6-14-08 - DREAM - I was in a school for young
children, but there were adults in the building as well who may or may not
have been teachers.
I came into a classroom where some boys were fighting
and one boy was trying to kill another boy because a girl had complained
that he had touched her 'dykstra'.
I had no idea what a 'dykstra' was but I made them
stop because whatever it was, the boy still shouldn't have been killed
over it. I needed to find out exactly what she was talking about.
I was carrying a small sized white Bible, one that
was thick but not large in height or width. I had been told that
there were some books in the Old Testament that weren't complete, and I
planned to write out the books in their entirety and add sheets of paper
with the text that was missing.
On the way to the room where the paper was, I opened
a closet and found a bright blue upright vacuum cleaner that someone had hidden.
As soon as I touched it, it turned itself on. I didn't know who this
vacuum cleaner belonged to, but I knew it didn't belong in that closet, so
I took it with me.
On the way to the classroom where the paper was, I met my son
Bill (William) who was about seven years old. (The age of reason) He told me about some
friends of his who wouldn't watch television anymore because someone
else had said a man was saying things that made them lose their faith, but
that another one of his friends said, "No man is going to make me lose my
faith", and turned his television back on.
I didn't know whether that boy was 'stupid' or
'brilliant' because of his faith. I had not heard the rumour for
myself that caused the other boys to turn off their televisions.
As I reached the classroom where the paper was, a man
came running past and I heard on his walkie-talkie radio, "the man is on
three" and he went running off to take care of whatever was going on.
(Todd, from One Life to Live TV show) We weren't sure if he meant
3' or floor 3. (Probably means physical realm)
A woman (Marcie from One Life to Live TV show) wanted
to leave the room and follow Todd, but since there was something dangerous going on in the
school, I refused to let her leave the room and get mixed up in it.
Just as she was going to complain that I was keeping
her captive, I had to move the vacuum cleaner and it turned itself on.
That forced me to turn my complete attention on the vacuum cleaner, away
from everything else that was going on.
NOTE: I came to a new dream interpretation revelation
of the symbology of the vacuum cleaner by listening to the sermon above.
It represents 'the upright'.
The name William means :
The boy's name William \wi(l)-liam\
is pronounced WIL-yum. It is of
origin, and its meaning is "will
For a long time after the
AD 1066, three
out of four
English boys were given some form of the
Short forms and variants came into being with a common basic meaning
of "will", "determined",
The Name Marci is a girl's name. The origin of the baby name Marci
is Latin with the meaning(s) depending on Gender/Origin being.
Warlike one, of Mars. A
The boy's name Todd \t(o)-dd\
is pronounced tahd. It is of
English origin, and its meaning is "fox".
The name possibly refers to a
dialectal word for a
fox in some parts of
a clever or
The Holy Bible: King James Version.
The Refuge of the Upright
To the chief Musician,
A Psalm of David.
In the LORD
put I my trust:
how say ye to my soul,
Flee as a bird to your mountain?
For, lo, the wicked bend their
they make ready their arrow upon the string,
that they may privily shoot at the upright in
If the foundations be destroyed,
what can the righteous do?
is in his holy temple,
the LORD's throne is
his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of
trieth the righteous:
but the wicked and him that loveth violence his
Upon the wicked he shall rain
snares, fire and brimstone,
and a horrible tempest: this shall be the
portion of their cup.
For the righteous LORD
his countenance doth behold the upright.
Published by The American
The Fifth Seal (Part One)
by Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forerunner, "Prophecy Watch," September-October 2004
"When He opened the
fifth seal, I saw under the altar
the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the
testimony which they held.
And they cried with a loud voice, saying,
'How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood
on those who dwell on the earth?'
And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them
that they should rest a little while longer,
until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who
would be killed as they were, was completed."
As a child, the scariest movie I saw was
Quo Vadis? To most people, this movie falls in the "Christian
Epic" genre rather than "Horror," but for me, it evoked dread and
nightmares. Unlike today's movies, it did not splash blood or gore
on the screen, but it tastefully depicted the horrors of Rome's
persecution and martyrdom of Christians in an arresting,
heartrending manner. Its scenes of Christians being attacked and
devoured by lions in the Circus or being immolated as torches for
Nero's garden party were no less disturbing for being without the
Most Christian libraries are not complete
without Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which contains accounts of
dozens of persecutions of Christians down the centuries. In school
we read histories of religious wars—from the bloody spread of Islam
across the Middle East and North Africa and into Europe, through the
Crusades to repulse the infidels from the Holy Land, to the
Catholic-Protestant wars ignited by the Reformation—in which
hundreds of thousands of professing Christians lost their lives.
More recently, while millions of Jews suffered horrible deaths at
the hands of Hitler and Stalin, large numbers of Christians died
with them in the concentration camps.
Currently, professing Christians are suffering
and dying for their beliefs in predominantly Muslim and Communist
nations. Though most secular pundits do not care to admit it, the
War on Terror is really a clash of two civilizations founded on
mutually exclusive religions. The Islamic side is presently engaged
in holy war to convert or exterminate its enemies, while the
Judeo-Christian side, morally weak and increasingly secular, seeks a
political and/or military solution to contain or roll back the
jihadists. Some see this war as the latest chapter in a sporadic yet
titanic conflict between the two predominant religions on earth,
which had lain mostly dormant since the Spanish ousted the Moors
from Europe in 1492.
On May 27, 2004, AgapePress reported in
"Communist Asia, Mid-East Countries Top Church Persecution Charts"
by Allie Martin and Jenni Parker on the primary international
On a list of the 50 countries around
the world where persecution of Christians is greatest, North
Korea is the leader of the pack.
Each year Open Doors, a ministry to the
persecuted Church, compiles a world watch list of countries
where Christian believers face the most severe persecution. North
Korea topped the most recent list, followed by Saudi Arabia, Laos,
the central highlands of Vietnam, and Iran.
Also included in the top ten worst countries
is Burma, which has no constitution or laws to protect freedom of
religion. Open Doors' Jerry Dykstra says the government of Burma
favors Buddhists but treats Christians harshly.
"Christian homes and churches have been
burned down," Dykstra notes, "especially among the ethnic
tribes—persecution is really high. The government there is very
restrictive, very wary of Christians. Christians suffer. They are
not awarded jobs, and sometimes they don't get benefits." . . .
China also made the ministry's top ten list,
Dykstra says. Persecution has not lessened under the new
president, Hu Jintao, despite public commitments to human rights
and religious freedom. In that communist nation, where Christians
are required to register with the official state church, those
believers who resist government control over their religious life
must often face harassment by the police, detention, beatings, and
torture, and other forms of government intimidation.
Nevertheless, we tend to think of Christian
persecution and martyrdom in the past tense, believing that modern
ideas of religious freedom and tolerance make such murderous events
impossible today. However, to reach such a conclusion would be a
mistake. Not only are professing Christians currently undergoing
discrimination and maltreatment even in America—as extensively
documented in David Limbaugh's recent book, Persecution—but
the Bible promises us that large-scale persecutions and martyrdoms
of the saints will also take place before
Christ's return. We find this plainly prophesied in the fifth
Souls of the Slain
After Christ opens the fifth seal, the apostle
John sees "under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for
the word of God and for the testimony which they held" (verse 9). No
galloping horses or deadly riders appear in this seal, and their
absence immediately sets this one apart from the previous four.
There is no inviting, "Come and see," or expectant, "And I looked,
and behold," but just a plain narrative describing his vision. In
fact, the tone is so matter-of-fact as to be somber, befitting its
The first striking detail is "the altar" with
the definite article. That it is not further defined suggests that
it has already been mentioned or that the reader is expected to know
what it is. However, this verse contains the first mention of an
altar in the
book of Revelation. An altar is mentioned an additional seven
times in the book, and in six of them, it refers to the golden
incense altar that stands before the throne of God in heaven (see
16:7). The only exception to this appears in
Revelation 11:1, in which John is told to "measure the temple of
God, the altar, and those who worship there," seeming to refer to
evaluating the church, its ministers, and its worship in preparation
for the work of the
Two Witnesses. The "altar" of
Revelation 6:9, with the prayerful souls of martyrs under it,
conforms to the rule, not the exception.
The word "souls" (psuchás, plural of
psuché) also requires explanation, as the Greek word is far too
complex in meaning to define facilely as a person's immortal
essence, as most Catholics and Protestants are wont to do. Its basic
meaning is "breath," and is thus equivalent to the Hebrew
nephesh and Latin anima (as in English "animal" and
"animate"). One of its uses is as the New Testament version of what
Genesis 2:7 calls "the breath of life," that is, the vital force
that makes a body live: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of
the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and
man became a living being [nephesh]."
Luke 12:20 and
Acts 20:10 use psuché in this manner.
From this basic meaning derives its
extensions: as "life" (see
Revelation 12:11) and "living being" (see
I Corinthians 15:45;
Revelation 16:3). In addition, psuché can refer to the
seat of emotion, will, and desire, whereas we would use the terms
"heart," "mind," "personality," or "being" today (see
Acts 14:2, 22;
II Peter 2:14). In a similar sense, it can also identify man's
moral and spiritual life (see
I Peter 1:22;
2:11, 25; 4:19; III John 2).
Some try to read immortality into certain
biblical uses of psuché (for instance,
Acts 2:27, 31;
II Corinthians 1:23;
Revelation 20:4), but the Bible does not support such an
interpretation. In fact, in one of these,
Matthew 10:28, Jesus confirms that souls can indeed be destroyed
(also supported by the Old Testament in
Ezekiel 18:4, 20)! One must consult extrabiblical sources (such
as Plato, Xenophon, Herodotus, and other Greek writers) to find
usages of psuché that define "the soul as an essence which
differs from the body and is not dissolved by death" (Thayer's
How then is this word used in
Revelation 6:9? We must remember that John is viewing a vision (Revelation
1:10), a symbolic representation for mortal eyes and minds of
future events, not reality. One cannot see a person's actual soul,
that is, his being, his life, so what John saw were
representations of those who had been martyred. He probably
literally saw bodies (Greek soma) under the altar but chose
to identify them as psuchás, "lives" or "persons," because,
as the next verses show, the vision depicts them speaking and
receiving clothing, things a person can do only while alive.
The important point to remember is that John
specifically identifies them as having been "slain"—they are
dead—and the Bible elsewhere shows that "the dead know nothing" (Ecclesiastes
9:5) and cannot work, plan, learn, or pursue any activity in the
grave (verse 10). Thus, John, a Hebrew, is using psuché in
the same sense as Old Testament writers sometimes use
nephesh, as "dead body," a being that once had life (see
9:6-7, 10; 19:11, 13;
Word and Testimony
The apostle John tells why these saints
suffered martyrdom: "for the word of God and for the testimony which
they held." For John, these two are important elements, and they
occur several times in Revelation. In opening the book, the apostle
contends that he himself "bore witness to the word of God, and to
the testimony of Jesus Christ" in
Revelation 1:2, and in verse 9 he says he "was on the island
that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of
Jesus Christ." Later, when observing a vision of God's people
Satan, he writes, "And they overcame him by the blood of the
Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not
love their lives to the death" (Revelation
12:11). A statement similar to
Revelation 6:9 appears in
Revelation 20:4: "And I saw the souls of those who had been
beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God."
The first element, the word of God, is
straightforward: It is the
truth, the inspired revelation of God, that we find today in the
Bible. For John and many in the first century, it was the Old
Testament combined with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Only
later was this supplemented by the epistles of the apostles, Acts,
and Revelation. (No one can be certain when the authoritative canon
was compiled, but all the components were likely in place by the
time John died. Using
Isaiah 8:16, some believe that he authorized the present canon
before his death, c. ad 100.) Unlike many today, these
martyrs of the fifth seal do not take God's Word for granted,
believing instead that its message is personally vital, current, and
authoritative, and they are willing to die rather than compromise
with its instruction.
The second element, the testimony which
they held, can seem to some to be more complex. The key word,
testimony, is the Greek word marturían, which means
either "the act or office of testifying" or "what one testifies." In
modern terms, it is either the giving of evidence, as before a judge
in a courtroom, or the evidence itself. The word witness is
similarly used, as, for instance, the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11
are called mártusín ("witnesses" or "martyrs"), a related
word. Their "testimony," then, is evidence they give or a witness
We should not forget the final phrase, "which
they held," as it adds definition and emphasis to their testimony.
The evidence they give means something special to them! It is not as
if they witnessed an auto accident and, as unbiased bystanders,
simply testified about how it happened. Their testimony is something
so precious that they hold it fast, bear it, maintain it, keep it in
trust, possess it, consider it, believe it, and adhere to it.
How do they give their testimony? It could be
different for each one, but notice Jesus' interpretation of this
But before all these things [the heavenly
signs of the
sixth seal], they will lay their hands on you and persecute
you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will
be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. But it will
turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it
in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;
for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries
will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed
even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will
send some of you to your death. And you will be hated by all for
My name's sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. In your
patience possess your souls.
He specifically mentions testifying before
religious authorities, in prisons, and before secular leaders. These
are the "classic" occasions for witnessing of the truth, all of
which are reported as happening to the apostles in the
book of Acts. He also hints at other ways of testifying, more
personal ones that involve relatives and "friends" seeing a
Christian practicing his beliefs or hearing him propounding the
truth, and betraying him to the authorities.
Hebrews 11 gives multiple examples of the
faith making a witness of the true God and His way. Abel, for
example, bore witness by making an acceptable sacrifice (verse 4).
Enoch's translation was witness that He pleased God (verse 5).
Noah's obedience in constructing the ark bore witness of his faith
(verse 7). Abraham testified of his allegiance in many ways: leaving
Ur (verse 8), dwelling in tents in Canaan (verse 9), and sacrificing
Isaac (verse 17). Sarah, too, testified by conceiving and bearing
the promised son, Isaac (verse 11). Later, Moses showed his faith by
refusing royal rank (verse 24), forsaking Egypt (verse 27), and
Passover (verse 28).
Likewise, we give testimony of our devotion to
God and our beliefs in simple, everyday acts, many of which we
probably never consider to be witnessing. We make a witness to other
members of our families with our every word, act, and decision. We
witness of our adherence to law in our public activities, from
driving our cars to paying our taxes. Our diligence and thoroughness
on the job testify of our godly character or lack thereof. One could
go so far as to say that everything we say and do that is witnessed
by others shouts out the testimony that we hold.
Are we, like these martyred saints, willing to
lay down our lives for God's Word and our beliefs? It may never come
to that for any of us personally, but do we have the sacrificial
attitude applauded by
Revelation 6:11 and many other New Testament verses? Do we value
God's revelation of His way of life highly enough to defend it
despite the cost? Do we, as Jesus warns in
Luke 14:26, "hate" our lives enough to be His disciples?
© 2004 Church of
the Great God
PO Box 471846
Charlotte, NC 28247-1846
The Fifth Seal (Part Two)
by Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forerunner, "Prophecy Watch," November 2004
"When He opened the
fifth seal, I saw under the altar
the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for
the testimony which they held.
And they cried with a loud voice, saying,
'How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our
blood on those who dwell on the earth?'
And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to
them that they should rest a little while longer,
until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren,
who would be killed as they were, was completed."
Persecution and martyrdom are not popular
topics among Christians today, but they are facts of Christian
life. Whether they reach the depths of Nero's or Domitian's
persecutions of the saints in the church's first century or
whether they are "merely" employment problems or social snubs,
they still exist. They still hurt. They still take their toll.
In the New Testament, the apostles
approach the subject of persecution courageously but
matter-of-factly. To our eyes, looking back over the centuries
to what we perceive to be a brutal, inhuman time, they come
across as resigned to its eventual occurrence, and this should
not be unexpected, since they had already endured a great deal
of it personally and anticipated that it would strike most other
Christians in due course. They certainly did not relish its
appearance, but they considered it in the same vein we look at
traffic-snarling accidents on our daily commute—as part of the
journey to be endured with dignity and patience.
The apostle Paul—who suffered more than
his fair share of persecution, even to near-death a few times
(see his list in
II Corinthians 11:23-28)—is known for a couple of such
Acts 14:22, just after being stoned by Jews in Lystra, he
and Barnabas are attributed as saying encouragingly, "We must
through many tribulations enter the
kingdom of God." At the other end of his ministry,
imprisoned and awaiting trial before Nero, Paul writes Timothy,
". . . what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord
delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ
Jesus will suffer persecution" (II
Timothy 3:11-12). It is a given, he says, that the practice
of true Christianity will attract persecution.
In his epistles too, Peter advises
Christians to suffer their expected persecutions with
faith, grace, and patience:
For this is commendable, if because of
conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering
wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for
your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and
suffer for it, if you take it patiently, this is commendable
before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also
suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow
His steps. . . . (I
But even if you should suffer for
righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of
their threats, nor be troubled." . . . For it is better, if it
is the will of God, to suffer for doing good, than for doing
Peter 3:14, 17)
Beloved, do not think it strange
concerning the fiery trial which is to try [test] you, as
though some strange thing happened to you, but rejoice to the
extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings. . . . If you
are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for
the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. . . . Yet if
anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let
him glorify God in this matter. . . . Therefore let those who
suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him
in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (I
Peter 4:12-14, 16, 19)
This is exactly what Jesus Himself taught
during His ministry. He says in the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are those who are
persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the
kingdom of God. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute
you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My
sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your
reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the
prophets who were before you. (Matthew
Later, speaking to His disciples before
His arrest, He warns:
the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it
hated you. If you were of the world, the world would
love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I
chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. . .
. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. (John
They will put you out of the synagogues;
yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that
he offers God service. And these things they will do to you
because they have not known the Father nor Me. . . . These
things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have
peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of
good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John
So it is no wonder that the fifth seal
concerns persecution and martyrdom. A world deceived by false
religion and racked by wars, famines, and diseases, can be
expected to lash out at those who teach and live a different and
better way, the way of God.
How long, O Lord?"
In his vision, the apostle John hears the
souls under the altar beseech God, "How long, O Lord, holy and
true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on
the earth?" (Revelation
6:10). Theirs is not a bloodthirsty cry for vengeance, as
some have seen it, since this does not accord with Christian
12:19-21), but a call for
justice or judgment—a major theme of the seals—as well as a
question about the proximity of Christ's return. It is well
known that at His
second coming, He will both reward His saints and judge His
This plaintive cry, "How long . . .?" is a
New Testament echo of the Old Testament prophets, many of whom
were persecuted and slain for their testimony. The psalmists use
it most frequently: from David in
Psalm 13:1 ("How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?")
to Asaph in
Psalm 74:10 ("O God, how long will the adversary reproach?")
to Moses in
Psalm 90:13 ("Return, O Lord! How long? And have compassion
on Your servants"). Even Ethan the Ezrahite gets in on the act:
"How long, Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath
burn like fire?" (Psalm
89:46; see also
This question continues in both the major
and minor prophets. Isaiah writes, "Then I said, 'Lord, how
long?' And He answered: 'Until the cities are laid waste and
without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is
utterly desolate. . .'" (Isaiah
6:11). Later, Habakkuk asks, "O Lord, how long shall I cry,
and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, 'Violence!' and You
will not save" (Habakkuk
1:2; see also
Zechariah 1:12). "How long?" has been a constant
prayer to God through the ages, especially during times of
great distress, particularly when God's servants are under
intense persecution, when the surrounding culture has reached
its nadir and the nation is ripe for judgment, or as it often
works out, when both are happening simultaneously.
The intent of the request in
Revelation 6:10 is for an indication from God of how long
the saints have to endure the worst that Satan-inspired humanity
can throw at them before He acts on their behalf as He has
promised. As early as
Deuteronomy 32:43, the conclusion of the Song of Moses, it
is promised, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; for He will
avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His
adversaries." Jesus Himself promises, "And shall God not avenge
His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears
long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily" (Luke
18:7-8). Paul later expands this considerably:
. . . it is a righteous thing with God
to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give
you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is
revealed from heaven with His mighty
angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do
not know God, and on those who do not obey
of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with
everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from
the glory of His
power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His
saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because
our testimony among you was believed. (II
There is never a doubt about God's
eventual intervention to avenge the deaths of His saints. God's
promises are sure (Isaiah
John 10:35). Obviously, "How long, O Lord . . .?" is a query
about the duration of events until God intervenes, and the souls
under the altar ask it, not in impatience or exasperation, but
in anticipation of the end of the saints' tribulations and of
the receipt of their reward.
In reading this, however, we must not
forget that these martyred saints are dead, resting in their
Revelation 6:11 confirms. Thus, the answer to their question
is not for them—they know nothing (Ecclesiastes
9:5), their testimony having finished in death (Acts
II Timothy 4:7;
Revelation 11:7)—but for living saints, who will undergo
persecution and eventual martyrdom.
Before God answers them, they are each
given a white robe in
Revelation 6:11. Much has been made of the fact that this
robe is a stolé, a long, stately, often status-indicating
garment, while the
overcomer in Sardis receives a white himation, an
ordinary outer garment like a cape or cloak (Revelation
3:5). This distinction should not be taken too far, as
Christ Himself returns in a himation dipped in blood (Revelation
19:13), not a stolé. The important element is that
the robe is white, the color of purity and righteousness, as
well as joy, victory, and perfection (see "The
Four Horsemen (Part Two): The White Horse,"
Forerunner, May 2004. p. 12). The giving of a white
robe, formal or common, is a symbol of
salvation for these martyred Christians.
Finally, God responds to their question:
". . . it was said to them that they should rest a little while
longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their
brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed." The
immediate answer, "a little while longer" (literally, "yet a
little time"), is ambiguously short-range. At this point in the
prophetic timeline as we have learned it—the Great Tribulation
has just commenced—this uncertain period is probably at most
three and a half years long.
Yet, because Revelation was written to the
church late in the first century—more than nineteen hundred
years ago—this comforting and expectant phrase implies a longer
duration for Christians through the ages since then.
II Peter 3:8 reminds us "that with the Lord one day is as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." There is even
biblical backing to regard the day of the Lord as the whole
period since Christ's first advent nearly two millennia
ago! Written around the same time as Revelation,
I John 2:18 goes even further: "[W]e know it is the last
hour"! Certainly, God marks time differently than we do.
Nevertheless, the phraseology assures us that, though it is
still future, God's vengeance will fall justly on the guilty,
and His saints will be free of suffering and receive their
The explanatory material that fills out
the remainder of the verse provokes varied interpretation. The
reason for this is that two similar but variant readings of "was
completed" have come down to us in the manuscripts:
plerothosin and plerososin. The former is aorist
passive, meaning, as in the New King James Version, that "the
number of their fellow servants . . . was completed," while the
latter is plain aorist, changing the sense to either "their
fellow servants . . . should be complete" (less likely,
according to the experts) or they "should complete [their
course]" or "should fulfill [their calling]."
Yet, this may all be just a semantic
argument. By using italics, most Bibles make it clear that
the number of is not in the Greek text but has been supplied
by the translators. This was done to conform to their
misunderstanding of the passive form, plerothosin. Since
mainstream Christians, including translators, do not believe in
doctrine of sanctification as a lifelong process—in
cooperation with God—of spiritual growth toward perfection,
translations of this verse contain a built-in bias toward a
certain number being saved by grace alone through faith rather
than those whom God calls being transformed into the image of
Christ through grace and works. Thus, they insert the
italicized phrase unnecessarily to preclude the idea of
Christian works—despite the fact that the entire passage exalts
the particular works of witnessing and martyrdom!
Nevertheless, the verb—whichever is chosen
as the better of the two—appears in the plural form, as
it refers to its plural subjects, "servants and . . . brethren."
"Number" is singular. This provides additional proof that
Revelation 6:11 is not referring to a specific number of
martyrs but simply that others either will be completed or will
complete their calling through martyrdom. The latter half of the
verse, then, is better rendered, ". . . until their fellow
servants and their brethren, who are to be killed as they were,
should also be complete [or, should also complete (their
course)]." In other words, whether passively or actively,
more sons and daughters will come to perfection through
suffering and death, just as God's Firstborn Son did as our
Vengeance Is Coming
Like the first four seals, the fifth is a
judgment "on those who dwell on the earth" (Revelation
6:10). We are distracted from this because the action
focuses on Christian martyrs who have endured the
hostility of men and women who, as spiritual children of
8:38, 41, 44), have accepted this world's anti-God attitudes
and beliefs. Yet, judgment is present, appearing in God's
promise that, because He is the "[Sovereign] Lord, holy and
true," He will judge and avenge His faithful servants. Time may
pass before this is accomplished, but it is assured.
As this world continues its downward
spiral toward the end, Christians can take comfort in this
otherwise horrific prophecy. Some of us may be called upon to
pay the ultimate price to witness before the world of God's
truth and way of life, but it is made "easier" knowing that
God will not let it go unpunished and unrewarded. With God's
faithful assurance backing us, we can "rest"—be at peace or at
ease—knowing our sacrifice will not be in vain.
© 2004 Church
of the Great God
PO Box 471846
Charlotte, NC 28247-1846
Confidence in God's Power
Translation of Psalm 11
11:1 (For the music director, by David) In YHWH I take shelter.
How are you saying to my soul, "Flee1 to your
mountain like a bird 11:2 For behold the wicked have prepared a bow,
they have made ready their arrows on the strings, to shoot in the
darkness at the upright heart. 11:3 For the foundations are being
overthrown.2 What can the righteous do?"3
11:4 YHWH is in his holy temple,YHWH’s throne is in heaven; His
eyes are beholding,4 His eyelids are examining
the sons of men. 11:5 YHWH is examining the righteous, but the wicked5
and those who love violence his soul hates. 11:6 May he rain6
on the wicked, traps, fire and brimstone, And a scorching wind will be
what they deserve.7 11:7 For YHWH is righteous,
he loves righteousness; the righteous will behold his face.
The author of Hebrews exhorted those whose faith in Christ was
wavering, "Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great
reward" (Hebrews 10:35). He went on to point out that the Lord would
perform His promises, but that the Righteous need to live by faith to
the fulfillment of that promise (vs. 37-38). Confidence in the power
and goodness of God are absolutely essential to the life of a godly
man or woman. Confidence is the by-product of the faith, much as fire
is the result of an initial spark. Psalm 11 is an account of one man’s
confidence in YHWH.
This psalm 11 is classified as "trust of the individual." In
this psalm, only one person is in the foreground. Although there are a
group of people who are represented as the antagonists to faith in
God, there is only one man who is expressing trust in God. The focus
of the psalm is on the trust of this one individual, presumably David.
That David is the author is taken from the Hebrew superscription
at the beginning of the psalm, lamnatseach ldawid. The
lameds (l) at the beginning of both words seem to indicate to
and from. Habakkuk 3:1 uses the lamed in this fashion.
Extrabiblically, the Samaria Ostraca and Lachish Letters, which are
potsherds and dockets from the days of the divided monarchy, also
verify this usage.8 According to the
superscription then, this psalm was written to the chief musician,
From the internal evidence of the psalm, we are able to
construct the basic situation which lay behind David’s writing of this
psalm. The wicked enemies of David were preparing to attack his
armies. There were those in David’s own camp (the Righteous) who were
saying to him that he should run to his mountain, presumably Jerusalem
(Mount Zion). The psalmist rejects the advice to flee from his
dangerous enemies, even though it looked like the Righteous had no
foundation to stand on. In response to their question of what the
Righteous would do if their foundation were destroyed, David asserts
that the Righteous would stand. Instead of fleeing from the ensuing
battle to seek refuge in the safety of his mountain, David chose to
seek refuge in the YHWH. David reminded his advice-givers that they
need not fear because their God’s throne was in heaven, in His holy
temple. He was aware of the Israelites’ situation, and was on their
side. God would test the Righteous, but he hated those who were evil,
loving ethical violence. David affirmed his confidence in God’s just
character. Finally David, by faith, wishes that God would judge his
enemies, and calls down judgment on evildoers. He had confidence that
this desire of his would come to pass because YHWH loves
righteousness. The Israelites could rest assured that those who were
righteous would behold God’s face in the time of their calamity. He
would show them favor and mercy, delivering them from their calamity.
The following synthesis will provide a basic overview of the
Even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles,
including evil oppression and ill-advice, we need not flee to our
earthly fortresses of safety. We can take refuge in the YHWH to see
that the righteous are upheld, and the wicked are punished for their
The Psalmist states His trust in YHWH and the advice of the
Fearful Righteous (1-3).
Expression of trust in YHWH (1a).
The Fearful’s advice to flee (1b).
The Fearful rehearse the activity of the Wicked (2).
The Fearful express their concern for the fate of the
The Psalmist explicates the reasons he trusts in YHWH (4-7).
YHWH is in heaven beholding all that is going on (4).
YHWH is aware of who the Righteous and Wicked are, and He
hates the Wicked (5).
The Psalmist expresses his desire for the judgment of the
The character of YHWH is called upon to substantiate
David’s claims (7a)
III. The Psalmist states the outcome of the fate of the
Righteous—they will behold God’s face (7b).
YHWH is Our Refuge in Whom We Can Trust
The opening phrase of the psalm expresses trust in YWHW. David
does not start His psalm with the doubt of the Fearful Righteous, but
with an expression of His confidence in God. He openly and boldly sets
the stage for the verses to come. There is no mistaking the faith of
the Psalmist. We are not presented first with the problem, and left
wondering what the Psalmist’s response will be, but are told right up
front the spiritual vision of the Psalmist.
David claimed that the Lord was his refuge. The Hebrew
word translated as refuge is gasah. This word is used
sometimes in a literal sense, meaning to take shelter or refuge
(Isaiah 4:6; 25:4; Job 24:8), but is more often used figuratively of
seeking refuge in God, putting confident trust in Him. The Septuagint
(LXX) translates this Hebrew word with peitho, meaning "trust"
or "confidence." David sought refuge in YHWH, putting His trust in
The Fearful Righteous Lose Confidence in Their
When seeing the array of the enemy, some within David’s camp
thought of turning back to seek refuge in Mount Zion, and desired to
persuade David to think the same. They said to him, "Flee to your
mountain like a bird." When a bird is in danger, it never tries to
fend for itself on the ground, but immediately and swiftly flies away
seeking a safe place to land away from harm’s way. The Fearful tempted
David to turn his back on his trust in YHWH and fend for himself. The
reason for such a statement to David could only come from those who
were not looking to the God in heaven, which is where their help would
come from (Psalm 121:1-2).
The Wicked Prepare an Attack on the Righteous
Having stated their case to David to flee, the Fearful Righteous
begin to frantically state their case. They see the impending danger
coming to meet them face to face, and realize there is not much time
left. If David is going to flee, he must do so quickly. The wicked
have prepared their bows, are placing their arrows on the string, and
are ready to fire. They are at the last stage before discharging their
There is a sense of despair in the speech of the Fearful. They
are ready to flee, and David probably contemplates doing so himself.
The enemies are already arming their weapons. To stand firm and
courageous would be to offer a target to the Wicked.10
Surely it would be easier to flee from the arrows shot in the dark
than to stand and face them.
This phrase "to shoot in the darkness" implies that the enemy
hoped to accomplish the defeat of David and his men without being
seen.11 Although this was their plan, David knew
that the eyes of the Lord were beholding their plans (v. 4). Surely
the devices of the enemy would fail.
The "upright in heart" which the Wicked desired to shoot were
none other than the children of Israel. The heart is here viewed as
the seat of one’s moral character and motives. The "pure of heart" are
God’s faithful followers who trust in and love the Lord and, as a
result, experience his deliverance (Psalm 7:10; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10;
The dread of the Fearful was that the foundations were
being overthrown. Overthrown is in the imperfect, indicating
that the action was in process. These foundations seem to be that of
the society of the righteous. I say seem because the Hebrew
word translated foundations is not common.12
It is the name Seth, which accounts for nine of its twelve
occurrences. It only appears elsewhere in the OT in II Samuel 10:4 and
Isaiah 19:10 where it is translated as "buttocks." An Aramaic cognate
of this word is used to describe the base of a mountain. David’s men
believed that these Wicked men were about to destroy the very
foundation of all that the righteous knew. It was in the wake of this
fear that the Fearful asked, "What can the righteous do?"13
Confidence in YHWH Proclaimed
During David’s exposition of confidence in God, it should be
noted that he never spoke to God directly. He only spoke about God to
the Fearful. David never uttered a prayer to God for deliverance, but
did express to the Faithful, his desire for the outcome of the Wicked.
David begins to give reasons for trusting in YHWH. First, David
is assured that YHWH is in his holy temple, where His throne is too.
The reference to the temple is not based off of the Temple in
Jerusalem, for it had not yet been built. The Mosaic tabernacle was
still being used at this time. This imagery of God on His throne in
heaven signifies God’s transcendence over the affairs of man.14
His throne signifies His royal rule over all mankind. He is in
control of the chaos that David is being presented with.
God is not blind to what is going on, but "His eyes are
beholding, and His eyelids are examining the sons of men." The Hebrew
word bachan, translated as examine or test, is
used of the process silver or gold undergoes for purification
(Jeremiah 6:27-30; 9:7; Psalm 7:9).15
Furthermore, this Hebrew word appears in the imperfect, stressing the
process of examining men. God is continually examining the sons of men
to see whether they are righteous or wicked. Because God is examining
and testing men, He knows who is on His side and who is not.
David relied on this truth for assurance that God would be
against the Wicked. God examines everyone including the Righteous, but
it is with the Wicked and those who love violence that God hates. When
the Wicked are observed and tried by God, the result is far different
than when He tries the Righteous.
David, knowing that YHWH was against the Wicked, expresses his
desire that YWHW would pour out on the Wicked, traps, fire and burning
sulfur, and a scorching wind. The traps are figurative of difficulties
and troubles that would befall the Wicked that would hinder their
plans.16 The fire and burning sulfur would be
used to destroy David’s enemies in the same way that God used fire and
burning sulfur to destroy Sodom and Gomorra. The scorching wind seems
to be a reference to scirocco winds which blow through Israel during
the seasonal changes from spring to summer, and from summer to fall.
It brings in oppressive heats from the desert.17
It’s effects are devastating, destroying vegetation by turning it into
parched, withered plants overnight.18 This hot
wind is known in Israel today as hamsin (Arabic) or sharab
(Hebrew). This scorching wind is what the Wicked deserve. Their
judgment is compared to an allotted portion of a beverage that is
poured into someone’s drinking cup. This same imagery is used in other
Scriptures also (Psalm 16:5; 23:5; Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15). The
portion that the Wicked would receive would be that which was due
The Righteous Will Behold God’s Face
David’s final reason for believing that YWHW would deliver him
from the Wicked was rooted in God’s character. YHWH is righteous, and
he loves righteous deeds.19 Since David and the
Israelites were righteous, they could be assured that God would side
with them, and against the Wicked and lovers of violence. God’s
character would not allow the Righteous to be destroyed by the Wicked.
David’s final words consist of a confession of faith that "the
righteous will behold his face."20 The words do
not necessarily mean that the Israelites would see a theophany of God,
nor do they meant that this beholding of God’s face was to be in the
eschaton.21 To "see" God’s "face" means to have
access to his presence and to experience his favor (Psalm 17:15; Job
33:26). This phrase seems to be speaking of the impending vindication
that the Righteous would receive from God. It would be in this
deliverance from the Wicked that the Israelites would behold the face
of God. At that time they would see a clear vision of His
righteousness and power.
Sometimes there are circumstances in which it would be wise to
flee from adversity. Jesus Himself fled from His enemies, and
instructed His disciples to do so likewise (Matthew 10:23; John
10:39). At times, flight may be the will of God. Fleeing from the
Wicked or evil does not always indicate a lack of confidence in God’s
ability to deliver. On this occasion David was assured that it was the
will of God that he stay and face the Wicked. Even though the
Fearful’s advice to flee was logical and reasonable, David had an eye
of faith that could see beyond the reasonable. He believed in God, and
thus spoke of his confidence to all those who doubted YHWH (Psalm
In this journey of faith, we do not walk by sight, but by faith
(II Corinthians 5:7). David understood this well. He looked to the God
who dwells in the heavens for his help. He would not trust in the
natural world, but looked to the spiritual world. He was faced with a
choice as to who he would put his confidence in: man or God? David
chose to put his confidence in YHWH. His confidence was not based in
man or self, but in the omnipotent God who loves righteousness. David
did not cast off his confidence, but remained steadfast to the end,
trusting in YHWH’s powerful hand, rather than in His own.
Craigie, Peter C. Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. 19.
Waco, TX: Word Books, 1983.
Rawlinson, G. The Pulpit Commentary. Vol. 8: The
Psalms. H.D.M. Spence, Joseph Exell, eds. Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, Reprint 1984.
Ross, Allen P. Principles of Hebrew Exegesis in the Psalms.
Vol. 2. Unpublished notes from Hebrew Exegesis class taught at Dallas
Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, 1983.
Van Gemeren, William A. Expositor’s Bible Commentary.
Vol. 5. Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991.
1. The Masoretic Text (MT) reads "flee [masculine plural] to
your [masculine plural] mountain, bird [feminine singular]." Taking
"bird" to be a vocative, the literal reading of the MT is, "Flee, O
bird, to your mountain. Some have suggested that this is a proverbial
expression used when warning a man to flee from impending danger (The
Pulpit Commentary). This does not seem likely because there is no
grammatical agreement between "bird" and "flee" and "mountain." "Bird"
is singular, whereas the pronominal suffix and verb are plural. The
Qere (marginal reading, which shows how the Jews were supposed to say
the word) of the MT has "flee" in a feminine singular form, which
agrees grammatically with the addressee, "bird." The Jews understood
"bird" to be used as an accusative of manner, indicating how David and
his army were to flee. This understanding is sustained in the reading
of the LXX. The translators understood "flee" as a 2nd person singular
verb, agreeing with the singular "bird." They understood "bird" to be
used for comparison, using the particle hos. This reading is
also held by the author. <back>
2. In the Niphil haras carries the idea of "overthrow." See
Proverbs 11:11; Jeremiah 31:40. This word is in the imperfect
stressing the progress of the action. The foundations were in the
process of being overthrown. <back>
3. This verb appears in the qal. The qal form only appears in the
poetic literature. <back>
4. The LXX adds the word eis ton peneta, meaning "the poor or
needy person." This may represent an earlier Hebrew text that dropped
out of use, or a variant reading of the Hebrew that was translated
into the LXX. <back>
5. Some versions render connect this phrase to the end of the prior
phrase so that it reads, "The Lord examines the righteous and the
wicked…". I believe the context, along with the fact that there are
two waw particle conjunctions in a row, indicate that there is a
contrast being made between what God does with the righteous and what
He does with the wicked. The "wicked" and "those who love violence"
are synonymous parallels, both indicating the class of people that the
Lord hates. <back>
6. This is a jussive form, indicating the wish of the author.
7. Literally "the portion of their cup," meaning that portion which is
rightfully deserved. <back>
8. Allen P. Ross, Principles of Hebrew Exegesis in the Psalms, Vol. 2
(unpublished notes from Hebrew Exegesis class taught at Dallas
Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, 1983), 22. <back>
9. G. Rawlinson, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 8: The Psalms, H.D.M.
Spence, Joseph Exell, eds (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Reprint 1984), 71.
10. Peter C. Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 19 (Waco, TX:
Word Books, 1983), 133. <back>
11. Ibid. <back>
12. The LXX does not use a noun for foundations, but the verb
katariso, meaning "made." It reads, "That which you have made they
have destroyed." It seems that the translators did not understand
exactly what the foundations were, but figuring that they must have
been created by God, chose to translate it in this generic sense.
13. Most English translations agree with this rendering, however some
render the Hebrew
tsadiq mah-pa'al as "What has the righteous done?". The LXX
rendered the Hebrew phrase this way too. Grammatically this rendering
is possible, but contextually the traditional rendering makes more
sense. The Fearful were not questioning what they had done to deserve
oppression from the Wicked, but were expressing their plight in the
present situation. If they did not flee, the ready armies of the
Wicked were about to destroy the foundations of the Righteous. The
Fearful Righteous could not contemplate what they were going to do if
this were to happen. They saw no other option than to flee from the
14. Ibid. <back>
15. William A. Van Gemeren, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Frank E.
Gaebelein, ed. Vol. 5 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 133.
16. The Pulpit Commentary, 72. <back>
17. Word Biblical Commentary, 134. <back>
18. Expositor's Bible Commentary, 133. <back>
19. The Hebrew word tsadiqoth is sometimes rendered simply as
"righteousness." Although this rendering is acceptable, it seems
better to understand this as "righteous deeds" because the word is in
the plural, speaking of many 'righteousnesses' so to say. It seems
apparent that it is many acts of righteousness, or righteous deeds.
20. The singular subject ("upright") does not agree with the plural
verb. However, collective singular nouns can be construed with a
plural predicate. <back>
21. Word Biblical Commentary, 134. <back>
BIBLE VERSES ABOUT FAITH
Have Faith in
Tomorrow, Have Faith in God
For the Lord watches over the way
of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 1:6 NIV
Surely goodness and mercy shall
follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of
the Lord for ever.
Psalm 23:6 KJV
Cast your burden upon the Lord and
He will sustain you: He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Psalm 55:22 NASB
Trust in him at all times, O
people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:8 NIV
In thee, O Lord, do I put my
trust; let me never be put into confusion.
Psalm 71:1 KJV
Trust in the LORD with all thine
heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways
acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His
compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Thy
Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB
Take therefore no thought for the
morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Matthew 6:34 KJV
For truly I say to you, if you
have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, "Move
from here to there" and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible
Matthew 17:20 NASB
When Jesus saw their faith, he said
unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (KJV)
For verily I say unto you, That
whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou
cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe
that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have
whatsoever he saith.
Mark 6:23 KJV
For in the gospel a righteousness is being revealed, a righteousness
that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The
righteous will live by faith."
Romans 1:17 NIV
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (KJV)
But he must ask in faith without
any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea,
driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6 NASB
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
I Corinthians 16:13 NASB
I can do everything through him that gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NIV
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV
But without faith it is impossible to
please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he
is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (KJV)
is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that
overcometh the world, even our faith. (KJV)
1 John 5:4
A Bible Lesson for Spiritual Faith
Many Christians consider the Abraham of
the Bible as the father of spiritual faith. This Bible
lesson summary will help us improve our lives as Christians
as we look at the journey of the spiritual faith of Abraham
as recorded in the Bible.
God - Well, maybe
In Genesis 12,
God instructed Abram to leave his homeland and get away
from his kindred and go to another place. The spiritual
faith of Abram is stretched in this circumstance because who
wants to leave their home? Abram was not fully obedient
because he took Lot with him, a nephew, considered kindred.
In this Bible lesson, it is important to obey
God fully when He gives a specific command for spiritual
faith to grow.
Abram and Lot Separate
Strife begins between the herdsmen of both of these
men so that they must depart from each other. Lot goes
to the fertile plains of the Jordan River and Abram stayed
in the land of Canaan. This Bible lesson points to where
Abram did not fully obey
God the first time. The Bible lesson here is there will
be consequences for disobeying
God (strife among people) and spiritual faith will be
wife is Barren
God had already told Abram that He would give all the land
from north, south, east and west to his descendants and that
this seed would come from his
body (see Genesis 15, 3-4). His wife, Sarai offers her
handmaid, Hagar, to Abram so that the
child will come through her. The third Bible lesson is
to never step out ahead of
God and try to bring His plans to pass. The Bible
records that it was 15 years before
God spoke to Abram again which would definitely affect a
person's spiritual faith (Genesis 12:4, Genesis 17:1).
Obviously, Abram didn't put up a fight when it came time to
accept Hagar; however, Ishmael was sent away and the people
in that region have been in strife to this day.
ANOTHER LESSON ABOUT HAVING FAITH
And without faith it is impossible to
please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe
that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek
But without faith it is impossible to
please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come
near to God must [necessarily] believe that God
exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly
and diligently seek Him [out]. (AMP)
But without faith it is impossible to
please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he
is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek
is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we
do not see.
what the ancients were commended for.
we understand that the universe was formed at God's
command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was
4. By faith
Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith
he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his
offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he
Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not
experience death: "He could not be found, because God had
taken him away." For before he was taken, he was commended
as one who pleased God.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because
anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and
that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear
built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned
the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in
keeping with faith.
Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later
receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though
he did not know where he was going.
he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a
foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and
Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
For he was
looking forward to the city with foundations, whose
architect and builder is God.
faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was
enabled to bear children because she considered him
faithful who had made the promise.
from this one man, and he as good as dead, came
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as
countless as the sand on the seashore.
people were still living by faith when they died. They did
not receive the things promised; they only saw them and
welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were
foreigners and strangers on earth.
say such things show that they are looking for a country
of their own.
had been thinking of the country they had left, they would
have had opportunity to return. (NIV)
is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the
things [we] hope for, being the proof of things
[we] do not see and the conviction of their
reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not
revealed to the senses].
[faith--trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men
of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a
we understand that the worlds [during the successive
ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and
equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God,
so that what we see was not made out of things which are
[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a
better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of
which it was testified of him that he was righteous
[that he was upright and in right standing with God],
and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his
gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident]
he is still speaking.
in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an
offering of the fruit of the ground.
Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of
the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and
regard for Abel and for his offering,
and his offering He had no respect or regard. So
Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he
looked sad and depressed.
the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do
you look sad and depressed and dejected? 7If
you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do
not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire
is for you, but you must master it.
Cain said to his brother, Let
us go out to the field. And when they were in the
field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and
the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother?
he said, I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?
[the Lord] said, What have you done? The voice of your
brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground.
zCopyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964,
1965, 1987 by The
faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so
that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not
found, because God had translated him. For even before he
was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on
record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to
When Enoch was 65 years old, Methuselah was
Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with
God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years and had
other sons and daughters.
So all the days of Enoch were 365 years.
And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship]
with God; and he was not, for God took him [home
But without faith it is impossible to please and be
satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God
must [necessarily] believe that God exists and
that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and
diligently seek Him [out].
[Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God
concerning events of which as yet there was no visible
sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed
and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family.
By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed
judgment and sentence on the world's unbelief and became
an heir and possessor of righteousness (that relation of
being right into which God puts the person who has faith).
said to Noah, I intend to make
an end of all flesh, for through men the land is
filled with violence; and behold, I will destroy
them and the land.
Make yourself an ark of gopher
or cypress wood; make in it rooms (stalls, pens,
coops, nests, cages, and compartments) and cover it
inside and out with pitch (bitumen).
And this is the way you are to
make it: the length of the ark shall be 300 cubits,
its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits
[that is, 450 ft. x 75 ft. x 45 ft.]16
You shall make a roof
or window [a place for light] for the ark and finish
it to a cubit [at least 18 inches] above--and the
door of the ark you shall put in the side of it; and
you shall make it with lower, second, and third
For behold, I, even I,
will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to
destroy and make putrid all flesh under the heavens
in which are the breath and spirit of life;
everything that is on the land shall die.
But I will establish My
covenant (promise, pledge) with you, and you shall
come into the ark--you and your sons and your wife
and your sons' wives with you.
And of every living
thing of all flesh [found on land], you shall bring
two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive
with you; they shall be male and female.
fowls and birds according to their kinds, of beasts
according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of
the ground according to its kind--two of every sort
shall come in with you, that they may be kept alive.
Also take with you
every sort of food that is eaten, and you shall
collect and store it up, and it shall serve as food
for you and for them.
did this; he did all that God commanded him.
Genesis 6:13 Enoch had warned these people
(Jude 14, 15); Noah had preached righteousness to
them (II Pet. 2:5); God's Spirit had been striving
with them (Gen. 6:3). Yet they had rejected God
and were without excuse.
Genesis 6:16 Noah's ark possibly had a window
area large enough to admit light and provide
Genesis 6:16 "Here can only be meant an
entrance which was afterward closed, and only
opened again at the end of the flood. And since
there were three stories of the ark, the word is
to be understood, perhaps, of three entrances
capable of being closed, and to which there would
have been constructed a way of access from the
outside" (J.P. Lange, A Commentary on the Holy
on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and
went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as
an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or
trouble his mind about where he was to go.
[Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident
in the land which was designated in the promise [of
God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange
country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow
heirs with him of the same promise.
NOW [in Haran] the Lord said to Abram,
Go for yourself [for
your own advantage]
away from your country, from your relatives and your
father's house, to the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you
a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant
increase of favors] and make your name famous and
distinguished, and you will be a blessing
[dispensing good to others].
And I will bless those who
bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness
upon you] and curse him who
curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you
will all the families and kindred of the earth be
blessed [and by you they will bless
Abram departed, as the Lord had directed him; and
Lot [his nephew] went with him. Abram was
seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
5 Abram took Sarai his
wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their
possessions that they had gathered, and the persons
[servants] that they had acquired in Haran, and they
went forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they
came to the land of Canaan,
Abram passed through the land to the locality of
Shechem, to the oak or terebinth tree of Moreh. And
the Canaanite was then in the land.
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, I will
give this land to your posterity. So Abram built an
altar there to the Lord, Who had appeared to him.
From there he pulled up [his tent pegs] and departed
to the mountain on the east of Bethel and pitched
his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the
east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and
called upon the name of the Lord.
Genesis 12:3 To look with disfavor on the Jews
was to invite God's displeasure; to treat the Jews
offensively was to incur His wrath. But to
befriend the Jews was to bring down upon one's
head the rewards of a promise that could not be
For he was
[waiting expectantly and confidently] looking
forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations,
whose Architect and Builder is God.
faith also Sarah herself received physical power to
conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for
it, because she considered [God] Who had given
her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to
God said, Sarah, your wife
shall bear you a son indeed, and you shall call his
name Isaac [laughter]; and I will establish My
covenant or solemn pledge with him for an
everlasting covenant and with his posterity after
Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in years;
it had ceased to be with Sarah as with [young]
women. [She was past the age of childbearing].
Therefore Sarah laughed to herself, saying, After I
have become aged shall I have pleasure and delight,
my lord (husband), being old also?
13 And the
Lord asked Abraham, Why did
Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I really bear a child
when I am so old?
Is anything too hard or too
wonderful for the Lord? At the appointed time,
when the season [for
her delivery] comes around, I
will return to you and Sarah shall have borne a
Genesis 18:14 The word "Lord" as applied to
God is obviously the most important word in the
Bible, for it occurs oftener than any other
important word--by actual count more than 5,000
times. Nothing is "too hard or too wonderful" for
Him when He is truly made Lord.
For Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in
his old age, at the set time God had told him.
one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there
have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of
heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the
5 And He
brought him outside [his tent into the starlight] and said,
Look now toward the heavens and count the stars--if you are
able to number them. Then He said to him,
So shall your
6And he [Abram]
believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to)
the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right
standing with God).
In blessing I will bless you and in
multiplying I will multiply your descendants like the stars of
the heavens and like the sand on the seashore. And your Seed
(Heir) will possess the gate of His enemies
You said, I will surely do you good
and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which
cannot be numbered for multitude.
people all died controlled and sustained by their faith,
but not having received the tangible fulfillment of
[God's] promises, only having seen it and greeted it
from a great distance by faith, and all the while
acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and
temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.
4 I am a
stranger and a sojourner with you; give me property for a
burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not
Your peace at my tears! For I am Your passing guest, a
temporary resident, as all my fathers were.
those people who talk as they did show plainly that they
are in search of a fatherland (their own country).
had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of
that country from which they were emigrants, they would
have found constant opportunity to return to it.
Finding the correct person named Dykstra is not an
easy matter as there are so many people with that surname: This is a
Growing in the Life of
Faith: Education and Christian Practices
publisher - Geneva Press, Louisville, KY
From the Publisher
Craig Dykstra worked with Rev. Dr. Dorothy Bass to write Practicing
Our Faith -- another classic book high on the recommended reading
list. Growing in the Life of Faith explores the areas of ministry and
Christian education with flair, sensitivity, and an imaginative
compassion that is sure to touch and inspire readers, ministers, and
educators. Dykstra's compassionate stance and creative and subtle
nuances, respectful of varying points of view without denigrating any
and beign supportive of general enlightened approaches parallels his
work in the Lilly Foundation.
Devoted Christians are being targeted
because of their faith.
Pastors and other Christians in Iran have given their lives
for their faith in Jesus Christ.
In November 2005, Ghorban Dordi Tourani,
a 53-year-old Muslim convert to Christianity, was arrested by
the secret police. A few hours later, his stabbed and bloody
body was thrown in front of his home in Gonbad-e-Kavus, where
Tourani lived with his wife and four children, according to
A year before his death, Tourani wrote
this prayer: "Lord Jesus, please let me glorify Your holy name
in every moment of my life. I am willing to give my life that
belongs to You, for the sake of You and Your church."
Within days of Tourani's murder,
representatives of Iran's dreaded secret police, the Ministry
of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), arrested and severely
tortured 10 other Christians in several cities and raided the
homes of all known Christians in Tourani's town.
Christians report that persecution has
increased markedly and that believers are experiencing greater
hardship since the election of Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad in August 2005. He has pledged to restore an
Islamic government in Iran. Islam is the official religion in
Iran, and all laws and regulations must be consistent with the
official interpretation of Shari'ah law.
Christian prisoners face strong
psychological pressures, including threats to kill their
family and other Christian believers, in order to force them
to recant their Christian faith and return to Islam.
Christians have lost their jobs and have had their shops shut
Still, a large group of Christians with
a Muslim background continue to practice their newfound
belief. One Christian worker said of the once-Muslim
believers: "They aren't intimidated by the government and
continue to spread the gospel. Muslims who came to the Lord in
the past few years fear nothing and no one."
Persecution Report is presented in
cooperation with Open Doors USA, which serves the Persecuted
Church through training, Bible distribution, and community
development. For more information,
call 1-888-5-BIBLE-5 or visit
• Christian converts from Islam who have been arrested and
• Freedom for people of all faiths.
• New church leaders to emerge.
• Praise for believers who remain strong in the Lord.
Copyright © 2007 by the author or
Christianity Today International/Today's Christian
Click here for reprint information.
Vol. 45, No.
2, page 53
Faith in Christ
In Indonesia, Islamic extremists
are making life hard for Christians.
Prisoners of the Gospel:
These three Indonesian women were sentenced to
prison for running a Christian school.
On Sept. 1, 2005, an Indonesian
court found Dr. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti, and Ratna
Bangun guilty of breaching the 2002 Child Protection Law
and sentenced them to three years in prison.
The three were convicted simply
for running a Christian education program for children
in their community. Islamic leaders became angry when
several Muslim children were attracted to the classes.
Muslim fundamentalists then put pressure on the judges
to convict the women while also threatening the women
with death if they were released. They even brought
caskets to the courthouse.
The conviction of the three
Christian women is just the tip of the iceberg regarding
the escalation of persecution in Indonesia, which has
the world's largest Muslim population (172 million
compared to 34 million Christians). Attacks on
Christians in 2005 alone included the beheading of three
girls from a private high school, the shooting of a man
and woman leaving a church service, and a machete attack
that killed one and left two more in serious condition.
And on New Year's Eve, eight people were killed and 45
injured—mostly Christians—by a bomb that went off in a
meat market in the Central Sulawesi town of Palu.
Indonesian media reported that
over 150 churches have been destroyed or closed down in
Jakarta and throughout the island of Java in recent
The increase of terrorism,
intimidation, and persecution of Christians is part of
the fundamentalist Muslims' goal to implement Shariah
Law—strict Muslim law—throughout Indonesia.
Despite facing three years in
prison and missing the companionship of their husbands
and children, Rebekka, Eti, and Ratna are still
preaching the gospel. They are leading worship in prison
and have led several Muslim women to the Lord.
Rebekka said: "It is hard being
here, but I know I am pleasing God by doing His work."
Persecution Report is presented
in cooperation with Open Doors USA, which serves the
Persecuted Church through training, Bible distribution,
and community development. For more information, call
1-888-5-BIBLE-5 or visit
What to pray for:
• That the three imprisoned
Christian women and their families will stand strong
in their faith.
• That those who lost loved
ones, homes, and jobs in the tsunami will not be
forgotten while they continue to put their lives
• Freedom of religion for
people of all faiths.
Copyright © 2006 by the
author or Christianity Today International/Today's
Click here for reprint information.
Synod 2006: Synod Appoints New Executive Director
Synod 2006 voted unanimously to appoint Rev. Gerard L. “Jerry”
Dykstra to lead the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
Dykstra told delegates his leadership style is modeled on the
shepherds of the Bible such as Moses and David. “A shepherd doesn’t
lead from the front or from behind,” he said. “The shepherd walks
with the sheep, but he also knows where they’re going.”
Dykstra, 56, said that his vision for the church is a diverse
family of healthy congregations. “My passion is for churches to
become everything God meant them to be,” he said, “alive, vibrant,
multiplying, reaching out, transforming lives and communities, not
only in North America but around the world.”
Dykstra has been a minister
in the CRC since 1990, serving congregations in Michigan and
California. For the past year he has been the director of
denominational ministries. He was the single nominee for the
position of executive director and will take up the position
July 1. He succeeds Rev. Peter Borgdorff, who is retiring.
After making the appointment, synod surrounded Rev.
Dykstra and his wife, Linda, with prayer.
|LEADING A LIFE OF FAITH
Ruth Bell Graham:
A Legacy of Faith
June 18, 2007
"I must faithfully, patiently, lovingly, and happily do my
part – then quietly wait for God to do His.”
Ruth Bell Graham, who died Thursday, said this in reference
to being a mother, but she exhibited this patient, quiet
strength and complete trust in her Creator throughout her
Wife of world renowned evangelist Billy Graham, Ruth was
called to be a mother and wife first, but Mrs. Graham was also
an accomplished author and gifted poet in her own right.
Christian women, especially the wives of pastors, are thankful
for her contributions and credit her as an inspiration and
Born to missionary parents in 1902, Ruth was raised
through adolescence in China. Moving to the U.S. when she was
17-years-old, she attended Wheaton College in Illinois where
she majored in Bible and joined several evangelistic
ministries. While there, she also met Billy Graham a fellow
student and her future husband. They were married shortly
after her graduation in 1943.
In a statement released from Wheaton College Thursday, Dr.
Duane Litfin, president of the school, remarked, “Strong,
steady, and dauntless, Ruth Bell Graham was the glue that held
the many of the parts of their lives together.” Understanding
the importance of his calling, Ruth joined Rev. Graham
willingly in his ministry, though she preferred her role to
behind the scenes.
Rev. Graham’s love and respect for his wife was evident in
her final days. In a statement released by Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association (BGEA) the day before her death, he
said, “Ruth is my soul mate and best friend, and I cannot
imagine living a single day without her by my side. I am more
in love with her today than when we first met over 65 years
ago as students at Wheaton College.”
Preaching year after year to millions of people through the
Billy Graham Crusades, and serving as a spiritual counselor to
political leaders, required much of Rev. Graham’s time and
energy. While he was ministering to presidents and diplomats,
Ruth was ministering to him. Rev. Graham once said, “I have
been asked the question, ‘Who do you go to for counsel, for
spiritual guidance?’ My answer: my wife, Ruth. She is a great
student of the Bible. Her life is ruled by the Bible more than
any person I’ve ever known.”
Billy Graham was often on the road while Ruth remained the
stable force back home. Her presence left a lasting
impression in the lives of her five children and 19
grandchildren, many of whom currently serve with the BGEA or
other ministries. Ruth’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz, remarked
on her mother’s example, “I believe that our heavenly Father,
our Savior, saved my mother from loneliness because of her
daily walk with the Lord Jesus – He was the love of her life.
I saw that in her life. It was her love for the Lord Jesus,
with whom she walks every day, that made me want to love Him
and walk with Him like that.”
Battling with the loneliness of an evangelist’s wife and
the hardships of turbulent times, she spiritually recharged
through prayer, Bible study, and writing. In her book
Footprints of a Pilgrim, she explained, “Sometimes, I
wrote to capture a moment or reflect on a thought. Sometimes,
I wrote because I had to. It was write or develop an ulcer.
I chose to write.”
The poetry she wrote, books she authored, lives she
touched, husband she loved, and the godly children she raised,
are all testaments to Mrs. Graham. Ruth Bell Graham left a
godly heritage here on earth and a legacy vividly pointing to
the God she loves, and the place she now calls home.
EXPLORE YOUR FAITH
How can I live the life of faith?
offering yourself to God. Ideally we do this day by day. But
sometimes we can't. Sometimes it is just too difficult or we are
too distracted by all that is going on around us. At those times,
we ask God to be patient with us until we can get back to offering
ourselves to God.
have a good friend who is a monk at a monastery in the middle of a
large city. One day a woman was walking by the monastery. The
monastery is enclosed so that all one sees is the chapel and a
fence that separates the monastery from the outside world. On this
day the woman saw my friend sweeping the steps of the chapel. She
stopped and said, "You know, I have lived in this part of the city
for years and have passed by this monastery for years, and I have
always wondered about it." Pointing toward the cloistered
buildings, she asked, "What is it that you all do in there?" He
looked at her with the kind eyes that he has and said, "We fall
down and we get up."
That is what the life of faith is about. We offer
ourselves to God, for the glory of God. And we fall down
and we get up.
--The Reverend John B. Fritschner
Lots and lots of people hate the story of Abraham taking
his son Isaac up Mt. Moriah to kill him at God’s request.
It seems cruel and nasty of God, and it’s hard to imagine
how Abraham could have thought of complying with the
request, even though God stops him before the deed is
This is a story from about 2000 BC that was passed down
orally for centuries, and I think the original hearers
heard different things. The purpose of telling this story
is to show the incredible faith of Israel’s founding
father. It’s a story that speaks of a test by God, which
should clue us in that God never had Isaac’s death in
mind. This is a test of Abraham’s faith.
It’s easy to get caught up in debating whether God should
be doing such testing, but I think those discussions are
missing the real truth in the story.
This is a story of what it
means to be completely faithful.
justifies God’s selection of Abraham as the person to take
the word of God out to all nations, and his faith is
touted throughout the millennia that follow.
Abraham puts God first…above everything else. We saw that
he put God above himself when God first asks him to leave
home and go to an unknown land. This is the ultimate test.
Will Abraham put
God’s desires before his only son? It’s
not just a question of a father’s love for his son. Isaac
is more than that. Isaac represents the promise of God to
bless Abraham and to bless all the nations of the earth
through him. Could he give that up? If he can, God can use
The question the story asks of us is, “What would stand in
the way of my obedience to God’s commands?”
Rev. Anne Robertson
BEING UPRIGHT (UPRIGHTEOUS)
of the upright
them but the perverseness
innocence -- integrity.
of the upright
straight -- convenient, equity, Jasher, just, meet(-est), +
pleased well right(-eous), straight, (most) upright(-ly,
to guide; by implication, to transport (into exile, or as
colonists) -- bestow, bring, govern, guide, lead (forth), put,
them but the perverseness
distortion, i.e. (figuratively) viciousness -- perverseness.
to cover (with a garment); figuratively, to act covertly; by
implication, to pillage
to be burly, i.e. (figuratively) powerful (passively,
impregnable); by implication, to ravage -- dead, destroy(-er),
oppress, robber, spoil(-er), utterly, (lay) waste.
- God is perfect in.
Isaiah 26:7 The way of the just is uprightness: thou,
most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
- God has pleasure in.
1 Chronicles 29:17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the
heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the
uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these
things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are
present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
- God created man in.
Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath
made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
- Man has deviated from.
Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath
made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
- SHOULD BE IN
2 Chronicles 29:34 But the priests were too few, so that
they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their
brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended,
and until the other priests had sanctified themselves:
for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify
themselves than the priests.
Psalms 125:4 Do good, O LORD, unto those that be
good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.
Isaiah 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh
uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that
shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his
ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing
Proverbs 14:2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth
the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth
Psalms 58:1 Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O
congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
Psalms 75:2 When I shall receive the congregation I will
Psalms 78:72 So he fed them according to the integrity of
his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.
- The being kept from presumptuous sins is necessary to.
Psalms 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous
sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be
upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
- With poverty, is better than sin with riches.
Proverbs 28:6 Better is the poor that walketh in his
uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways,
though he be rich.
- With poverty, is better than folly.
Proverbs 19:1 Better is the poor that walketh in his
integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a
- THEY WHO WALK IN,
- Fear God.
Proverbs 14:2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth
the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth
Song of Solomon 1:4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the
king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and
rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the
upright love thee.
- Countenanced by God.
Psalms 11:7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness;
his countenance doth behold the upright.
- Delighted in by God.
Proverbs 11:20 They that are of a forward heart are
abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in
their way are his delight.
- Their prayer delighted in by God.
Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an
abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is
- Prospered by God.
Job 8:6 If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he
would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy
Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown:
but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
- Defended by God.
Proverbs 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous:
he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
- Upheld in it by God.
Psalms 41:12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine
integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.
- Recompensed by God.
Psalms 18:23-24 I was also upright before him, and I kept
myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed
me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness
of my hands in his eyesight.
- Find strength in God's way.
Proverbs 10:29 The way of the LORD is strength to
the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of
- Obtain good from God's work.
Micah 2:7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob,
is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his
doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
- Obtain light in darkness.
Psalms 112:4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the
darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and
- Guided by integrity.
Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright shall guide
them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy
- Walk surely.
Proverbs 10:9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but
he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
- Direct their way.
Proverbs 21:29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as
for the upright, he directeth his way.
- Kept by righteousness.
Proverbs 13:6 Righteousness keepeth him that is
upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
- Scorned by the wicked.
Job 12:4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who
calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright
man is laughed to scorn.
- Hated by the wicked.
Proverbs 29:10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the
just seek his soul.
Amos 5:10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they
abhor him that speaketh uprightly.
- Abominated by the wicked.
Proverbs 29:21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant
from a child shall have him become his son at the
- Persecuted by the wicked.
Psalms 37:14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have
bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to
slay such as be of upright conversation.
- Praise is comely for.
Psalms 33:1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for
praise is comely for the upright.
- A blessing to others.
Proverbs 11:11 By the blessing of the upright the city is
exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
- The truly wise walk in.
Proverbs 15:21 Folly is joy to him that is
destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh
- The way of, is to depart from evil.
Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright is to depart
from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
- THEY WHO WALK IN, SHALL
- Possess good things.
Proverbs 28:10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in
an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the
upright shall have good things in possession.
- Have nothing good withheld.
Psalms 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield:
the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will
he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
- Dwell in the land.
Proverbs 2:21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and
the perfect shall remain in it.
- Dwell on high and be provided for.
Isaiah 33:16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence
shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given
him; his waters shall be sure.
- Dwell with God.
Psalms 15:2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh
righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
Psalms 140:13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto
thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.
- Be blessed.
Psalms 112:2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the
generation of the upright shall be blessed.
- Be delivered by righteousness.
Proverbs 11:6 The righteousness of the upright shall
deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own
- Be delivered by their wisdom.
Proverbs 12:6 The words of the wicked are to lie in
wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver
- Be saved.
Proverbs 28:18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but
he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at
- Enter into peace.
Psalms 37:37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the
upright: for the end of that man is peace.
Isaiah 57:2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in
their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
- Have dominion over the wicked.
Psalms 49:14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death
shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over
them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the
grave from their dwelling.
- Have an inheritance for ever.
Psalms 37:18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and
their inheritance shall be for ever.
- A characteristic of saints.
Psalms 111:1 Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with
my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in
Isaiah 26:7 The way of the just is uprightness: thou,
most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
- Saints should resolve to walk in.
Psalms 26:11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity:
redeem me, and be merciful unto me.
- THE WICKED
- Have not, in heart.
Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is
not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
- Leave not the path of.
Proverbs 2:13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk
in the ways of darkness;
- Do not act with.
Micah 7:2 The good man is perished out of the earth:
and there is none upright among men: they all lie in
wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
Micah 7:4 The best of them is as a brier: the most
upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy
watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their
- Pray for those who walk in.
Psalms 125:4 Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good,
and to them that are upright in their hearts.
- Reprove those who deviate from.
Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly
according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before
them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner
of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the
Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
They have bowed down and fallen, But
we have risen and stood upright.
His descendants will be mighty on earth; The
generation of the upright will be blessed.
FROM A CHILDREN'S POINT OF VIEW:
Do you want to mess
By Bastook on Fri,
6 reasons not to
mess with children.
1) A little girl was talking to her
teacher about whales.
The teacher said it was physically impossible
for a whale to swallow a
human because even though it was a very large
mammal its throat was very small.
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed
by a whale.
Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale
could not swallow a human; it was physically
The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I
will ask Jonah".
The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?"
The little girl replied, "Then you ask him ".
2) A Kindergarten teacher was observing
her classroom of children while they were
drawing. She would occasionally walk around to
see each child's work.
As she got to one little girl who was working
diligently, she asked what the drawing was.
The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."
"The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows
what God looks like."
"Without missing a beat, or looking up from her
drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a
3) A Sunday school
teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with
her five and six year olds.
After explaining the commandment to "honour" thy
Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a
commandment that teaches us how to treat our
brothers and sisters?"
Without missing a beat one little boy (the
oldest of a family) answered,
"Thou shall not kill."
4) The children had all
been photographed, and the teacher was trying to
persuade them each to buy a copy of the group
picture. "Just think how nice it will be
to look at it when you are all grown up and say,
'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'that’s
Michael, He's a doctor.'
A small voice at the back of the room rang out,
"And there's the teacher, she's dead."
5) A teacher was giving
a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying
to make the matter clearer, she said, "Now,
class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you
know, would run into it, and I would turn red in
"Yes," the class said.
"Then why is it that while I am standing upright
in the ordinary position the blood doesn't run
into my feet?"
A little fellow shouted, "Cause your feet ain't
6) The children were
lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic
elementary school for lunch. At the head of the
table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a
note, and posted on the apple tray:
"Take only ONE. God is watching."
Moving further along the lunch line, at the
other end of the table was a large pile of
chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written a note, "Take all you want.
God is watching the apples."
WHICH WAY UP-AN ESSAY
STANDING UPRIGHT IS NOT JUST JEWISH-ARAB-OR HEBREW
LIVING STONES OF THE MAYA
- Are you a Living Stone?
NOV 2006 - New moon in Scorpio - 2 MANIK - 5
TIJASH - 11/26/2006
ALUNA JOY YAXK'IN
Many years ago, while in Tikal, I was awoken before
dawn. I had an intense calling to go into the jungles
of Tikal before sunrise. As I walked into the jungle,
misty clouds clung to the trees. The first predawn
light filtered through the jungle canopy giving a
surreal feeling. I could hear the first bird awakening
and calling in the day. It was wonderful to be in the
site free from the tourist buzz. I thought I was going
to the main plaza of Tikal, but instead I was drawn
toward another path leading me toward the north.
I kept following my heart until I came to a standing
stone. I could feel it call me. I sat behind it and
placed my back against its back. As I did this, I was
filled with grief, and yet, a deep remembrance entered
my heart. The rest of the history of the Living Stones
came back to me.
But before I get ahead of myself, maybe I should start
at the beginning . . .
Ancient ones (a.k.a. The Star Elders), over eons of
time, have worked to find ways to anchor a highly
rarified form of universal, spiritual light on the
Earth. This light ignites the evolution of all life.
They wanted to anchor this light to keep the Earth
from going into total darkness during various
predictable "dark" cycles. The dark cycles are
necessary for evolutionary advancement and act like a
womb to birth new and more advanced cycles of time on
the Earth. Without this light, we would have ended up
like the Moon or Mars.
While in these dark cycles, Earth is in a state that
we might see similar to a planetary comma. During
these "dark" cycles, it is not possible to let this
type of rarified light out into the planet, since it
would accelerate the darkness, as darkness is the
dominant force during these times. So this light was
anchored so it would not be totally lost; it was
locked away for safe keeping until the planet woke up
from its catatonic state. This anchoring created
little threads of light that keep the planet tied to
the universal source of all that is. After this was
done, all they could do was wait for the "dark" cycle
to end before releasing this light once again into the
The ancient ones anchored this rarified light in many
ways over eons of time. Long before any recorded
history, Star Beings anchored this rarified light in
stones that are part of a universal living library. We
know these stones today as the "Stones of Ica". You
can still listen to them in a little museum just south
of Lima, in Peru. Later on, Andean Masters had the
ability to hold this rarified light in living mummies.
They still speak to you if you have the ears to hear
them. They are scattered all over the Andes.
The Egyptians locked this light in ones that had
obtained a certain level of advancement. They locked
them body and soul in magnetically sealed pyramids and
tombs to hold the light there.
The most tangible and easiest way to experience this
rarified light is in the Maya lands. Over the last 20
years, I have had the blessings to spend time in all
the major Maya sites and many smaller sites. I feel
that Palenque and its surrounding area, Tikal and its
area, Copan and Quirigua, and the mystical valley
between these two, to be the most vocal of the Maya
areas. Many of the Living Stone Stela (carved standing
stones) speak about different things for different
reasons. They can hold maps of consciousness, maps of
the universe, spiritual knowledge, sacred geometry,
advanced technology (like time travel and
immortality), and some keep doorways open for us to
use to travel. This is just the tip of the pyramid by
the way. There is much more for us to uncover.
Why this is important to you now . . .
So getting back to that morning in the jungles of
Tikal . . . some of the history that was shared with
me, I can pass onto you now. I have been holding onto
this information for 9 years. Because of the events
that transpired during our last trip to Tikal, I now I
feel that I can share the rest of the story.
As I sat in the mist with my back to this living stela,
I began to have a conversation with an old friend in
the stone. I could feel his pain, joy and wisdom. It
felt like what he told me happened yesterday, but it
didn't. It happened a long time ago. He began to tell
me things that I had forgotten, and maybe things that
you forgot as well.
The Living Stone said . . . "There came a time in
Tikal's ancient past that one of these planetary dark
cycles was expected very soon. It was time to hide
away the light and the ancient knowledge for a future
time . . . that which you are entering now. We knew
that it was going to get really messy, and we didn't
want the light to be misused to accelerate the dark
cycle. Europe was already in the dark ages. We (Star
Elders) had held this cycle at bay for a time, but it
was spreading across the ocean like a virus, and it
was too close for our comfort. We were going to have
to leave, because we too hold this rarified light that
can not be present in a living form during a dark
I was shown the intense focus, effort and deep
spiritual practice it took to anchor their souls in a
stone while retaining all the knowledge, wisdom and
light that they carried.
The Living Stone said . . . "Once you were ready,
your soul was anchored into the stone by means of a
ceremony of sorts.*** While focusing upon the stone
that you had prepared for yourself with great care,
you were swiftly, but cautiously released from your
physical body, while you projected your consciousness
into the stone. If you failed, there was no turning
back, because your body was gone. If this happened,
you had to reincarnate. This is a great loss, because
when you reincarnate, you lose much of the wisdom and
basically have to start over. Hundreds and hundreds of
these brave advanced souls were lost in this way. They
were my friends. . . and this still makes me sad. But
the victory was that many did indeed anchor their
souls in the stone for a future time."
*** (This is where some of the sacrifice stories in
history come from. Remember . . . history was written
by those that conquered that area . . . and was
written in order to justify their actions.)
I asked the Living Stone, "How did it feel when you
entered the stone?" As he shared the story, I got a
chill to the bone that had a huge déjà vu vibe to it.
This sounded familiar, and I bet it will give many of
you out there the same feeling.
The Living Stone said . . . "When you enter the stone,
you still feel alive, as if you were still in your
body. This is why it is so important when you pass
away that you leave your body and go through layers of
cleansing and clearing, so you forget what is was like
to breathe and move in physical form. Also, so you
forget your wounds and most everything, so you can
start fresh and clean in the next life."
He went on . . . "But when you anchor yourself in a
stone, you can not breathe and can not move. I felt
like I was drowning, but I could not die. You know
what I mean . . . that split second of utter terror
just before you reach the surface of the water to
breathe. I couldn't move either, causing me the
feeling of pain because I was getting stiff. You stay
in that terror and pain for years! We volunteered to
do this. It was our choice out of service and love. We
wanted to do this. We knew what we were signing up for
. . . BUT I don't think we had any idea how horrifying
it would feel at first. It was hard to adjust to."
The Stone continued . . . "Years later, when we became
accustomed to being 'alive' in a stone, we could relax
and enjoy the view from the angle that we entered the
stone. First thing that I noticed was that time is
different in a stone. The grass grew right before my
eyes. The sun would come up and go down in what feels
like an hour for you. By this point, the site had been
abandoned for some time. But once in awhile, someone
would go by and look at me. I would try to speak to
them but they could not hear me."
The time difference made great sense to me. I know
that the longer I sit in a site, the more I can hear.
This is why we are called to sit atop a pyramid and
just be there.
The Stone heard me thinking . . . "RIGHT YOU ARE! If
you move through a sacred site too fast, you are just
a flash to us. You have to stay in at least an hour or
more in one spot for a stone to see you at all. It
takes time to make a connection, so we can converse."
The Stone shared . . . "Everyone became quite lonely.
In the loneliness, we had time to watch and map the
stars, and watch the cycles for the time that we could
live outside the stone. If the stone you were in fell
down, face first, it was a real disappointment, as we
could not watch the stars and life on Earth any more.
It was just dark. Archeologists have now set some of
these stones back upright again. What a blessing! But
some of us were placed facing the wrong direction.
There was a great importance to the direction that we
I asked "If your body was gone, how could you come out
to live again? What would your physical bodies look
like?" I quickly learned that a very small part of
each soul was sent out to reincarnate during this
anchoring ceremony. This small part of yourself would
reincarnate over and over and have no memory of the
light that was anchored in the stone. This insured
that you would have yourself, a body, to come back
into. This way the light in the stone would be safe
until it was time to come out.
I asked the Living Stone "How would this small part
know how to find you again?"
The Stone shared . . . "All these little parts of ourselves were set up on
a cosmic time clock, and when the alarm sounded, we
would feel an intense urge to search for something
that was lost. In this searching, once the body gets
close enough to the light in the stone, the body will
have a download . . . a great spiritual awakening.
This is a life changing moment."
Then I asked a question that is so important to us now
. . .
"If you were a living stone, or had a connection with
a living stone, how will it feel when we get a
download from a stone?"
"Aside from the blissful spiritual awakening and
feeling like you have purpose once again (this topic
to be discussed later in an entire book; not an
article), many strange and sometimes un-diagnosable
health issues seem to arise. Because you are stuck in
a stone, alive for hundreds, maybe thousands, of
years, it causes a memory of being in that stone that
sometimes is a part of the download you receive. The
Star Elders had not anticipated these issues. Much of
the training went into getting into the stone, and
most didn't pay much attention about getting out
Are you a returning Living Stone?
Do you . . .
" Feel weird stiffness, aches and pains in the body
for no reason that massage and other treatments seem
to fail at helping?
" Breath shallow or have trouble with asthma and
" Have frightful dreams of being alive, but everyone
around you thinks that you are dead?
" Have claustrophobia and dislike closed in spaces?
" Have issues about being heard by others or find that
you are too loud?
" Have a sudden need to completely shift your life?
" Have strange events in which time lines feel
" Have trouble finding home or maintaining deep
" Have a strange attraction to stones or live in a
place with a lot of rock?
If this feels like you, and you feel you might be one
of these beings who have begun the download process,
just knowing this story can help you overcome the
issues of re-entry quickly.
A simple re-entry process . . .
Call in Archangel Michael. Ask him to assist you in
filtering the effects of the download. Ask that the
memory of being alive in the stone is filtered out.
Ask that everything you brought with you and placed
into the stone, and all the things you learned while
in the stone, can be brought forth into current memory
in your physical body. This filter looks like a house
screen that you keeps bugs out of your house. But this
screen is like being inside a beach ball of screen.
Ask that this screen be put in place around you
through . . . All time, space and dimension . . .
Past, present and future . . . Body, mind and spirit .
. . 7 day a week, 24 hours a day, 365 day a year.
Every time you go to a place where your symptoms seem
to get worse, tighten up the screen, so it filters out
more. Sometimes re-entered ones can feel the effect of
a sacred site quite physically, and this can be
Do you hear us Archangel Michael? Plan to get busy : )
Aluna Joy Yaxk'in is an internationally known
author, sacred site guide, and mystic.
Aluna Joy Yaxk'in, PO Box 1988, Sedona AZ 86339 Ph:
Webpage: www.AlunaJoy.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2006 - Permission is granted to copy and
redistribute this article on the condition that the
content remains complete, full credit is given to
the author(s), and that it is distributed freely.
Center of the SUN - Aluna Joy Yaxk'in,PO Box 1988
Sedona, AZ 86339 USA Ph:928-282-6292
Ph/Fax:928-282-4622 Email: email@example.com
Dear Alunajoy, My name is Lita,
it is an honor to be emailing you at this time. ...
Please let me start by sharing with you that your
recent letter that I read about the LIVING STONES OF
THE MAYA are very well put as the description of
myself. I can't tell you how I can relate to this
stories of the stones. I have had lots of dreams in
this life time that I have had to write them down just
hoping that one day I would make since of them. One
unparticular that stands out the most is that in this
dream I seem to be in a tomb and I am lying on my
backside on a stone and there is what I would describe
a mummy figure standing over me with a knife getting
reading to cut me open just below the heart area of my
body. I am asking it with many tears, if it would
hurry up and get this over with! this is killing me.
Today I have all of those systems that you describe.
My chest feels like there is a weight sitting on it.
And while trying to sleep at night I feel hot balls of
energy moving through out my body. Some times nausea,
but never get's sick. I Love Life and the Joy with in
it. I gratefully thank the spirits that I have
encountered this life and may we all rise and stand to
the Sun and meet the Moon. Love Always, Always Love,
Dear Aluna Joy, What a pleasure (as usual) it was to
read this last Newsletter about The Living Stone. It
never ceases to amaze me at how parallel our lives
are. Back 25 years ago in late October 1981, I decided
to visit Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mt., GA. It was
a sunny day but the air was cool, and the sun warmed
stone looked so inviting I decided to lay down on the
stone and enjoy its warmth and hoped no one would walk
by and see me stretched out spread eagle on the stone.
I had only been meditating for about 3 years, but was
still surprised when I heard the Stone speaking to me.
The conversation began with me thinking, “I
wonder what it would be like to be a stone?” A great
feeling of love washed over me and a clear voice in my
head began describing to me what it was like to be a
Stone. I won’t take time to relate the whole
conversation, but I will relate this part because it
always makes me laugh to recall it. The Stone said
they were to be referred to as Stones and not rocks.
It was a ‘respectful’ thing, I was told; and that they
only felt love, and anchored and held the space for
love energy on the planet. Blessings Always, LaVern,
Heckawe Chief Uppa Creek
Hio Aluna~ Just a brief note to say thank you for your
article on Living Stones. Something awoke in me as I
read that piece. It was like a piece of the jigsaw
came together again, a bit around the heart I think
-even better! On a similar vein, several years ago I
came across a memory of being a wizard, during which
'wizard games of transformation' would be played, like
transforming oneself into something else, and back
again. The hardest was a stone, because you could
become trapped in such a form easily. I had a fairly
clear recollection of doing that and getting caught.
Certainly not the intention of the people you were
talking about. But that's wizards for you -always
showing off! I'll be in touch soon about a reading
with your Star Buddies. Thanks for all the good work.
Don't forget to rest & play. Namasté, Jacob Whitecloud
Hi Aluna, I received your newsletter this morning and
it resonated completely! (Living Stones). I thought I
would tell you of my own experience, here in Britain,
of the living stones. I was working with Magnified
Healing and Lemurian crystals, about five years ago. I
would often hold the crystals in my hand as I fell
asleep. One night, just as I was falling asleep, I was
awoken with the shock of feeling an axe cleaving my
head in two. I was now wide awake! Then it changed and
I was in a standing stone. Although I wasn't just in
it I was it! I knew that 'I' was a standing stone
somewhere in the Bristish Isles and that one day I
would find myself. The stone itself tapered towards
the top and had a cleft on the top, right where I had
felt the axe go through my skull. While studying a
degree in Archaeology I discovered that many stone
circles had one sacrifice buried beneath one of the
stones. This was usually someone quite young and their
skulls were cleaved in two! I understood this
perfectly. The soul would enter the stone and then act
as guardian for the circle and the area. It was not
a gruesome event but one of service, a thing that
most modern archaeologists just would not understand.
This must have been something that happened at most
sacred environments and the fact that you are now
writing about this must mean that its nearly time for
us everywhere to retrieve ourselves! Thank you for
that and in the next few years I would love to go to
the Mayalands with you on one of your journeys. Many
thanks - Ann Murphy
The Journey has Just Begun.
The rest of the story is inside of you. Much more
can be revealed with focus. If you have a calling to
go to the Maya lands, we still have some space in
our group to Tikal, Copan and Quirigua in March of
2007. We would love to have you join us, if this
story feels like it could be your story too. For
more trip details, go to:
Seek the Meaning of the Sacred Knowledge.
Seek the Meaning of the Cycles within Cycles.
The Stones Know.
They are the Old Ones who show the way.
They are the Stones that Speak.
Center of the SUN
Aluna Joy Yaxk'in, PO Box 1988 Sedona, AZ 86339
Ph:928-282-6292 Fax:928-282-4622 Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.AlunaJoy.com
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