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What is the Godhead?

The term Godhead is found three times in the King James Version: Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; and Colossians 2:9. In each of the three verses, a slightly different Greek word is used, but the definition of each is the same: “deity” or “divine nature.” The word Godhead is used to refer to God’s essential nature. We’ll take a look at each of these passages and what they mean.

In Acts 17, Paul is speaking on Mars Hill to the philosophers of Athens. As he argues against idolatry, Paul says, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29, KJV). Here, the word Godhead is the translation of the Greek theion, a word used by the Greeks to denote “God” in general, with no reference to a particular deity. Paul, speaking to Greeks, used the term in reference to the only true God.

In Romans 1, Paul begins to make the case that all humanity stands guilty before God. In verse 20 he says, “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (KJV). Here, Godhead is theiotés. Paul’s argument is that all of creation virtually shouts the existence of God; we can “clearly” see God’s eternal power, as well as His “Godhead” in what He has made. “The heavens declare the glory of God; / the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1). The natural world makes manifest the divine nature of God.

Colossians 2:9 is one of the clearest statements of the deity of Christ anywhere in the Bible: “In him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The word for “Godhead” here is theotés. According to this verse, Jesus Christ is God Incarnate. He embodies all (“the fulness”) of God (translated “the Deity” in the NIV). This truth aligns perfectly with Colossians 1:19, “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Christ].”

Because the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ, Jesus could rightly claim that He and the Father are “one” (John 10:30). Because the fullness of God’s divine essence is present in the Son of God, Jesus could say to Philip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

In summary, the Godhead is the essence of the Divine Being; the Godhead is the one and only Deity. Jesus, the incarnate Godhead, entered our world and showed us exactly who God is: “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18; cf. Hebrews 1:3).

 

Who was Muhammad?

Muhammad, or Mohammed, is the founder of Islam and is considered a prophet by Muslims and Baha’is. In fact, in order to convert to Islam, one only has to say, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet [or messenger].”

Muhammad (c. AD 570—632) was from Mecca, a city near the Red Sea in what is now Saudi Arabia. An orphan from childhood, Muhammad was raised by an uncle, a man named Abu Talib, and became a merchant. Muhammad was a religious man, often going on retreats to the mountains where he would pray. During one of these retreats, he reported being visited by the angel Gabriel, who supposedly gave Muhammad a revelation from Allah, the Muslim name for God. Muhammad reported having several other revelations from Allah as well, and Muslims regard him as Allah’s last and greatest prophet to mankind.

Muhammad proclaimed that “God is One,” that is, there is no Trinity and Jesus was simply another prophet, along with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and, of course, Muhammad himself. He also taught that complete surrender (the word islam means “surrender” or “total submission”) is the only way to please Allah. Muslims credit Muhammad with restoring the “true” religion of Islam to a world that had corrupted it.

Early on in his endeavors, Muhammad did not win many followers; many of the Meccan tribes were hostile to him and opposed his message. Muhammad moved north to the city of Medina for protection. After eight years of conflict with the Meccan tribes, Muhammad gathered 10,000 converts, took up arms, and marched against Mecca. He and his followers took over Mecca and destroyed all the pagan idols there. There was very little bloodshed or resistance from Mecca, and the city fell to Muhammad relatively easily.

From Mecca, Muhammad and his followers set out to destroy all the other pagan temples in western Arabia, and they succeeded. The rest of Muhammad’s life was given to the promotion and growth of Islam throughout the Arabic world. Sometimes Muhammad used his great wealth (from plundering) to bribe people into Islam. Other times, he used terrorism and conquest. Muslims swept through the Arabian Peninsula, conquering tribe after tribe. When approaching a city, Muhammad would offer terms of peace: accept Islam, the only true religion, and submit to Muhammad, and all would be well. If a city rejected these terms, Muhammad’s forces would proceed to sack the city. According to Abdullah ibn Umar, a companion of Muhammad, “Allah’s Apostle [Muhammad] said: ‘I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and property from me’” (Bukhari: vol. 1, bk. 2, no. 24).

Muhammad claimed to have continued to receive revelations from Allah until his death, and Muhammad’s revelations were compiled after his death and canonized into what is now called the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book. Other respected writings in Islam include the Hadith, which is a collection of teachings, deeds, and sayings of Muhammad; and the Tafsir, which is a commentary of sorts on the Qur’an.

Because of the content of Muhammad’s revelations, in particular the denial of God’s triune nature, the teaching that salvation must be earned by works, and the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ, Christians regard Muhammad’s revelations as false, coming from a source other than the One True God. Indeed, the differences between the God of the Bible and the Allah of Islam are too great to consider them the same deity, despite Muhammad’s proclamations that his revelations came from the God of Adam, Abraham, Jesus, et al. Allah’s “mercy” is dependent upon the right actions of his followers. The God of the Bible, in contrast, has always given His followers the promise of forgiveness dependent on His grace through faith, rather than on the ability of men (Genesis 15:6; Exodus 34:6–9; Psalm 130:3).

What is the origin of belief in Allah?

Allah is an Arabic word that means “God” or, more accurately, “the God.” In Western culture, it is commonly believed that the word Allah is used exclusively by Muslims to describe their God, but this is not actually true. The word Allah is used by Arabic speakers of all Abrahamic faiths (including Christianity and Judaism) as meaning “God.” However, according to Islam, Allah is God’s proper name, while Christians and Jews know Him as YHWH or Yahweh. When Arabic-speaking Christians use the word Allah, it is usually used in combination with the word al-Ab. Allah al-Ab means “God the Father,” and this usage is one way Arab Christians distinguish themselves from Muslims.

Before the inception of Islam, most Arabs were polytheistic pagans, believing in an unfeeling, powerful fate that could not be controlled or altered or influenced by human beings. Muslims regard Muhammad as the last and greatest prophet, and they credit him with restoring to the Arabs the monotheistic faith of their ancestors. Islam and Judaism both trace their spiritual lineage to Abraham, but the God-concept of Islam is different from that of Judaism and Christianity in some significant ways. Yahweh and Allah are both seen as omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and merciful. However, in both Judaism and Islam, God’s mercy is dependent, at least partly and many times fully, on man’s actions. The Islamic concept of Allah and the Jewish concept of Yahweh both deny the triune nature of God. They eliminate God’s Son, Jesus, and they also eliminate the Holy Spirit as a distinct Person of the Godhead.

Without Jesus, there is no provisionary salvation—that is, salvation is based on man’s effort rather than God’s grace. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no sanctification, no peace, no freedom (Romans 8:6; 2 Corinthians 3:17). Christians trust that by Jesus’ death and resurrection, along with the indwelling of His Spirit, sin is forgiven, the conscience is cleansed, and the human soul is freed to pursue God and goodness without the fear of punishment (Hebrews 10:22).

A Muslim may love Allah and wish to please Allah, but the question in his mind will invariably be “is it enough? Are my works enough to merit salvation?” Christians believe that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to provide an answer to the question “is my work enough?” The answer is, no, our work is not enough (Matthew 5:48). This is shocking to anyone who has been trying on his own to appease God. But this was the point of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1–48). The Jews that Jesus spoke to, just like the Muslims who follow Allah, were trapped by the knowledge that nothing they did would ever meet God’s perfect standard. But Christ’s perfect life, atoning death, and resurrection did meet God’s standard (Hebrews 10:10; Romans 8:1–8). Jesus’ message to the Jews and His message now, to Muslims and everyone else, is “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15). This does not mean “stop sinning” and “believe that God exists.” It means “turn from sin and stop trying to please God by your own ability” and “believe that Christ has accomplished everything for you.” The promise to those who trust Christ is that they will become the children of God (John 1:12).

Allah offers no such promise. Muslims believe Allah will be merciful to them based on his evaluation of their performance. But salvation is never sure; it is never a promise. When the Western world looks with horror on things like jihad and acts of Islamic terrorism, they get a glimpse of the powerful fear that Allah instills in his many of his followers. Faithful Muslims are faced with a terrible choice: obey the violent commands of an omnipotent deity whose mercy is given only to the most passionate and devoted followers (and perhaps not even then), or give themselves up as hopelessly lost and headed for punishment.

Christians should not regard Muslims with hatred, but instead with compassion. Their god, Allah, is a false god, and their eyes are blinded to the truth (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). We should be praying for Muslims and asking God to show them the truth, revealing His promise of mercy and freedom in Christ (2 Timothy 2:24–26).

 

We come to God in prayer for a variety of reasons—to worship Him, to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, to thank Him for His blessings, to ask for things for ourselves, and/or to pray for the needs of others. The Hebrew and Greek words most often translated “supplication” in the Bible mean literally “a request or petition,” so a prayer of supplication is asking God for something. Unlike the prayer of petition, which is praying on behalf of others, the prayer of supplication is generally a request for the person praying.

The Bible includes many prayers of supplication. Numerous examples are found in the Psalms. David’s psalms are filled with supplication for mercy in Psalm 4:1, for leading in Psalm 5:8, for deliverance in Psalm 6:4, for salvation from persecution in Psalm 7:1, and so on. When Daniel learned that King Darius had issued an edict prohibiting prayer to any god but the king, Daniel continued to pray to God with prayers of thanksgiving as well as prayers of supplication for His help in this dire situation.

In the New Testament, Jesus tells us to ask for our daily bread in Matthew 6:11, which falls into the category of a prayer of supplication. In addition, in Luke 18:1-8, Jesus teaches us not to give up praying for what we need. James says that: on the one hand we don’t receive because we don’t ask (James 4:2). On the other hand, we ask and don’t receive because we are thinking only of our fleshly desires (James 4:3). Perhaps the best way to approach supplications is to ask God in all honesty as children talking to their kind-hearted Father, but ending with “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:39), in full surrender to His will.

After describing the need to take up the “full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:13-17), the apostle Paul exhorted the Ephesians (and us) to remain alert and to pray in the Spirit, “making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). Clearly, prayers of supplication are part of the spiritual battle all Christians are engaged in. Paul further exhorts the Philippian church to relieve their anxieties by remaining faithful in prayer, especially prayers of thanksgiving and supplication. This, he concludes, is the formula for ensuring that “the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Here we see another crucial aspect of the prayer of supplication—the necessity of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who belong to Christ also have the indwelling Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf. Because we often don’t know what or how to pray when we approach God, the Spirit intercedes and prays for us, interpreting our supplications so that, when we are overwhelmed by trials and the cares of life, He comes alongside to lend assistance with our prayers of supplication as He sustains us before the throne of grace (Romans 8:26).

altruistico:

This is well worthy of a “Good Listen.” As a Christian and a strong patriot of MY COUNTRY I ask everyone give a careful listen to this post/video….. In my opinion, it’s right on.

Originally posted on Chastisement 2014:

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Within the Christian faith, there is a significant amount of confusion regarding what happens after death. Some hold that after death, everyone “sleeps” until the final judgment, after which everyone will be sent to heaven or hell. Others believe that at the moment of death, people are instantly judged and sent to their eternal destinations. Still others claim that when people die, their souls/spirits are sent to a “temporary” heaven or hell, to await the final resurrection, the final judgment, and then the finality of their eternal destination. So, what exactly does the Bible say happens after death?

First, for the believer in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that after death believers’ souls/spirits are taken to heaven, because their sins are forgiven by having received Christ as Savior (John 3:16, 18, 36). For believers, death is to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). However, passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 describe believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies. If believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, what is the purpose of this resurrection? It seems that while the souls/spirits of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave “sleeping.” At the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21-22).

Second, for those who do not receive Jesus Christ as Savior, death means everlasting punishment. However, similar to the destiny of believers, unbelievers also seem to be sent immediately to a temporary holding place, to await their final resurrection, judgment, and eternal destiny. Luke 16:22-23 describes a rich man being tormented immediately after death. Revelation 20:11-15 describes all the unbelieving dead being resurrected, judged at the great white throne, and then being cast into the lake of fire. Unbelievers, then, are not sent to hell (the lake of fire) immediately after death, but rather are in a temporary realm of judgment and condemnation. However, even though unbelievers are not instantly sent to the lake of fire, their immediate fate after death is not a pleasant one. The rich man cried out, “I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 16:24).

Therefore, after death, a person resides in a “temporary” heaven or hell. After this temporary realm, at the final resurrection, a person’s eternal destiny will not change. The precise “location” of that eternal destiny is what changes. Believers will ultimately be granted entrance into the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21:1). Unbelievers will ultimately be sent to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people—based entirely on whether or not they had trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Matthew 25:46; John 3:36).

 

The Bible presents death as separation: physical death is the separation of the soul from the body, and spiritual death is the separation of the soul from God.

Death is the result of sin. “For the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23a. The whole world is subject to death, because all have sinned. “By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). In Genesis 2:17, the Lord warned Adam that the penalty for disobedience would be death—“you will surely die.” When Adam disobeyed, he experienced immediate spiritual death, which caused him to hide “from Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). Later, Adam experienced physical death (Genesis 5:5).

On the cross, Jesus also experienced physical death (Matthew 27:50). The difference is that Adam died because he was a sinner, and Jesus, who had never sinned, chose to die as a substitute for sinners (Hebrews 2:9). Jesus then showed His power over death and sin by rising from the dead on the third day (Matthew 28; Revelation 1:18). Because of Christ, death is a defeated foe. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55; Hosea 13:14).

For the unsaved, death brings to an end the chance to accept God’s gracious offer of salvation. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). For the saved, death ushers us into the presence of Christ: “To be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23). So real is the promise of the believer’s resurrection that the physical death of a Christian is called “sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 5:10). We look forward to that time when “there shall be no more death” (Revelation 21:4).

altruistico:

A very persuasive and thorough observation on science and the burden of proof.

Originally posted on The Isaiah 53:5 Project:

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This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper

-T.S. Eliot

Recently, an atheist told me this.

“If God loves me, wants to have a relationship with me, and yet doesn’t give me the evidence I need to make me believe in Him, He is basically failing and that has to suck for Him.”

This statement is baffling to me for a few reasons.

1.  It assumes that God does not love the non-believer because God is not playing by the arbitrary rules the non-believer set up.

2.  It assumes that God can fail.

3.  It is arrogant beyond all measure.

4. It regards ALL of the evidence God has provided as insufficient and makes this insufficiency God’s problem.

So, what kind of proof do non-believers generally demand?

In almost all…

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The phrase “word of God” appears often in the Bible and can have a slightly different meaning depending on context and the Hebrew or Greek word used. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” Here, Word is a title of the Lord Jesus. The term translated “Word” is logos, which basically means “the expression of a thought.” Logos can be thought of as the total message of God to man (Acts 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). Jesus embodied that total message, and that is why He is called the “Logos,” or “Word,” of God (Colossians 1:19; 2:9).

Logos is also used many times when referring to the written message of God (John 17:17; 1 Timothy 4:5; Revelation 1:2; Colossians 1:25). Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Jesus showed a link between the written Word of God and Himself, in that He is the subject of the written Word: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39).

Another Greek word used for “word” is rhema. Rhema refers to the actual spoken/written words of God (Hebrews 6:5). When Jesus was being tempted by Satan, He answered, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We are told in Ephesians 6:17 to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God.” Jesus demonstrated we need the actual recorded words of God to overcome Satan’s attacks.

The phrase “word of God” means more than the printed words on a page. God is a communicator and has been speaking into the human realm since the beginning. He speaks through His creation (Psalm 19:1), through ancient prophets (Hosea 12:10; Hebrews 1:1), through the Holy Spirit (John 16:13; Acts 16:6), through Scripture (Hebrews 4:12), and through the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:9). We can learn to know God better by seeking to hear Him in every way that He speaks.

The term word is used in different ways in the Bible. In the New Testament, there are two Greek words translated “word”: rhema and logos. They have slightly different meanings. Rhema usually means “a spoken word.” For example, in Luke 1:38, when the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of God’s Son, Mary replied, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word [rhema].”

Logos, however, has a broader, more philosophical meaning. This is the term used in John 1. It usually implies a total message, and is used mostly in reference to God’s message to mankind. For example, Luke 4:32 says that, when Jesus taught the people, “they were amazed at his teaching, because his words [logos] had authority.” The people were amazed not merely by the particular words Jesus chose but by His total message.

“The Word” (Logos) in John 1 is referring to Jesus. Jesus is the total Message—everything that God wants to communicate to man. The first chapter of John gives us a glimpse inside the Father/Son relationship before Jesus came to earth in human form. He preexisted with the Father (verse 1), He was involved in the creation of everything (verse 3), and He is the “light of all mankind” (verse 4). The Word (Jesus) is the full embodiment of all that is God (Colossians 1:19; 2:9; John 14:9). But God the Father is Spirit. He is invisible to the human eye. The message of love and redemption that God spoke through the prophets had gone unheeded for centuries (Ezekiel 22:26; Matthew 23:37). People found it easy to disregard the message of an invisible God and continued in their sin and rebellion. So the Message became flesh, took on human form, and came to dwell among us (Matthew 1:23; Romans 8:3; Philippians 2: 5–11).

The Greeks used the word logos to refer to one’s “mind,” “reason,” or “wisdom.” John used this Greek concept to communicate the fact that Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, is the self-expression of God to the world. In the Old Testament, the word of God brought the universe into existence (Psalm 33:6) and saved the needy (Psalm 107:20). In chapter 1 of his Gospel, John is appealing to both Jew and Gentile to receive the eternal Christ.

Jesus told a parable in Luke 20:9–16 to explain why the Word had to become flesh. “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.

“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

In this parable, Jesus was reminding the Jewish leaders that they had rejected the prophets and were now rejecting the Son. The Logos, the Word of God, was now going to be offered to everyone, not just the Jews (John 10:16; Galatians 2:28; Colossians 3:11). Because the Word became flesh, we have a high priest who is able to empathize with our weaknesses, one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).