Thursday, January 9, 2014

What games we play: Truth or Consequence

…Truth or Consequence…
Psalm 127:1-2 
1(0) A song of ascents. By Shlomo:
(1)          Unless Adonai builds the house,
its builders work in vain.
Unless Adonai guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.

          In vain do you get up early
and put off going to bed,
working hard to earn a living;
for he provides for his beloved,
even when they sleep. [1]

                As we delve into today’s topic, truth or consequence, we need to define our terms and then look at what they mean to us. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (known from here on as TWOT) states in its opening discussion of the word we translate as “truth” with this statement:

“…This very important concept in biblical doctrine gives clear evidence of the biblical meaning of “faith” in contradistinction to the many popular concepts of the term. At the heart of the meaning of the root is the idea of certainty. And this is borne out by the nt definition of faith found in Heb 11:1.
The basic root idea is firmness or certainty. In the Qal it expresses the basic concept of support and is used in the sense of the strong arms of the parent supporting the helpless infant…[2] The idea of support is also seen in II Kgs 18:16, where it refers to pillars of support.
In the Hiphil (causative), it basically means “to cause to be certain, sure” or “to be certain about,” “to be assured.” In this sense the word in the Hiphil conjugation is the biblical word for “to believe” and shows that biblical faith is an assurance, a certainty, in contrast with modem concepts of faith as something possible, hopefully true, but not certain.
Following from this we find the word in the passive Qal participle used with a passive meaning “one who is established” or “one who is confirmed,” i.e. “faithful one” (II Sam 20:19; Ps 12:1 [H 2]; 31:23 [H 24]).
In the Niphal conjugation the meaning is “to be established” (II Sam 7:16; I Chr 17:23; II Chr 6:17; Isa 7:9). The Niphal participle means “to be faithful, sure, dependable” and describes believers (Num 12:7; I Sam 2:35; Neh 9:8). This form is also used to describe that upon which all certainty rests: God himself (Deut 7:9), and his covenant (Ps 89:28 [H 29]).
One interesting illustration of the relationship between “belief” and “being established” is seen in Isa 7:9. Ahaz is told that unless he believes (Hiphil) he will not be established (Niphal), i.e. without faith he has no stability.
The various derivatives reflect the same concept of certainty and dependability. The derivative ˒āmēn “verily” is carried over into the New Testament in the word amēn which is our English word “amen.” Jesus used the word frequently (Mt 5:18, 26, etc.) to stress the certainty of a matter. The Hebrew and Greek forms come at the end of prayers and hymns of praise (Ps 41:13 [H 14]); 106:48; II Tim 4:18; Rev 22:20, etc.). This indicates that the term so used in our prayers ought to express certainty and assurance in the Lord to whom we pray…” [3]

Now the forms of the Hebrew as expressed as “Qal”, “Niphal”, and “Hiphil” are important to our understanding of the Hebrew, but to focus on the distinctions is not for us today; what is important are the concepts they introduce:

1.       …the heart of the meaning of the root is the idea of certainty…
2.       …The basic root idea is firmness or certainty…
3.       “one who is established”
4.       “one who is confirmed”
5.       …the basic concept of support and is used in the sense of the strong arms of the parent supporting the helpless infant…
6.       “to cause to be certain, sure” or “to be certain about,” “to be assured”
7.       “faithful one”
8.       “to be faithful, sure, dependable”
9.       “belief”*
10.   “to be established”*
(* This indicates a relationship between “belief” and “being established”; without belief, firm and committed, there can be no establishing; more on this later)
11.   …The various derivatives reflect the same concept of certainty and dependability…

For the word “consequence” let us turn to Noah Webster:

“…CONSEQUENCE, n. [L., to follow. See Seek.]
1. That which follows from any act, cause, principle, or series of actions. Hence, an event or effect produced by some preceding act or cause.
Shun the bitter consequence; for know, the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die.
The consequences of intemperance are disgrace, poverty, disease and premature death.
2. In logic, a proposition collected from the agreement of other previous propositions; the conclusion which results from reason or argument; inference; deduction.
Every rational being is accountable to his maker; man is a rational being; the consequence then must be, that man is accountable to his maker.
From this train of argument, the consequence is obvious.
3. Connection of cause and effect; consecution.
I felt that I must after thee, with this my son; such fatal consequence unites us three.
4. Influence; tendency, as to effects. The sense of consequence, in this use, is modified by the words connected with it; as, it is of little consequence, that is, of little importance, small effects will follow; it is of no consequence, of no moment, no effect of importance will follow; it is of great consequence, of great importance, great effects will follow.
5. Importance; extensive influence; distinction; as a man of great consequence in society.
In consequence, by means of; as the effect of…” [4]

So truth then is rooted in the basic idea of certainty; consequence is the result of cause and effect, the end result of action or in some cases, inaction.

What is the meaning for us today? In physics, there is a well-known law, Newton's third law of motion. Formally stated, Newton's third law is:
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object. The direction of the force on the first object is opposite to the direction of the force on the second object. Forces always come in pairs - equal and opposite action-reaction force pairs.[5]
In our search for truth, two words come to mind that seem to fulfill this third law of Newton: “Testament” and “Covenant”.  In the notes to ISR’s transliteration of the Bible, it states this:

“…The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 4, p. 575, says, “There can be no doubt that the fundamental meaning of ‘covenant’ in the NT is derived from, and is a highly creative reinterpretation, of the OT berith, a two-party arrangement in which one is bound by oath.” Dr. Bullinger in The Companion Bible, Appx. 95, wrote,
 “The word ‘Testament,’ as a translation of the Greek word diatheke (which means ‘covenant’), has been nothing less than a great calamity; for, by its use, truth has been effectively veiled all through the centuries; causing a wrong turning to be taken ... errors of tradition have usurped the place of important truth. The word ‘Testament’ as a name for a collection of books is unknown to Scripture. It comes to us through the Latin Vulgate.” Testamentum was a Roman "omen of death." Closely related to this word we find Testomonium as the name of a Roman deity, as well as Test, found in many European languages…” [6]

                In the search for truth, error has to be addressed. Even at great risk, error has to be acted upon, with just as much force as it was introduced. Hence Newton’s Law of Motion. So what is truth? Yeshua was asked the same question by Pilate:

John 18:33-38 (ISV)
33So Pilate went back into the governor’s headquarters,h summoned Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”18 34Jesus replied, “Are you asking this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about me?” 35Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? It is your own nation and high priests who have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.i But for now my kingdom is not from here.”19
37Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born for this, and I came into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”20 38Pilate said to him, “What is ‘truth’?” After he said this, he went out to the Jewsj again and told them, “I find no basis for a charge against him.21 ([7])

Those that belong to the Truth, hear His voice. And what does the truth do?

John 8:12-58 (HCSB)
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am q the light r of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” s
13 So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself. Your testimony is not valid.” t
14 “Even if I testify about Myself,” Jesus replied, “My testimony is valid, u because I know where I came from and where I’m going. But you don’t know where I come from or where I’m going. v 15 You judge w by human standards. x y I judge no one. z 16 And if I do judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone, but I and the Father who sent Me judge a together. b 17 Even in your law it is written that the witness of two men is valid. c 18 I am the One who testifies d about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”
19 Then they asked Him, “Where is Your Father?”
“You know neither Me nor My Father,” e Jesus answered. “If you knew Me, you would also know My Father.” f 20 He spoke these words by the treasury, g h while teaching in the temple complex. But no one seized Him, because His hour i had not come.
21 Then He said to them again, “I’m going away; j you will look for Me, and you will die in your sin. k Where I’m going, you cannot come.” l
22 So the Jews said again, “He won’t kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I’m going, you cannot come’ m?”
23 “You are from below,” He told them, “I am from above. n You are of this world; o I am not of this world. p 24 Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, q you will die in your sins.”
25 “Who are You?” they questioned.
“Precisely what I’ve been telling you from the very beginning,” Jesus told them. 26 “I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the One who sent Me r is true, and what I have heard from Him—these things I tell the world.” s
27 They did not know He was speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, t then you will know that I am u He, and that I do nothing on My own. v But just as the Father taught Me, I say these things. 29 The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, w because I always do what pleases Him.”
30 As He was saying these things, many believed in Him. 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, x y you really are My disciples.
32 You will know the truth, z and the truth will set you free.”
33 “We are descendants a of Abraham,” b they answered Him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus responded, I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. c 35 A slave does not remain in the household forever, d but a son does remain forever. e
36 Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.
37 I know you are descendants f of Abraham, g but you are trying to kill Me because My word h is not welcome among you. 38 I speak what I have seen i in the presence of the Father; j k therefore, you do what you have heard from your father.”
39 “Our father is Abraham!” they replied.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. l 40 But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth m that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! 41 You’re doing what your father does.n
“We weren’t born o of sexual immorality,” p they said. “We have one Father—God.” q
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, r because I came from God s and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me. 43 Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to t My word. u 44 You are of your father the Devil, v and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer w from the beginning x and has not stood in the truth, y because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, z because he is a liar and the father of liars. a 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Who among you can convict Me of sin? b If I tell the truth, why don’t you believe Me? 47 The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.”
48 The Jews responded to Him, “Aren’t we right in saying that You’re a Samaritan c and have a demon?” d
49 “I do not have a demon,” Jesus answered. “On the contrary, I honor My Father and you dishonor Me. 50 I do not seek My glory; e the One who seeks it also judges. 51 I assure you: If anyone keeps My word, f he will never see death—ever!”
52 Then the Jews said, “Now we know You have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death—ever!’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham who died? Even the prophets died. Who do You pretend to be?” g
54 “If I glorify Myself,” Jesus answered, “My glory is nothing. My Father—you say about Him, ‘He is our God’—He is the One who glorifies Me. 55 You’ve never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I don’t know Him, h I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, i and I keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it j and rejoiced.”
57 The Jews replied, “You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?” k
58 Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.” l m ([8])

The Son is Truth, and He sets us free. But did you catch what He said?
I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the One who sent Me r is true, and what I have heard from Him—these things I tell the world.

The truth He speaks of came from His Father. All that was told to Him, came from the Father. These words, these truths are not new – they were handed down from the heavens, spoken to Adam and passed down till the finger of God wrote them on the tablets at Sinai; But the action of truth was met with the reaction of lies – and the enemy of God has been pushing back ever since. And we have fell into two categories; those who believe and those who have chosen another path, one fraught with traditions and half-truths; for even a half-truth is nothing but a lie and there are consequences to believing a lie.

We all have a choice to make. One that walks in the path of truth, or one that walks in a path of our own choosing, it really is that simple. For every lie told about the word of God, God pushes back against the darkness with an equal force, to reveal His Truth to those He has chosen to save. This isn’t a one sided game, with God unable to dislodge the fabrications of the enemy. If He willed, He could shatter the darkness with just a breath from His nose, yet something more is at stake here. He saves, then gives men the choice, to seek truth, to find truth, to walk in that truth or not. None will come before a Holy God and say they were forced to serve a lie; all will come before Him and have to admit to their own choice: the time for truth or consequence is at hand. Follow truth, even to your own destruction, then reap the consequence of that decision – everlasting life with the Father of Creation, or follow the broad way that leads to destruction, and the everlasting darkness reserved for those who held onto the lies and followed the father of lies. There is no middle ground! You believe this word or you do not. You follow this word or you do not. Push me, pull you – two forces exerting equal strength for now, but one day the glorious heavens will rip apart, and at the sound of the great shofar the King of Glory will appear, with all the host of heaven and Newton’s law will be dissolved; this time there will only be one great force exerting its majesty, only one great force will be found pushing against the other, and nothing can prevent what will happen next: the King of the tribe of Judah will step down onto the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and He will rule from His holy Temple, all praise and glory be to Him forever…

For those that believe, for those that are and were convinced of the certainty of that truth, they will take their places at the foot of He who has come to rule and reign, Yeshua Ha’Machiach, Jesus the Messiah. For those who choose the wide path, the path of easy grace and changeless lives, theirs will be a different destination, one that should only be reserved for the devil and his followers, the lake of fire.

For now, the two forces that push against one another simply known by two names:

Those in obedience
Or Those in Rebellion

There is an equal and opposite reaction to each push: just as there will be an equal and opposite reaction to each decision one makes in their lives.

Moshe (Moses) probably said it best:

Deuteronomy 30:10-20 (NASB95)
10     1if you 2obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which aare written in this book of the law, 1if you turn to the Lord your God bwith all your heart and soul.
11     “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it 1out of reach.
12     “It is not in heaven, 1that you should say, ‘aWho will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’
13     “Nor is it beyond the sea, 1that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’
14     “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.
15     “See, aI have set before you today life and 1prosperity, and death and 2adversity;
16     in that I command you today ato love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you bmay live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.
17     “But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them,
18     I declare to you today that ayou shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter 1and possess it.
19     aI call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, bthe blessing and the curse. So
Choose Life
in order that you may live, you and your 1descendants,
20     aby loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and bby holding fast to Him; cfor 1this is your life and the length of your days, 2that you may live in dthe land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” [9]

You see, from 1947 till 1988 it was just a game show on television; but from the dawn of creation to now, it is no game beloved – we play every day a game called truth or consequence, and never give our actions the determined introspective look that we should, for all that we do is eternal and amounts to life or death, the blessing or the curse. Choose wisely this day whom you will serve.

…May Yahvey richly bless and keep you my beloved in the arms of His Son, Yeshua, Amein and amein…

[1] Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., Ps 127). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.
[2] Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (051). Chicago: Moody Press.
[3] Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (051). Chicago: Moody Press.
[4] Webster, Noah. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English. Foundation for American Christian Education, 1828. Electronic edition, theWORD® software by Costas Stergiou, ©2003-2012, version
[5] From The Physics Classroom;
[6] Institute for Scripture Research - ISR. The Scriptures 1998 Bible Explanatory Notes©. Institute for Scripture Research - ISR, 1998. Electronic edition, theWORD® software by Costas Stergiou, ©2003-2012, version
h  18:33 Lit. into the praetorium
18  Matt 27:11
i  18:36 I.e. Jewish leaders
19  Dan 2:44; 7:14; Lk 12:14; John 6:15; 8:15; 1Tim 6:13
20  John 8:47; 1John 3:19; 4:6
j  18:38 I.e. Jewish leaders
21  Matt 27:24; Lk 23:4; John 19:4, 6
[7]  International standard version New Testament : Version 1.1. 2000 (Print on Demand ed.). Yorba Linda, CA: The Learning Foundation.
q  8:12 Ex 3:14; Jn 8:24,58
r  8:12 Ps 36:9; Jn 12:46; 1Jn 2:8
s  8:12 Ex 13:21–22; 14:19–25; Is 42:6; 49:6; 60:19–22; Zch 14:5–8; Jn 9:5; 12:46
t  8:13 The law of Moses required at least 2 witnesses to make a claim legally valid (v. 17).
u  8:14 Or true
v  8:14 Jn 3:8; 7:28; 9:29; 12:35; 13:3,36; 14:5; 16:5,28; 1Jn 2:11
w  8:15 Lk 6:37; Rv 19:11
x  8:15 Lit You judge according to the flesh
y  8:15 Php 3:3
z  8:15 Jn 3:17; 12:47
a  8:16 Mt 12:41; 2Th 1:5
b  8:16 Jn 16:32
c  8:17 Nm 35:30; Jn 8:14
d  8:18 1Jn 5:7,9
e  8:19 Jn 7:28; 1Jn 2:23
f  8:19 Lk 10:22; Jn 17:3; 1Jn 4:8
g  8:20 A place for offerings to be given, perhaps in the court of women
h  8:20 Mk 12:41,43; Lk 21:1
i  8:20 The time of His sacrificial death and exaltation; Jn 2:4; 7:30; 12:23,27; 13:1; 17:1
j  8:21 Jn 14:2; 16:5
k  8:21 Dt 24:16; Ezk 3:18; 33:8; Jn 15:22; Rm 3:23; 6:23
l  8:21 Jn 7:34,36; 8:22; 13:33
  In Jn, the term Jews usually indicates those in Israel who were opposed to Jesus, particularly the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem who led the nation.
m  8:22 Jn 8:21
n  8:23 Jn 3:13,31; 18:36; Col 3:1–2
o  8:23 1Jn 4:5
 The organized Satanic system that is opposed to God and hostile to Jesus and His followers; it also refers to the non-Christian culture including governments, educational systems, and businesses.
p  8:23 Jn 15:19; 17:14–16; 18:36
q  8:24 Jesus claimed to be deity, but the Pharisees didn’t understand His meaning.
r  8:26 Jn 5:19
s  8:26 Jn 3:32; 15:15
 Most frequent title Jesus used for Himself (Dn 7:13; Mt 8:20)
t  8:28 Mk 2:10
u  8:28 Jn 8:24
v  8:28 Mk 6:5; Jn 9:33; 15:5
w  8:29 Jn 16:32; Ac 10:38
x  8:31 Or My teaching, or My message
y  8:31 Jn 2:22; 18:32
z  8:32 Ps 119:142; Jn 14:6; 2Th 2:10
a  8:33 Or offspring; lit seed; Jn 7:42
b  8:33 Gn 16:15; Jn 8:37; Heb 2:16
 This is a phrase used only by Jesus to testify to the certainty and importance of His words; in Mt, Mk, and Lk it is literally Amen, I say to you; in Jn it is literally Amen, amen, I say to you.
  The strong Greek word doulos cannot be accurately translated in English as servant or bond servant; the HCSB translates this word as slave, not out of insensitivity to the legitimate concerns of modern English speakers, but out of a commitment to accurately convey the brutal reality of the Roman empire’s inhumane institution as well as the ownership called for by Christ.
c  8:34 Rm 6:17–20; 2Pt 2:19
d  8:35 1Jn 2:17
e  8:35 Gn 21:10; Lk 15:31; Gl 4:30
f  8:37 Or offspring; lit seed; Jn 7:42
g  8:37 Lk 19:9; Jn 8:31–47; Ac 13:26; Rm 4:11,16; Gl 3:7
h  8:37 Or My teaching, or My message
i  8:38 Jn 3:32; 5:19; 6:46
j  8:38 Other mss read of My Father
k  8:38 Mt 5:16; 11:27; Lk 11:13; Jn 8:42
l  8:39 Gl 3:7,9
m  8:40 Ps 119:142; Jn 14:6
n  8:41 2Jn 9
o  8:41 1Jn 2:29
p  8:41 Hs 2:4; 1Th 4:3
q  8:41 Dt 32:6
r  8:42 Dt 6:5; Lk 10:27; 1Jn 5:1
s  8:42 Jn 13:3; 16:27; 1Jn 5:20
t  8:43 Or cannot hear
u  8:43 Lk 6:47; Jn 18:32
v  8:44 Mt 4:1; Jn 13:2,27; Eph 2:1–3
w  8:44 1Jn 3:15
x  8:44 Gn 3:1–4; 4:8–9; Ac 26:4; 2Co 11:3; 1Jn 3:8–15; Rv 12:9
y  8:44 Jn 14:6; Rm 3:7
z  8:44 Lit from his own things
a  8:44 Lit of it
b  8:46 Jn 15:22; 1Jn 3:5
  A people of mixed, Gentile/Jewish ancestry who lived between Galilee and Judea and were hated by the Jews
c  8:48 Lk 9:52; Ac 1:8
d  8:48 Jn 7:20; 10:20; Rv 9:20; 18:2
e  8:50 Jn 17:24; Php 3:19; 1Pt 5:4
f  8:51 Jn 8:52,55; 14:23–24; 15:20; 17:6; 18:32; 1Jn 2:5; Rv 1:3; 3:8,10; 22:7,9
g  8:53 Lit Who do You make Yourself?
h  8:55 Jn 7:28
i  8:55 Mt 11:27
j  8:56 Lk 10:24; Heb 11:13–19
k  8:57 Other mss read and Abraham has seen You?
l  8:58 I AM is the name God gave Himself at the burning bush; Ex 3:13–14; see note at Jn 8:24.
m  8:58 Ex 3:14; Ps 45:8; Jn 1:15; 8:24; 17:5; Col 1:17
[8]  The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2009. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
r  8:26 Jn 5:19
1  Or for you will
2  Lit listen to the voice of
a  Deut 29:21
1  Or for you will
b  Deut 4:29
1  Lit far off
1  Lit to say
a  Rom 10:6–8
1  Lit to say
a  Deut 11:26
1  Lit good
2  Lit evil
a  Deut 6:5
b  Deut 4:1; 30:19
a  Deut 4:26; 8:19
1  Lit to
a  Deut 4:26
b  Deut 30:1
1  Lit seed
a  Deut 6:5
b  Deut 10:20
c  Deut 4:1; 32:47; Acts 17:25, 28
1  Lit that
2  Lit to dwell
d  Gen 12:7; 17:1–8
[9]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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