Tag Archive | Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Fox Byte 5775 #2: Noach (Rest)

נֹחַ

Darren Aronofsky made a valiant effort to tell the story of Noah in a fashion worthy of Hollywood.  His 2014 film, starring Russell Crowe as Noah, certainly has its flaws.  No one would dispute that the filmmakers took considerable liberties with the biblical account.  Nevertheless, this telling of the story captures something that people often overlook:  Noah, like all the rest of us, walked hesitantly through life trying to understand what he had been created and commissioned to do.  With the hindsight of four millennia we assume that our Creator held a conversation with Noah at the start of the project in which He explained everything that Noah needed to know about the task of saving humanity in a giant boat.  And yet Russell Crowe’s portrayal is something entirely different.  He shows us a very human Noah who, like us, hears from the Lord only imperfectly, and must move forward one step at a time as he receives additional information through various means, including the wise counsel of his elders.  And there is something else:  we learn that Noah and the people with him were active participants in the story, and that the outcome very much depended on their decisions and actions.  The Lord God indeed had a plan, and an ideal way for that plan to be implemented, but then, as now, it is imperfect human beings who shape and carry out that plan.

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Fox Byte 5775 #1: Beresheet (In The Beginning)

בְרֵאשִׁת

This is the first Shabbat (Sabbath) of a new Torah cycle.  Each year, Jews and Messianic believers in Yeshua go through the Torah (the Books of Moses) and the Haftorah (selected passages from the other books of the Tanakh (Old Testament)) in weekly portions.  The portion for this week is Beresheet, “In the Beginning”.

After losing the French and Indian War, France chose to trade all of Canada and Louisiana for the small island of Guadeloupe.

After losing the French and Indian War, France chose to trade all of Canada and Louisiana for the small island of Guadeloupe.

The world’s first truly global conflict, known in Europe as the Seven Years’ War and in America as the French and Indian War, was a disaster for France.  By the war’s end in 1763, France had ceded the vast territories of Canada and Louisiana to England and Spain.  And yet it was not a complete disaster; the Treaty of Paris which ended the war left France with its most prized possession:  the Caribbean sugar island of Guadeloupe.  Great Britain had won control over both Guadeloupe and Canada during the war, and in the peace negotiations the British deemed Canada more strategically valuable to their empire.  But Guadeloupe had proven more valuable economically, producing more income for France than all the fur collected by trappers and traders in Canada, and all the sugar produced by Britain’s own island colonies.  King Louis XV, therefore, was quite willing to trade a vast empire for this small island.

A similar transaction appears in Scripture, when the Lord explains what He is ready to do to redeem a people He deems more valuable than all the nations of the earth:

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When Empires Die: Thoughts on the Centennial of World War I

When Empires Die was originally published June 28-July 28, 2014, as a six-part series.  The original six part format is accessible here.

I.  THE ROAD TO SARAJEVO

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie with their three children in 1910

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie with their three children in 1910

The world took a giant step toward death on June 28, 1914.  On that day a young atheist shot and killed a prominent Catholic and his wife in an obscure Southeast European city.  Within five years, four world empires were dismembered and two new ones arose in their place.  Within 40 years, three more global empires breathed their last as the new world system spawned in 1914 grew to maturity.  Today, one hundred years later, that world system wheezes with its own death rattle, soon to expire in the process of giving birth to yet another global system which may be the last – and worst – of its kind.

As a historian, a political scientist, a soldier, and an intelligence professional, I cannot let the centennial of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination pass without pausing to remember what his life and death meant to the world.  The circumstances that brought the Archduke and his wife, the Duchess Sophie, to Sarajevo, Bosnia, are not difficult to explain, but to understand the significance of their deaths, both in their day and in ours, requires a detailed explanation.  If that explanation seems too focused on Europe, the simple reason is that Europe in 1914 ruled the entire world.  No nation outside Europe – neither ancient India, nor populous China, nor even the rising powers of America and Japan – was immune to events that shook the state system of the Continent.  If we are to know why the world went to war in 1914, we must look at the major players of that state system.  Only then can we begin to discern what happened to the world in the summer of 1914, and what is happening to the world now in the summer of 2014.

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When Empires Die: Thoughts on the Centennial of World War I, Part VI

TO SURVIVE THE COMING NIGHT

"Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" Viktor M. Vasnetsov

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Viktor M. Vasnetsov

Is the Apocalypse Nigh?

If this truly is the beginning of the end of this age, then we should expect wars and rumors of war to increase until the entire globe is consumed, just as it was in the Great War of 1914-1918, and again in the Second World War of 1939-1945.  Depending on one’s perspective, the Tribulation either begins with or is immediately preceded by this period of escalating war.  This is the time of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the rider of a White Horse going out to conquer, the rider on the Red Horse who takes peace from the earth, the rider on the Black Horse bringing famine, and the Pale Horse bearing Death and Hades.  In short order these Horsemen bring an end to the lives of one fourth of the population of the planet.  The Horsemen are followed by the revelation of multitudes of martyrs slain for their adherence to the Word of God who ask how long before the Lord will judge the world and avenge their blood.  They are told to wait until the number of martyrs yet to die is complete.  Then comes a great earthquake and many signs in the heavens, followed by the selection of the special servants of God (12,000 from each tribe of Israel, 144,000 total) and the deliverance of multitudes from the Great Tribulation.  After that comes silence in heaven for a short time, and then the judgment of God begins in earnest.

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When Empires Die: Thoughts on the Centennial of World War I, Part V

THE LAST SUMMER OF THE WORLD

"Interview Between Jesus and Nicodemus" James Tissot Brooklyn Museum

Interview Between Jesus and Nicodemus
James Tissot
Brooklyn Museum

A Matter of Life and Death

In truth God has placed the choice of life or death in front of every person from the beginning of time.  Consider what He said to our ancestors.  In the Garden of Eden there was the stark choice between the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which brought death (Genesis 2:8-16).  When the Lord spoke through Moses to explain His standards of righteousness to our fathers and mothers on the edge of the Promised Land, He said,

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.  (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NKJV, emphasis added)

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When Empires Die: Thoughts on the Centennial of World War I, Part IV

BABYLON AT THE ABYSS

The reverse of the Great Seal of the United States of America proclaims the "New Order of the Ages" approved by Providence.

The reverse of the Great Seal of the United States of America proclaims the “New Order of the Ages” approved by Providence.

The Not-So-New World Order

What are we to make of the upheaval happening around us in this centennial summer since World War I began?  There are only a few possibilities.  Either it is a restructuring of the current world order to some new equilibrium, or it is the destruction of the current world order and the establishment of something new, or it is the end of the world as we know it.  If asked which of these is correct, my answer is, “Yes”.

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Fox Byte #18:  A Tree of Good Fruit

BFB140607 Wizard of Oz Trees

Good fruit from a bad tree? Maybe in The Wizard of Oz, but not in real life.

Would it make any difference in how we live our lives if we are about to go through the end of the world?  Some people would call the end of the world the Great Tribulation.  In truth, the Tribulation is not really the “end of the world”, but it is the end of this particular time period.  The Bible explains that the world continues after that, but with Yeshua ruling it directly from Jerusalem.  (If you would like to know a little more about that, check out the post, “Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell”.)

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Fox Byte #6: Why Are We Still Here?

BFB140221 Parental DisciplineLet’s see what we have so far:

  • Some super-powerful being named God made the universe and everything in it.
  • Every human being has a choice to believe this or not, but whichever way you choose, make sure you understand why you made the choice.
  • If you believe it, you should not have any trouble believing what’s in the rest of the Bible.
  • God put human beings in charge of the earth for the purpose of making it orderly and productive, and every one of us still has that same purpose.
  • God intended to train our ancestors Himself so that they could handle the responsibility of knowing the difference between good and evil and use that knowledge properly.
  • Our ancestors chose to cut God’s training plan short and grab knowledge for themselves by eating from the tree that made them super smart, knowing good and evil.
  • Since our ancestors disobeyed God, all of us humans after them have followed their example by choosing to set up our own standards of right and wrong rather than follow God’s standards.

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Fox Byte #5: Momentary Right vs. Eternal Good

Cain and Abel

“Cain and Abel”
Josep Vergera

Fox Byte #4 examined how our ancestors in the Garden of Eden chose to educate themselves on the knowledge of good and evil rather than get that knowledge in the way God intended.  How big of a problem was it that Adam and Eve decided to cut short God’s training program and grab the “godlike” status of knowing good and evil?  Even if they were not quite ready to handle all the truth at the moment they acquired it, would they have grown into it eventually?

Well, maybe not.

Here’s the problem:  knowing the difference between good and evil is not just an intellectual exercise.  Once you have that knowledge, you are responsible for it.  That means not only that you must recognize what is good and what is evil, but you also must make a judgment on which to choose. Please click here to continue reading

Fox Byte #4: Not Ready To Drive

BFB140207 Cars in TrafficContinuing from Fox Byte #3, what did our ancestors gain from eating fruit that made them super smart?

If Adam and Eve were made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), then God made them super smart in the first place.  After all, God made them to be in charge of the whole earth and keep it in order.  They would have to be really smart to do that.  But if they were so smart, what was the point of that tree in the garden? Please click here to continue reading

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