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About Paradigm

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  1. To jump from how you interpret various symbolic meanings of the cross to saying there is nothing wrong with wearing a cross is a pretty big step in logic. Using that logic I could make the argument that any symbol in the Bible that may have positive meaning could be used in religious worship. The cross is also directly related to a curse in its symbolism. Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: However, most of the comments that I've seen thus far do not substantively have much to do with the subject of this thread. The thread asked if certain practices related to use of the cross is idolatry. The cross as a religious symbol is certainly found in many religions that predate Christianity. It was used in religious worship long before Christianity arrived on the seen in various pagan cultures. Would bowing down to a cross be acceptable to God, while bowing to a Buddha or another statue be idolatry? Can we bow to a Jesus statue, but not a Mary statue? That is the point I was showing with the gun. When we do the same behavior, yet replace the image with something else people suddenly see it as a practice opposed by the teachings of the Bible. Maybe some would be interested in defining idolatry from a Biblical viewpoint. Leviticus 26:1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.
  2. It seems that you have chosen to respond ad hominem rather than substantively address my comments. You have not explained how my examples are erroneous. I don't think that I am likely to get a thoughtful and objective answer. I suspect the future responses will continue to avoid making logical arguments or quoting scriptures on the topic of images or idols.
  3. I think my questions shine the light on the answer. Can any reasonable argument be made that my scenario of wearing a gun or singing about them would be wrong while at the same time justifying current practices related to the cross? I believe when we objectively consider the scenario of replacing the cross with most any other symbol of execution, it reveals much. It illustrates a great contrast with the practices of believers in the Bible.
  4. I have often wondered how things may have unfolded if Messiah lived, died and was resurrected in our current time. If it turned out that he was executed in a different way such as a gun for example, would people wear gun symbols around their necks? Would they sings songs in their places of worship such as "How I love that old gun?" Would must every church have a gun symbol in a prominent place in their sanctuary? A few years ago the fad WWJD was everywhere. What if we were to ask ourselves questions such as what would Peter, John or Paul do? That could be a good starting point. For example, would those guys be wearing crosses? What holidays would they be celebrating? What would be their rest day? These questions can actually be answered pretty easily. Most people are more attached to their inherited customs and invested in their current cultural thinking than they are truly interested in truly finding out WWJD. For when we consider what he and his followers celebrated, ate, etc. most of what he would observe today would be unrecognizable? Not necessarily unrecognizable to the pagans though. Food for thought....
  5. Yes, it can be tough with all of the inherited ideas regarding these kinds of subjects. Lots of afterlife theology as well as eschatology often comes from literature such as Dante's Inferno, Paradise Lost or more recent books, movies, songs, etc. Typically the main Biblical proof text that is used regarding "hell" is a parable. We have to understand for one thing that the Bible wasn't originally written in English. In the OT (Tanakh) when you see the English work "hell" it is normally the Hebrew word sheol. That word corresponds to the Greek word hades that is also translated as "hell" in the NT. However, there are two other Greek words translated as "hell" in the NT. Those are gehenna and tartoros from what I remember. Therefore there are three different Greek words that are all translated into the English word "hell" in the NT. Not only do we have to be specific about exactly which "hell" we are discussing, we have to look at specific contexts and see who or what goes there. Revelation 20:14 And death and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. We see from this verse that even "hell" itself is cast into the lake of fire. We also have to consider words and concepts such as forever, everlasting, eternal, etc. The Hebrew and Greek words clearly do not always mean forever and there are many times when it does not make any sense if we consistently translate those words as such. Here is an example in the KJV that shows the problem with translating the Hebrew word olam as forever here: Deuteronomy 23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever: The above verse from Deuteronomy says that an Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the congregation forever and also tells us the tenth generation. This verse in isolation would tell us that forever is ten generations. Nehemiah leaves out the ten generations part and just tells us in English that these two groups are forbidden from being part of the congregation for ever. Nehemiah 13:1 On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; One only has to read the book of Ruth and study the genealogy of King David to see that Moabites were allowed into the congregation of the LORD after ten generations. Quick everyone, how long was Jonah in the belly of the fish? And where was he? Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 2:1-6 Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly,2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. Thus far we have seen that "for ever" is ten generations and now we also see that it is three days and three nights. Clearly we cannot just rely upon the English translations in all cases to define concepts such as "hell" or "forever" accurately. There are also a number of examples in which a form of the word aion is used twice in one verse such as this. Revelation 4:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever (aionus) and ever, (aioonoon) and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Two forevers? Once we investigate the words relating to time frames and try to be consistent in the way we interpret them, we still would need to look at the relativity of time both in the scripture as well as what can be demonstrated scientifically. The subject also requires a study on the parts of man. Do people really go straight to "hell" or heaven soon as they die ? How many compartments or levels of the dead exist? How many parts of man are there? Where do all of those parts go and when? It might be good to have a number of these related topics in their own separate threads. I do not want to cause any confusion for anyone at all. I just want to throw out some information and questions so folks might be motivated to examine their own paradigms and consider some other possibilities that they may not have thought about. I'm glad to see that there are some folks who are willing to examine topics that most people have not really investigated thoroughly.
  6. Hi Everyone, Here is one that I did a while back called Vanitas. It is an oil painting based in part upon verses in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Vanitas: 34x16, Oil on Linen
  7. Hi Kenny, Very good and valid questions. Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. Just because something has been acquired through legality or even force does not necessarily mean that there is full possession in that moment. The verse may indicate a legal proclamation rather than a material actuality in the earth realm. I think we also have to consider who's perspective and clock that we are seeing in various passages. For example we could ask this question, "What time zone is the Kingdom of Heaven on?" I live in the CST zone in the US, but not everyone else does. Currently it is 4:14 in my time, but in some zones 4:14 has not happened yet. It appears to me that it would be a mistake to assume that the heavenly clock is synchronized with the earth clock. I am reminded of Daniel and Gabriel's interaction. I think in addition to the subject of legality vs possession and time we also should bring another subject into the discussion. Although in this realm, the natural or material appears before the spiritual, that is from an earth perspective. 1 Corinthians 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. However from a spiritual perspective spirit proceeds the natural or material things. For we see the Spirit of God in Gen 1:2 bringing things into form and know that the Word of God (A spiritual force) proceeds and creates the material. Stated another way form proceeds from and after essence. Here are a few verses that I thought about regarding the kingdom of God. I thought these might add some additional dimension and texture to the discussion. Thank you for bringing up this topic and your well thought out questions and comments. Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. Luke 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you Luke 10:11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 1 Corinthians 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
  8. Paradigm, I enjoyed the reality of what you were looking to convey, and feel you did a great job in the execution of what you were looking to achieve. Appreciated the thoughts behind your inspiration for the painting too. Thanks for sharing! Thank you very much B3L13v3R. I am very glad that you liked the painting. I appreciate your kind and encouraging comments.
  9. This is a 12 x 16 oil called "Hear O Israel" which is the beginning line of Deuteronomy 6:4 and begins the well known prayer known as the "Shema." The painting was inspired by my trip to Israel several years back. The location of the scene is the infamous Masada in the Dead Sea area.
  10. Here is one that I did a while back. This one is oil on linen and is it seems like the size is 32x16, but can't remember for sure at this moment. This photo of the painting is not the greatest. I'll try to show a better one in the future. I think that I went back in and worked on the painting after I took this one.
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