gave up the ghost” with Ananias and Sapphira was that this was a phrase I had seen before in other scripture—with Jesus. As Jesus said, no one takes His life, but He lays it down. And when Christ actually died on the cross, He gave up His Ghost (no one actually killed Him).

John 10:14-18
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 19:30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Though the Greek words for “gave up” in both contexts here are different, they both refer to a giving / yielding. It is a willingness of giving. However, Christ’s was for a purpose; but for Ananias and Sapphira, they condemned themselves to death. Their fear of the Lord became real to them.



No Need to Fear God - We Are At Peace With Him

This fear is something that Paul experienced when Christ interrupted his trip on the road to Damascus. He fell trembling in fear. As the ‘Pharisee of Pharisees”, Paul was well aware of God and what consequences there were to those who had disobeyed Him in Israel’s past under the Law (which we are not under). So, I can imagine that when Paul encountered the Lord and Him saying to him that, “you are persecuting Me”, there was a great expectation on Paul’s heart that He was about to die. Hence why he was both trembling in fear and astonished (the same astonishment the disciples had at what Jesus said or did—Mark 10:32). Paul trembled in fear, but was astonished at His Mercy. Now, where Paul was not purposely doing what he did (actually thinking that what he was doing, he was doing for God), Ananias and Sapphira willfully knew they were lying. This is where their hearts condemned them, and they failed to experience the Mercy of the Lord at that moment. Their fear caused their own death.

This type of fear is what we should not have in our relationship with the Lord. If we think God (or the Holy Ghost) can just kill us when we do anything wrong, we don’t come close to Him is relationship. It would be like one kidnapped, tied up, and a gun to your head being questioned; not knowing if the next thing you said or didn’t do would lead to your death. Where is the Love in that, where is the trust, where is the confidence? We can’t have any of those if we fear. Fear is not from God!

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

God is Agape Love and He wants us to Agape Love Him back. We must know we have peace with God; and He says we do have peace with Him:

Romans 5:1
Therefore, being justified by Christ’s faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 2:13-14
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

This peace they proclaim is towards earth from Heaven—God’s peace towards us in that we should have no fear. And when we understand our Righteousness because of Christ, we can let go of any fear. Our hearts then can be made clear (a clean conscience) in that we can know that nothing we can do or not do can change our right-standing with God: having a righteous-conscience, not a sin-conscience.

When He spoke to Moses for Aaron to quote God’s Blessing over the lives of Israel, God was telling them not to fear:

Number 6:24-26
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lifts up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

The Lord’s countenance is the presence of His face—what we see as His facial expression to us. That the way He sees us and looks at us is one of peace; and when we do see it, it does give us peace. He does not ever want us to live in fear (dread) of Him. And when we let go of this dread (fear), we can accept, and therefore, experience what His Agape Love is! Since God is Agape Love (1 John 4:8), we can see Him as the definitions to Agape Love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Agape Love (God our Father) suffers long and is kind; Agape Love (God our Father) does not envy; Agape Love (God our Father) does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Agape Love (God our Father) never fails.

When we know all that about God our Father, why would we fear Him? We can look at Him in confidence and have peace in our being.



He Does Not Destroy Us Because of Sin (Defilement)

But if we think He is out to get us, punish us, or cast us away, then we misinterpret scripture and His True Nature. Just as we looked at earlier with John 15:1-7 where just simple words can change our view of Him, we see this also in just one word in this verse: “him”:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defiles the temple of God, [him G1526 = this] shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which ye are holy.

The word ‘him’ being used here is the Greek word ‘touton’. And although this word is translated many times as the word him, it only has one original meaning: this. As such, when we look at that verse again, it should read “this God shall destroy”. But what is the “this”? It is the defilement. God doesn’t destroy us as the temple, He destroys the defilement we can bring to ourselves as the temple. Jesus demonstrated this exact thing when He visited the Temple at the beginning and end of His ministry.

John 2:13-17
And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

Matthew 21:12-13
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

When He came to the Temple and saw that it was defiled, He didn’t destroy the Temple, He removed (destroyed) the defilement! We must remember, God is there to keep us clean as was seen in John 15:1-7. He has no reason to destroy us, but He does have a wonderful purpose in wanting to keep us clean from defilement. The context of 1 Corinthians 3:16-16 is the removing of burnable debris in our lives that are opposed to the Foundation of Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 3:9-17
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abides which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defiles the temple of God, this defilement shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Our Father wants us to be the best we can be, without hindrance or burden. He breaks strongholds and keeps setting us free from our own iniquities. This then circles back around to what we see as God’s nature in Exodus 34:5-7; Him protecting us from iniquity and being with us through the removal of those iniquities.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we carry on in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God to the advantage of the demolishing of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and leading away into captivity every thought to the submission of Christ.

This is what I have come to witness in my own life. Has the removing of iniquity always been clear to me when it happens; or not without soulish pain? No! But having come through much change and renewing of the mind, I have seen and experienced my freedoms from being bondage (strongholds). And since I have experienced those freedoms, I have learned to trust Him when I face the next and the next. Every time being freer and less weighted down by my past burdens. Praise the Lord!



The Faith of Christ

Christ came to set us free (Galatians 5:1); and He came that we could take His yolk which is easy (Matthew 11:30). And the way He did that was do it all for us. This is and was the Faith of Christ—His work, our reward. And when we accept that He did all the work for us, we become free from trying to do the work of righteousness ourselves. That’s a light and easy yolk to put on! However, some interpretations of scripture say that it is “Faith in Christ” and not “the Faith of Christ”. We are Justified by the Faith of Jesus Christ, not by ours.

God’s righteousness was poured out and is upon all people of this world, believers & non-believers. And because of this, righteousness was not our own doing has to have been accomplished through the faith OF Christ Jesus! If it was only by faith in Jesus, righteousness would apply only to believers of Jesus Christ (as one’s putting their faith in Him). As such, that righteousness has nothing to do with our faith, but the accomplishment of His Faith.

Romans 3:22
Even the righteousness of God which is by the faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.

Romans 5:17
For if by one man’s (Adam’s) offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

Habakkuk 2:4-5
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by faith. … He gathers unto Himself all nations, and assembles unto Himself all people.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by God’s Grace are ye saved, through Christ’s Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

As said above, it is not through faith of ourselves (our faith IN Christ). No! We are saved by Christ's Faith (the gift - something free of charge or repayment of any kind) He had in & through the completed work of the Cross that made us all righteous. But we need to believe (have faith in His Faith) for us to receive the gift given & the benefits thereof in their fullness (completeness).

Romans 1:17
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.

Faith is not something we produce, but is God’s Gift in us through the Holy Spirit—not something we produce for Him, but He produces for us. Faith is a Gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). And The Measure of Faith has been given us all (Romans 12:3). Thus, Faith is not about righteousness, nor about a means to believe. We must believe, not to be made righteous, but accept that righteousness. But it's not righteousness we are after (since we have it), but salvation.

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

And we can believe in Him to salvation because we can come to God without worry of not being "good enough" to receive the salvation that comes from us believing in Him. All of our sin (besides the sin of not believing in Him) has been taken care of.



Renewing Our Mind

So, since it is all taken care of and no sin can or is held against us; we can access God through Jesus Christ without worry, fear, shame, guilt, remorse, or believing that our sins are held against us & that God is angry with us.

Romans 5:1
Therefore, being justified by Christ’s Faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

How amazing is that! To know God our Father is not mad at us because of what Jesus accomplished. This purpose of God our Father to demonstrate that He is not mad at us was demonstrated to us through Christ and His complete sacrifice. God has never been an enemy to us, but only Agape Love to us.

We make ourselves enemies to Him—however, not in Truth and Reality, it is something we imagine in our minds:

Colossians 1:21
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.

If it’ in our minds only, then it has to do with our own perceived status with Him. This goes back to having either a sin-conscience or a righteous-conscience. With the former, we will always see ourselves as enemies to God. The latter, we will always see ourselves as Friends of God (moreso Sons and Daughters of God).

How we go from a sin-conscience to a righteous-conscience is firstly through the accepting of Christ’s Completed Work to then renewing our minds and our heart-condition:

Romans 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Ephesians 4:22-24
that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

When we renew our mind to who God says we are (righteous), then we can accept that Truth in our heart. And from our heart, comes our self-will (Proverbs 4:23). When we align our heart as a doorway through which the Holy Spirit flows, then we do His Will as our own. And thus experience His Agape Love in us and through us!

And this is what all this is about, Him in us and through us. And this only can happen when we no longer see God as an enemy, but as a Father—one that Truly always Agape Loves us and shows us that because of Christ, we are in right-standing with Him (righteous)! When we come across scripture that seems to contradict this, that’s when we can scrutinize the translation and filter out an angry God and see a clear Loving God. And what that Agape Love looks like was demonstrated completely by Jesus. And this, once again, is God:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
God suffers long and is kind; God does not envy; God does not parade Himself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek His own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God never fails.


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