Dating The Apocalypse

•05/15/2018 • 2 Comments

There is a lot of debate regarding when the book of Revelation was written. Many scholars believe it was written around the time/during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, which occurred between A. D. 81 to A. D. 96. Others, however, do not agree. Many if not most preterists, for example, believe it was written before Jerusalem and her temple were destroyed by Rome in 70 A. D.

Personally, I am of the opinion that the Apocalypse was in fact written during the reign of Emperor Domitian. This short blog will explain why. Read on, if you will, Dear Reader:

A piece of numismatic (coin-based) evidence from the time of Domitian goes a long way, in my view, of dating the Apocalypse.

See here:

The coin seen above depicts Emperor Domitian’s wife, Empress Domitia, on the face, with an engraving of their son, on the reverse, who died in early childhood, holding seven stars above himself while sitting over or upon, the earth.

The Latin phrasing is as follows:

On the face, it reads “DOMITIAAVGVSTAIMPDOMIT

On the reverse, it reads “DIVVSCAESARIMPDOMITIANIF

Essentially, Emperor Domitian had the coin struck then minted to commemorate the death of his son, whom he had deified by calling himself “Divine Caesar”. Additionally, Emperor Domitian took the title “Dominus et Deus“, meaning “Lord and God“.

And so, for his, that is, Domitian’s son, to be likewise deified, it made Domitian’s son the son of the “Lord and God“.

Now, compare this to Revelation 1:16

And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

And, also Revelation 2:1

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks…

Then, finally, Revelation 2:18

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass…

It seems pretty clear that at the very least, chapters 1 & 2 of the Apocalypse were written after this coin was struck as a response to Emperor Domitian’s claim to Deity, and to the apotheosis of his deceased son.

It would seem the author wanted to make the point that it was neither the Emperor Domitian or his son, who is Lord God (See and compare Revelation 1:8 in the NASB) and Son of God, respectively. Rather, it is God the Father and Jesus of Nazareth, who ought to bare these titles.

Hence, if these things are so, the dating of the Apocalypse has to be given as some time after the coin was minted and circulated. This occurred in circa 82-83 A. D.. And Emperor Domitian was assassinated in 96 A. D. That gives us a window of about 12 or so years.

While there is perhaps enough disparate elements and evidence to argued over regarding the dating of the Apocalypse, the numismatic evidence seems clear enough.

The Votive Soul

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PS. For more on the relationship between the numismatic evidence and the Apocalypse, with some important information about Emperor Domitian, see: https://plymouthbrethren.wordpress.com/2008/02/01/coins-and-the-book-of-revelation-gordon-franz/

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Don’t Quit!

•03/19/2018 • 4 Comments

1 John 3:4,

4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

In the Holy Scriptures, particularly the Scriptures of the Old Testament, but also in the New, that which is clearly demarcated as “sin”, in our world, would be more easily recognizable as “crime”.

Take a look for yourself some day. In the Law and Prophets, but also in the Psalms, the Scriptures show that things like bribery, extortion, perjury, theft, rape, murder, attempted murder, slander and libel, misappropriation of funds, unequal weights and measures to gain advantage, baiting and switching in business, manipulating the system to oppress and injure the under-privileged or marginalized population, and finally, turning a blind eye to all these crimes (and more not listed!) are sins that God detests.

So, when John writes that sin is the transgression of the law, it is important to think in terms of criminal behavior. We have to first, see how our sins are really crimes, and then see how our crimes affect the larger community of people around us, whether inside our families, our churches, our workplaces, our hometowns, our nations, and/or even our world.

In the end of all things, for so many of the human race, the last words all these lost souls are going to hear is “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23 NKJV), which is just another way of calling these doomed “sinners” criminals.

When Jesus said He came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17), it wasn’t just mere moral or cultic laws of the people of God and of His temple and its priesthood. It was also the full standard of all that God’s holiness and righteousness demands in order to satisfy the wrath and death sentence for all people for all times in all places against the cumulative sin debt of the entire human race.

In order to fulfill such a law, Christ had to live above transgressing, or sinning, against the Father, by failing to keep God’s laws. When we are in solidarity with the Messiah, and have our spiritual identity in Him by faith and active belief, we too, must fulfill the same law as Christ by living above such transgressions, or sins, against the Father.

Thank you, God, for presenting us with the Holy Spirit, that we may be empowered to do just that!

Saints and brethren, let your faith continually come through hearing, even as you let your hearing come entirely, and exclusively, from the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

There is no sin in your life that you cannot overcome, for this is your faith:

1 John 5:4,

4. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Crimes against God and His laws do not have the right to reign in your mortal bodies as long as you refuse to submit yourself to them. Whom the Son has made free is free indeed, and that freedom, friends, is the freedom from sin (Romans 6:12).

John 8:34-36,

34. Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Since the Son of God abides forever, you no longer have to be a servant of sin forever, but rather, you can be free from your service to the flesh and the works therefore, forever.

Through the Holy Spirit and It granting you ever increasing Christ-likeness, you can begin to sin less and sin less and less and less until…? You guessed it! You can sin less and less until you are sinless.

1 John 1:5-10,

5. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Proverbs 28:13,

13. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

There is nothing but the deception locked up in your souls that says you have to forever remain a sinner who can’t help but walk in darkness and sin everyday of your life. You can today, right this very moment, confess your sin and FORSAKE IT, and find mercy.

The way only seems strait and the gate only seems narrow to those who prefer the broad way and the wide open gate (Matthew 7:14). But to those who find the eternal life promised to all through our Lord Jesus Christ, it is like as when Jacob first saw Rachel and worked fourteen long years for her hand in marriage, but found those years to be as nothing, for the prize of earning his bride (Genesis 29).

What about us? Are we sick and tired of toiling away for the King of kings, complaining that He’s making us wait too long for the prize we first desired as we laid spiritual eyes upon it back when we first believed?

No, my brothers and sisters! Let us not grow weary, but renew ourselves and continue to run and not give up! The very next breath you take is proof of another opportunity to subject yourself to the Law-Giver, to yield to His commands, to leave your life of “crime” behind, and find eternal rest for your soul, just as Jesus found eternal rest for His soul when He died on the cross.

So what I say to one I say to all:

DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT! DON’T QUIT!

Pornication’s Dirty Little Secret: Addendum

•11/13/2017 • Leave a Comment

In college, for a class called English 370: Advanced Literature, I wrote a paper called Spiritual Ramifications and Explanations for Pornography. In the class, we had four different topics of discussion, and we had to read various forms of literature and then write essays about the topics using the assigned readings (plus other sources).

I re-read that paper (written in 2009) and it reminded me of an earlier Votive Soul blog I had written called Pornication’s Dirty Little Secret. So, after re-reading my college essay, I went back and read the blog post. In re-reading the blog post, I felt inspired to write an addendum. So here it is.

Be forewarned. I am going to delve into a highly uncomfortable topic that most people would never want to talk about openly. So, if you want to continue reading, do the following:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Prepare yourself to be mature about this addendum
  • Pray if you need to
  • Read on

Specifically, in this addendum, I am going to address the sin (yes, I wrote SIN) of masturbation. Uncomfortable yet? Well, don’t be. I won’t be overly graphic or inconsiderate (but I will be direct and honest). Nevertheless, some things need to be said. First, a definition.

Let us define masturbation as: auto-erotic manipulation of the genitalia culminating in sexual gratification (ostensibly an orgasm).

The key to the definition above is the prefix “auto”. Don’t think cars. Rather, think the Greek word for “self”. In this way, an automobile is a “self-moving” vehicle, or, to say it another way, it is not dependent upon an external force to cause it’s motion.

The same with masturbation. It is done by the self to the self for the self. But is it a sin? Yes, as I will show.

Matthew 5:27-28,

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Let us first realize the principle of the matter. Christ was not saying that women are allowed to look upon a man with lust, or that someone of one gender is allowed to look upon another person of the same gender with lust. It is a universal principle. Looking on another person in any way, if that person is not your Biblical and legal spouse, is a sin. Thou shalt not do it!

And, in case it wasn’t obvious, many, perhaps even most acts of masturbation involve a visual stimulant to arouse the perpetrator. Either an actual item like a video, a DVD, or a magazine is used, or a mental image in the mind is generated, either of a real person or a fake ideal. All are visual, meaning, something, whether external (pornographic materials) or internal (personal fantasies) are being “looked upon” to stir up lustful thoughts in order to capitalize upon them in the act.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5,

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Read this passage carefully. Look for the little details. Notice the context, that is, what it’s about. First, it’s about two people not “touching” each other (verse 1), where “to touch” is the Greek verb haptesthai, meaning to fasten one’s self to another. Haptesthai is in the middle voice (i.e. the action of the verb both redounds unto the actor, i.e. the self, while at the same time, is directed at the the one being touched) of the verb haptomai, meaning “to modify or change by touching/touching that influences” or touching someone in such a way as to influence or bring about change in another person, what HELPS Word-Studies describes as “impact touching[1].

So what’s Paul getting at? Clearly the idea Paul is trying to get across is a form of sensual touching that arouses the body and the genitalia and influences the person toward sexual desire, culminating, of course, in the act itself.[2] So that’s first. People in the church shouldn’t be touching each other in such sensual ways. Only Biblically and legally married people should experience this kind of touching.

The second context was already mentioned: to avoid fornication. We know fornication, or rather, pornication[3], is a sin worthy of God’s judgment in the second death (See for example, Romans 1:29-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Galatians 5:19-21, Hebrews 13:4, Revelation 21:8 and Revelation 22:15). Interestingly, the word “avoid” is the Greek preposition dia, and it means the channel of the act, i.e. the means whereby something is accomplished, best translated as “through“.[4]

So, what Paul means in 7:2 is that it’s important that two people, obviously a man and woman only, who love each other and want to express that love through marriage—yes, even physically—must in fact, get married, or else fall into sin and lose their salvation “through fornication“. Said another way, Biblical marriage is the means whereby fornication can be by-passed so that the husband and wife can experience sanctified consummation.

Here’s where masturbation comes in. We know the topic is marriage and avoiding fornication through improper touch (even of self, as I am attempting to show). Now note verse 3. The long phrase “render unto the wife due benevolence” basically means, give to the wife her rights to sexual intercourse, i.e. conjugal rights. And likewise the wife to the husband.

But notice what it does not say to do in order to avoid fornication! It does not say “to avoid fornication (i.e. all Biblically illicit sexual activity), sexually gratify yourself through auto-erotic acts of masturbation“. See, some people think that as long as they aren’t actually engaging in coitus with another person, they aren’t committing fornication. That’s simply not true. The only permissible sex acts in the Bible are those that are experienced BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE, one husband, one wife, as they render unto each other “due benevolence “, in purity, not perversity.

Look closely at the text. See the following indicators:

  • To avoid fornication, people should not touch each other, or themselves, inappropriately (i.e. in any way that arouses lust)
  • To avoid fornication, men and women need to marry
  • To avoid fornication, the man needs to meets his wife’s sexual needs
  • To avoid fornication, the woman needs to meet her husband’s sexual needs
  • To avoid fornication, the wife must realize that she doesn’t have any rights to her own body
  • To avoid fornication, the husband must realize that he doesn’t have any rights to his own body
  • To avoid fornication, the husband and wife must not “defraud” each other (i.e. must not deprive each other)[5]
  • To avoid fornication, the husband and the wife may mutually agree for spiritual reasons, to not engage in sexual activity with each other (for example, to fast)

Where does masturbation fit into any of that? Since masturbation is an act of the self to the self for the self, marriage doesn’t fit into the equation. So, in order for a person to masturbate, they automatically have to commit fornication with their self in order to accomplish the act.

Second, spouses are supposed to meet each other’s needs, not meet their own needs by themselves.

Third, spouses have to recognize that they have no sexual autonomy over their own bodies, meaning that they have no right to perform upon themselves any sexual activity in which the spouse is not involved. Therefore, even masturbation within marriage is a sin, even if there is not an accompanying fantasy or image, or if the fantasy or image is of the spouse.

Fourth, spouses aren’t allowed to deprive each other of their sexual needs, meaning neither a husband or a wife is allowed to have a sexual experience apart from the spouse.

And last of all, if a married couple agrees to abstain from having sex with each other for a time for spiritual reasons, no where is it allowed that they can have a sexual experience with themselves through masturbation until the duration of the agreement comes to a close.

But some will argue that the marriage bed is undefiled, meaning anything goes between the husband and wife, as long as it’s agreed upon. Not so. Look again at Hebrews 13:4.

Hebrew 13:4,

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

An unmarried person, even if a member of a church, who masturbates, is a whoremonger, that is, they are committing an act of self-pornication. A married person, even if a member of a church, who masturbates, is an adulterer, that is, they are committing an act of self-adultery. They are depriving their spouse of the conjugal duty, meeting their own sexual needs apart from and without the spouse, and are asserting their right over their own body against the rights of the spouse, in order to sexually gratify themselves. This isn’t being done for spiritual reasons; rather it’s being done out of lust, i.e. a desire to selfishly experience a physical climax of the stimulated sex organ without the spouse.

Now, if you’ve been reading to this point, you might be wondering why I would take the time to single out masturbation as a sin and write a polemic against it. That’s a valid question with a valid answer.

Remember that this is an addendum to a previously written blog, one that directly engages and condemns the use of pornography in all its forms. So ask yourself, what is the one thing, more than any other thing, a person does when they view pornography?

They masturbate. Granted, some couples, married or otherwise, use pornographic materials together, but for the most part, the use of pornography and the sin of masturbation that accompanies the use is done privately by one’s self.

And as a final proof that masturbation is a sin, just think of the public’s view. If it was an acceptable sexual experience, people would talk about it openly. Masturbation wouldn’t just be the punch-line in a joke or a running gag in some raucous, raunchy comedy. It would be an acceptable norm. But it’s not.

Most adults in the world today can talk about their sex lives (at least adults in the world). But almost no one but perverts will talk about, let alone boast about, their self-sex lives.

Same with pornography. Yes, it’s out there, just like masturbation, and millions upon millions of people engage in both on a daily basis. But the following conversation never happens at the office:

“Hey, Bob. What did you do over the weekend?”

“I downloaded a few porno’s and masturbated. How about you?”

“Well, I didn’t download any movies, but I masturbated once or twice in the shower. The wife was away at her sister’s for a visit, so, you know, I had to get my fix one way or another.”

“I hear you. Well, if you ever want to download a pornographic movie, I have several I’d be happy to recommend.”

“Thanks, Bob. I appreciate that. You know, my wife is going away over the holidays, so I might check in with you then about what ones you recommend.”

“Sounds good. Just give me a call and I’ll bring them over.”

As ridiculous as the above scenario may seem, it makes the point because it’s so ridiculous. People everywhere know, even those who engage in pornography and masturbation, that it’s wrong, that it must be kept hidden from the public and that no one must know about it, or else terrible shame, disappointment, and/or ridicule will result.[6]

And that’s the very definition of what it means for something to be dirty, i.e. unclean or sexually perverse. Pornography and the secret pornication that pornography causes, up to and especially including masturbation, is dirty, and it is sin.

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[1] See: http://biblehub.com/greek/680.htm.

[2] The impact upon a person’s body when they are consensually touched by a lover literally modifies or changes the state of the body, that is, for example, the brain sends signals to the heart which causes blood to flow into the genitalia and prepares the person for sexual engagement. Other changes occur as well: quickened pulse, heightened tactile sensitivity, involuntary vocal sounds, and etc.

[3] For an explanation of why I change the “f” in fornication to a “p” see: https://votivesoul.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/pornications-dirty-little-secret

[4] See: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=g1223

[5] For “deprive” in place of “default”, see: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+7%3A5&version=ESV

[6] This is of course a bell curve scenario. There are those who care not for public opinion and readily engage in both and are open about it. But the majority of people who engage in both, one way or another, will never openly discuss their engagement due to the shame, hurt, and embarrassment it would cause.

You Might Be A Gentile…

•09/08/2017 • 2 Comments

For tonight’s blog entry, I give you a variation on the famous Jeff Foxworthy comedy bit called You Might Be a Redneck…. However, where as he intended everything he said in the bit to be funny, nothing I write here is intended to be comical. So, without further ado:

You Might Be A Gentile:

If you sacrifice to devils, you might be a Gentile (1 Corinthians 10:20).

If you are carried away by “dumb idols”, you might be a Gentile (1 Corinthians 12:2).

If you are by nature a sinner, you might be a Gentile (Galatians 2:15).

If you are without Christ, you might be a Gentile (Ephesians 2:11-12).

If you are an alien to the commonwealth of Israel, you might be a Gentile (Ephesians 2:11-12).

If you are a stranger to the covenants of promise, you might be a Gentile (Ephesians 2:11-12).

If you are without hope, you might be a Gentile (Ephesians 2:11-12).

If you walk in the vanity of your mind, you might be a Gentile (Ephesians 4:17-19).

If you have your understanding darkened, you might be a Gentile (Ephesians 4:17-19).

If you are alienated from the life of God through ignorance because of your blindness of heart, you might be a Gentile (Ephesians 4:17-19).

If you are past feeling because you’ve given yourself over to lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness, you might be a Gentile (Ephesians 4:17-19).

If you possess your vessel in the lust of concupiscence you might be a Gentile (1 Thessalonians 4:4-5).

If you don’t know God, you might be a Gentile (1 Thessalonians 4:4-5).

If you walk in lasciviousness, you might be a Gentile (1 Peter 4:3).

If you walk in lusts, you might be a Gentile (1 Peter 4:3).

If you walk in excessive wine, you might be a Gentile (1 Peter 4:3).

If you walk in revellings, you might be a Gentile (1 Peter 4:3).

If you walk in banquetings, you might be a Gentile (1 Peter 4:3).

If you walk in abominable idolatries, you might be a Gentile (1 Peter 4:3).

And, finally…

If you rule over and exercise lordship, dominion, and authority over and/or upon others and are considered their benefactor for doing so, you might be a Gentile (Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:14, Luke 22:5).

The Word Of The Lord Came Unto Me, Saying…

•07/03/2017 • Leave a Comment

It is July 3rd, 2017, 12:46 A.M.

I have recently returned from a walk to a nearby gas station in search of a few late night snacks. This is something I have done before and will likely continue to do, as life and time march on into the future.

Part of the reason why I walk, instead of drive, to this nearby gas station, is so that I may take a few extra minutes to seek the Lord through prayer and petition. With one exception, tonight was no different. I did just as I have always done: seek the Lord, pray to Him, petition Him, worship Him, and etc.

The difference this time, however, is God spoke back. This new entry into the Votive Soul blog is therefore dedicated to sharing with other believers the words that the Father shared with me. Therefore, without any further ado…

The Word of the Lord came unto me, saying…

Diplomacy. Negotiation. Reconciliation. Consolation. Unity.

For far too long, we believers have operated under a deception that we can divide off of or from other believers and each other in order to go and do our own thing, presumably minding our own business, and not reach out to one another while reaching up to God, to fulfill the Great Commission.

It is a pretense. We can no longer sit around meeting with our local version of the Body of the Anointed One while ignoring other nearby members, treating them as if they do not exist, and somehow expect that the invitation and commissioning given to God’s people as saints will be achieved.

Sure, we may think we are doing our part, that our assembly is in the will of the Father, and all is right in the world, especially if or when we see results. Have a visitor come to a meeting, nail down the Bible study you’ve been trying for months to get, perform a baptism, or whatever, and watch as we puff ourselves up with delusions about how God is so pleased with everything we are or are doing.

One of the greatest dangers a believer or group of believers can ever find themselves in, is when they presume to feel vindicated about all that they are or do simply because God has granted them some gift, anointing, level of understanding, revelation, or revival.

It is not to say that we ought to deride and condemn ourselves just to make the point; rather, we ought to continually search out our hearts and desire that the Spirit of Truth prove us, making no assumptions, or provisions for the flesh.

If your assembly meets or gets together in a particular city that has true brothers and sisters in it, that are not welcome or are not a part of what you are doing, then something is amiss.

I know the arguments. They go something like this:

• We don’t see eye to eye on some things
• There are problems that exist between us
• They’ve allowed sin in the camp
• There are too many disagreements about x, y, or z
• Their standards are x, y, or z
• They just don’t want to work together
• Their leadership is corrupt
• They practice un-Biblical x, y, or z
• We tried to work together before, but it just didn’t work out
• They’re out of the will of God
• They’re backslidden
• There is no love of the truth there

Am I right? The days of trying to follow the Lord the best we know how, while excluding fellow believers who are doing the exact same thing must come to an end. As long as disunity, animosity, and excuses flourish, the Dragon and his minions will always win.

This is where the Word of the Lord comes into play. I was, as I often do, praying in general, for the Body. Sometimes I pray for specific people I know. Sometimes I pray for myself as a member of the Body. But usually, I pray for the entire membership, the very Church of the Living God.

And as I prayed for Her, pondering and meditating about where we are as believers and what’s happening in and among us, I realized the sense of failure many of us are consistently experiencing. We try to the best of our ability to serve God and do what we’re supposed to be doing as believers, but finding little or no success in much of anything we do. We pray, and not much happens. We evangelize, and not too many seem interested. We immerse in the name of Jesus Christ, but the promise of the Father never comes. On and on it seems. The wheels are most assuredly spinning, but the car isn’t going anywhere.

And in that realization, God found an opening to confide His private counsel, just as I shared above. For the rest of this entry then, I will attempt to give meaning and understanding regarding the things the Lord said, so that you, the Reader, may be blessed and challenged, even provoked in your spirit to stand up and do something about what has been revealed.

1.) Diplomacy

Very plainly, diplomacy is the art of working with various individuals or groups of people in order to bring them together, get them talking, help them see the commonalities that exist between them, so that the benefit of joining together can be discovered.

It is not always easy to be diplomatic. Some are stubborn, angry, selfish, foolhardy, or full of pride, and want no part in it. That doesn’t mean, however, that diplomacy should not be attempted. All diplomatic endeavors must be offered and exhausted before believers ever give up on each other. To quickly quit the table is to demonstrate hardness of heart and lack of love, not just for the brethren, but also for the Head of the brethren.

2.) Negotiation

Negotiating is the communication of needs and desires, or priorities and information, so that two parties currently not on board together, can find a way to both fit in the same boat. Sometimes conditions need to be met. Other times, concessions must be offered. And even occasionally, someone is going to have to submit or compromise.

As long as people continue to talk and discuss, there is hope for coming together as one. The Body must be willing to stick it out, no matter what.

3.) Reconciliation

To be reconciled, simply put, is the ability to suffer wrong, relinquish control, forego the desire for satisfaction, forgive, move on and then forge ahead as allies, regardless of the past. Reconciliation sees and cares more about the future, especially what will not be, if no attempts at coming together are made.

Let bygones become bygones. Soon enough, you’ll find you can be reconciled to just about anyone. A little bit of mercy goes a long way.

4.) Consolation

Oh, to be healed! To be made well! Consolation is the tears of sorrow and regret that soon enough turn into tears of joy unspeakable, full of glory. The Body of the Anointed One can be cleansed and cured of all manner of problems, if we could learn how to console one another the way God consoles us.

If we will but try to see the pain in others before we complain about the pain in ourselves, holy compassion will win the day.

5.) Unity

Unity is loving your neighbor as yourself. When someone else besides you is as precious as, or is even more precious than, yourself, unity will exist. Unity is more important than just about anything else. It’s not about being superficially and/or artificially bonded to another believer; rather, it’s confronting the differences and disagreements, the hurts and offenses, head on, with one goal in mind: becoming one.

Think of all the problems, the spiritual aches and pains, faults and flubs, sins and iniquity that the Anointed One overcame in order to become one with you, through the Holy Spirit that is in Him and in you. Allow that same Spirit of Grace to overflow your heart and soul, just as our Savior did, and you’ll be as willing as He was, to unify Himself with all those the Father has given Him.

To summarize:

• Diplomacy: working with and managing people to bring them together for a common benefit
• Negotiation: Communicating, dealing with, and finding a way through the problems that exist simply by not giving up on the dialogue
• Reconciliation: Being merciful and thus, receiving mercy, so that forgiveness and compassion can heal the wounded souls in our midst
• Consolation: Finding peace of mind and joy of heart, despite the pain and regret of yesterday
• Unity: Oneness in all its purity and power

Dear Brother or Sister,

I submit to you that God is after the above, so that we may all come together in and walk in love, sowing to the Spirit. If strife, discord, discomfort, or rancor exists, it must be dealt with. Enmity in the family of God disrupts His plan and purpose for why He called us out in the first place.

I know it can seem daunting. It can be easy to quit before ever trying. The magnitude of what needs to be done to bring about change can be staggering. But there is a way forward, Beloved.

In the next entry, I will attempt to show how the Word of the Lord can be fulfilled. There really is a solution to the most difficult of problems. Until then, may whoever reads this, enjoy peace and prosperity, favor and grace, from God the Father and the Lord, Yeshua the Anointed One.

The Votive Soul

 
Mark Showalter's Blog

Always seeking to know God more

Theo-sophical Ruminations

A collage of theological and philosophical musings