Promises and Secrets

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A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.



Programming of the Bible

VIEWPOINT



Do you realize that you were being programmed when you were a very young child, then again in school, and again in your work? In between these times, you were being programmed when you went to church. You are even being programmed when you watch TV, browse the internet, or use your cell phone. Not you? Well, let's see.

FACT



Programming is used to control the output of a series of conditions and produce intended results.


BLUE VIEWPOINT



As a computer programmer right up to the day of my retirement, and as one still doing it on the side, that experience taught me something about life.

We are not always in control of what we think and do because many want to steer our thoughts and actions. In fact, they have become quite good at it. Usually it is to persuade us to buy a particular product, but some programmers are interested in changing our view on politics and even our religious beliefs. One of the biggest offenders is the media - television, radio, and social media - particularly the news media.

There are some things in our own lives over which we really have very little control. Oh, we think we do, but when we look closer, we realize we say and do things to please others, stay in the "in" crowd, or protect the feelings of others. Once we see it happening and realize that we did not mean to do, say, think, or act like that, we can take back control. Things like what we think, what we like or don't like, what we want to eat, what we believe about the world around us, and even what we believe about God and Jesus Christ. Much of what we accept as our own concepts has been programmed into us by those around us. Yes, they have affected even you.

Why did you do that?

Look around you at what you wear, your hair style, what you eat, what you read, places you go, what you drive, even where you go to church. Did you decide on each of these preferences? Are you sure?

Until we become aware of it, our preferences are often based on the general consensus of those around us. We choose based on the actual, or sometimes even expected, reactions of those close to us. The normal reaction is to deny this, but when you think about it, it becomes pretty obvious. Once we become aware of this, we then decide whether we want to keep it or try something new, but often decide that we have been doing the same thing for so long that it must have been our idea to begin with. An example?

When did that become so necessary?

Do you have a cell phone? If so, why? If you are young, I suggest that you originally wanted one so you could stay in constant touch with your friends, who also have cell phones. If you didn't have one, you couldn't be "in the group". If you are older, when did you decide that you "needed" one? Exactly when was it that you decided that you "just had to be available" every moment of the day? Was it even your decision? Do you even know?

What kind of car do you drive? Did you choose that car because it was functional and would get you back and forth on your daily trips with good gas mileage? Or, did you buy it with your friends in mind and what they would think when they see you in it? Do you get a new one every few years, or do you hang on to the dependable one you bought that does the job?

Needing other opinions

Do you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or any of a dozen other social media sites? Do you use them in order to find others with common interests, or to find out what the latest trend is so that you can be "in the loop"?

These questions are not meant to imply that you have no good purpose for the decisions you have made. The purpose is to get you to look at why you do what you do, and to make sure you have not been programmed to act as you do.

Subliminal suggestions, or sneaky "liminal" messages

Whether or not we are aware of it, advertising programs us to have the disposition to buy a particular product. Even walking through the store, the pictures on the boxes and packaging remind us of the commercials with the "accepted" people all enjoying their product. These advertisers are good at the programming they do and only the best are allowed to represent the product to the public.

Programming has a specific goal

If you have ever done any programming, even something as simple as to set up a new TV, a phone, satellite system, you will understand the point. The first thing you do when you get a new electronic device is grab the manual and learn how to use the device. If you don't follow the instructions, you can either get some bizarre results or get nothing at all.

Another thing about programming. If you don't learn how to do it properly, you will not get the results you anticipated. When you learn, whether through a school or by reading books, you must understamd what you are being told and learn how to apply it.

There are also many languages that are used to create programs that are used for different purposes. These are those weird names like C, C++ C#, ASP, Visual Basic, Java, Perl, HTML, Progress, and others. While each of them is more useful than others for a specific need, all of them do about the same things, so you are learning not only what to do, but how to do it in that language. The more of them you learn, the more useful you are to an employer.

Where am I going with this?

What does this have to do with the Bible? Well, for most Christians, the Bible is a book that has all the instructions for living a life that is pleasing to God and His Son Jesus. This means that if we follow the programming instructions in the Manual, our lives should work out the way God wants us to live. If we change the instructions, or ignore some of them, we will be missing some important connections to the One who created the program.

Believe it or not, there is a programmer in your church whose job it is to program you to believe what he has learned through his experiences and education - your pastor. Not all pastors teach the same thing to their congregations. Just look at how many different denominations there are out there. A good many of them believe and teach opposing things to their congregations. The result? A set of programmed audiences, all who "believe" in the Bible, but believing different things. How can this be right?

Which program do you have?

Many of you are sitting out there saying to yourself, "At least I haven't been programmed! I would surely know." You are certain that your programmer pastor has only given you the facts. OK. Let's look at a quick example. Are you a member of a Seventh-Day Adventist, Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Universalist, or Episcopalian church? Just using this list, did you react to any in the list as a place that you would never want to attend? Why? At some point, you may have "learned" something that kept you away from those churches. Sure, they have a lot of similarities, but the differences are often extreme. The interesting thing is that they all get their beliefs from the same Bible.

Not all the same, so who's right?

One big objection to following what the instruction Manual says is that part of our nature that demands that we control what our lives are to be. When that nature wants to change what the Manual says, we put our own wishes before those of God. Whoa, ease up there. This is a tough nut to crack, but it's true. We insist on keeping control of our lives.

If you attend church, which denomination do you attend? Do you know why? Did you research all the churches out there and decide which one believes as you do? Did you check to see if what your pastor preaches actually follows the Bible? Have you even read your Bible enough to be able to tell if they keep the Word of God or do they have some modified version of it? Even if you did want to know, who would you ask? Your programmer, er, pastor? OK, that wasn't a slip. His job is to program you.

Not intentional, but often mistaken

Don't take this in the wrong way. Your pastor's job is to teach you what the Word of God says and how to stay close to it. And, you can be sure that he feels he is doing just that. But, the problem is that he is just passing on to you what his programmers passed on to him. And that is what his programmer passed on to him...and so on.

Proof? Well, that's pretty deep to cover here, but that trend about passing down programming started over 1900 years ago, beginning in the second century with the so-called "church fathers" and their self-proclaimed anti-Semitism. Well, really it started hundreds of years before Christ, but those incidents were just setting the stage for the "early church fathers' " attitudes. If you are truly interested, see Early Christians and Sunday elsewhere on this site.

But, he's my pastor, and he went to school so he's smart

One example I can give you happened to me today, June 6, 2018. My wife attends a Sunday church where she can see the grandkids at least once a week, sing songs, and worship with people more "tolerant" than I am. Today she came home from a Wednesday Bible study where she was discussing my "contrary" views on the way most people interpret the words of the Bible. Her pastor told her to ask me "Why does it say that the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross?" This just happens to be a perfect example of the programming mentioned above. Most pastors hold this view of that passage (Col 2:14
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (KJV)

). However, what does it actually say in the original language that was interpreted by men to mean the cancellation of God's Law, or even in many other versions that are much closer to the original meaning?

But, what does it really say?

Well, I responded with the top 9 results of a quick search for different Bible versions of the verse at Colossians 2:14. What I found was on BibleHub, so you can see for yourself. Here's what I found:


I hope you can read this, but if not, go to the link for BibleHub. The most popular Bible version used by Baptists, the church my wife attends, is KJV. That one translates the original Greek into a statement about ordinances, supposedly implying that the law was nailed to the cross, is actually the most loyal to the words in Greek. The statement even in that version speaks of the charges against us, not the Law that was broken by us. And then, look at what the rest of them say - the debt was cancelled for those who accept the gift of Christ and stay in the will of God, not the law itself. Every translator, even the KJV one, knew the real message and presented it in their own way.

Deliberately contradicting Jesus (Matt 5:17
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

) and Paul (Rom 3:31
Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

)?


What does that say about the pastor who "programs" us to believe something that is more comfortable, but totally inaccurate? The bottom line here is that the KJV was the most accurate, but the modern interpretation into American English misleads the unwary reader, and many pastors use that for programming. All the honest translations get it right and translate the correct meaning from the same Greek manuscripts into English for the "modern" person to get the intended message. And this may be a little presumptious, but it seems that people will be "modern" from here on out.

Check it out

Peek at the summary under the heading Alive in Christ at the upper right. Now, scope out the reference listed below that on the right for Acts 3:19. Even the verse shown for Ephesians 2:15, using the same KJV-like words, has a comment in the NIV that says:

Since Matthew 5:17
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

and Romans 3:31
Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

teach that God's moral standard expressed in the OT law is not changed by the coming of Christ, what is abolished here is probably the effect of the specific "commandments and regulations" in separating Jews from Gentiles, whose nonobservance of the Jewish law renders them ritually unclean [to the Jews]. (links added for clarity, NIV commentary on the text of Eph 2:15)

The links were added to the verses so you didn't have to look them up. Who, in his right mind without a deceptive purpose, thinks that we can ignore any of the Ten Commandments and still be in the will of God? Well, Satan might try to deceive a well-intentioned person. Yet that is exactly what the pastor of my wife's church is advocating when he tries to justify a contradictory concept with a mistranslated quote.

In a one on One discussion...

No, really. Reading Ephesians 2:15
by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, (NIV)

but one that makes more sense in reality, from the original culture:

15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, (CJB)

and following your pastor's advice, would you tell God, "I am not going to follow the First Commandment any more!" Which one would you feel comfortable ignoring? The second one? The sixth one? Pick one you think you can break and still have God on your side. Many, including this pastor, pick the fourth one, but can give no valid reason for doing so. Yet, that is what many (most?) pastors are saying to their congregations. Oh, it doesn't sound that blatant, but what else does it mean that, "The Law does not apply to us Gentiles, just the Jews."?

We are so special...

We have been so programmed by bad interpretations of the Bible that virtually everyone believes that we will receive all the benefits promised to the Israelites without having to do anything God requires of His people. We are told that if we accept Jesus, that is all we need.

Try thinking of it this way

Let's say you have a serious health problem because you are not eating properly, and you go to the doctor. He tells you that you have a vitamin C deficiency and eating an orange a day will help you get back to good health. Do you then go home and eat nothing but an orange a day? Of course not! You will go home and add the necessary item to your diet to make up for the deficiency in your diet, not replace your diet with the missing ingredient. This doesn't make Jesus less important, it just keeps us from discarding the guidelines that God gave to the world to keep them close to Him.

Programmers are out there

As was stated earlier, programming affects us all, sometimes in ways we just never thought to examine. It seems reasonable for someone to ask, "Why should we question our pastor?" The only rational answer is that the consequences of being wrong are eternal. Ask him to read this site and present his case. If I can't respond with proof and references that at least make him think about his stance, then it's my bad. If nothing else, at least make sure that when he says something in a sermon, it actually matches the whole Bible, not just one part that is convenient for his sermon.

That's like saying that Colossians 2:14
having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

does away with the commandments, but then finding out that thought causes a clear contradiction with the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:17
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

and Paul's clear teaching in Romans 3:31
Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

. The Bible statements can't be contradicting each other - someone's translation is wrong. Let's stick with God and what the Bible actually says. If you can't figure out what it means, at least don't create some comfortable lie that contradicts the rest of the story.

Just trying to be honest

I have often been accused of not understanding the real meaning of the language, history and culture of the Bible. After all, I am not a pastor or a scholar. However, if you have read any of the other pages of my site, you will see some very deep analysis of the Hebrew and Greek passages and the history behind them, including explanations from others who are pastors, and who have also done the study. Their work is clear and backs up what you read here.

As for my not understanding what I read, let's refer back to the requirements of learning programming languages. If you aren't able to interpret the words of the teaching in context, you will not be very successful. My being hired right out of college and programming at that company until retirement speaks for itself. Usually, I can understand what I read, and if not, I dig deeper until I get a better idea. If the idea totally eludes me, I won't write about it. Just think of this as an effort to "un-program", or at least get people to compare their program to the Bible.

We are all being programmed. Just make sure that you know your Programmers.

Disagree? Find an error? Contact us at glenjjr@gmail.com and give us your view.

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