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Elohim_ebraico

 

Recently, at my Jewish roots Bible study, we got into a discussion regarding why one of the words for God in the Bible – Elohim – is in the plural form in the original Hebrew of Genesis 1:1, and also why God says in Genesis 1:26, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” In fact, there are numerous other passages in which the plural form of God, Elohim, is used instead of other singular forms. Those familiar with the Shema know that God Himself said, “Hear O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4) Interestingly, the word for God in this passage of scripture is Elohim (plural), but in the very next breath it says “the Lord is one!” So, why would God inspire the writers of the Bible to use the word Elohim in some passages instead of a singular form of the word?

At my Bible study, different people gave analogies in an attempt to explain this concept. One person gave the example of water being composed of H20, but with three different states – solid, liquid, and gas. Another example given was the analogy of a candle which consists of the wax, the wick, and the flame – all with different properties, but belonging to the same candle. Then I chimed in with what I had heard someone say several years ago that made a great deal of sense to me. I even wrote about it in one of my previous articles entitled “If I Should Die Before I Wake…

Basically, the person was trying to explain the concept of the Trinity, which we know is a heated point of contention between other religions and Christianity – and even within Christendom. He said that humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and we consist of three parts – spirit, soul, and body. (*Genesis 2:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:23)   However, we consider ourselves to be one person – not three. Likewise, God consists of three parts – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19; I John 5:7) And just as the Shema states, He also considers Himself to be one – not three.

So perhaps this is the reason why the Bible uses the plural form for God, Elohim, because He is made up of three parts…just as we are.

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*The word for breath in Hebrew is ruach – the word imitates the very sound of breath – is the same word for Spirit, as is the case in both ancient Greek (pneuma) and Latin (spiritus). God created man by putting His breath, His Spirit, within him.   (David Guzik: Study Guide for Genesis 2)

 

(Image Credit:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elohim_ebraico.jpeg)

 

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The following is the Spanish version of my tract entitled “None of Us are Promised Tomorrow.”  Special thanks to my friend, Priscila Ramirez, for the amazing  job she did in translating it.  May it be a blessing to many!

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¿Que pasaría si murieras hoy repentinamente?  Esto sucede todo el tiempo. Tanto ancianos como jóvenes mueren en accidentes automovilísticos a diario. Ataques cardiacos son la causa de miles de muertes anuales. En estos tiempos que vivimos, después de lo ocurrido en la ciudad de Nueva York el 11 de septiembre del 2001, no sabemos lo que nos pudiera suceder en cualquier momento.

Una de las preguntas que mucha gente se hace es referente a la existencia del cielo y del infierno y a cual de los dos lugares irán al morir.  También hay quienes piensan que no hay una conciencia real sobre la muerte y que simplemente dejarán de existir. ¿Cual es la verdad?  Cada uno de nosotros debe entender esto antes de que nuestro tiempo en esta tierra se termine.

¿QUIENES SOMOS REALMENTE?

En la vida hay mucho más de lo que podemos ver, oír, tocar, oler y probar.  Los seres humanos tenemos un cuerpo físico, sin embargo muchos no se dan cuenta de que también tenemos alma y espíritu. El espíritu conforma quienes somos verdaderamente, el verdadero túLa condición o estado de nuestro espíritu es la que determinará donde pasaremos la eternidad al morir.

Cuando los primeros seres humanos, Adán y Eva, comieron del fruto prohibido pecaron por desobedecer a Dios, ellos murieron espiritualmente.  Esto significa que su espíritu fue separado de Dios, su Creador.  Este estado de su espíritu ha sido heredado a sus hijos de generación en generación. Esto nos incluye a tí y a mí. Cuando nacemos en este mundo, estamos espiritualmente muertos. Es por esta razón que Jesús dijo que debemos nacer de nuevo (nacimiento espiritual) para entrar en el reino de Dios. (“De cierto, de cierto te digo, que el que no naciere de nuevo, no puede ver el reino de Dios.” Juan 3:3).

¿COMO LOGRAMOS ESTO?

Porque Dios es misericordioso, él nos da la manera de reconciliarnos con él y reparar esa condición de muerte espiritual.  Bajo la ley de Dios, cuando se comete un pecado, una muerte tiene que ocurrir. Para poder cumplir con la penalidad de muerte por nuestros pecados (mentir, hablar mal de los demás, tener malos pensamientos, etc.), Dios necesitaba un ser humano SIN pecado para morir de una vez por todas para que nuestros pecados fueran lavados, nuestro espíritu naciera de nuevo y así pasar de la muerte a la vida. En otras palabras, Dios necesitaba el sacrificio humano perfecto para pagar la penalidad de la muerte por nuestros pecados. Como los hijos de Adán y Eva recibieron el pecado de sus padres, Dios tuvo que mandar a su propio Hijo para que llevara a cabo este sacrificio. ¡No había otra manera!     (“Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no perezca para siempre, sino que tenga vida eterna.”  Juan 3:16).

¿QUIEN ES EL HIJO DE DIOS?

“En el principio era el Verbo, y el Verbo era con Dios, y el Verbo era Dios.”  (Juan 1:1)   “Y aquel Verbo fue hecho carne, y habitó entre nosotros…”  (Juan 1:14)

¿Quién es el Verbo?  Se refiere a Jesucristo, el Hijo de Dios.  El fue hecho carne hace aproximadamente 2.000  años y habitó entre nosotros como un ser humano perfecto para pagar así por nuestros pecados con su propia muerte en la cruz.  La única manera en la que nuestro espíritu puede ser reconciliado con Dios es mediante nuestra aceptación de que Jesús murió por nuestros pecados. (“Jesús les dijo: Yo soy el camino, y la verdad, y la vida; nadie viene al Padre, sino por mí”  Juan 14:6).

Algunas personas asumen que lo único que necesitan para que Dios les permita entrar al cielo es un buen comportamiento y hacer  mas cosas buenas que malas. Sin embargo, al hacer estas cosas no se corrige la condición de nuestra muerte espiritual. Solamente al creer con fé y aceptar el sacrificio que Jesús hizo en la cruz una persona podrá estar asegura de que ira al cielo y será salva.

¡EN RESUMEN!

¿Cuál es la condición de tu espíritu?  ¿Está el  verdadero tú  realmente vivo porque has aceptado lo que Jesús hizo por ti en la cruz, o estas todavía muerto espiritualmente? Si esto describe tu condición actual, entonces cuando des tu último aliento en esta tierra, permanecerás así por toda la eternidad. No permitas que esto te pase a ti. Acepta la manera que te da Dios para lograr esa reconciliación con él.  Repite la siguiente oración (o una similar), hazlo a conciencia y con todo tu corazón.

Dios Padre, reconozco que soy un   pecador y necesito ser rescatado de la muerte eterna. Yo creo que tú enviaste a tu Hijo Jesucristo a morir por mis pecados. Sé que ninguna cantidad de buenas obras me podrá reconciliar contigo, solamente mi creencia en Jesús y lo que hizo por mí en la cruz podrá salvarme. Te pido que perdones mis pecados, revivas mi espíritu, y me coloques en tu reino celestial. En el nombre de tu Hijo Jesucristo,  Amen.

Si acabas de hacer esta oración, y lo has hecho de corazón, entonces estarás con Dios en el cielo cuando mueras. No tienes que dudarlo más.

¿QUE HAGO AHORA?

Puedes comenzar por leer la Biblia, empieza con el Evangelio de Juan en el Nuevo Testamento, y ora diariamente. Estas dos actividades mantienen abiertas nuestras líneas de comunicación con Dios.  Al leer la Biblia, es Dios hablando con nosotros, y nuestras oraciones son la manera en que nosotros le hablamos a él.  También deberías asistir regularmente a una iglesia de sana doctrina en donde se enseñen la Palabra de Dios, la Biblia.  De ésta manera empezarás en el camino correcto hacia una “vida espiritual”.

¡Que Dios bendiga tu caminar con él!

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Copyright 2009 by Meshawn Senior/Priscila Ramirez (JMS Tracts)

English Version:  None of Us are Promised Tomorrow

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German Box for Board Games Wikicommons Walters 7193

After the game, the king and the pawn

go into the same box.

~ Italian Proverb

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In the game of chess, the players strategize to corner or checkmate the opposing side’s king.  Many pieces are used in order to do this – some more expendable than others.  At the bottom of importance is the lowly pawn.  But even though the king is the most valuable piece and the pawn is the least valuable, after the game ends, the fate of both is the same.  They both are placed in the same box.

Such is the case in real life.  All people – whether kings or commoners, rich or poor, famous or obscure – all will have the same fate one day.  We all will die.  Death is no respecter of persons…and neither is God. (Colossians 3:25)

We’re all made of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7), and no human life is more valuable than any other to God.  We are all made in His image and He loves us so much that He sent His Son to this earth to save us from the punishment of sin, which is eternal death.  (John 3:16)  He did this by becoming the perfect human sacrifice and shedding His blood to cover our sins because “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission” or forgiveness of sins.  (Hebrews 9:22)  He had to do this because the blood of animals could not permanently erase sin.  Only the blood of a perfect human being, without sin or blemish, could satisfy once and for all the requirements for permanently blotting out the sins of mankind.  This perfect human being is named Jesus Christ.  (Read all of Hebrews Chapter 9 for a thorough explanation of this.) 

Whether you’re a king or just a regular person, if you confess to God that you are a sinner and believe that His Son, Jesus, died on the cross to cover your sins, then when the day comes when you die and are placed in a box, you’ll have the assurance that you will have eternal life with God and not have to face an eternal death of unimaginable horrors.  The choice is yours.

Just something to think about…

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For more information on this very important subject, please see:

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This is an awesome live performance by Israel Houghton of the song “Our God.” 

Be blessed!

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For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ~ Ephesians 6:12

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In a previous post, I briefly discussed an invisible battle that occurred between an angelic visitor to the prophet Daniel and the Prince of Persia (a very powerful fallen angelic being).  This battle went on for three weeks before he was able to break through with the help of Michael, the archangel. He was then free to deliver a very important message to Daniel.

This sounds primarily like the makings of a science fiction/fantasy novel.  It’s very hard for our human minds to grasp that scenes like this are very real and are actually happening all around us every day.  As quoted above, Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  In the daily battles that we go through with other people or situations, the root cause of those battles is the invisible spiritual wars that are taking place just outside the boundaries of our perceived reality.  We may think that we’re contending only with a certain person or situation; however, as the saying goes, “There’s more than meets the eye.”

Another biblical illustration we have of what actually goes on behind the physical scenes is found in 2 Kings 6:15-17.  In this passage, the prophet Elisha and his servant were being threatened by a hostile army of Syrians.  The servant was beside himself when he awoke one morning to find that they were surrounded by horses and chariots from this enemy of Israel.  But Elisha calmly told him, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then he asked God to open the young man’s eyes so that he may “see.”  When the Lord answered this prayer, the servant saw that the hills were full of supernatural horses and chariots of fire all around them.  The two men were divinely protected that day.  (Read the entire story here.)

Perhaps the most well-known biblical account that we have of warfare in the spiritual realm is found in Revelation 12:7-9, which is quoted below:

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. ~ Revelation 12:7-9

What an epic battle that will be!  (To learn more about this battle, its aftermath, and how it may or may not affect those of us here on earth at this time, I recommend reading the entire chapter of Revelation 12.)

These are just a few examples of what takes place behind the scenes of our physical reality.  The Bible is full of instances of supernatural intervention in the lives of people just like you and me.  Even today, there are numerous accounts of people whose fates were miraculously altered in the face of danger.  In an earlier article, I actually speak of one such occurrence in the life of one of my sons.  You may read about it here.

So we see that all around us is an invisible spiritual realm which we are, for the most part, unaware of.  All the social unrest in the world, as well as various personal struggles we may face, are the direct result of the unseen battles that are going on in that realm and spilling over into ours.

For more on this very interesting topic, I’ve included the following short video clip from a sermon by Dr. Chuck Missler entitled “The Spiritual World.”  In it, Dr. Missler discusses a couple of the points presented in this article… and much more.  It’s very informative.  I hope you enjoy it.

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51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,* at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55  “O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?” 

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

                                                                 ~ I Corinthians 15:51-58

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*  “General Electric Company tells us that the twinkling of an eye is eleven one-hundredths of a second.” ~ Dr. Jack Van Impe

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Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:” ~ Genesis 3:1-4

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That’s the oldest trick in human history!  The serpent convinced Eve that what God had told her husband, Adam, wasn’t true.  God had given him very specific instructions about which trees in the Garden of Eden could be used for food.  He told him that the fruit from all of the trees, except for one, could be eaten.  He also told him that if he disobeyed and ate of this one forbidden tree, then he would surely die. (Genesis 2:15-17)  Apparently, Adam had relayed this information to Eve and she understood the parameters perfectly.

But the serpent – also known as Satan the devil – deceived her by putting doubts in her mind about the truthfulness of God’s words.  And you know, he’s using the same old deception with humans today – convincing the great majority that God’s words in the Bible are not true.

For instance, God tells us in the Bible that He created the universe and everything in it in six days.  He then gives us the genealogies of people down through the ages, starting with the first man, Adam.  And according to the sum of these genealogies along with historical records since the Bible was completed, the earth (and the universe) is only about 6,000 years old. 

But secular science tells us that the universe is billions and billions of years old and that it started from nothing…and then the “nothing” went BANG!…and all the planets, stars, galaxies, etc., just happened to evolve along with life.  Not only is this logically impossible, but it contradicts science which states that “matter can neither be created nor destroyed.”  Interestingly, this belief is also in total opposition to what God tells us in the Bible.  What, or who, could’ve introduced this into the minds of otherwise intelligent human beings?

God tells us in the Bible that we have an adversary, Satan the devil, who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)  He does this mainly by putting thoughts that are contrary to scripture into the minds of unsuspecting people.  Most people don’t even believe there is a devil (another one of his deceptions) and so they just accept these thoughts as their own.  How clever of him!  He battles us in our minds, and he knows that people can’t fight a battle that they don’t even realize is happening.

God also tells us that Satan is “a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)  He’s the one who lied to Eve in the beginning and continues to lie to humans today.   He even lied to and deceived one-third of the angels into revolting against God in the distant past.  He was actually able to convince them that they could succeed in overthrowing the God of the universe – to their ultimate peril.  He’s obviously very good at what he does.

Satan even had the audacity to try and deceive Jesus Christ while He was here on earth.  He came to Jesus during a time that He had been fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and nights.  No doubt Jesus was very weak and hungry, and Satan saw this as His opportunity to make Him fall.   The following passage from Matthew 4:1-11 shows us what transpired:

1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

So we see that Jesus didn’t fall for Satan’s trickery.  Even though the devil was trying to use scripture (out of context, I might add) to trip Jesus up, because Jesus knows scripture inside and out, He was able to discern that this fallen angel was trying to deceive Him.  So He quoted scripture right back to him and let him know that He wasn’t going to fall for his lies.  This is what we have to do, as well.  We all need to read the Bible so that we will know what is truth and what is deception.  This way, when we hear something that may sound good but goes against what God says, then we’ll be able to discern that it’s a lie and reject it.  We need to teach our children to do the same.

It’s interesting to note that the root cause of all the various political, social, and moral issues we face in the world today is our adversary, the devil, placing it in the hearts and minds of human beings to go against what God has told us in His word, the Bible.  I’m sure we can all think of some points that are hotbeds of contention in society today.  If we truly want to know which side is right, the litmus test would be to see which beliefs are in line with what God says in scripture, and we’ll have our answer.  Those who still choose to believe the devil’s lie that the Bible is an antiquated book and no longer applies to us today have fallen for his trickery and will have to answer to a holy God one day.

The devil is not playing games.  Just as he caused the horrible fall of so many of his fellow angels, he wants to take as many humans down as possible because we are made in God’s image and he hates us immensely.  He will do and say anything to convince us that his way is right and God’s way is wrong.   He’s very cunning and hides this deception very well.  Our only protection is to believe God’s word and reject anything contrary to it.

If anyone reading this may be doubting God and the Bible, I encourage you to think back to where you got your present beliefs.  Consider the possibility that the source of your beliefs may have been deceived – whether it’s a trusted person, organization, or maybe even yourself.  Are you willing to jeopardize your own well-being for all eternity (and possibly that of your children) because you are unknowingly believing a lie?  It can’t hurt to read the Bible for yourself to prove whether or not it’s true.  Don’t just take someone else’s word for it.   What if they’re wrong?

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Image Credits:  Radbod Commandeur (1890 – 1955); photo by Deror avi.


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