Monthly Archives: November 2018

The Borg

We are the Borg. Lower your shields.

When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:14-20)

When the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God gave them a theocratic system of government where judges settled domestic disputes and raised armies to defend against invading armies. God was their King, and He ruled the Levitical priests who, among other duties, maintained the written law. This system worked well except for the frequent times that the people forgot God and followed after the pagan gods that infested their land. At those times, God would send invaders into their land to oppress the people until they repented and cried out to God for help. God heard their pleas and would raise up judges to deliver them from their oppressors, then the cycle would begin again. This cycle went on for more than 400 years until they rejected God as their King and asked God for an earthly king like the kings of the nations around them (1 Samuel 8). God granted their request. “And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands” (1 Samuel 10:19, emphasis mine). Be careful what you ask for.

That they would reject Him came as no surprise to God. Before the Israelites crossed the Jordan, God made provision for the eventuality that they would reject Him as their King, preferring a king in their own image and subject to all their frailties. God gave them guidelines for choosing a king (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). (1.) The king would be chosen by God. (2.) The king chosen would be “a brother” (or “citizen”) of their nation. There were not to select a “stranger” (foreigner) to be king over them. (3.) The king should not enrich himself from his position. (4.) The king should not return the people to slavery (Egypt). (5.) The king should not “multiply wives to himself,” i.e., not be a womanizer. King David, their first real king (chosen by God), failed on this point even to the point of committing murder to secure a wife. His son, Solomon, surpassed his father in this respect a thousandfold. (6.) God required the king to copy the entire Law (the Pentateuch) by hand. (7.) This copy, certified by the priests, would remain with the king for his use in governing. He, though a king, would be subject to, not above, the Law. The Law served “that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left” (Deuteronomy 17:19-20).

We do not have a king in the United States of America. To a certain extent, “We the People” govern our affairs. We are not a theocracy. As days go by, that becomes more and more painfully obvious. We are not governed by judges, although that too seems to be falling by the wayside and not for the better. Nor are we a pure democracy. The majority is often wrong, and mob rule leads to anarchy. Jesus said, “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13). Our nation is a Democratic Republic, founded on the rule of Law – the Constitution. We elect representatives that are supposed to represent our interests in Congress. The Seventeenth Amendment abridged Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution making it so that Senators are now elected by popular vote within the states, whereas before they were selected by the state legislatures. In my view, the 17th Amendment was a bad idea as it weakens federalism by taking away the power that rightfully belongs to the states. The states effectively have no representation in Congress now.

Our President is elected by the electoral college. “We the People” cast our vote for our preferred presidential candidate, however, what we really vote for are the electors that will vote for the President. Each state is assigned a number of electors based on the number of representatives they have in Congress. The state party conventions select the electors, and, ideally, they vote according to the will of their constituents. This method results in a point of contention when the national popular vote for a particular candidate exceeds the vote of the electoral college. However, the system is fair because it balances out the wishes from heavily populated areas with the wishes of less populated areas. I realize that is a rather simplistic explanation, but my objective here is not to give a civics lesson.

In 2016 we had a presidential election. Hillary Clinton arguably won the popular vote by a small majority, and Donald J. Trump won the electoral college by a significant majority and thereby won the presidency of the United States. For this reason, the Demoncrats (the misspelling is on purpose) refuse to acknowledge him a President and do all they can to obstruct him in every way imaginable. (I will spare you the details.) If you are halfway paying attention to current events, you are aware of all the shenanigans of the Demoncrats and “their” media. They will do everything in their power to destroy the Trump presidency – falsely accuse him of Russian collusion, threaten him with impeachment without cause, accuse him of racism because he wants to protect our borders, accuse him of dividing the country while they openly incite violence against his staff and anyone who supports him. Demoncrats!

Last week, November 6, 2018, we had mid-term elections. The “blue wave” predicted by the Demoncrats barely made a splash; however, the Demoncrats managed to secure a slight, 35-seat majority in the House. My own Representative, Pete Sessions, for whom I voted even though he is a RINO (Republican In Name Only) lost his seat (deservedly) to Demoncrat, Colin Allred. I console myself knowing that if he fails to represent our district well, we can vote him out in two years, but I am willing to give him a chance.

I think of myself as an Independent voter. However, I generally vote a straight Republican ticket. I simply cannot stomach the thought of voting for any Demoncrat, not that Republicans are all that great. The problem with Demoncrats is that they are like The Borg. They legislate as a collective. No allowance for individualism exists within the collective. A Demoncrat politician will make conservative noises on the campaign trail, but once assimilated into the collective, “resistance is futile.” They must vote with the collective – The Borg.

Republicans are not like that. Much to my chagrin, Republicans often feud among themselves, and many of them end up voting with The Borg. Not so The Borg, they always stick together, right or wrong. They will vote lockstep; they dare not resist the collective. That would not be so bad if the collective behaved righteously, but they do not. Demoncrats, a.k.a. The Borg, do not diverge from their platform. Genuine, born-again Christians need to consider the platform of the Demoncrat Party. At the 2012 meeting of the Democrat National Convention (DNC), the Demoncrat Party officially removed “God” from their party platform. Think about that!

The Demoncrat Party is Godless. It supports infanticide in the form of abortion and calls it a woman’s reproductive right. The Demoncrat Party encourages all manner of sexual perversion and demonizes any voice that calls it “sin” (Romans 1:32). The Demoncrat Party tolerates all religions and defends Islam, but labels Evangelical Christians as bigots, haters, and terrorists. The Demoncrat party defends the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech as long as that speech complies with their standard of political correctness which is constantly evolving. The Demoncrat Party rejects the Second Amendment and a citizen’s right to own and bear arms while they surround themselves with armed bodyguards and sequester themselves in gated communities. The Demoncrat Party supports protecting our borders until President Trump takes steps to actually erect barriers to prevent illegal immigration. For that, they call him a racist, a bigot, and a Nazi. The Demoncrat Party would decimate our military which serves the constitutional function of protecting our nation in order to fund their socialist agenda of redistributing wealth, which is not a function of government and not supported by the Constitution.

Need I go on? The problem is not that there is a difference of opinion. The problem with the Demoncrat Party is that of an unyielding, unrelenting ideology that cannot tolerate any opposing view. The Bible perfectly describes this condition. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools … And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:21-22, 28, emphasis mine). The condition of a “reprobate mind” is one that cannot reason properly, and therein lies the problem. To exacerbate the problem, they act and vote as a block. They are The Borg! If there is anything to be admired in the Demoncrat Party is their solidarity and ability to maintain their unity. However, armed with that understanding, the Christian must consider the implications of casting a vote for any Demoncrat. As individuals, they may be fine, upstanding people, but once assimilated into the collective, they vote as a block, and their votes are generally unbiblical and un-Christian.

One final thought, as Christians, we understand that God is ultimately in control of governments and that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). God will accomplish His will in the world, but while He has us here, we need to do our part to resist evil at all cost. That includes resisting The Borg!

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The Soul

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:4)

My twice-brother and I engaged in a discussion a few nights ago concerning the meaning of “the soul.” What is the soul? Most people think of the soul as the spiritual essence of a person. The English dictionary seems to support that view:

noun

  1. the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
  2. the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come: arguing the immortality of the soul.
  3. the disembodied spirit of a deceased personHe feared the soul of the deceased would haunt him.[1] et al. (emphasis mine)

Our English language (especially American English) has “evolved” considerably since the founding of the United States, so I thought it might be interesting to see how the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defined “soul.” I found the following definition:

SOUL, n.

  1. The spiritual, rational and immortal substance in man, which distinguishes him from brutes; that part of man which enables him to think and reason, and which renders him a subject of moral government. The immortality of the soul is a fundamental article of the christian [sic] system. Such is the nature of the human soul that it must have a God, an object of supreme affection.
  2. The understanding; the intellectual principle. The eyes of our soul then only begin to see, when our bodily eye are closing.
  3. Vital principle. Thou son, of this great world both eye and soul.
  4. Spirit; essence; chief part; as charity, the soul of all the virtues. Emotion is the soul of eloquence.
  5. Life; animation principle or part; as, an able commander is the soul of an army.
  6. Internal power. There is some soul of goodness in things evil.
  7. A human being; a person. There was no a soul present. In Paris there are more than seven hundred thousand souls. London, Westminster, Southwark and the suburbs, are said to contain twelve hundred thousand souls.[2] et al. (emphasis mine)

The idea that the soul is the immaterial “substance” or “essence” that animates us enjoys a long history of support, but I think there is more to the soul than that. Normally, the first and second definition listed in a dictionary provides the general understanding of the word. However, in this case, I prefer the seventh definition provided by the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary. It basically says that “the soul” is a human being or a person, and I believe I can show scriptural support for that idea.

The best place to start is at the beginning. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). “God,” ‘ĕlôhı̂ym, is a plural noun. We understand God as Triune being – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – three persons (we say) in one “Godhead.” We simply say “God,” but we understand His Triune nature.

God created humans according to His image. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26-27, emphasis mine). All humans bear the “image of God” and share many of His attributes albeit without the “Omni” prefix. It follows that we too possess a triune nature (more on that later).

As we examine the creation account, we see that God created all living creatures by divine fiat, i.e., He spoke them into being. However, He took special care in creating man. “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 soul” (Genesis 2:7, emphasis mine).

Humans and air-breathing animals possess the “breath of life.” The Hebrew word neshâmâh is defined as: “a puff, that is, wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect or (concretely) an animal: – blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit.”[3] We see in Genesis 7:22 that animals possess the “breath of life.” That phrase is also found in Genesis 6:13 and 7:15, but the Hebrew word for “breath” there is rûach, which means: “wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): – air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).”[4] Both neshâmâh and rûach are similar in meaning, but the latter includes the idea of a “spirit.”

To further confuse matters, Genesis 2:7 says that “man became a living soul.” The word “soul” is the Hebrew nephesh, which is defined as: “a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental): – any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, X dead (-ly), desire, X [dis-] contented, X fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart (-y), (hath, X jeopardy of) life (X in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortality, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-) self, them (your) -selves, + slay, soul, + tablet, they, thing, (X she) will, X would have it.”  It is not difficult to see that nephesh is related to neshâmâh in that both carry the aspect of “breathing.” However, nephesh includes the physical aspect of the creature.

Both man and animals possess a nephesh. The Hebrew word first appears in Genesis 1:20. “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” (emphasis mine). The Hebrew words translated “hath life” are nephesh chay (life), or “soul life.” Also, the following verse reads, “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:21, emphasis mine). The Hebrew word translated “creature” is nephesh. I could give more examples, but I want you to stay with me on this.

We see that both man (humans) and animals have souls – nephesh. What differentiates a human soul from that of an animal is the way in which it was given. Recall earlier that God created animals by divine fiat. He also created them en masse. Man was unique. He created one human couple. He did not speak them into being as he did with the animals. He “formed” man – the Hebrew word yâtsar meaning to mold as a potter forms and shapes a clay vessel. Then God breathed into man His own breath “and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).

Looking back at the 1828 Webster’s definition of “soul,” the seventh definition becomes clear here. The clay figure on the ground came to life when God breathed into it, and he became a human being, a person, a living soul – made in the image of God, with a triune nature like his Maker.

So, what is the triune nature of man? As I see it, just as God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, man is mind, body, and spirit. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the God, or the Godhead if you prefer. The mind, body, and spirit is the soul. God has a physical body. That body is the Son, Jesus Christ. The other two “persons” of God are immaterial and invisible – the Father and the Holy Spirit. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18, emphasis mine). Likewise, the mind and spirit of the soul are immaterial and invisible, but the body reveals the soul. We have all heard the expression, “The eyes are the windows to the soul;” the eyes are physical, but they often reveal what is “inside.” In summary, the soul is the entire being or person, mind, body, and spirit.

We can know that the soul is more than some nebulous ethereal, intangible animator of our being by the consideration given “the soul” in Scripture. For example, when God called Abraham (Abram) out of his homeland, we read, “And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came” (Genesis 12:5, emphasis mine). Those “souls” (nephesh) were not disembodied spirits; they were people. When Abraham went down to Egypt he told Sarah (Sarai), “Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee” (Genesis 12:13, emphasis mine). Abram was not thinking of his “spirit being;” he wanted to save his own skin! That nephesh refers to the whole person is clearly demonstrated when Abraham went to rescue his nephew Lot from the marauding kings of the north. “And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself” (Genesis 14:21, emphasis mine). The word translated “persons” is the Hebrew word nephesh.

Another part of the nephesh is the “mind.” We find that example when Sarah died, and Abraham negotiated for a plot of land in which to bury her. “And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar” (Genesis 23:8, emphasis mine). The Hebrew word translated “mind” is nephesh.

I could cite many more examples, but these should suffice. The point is that we do not have souls; we are souls. Each soul made in the image of God is a triune being with mind, body, and spirit. For a soul to exist, all three must be present. Take away any one of the three, and the soul (at least in this present life) ceases to exist. A soul is immortal; it exists forever. However, because of Adam’s sin in the Garden, the physical part dies even though the mind and spirit continue; the soul is incomplete. At the end of time, the mind, body, and spirit will reunite for eternity, but not all souls will enjoy the same destiny. Some souls will live eternally in the presence of God; other souls will exist eternally separated from God in hell. Soul, where will you spend eternity? If you have doubts, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Dictionary.com – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/soul

[2]  1828.mshaffer.com – https://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/soul

[3]   Strong’s Definitions: H5395

[4]   Strong’s Definitions: H7307

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