All posts by richardbarker777

Author of "The Fellowship of the Secret"

CAIN – CHILD OF THE DEVIL

 

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Both Jesus and Paul referred to certain individuals as “children of the devil”, Cain being the archetype of those who follow “in his way” (Jude11). John described Adam’s first-born as ek tou ponerou, i.e. derived from the Evil One (1Jn3:12).  Ultimately of course like Lucifer himself, he is derived from God. All human souls are created by God (cf. Rom9:21,22) but not all are planted by Him (Mt13:39; 15:13), a mystery that I explore so far as I have been enabled in chapter six of my book. The requirements for acceptance within the Universal Covenant from which Cain defaulted are intuitive, a part of natural law, involving the innate spiritual faculty we know of as conscience. In the Bible’s definitive chapter on final judgement, the Matthew 25 sheep did not require “special revelation” or a religious creed to recognise that they should show compassion to those in need – it was intuitive to them, since they were “ek tou theou”  (of God 1Jn4:7). As Jesus made crystal clear, such is the quality that determines a person’s post-mortem fate (Mt25:44-46). It is a passage in which religious faith is not mentioned at all, but such acts of compassion are evidence (indeed the efflux) of an underlying faith or godly fear as I seek to demonstrate from Scripture in chapter three of my book, along with evidence that such a concept of natural law was understood by the earliest (pre-Augustinian) Church Fathers who had received the Faith directly from the apostles or their immediate appointees and so were not solely reliant on biblical exegesis.
One’s status within the Universal Covenant also determines one’s involvement or otherwise with Satan as an agent (Greek: aggelos) within God’s mysterious providential role for evil. That is why Cain as the type of those rejected from that covenant was brand-marked and protected rather than wiped out there and then. These issues are, as it were, the unilluminated side of the revelation globe, pertaining (I believe) to the final mystery concerning God’s intentions towards His earthly creation (cf. Rev10:4-10). Failing to perceive the mystery of providence has resulted in biblical theologians for ever attempting to fit three square pegs (soteriological categories) into two round holes (soteriological outcomes). Anyone reflecting with hindsight on our planet’s religious and cultural formation should discern that such a presentation of the “Good News”  not only provides the direst of cosmic outcomes but distorts the perceived characteristics  of both man and his Creator. It dishonours the magnanimity and loving kindness of the One and nullifies the underlying goodness of the other, especially mankind’s ability to practice agape (compassionate love)  which ultimately determines what one is and where one is heading (Mt25 again), the religious dimension determining in what capacity (Dan7:18). Such foundational  errors have also resulted  in seemingly intractable tensions within scripture typified by the narrow way leading to Life that few will ever attain on the one hand and frequent intimations (not least by Paul) of God’s broader scale intentions to reconcile all redeemable humanity to Himself on the other. The latter is surely consistent with the divine nature as Scripture reveals it and the Son of Man reflected it: compassionate and forgiving, making allowance for human weakness and culturally related ignorance (Acts17:30 cp. Amos3:2), yet One who will by no means show mercy towards the merciless but will avenge them for the suffering they have caused to those He loves (cf.  Ex34:6-7; 2Thes1:5-6; Rev16:5-7).
It is surely no coincidence that Adam had three sons as did our postdiluvian Patriarch Noah, and from these have sprung all humanity: Adam’s son Seth and Noah’s son Shem represent the elect line; Adam’s son Abel and Noah’s son Japheth the “righteous” within the Universal Covenant whilst Adam’s son Cain and Noah’s son Ham were the accursed defaulters albeit that only one of Ham’s sons was cursed (Canaan) as Ham had already received a blessing (Gen9:1). Once we arrive at the EXCLUSIVE Abrahamic Covenant, Isaac represents the elect line resulting in Israel, whist Abraham’s other son Ishmael who had been circumcised by his father and blessed by God (Gen17:20), thereafter remaining in His favour and care (Gen21:20) had not been elected to the Covenant of Promise. As for the Church –
“You brethren LIKE ISAAC are the children of promise” (Gal4:28NASB):
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And you sisters and brethren, if baptised, are in the elective covenant that replaced Abraham’s and you are there by grace alone. Others are equally loved and precious to God as was Ishmael, but are not elected to the exclusive grouping predestined before the foundation of the world to form the community in which the spiritual resources and teaching are provided for faithful adherents to become holy and faultless in love before God through Jesus Christ (cf. Eph1:4,5). That is the Church, priesthood for the world (1Pet2:9), brought forth by God’s will to be the first-fruits of His creation (cf. Jam1:18)
[A quote from “Fellowship of the Secret” – chapter 3]
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** Illustration: A photo booth “selfie” of Patrick Mackay (b. 1952), a.k.a. “the Devil’s Disciple”  – a prolific UK serial killer, animal torturer and Nazi enthusiast, allegedly taken on the very day he axed to death the Catholic priest who had earlier counselled him

REVELATION 10 / EZEKIEL 3 – A DUAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE FINAL MYSTERY OF GOD

fotspaperbackSCROLLENOCH 

 AND HE SAID UNTO ME, “SON OF MAN, CAUSE THY BELLY TO EAT, AND FILL THY BOWELS WITH THIS (SCROLL) THAT I GIVE THEE. THEN DID I EAT IT; AND IT WAS IN MY MOUTH AS HONEY FOR SWEETNESS” (Ezek3:3KJV; cf. Rev10:4-11)

 This is one of a number of prophetic passages that were drawn to my attention during the ten or so days I referred to in earlier posts as my spiritual encounter, during which time I would open the Scriptures and interpret certain passages in quite a new way, humanly speaking by applying a precise and highly literal approach to the original Hebrew or Greek. I hint at what I believe the above verse and its broader context may be referring to in my book, though I do not claim currently to be certain of the matter. Purely at the personal level, what I have come to understand to be God’s providential intentions for humanity tastes sweet as honey in the mouth; yet once ingested, the narrower traditional outcomes I had previously anticipated leave a decidedly sour sensation in in the abdominals (Greek: koilian – Rev10:10), as if ready for expulsion.  If I am right, the final mystery of God would pertain to a disclosure  regarding divine providence (see also:  book of Enoch  chapter 93 verse 10) 

 

 

LUKE 9  THE DISCIPLES’ IGNORANCE OF THEIR MESSIAH’S EARTHLY FATE

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(Jesus) said to His disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”  But (the disciples) did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement (Lk9:44-45NASB).

Progressing to Luke 9, a key to unravelling the mystery of God’s providential intentions towards His earthly creation (cf. Rev10) and the historical errors concerning it is to recognize that even Jesus’ closest disciples were not aware that their Messiah was destined to die (see also Lk18:33-34 & Mt16:22; 17:22-23). It re-affirms the point made in my earlier post concerning the “gospel of the kingdom” and the fact that that particular mission statement cannot have incorporated any soteriology pertaining to the Cross. Of course the apostolic writers and the churches founded by them have rightly focused on the latter, but such could not have been contained within “THIS gospel of the Kingdom” that Jesus was referring to in the Olivet discourse (Mt24:14 Greek), for that same “gospel” had been preached by His disciples (Mt10:7-8) whom Matthew and Luke affirm were at the time clueless concerning their Master’s future Passion or its purpose. This simple observation has radical implications: it nullifies the fearsome Augustine’s proposal that people in Old Testament times were condemned to Hell except they had “believed in the incarnation, passion and resurrection of Christ as a future event” [a].  Nor, referring back to Genesis could righteous Abel have been “anticipating the Passion” when he sacrificed an animal whilst his brother offered the dregs of his fruit harvest. Cain happened to be a fruit farmer, Abel tended livestock (Gen4:2); but comparing scripture with scripture the key point is that Abel’s offering had been accepted because his works were righteous; Cain AND his offering were rejected because his works were evil (1Jn3:11,12). The one was a child of God, the other was described by the apostle John as wicked and satanic (ek tou ponerou), derived from the Evil One (1Jn3:12). Cain as the first man to be born of woman was the archetype of what Jesus, John and Paul refer to as children of the devil, whom, to put it mildly, are to be ignominiously dealt with at Christ’s coming (cf. Rom9:21,22; 2Thes1:8; Mt13:49; Mt15:13; ref: Enoch1:1). Similarly, Abel will not have “got saved” by anticipating Calvary, for I say again, even Christ’s disciples were ignorant of His future Passion or its purpose. Rather, Abel was justified within the eluded universal covenant of life (explained in FOTS* ch.2); the Cain and Abel story is concerned with the reprobation of the elder brother, who showed himself to be a God-hating homicidal maniac. He became “cursed from the earth” (Gen4:11 – note the “NOW”) and alienated from God’s loving care (Gen4:14 – note “THIS DAY”), i.e. his reprobation was affirmed AFTER killing his brother (cf. the mystery of evil – FOTS* ch.6).

Cain’s fate is not the fate of man by nature, for man is “in Adam”, not Cain. Natural man’s fate is for his God-given soul/spirit (that which returns to God at death) to inherit “the body of THIS death” (somatos tou thanatou TOUTOU Rom7:24) from his parents, ultimately from Adam. Paul’s “this” (toutou) is important as it refers to the “death” Paul is describing in the passage (Rom7:14-24), i.e. what the person he was depicting was currently experiencing; not the fact that he was mortal or was ” to go to hell when he dies”. As a result of such anthropological dualism (which Augustine dismissed, partly as a result of his wariness concerning the heretical  cosmic dualism expounded by Manes), natural man aspires to do good and genuinely admires noble qualities such as compassion, generosity, bravery and integrity in others; indeed in view of his conscience (which fails to function in the likes of Cain), fallen man exhibit by nature some of the qualities prescribed in God’s Law becoming a law for himself (Rom2:14,15 strictly Greek). At the same, there is within man another law or guiding principle “within his members” (i.e. his physical senses as processed through the brain) “warring against the law in his mind (the conscience Rom2:15), bringing him into captivity to the law of sin (concupiscence) which is in his members (cf. Rom7:22-24 Greek). Such is the nature of “original sin” or Pauline “death”, and unless remedied, it radically damages the relationship with God for which man was created.  It may indeed be remedied in the present (for a minority) by responding to the gospel and experiencing sacramental participation with Christ (Jn6:55-57). By such means of grace allied with corporal discipline (1Cor9:27), those who are called, chosen and faithful are “saved” from the corrupting influences of their disordered senses, becoming “free indeed to serve the living God” even whilst in Paul’s “body of death”; their souls being progressively healed so as to be fitted to share an immediate inheritance with the Son of God when He comes to establish His eternal Kingdom (cf. Rom8:17-23).  As Paul jubilantly referred to this mystery, it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Col1:26,27NKJV)

 

 

[a [a] Augustine: “Against two letters of the Pelagians” Book III Chap. 11 

* i.e. The Fellowship of the Secret

LUKE 7 – JESUS AND HIS HERALD JOHN: REVERED BY ORDINARY JEWS; SNUBBED BY THEIR LEADERS

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Continuing the review of passages that particularly came to my attention during the writing of “The Fellowship of the Secret” * –

Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”   And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region [vv16-17 NKJV].

When all the people and the tax collectors heard this (Jesus’ acclamation of His herald), they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John [vv29-30NASB]

The Man Christ Jesus was foretold to be “despised and rejected by men” (Is53:3); and so He was ultimately, for as the Lord had observed, His people (i.e. the Jews) were like sheep without a shepherd (Mt9:36). For many of their spiritual leaders were ravenous wolves who succeeded in persuading and cajoling the people who a few days earlier had acclaimed their Messiah’s prophetic entrance into Jerusalem to demand His crucifixion. As the account in Mark makes clearer, the chief priests had handed Jesus over to the Roman authorities out of envy and succeeded in stirring up the crowd to call for Barabbas’ release in His place (Mk15:10-11).   But as the verses from Luke 7 quoted above indicate, the Jewish people were not instinctively hateful or derisory towards either Jesus or His herald John. They had “glorified God” after Jesus resurrected the widow’s son at Nain (v16) and “acknowledged God’s justice” at Jesus’ affirmation of John’s greatness as a prophet (v29). Their leaders on the other hand being the Pharisees, priests and interpreters of the Law “rejected God’s purpose for themselves“, refusing the baptism of repentance offered to them (v30). That “purpose” would have been to take forward the work of the Kingdom, supporting their Messiah as leaders and teachers of the people, but that same Messiah deemed them “unfit for purpose” and selected His dozen from amongst artisans, fishermen and tax collectors. Yet Jesus went on to insist that those same leaders were still to be obeyed by the people since “they occupied the seat of Moses”, albeit “Do what they say, not what they do” (Mt23:1-3). This affirmed that Jesus did not regard Himself at this point as “instigating a new religion”, or else why would He require the people to whom He was ministering to continue to obey their appointed leaders? (The answer pertains to the subject of my book*, i.e. what Paul was alluding to in Eph3:9-11). And it suggests that even the princes and people of the true Church must take care that they are not to be snubbed by their Master at His return, observing the sentiments behind the herald’s warning recorded in Matthew3:8-9:

So bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I (John) say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these very stones!

 

* Access free download at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/606930

LUKE 6 (cont.) THE REDISTRIBITIVE ASPECTS OF DIVINE JUDGEMENT

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Jesus’ teaching of final judgement is dealt with more definitively in Matthew’s account (chapter 25 – considered a few posts ago). Luke, a companion of Paul [1] recorded Jesus as teaching that an individual’s status and suffering during their lifetime is taken into account at Judgement, both in his rendering of the Beatitudes, the negative aspects of which I have quoted above, and particularly in what is effectively the only account we have of an individuals’ experience in Hell [2]: the account of the rich man and Lazarus, the text of which requires careful attention (Lk16:19-31). The only stated criterion distinguishing these two men was that one had had a life of ease and comfort whilst the other had been poor and wretched (Lk16:25). It may be deduced (from vv27-31) that the rich man was suffering because of the way he had utilised his wealth; living wantonly whilst failing to show care and compassion for miserable beggars like Lazarus (with whom Jesus personally identifies – Mt25:45), yet no reason is given at all why Lazarus should be comforted after his death other than that he had experienced a life of poverty and sickness (Lk16:25); thus had he been salted (cf. Mk9:49). The redistributive or compensatory aspects of judgement at death are also emphasised in the letter of James who exhorts the oppressive rich to weep and howl for the miseries that are to come upon them (Ja5:1KJV). It is clear from subsequent verses that he is referring to the materially wealthy who obtained their wealth by defrauding and exploiting of the poor. James (as ever) is reflecting the teaching of Christ, who also had a word of warning for the well-to-do:
Alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now. Alas for you who have plenty to eat now: you shall go hungry. Alas for you who are laughing now: you shall mourn and weep (Lk6:24,25).

I now understand this to be partly a question of redistributive justice but that it also relates to the role and necessity of human suffering (salting) explained in the theodicy (chapter seven of my book). For sure, Luke’s interpretation of Jesus’ teaching needs to be taken alongside Matthew’s emphasis on more spiritual and moral qualities (Mt5): poverty of spirit, hunger for righteousness, kindness, compassion and purity. For a lousy crook may be poor but is hardly fitted for God’s Kingdom. So life experience, moral and spiritual integrity, and especially how one has treated the poor with whom Christ personally identifies (Mt25) will determine how one fares after death, and also when Christ’s kingdom is consummated, resulting in a change of fortunes for many (cf. Mk10:31).
[1] Some biblical scholars question whether the author of Luke-Acts could possibly be the Luke referred to as Paul’s companion in three of his letters; partly in view of seeming differences in the account of Paul’s conversion and subsequent events (Acts9:1-31 cf. Gal1:17-24); more particularly in view of their understanding that Luke’s theology was different to Paul’s, whereas I am in the business of demonstrating that Paul’s theology (once properly understood) does not contradict that of any other contributors to Scripture.
[2] strictly “Hades” being the place of the dead, an intermediate state between death and resurrection in which, according to Luke’s interpretation of Jesus’ teaching, disembodied spirits are nevertheless conscious and aware of either pain or comfort.

 

LUKE CHAPTER SIX – THE TEACHING OF CHRIST: THE FOUNDATION FOR LIFE

 

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:   He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell.[i] And the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49)

A children’s chorus comes to mind as I read this passage: The wise man built his house on the rock – but what is the rock? “So build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ” concludes the chorus, but Jesus is not here referring to Himself as the rock but His teaching. In this instance he is referring to what we are to do not what He has done on our behalf. Hence, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say?  He who hears the Lord’s sayings and does them is the one who builds on the rock (v47). Such is the obedience of faith and our participation in it. Similarly, back in Matthew – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  Such people will have imagined they had built their life on the LJC – His name was ever on their lips and He was at the heart of what they perceived to have been their ministry, yet their hearts were far from Him. That may well have been because they were unaware they were expected to fulfil what James refers to as “the royal law” – to love one’s neighbour as oneself (Jam2:8). This may appear to contradict the teaching of Paul but I endeavour to show in my book that such is not the case. Once Paul has been rightly understood both he, James, Peter and the rest will be seen to affirm the teaching of the Master, the spiritual Rock that is indeed the Christ (1Cor10:4).