Pilate asked “what is aletheia”?[1]  Heidegger said that it was something we have forgotten[2] and aletheia is what Jesus claimed to be[3] . The Greeks thought of aletheia as reality and some say that aletheia is truth[4]. Heidegger said that aletheia makes truth possible[5] . He spoke of its unconcealing nature [6] . Reality, truth and unconcealment all speak of aletheia. Evidently, Heidegger translated aletheia as unconcealment because the reality of unconcealment has been neglected[7]. Heidegger suggested that aletheia creates space for life and allows light onto that which we discover[8]. Aletheia sustains the relationship between thoughts and that which thoughts are about. [9]. We express our thoughts whilst being in unconcealed space. It is within an unconcealed space that we judge the world – a world into which we are thrown [10]  through aletheia.

‘Before’ anything is judged to be of practical use it must first be appreciated aesthetically. We have an aesthetic attitude towards that which we judge[11]. An aesthetic judgement does not concern an ‘undiscovered’ future; an aesthetic judgement articulates whether or not the reality that we are thrown into satisfies our desire. So, it is as aesthetic judges that we will judge whether or not something has been and continues to be of practical use. Following in Heidegger’s footsteps, we can characterise aspects of reality as not being fit for our purposes, absent, an obstacle and uncomfortable [12]. The reality of any disappointment reveals that we do not reveal reality and yet it is revealed; its revelation is a reality and so its unconcealment can be called aletheia. Should aletheia not also be acknowledged when we are thrilled with what has been revealed? When we are satisfied, happy and ecstatic?

Perhaps it takes a disappointment to reveal that mere humans do not realise the revealed through ‘positive thinking’; our desires may visualise what they want but we don’t always get what we want. We are at the mercy of the real! It confronts us! Heidegger rightly says that we are “thrown”[13] into that which is revealed; ultimately, we are at the mercy of the reality that throws us into the reality that is unconcealed!

We are thrown into a world that confronts us with its objectivity. We respond by confronting the world with our opinions. We like, dislike, love, hate, worship and reject that which confronts us. In this way our personality emerges in judgement.

Judgement discloses the existence of a relationship with the world because judgement requires two things: a judge and that which is judged.

We, who are subject to the objective, are objectified in judgement. Subsequently, we can each say “I judge, therefore I am in the world”[14].

As judges we realise that the smashing together of the subjective with the objective disclose a relationship into which we are delivered; our relationship with that which we judge; our Titanic relationship with the objective world; a relationship permeated in confrontation. Does this confrontational collision constitute what Heidegger described? [15] Such confrontation constitutes an unconcealed space in which life lives. Our unconcealed relationship with a confrontational reality is dependant upon being thrown together by unconcealment, Aletheia.

The Attempted Manipulation of Authority

In confrontation rocks may fall on us but we can attempt to build cities and we who judge are ourselves judged. We can attempt to manipulate otherness but otherness may resist.

The people I want to spend time with may not want to spend time with me. I might try to kick a football into a net and not be able to; I may fall over, or my leg might fall off, I may hit the post or I might get struck by a bolt of lightning. The sun may rise tomorrow, and we may want it to, but then again, it may not. The world may resist manipulation.

However with imagination we can create and manipulate fiction. I for example can imagine a fictitious blue elephant; not, I hasten to add, because I have ever seen or heard of a blue elephant but because my imagination can amalgamate knowledge of the colour blue and knowledge of elephants into a new creation. At the point of creation, a piece of fiction is objectified and confronts its creator.

But where does one confront such an imaginary object (geographically speaking)? Travelling in the speech of others? Possibly. But where did such speech come from? It emerged from the imagination, but what does that mean? It means that minds can make something of reality. Minds can make the imagined and that which is imagined is certainly not nothing but something; something that we can interact with, shape, manipulate and judge but cannot touch. The imagined is born in the thinking of an author and as a result can be found in the domain of an authority.

With authority we create arguments which are judged to be either good or bad, valid or invalid, logical or illogical, reasonable or unreasonable. Arguments can be sought in order to justify a particular judgement, they judge judgement, and can be constructed by thinking. The construction of an argument is an imaginary process in that it takes one’s imagination to amalgamate ones thoughts into good, valid, logical and reasonable lines of thought; it is an imaginative method through which argumentation is caused.

In spite of the intrinsic causation that exists between the imagination and the imagined, David Hume suggested that the imagination could make any knowledge of causation impossible! Hume said that we could imagine, in our imagination, anything coming into existence without a cause[16] . Hume’s imagination, however, is precisely the cause of his reasoning! What’s more, he who merely imagines any object to be non-existent this moment, and existent the next, ‘without’ conjoining to it the distinct idea of a cause or productive principal, is precisely the cause of such fiction![17]

We are the makers of our arguments and our fiction. Our arguments and fiction are the products of our imagination; they are created by thinking; they are themselves the thoughts of an author and as a result can be found in the domain of an authority.

Now we are to address the notion that we are to be found within the domain of God’s authority, the proposal that our objective world is imagined by God and that history is God’s statement; a statement that is infected with His judgemental opinion. We are here confronted by the proposal that we confront God and provoke His judgement.

[18] .

Basic Writtings, Edited by David Farrell Krell, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, p 390[/ref]

The Invasion of History

So, does our confrontational history depend upon the authority of God? At the heart of the matter is the question of whether or not our history is independent; the question of whether or not we should separate the idea of a cause from that of a beginning of existence. If history is independent then we who are historical have been blindly cascading into uncharted possibility. If history depends on anything then we who are historical have a source that makes our history possible.

Throughout our history humans have tried to understand, measure and categorise historical reality. Some of us love to divide, cut up, pin-point and record an exact amount of time a sprinter takes to run one hundred meters. We divide time into seconds and to the nearest tenth, hundredth and thousandth of a second; but where can such dividing take us? To the smallest unit of time? What’s in a moment? A length of time or the stillness of a photograph?[19]

It seems premature to think that the history we judge consists of a series of stills but we can be certain that we judge a changing reality. A sprint is a changing reality, so is a game of football, so is a song. Every song, every game of football and every sprint has a beginning, ‘middle’ and an end, and they are judged; judged to be awful, wonderful, spectacular, intense and inspiring. We are confronted by their objective development and subsequently judge them as temporal objects.

Heidegger’s Being and Time suggested that our thrownness was more intrinsically complicated than simply being involved in a succession [20]  of present slices.

That may well be the case. In our judgement of temporal objects we recognise a temporal object as temporal because of its gradual development ‘over’ time. That is to say that temporal recognition is possible because any changing reality requires a passage in time for its change to occur. Now, obviously an awareness of any judgement implies a confrontation with an objective reality because any judgement refers to an object that can be judged. Subsequently, we, who are caught up in a present moment, can be sure that an objective past has existed because of our awareness of temporal objects (that have a past) that are subject to our judgement[22] . In other words, in our judgement of temporal objects we inherently prove the existence of an objective changing reality and subsequently the existence of a passage in time.

If there was no passage in time then we could not be confronted with temporal objects and yet we judge temporal objects all the time. For instance, when we judge a song our judgement of the song’s second note is affected by the sound of its predecessor, we judge both together[23]  and eventually we judge the unity of the whole song. But in order for us to judge songs in the first place they have to begin to be; and so do we.

. [24]

To care is to judge and the temporal objects that we judge primarily begin. If they did not begin then they could not begin to be. Of course we could try to exclude the beginning of temporal objects from our judgement of them; perhaps we prefer a goal to any passage of play that led to a goal and perhaps we prefer the latter half of a song. However any subtraction of time from a temporal object merely shifts our focus to a new temporal object such as the goal itself or the latter half of a song – both of which primarily begin. Similarly, any judgemental division of time heralds a new beginning. Implicitly this means that any changing reality extends from a beginning – a beginning of existence.

Thrown into a chronological confrontation, we are confronted with a re-freshing reality which results in a change of mood through judgement. There was once a time when I was comfortable and then there was a time when I was in pain; I judged the pain to be uncomfortable precisely because I knew that comfort had once existed. When the pain eased I judged the relief to be good and better than my painful experience. Each of these judgements primarily began to be at the same time as their referential experiences began to be; the earlier experiences affected the judgement of the later experiences. In such chronological confrontation we acknowledge that temporal objects begin to be and we can subsequently conclude that temporal objects primarily begin. Subsequently we can conclude that anything historical has to begin to be in order to be historical.

As my judgemental mood changes I must conclude that I am changing and am myself a temporal object, a re-freshing reality that re-begins. And as we who are temporal can attribute a beginning to any element[25]  of our history we can conclude that our history is a history of beginnings. That is to say, that in confrontation, we witness the invasion of one beginning after another, each simultaneously re-freshing our experience. I am confronted with and judge objects, therefore I am in the objective world; I am simultaneously confronted with and judge temporal objects, therefore I am in an objective temporality – and judge – all the time.


Temporality certainly confronts and thereby invades the human judge, however the human judge is himself caught up in temporality; the human judge is himself a
re-freshing reality and thereby invades in judgement of and with the rest of his re-freshing world; together they re-begin to be. What then, could beginnings invade? Could beginnings invade previous beginnings? No: the tangible experience of a beginning’s re-freshing nature enables us to recognise that in beginnings we have been thrown into a new space that is totally distinguishable from the previous note of the past. So clearly in order for a beginning to be it must begin to be afresh; this implies the existence of a reality that it confronts; else we say that it was born in-to nothing; and nothing is not black, nothing has no shape, space, potential or character; nothing can only be described negatively, nothing by definition does not exist and we must therefore exclude its possibility; nothing is impossible[29] . There is then no question of a beginning emerging out of ‘nothing’. In such a scenario, a beginning would have to overhaul ‘nothingness’ but in order for the beginning to do this it would already have to exist before it began to be. What’s more, we cannot say that, when a beginning began, nothing actually changed into something, for then ‘nothing’ would have the property of changing and a changing reality is certainly not nothing but something. And what of the suggestion that there could be a time when there was or is nothing, the suggestion that the objective content of some beginnings re-fresh the absence of any objective content chronologically or vice versa? Such a suggestion inherently declares a special distinction between temporal objects and the object of time itself[30] , a distinction that would see ‘nothing’ for a time and then replace it with something in the future or vice versa. Well obviously such a suggestion implies that ‘nothing’ begins to be, invades along with that which we are confronted with and subsequently begs and revalidates the question concerning the confrontational invasion into which beginnings are delivered. The validity of this question implies that beginnings invade a reality (that is not ‘nothing’) that is separate from any past beginning[31].

It is upon this objective mystery that our history of beginnings depend. In other words, history is too late to be independent; when it begins to be it essentially confronts a reality; if there was nothing for history to invade then history could not begin to be; history therefore depends upon that which it occupies. That which history occupies is therefore necessary for the sustenance of history. The notion that that which we invade could itself be temporal must (eventually) be put down because even if there were engulfing temporal dimensions or criss-crossing or clashing temporalities, at the point of meeting they would simultaneously invade something else. That which history occupies is therefore ontologically ‘prior’ (and not chronologically prior) to the beginnings of existence. So reality is at least dualistic. There is the temporal world and that which the temporal world occupies; that which the temporal world occupies is not itself temporal and is therefore an unchanging absolute state; an unchanging absolute state that sustains the changing world that we are thrown into. Therefore the unchanging absolute state makes our re-freshing thrownness and its unconcealment possible.

So the question of whether or not our confrontational history is independent, that is to say, the question of whether or not we should separate the idea of a cause from that of a beginning of existence is answered and finds its solution in the necessary existence of an unchanging absolute state that innately provides conditions upon which history depends; that is to say that history exists because the unchanging absolute state exists. Subsequently our confrontational history is not independent and we cannot separate the idea of a cause from that of a beginning of existence.

We have looked at what it means to be temporal and concluded that the temporal necessarily depends upon the unchanging. Subsequently we can say that the unchanging is essential to the existence of the temporal. This means that it is impossible to genuinely conceive of the temporal as being independent just as it is genuinely impossible to conceive of a ‘square circle’. If asked to imagine a ‘square circle’ one may be able to conceptualise a square and one may be able to conceptualise a circle but in an attempt to amalgamate the two concepts one finds that the two are mutually exclusive and cannot be amalgamated[32] . If one understands what it means to be a square and if one understands what it means to be a circle then one would realise that any attempt to conceptualise a ‘square circle’ would be futile. Likewise, if one understands what it means to be temporal and if one understands what it means to be independent then one would realise that the idea of a beginning of existence and the idea of independence are mutually exclusive due to the fact that beginnings require something to sustain their invasion. As a result, the idea of a beginning and the idea of independence cannot be unified. That being said, when we imagine a beginning of existence we cannot separate the idea of a cause from that of a beginning of existence; the two are unified. Subsequently we should give up the pretence of thinking that we can conceive any object to be non-existent this moment, and existent the next, without conjoining it to the distinct idea of a cause or productive principal; it is impossible to imagine ‘independent beginnings of existence’. Such a conclusion rests on the fact that beginnings require an objective reality to sustain their invasion. Furthermore, such a conclusion is illustrated by the fact that any idea exists because it is imagined. The imagination makes it inherently impossible to separate an imagined beginning of existence from the idea of a cause because the one who imagines a beginning of existence cannot escape the idea that one is imagining a beginning of existence and is therefore inherently causing (and sustaining) its (fictional) existence. For human beings the process of imagining anything is a temporal process and is subsequently a process that is dependent upon the unchanging absolute state. In acknowledging this state a temporal author will incorporate his belief in absolute dependence within his act of imagining and will subsequently view all of his imagined fictions as being ultimately ontologically caused by the unchanging absolute state.

Independent Conception

We will only be able to conceptualise the notion of independence once it has been discovered as belonging to a specific object at which point we will be able to conceptualise that object’s independence. Concepts are similar to judgements in that they concern objects, for example the concept of a football match, the concept of an orange, the concept of a song, or even the concept of a cat all inherently conceptualise objects such as football matches, oranges, songs and cats. We can judge concepts according to their relevance; for example, we may not think that the concept of a unicorn is very relevant outside the worlds of fiction but one may decide that the concept of a beginning of existence is relevant to everyday life. An object’s conceptualisation attributes an object with an identity – an identity that is recognised and named according to its kind. If you close your eyes on a stormy beach you may hear the crashing of the wind and the waves but you might not be able to distinguish which is which; you may conceptualise the sound of the waves as the sound of the wind or vice versa. Similarly if your vision was impaired and someone placed an orange in your right hand and an avocado in your left then you might not be able to distinguish which was which due to the fact that the concepts of their texture are similar. Similarly you may not be able to tell whether the following drawing depicts a duck or a rabbit.


If you identify the drawing as a picture of a duck then you will have interpreted the lines of the page as outlining your concept of a duck; and if you identify the drawing as a picture of a rabbit then you will have interpreted the lines on the page as outlining your concept of a rabbit. If you don’t actually possess the concept of a duck or the concept of a rabbit then presumably you will have not thought that the drawing depicted a duck or a rabbit; you may think it depicts something else or you may just see it as a series of lines or areas of interest that can be judged. We can use concepts to judge the world through naming our areas of interest and categorising them according to what we think they are. At the end of the day, a concept is a word that is imaginatively associated with a given object (or with many objects of the same kind). With judgement we name reality with a definite sound or mark; in doing so we form conceptual reality. Naming is a curious phenomenon; naming is even more curious when we judgementally apply the same name to two distinct realities. When we call two objective realities by the same name we can refer to them collectively in the plural. Furthermore, we can imaginatively amalgamate concepts like the concept of blue and the concept of elephants and the concept of giraffes into new concepts like blue elephants or blue giraffes or elephanaffes (that is to say, elephants with really long necks). But how can we explain our conceptual knowledge?

John Haldane set his explanation firmly within the context of a philosophical dispute between abstractionists and innatists. Abstractionists will argue that we abstract concepts from our experiences. Innatists will argue that we are either born with concepts or just happen to possess a conceptual knowledge that is independent of any particular experience. In his Atheism and Theism, a co-authored debate with J.J.C Smart, John Haldane highlighted the problematic conclusions of both camps. Citing Peter Geach’s argument against abstractionism, Haldane considered the fact that in order to abstract a concept one must already be familiar with the concept in order to identify it and abstract it from one’s surroundings. Haldane used the concept of a square as an example. We use the square’s name and apply it to many distinct square shapes of varying size and purpose. We can think of a square as being a general concept that can be pluralised. So consider the first time you ever thought of something being square. In order to think of it as being a square you would probably have to know what squareness meant.


Lets be pernickety and suggest that the concept of a square was originally amalgamated out of the concept of four straight lines of equal length and the concept of four touching locations; needless to say, any amalgamation of concepts requires the existence of raw concepts that can be amalgamated (such as the concept of a straight line, the concept of more than one of the same kind, the concept of four and the concept of reconfiguring); subsequently our conceptual amalgamations cannot explain away the existence of concepts.

Regarding innatism, Haldane asked his reader to consider how many concepts they possess and asks if we were born with the concept of a square and the concept of a rectangle. He asks them to hypothetically consider the possibility that cavemen possessed the concept of a telephone but never had an occasion to use it. Having asked these questions Haldane dismissed both Abstractionism and Innatism as insufficient for the task of explaining our general conceptual knowledge . So how is it that we find ourselves with general conceptual knowledge? Haldane has offered us a solution; he has forged the Witgensteinian-Thomistic account of concept-formation. His account has barged between the abstractionism of those who believe that concepts are stolen through the doors of experience and the innatism of those who think that we were born with conceptual knowledge[33]. Haldane has suggested that humans must possess an innate ability to form general concepts and that such concepts must ultimately be inspired by our parents or ‘guardians’[34] . Haldane has reasoned that human beings who conceptualise – that is to say, name objects – do so because they have been taught to name objects by other people. Our parents and ‘guardians’ taught us to name objects; we have learned their language and followed their example. When we teach our children to speak it is obviously the case that we employ a form of pointing. A child might call a ball a ball and by conceptual extension he might call the sun a ball. But he would not have called either a ball if he had not been taught to associate the word “ball” with a circular roundness that had been pointed out. Imagine a test tube baby who grew into a tube-fed and isolated child who had never been taught to associate circular roundness with any sound or phenomenon. Imagine that that same child saw the sun out of a window. Now imagine that at night a ball was thrown into the lonely child’s room. Imagine that the ball stayed with the child for the rest of his life. Do you think that this isolated child would acknowledge any similarity between the sun and the ball? Do you think that the child would intellectually classify the sun and the ball as being of a patterned kind? And, more to the point, do you think that the child, who had never been taught to speak, who had never been taught to name objects, would classify the similarity with a name? I do not think that such a child would invent names for objects or even conceptually classify two distinguished objects with the same name[35]. We live in a worded world and it is precisely the worded world that we must explain. I imagine that most children will notice a similarity that exists between their two hands but it is surely the case that such a similarity would whilst acknowledged remain unnamed until the child had been taught to name their hands. It is simply the case that children are taught to name objects. Subsequently, it can be concluded that the naming of objects by a human being is dependent upon the existence of a teacher who has taught a human, who has named an object, to name that which confronts them. When I was taught to name an object in our house a “washing machine”, I enthusiastically began to apply the name to everything else that I had been taught; this naming was not a conceptual extension which recognised a patterned kind; it was mere enthusiasm which celebrated the existence of a particular sound by generalising it. I even called my uncle “Uncle Gordon washing machine”[36]. What’s more, I suspect that I would not have generalised the concept of ‘washing machine’ if I had not already been taught to apply a name such as “door” or “man” or “lion” to more than one object; I believe that I had already been taught to generalise concepts before I generalised concepts for myself. It took some considerable linguistic persuasion from my parents to stop me applying the name ‘washing machine’ to anyone and anything.

Haldane points us to the fact that our parents or ‘guardians’ have changed the way we think by helping us to think conceptually. Haldane has subsequently confronted us with the notion of a conceptual regress that is inherited and handed down from one generation to the next. Haldane has implied that a human’s conceptual knowledge depends upon conceptual knowledge (that is shared). Haldane has noted that this conclusion is also made by Wittgenstein – who attributed human understanding to the influences of social interaction[37]. In Atheism and Theism, Haldane pushed Wittgenstein’s notion to its logical conclusion. Haldane points out the fact that our conceptual knowledge finds itself influenced and dependent upon a regress of conceptual knowledge that has been passed down through the generations. Haldane subsequently suggested that conceptual knowledge has always existed and, in accordance with the thinking of Thomas Aquinas, argues that the source of our conceptual knowledge is God.[38] The first way in which Aquinas points to the existence of God involves the reality of influence and change. In Atheism and Theism, Haldane relates his argument to Aquinas’s first way by observing that when a child begins to think conceptually, the child’s mind has been influenced and changed. Aquinas saw that changing reality is changing because something else or someone else is influencing it; we can also see that in everyday life, the person or thing that is being changed, has – in relation to that which is influencing it and causing it to change – no control, over its change. (A person does have control over their own reasoning but does not have control over the fact that they are influenced and are being changed along with everything else that is being influenced). Aquinas says that this process cannot have gone on forever – in our changing past – because there would then be no first cause of change. So Aquinas states that there is a first cause and says that this first cause is God.[39]

Haldane states that the coming to be of conceptual power in the mind of a child is a change; a change that depends upon the influence of another conceptual power; a change that triggers Aquinas’s argument in relation to conceptual knowledge.[40] An argument which runs as follows: Human conceptual knowledge depends upon shared conceptual knowledge, this cannot go on forever, because then there would be no first sharing of conceptual knowledge, so there must be some first Being which in and of Himself has conceptual knowledge, who shares conceptual knowledge, and we identify this first Being as God.

In Atheism and Theism, Haldane suggests that God’s conceptual knowledge is intrinsic and, unlike our conceptual knowledge, is not dependant upon a shared communication. Haldane’s Wittgensteinian-Thomistic account of concept formation leaves us with parts of abstractionism and innatism. The abstractionists can take some comfort in acknowledging that a child’s acquisition of conceptual knowledge depends upon that child’s experience of a relationship with another being who points to and names the objects of experience through social interaction. The innatists can take some comfort in acknowledging that the acquisition of conceptual knowledge depends upon the personal power of thought in the midst of a social interaction.

Parents and guardians who teach their children to speak must surely concur with Haldane’s Wittgensteinian-Thomistic account of concept formation. Children copy their parents and anyone else who happens to be around. They inherit a language and are subsequently supplied with a reason for believing that their conceptual knowledge depends upon other people. Humans in the ancient past may not have categorised as many concepts as we have, nevertheless, their power to categorise concepts – regardless of how sophisticated they were – surely had to be enabled by an external and social pointing out by someone who already possessed conceptual knowledge[41] . It is abundantly clear from the billions of parent-child relationships in our world that a child’s conceptual knowledge depends upon social interaction. Subsequently, it is utterly reasonable to believe that our conceptual regress stretches back through time and will always depend upon the existence of conceptual knowledge. Surely then, our conceptual knowledge – that is born in time – will always have been dependent upon another’s conveyed conceptual knowledge; the source of our conceptual knowledge – innate conceptual knowledge – can surely only be held by someone who is, first and foremost, outside of our generational-temporal community, who is able to nurture conceptual knowledge within our community but who is in fact distinct and independently mature; someone whose conceptual knowledge does not depend upon a fresh shared communication, someone whose conceptual knowledge has not developed. The unchanging absolute state does not develop; everything else in our world develops through time. The unchanging absolute state is subsequently the prime candidate to whom, it seems, we must attribute innate conceptual knowledge. Clearly all temporally developed conceptual knowledge requires an external source, conceptual sources cannot retreat infinitely into the past temporal development because a supposed infinite regress of sources empties itself of its source, therefore the non-temporal that is the source of temporal development is also the source of temporal conceptual knowledge.[42]

Clearly we must conclude that the unchanging absolute state has been able to communicate conceptual knowledge to at least one temporal being who has been able to help communicate conceptual knowledge through the generations. So we can logically conclude that our temporal existence depends upon an unchanging Being who possesses conceptual knowledge. And so surely we must now think of the unchanging absolute state as being split in two; He is both unchanging and involved in His changing world. He is able to enter into the temporal world that ontologically depends upon His unchanging existence and He is able to temporarily communicate concepts. He is more than temporal. All of this implies something utterly awesome; the existence of an unchanging conception[43] ; an unchanging, descriptive – and therefore word-fuelled – conception of our changing objective reality.

A conception is a word or a collection of words that imaginatively describes an objective reality; description depends upon judgement and judgement reveals a relationship between a judge and that which is judged. Might it be the case that the unchanging absolute state descriptively imagines through judgement and therefore cares about that which He is not? How else could the unchanging reality sustain the existence of our changing reality? Where would they meet? Surely it is only in the domain of an authority that the two can come face to face? If the unchanging absolute state has a conception of historical reality then His conception of historical reality is an absolute and unchanging conception. Such an imagined conception of reality would constitute a reality that is subject to judgmental and unchanging judgeipulation; which is a kind of ‘manipulation’! Clearly there is an unchanging conception upon which our conceptual regress depends. At least part of this unchanging conceptual (and therefore judgemental) knowledge was passed on through a communication in which humanity first began to use words to conceptually categorise. Subsequently we can conclude that the unchanging absolute state is judgemental, is therefore opinionated and uses words to describe our objective temporality. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the unchanging absolute state has an unchanging conception of wanting to communicate with a temporal human. How must such a conception exist? Surely such a concept must exist as an unchanging desire which concerns itself with a temporal engagement; an unchanging desire which wants a temporal engagement; an engagement that involves a pointing out. Such imagined temporal engagement would be sustained by unchanging desire. Unchanging desire would name a desired outcome and the desired outcome would be characterised by its name. Its name would judge its existence. The desired engagement would be ontologically dependant upon its desired judgement; a judgement which says “I want a relationship; I want a communication; I want to point out”. I find myself coming to the conclusion that unchanging justice and mercy is actualised and that we are thrown into their execution. Now we should ask if there is any other way in which the unchanging absolute state could sustain the changing world that we live in. We cannot simply be flames on some unchanging mass because flames and all such things are projected away from their fuel but we cannot attempt to escape the unchanging absolute state, we are not without it. It is reasonable to suppose that the beginnings of existence are thrown through and sustained by the unchanging absolute state’s conceptual authority. In short, it is reasonable to believe that the beginnings of existence are concepts.

Now obviously judgemental conceptual opinions come from someone and can concern the self, someone else or something else. Apart from the self, any objective reality that one cares about is utterly distinct from the one who cares about it. And so it seems that by expressing an opinion that concerns a historical object – by calling a historical object a name – the unchanging absolute state judges history.

It is therefore reasonable to believe that history is subject to unchanging and absolute thought. It is therefore reasonable to believe that there is an unchanging and absolute thinker. It is apparent that this thinker is confronted with every aspect of history because it is evident that our chronological history can only be sustained by His unchanging and absolute authority[44] . Clearly we are utterly distinct from the unchanging and absolute being who conceptualises our temporal existence – who ontologically throws us into a communicated unconcealment. Clearly we cannot escape the opinionated and unchanging God who interactively judges His conceptual knowledge and who subsequently dictates the path of history.

The prophet Malachi was spoken to by a Being who said “I the LORD do not change.”[45]  According to Isaiah, God said: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”[46]

This confession echoes the Genesis report which states that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”[47] , a creation of darkness and water[48] into which God is reported to have said ““Let there be light”[49] and in which, according to the Genesis report, there was subsequently light.

Clearly according to the Genesis report, God’s word was imaginatively associated with light and did not return to Him empty; according to the Genesis report God’s call for light lit up an objective world. Therefore, according to Genesis, God’s conception-laden, descriptive, word-fuelled and therefore authoritative speech constituted a historical reality that was dependant upon His word.

John wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,[50]  and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own,[51] and his own people[52] did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”[53]

Together Malachi, Isaiah and John tell us that the permanent, linguistic, opinionated Aletheia Authority of God essentially delivers God’s will, constitutes our existence and has done so as a person who constitutes His own personality within temporal “flesh”; a being who (presumably) speaks to many people in the conventional sense and who, in doing so, will simultaneously deliver a message from the unchanging God.

Now according to the book of Deuteronomy God said: “if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”[54]

The logic of this Deuteronomic argument is simple: only the Creator of the future would truly know the future; therefore, only the Creator of the future could honestly tell the future. We who are merely temporal and caught up in temporality cannot know the content of history until we are thrown into it. However, if we are confronted by promises prophesied and written down on paper and if we find that we are thrown into a corresponding reality, then what was prophesied will have come to pass and what was written will have come true. We are confronted with such a scenario thanks to the Biblical scriptures, the current state of the world and the Spiritual experience of the Christian Church. So we have another reason for believing that our history is promised and thrown through the personal authorship of Aletheia, the one who throws us into an unconcealment; He is our Creator who rules with His Thought, cannot be changed and upon whom all else depends; a creator who is therefore independent.


Judgemental Freedeom

So in the beginning there was the Word that descriptively judges. The Word’s descriptive judgement constitutes reality as judged. The Word’s judgement defines reality. Everything that has been made exists because of the Word’s pronouncement. The Word forms an accusing description. The Word is the authority through which existence is articulated. History is God’s statement. The Word answers to His Father Pronouncer. The Word is the obedient expression of the Author of life. The Word is the expressed power of God, an expressed power to whom we are subject. The Word throws us into His determination. The Word cares about and prescriptively describes our condition. The Word determines the paths of history as does His Father upon whom He is ontologically dependant but not chronologically after. The Word unconceals His judgement gradually and specifically. The Word who judgementally determines history is God’s communicator.

According to the Genesis report: “The LORD God formed”[55] a “man”[56] , placed the man in a garden and said “You are free to eat[57] from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”[58]

If the God of Genesis eternally judgementally conceptualizes history, then God eternally judgementally conceptualizes His confrontation with Adam within the context of unchanging speech. If the God of Genesis is eternal, then God eternally confronts Adam with the concept of a choice – the concept of choosing whether or not to attempt to manipulate fruit. If that is the case, then God eternally confronts Adam with the concept of his own freedom.

In order for deliberate obedience or disobedience to take place, deliberate obedience and disobedience must be conceptualized by the one who deliberates.

The Genesis report speaks of Adam’s disobedience. In fact its author tells us that Adam’s disobedience was coaxed in a conspiracy that was judged by God. To the one who lied to Adam’s wife and encouraged her to ignore God, it is recorded that God said: “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[59]  and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”[60]

To the woman who ignored God and encouraged Adam to ignore God, it is recorded that God said: “I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband,[61]  and he shall rule over you.”[62]

And it is recorded that God said to Adam: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it’, cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life… By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”[63]

If the God of Genesis eternally conceptualises history then God judges the concept of an attempt to ignore His authority. If the God of Genesis eternally conceptualises history then God has an eternal opinion of an attempt to ignore His authority. If the God of Genesis is eternal then His eternal opinion condemns Adam’s attempt to create a new world order; a new world order in which God’s opinion is branded as irrelevant, in which God is ignored and in which God’s instruction is disobeyed.

Some who believe in God’s-conceptualisation-of-Adam’s-disobedience have naively questioned whether Adam could really have possessed the ability to obey God in the first place. To put it bluntly, some (including myself) have actually questioned the notion of freedom itself. This is no light-hearted matter. Should those of us who have questioned the notion of freedom face up to the fact that we have questioned the God of Genesis? For according to Genesis it was God who told Adam that he was “free to eat from any tree of the garden”[64] . The questioning of freedom actually asks whether or not God forced Adam’s hand in the matter; whether or not God decided Adam’s decision to challenge God’s authority. Such a question supposes God to be a temporal puppeteer and Adam His puppet. But when we speak of the Eternal Judge’s relationship with Adam we are not speaking about a temporal movement that controls another temporal movement; we are speaking about the unchanging eternal judgement of a conceptual object called Adam. “the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.”[65]  History is the ground upon which God judges the concept of good and the concept of evil. That is to say that God expresses His unchanging absolute opinions through historical reckoning.

Like Adam, we have an opinion about that which we are confronted with and in that sense our judgements invade along with simultaneous objects that are judged. Simultaneous judgement invades along-with confrontational reality and subsequently does not invade after it has happened. We can only call our simultaneous judgements ‘after-thoughts’ because they occur through the elapse of time and in that sense ‘after’ an elapse in time has begun. However, it is evident that our unchanging Creator’s judgement does not stem from an elapse in time. Evidently God’s judgement does not occur through some simultaneous (temporal) confrontation. Subsequently we cannot say that God’s judgements are ‘after-thoughts’ they are rather ‘fore’-thoughts because they are ontologically prior to – and subsequently necessitate – the existence of history.

Surely this is why the apostle Paul said:

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,”[66]

Now history is composed of temporal objects; many, many temporal objects such as the flight of a bullet or the sound of a voice both of which make up part of a shared temporal object that we call our history – the temporal world in which we find ourselves. Evidently, history amounts to a unified collection of temporal objects that are judged through unchanging authority. It is apparent that God’s judgemental, eternal Word will accomplish what He desires. It is apparent that God’s opinion of everything has a fundamental impact upon everything. That is not to say that God discovers everything in history and changes it; rather it is to say that God’s opinion permeates history and necessarily affects its being. The full extent of such an impact may not be recognised by a purely created being; such recognition would depend upon the Divine’s decision to discuss eternal opinions with other people (and that is not something that purely temporal beings can control).

It is apparent that God eternally conceptualises all concepts in accordance with His judgemental character. If that is true, then everything that I conceptualise is ultimately conceptualised and judged by God from an unchanging perspective. Perhaps this is why Jesus said “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”[67]  So it seems reasonable to believe that (from God’s perspective) my imaginary conceptual-creations are as fictional (or as non-fictional) as any historical character – they are judged just the same. Some may be shocked by such a statement and may subsequently ask confused questions such as “can God conceptualise a rock that is too heavy for him to lift?” or “Could God ever conceptually rebel against himself?” – but such questions amount to ‘square circles’ – they supposedly speak of concepts but actually speak of notions that are mutually exclusive. In accordance with God’s desire some rocks may be lifted and some may not be; I don’t know if rocks will be lifted in a future and I do not know if rocks will remain grounded; but God knows. There is a strict sense in which we should not ask if God can do something because such a question asks whether or not God can do something in the future as if His power is limited to some kind of potential; such a question cannot be asked of someone whose power is absolute and effects everything-in-its-constitution. However there is a sense in which we can inquire into whether or not God would think that something was good or bad and how He would attend to it[68]. It is reasonable to inquire into God’s ethics because we have reason to believe that God’s ethics are absolute ethics that affect everything. God’s judgemental ethics apparently reign through every one of his creations. Subsequently it is reasonable to believe that possible worlds are limited to the effects of God’s ethics. Now it goes without saying that it is impossible for someone to rebel against themselves because any course of action is always a personal course of action that belongs to any person who acts. Therefore, we should not suspect that the state of God’s moral character depends upon the sate of any particular world that God happens to be judging. To put it bluntly, if there is an unchanging conception of history then God is not subject to possibility; possibility is subject to God.

From our temporal perspective it is apparent that God permits us to exist at this moment and has something to say to us; we and the world find ourselves endowed with meaning. By the power of God’s judgement we are thrown into the world and the world is thrown into us. God articulates this collision with judgemental meaning. It is a meaning which is primarily Understood. It is understood primarily and wholly by God. Subsequently it can be reasoned that God wants us to exist and wants us to exist in particular parts of history; what God actually thinks of our personal-existence is essential to our existence; evidently He wants to affect our personality with His judgement. Is it not reasonable to believe that God eternally desires to communicate His opinions with characters who He throws into His reckoning room of History? Now as it is the case that I can conceptualise a rebellion against God then it is apparently also the case that God judgementally conceptualizes a rebellion and that God might actually judge me to be a rebel. It is apparent that the choices that I make are necessary because they are historical and are made eternally necessary by the unchanging opinion of God. It is also evident that God has an unchanging and eternal opinion of the choices that I make because it is apparent that I depend on His name-calling conceptualisation. Does God actually like some of the choices that I make? Or Does He condemn my decisions and believe them to be rebellious and contrary to his ethics? He might condemn me for not living the way in which He would live if He were in my shoes.

If we believe that rebellion against the unchanging God exists then we must believe that God does not decide rebellious decisions (because God cannot rebel against himself). Now if God does not decide historical rebellious decisions that exist then it is the case that someone else does decide rebellious decisions. In such a scenario immoral attitudes are exhibited in opposition to God’s ethics (and are judged accordingly).

Evidently any decision is a judgement made by a judge for a reason. [69]

An emotion can be a deep judgemental action and is often a reaction. There is often a reason for an emotion. An emotion can be a person’s judgement on another. The person who is loved can be the reason for love. Moreover, a person might want to be loving; subsequently they might try to conceive children who they can love. When we make an emotion for a reason we offer ourselves to a person or situation. Sometimes, when we have been particularly emotional, we have pulled up much of our worldview and offered it as a reason for how we feel. We will often involve our emotions in our decision making; we will often consider our reasonable emotions as reasons that can be grasped in an attempt to justify our choices. The emotions of God produce reality. How God feels about a rebellious person produces His real relationship with a rebellious person. God’s feeling about a multiplicity of personal decisions produce His creation of and interaction with social history.

The intentional mood [70] The intentional mood in which I find myself demonstrably shows that I have made a reasonable decision. Now any decision is saturated by the character who took it. What’s more, any belief that God decides all decisions is profoundly pantheistic. God is not His creation; the two are ontologically separate throughout one’s ontological dependence on the other. Because God has an unchanging ethical-(judgemental)-opinion he knows how He would deal with temporal decisions that are contrary to His ethics and He knows how He would deal with temporal decisions that agree with His ethical reasoning. Surely because God is the ontological Source, all such knowledge is foreknowledge and is subsequently actual in the particular way that God wants it to be actual within the context of His judgement that is expressed through gradual history.

Surely I have to be who I find myself as; nonetheless finding myself in the way that I am is saturated with the objectification of my deciding judgement. Any decision is characterised by a chosen course of action which simultaneously bases itself upon a choice in which reasons are grasped. Whilst a number of reasons may be grasped when we make a choice or an emotion, I believe that some choices and emotions can be based on one reason. Surely it is the case that God judges human judgements that have been made for specific reasons. Surely God judges how ethical a person’s reasoning is. This conclusion protects our minds from thinking that a reason must always be grasped for a reason (and an infinite regress of reasons). Deciding surely involves hovering over reasons for possible action; choice surely involves the grasping of specific reasons for action. Some decisions are made rapidly; others take more time. Being thrown into a decision and a choosing and being forced to deal with a decision and a choosing constitutes a freedom. So we, who are thrown into deciding intentional courses of action experience predestined freedom. God has always had an opinion about light and subsequently light exists; God has always had an opinion about our intentional decisions and choices; subsequently our intentional decisions and choices exist; we cannot escape His judgement of them and, ultimately, we cannot escape His judgement of what it means to be who we are. You have a judgemental opinion of other people’s decisions and God has an unchanging judgemental opinion of other people’s decisions and His judgement cannot be overthrown. God contextualises our decisions and choices within certain types of history; this contextualization is outside of our control but our deciding and the choice we make remains by its judged definition within our control. A tree has no control over where it grows but it is still a tree and a deciding choice has no control over where it is located in history but it is still a deciding choice. My deciding does not decide to exist and my choosing does not choose to exist; nor do they choose or decree the circumstances in which they exist. Nevertheless, I am confronted with options out of which I decide to make a reasonable choice; I am free to choose. God’s articulation of our options allows us to have the ability to choose between them. Our ability to have chosen another option is essential to God caring about the choice that we make (and His particular judgement of that choice).

Temporal choice, made in the light of an understood, general revelation – which makes us accountable for our choice through an understanding of reality, in which reasons are selectively grasped, is surely necessarily conceptualised by God as unnecessary; evidently, unnecessity is necessarily judged. Levels of unnecessity may be explored and written about and we should say that they are necessarily judged, interacted with and attended to by God.


Judgement and the Promise of Peace


If the historian ‘throws’ himself straightaway into the ‘world-view’ of an era, he has not thus proved as yet that he understands his object in an authentically historical way, and not just ‘aesthetically’. And on the other hand, the existence of a historian who ‘only’ edits sources, may be characterised by a historicality which is authentic.”1



If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”2 And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”3


Jesus Christ said Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”4 Regarding humanity Jesus said “at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”5 Here Jesus issues a decree by quoting Genesis and Exodus; He holds them up as authoritative texts that can be trusted.


The Lord God molded a human being out of dust taken from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living being.


The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, far in the East; and placed the human he had formed there.9

From the soil the Lord God made grow all kinds of trees that are pleasant to look at and good for food…


A river flowed out of Eden and watered the garden, and from there branched into four.11

The name of the first is Pishon, which flows round the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.12

The gold of that land is pure and there is aromatic gum and the onyx stone.13

The name of the second river is Gihon, which flows around the whole land of Cush,14

and the name of the third river is the Tigris, which heads toward the east of Asshur. The fourth river is the Euphrates.


Then the Lord God took the human and placed him in the garden of Eden to till it and to care for it…16




out of the ground the Lord God formed all the wild beasts and birds, and made them come to the human to see what he would call them. Whatever he called each living creature, that was its name.”6



So God confronted the first human with a social pointing out; He is the God who was “walking in the garden”7; He brought creatures to Adam for Adam to consider and judge; their judgment would be the pronouncement of their name.


God had warned the human that if he disobeyed God, then the human would die; the human did disobey and God said “dust you are, and to dust you will return!”8


Among the people of his time, Noah was righteous and wholehearted; Noah walked with God.


Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.11

God saw that the earth was corrupt and full of violence.12

God looked at the earth and saw that it was corrupt; all living things on the earth had become corrupt in their ways.


So God said to Noah, “I have determined to put an end to all living beings, for the earth is filled with their acts of injustice; I am going to destroy them from the earth.14

Make yourself an ark of cypress wood. Construct rooms in the ark, and coat it within and without with pitch.15

This is how you shall build it: the length of the ark shall be five hundred feet, its breadth eighty feet, and its height fifty feet.16

Make a roof for it and place the door on the side. Construct it with lower, second, and third storeys.17

For I am about to bring floods of water upon the earth to destroy from under heaven every living thing in which is the breath of life; every thing that is on the earth shall die.


“But I will make a solemn agreement with you. Go into the ark with your sons, your wife and their wives,19

and take with you into the ark two of every kind living thing, a male and a female,20

birds, animals and creeping things, so that they might be kept alive.21

Take and store food for them and you.”


Noah did all this. He did everything that God told him to.” 9



… God said to Noah,


Leave the ark with your wife and sons and their wives.17

Bring out every living creature, every bird, cattle, and creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they can spread over the earth, and be fruitful and multiply.”18

So Noah left the ark with his sons and his wife and his son’s wives,19

and every living creature, every creeping thing, every bird came out one kind after another.20

Noah built an altar to the Lord and took one of every beast and bird that was fit for sacrifice and offered burnt-offerings on the altar.21

When the Lord smelled the pleasing odour, he said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of people because the inclination of their heart is evil from their youth, nor will I again destroy every living thing, as I have done.22

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”



Then God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Bear children and multiply and repopulate the earth.2

Every wild beast and bird and everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea shall fear and dread you; into your hand they are given.3

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; as I gave the green herbs, I give them all to you.4

Only you shall not eat flesh while the life is in it, that is, the blood.



Moreover, your own life-blood will I require for a person’s life; from every beast will I require it, and from everyone who takes another’s life.6

Whoever sheds a person’s blood, by people shall their blood be shed; for God made people in his own image.7

But you are to bear children and repopulate the whole earth and subdue it.”10



So the punishment of death has been administered on the earth; it was sacrificially acknowledged by Noah who pleased the Lord God when he sacrificed animals through death. After disobedience. Genesis records how humanty’s co-operation with God is consistently marked with animal sacrifice; animals that man had named.


When Abram asked for a reason to believe that God would give him a land God replied by saying: “Bring me a heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon.”


Abram brought him all these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each half over against the other; but the birds he did not divide.11

The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.


When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a horror of great darkness fell on him.13

The Lord said to Abram, “Know certainly that your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there; and they will be held there for four hundred years.14

But I will judge that nation, whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many goods.15

But you will go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried in a good old age.16

In the fourth generation they return here again; for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full.”


When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between the pieces of the animals.


At that time the Lord made a solemn agreement with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”19

(This includes the lands of the Kenite, the Kenizzite, the Kadmonite,20

the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Rephaim,21

the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Girgashite, and Jebusite).”



To Abram God had said: “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”11


When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham,[c] for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” niv











Our Lord God gives new names to people after there has been a covenant and a sacrifice; their judgement is the pronouncement of their name.


Before the sacrifice was made “Abram believed in the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness”12, the New Bible Commentary has said that righteousness is “a state of acceptance by God”; but God still wanted a sacrifice, made by Abram, to be involved in the blessing of Abraham and his family. It was Abram who had to kill his own animals for the covenant to be initiated. It was some time after, when Abraham was ninety-nine that God said that the covenant involved Abraham and his descendants being faithful to God and obedient to the point of being blameless. Considering a parallel sacrifice made in the time of Jeremiah, it is striking that God did not make Abram walk between the pieces. In the time of Jeremiah, God said: “Those who have violated my covenant and have not fulfilled the terms of the covenant they made before me, I will treat like the calf they cut in two and then walked between its pieces. The leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials, the priests and all the people of the land who walked between the pieces of the calf, I will deliver into the hands of their enemies who want to kill them.”13


It was a smoking fire, a flaming torch that passed between the pieces of Abram’s animal carcasses, not Abram himself. It was a magnificently ominous event; if Abram or his descendants broke the fundamental covenant that God made with Abram and his offspring, then the kind of death they deserve may not have to be upon them, because God decided that they should not walk between the pieces of God’s overarching covenant.


Abraham’s grandson14


Jacob was left alone, and someone wrestled with him until daybreak.25

When he saw that he did not win against Jacob, he struck the socket of his hip, and the socket of Jacob’s hip was dislocated, as he wrestled with him.26

Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”27

So he said to him, “What is your name?” He answered, “Jacob.”28

Then he said, “Your name shall be no longer Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with mortals and have won.”29

Jacob asked him, “Tell me, I pray, your name.” He said,“Why do you ask my name?” So he blessed him there.30

Jacob called the place Penuel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life has been saved.” 15



Israel understood that his victorious (and name-changing) relationship with God depended upon God sparing and saving his life. The name Israel means struggles with God. To Israel God said: “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and become numerous; a nation and a multitude of nations will come from you, and kings will descend from you;


and the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give to you, and to your descendants after you.” God went up from him at that place where he spoke with him. “ 16



To Moses God said: ““I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.”17


God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.”18


The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until thefourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.19

7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17 And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. 18 In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”

21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. 24 You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. 25 And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.

28 Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn

29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock.30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. 31 Then he summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said. 32 Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!”

The Exodus

33 The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders. 35 The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. 36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.20

After the Israelites had escaped Egypt God said: “have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

10 “Have them make an ark[b] of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.[c] 11 Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. 12 Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other.13 Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it. 15 The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. 16 Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law, which I will give you.

17 “Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. 18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. 19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. 20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. 21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you. 22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites… Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. 32 Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. 33 Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. 34 Put the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the Most Holy Place.”21

The word ‘Holy’ means ‘to be set apart’. The word ‘Atonement’ means “a making at one”22, a new-found togetherness, a meeting between the polarized. If the God of Genesis and Exodus is the God who eternally conceptualises history then God who is set apart, ontologically prior to history and polarised from a rebellious humanity wanted to meet human beings above his atonement cover.

But “The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached theLord. 2 The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.”23

This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering24 and a ram for a burnt offering… “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die.”25

So, evidently, after rebellion, meeting God is marked with death. And God conceptually creates for himself a view of humanity that is obscured by the smoke of a sacrifice. Therefore, God has an opinion of a human that is affected by a sacrifice. God’s geographical atonement with Aaron depended upon a sacrificial death that had been demanded on account of Aaron’s sin. It is therefore apparent that it was sin that separated Aaron from the God who had asked him to approach. Whenever Aaron approached God, God wanted Aaron to “take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover”26 and God wanted Aaron to “sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.”27 It is apparent that God wanted Aaron to remember that his atonement – his meeting with God – depended on a bloody death.

Evidently, God judged Aaron’s sin to such an extent that they two could only physically meet within the context of a sacrifice that involved death. It seems to be the case that by co-operating with God’s demand for a sacrificial death, Aaron was saved from an instantaneous death. Therefore, it seems that God creates for himself (and has an opinion of) a sinful (and therefore rebellious) human that is affected by a sacrifice that involves death; a fresh and affected human that God judges to be worthy of an atonement. Therefore, we have a reason to believe that God, through His authority, disposes of sin through sacrifice and death and that without such disposal no such atonement can take place. Therefore, it seems that God, witht he force of His ethics can make atonement with those who have rebelled against Him. Therefore, we have a reason to believe that atonement with God is possible at sertain times and in certain places. However, it is evident that it is God who conducts such atonement and that we cannot force God’s hand in the matter; Aaron’s sons tried and died.

How must Aaron have felt when he approached Almighty God? When he approached the God who was responsible for the condemnation and death of his sons – sons for whom Aaron was responsible. What was Aaron thinking when he approached the Judge who judged him to be worthy of death? Why should Aaron want to be anywhere near this being? Perhaps Aaron decided to approach because the Being who condemned Aaron’s sin wanted Aaron to approach. Surely Aaron would have wrestled with the question of whether or not his God was to be trusted. If Aaron was to approach God then Aaron would have to put his faith in the God who had told him that he was going to be protected by the shield of a sacrifice that involved death.

According to the book of Leviticus, atonement between God and the nation of Israel was to be made once a year. Arron was to take a sacrifice from the Israelite community and geographically present some of it before God behind the curtain. Aaron was to take “two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.”28 Aaron was to slaughter one of the goats and sprinckle its blood on the atonement cover. God explained that “In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been.”29 God said that Aaron “is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness.”30 God said that Aaron “shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar.He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.”31 God said ““When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

23 “Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. 24 He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary areaand put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

26 “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water;afterward he may come into the camp. 27 The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up. 28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.

29 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves[c] and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. 31 It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. 32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments 33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.

34 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.”32

Solomon, king of Israel said: Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.”33 Now Zechariah the Israelite was confronted with a being who said: “Sing and rejoice, daughter of Zion! I am coming,
I will live among you, says the Lord.


Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day,
and will be his people, and he will live among you.
You will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you.

The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land.
He will again choose Jerusalem.

Be silent, everyone, in the presence of the Lord,
because he is coming from his holy dwelling.34

And so it is apparent that God wants to make an atonement with Israel and with many people from the nations that surround Israel. It was prophesied that the LORD would make this atonement as a person whose inheritance came out of the Israeli tribe of Judah, a person who would mix with people! This prophecy shows a way in which “All people’s on earth will be blessed through” Judah’s ancestor Abraham. But how will their sinful rebellion be disposed? Is there no accusation hanging over their heads? What sacrifice could atone for their sin? And why would God want to come out from behind the curtain? Zechariah writes “he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan1 standing at his right side to accuse him.” The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

6 The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.

8 “‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.

10 “‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the LordAlmighty.”2

So according to the promise, God would remove the sin that clothes Israel’s High Priest and will dispose of the sin of the Israelites and will dispose of the sin of their neighbours, thanks to the inherent work of a servant who is conceptualised as the LORD’s “Branch”. Now any branches identity extends from the object that it branches from; for example the branch of an oak tree is part of an oak tree and by analogy it is reasonably to think that the LORD’s Branch is part of the LORD. So it should not be surprising to find that Isaiah, for example, proclaims the LORD God’s chosen servant (who will “remove the sin” of the land) to be the LORD God Himself who “ is coming from his holy dwelling”. Isaiah states: You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
I, even I, am the Lord,
and apart from me there is no savior… now the Lord says—
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am3
honored in the eyes of the Lord
and my God has been my strength—
6 he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

7 This is what the Lord says—
the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
to the servant of rulers:
“Kings will see you and stand up,
princes will see and bow down,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

8 This is what the Lord says:

In the time of my favor I will answer you,
and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’
and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’… Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;

break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted.


So the coming of God into and out of a womb was to bring about a new covenant – a covenant that was actively personified as God. Jeremiah’s prophecy says: “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to5 them,6
declares the
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”7

According to Ezekiel God addressed Israel and said: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impuritiesand from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.”8

According to the prophet Joel, God said And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
whom the Lord calls.1

Jeremiah,Ezekiel and Joel spoke of a new covenant that brought about an atonement that wasn’t just geographical, it was also spiritual; such atonement speaks of a meeting of polarised minds; an atonement through which God communicates His opinions to such an extent that those who had been represented by a high priest could actually get to meet and know God personally.

What kind of sacrifice would God demand in His spiritual atonement with human beings? The sacrifice that Aaron had was to be performed once each year because, in spit of Aaron’s animal sacrifice, sin was still needing to be atoned for; but the new covenant would annihilate the need for an annual animal sacrifice; in the new covenant there would be a context within which God would no longer judge some people according to their sin; it would be a new covenant in which God “will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” and in which “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” What knid of scapegoat could take away a lifetime of sin? What kind of sacrificial death could obscure and transform God’s view of a sinful humanity to such an extent that He would pass over sins and produce fruit of the new covenant? Isaiah believe that the scapegoat and the victim would be one and the same; a man. Isaiah spoke of Him and prophesied of His future; according to Isaiah God said: “ Awake, awake, Zion,
clothe yourself with strength!
Put on your garments of splendor,
Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled
will not enter you again.
2 Shake off your dust;
rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
Daughter Zion, now a captive.

3 For this is what the Lord says:

You were sold for nothing,
and without money you will be redeemed.”

4 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

At first my people went down to Egypt to live;
lately, Assyria has oppressed them.

5 “And now what do I have here?” declares the Lord.

For my people have been taken away for nothing,
and those who rule them mock,2
declares the
“And all day long
my name is constantly blasphemed.
6 Therefore my people will know my name;
therefore in that day they will know
that it is I who foretold it.
Yes, it is I.”

7 How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.
9 Burst into songs of joy together,
you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.

11 Depart, depart, go out from there!
Touch no unclean thing!
Come out from it and be pure,
you who carry the articles of the Lord’s house.
12 But you will not leave in haste
or go in flight;
for the Lord will go before you,
the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

The Suffering and Glory of the Servant

13 See, my servant will act wisely3;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him4
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness—
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,5
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.

Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the
Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression6 and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.7
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the
Lord makes8 his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the
Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life9 and be satisfied;
by his knowledge
my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.


According to scripture, the LORD God has made a scapegoat out of His own “righteous servant” the Branch – who “took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows” – “was pierced for our transgressions”; God “laid on him the iniquity of us all”. We are told that the LORD God has branched into a “guilt offering” was sacrificed “like a lamb to the slaughter” and as the creator of His own sacrificial death took the role of a High Priest, made a sacrifice on behalf of other people and has subsequently “made intercession for the transgressors” before the LORD God – whose view and opinion of humanity will have been affected by His very own sacrifice. Has this sacrifice brought about the new covenant? Jesus of Nazarath spoke of His blood as the “blood of the10covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”11


Jesus of Nazerath was born into a family that descended from King Solomon, Judah, Jacob and Abraham; he was brought up by a carpenter and was an heir to David’s throne (the thronw of Israel)12 Like Solomon, Jesus valued promises; he took them seriously and forbids other human beings from making them (by themselves – without prophetic authority). Jesus said: “you have heard that our ancestors were told — ‘Do not break your oaths, keep your vows to the Lord.’


But I say to you that you must not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God’s throne,35

or by the earth, since that is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the Great King.36

Nor should you swear by your head, since you cannot make a single hair either white or black.37

Let your words be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from what is evil.”13 That amounts to a reasonable request because the world that we are confronted with and unable to manipulate is not subject to our authority. It amounts to a reasonable request because we, who are merely thrown into the world, cannot have any confidence in our own abilities; we cannot make our promises good. Without self-confidence many have placed confidence in the LORD the God who claims to be the author of the future. Is this why the prophet Isaiah asks “ Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.
11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
who equip yourselves with burning torches!
Walk by the light of your fire,
and by the torches that you have kindled!
This you have from my hand:
you shall lie down in torment.14



In the midst of this threat Jesus spoke to people and said “When you pray,”… “say —

May your name be held holy,
your kingdom come.


Give us each day the bread that we will need;

and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who wrongs us;
and take us not into temptation.’”
{but deliver us from evil.’15}



Jesus also said to them: “Suppose that one of you who has a friend were to go to him in the middle of the night and say ‘Friend, lend me three loaves,6

for a friend of mine has arrived at my house after a journey, and I have nothing to offer him;’7

And suppose that the other should answer from inside ‘Do not trouble me; the door is already fastened, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’;8

I tell you that, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is a friend, yet because of his persistence he will rouse himself and give him what he wants.


And so I say to you — Ask, and your prayer will be granted: search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.10

For the person who asks receives, everyone who searches finds, and to the person who knocks the door will be opened.11

What father among you, if his son asks him for a fish, will give him a snake instead,12

or, if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?13

If you, then, naturally wicked though you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”16



Jesus prayer is addressed to someone with the authority to forgive, protect and provide people with food; someone we are to identify as our “Father”, a person that we are to distinguish from other fathers due to His reign as King in heaven. In view of such a King the Apostle Paul said: “ The God who made the world and all things that are in it — he, Lord as he is of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by hands,


neither do human hands minister to his wants, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives, to all, life, and breath, and all things.26

He made all races of the earth’s surface — fixing a time for their rise and fall, and the limits of their settlements —27

That they might search for God, if by any means they might feel their way to him and find him. And yet he is not really far from any one of us;28

for in him we live and move and are. To use the words of some of your own poets —

‘His offspring, too, are we.’


Therefore, as the offspring of God, we must not think that the Deity has any resemblance to anything made of gold, or silver, or stone — a work of human art and imagination.30

True, God looked with indulgence on the days of people’s ignorance, but now he is announcing to everyone everywhere the need for repentance,31

because he has fixed a day on which he intends to ‘judge the world with justice,’ by a man whom he has appointed — and of this he has given all people a pledge by raising this man from the dead.”17



In short, Paul believed the King of Heaven to be the parent of history and the God who promised to come to judge the world as a man in the flesh, a man who died, conquered death and rose to life. Jesus identified this judge as “The Son of Man”18, a character that the prophet Daniel saw and recorded in the following description:


I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.”19


Jesus said: When the Son of Man has come in his glory and all the angels with him, then he ‘will take his seat on his throne of glory’;


and all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people — just as a shepherd separates sheep from goats —33

placing the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left.34

Then the king will say to those on his right ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, enter into possession of the kingdom prepared for you ever since the beginning of the world.35

For, when I was hungry, you gave me food; when I was thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was a stranger, you took me to your homes;36

when I was naked, you clothed me; when I fell ill, you visited me; and when I was in prison, you came to me.’37

Then the righteous will answer ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you? Or thirsty, and give you a drink?38

When did we see you a stranger, and take you to our homes? Or naked, and clothe you?39

When did we see you ill, or in prison, and come to you?’40

And the king will reply ‘I tell you, as often as you did it to one of these my brothers or sisters, however unimportant they seemed, you did it to me.’41

Then he will say to those on his left ‘Go from my presence, accursed, into the ‘permanent fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.’42

For, when I was hungry, you gave me no food; when I was thirsty, you gave me no drink;43

when I was a stranger, you did not take me to your homes; when I was naked, you did not clothe me; and, when I was ill and in prison, you did not visit me.’44

Then they, in their turn, will answer ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or ill, or in prison, and did not supply your wants?’45

And then he will reply ‘I tell you, as often as you failed to do it to one of these, however unimportant, you failed to do it to me.’46

And these last will go away ‘into lasting correction,’ but the righteous ‘into lasting life.’” 20



Jesus spoke with the authority of the Son of Man when He said: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”


At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.21 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, andlearn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”22


In judgment Jesus decided that it would be inappropriate for some people to pronounce an authoritative judgment upon other people. This is why Jesus said:





“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”23



Jesus includes the idea that we use “measure” to judge that which confronts us, therefore His command not to judge may be seen as only applying to the potential condemnation of other people which He believed would be finally administered on the day of Judgement. Notice, that in His judgement of other people, Jesus sets Himself apart as someone who has the authority to judge others. Jesus judged some people to be inappropriate judges and in doing so inherently admits that He is confronted with people as they are in themselves, transparently displaying an unworthy nature without any air of mystery. Such knowledge is evidenced by the testimony of a Samaritan woman who,having met Jesus, said “Come and see someone who has told me everything that I have done.24 It is further evidenced by Nathaniel who, when speaking to Jesus, said “How do you know me?”25 It is interesting that Jesus indecates that people will be able to judge others once the plank has been removed from their own eye; the apostle Paul, who was commissioned by Jesus to instruct the Church, evidently fleshes this out when he said: What have I to do with judging those outside the church? Is it not for you to judge those who are within the church,


while God judges those who are outside? ‘Put away the wicked from among you.’26 Paul had said so “that what is sensual in him may be destroyed, so that his spirit may be saved at the day of the Lord.”27




Jesus’ prayer life is shot through with the conviction that He had been given the authority to judge other people; an authority clearly evidenced when Jesus said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”28 Here Jesus speaks of an authority that has been “granted” and of a people who have been “given”. In doing so, Jesus speaks of His future authority as the Son of Man in the ‘past-tense’! Jesus is therefore admitting that the future is already appreciated; implicitly this suggests that temporality is appreciated by a Being who is not anticipating the future, who is not merely caught up in temporality but who is actually quite distinct from temporality and who interacts with temporality through His own authority. The closeness of the wording between the claim that Jesus has been “granted… authority over all people” and the description of Jesus having a relationship with His Father “before the world began”, points to a relationship in which temporarily is pre-ontologically known and judged and can therefore be announced in advance. In light of what Jesus has said, it seems to be the case that Jesus believed Himself to be God’s “servant” the “Branch” “the Son of the living God”29 who judges as the “Son of Man” in time, who is therefore the prounouncement of God’s judgement and therefore God’s judgemental, authoritative, ethical Word who rules and is therefore King.

King Solomon, son of King David had prophesied of a King endowed with God’s character when he said “Give the king thy judgments, O God, And thy righteousness unto the king’s son.

2 He will judge thy people with righteousness, And thy poor with justice.

3 The mountains shall bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness.

4 He will judge the poor of the people, He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor.

5 They shall fear thee while the sun endureth, And so long as the moon, throughout all generations.

6 He will come down like rain upon the mown grass, As showers that water the earth.

7 In his days shall the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace, till the moon be no more.

8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River unto the ends of the earth.

9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; And his enemies shall lick the dust.

10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall render tribute: The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.

11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; All nations shall serve him.

12 For he will deliver the needy when he crieth, And the poor, that hath no helper.

13 He will have pity on the poor and needy, And the souls of the needy he will save.

14 He will redeem their soul from oppression and violence; And precious will their blood be in his sight:

15 And they shall live; and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: And men shall pray for him continually; They shall bless him all the day long. 16 There shall be abundance of grain in the earth upon the top of the mountains; The fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: And they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.

17 His name shall endure for ever; His name shall be continued as long as the sun: And men shall be blessed in him”1


On coming into the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples this question — “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”


“Some say John the Baptist,” they answered, “Others, however, say that he is Elijah, while others again say Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”



“But you,” he said, “who do you say that I am?”16

To this Simon Peter answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”



“Blessed are you, Simon, Son of Jonah,” Jesus replied. “For no human being has revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.18

Yes, and I say to you, Your name is ‘Peter’ — a Rock, and on this rock I will build my church,”2



If Jesus is the “righteous servant” that Isaiah spoke of and Solomon’s King endowed with God’s “righteousness” the “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” “he was pierced for our transgressions”, “was crushed for our iniquities” and subsequently “will justify many” by bearing “the sin of many” in an act called “intercession” that precedes His seeing “the light of life”; and “ the souls of the needy he will save”.


Jesus said “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’3; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”4 Clearly Jesus believed that after He “suffered” He would see “the light of life” because He said “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem; and there the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the Law, and they will condemn him to death,


and give him up to the Gentiles for them to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify; and on the third day he will rise.”


5 And having been turned over to the gentiles who mocked Him, spat on Him, flogged Him, pierced and crucified Him Jesus prayed ““Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”6 Certainly Jesus believed that “the punishment that brought us peace was on him” because He had said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”7 As He died He said “It is accomplished.”8 “Suddenly the Temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom”9, it had separated the Most Holy Place. After He rose from the dead he said to two people “Foolish men, slow to accept all that the prophets have said!26

Was not the Christ bound to undergo this suffering before entering into his glory?”10 After that and surrounded by His diciples Jesus said “Scripture says that the Christ should suffer, and that he should rise again from the dead on the third day,47

and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed on his authority to all the nations — beginning at Jerusalem.48

You yourselves are to be witnesses to all this.49

And now I am myself about to send you that which my Father has promised. But you must remain in the city until you have been invested with power from above.”11



When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke breadin their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Jsus said “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth”13 “The Spirit of truth” is a translation of the “Spirit of Aletheia” and is therefore also the Spirit of unconcealment. Jesus said Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”14 “the helper — the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name — will teach you all things, and will recall to your minds all that I have said to you.


Peace be with you! My own peace I give you.”15 “Even as the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”16 “This is my command — love one another, as I have loved you.”17


How does Jesus want us to love each other? Any laying down our lives for our friends speaks of self-sacrifice; this may involve dying defending Jesus and other people but will surely also involve acts that provoke Jesus to say when I was hungry, you gave me food; when I was thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was a stranger, you took me to your homes;


when I was naked, you clothed me; when I fell ill, you visited me; and when I was in prison, you came to me.’”18


Surely such love will involve wanting to forgive those who have offended us just as Jesus was willing to forgive us (and Jesus wanted to forgive us to such an extent that he was willing to die for us).

Jesus said “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.19 “one of the leaders asked Jesus this question — “Good teacher, what must I do if I am to gain eternal life?”



“Why do you call me good?” answered Jesus. “No one is good but God.20

You know the commandments — ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not say what is false about others, Honor your father and your mother.’”


“I have observed all these,” he replied, “from childhood.”22

Hearing this, Jesus said to him: “There is one thing still lacking in you; sell everything that you have, and distribute to the poor, and you will have wealth in heaven; then come and follow me.”23

But the man became greatly distressed on hearing this, for he was extremely rich.24

Seeing this, Jesus said to his disciples: “How hard it is for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!25

It is easier, indeed, for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God!”


“Then who can be saved?” asked those who heard this.27

But Jesus said: “What is impossible with people is possible with God.” 20


Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.


There was a man there, known by the name of Zacchaeus, who was a commissioner of taxes and a rich man.3

He tried to see what Jesus was like; but, being short, he was unable to do so because of the crowd.4

So he ran on ahead and climbed into a mulberry tree, to see Jesus, for he knew that he must pass that way.5

When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him: “Zacchaeus, be quick and come down, for I must stop at your house today.”6

So Zacchaeus got down quickly, and joyfully welcomed him.7

On seeing this, everyone began to complain: “He has gone to stay with a man who is an outcast.”8

But Zacchaeus stood forward and said to the Master: “Listen, Master! I will give half my property to the poor, and, if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give him back four times as much.”


“Salvation has come to this house today,” answered Jesus,“for even this man is a son of Abraham.10

The Son of Man has come to ‘search for those who are lost’ and to save them.”21


Evidently, when people are desperately searching for Jesus then Jesus will come into their lives and affect them in such a way that they will be willing to obey Him and sacrifice what they have for the benefit of other people. Evidently, our wanting to know and love Jesus results in Jesus making plans to spend time with us and affect us in such a way that we might actually start to obey Him and love other people. When someone asked “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’22 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’23 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”24

near the cross of Jesus were standing his mother and his mother’s sister, as well as Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary of Magdala.


When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved, standing near, he said to his mother: “There is your son.”27

Then he said to that disciple: “There is your mother.” And from that very hour the disciple took her to live in his house.”


So Jesus wants us to love both other people and God. If we love God with all our “heart”, “soul” and “mind” then our alliegence will be tied to our God even if those we love dearly turn against God. Jesus commanded John to look after His mother during and after the time of His killing; clearly Jesus obeys and commands God’s law which commands “Honor thy father and thy mother”25. It is from within the context of demandeing that people love God at all costs that Jesus said: “If any one comes to me and does not hate their father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes and even their life, he can be no disciple of mine.


Whoever does not carry their own cross, and walk in my steps, can be no disciple of mine.28

Why, which of you, when you want to build a tower, does not first sit down and reckon the cost”26


If our allegiance is with God and if our loved ones allegiance lies elsewhere then in spite of their efforts they will be unable to dominate our lives; subsequently we will be forced, in a real sense, to “hate” them. However Jesus tells us those we hate should be subjected to our love! Jesus said “ love your enemies, show kindness to those who hate you,


bless those who curse you, pray for those who insult you.29

When someone gives one of you a blow on the cheek, offer the other cheek as well; and, when anyone takes away your cloak, do not keep back your coat either.30

Give to everyone who asks of you; and, when anyone takes away what is yours, do not demand its return.31

Do to others as you wish them to do to you.


If you love only those who love you, what thanks will be due to you? Why, even the outcast love those who love them!33

For, if you show kindness only to those who show kindness to you, what thanks will be due to you? Even the outcast do that!34

If you lend only to those from whom you expect to get something, what thanks will be due to you? Even the outcast lend to the outcast in the hope of getting as much in return!35

But love your enemies, and show them kindness, and lend to them, never despairing. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the thankless and the bad.



Learn to be merciful — even as your Father is merciful.”27

In light of greatest and second greatest commandments Jesus is saying “You shall have no other gods before1 me.”2 This command reveals that God does not want to be dishonoured in our lives and that subsequently we should not forsake Him for anyone or anything. Jesus said: “Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.


But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.21

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is unclouded, your whole body will be lit up;23

but, if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be darkened. And, if the inner light is darkness, how intense must that darkness be!24

No one can serve two masters, for either they will hate one and love the other, or else they will attach themselves to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”3


Our attempts to undermine God’s authority, our ambivalence towards His thoughts and our subsequent drive for independence enrages our God. God deals with His rage that burns against us; Jesus’ sacrifice and death persuades God the Father to show protection to people like ourselves; He confronts us with His actions to provoke a response and re-new our personalities by a union with the Holy Spirit. Humans can be reconciled to the God who evidently wants us to exist but judges our existence to be punishable by death. The punishment of many people’s sin sin has been executed as Jesus removed and bore that sin and was executed. The removal of someone’s sin will evidently provide conditions in which God decides to co-operate with them through indwelling them with the Holy Spirit who promotes love just as Jesus promoted love. The removal of sin changes a sinner’s identity from sinful to sinless but how are such people to be judged? Clearly, they are not nullified – they possess some character that God co-operates with. The Spiritual atonement that Jesus speaks of would require some change through which God looked on us with approval; a change that would profoundly change our identity from objects of wrath to objects of grace, mercy, protection and objects that God co-operated with. Jesus prayed for such people when He said “They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.

18 As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world.

19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”4

To be sanctified is to be approved of by God, it involves being Holy, set apart as someone who belongs to God and His house5 If the God who sanctifies is the unchanging judge (and creator) of history, then surely if follows that to be sanctified is to be eternally judged as righteous. When Jesus said “for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth”, Jesus is claiming to have proved His righteousness – His faithfulness to God – by loving God with all His heart, all His soul and all His mind in human history, so that other humans may enjoy being righteous (and agreeable) in the sight of God. Jesus was someone who called Himself “the truth” and states that humans are to be “sanctified in truth” as a result of His own sanctification. So according to Jesus, God judges Jesus to be righteous, other humans need Jesus to be righteous in order to be righteous and humans will become righteous “in” Jesus, (the “truth”). Now if sinful humans become righteous then their identities will have become transformed; their sinful identities will have been replaced and re-freshed with a righteous personality. Now we must ask ourselves, how is identity made? Temporal fathers and mothers make temporal children; God ontologically names all temporal identity that He expresses into existence. God has identified me as someone whose identity emerges (and branches) from Adam and Eve’s rebellious identity; (He described humans as being “naturally wicked”). So my co-operation with God depends upon my identity being changed from an object of wrath to an object of mercy that God would want to co-operate with. As the LORD’s Branch, Jesus’ human identity emerges from God’s righteous identity into and out of a womb that emerged from Adam and Eve’s rebellious offspring. God’s righteous identity has invaded a rebellious humanity and thereby creates a world in which humanity is confronted with two opposing identities. So when Jesus asked people to follow Him to become His disciples he declared civil war! Jesus asked for people to sanctified in Himself. So there are people who need to hide in another’s identity to be sanctified. People who then have a hidden identity which is subsequently transformed and re-newed; an identity that is clothed in another’s righteousness; an identity which is affected by another’s righteousness. Just as Aaron’s geographical atonement with God was partly made acceptable by Aaron being hidden in the smoke of a sacrifice, so God’s Spiritual atonement with humans is made acceptable by human people being hidden by the righteous sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus said No one comes to the Father except through me.”6Those who are atoned for through Jesus after His sacrificial death are clothed with, hidden and transformed by the “accomplished” righteousness of Jesus and are no longer in need of any atoning accomplishment. Old, unaccomplished, unsanctified lives can be transformed into accomplished, sanctified lives; humans who call on the LORD for help will be given a new identity – in Jesus, such a person is defined by Jesus, they are not without Him. And so there is a great substitution on the cross where Jesus suffered and died; He takes our sin as part of His identity, we lose our sin to Him and we take on His righteousness; having suffered for our sin He was later vindicated because of His righteousness and love and was raised to life.7

there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus8 by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again9 he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.10 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You11 must be born again.’ 8 The wind12 blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you13 do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.15

16 “For God so loved the world,16 that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light,lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them andwas baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”17

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”18

Mark tells us John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism on repentance, for the forgiveness of sins.


The whole of Judea, as well as all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, went out to him; and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.



John wore clothes made of camels’ hair, with a leather strap around his waist, and lived on locusts and wild honey;7

and he proclaimed — “After me is coming someone more powerful than I am, and I am not fit even to stoop down and unfasten his sandals.8

I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”


Jesus said: “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”19


The Spirit said to Philip: “Go up to the carriage over there and keep close to it.”


So Philip ran up, and he heard the Abyssinian reading the prophet Isaiah.

“Do you understand what you are reading?” he asked.31

“How can I,” the other answered, “unless someone will explain it to me?” and he invited Philip to get up and sit by his side.32

The passage of scripture which he was reading was this —

‘Like a sheep, he was led away to slaughter,
And as a lamb is dumb in the hands of its shearer,
So he refrains from opening his lips.

He was humiliated and justice was denied him.
Who will tell the story of his generation?
For his life is cut off from earth.’


“Now,” said the Treasurer, addressing Philip, “tell me, of whom is the prophet speaking? Of himself, or of someone else?”35

Then Philip began, and, taking this passage as his text, told him the good news about Jesus.


Presently, as they were going along the road, they came to some water, and the Treasurer exclaimed: “Look! Here is water; what is to prevent my being baptized?”38

So he ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water — both Philip and the Treasurer — and Philip baptized him.20



John Piper pointed out that Jesus thought Nicodemus ought to have known about being born of water and the Spirit. Piper pointed to Ezekiel 36 in which we find the following prophecy:


I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.21 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses… I cleanse you from all your iniquities”22


So the sacrifice of Christ washes our sins away and provides some of meaning meant in baptism with water. Some suggest that Jesus phrase “born of water” might just refer to natural birth which comes before being born of the Spirit; nevertheless, the fact that Jesus continues to value baptism after John – and baptises with water after speaking with Nicodemus – demonstrates that being born again involved being washed clean of our sin just as water washes clean.


there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and Jesus’ mother was there.


Jesus himself, too, with his disciples, was invited to the wedding.3

And, when the wine ran short, his mother said to him: “They have no wine left.”



“What do you want with me?” answered Jesus. “My time has not come yet.”5

His mother said to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.”6

There were standing there six stone water-jars, in accordance with the Jewish rule of ‘purification,’ each holding twenty or thirty gallons.



Jesus said to the servants: “Fill the water-jars with water.”8

And, when they had filled them to the brim, he added: “Now take some out, and carry it to the Master of the feast.” The servants did so.9

And, when the Master of the feast had tasted the water which had now become wine, not knowing where it had come from — although the servants who had taken out the water knew —10

He called the groom and said to him: “Everyone puts good wine on the table first, and inferior wine afterward, when his guests have drunk freely; but you have kept back the good wine till now!”11

This, the first sign of his mission, Jesus gave at Cana in Galilee, and by it revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.23



Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the24 covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”


Jesus turned cleansing water into win and used wine to symbolise His blood. The writer of Hebrews writes: “when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come,25 then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is,he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”26

at supper, Jesus — although knowing that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God, and was to return to God —


Rose from his place, and, taking off his upper garments, tied a towel around his waist.5

He then poured some water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel which was tied around him.6

When he came to Simon Peter, Peter said: “You, Master! Are you going to wash my feet?”


“You do not understand now what I am doing,” replied Jesus,“but you will learn by and by.”


“You will never wash my feet!” exclaimed Peter. “Unless I wash you,” answered Jesus, “you have nothing in common with me.”


“Then, Master, not my feet only,” exclaimed Simon Peter, “but also my hands and my head.”


“He who has bathed,” replied Jesus, “has no need to wash, unless it be his feet, but is altogether clean; and you,” he said to the disciples, “are clean, yet not all of you.”11

For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said ‘You are not all clean.’12

When he had washed their feet, and had put on his upper garments and taken his place, he spoke to them again. “Do you understand what I have been doing to you?” he asked.13

“You yourselves call me ‘the teacher’ and ‘the Master’, and you are right, for I am both.14

If I, then — ‘the Master’ and ‘the teacher’ — have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet;15

for I have given you an example, so that you may do just as I have done to you.16

In truth I tell you, a servant is not greater than their master, neither is a messenger greater than the one who sends them.17

Now that you know these things, happy are you if you do them.18

I am not speaking about all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but this is in fulfillment of the words of scripture — ‘He that is eating my bread has lifted his heel against me.’19

For the future I will tell you of things before they take place, so that, when they take place, you may believe that I am what I am.20

In truth I tell you, the one who receives anyone that I send receives me; and the person who receives me receives him who sent me.”27


Jesus’ command to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them and teaching them to obey everything He taught and commanded sends people to confront the world with a choice of whether or not to obey Jesus. Remember John, Jesus’ cousin, said “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. The belief in Jesus that John speaks of is in opposition to any rejection of Jesus and must subsequently be understood as a form of acceptance, an acceptance of Jesus as LORD, and a longing to be in fellowship with Him and to belong to His house where and from which you can carry out His instruction. Evidently, and ontologically speaking, in accordance with God’s ethics, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a person who had actively rebelled against God, seems to be dependent upon this acceptance. We cannot escape God and we cannot escape His demands but we can like, dislike, love, hate, worship or reject Him. Acceptance is a form of judgement; either I want my God or I do not want my God. If I want Him then I accept Him; if I did not want Him then my desire would spell rejection. If you want God then it is good news that He makes a way through His sacrifice for our desire to be fulfilled. When what Jesus has done for us is revealed to us then we can cry to Him for help; this is faith with the hope of salvation. Faith is lovely in the sight of God and cannot be boasted in; if I say “look at me, look at how much I need Jesus for my salvation” – this is not a boast about myself, this is a boast about Jesus and how great He is. Just as God determines where the location of free choices should be in history so God gives the free choice of faith with the hope of salvation to a particular kind of personal history – a person that He creates to be in fellowship with Himself.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy,because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is calledthe circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Faith in Jesus sacrifice – in the hope of fellowship with God involves admitting our insufficiency in terms of being acceptable for fellowship. J.L. Mackie has put forward a theory of causation that involves the notion of insufficiency. In his Causes and Conditions he asks his readers to imagine a house that catches fire when a spark meets flammable material; he contrasts this scenario with a spark lands on inflammable material and does not burn the house. Mackie suggested that it would be inappropriate to identify spark in the first scenario as the cause of the fire because the fire depends upon the existence of the spark and the existence of flammable material (that are involved with each other). He suggests that the spark is an insufficient but necessary part of a situation which is itself unnecessary but sufficient for the causal outcome of the situation1 – the result being a fire. Now in light of our ontological exploration, we can can conclude that history necessarily exists because God’s judgement of history in ontologically prior to and subsequently necessitates history. So we can conclude that, even though God judges the unnecessary options of freedom, there is no such thing as a condition judged by God which is unnecessary but sufficient for anything; God necessarily judges unnecessity. It is clearly the case that amongst deliberate sinners, in accordance with God’s ethics – the cry for mercy, the cry for Jesus obedient heart, soul and mind is an insufficient but necessary part of a necessary and sufficient salvation.2


a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”3

In the time of animal sacrifice Jonah prayed. “Jonah prayed to the Lord his God, out of the belly of the fish,


and said:


I cried out of my distress, to the Lord
and he answered me;
Out of the midst of Sheol I cried aloud,
and you heard my voice.


For you cast me into the heart of the seas,
and the great flood rolled about me;
all your breakers and your waves
passed over me.


Then I said, I am driven out away from your sight;
How will I ever again look towards your holy temple?


The waters surrounded me,
the great deep engulfed me,
the sea weeds were wrapped about my head.


I went down to the roots of the mountains;
the prison of the earth closed over me forever..

Yet you brought up my life from destruction,
O Lord my God.


As my life slipped away,
I remembered the Lord;
and my prayer reached you,
in your holy temple.


Those who worship worthless idols
abandon their own mercy,


but I will sacrifice to you
with loud thanksgiving!
I will pay that which I have vowed.
Salvation is the Lord s.


And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it threw up Jonah upon the dry land.4

To become a disciple of Jesus will involve wanting to be able to worship God and no-one else; it will involve wanting to submit everything we have (including ourselves) to His stewardship. Under His stewardship God inspires us to love other people and inspires us to look after the world that He has given us. Those who want to be Jesus’ disciple are given the Holy Spirit who will Spiritually remind them what Jesus has already said; He will inspire people to reach out to others in love with the gospel of God’s love, reconciliation and peace.

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,


and asked him to give him letters to the Jewish congregations at Damascus, authorizing him, if he found there any supporters of the Way, whether men or women, to have them put in chains and brought to Jerusalem.


While on his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, suddenly a light from the heavens flashed around him.4

He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him — “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”


“Who are you, Lord?” he asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” the voice answered;6

“Yet stand up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”


The men traveling with Saul were meanwhile standing speechless; they heard the sound of the voice, but saw no one.8

When Saul got up from the ground, though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So his men led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus;9

and for three days he was unable to see, and took nothing either to eat or to drink.




Now there was at Damascus a disciple named Ananias, to whom, in a vision, the Lord said: “Ananias.”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.11

“Go at once,” said the Lord, “to the ‘Straight Street’, and ask at Judas’s house for a man named Saul, from Tarsus. He is at this moment praying,12

and he has seen, in a vision, a man named Ananias coming in and placing his hands on him, so that he may recover his sight.”


“Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I have heard from many people about this man — how much harm he has done at Jerusalem to your people there.14

And, here, too, he holds authority from the chief priests to put in chains all those who invoke your name.”15

But the Lord said to him: “Go, for this man is my chosen instrument to uphold my name before the Gentiles and their kings, and the people of Israel.16

I will myself show him all that he has to suffer for my name.”


So Ananias went, entered the house, and, placing his hands on Saul, said: “Saul, my brother, I have been sent by the Lord — by Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here — so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”18

Instantly it seemed as if a film fell from Saul’s eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized,19

and, after he had taken food, he felt his strength return.


Saul stayed for some days with the disciples who were at Damascus,


and at once began in the synagogues to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God.21

All who heard him were amazed.

“Is not this,” they asked, “the man who worked havoc in Jerusalem among those that invoke this name, and who had also come here for the express purpose of having such persons put in chains and taken before the chief priests?”22

Saul’s influence, however, kept steadily increasing, and he confounded the Jewish people who lived in Damascus by the proofs that he gave that Jesus was the Christ.


After some time some of them laid a plot to kill Saul,24

but it became known to him. They even watched the gates day and night, to kill him;25

but his disciples let him down by night through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.5


Saul became known as “Paul”6 and Paul wrote the following:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?…  As it is written:

There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”1

God chose what the world counts foolish to put its wise to shame, and God chose what the world counts weak to put its strong to shame,


and God chose what the world counts poor and insignificant — things that to it are unreal — to bring its ‘realities’ to nothing,29

so that in his presence no one should boast.30

But you, by your union with Christ Jesus, belong to God; and Christ, by God’s will, became not only our wisdom, but also our righteousness, holiness, and deliverance,31

so that — in the words of scripture —

‘Whoever boasts should boast of the Lord!’”2


Why do you think the earth is so small? Why do you think the Israelites escaped from Egypt? Why do you think David killed Goliath? Why do you think God’s Son was born in a homeless shelter? Why do you think that a homeless man called Jesus chose to explain Israel’s Scriptures to Israel’s teachers? Why do you think your salvation depends on God’s frequently homeless Son?

there is a God in heaven who tells secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will come in the future. Your dream and the visions which you had as you lay asleep are these:



“The thoughts which came into your mind on your bed concerned what will happen in the future. The one who reveals secrets has made known to you what will come to pass.30

This secret was not revealed to me because I am wiser than other living people, but so that the king might learn the interpretation: so that you might understand the thoughts that have come to you.


“You, O king, had a vision and saw a great image. That image was large and it was exceedingly bright as it stood before you, and its appearance was terrifying.32

The head of the image was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its body and its thighs of bronze,33

its legs of iron, its feet part of iron and part of clay.34

You looked at it until a stone was cut out, not by human hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces.35

Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were all broken in pieces and became like the chaff which blows from the summer threshing-floors, and the wind carried them away so that nothing was left of them. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the earth.


“This is the dream, and we will tell the king what it means:37

O king, you are the king of kings to whom the God of heaven has given the rule, the power, the strength, and the glory.38

Over the whole world he has given into your power, people, the wild beasts and the birds, and has made you rule over them all. You are the head of gold.


“After you will rise another kingdom not so strong as you are, and a third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over the whole earth.40

A fourth kingdom will be strong as iron, for iron breaks in pieces and shatters all things, and like iron which crushes, it will break in pieces and crush all things.41

As you saw the feet and toes, part clay and part iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but there will be in it some of the strength of the iron, for you saw the iron mixed with clay.42

As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom will be partly strong and partly broken.43

You saw the iron mixed with clay, for the ruling families will arrange marriage alliances between each other, but they will not stick together, just as iron does not stick to clay.


“During the reigns of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, nor will the power be left to another people; but it will break in pieces and destroy all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever.45

This is shown by the fact that you saw a stone cut out of the mountain, but not with human hands<>. It broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold.

“The great God has made known to the king what is to come, and the dream is real and this meaning true.”46





Jesus is a stone, not cut by human hands but thrown by God to destroy the old order and build a kingdom that can be enjoyed. We live on a mountain, it is the Church of God filled with the one Holy Spirit who pushes us into loving other people and inspires us to preach the good news. In the midst of this mountain the Spiritual experience of the Church is a wrestle with God; He writes His Law on our hearts:


We know that the Law is spiritual, but I am earthly — sold into slavery to sin.


I do not understand my own actions. For I am so far from habitually doing what I want to do, that I find myself doing the thing that I hate.16

But when I do what I want not to do, I am admitting that the Law is right.17

This being so, the action is no longer my own, but is done by the sin which is within me.18

I know that there is nothing good in me — I mean in my earthly nature. For, although it is easy for me to want to do right, to act rightly is not easy.19

I fail to do the good thing that I want to do, but the bad thing that I want not to do — that I habitually do.20

But, when I do the thing that I want not to do, the action is no longer my own, but is done by the sin which is within me.21

This, then, is the law that I find — when I want to do right, wrong presents itself!22

At heart I delight in the Law of God;23

but throughout my body I see a different law, one which is in conflict with the law accepted by my reason, and which endeavors to make me a prisoner to that law of sin which exists throughout my body.24

Miserable man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body that is bringing me to this death?25

Thank God, there is deliverance through Jesus Christ, our Lord! Well then, for myself, with my reason I serve the Law of God, but with my earthly nature the Law of sin.”4



The one who experiences a Spiritual atonement with God has a profound unwillingness to sin even when they sin. Sin no longer constitutes their identity; it is relegated to the role of an addiction; we recognize its evil in our lives attacking who we know we ought to act as. God’s judgments are Spiritually communicated to us in each circumstance that we face; although we are aware of our sin we know that our sin has been taken from us by the very fact that we are experiencing a Spiritual atonement with God that depends upon our sin being punished and taken by a sacrifice that involves death.


We pray “lead us not into temptation” because we do not want to sin.


But if all prophesy, and there come in one unbelieving or unlearned, he is reproved by all, he is judged by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are made manifest; and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy{purified5 sanctified6}… since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of Godunderfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”7

The sanctification of verse 14 and the sanctification of verse 29 are evidently different. Those who are sanctified forever in Christ will influence those who meet with them. If people find out about God’s gatherings, spend time with and get to know those who are being made holy, then for a time they will be set apart with sanctified people; they will enjoy the prophecy of God speaking to them through those indwelt by the Holy Spirit; they will be looked after by God’s Church; they will have been brought close to God, they will walk around His temple; if they join in with acts of Spirit-inspired love that are organised by sanctified people then they will be doing something that God approves of. If they, once their sin has been revealed to them, go on sinning without wanting to obey Jesus, without wanting to cry for His sacrifice to be reconcile them with God, without longing for the Spiritual struggle that God desires and go on gathering with the sanctified, then to some extent they will have a sanctified life but they will not be sanctified in Christ; subsequently they will not be made perfect; they will have ran away from the only sacrifice worthy to pay for their sin in which they could hide themselves from the wrath of God.8

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil;

6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth;

7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;

10 but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things.

12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.

13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love… Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragingand comfort…When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.9

I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenantin my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.”10

Husbands, love your wives, just as the Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her,


to make her holy, after purifying her by the washing with the water, according to his promise;27

so that he might himself bring the church, in all her beauty, into his own presence, with no spot or wrinkle or blemish of any kind, but that she might be holy and faultless.28

That is how husbands ought to love their wives — as if they were their own bodies. A man who loves his wife is really loving himself;29

for no one ever yet hated his own body. But everyone feeds his body and cares for it, just as the Christ for the church;30

for we are members of his body.


‘For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and be united to his wife; and the man and his wife will become one.’


In this there is a profound truth — I am speaking of Christ and his church.33


However, for you individually, let each love his wife as if she were himself; and the wife be careful to respect her husband.”11

Jesus said You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”1


Paul said “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you[b] to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”2

As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.”3

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve;14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”4


To Israel God said When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 22 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.”5

There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:

7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:

8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh:

13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God:

17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.

20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope

21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

24 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?

25 But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered;

27 and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren:

30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth;

34 who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1


After this, in my vision, I saw an open door in the heavens, and the first voice that I heard was like the blast of a trumpet speaking to me. It said — ‘Come up here and I will show you what must take place.’


Immediately after this I fell into a trance. There stood a throne in heaven, and on the throne was One seated.3

He who was seated on it was in appearance like a jasper and a sardius; and ‘around the throne there was a rainbow’ of the color of an emerald.4

And around the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on these I saw twenty-four elders sitting clothed in white robes; and on their heads they had crowns of gold.5

Out from the throne ‘come flashes of lightning, cries, and peals of thunder’! There are seven torches burning in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God;6

and in front of the throne is what seemed to be a sea of glass, ‘resembling crystal, while within the space before the throne and around the throne are four creatures full of eyes’ in front and behind.7

The first creature is like a lion, the second creature like a calf, the third creature has a face like a man’s, and the fourth creature is like an eagle on the wing.8

These four creatures have each of them six wings, and all around, and within, they are full of eyes; and day and night they never cease to say —

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, our God, the Almighty, who was, and who is, and who will be.’


And, whenever these creatures give praise and honor and thanks to him who is ‘seated on the throne, to him who lives for ever and ever,’10

the twenty-four elders prostrate themselves before him who is seated on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever, and throw down their crowns before the throne, saying —


‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive all praise, and honor, and power, for you did create all things, and at your bidding they came into being and were created.’


Then I saw at the right hand of him who was ‘seated on the throne a book, with writing inside and out, and sealed’ with seven seals;2

and I saw a mighty angel who was proclaiming in a loud voice — ‘Who is worthy to open the book and break its seals?’3

But no one either in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the book or look within it.4

At this I wept long, because no one could be found who was worthy to open the book or look within it.5

But one of the elders said to me — ‘Do not weep. The Lion conquered — the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Scion of David — and can therefore open the book with its seven seals.’


Then, within the space between the throne and the four creatures, and in the midst of the elders, I saw, standing, a Lamb, which seemed to have been sacrificed. It had seven horns and seven eyes. (These eyes are the seven spirits of God, and they are sent into all the world.)7

The Lamb came forward; and he has taken the book from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.8

And, when he had taken the book, the four creatures and the twenty-four elders prostrated themselves before the Lamb, each of them holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense. (These are the prayers of Christ’s people.)9

And they are singing a new song —

‘You are worthy to take the book and break its seals, for you were sacrificed, and with your blood you did buy for God people of every tribe, and language, and people, and nation,10

and did make them a kingdom of priests in the service of our God, and they are reigning on the earth.’


Then, in my vision, I heard the voices of many angels around the throne, and of the creatures, and of the elders. In number they were ‘ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands,’12

and they cried in a loud voice —

‘Worthy is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive all power, and wealth, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and praise, and blessing.’


And I heard every created thing in the air, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all that is in them crying —

‘To him who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb be ascribed all blessing, and honor, and praise, and dominion for ever and ever.’


And the four creatures said ‘Amen,’ and the elders prostrated themselves and worshiped… Then I saw a great white throne, and him who was seated on it. ‘The earth and the heavens fled from his presence; no place was left for them.’12

And I saw the dead, high and low, standing before the throne; and books were opened. Then another book was opened, the book of life; and the dead were judged, according to their actions, by what was written in the books.13

The sea gave up its dead, and Death and the Lord of the place of Death gave up their dead; and they were judged, one by one, each according to his actions.14

Then Death and the Lord of the place of Death were hurled into the lake of fire. This is the Second Death — the lake of fire;15

and all whose names ‘were not found written in the book of life’ were hurled into the lake of fire.


The New Creation



Then I saw new heavens and a new earth. The former heavens and the former earth had passed away; and the sea has ceased to be.2

And I saw the Holy City, Jerusalem, descending new out of heaven from God, like a bride adorned in readiness for her husband.3

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, which said — ‘See! The tent of God is set up among people. God will live among them, and they will be his Peoples, and God himself will be among them,4

and he will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, nor will there be any more grief or crying or pain. The old order has passed away.’5

And he who was seated on the throne said — ‘See, I make all things new!’ And he said — ‘Write this, for these words may be trusted and are true.’6

And he said to me — ‘They are fulfilled. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the End. To those who thirst I will give of the spring of the water of life, freely.7

Those who conquer will enter into possession of these things, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.2


1 From Romans 8 ASV Bible (Found at

2 From Revelation 4:1-5:14 OEB and 20:11-21:7

1 From Matthew 5:27-30 ESV

2From 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 ESV

3From 1 Corinthians 14:33-40

4 From 1 Timothy 2:8-15

5Deuteronomy 24:19-22



1 From Romans 1:18-2:4 and Romans 3:10-31

2 From 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

3 From Daniel 2:28-45 OEB

4Romans 7:14-25 OEB

5From Hebrews 10:14 OEB

6From Hebrews 10:14 ASV Bible (found at

7 From Hebrews 10:14 and 10:19-30

8The distinction between these kinds of sanctification was brought to my attention by hearing the preaching of John Piper (recorded and made available through

9 From 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ASV Bible, 14:1-3 and 14:26-33 NIV

10 From 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 NIV

11 From Ephesians 5:25-30 OEB

1See J.L. Mackie, Causes and Conditions. (Found in METAPHYSICS, An Anthology, 2004, Edited by Jaegwon Kim and Ernest Sosa, Brown University, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, pg 414)

2(See note 1 in Causes and Conditions) but given the necessary nature of the universe, we should think of the spark and the like as an INNS condition (or INNS cause); an insufficient and necessary part of a condition which itself is necessary and sufficient for the result. See also, METAPHYSICS, An Anthology, 2004, Edited by Jaegwon Kim and Ernest Sosa, Brown University, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, pg 414)

3 From Luke 18:35-43

4From Jonah 2:1- 10

5Acts 9:1-25 OEB

6See Acts 13:9

1 “Or besides” (ESV)

2From Exodus 20:3 ESV

3From Matthew 6:19-24 OEB

4From John 17:16-19 ASV Bible (found at

5See New Bible Dictionary, IVP, under the heading SANCTIFICATION, SANCTIFY.

6(From John 14:6 ESV)

7See Romans 5:12-21

8 Greek him” (ESV)

9 Or from above; the Greek is purposely ambiguous and can mean both again and from above; also verse 7” (ESV)

10 “The same Greek word means both wind and spirit” (ESV)

11 The Greek for you is plural here” (ESV)

12 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit” (ESV)

13The Greek for you is plural here; also four times in verse 12” (ESV)

14 Some manuscripts add who is in heaven” (ESV)

15 Some interpreters hold that the quotation ends at verse 15” (ESV)

16Or For this is how God loved the world” (ESV)

17 Some interpreters hold that the quotation continues through verse 36” (ESV)

18 From John 3 ESV

19 From Matthew 28:18-20 ASV Bible (found at

20 From Acts 8:29-39 OEB

21 Or my just decrees” (ESV)

22From Ezekiel 36:23-29 and 36:33 (ESV)

23 From John 2:1-11

24 Some manuscripts insert new” (ESV)

25Some manuscripts good things to come” (ESV)

26 From Hebrews 9:11-28

27 From John 13:3-20



1 From Psalm 72:1-17 ASV Bible found at

2 From Matthew 16:13-18 OEB

3 Isaiah 53:12” NIV

4 From Luke 22:37 NIV

5From Mathew20:18-19 OEB

6From Luke 23:34 OEB

7From John 14:6 ESV

8From NIV New Bible Dictionary under the heading Jesus Christ, Life and Teaching of.

9From Matthew 27:51 OEB

10From Luke 24:25-26 OEB

11From Luke 24:46-49

12From Acts 2 NIV

13From John 14:15-17 ASV Bible (found at

14From John 14:23 NIV

15From John 14:26-27 OEB

16From John 15:9-10 ASV Bible (found at

17From John 15:12 OEB

18From Matthew 25:35-36 OEB

19From John 17:3 NIV

20From Luke 18:18-27

21 From Luke 19:1-10 OEB

22Deut. 6:5” (NIV) (Deuteronomy 6:5)

23 Lev. 19:18” (NIV) (Leviticus 19:18)

24From Matthew 22:34-40

25From Exodus 20:12 ASV Bible (found at

26From Luke 14:26-28 OEB

27From Luke 6:27-36 OEB

1“In Hebrew texts 2:28-32 is numbered 3:1-5.” (NIV)

2 “Dead Sea Scrolls and Vulgate; Masoretic Text wail” (NIV)

3 “Or will prosper” (NIV)

4 “Hebrew you” (NIV)

5 “Or so will many nations be amazed at him (see also Septuagint)” (NIV)

6 Or From arrest (NIV)

7 “Or generation considered / that he was cut off from the land of the living, / that he was punished for the transgression of my people?” (NIV)

8 “Hebrew though you make” (NIV)

9 “Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint); Masoretic Text does not have the light of life.” (NIV)

10 “Some manuscripts insert new” (NIV)

11From Matthew 26:28 (NIV)

12See Matthew 1

13From Matthew 5:33-37 (OEB) The agreement that exists between a husband and a wife exists as the acceptance of a spiritual and biological union, that exists, and is fulfilled in the present; the two become “one flesh” and care for each other. Saying the initial “yes” or “no” to the acceptance of a marriage, vocalises a judgemental attitude. Reciprocal yeses, (in accordance with God’s Law,) constitute the description of a reality and are not a prediction. We should stop speaking of wedding vows and speak of wedding acceptances. Answering “yes” or “no” to a request articulates an existing desire to comply or refuse and sometimes we can take action right away. James the brother of Jesus said: Listen to me, you who say ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money,’ yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow! For you are but a a puff of smoke that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you should say ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ But as it is, you are boasting presumptuously! All such boasting is wicked. The person, then, who knows what is right but fails to do it — that is sin in them.





(James 4:13-17). It is obviously easier to answer “yes” or “no” to the question ‘do you think this as well?’

14From Isaiah 50:10-11

15“But deliver us from evil.” is recorded in Matthew’s account of Jesus prayer in Matthew 6:13 OEB.

16From Luke 11:2-13 and Mathew 6:13 OEB

17 From Acts 17:24-31 OEB

18From Mathew 17:9 OEB for example.

19From Daniel 7:13-14 ESV

20From Mathew 25:31-46

21 “Or for so it pleased you well (ESV)

22 From Matthew 11:21-28 ESV

23From Matthew 7:1-5 ESV

24From John 4:29 OEB

25From John 1:48 OEB

26From 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 OEB

27From 1 Corinthians 5:5 OEB

28 From John 17:1-5 NIV

29 The quote “the Son of the living God” is taken from Matthew 16:16 ESV

1 Hebrew satan means adversary. NIV

2From Zechariah 3:1-10 NIV

3Or him, / but Israel would not be gathered; / yet I will be (NIV)

4From Isaiah 43:10-11and 49:5-9 NIV and Isaiah 49:13 ESV

5Hebrew; Septuagint and Syriac / and I turned away from (NIV)

6Or was their master (NIV)

7 From Jeremiah 31:31- 34 NIV

8 From Ezekiel 36:25-28


1Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time p448 (H 396).


2 “Exodus 3:14 Or I am what I am, or I will be what I will be”

3From Exodus 3:13-14 ESV

4From John 8:58 ESV

5From Mark 10:6-9 NIV

6From Genesis 2: 7-19 OEB

7From Genesis 3:8 OEB

8From Genesis 3:19

9From Genesis 6:9-22 OEB

10From Genesis 8:15- 9:7 OEB

1112:3 Or by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves


12From Genesis 15:6-7 OEB

13From Jeremiah 34:18-20 NIV

14(the son of Isaac)



15From Genesis 32:24-30 OEB

16From Genesis 35:11-13 OEB

17From Exodus 3:6 ESV

18From Exodus 6:2-6 ESV

19Hebrew between the two evenings” (ESV)

20 From Exodus 12:1-36

21From Exodus 25:8-22 and 26:31-34 NIV

22See IVP’s New Bible Dictionary

23From Leviticus 16:1-2

24Or purification offering; here and throughout this chapter” (NIV)

25From Leviticus 16:3 and 16:11-13 NIV

26From Leviticus 16:14 NIV

27From Leviticus 16:14 NIV

28From Leviticus 16:5 NIV

29From Leviticus 16:16 NIV

30From Leviticus 16:16 NIV

31From Leviticus 16:18-19

32From Leviticus 16:20-34 NIV

33From 1 Kings 8:56 ESV

34From Zechariah 2:10-13 OEB



  1. [1] From John 18:38
  2. [2] Heidegger, THE END OF PHILOSOPHY AND THE TASK OF THINKING, in Basic Writtings, Edited by David Farrell Krell, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, p.388
  3. [3] See John 14:6 in its original Greek
  4. [4] See G.E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament , Fourth Printing 1979, p 264-267
  5. [5] See Heidegger, THE END OF PHILOSOPHY AND THE TASK OF THINKING, in Basic Writtings, Edited by David Farrell Krell, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, p 389
  6. [6] See Heidegger, THE END OF PHILOSOPHY AND THE TASK OF THINKING, in Basic Writtings, Edited by David Farrell Krell, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, p 387 onwards.
  7. [7] See Heidegger, THE END OF PHILOSOPHY AND THE TASK OF THINKING, in Basic Writtings, Edited by David Farrell Krell, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, p 369 – 392
  8. [8] See Heidegger, THE END OF PHILOSOPHY AND THE TASK OF THINKING, in Basic Writtings, Edited by David Farrell Krell, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, p 383 – 392
  9. [9] See Heidegger, THE END OF PHILOSOPHY AND THE TASK OF THINKING, in Basic Writtings, Edited by David Farrell Krell, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, p 387
  10. [10] See Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA,  p 204 (H 161)
  11. [11] See Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA,  p 98 (H 69) and Bullough, Edward, ‘Psychical Distance’ as a Factor in Art and as an Aesthetic Principle, (excerpts). British Journal of Psychology, Vol. 5 (1912), pp. 87-117 (this can be found at )
  12. [12] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, p 103 (H 73 – 74)
  13. [13] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, p 321 (H 276)
  14. [14] This conclusion was prompted by Heidegger’s observation that we care about our Being-in-the-world; a concept which he articulates in his Being and Time
  15. [15] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA
  16. [16] See David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, edited by L.A. Selby-Bigge (Oxford: Carendon Press,1965), Book I, section III, pp 79 – 80. quoted in J.J.C Smart and J.J. Haldane, Atheism and Theism, Second Edition, 2003, Blackwell Publishing Ltd. p 124
  17. [17] For further critisism of Hume’s argument see J.JC. Smart and J.J. Haldane, Atheism and Theism SECOND EDITION, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2003 pp. 124 – 125 (written by John Haldane)
  18. [18] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, p383 (H334)
  19. [19] See Max Black’s Achilles and the Tortoise and Wesley C. Salmon’s A Contemporary Look at Zeno’s Paradoxes: An Excerpt from Space, Time and Motion in METAPHYSICS: The Big Questions, Edited by Peter Van Inwagen and Dean W.Zimmerman, (2000) p 120-149
  20. [20] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, pp 401 (H. 350)
  21. [21] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, p 401 (H. 350)
  22. [22] The long grass blows in the wind.
  23. [23] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA,and Time p 474 (H 422). Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, pp389-390 (H 340 on two pages)
  24. [24] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, pp426-427 (H 374)
  25. [25] That is to say, any part of our history that we notice and judge.
  26. [26] Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, p 401 (H 350)
  27. [28]
  28. [27] [/ref] [28]Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time, Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, 1962, reprint 2003, Blackwell Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, p471 (H 419)
  29. [29] I am not being hypocritical when I use the word ‘nothing’ because the meaning of the word ‘nothing’ confronts me as an argument, an objective argument that I judge to be problematic.
  30. [30] According to such thinking the notion of ‘nothing’ is contextualised in something – something called time.
  31. [31] This argument (which I would like to call ‘the annihilation of ‘nothing’’) has been influenced by (but is not identical to) St Thomas Aquinas’s third way. I would like to slightly distinguish my argument from Aquinas’s thought because it would appear that some of our entangled metaphysical claims clash; although I am not sure to what extend do clash – if indeed they clash at all, because it would appear that my concern is in fact noted and resolved in the third way, but I am not sure if what Aquinas concludes amounts to a smooth agreement. According to Aquinas (and his translator McDermott) The third way includes the suggestion that some things need not be. However, I will argue that everything must be because God absolutely creates it and judges it from an eternal perspective; I simply do not believe that anything that exists need not be. (See J.J. Haldane, pg 118, Atheism and Theism, Second Edition, 2003, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)
  32. [32] In the attempt to amalgamate a square and a circle one may find that the square to some extent encapsulates a visible circle and one may find that the circle encapsulates a visible square or one may end up with an oval which is not a square circle; a supposed ‘shape’ which is, by definition, impossible.
  33. [33] See J.J. Haldane, pg 102 from J.J.C Smart and J.J. Haldane, Atheism and Theism, Second Edition, 2003, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  34. [34] Our guardians being those who have influenced our vocabulary.
  35. [35] Furthermore, The scenario itself is open to the accusation that deliberately throwing a ball in the room is a form of pointing; nevertheless I do not believe that the child would make a worded association between the ball and the sun.
  36. [36] That is what is in my memory; I have been told that when I was asked to speak over the phone I said the words “washing machine” at least three times to my uncle; what certainly seems to be the case is that I used the words “washing machine” without any direct reference to a washing machine.
  37. [37] See J.J. Haldane, pg 102 from J.J.C Smart and J.J. Haldane, Atheism and Theism, Second Edition, 2003, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  38. [38] See J.J. Haldane, pg 102 – 104 & pg 229 from
    J.J.C Smart and J.J. Haldane, Atheism and Theism, Second Edition, 2003,
    Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  39. [39] See Summa
    Theoligiae, Ia, q. 2,
    a. 3 as translated by McDermott in Aquinas: Selected Philosophical Writings.
  40. [40] See J.J. Haldane, pg 103 – 104 & pg 229 from
    J.J.C Smart and J.J. Haldane, Atheism and Theism, Second Edition, 2003,
    Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  41. [41] See J.J. Haldane, pg 102 – 106 & pg 229 from J.J.C Smart and J.J. Haldane,Atheism and Theism, Second Edition, 2003, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  42. [42] See John Haldane’s The Cause of Things from J.J.C Smart and J.J. Haldane, Atheism and Theism, Second Edition, 2003, Blackwell Publishing Ltd. of Atheism and Theism p116-126.
  43. [43] based upon unchanging conceptual judgement.
  44. [44] (How else could the changing be sustained by the
  45. [45] From Malachi 3:6 (ESVUK)
  46. [46] From Isaiah 55: 8-11  (ESVUK)
  47. [47] From Genesis 1:1 (ESVUK)
  48. [48] See Genesis 1:2
  49. [49] From Genesis 1:3 (ESVUK)
  50. [50] “John 1:4 Or was not any thing made. That which has been made was life in him
  51. [51] “John 1:11 Greek to his own things; that
    is, to his own domain, or to his own people”
  52. [52] “John 1:11 People is implied in Greek”
  53. [53] John 1:1-14 (ESVUK)
  54. [54] From Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (ESVUK)
  55. [55] From Genesis 2:7 (ESVUK)
  56. [56] From Genesis 2:7 (ESVUK)
  57. [57] “Genesis 2:17 Lit eat from it
  58. [58] From Genesis 2:16-17, Scripture taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible ® Copyright © 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.
  59. [59] “Genesis 3:15 Hebrew seed; so throughout Genesis”
  60. [60] From Genesis 3:14-15 (ESVUK)
  61. [61] From Genesis 3:16, Scripture taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible ® Copyright © 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.
  62. [62] From Genesis 3:16 (ESVUK)
  63. [63] From Genesis 3:17-19 (ESVUK)
  64. [64] From Genesis 2:16 Scripture taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible ® Copyright © 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved. The Hebrew word in Genesis 2:16 that translators have translated into English as “free” or “freely” comes from the Hebrew תֹּאכֵֽל׃ pronounced tō·ḵêl. The ESVUK translation of Genesis 2:16 includes the Divine phrase “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden” (ESVUK) without using the English word “free” or “freely”; however the freedom of Adam’s choosing is surely implied by the translation as surely as it is implied (and eventually described) by the Hebrew text.
  65. [65] From Genesis 3:22 (ESVUK)
  66. [66] From Romans 8:29 (ESVUK)
  67. [67] From Matthew 5:27-28, Scripture taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible ® Copyright © 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.
  68. [68] according to Genesis 1:4 God called light “good” (ESV)
  69. [69] From Herbert McCabe OP, God Matters, Reprint 2005, p 13
  70. [70] I refer to does not merely speak of feelings such as comfortableness or pain. It also speaks of how I would intend to attempt to deal with such feelings; the intentional mood speaks of how I intend to react.

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