Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Two Trees I-1

Act I, Scene 1
In a study room, in the library, four students pause from studying for a neuroscience final. One leans back in his chair, perusing something on his BlackBerry. Another brings out a large, leather-bound volume and opens it on the table in front of them.

Nabal: What is that, Abel?

Abel: It's the Authorized Version.

Brian: Of what?

Abel: The Holy Bible, of course. I find that reading it during study breaks helps me concentrate.

Nabal: How can reading that garbage written by goatherds and camel traders help you study? You should get rid of it, it is only going to make you stupider. Right Brain? We scientists trust reason, not superstition.

Brian: I've actually never read it.

Nabal: How about you Stewart, you seem pretty smart, you wouldn't waste time reading the Bible, would you?

Stewart: Huh? Oh, I was reading something. Sorry?

Nabal: Well, Abel here is reading the Bible and Brain and I were telling him he should forget about it. I mean, science has totally disproven everything in that outdated book anyway. People who believe the Bible don't know anything, it's nonscientific.

Abel: The Bible is scientific.

Nabal: Are you kidding?!? The Bible says the earth is only 6000 years old, that the earth is flat, the evolution didn't happen, that the earth is the center of the universe, that virgins can have babies...I mean, c'mon, we are studying neuroscience of all things. We all know that only science proves anything about the world. That Bible is just filling your head with lies and superstitions. I mean...

Stewart: What about history?

Nabal: What?

Brian: I think Stewart is questioning your assertion that only science tells us anything. We've learned a lot from history as well, no?

Abel: That's right. Not only is the Bible scientific, it is historically accurate as well. Did you know that Sir William M. Ramsay originally went to Palestine to disprove the Gospel of Luke and ended up being one of the strongest proponents of its accuracy. Or that they found a stela about a decade ago that talks about King David. And furthermore...

Nabal: That stuff is all made up. These archaeologists find some pottery shards with scratch marks on them and...

Brian: So you don't think history, or archaeology for that matter, are useful or informative?

Nabal: No Brain, I don't, and since you are the smartest one here, neither should you. Only science proves things, all those other disciplines only make guesses.

Abel: I disagree. The Bible should be the standard of truth and everything else should have to agree with it. Did you know that besides being scientifically and historically accurate, the Bible changes lives, it is the best-selling book ever, even a lot of famous scholars read the Bible. Didn't you take MMW Nabal? They make you read the Bible, don't they?

Nabal: Yeah, but they only make you read it to show how contradictory it is. I never did any of the readings anyway...waste of time.

Abel: You've never heard of apologetics, have you Nabal?


Friday, December 12, 2008

The Two Trees


On campus there are two trees. The first is the library, as one can plainly see. Complete with Paradise Lost and the subtle Serpent snaking his way up toward the trunk, the tree itself towers over the campus, branching into the air with its roots under ground. This is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The other tree is not so easy to find. Quietly sitting on the wall of a tall building, in a shady courtyard, in one of the better colleges here, this second tree calmly presents its message.

Yet this second tree offers something different from the first. While the larger tree opens its doors to those seeking knowledge, the smaller declares that Wisdom makes one happy. The two are not the same. And if one is familiar with the role Wisdom plays in the book of Proverbs, he will recognize that a deeper thought is with the second tree. Proverbs 8 says, "I, Wisdom, dwell with prudence...Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. I was set up from eternity, From the beginning, before the earth was...When He established the heavens, I was there...Then I was by Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight...For whoever finds me finds life..."


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Prelude to a Play

This play will most likely be in three Acts of several Scenes each. While I have not yet thought of an appropriate title, one should be forthcoming with the first scene of Act I, or perhaps the Prologue.

So as not to give away too much in this brief prelude, I will simply introduce the four main characters of the play: Brian, Nabal, Abel, and Stewart.

Dramatis Personae
  • Brian - sarcastically referred to as "Brain" by other characters.
  • Nabal - likes to argue.
  • Abel - pious, devout, and quite sure of himself.
  • Stewart - quiet, almost mysterious.

Friday, November 28, 2008

and through the operation

I was asked a great question about Ephesians 4:16 and after looking into it a bit more, I am convinced that the rendering from Papyrus 46 is the correct one. But let me explain.

Ephesians 4:16 (ASV) from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:16 (RcV) Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.

Nearly every English translation of the New Testament follows the American Standard Version (ASV) for Ephesians 4:16, the phrase in questions being "according to the working." Only the Recovery Version (RcV) is different, translating this phrase "and through the operation." This is because virtually every Greek manuscript of Ephesians has in it's text "kat' energian" which is correctly translated "according to [the] operation." Only one manuscript (albeit an incredibly old one, ca. AD 175), Papyrus 46, has a different rendering, "kai energias." The Recovery Version chose to follow the minor variation in Papyrus 46, rather than the rest of the bulk of New Testament manuscripts. But after looking into the matter further, I am convinced that both from a textual critical standpoint and from a proper view of the divine revelation, Papyrus 46, and hence, the Recovery Version's rendering of this phrase is the correct one.

First, it isn't hard to conceive that the iota at the end of the word "kai" (and) was accidentally crossed and the following word was later corrected to match it ("energias" would have to be changed to "energian" to be grammatically correct). Further support for "kai energias" comes from the fact that only Paul uses this word (energia) and in every case that it follows "kata" (according to), it is preceded by a definite article (2 Thes. 2:9 is slightly different, but I won't get into that here). In Ephesians 4:16, there is definitely no article and therefore it would be an anomaly in Paul's style if he were to have left it out here.

But from the side of the divine revelation, it makes even more sense that this phrase should be "and through the operation," not "according to the operation." A simple comment on another passage in Zerwick's A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament helps with this. Philippians 1:19 speaks of "your petition and [the] bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." Only one article is used for both "petition" and "bountiful supply" (before petition) and Zerwick comments "the one art. perh. showing the close relation in which the two stand in Paul's mind." So, apply the same idea to Ephesians 4:16. Instead of having members (joints) of the Body supplying it "according to" the operation of each one part in a way that implies distinction and even separation between the joints and each one part; we have the joints and each one part working together in an intimate relationship to cause the growth and building up of the Body of Christ. Both are necessary, and their respective functions can't be separated.

Textual criticism
is a proper and necessary way to determine the accurate rendering of the Greek text of the New Testament. However, sometimes asking about the spiritual significance of possibly different readings can provide direction as well. Ephesians 4:16 stands as an example of this, and I am happy to primarily read a version of the Bible (the RcV) that considers both the manuscript base and the divine revelation when translating.

To close, a quote from the introduction to the Recovery Version of the Bible. "Translating the Bible depends not only on an adequate comprehension of the original language but also on a proper understanding of the divine revelation in the holy Word."

Papyrus 46 - Eph. 4:15-16 (from University of Michigan Papyrus Collection)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Goldi(locks) and the Three Bears

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Goldi who lived in a house in the forest. Now Goldi was a bit eccentric and one peculiar trait about her was that she did everything in threes. One morning, after getting out of her three beds (a big one for her head, a medium one for her back, and small one for her feet) she went downstairs to read the newspaper. Climbing into her three chairs (a big one for her back, a medium one for her rear, and a small one for her feet), she picked up her newspaper and began to read. After scanning the comics and international news headlines, she realized she was hungry, climbed out of her three chairs, and went into the kitchen. There she saw a giant pot of porridge her mother had made sitting on the stove. Dishing it out into her three bowls (a big bowl, a medium bowl, and a small bowl), she set them on the table and took a bite. "Ouch, this porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed. And with that, Goldi decided to go for a walk in the forest. Grabbing her coat and closing the door behind her, she left the house.

Now a family of three bears just happened to be passing by the house and they smelled the porridge through the kitchen window. This family consisted of a Daddy Bear, a Mommy Bear, and a Baby Bear. Being hungry, the Daddy Bear nosed open the door and went in to the kitchen, followed by the Mommy and Baby Bear. The Daddy bear went up to the big bowl of porridge on the table and took a bite. "Growl!" he growled (bears can't talk, of course), because the porridge was too hot. He knocked the bowl onto the floor, spilling the porridge all over, and began to lap it up. Meanwhile, the Mommy Bear had eaten up the porridge in the medium bowl as it was a more agreeable temperature (the porridge in this story obeys the laws of thermodynamics). The Baby Bear whined at his parents because the porridge in the small bowl was too cold. The Mommy Bear growled at him and he reluctantly ate it up. After their breakfast, the three bears migrated into the living room and spied the three chairs. Selecting the chair appropriate for their size, each bear took a seat. However, none of the three chairs was sturdy enough to hold a bear's weight and all three broke with a crunch. The Daddy Bear roared, the Mommy Bear growled, and the Baby Bear whined some more. After strewing the pieces of broken chair around the room, the bears went upstairs to Goldi's bedroom. Seeing the three beds, the Bear family laid down and soon all three were snoring loudly.

Now Goldi returned home from her walk and was surprised to see the front door open. Cautiously venturing into the kitchen, Goldi saw her three bowls either licked clean or scattered in pieces on the floor. "Somebody's been eating my porridge," she said. Next she went into the living room and saw the broken mess of her three chairs. "Somebody's been sitting in my chairs, and they've broken them to pieces." Stooping to inspect the damage, she heard a rumbling noise coming from upstairs. She tiptoed up the stairs and peeked into her bedroom. When she saw the three bears in her beds, she screamed loudly, "Somebody is sleeping in my beds!" This frightened the Bear family so much, that they woke with a start and tumbled past Goldi down the stairs and out of the house.

After this incident (with appropriate "Bear Sighting" reports being filed with the local Forest Service), Goldi immediately had her father install three locks on the door of their house. Now, every time Goldi goes out for a walk, she takes her keychain out of her pocket and locks the door behind her, with a big lock, a medium lock, and a small lock. She has never had trouble with bears again, but her friends have since called her Goldilocks, since they have to wait for her to unlock the door whenever they come to play.

The End

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stream of Jolene

Some authors write in "stream of consciousness," I've decided to write a "stream of Jolene." The following conversation took place around 8:15 PM on Friday, November 14, 2008. Jolene's words are in normal text and my responses and comments are italicized.

The scene begins with Daddy sitting at the computer recording the conversation and Jolene behind him in her high chair.

Ahhhh, ahhhhh, I just cracked it Daddy. Daddy I cracked it. Daddy I cracked it. I cracked it. Ehhhhweeee, ayyyyayyyyhaaahaaaayyyyayyyy, cough, cough, cough, cough. Push up. Your turn yet. My turn, go push, I go games.

What are you talking about?

It's not your turn guys, they're getting a turn. That guys, go. Not your turn, that proody Daddy, do dee Daddy, doo dee dee.

What was that?

That was me. O do dee da dee do, loo lee la lee lo (to the tune of Farmer in the Dell). La la la la, cough, cough. Mommy.

I do that. Can you say I do that? I do that. I do that.

I do that.

I do that. Can you say I do that Daddy? Owww. Bye you. Daddy I fight.

Who do you fight with?

I fight with Mommy and Daddy.


Daddy, I want dinosaurs, Daddy I want dinosaurs, can I have dinosaurs?

Hang on, I'm typing.

Are you typing? You're not typing, you're lettering, you're lettering notes. Daddy are you lettering notes?


You're not lettering notes.

What am I doing then?

Can I get down Daddy, pleeeease. I did do dee, I did do dee, I did do dee, time to go home. Do dee. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Ahhh, ahhh ahh ahhh.

Ok you can get down.

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, that's better. No that's not your turn. Go, go, gooo. Thumbs up Daddy. Thumbs up Daddy. Daddy, thumbs up.


No not thumbs together. One thumb Daddy, one thumb. Doggy, try to go up here, get down, get down, get down, get down, get down, get down. Go, go go go, go, let's run. Mommy, we're coming...

Exit Jolene.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla is a great place. Aside from the groundbreaking work in Neurobiology, Cancer research, plant biology, and other important fields being accomplished there, the grounds are so nice that people take daily tours.

Here is a series of three pictures of the Salk courtyard I took using various zoom levels, blended together in Photoshop. Click on the image for a larger version.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I really enjoyed a hymn with some other believers in Christ tonight. In the collection of hymns (appropriately titled Hymns), published by Living Stream Ministry, it is number 325.

Others have written an account of the background of this marvelous hymn (see the book Hidden Pearls, chapter 7), so I will not describe it again in detail.

Rather, what we enjoyed tonight was that Christ Himself is our satisfaction. Inside every human being is the longing to be satisfied. While we may try to fill this desire with many different things, physical, intellectual, even spiritual, ultimately everything other than Christ leaves us thirsty. But some can say, as the first line of the chorus of this hymn does, "Hallelujah! I have found Him." As long as we keep coming to the Lord Himself, putting aside all other things including doing things for the Lord, we will be satisfied.

One final thought about this hymn tonight regards the last line of the final stanza, "My Redeemer is to me." Not "My Redeemer gives to me" but " to me." Miss Clara Tear Williams (her story is detailed in the previously mentioned book), who wrote this hymn, may have realized that the Lord Himself is our satisfaction. It is not merely what He gives us, but His very person coming to us, staying with us, and interacting with us, that ultimately satisfies our deepest longing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Yesterday I was walking by the library in the morning and in the evening and took two pictures of it. Here they are with a combined image in the middle. Click on the the image to see a larger version of it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Throne, the Temple, and Light

The center of the holy city is the throne of God and of the Lamb from which proceeds everything for the existence and supply of the city. This throne represents God’s administration under His authority and headship. The base and support for the throne of the New Jerusalem is the gold of which the city is composed. This signifies that the foundation of God’s throne is His divine nature, one attribute of which is righteousness (cf. Psa. 89:14). Also, from the throne proceeds the golden street in which flows the river of water of life. This signifies that it is only out of the throne of God that there can be communication or fellowship between God and man and that in this communication is the consummated Spirit of the Triune God as our flowing supply. Therefore, on the one hand, the throne is the center of the city, and on the other, it is the source out of which the entire city is supplied.

In our daily living, as those becoming the New Jerusalem, we need to have the throne of God in the preeminent place in our being. When we submit to the throne and allow the Lord to rule and reign in us, He is able to communicate and fellowship with us and supply us with the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19). As we become the New Jerusalem in our experience, the throne of God will be our source and center.

The second furnishing of the holy city is the temple. John saw no temple in the New Jerusalem, but the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (Rev. 21:22). The significance of the temple is that the almighty redeeming God is the dwelling place of His redeemed elect and the place where they serve Him. As priests to God we dwell in God as the temple and serve Him (Rev. 1:6; 22:3). But the God in whom we dwell is also the King and that makes us His royal family, sons of the King (Rev. 21:7). Therefore, we are a kingly, royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9) and we serve God and reign with Him forever and ever.

Today, we must have the realization that God is our dwelling place and that we are priestly kings who live the kingly life of our Father. Wherever we go, we should remember that we are kings and priests, not living according to our fallen nature in Adam, but according to our divine nature in Christ.

The final furnishing of the New Jerusalem is its light. In the city, there is no need of the sun, the moon, or the light of a lamp because the glory of God illumines it and its lamp is the Lamb (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). Natural light is signified by the sun and the moon and artificial light is signified by a lamp. In the New Jerusalem, there is no need of any natural or artificial light, but only God as light, the true light, the light of life (John 1:4, 9; 8:12).

Light is an important theme running throughout the Bible from Genesis 1:3 until Revelation 22:5. As New Testament believers, we walk in the light, we are children of light, and we even are light in the Lord (1 John 1:7; Eph. 5:8). Since we have received the light and have been born of God, we must refrain from any natural light or artificial light. As those who will consummate the New Jerusalem, we have no need of natural light or artificial light. God is our light. While reading the Bible, preaching the gospel, or doing anything, we should not rely on our own understanding or try to create any light of our own. Rather, we should stay in the fellowship of life with the Triune God and walk in the light as described in 1 John chapter 1. Then we will be those living in the reality of the New Jerusalem today.

As we pay attention to the matters of the furnishings of the New Jerusalem and live a life according to the principles revealed by the significances of these furnishings, we will have a living that is according to the New Jerusalem. As this city is not physical, so also it is not to be apprehended only in our mentality. Rather, we need to apply the interpretation of all the details of the city to our living today.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dust to Stone

“And Jehovah God formed man with the dust of the ground…” (Gen. 2:7). As God’s creation we were made from dust. But God desires something solid and precious to be built up into the consummation of His eternal economy, the New Jerusalem. Therefore, He has to transform fallen man through the stages of His full salvation to make man useful for His building. So from creation to the New Jerusalem there is a marvelous process through which God brings man in order to change him from the dust of the ground into precious stones built up into the wall of the New Jerusalem.

God firstly changes man from dust to a stone in regeneration. This is seen in the Lord’s first interaction with Peter, recorded in the Gospel of John. In verse 42 of chapter 1, the Lord Jesus tells Peter that his name would no longer be Simon, but Cephas (or Peter), meaning a stone. In regeneration, the Lord begins a work in us that will transform our “dusty” nature into a stone. But the work of regeneration occurs mainly in our human spirit. So after regeneration our spirit is solid and substantial, but there is still a major work of the Lord to be carried out in the rest of our being.

After regeneration, we need to keep “coming to Him,” to the Lord, as Peter tells us in his first epistle (1 Pet. 2:4). This One to whom we are coming is the real living stone, the foundation stone, the cornerstone, and the topstone, and by contacting Him and receiving Him into us daily, we allow more of His stone nature to be added to our being. It is by this addition that the Spirit is then able to transform us into precious stones. The Spirit in the Bible is revealed in many ways, but one significant aspect of the all-inclusive Spirit is that He is the transforming Spirit. Second Corinthians 3:18 tells us that we are being transformed from the Lord Spirit. This transformation is a metabolic process in which the old element (our “dusty” nature) is discharged and a new element (Christ’s “stone” nature) is wrought into our being. As we come to Him and behold and reflect Him, He transmits His stone nature into us and the Spirit is then able to work this nature into us, transforming us from dust into precious stones.

However, God’s desire is not merely to have many individual precious stones lying around as specimens. The New Jerusalem as the consummation of God’s eternal economy has a great and high wall built up, and this wall is composed of precious stones. Therefore Peter, in his first epistle, continues to explain the result of coming to Christ, the living stone. Chapter 2, verse 5 says that we are being built up as a spiritual house. This building work is the issue of our transformation. When we are transformed by the Spirit working the element of Christ into our being, we need to go on to be built up with all the other believers who are going through the same process. This building work shapes and fits us, not allowing us to retain our peculiarities or rough edges. It is when we are built with all the other saints that we are truly the solid, immovable wall, losing all trace of our former “dusty” nature.

Finally, this matter of transformation into precious stones implies the matter of deification. The God on the throne whom John saw in Revelation 4 was like a jasper stone in appearance (Rev. 4:3). The wall of the city in Revelation 21 is also like a jasper stone in appearance (Rev. 21:11). This shows that we who are the wall become the same as the God who is on the throne in life, nature, and especially expression. So today we need to heed Peter’s exhortation to come to the Lord and like Peter, we need to have our name (our nature) changed from Simon to Cephas, from dust to stone. By beholding and reflecting the Lord every morning and every day, we are then transformed by the Lord Spirit and built up into the wall of the New Jerusalem.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Throne

The throne of God is the center of the spiritual view John had in the book of Revelation. But the true significance of the throne is not seen until the final chapter of the book. In Revelation 22:1-5, the throne of God and our relationship to it is revealed in a full and complete way. This vision of the throne describes both our full portion in eternity and our enjoyment and experience today. We are, as believers in Christ, a little New Jerusalem with the throne of God and of the Lamb in the center of our being. As we experience this throne in a practical way, we will receive the dispensing of the Triune God which will issue in the New Jerusalem—our full experience and enjoyment of this vision at the end of the Bible.

The vision of the throne in Revelation 22 contains several important themes. These themes are the throne itself, the golden street, the river of water of life, the tree of life, seeing God, serving God, and reigning with God. In order for these to be our experience in eternity future, we need to experience them today. It is by our experience of these seven items that we experience being a little New Jerusalem today, and become the consummate New Jerusalem in eternity future.

The first and most significant item in Revelation 22 is the throne of God and of the Lamb (v. 1). The fact that God and the Lamb are on this throne is very significant. This indicates that not only the creating God is on the throne (signified by God; Gen. 1:1; John 1:3), but also the redeeming God is on the throne (signified by the Lamb; John 1:29; Rev. 5:6). This shows that God is not only the Source and Creator, but He is also the Redeemer, redeeming His creation so that they may partake of Him (Eph. 1:7-9). This throne is also the source (Eph. 4:6). Every other item in Revelation 22 issues out from the throne. We need to practically experience this throne of God in order to experience the other items in this chapter. The simple way to experience this throne is to tell the Lord that we submit to Him, that we enthrone Him in our being. We are not here for ourselves, but we are here for God. By taking Him as the Head and Authority in our life, we allow Him to carry out His purpose in us. This can be applied in any situation from shopping to living with our spouse or roommate. If we are under the throne of God, we will experience the other items in this chapter. But if we throw the throne away we will be dried up and it will be difficult for God to have His way in us.

The next item related to the throne is the golden street of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1). The street being gold signifies that it represents the divine nature of the Father. We are partakers of the divine nature to be constituted the New Jerusalem (2 Pet. 1:4) and the divine nature is the governing factor of our living and walk. There is only one way—one street—in the New Jerusalem and it is according to the divine nature. If we submit to the throne, we will be in the position to walk on this golden street, to walk by the divine nature. Walking by the divine nature of God is seen in Ephesians where Paul tells the believers to walk as children of light (Eph. 5:8; cf. 1 John 1:5), to walk in love (Eph. 5:2; cf. 1 John 4:8, 16), and to be filled in spirit (Eph. 5:18; cf. John 4:24). The nature of God’s being is Spirit, the nature of His essence is love, and the nature of His expression is light. We walk by these three things, therefore we walk by the divine nature. This is the practical experience of the street once we submit to the throne.

In the middle of the street is the river of water of life. This is the sweetest and most experiential part of the vision in Revelation 22. If we submit to the throne, taking God as our Head, and walk on the street, walk by the divine nature, we will spontaneously have the flow of God as the consummated Spirit in our being (John 4:14; 7:39). This is what is signified by the river of water of life. This flow is the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19) and this flow supplies us and waters us. When we are dry, not in the flow, we need to turn back to the Lord to submit ourselves to Him and walk by His divine nature, then we will have the flow in our being again. Everything we do should be done by this flow and not by our own effort.

With the flow of the Spirit as the river of water of life comes the tree of life as our life supply (Rev. 22:2). This tree of life with its twelve fruits, yielding them each month, signifies the crucified and resurrected Christ in all His riches as our fresh and inexhaustible supply (Eph. 3:8; Col. 3:4; John 6:57). As we experience the throne, the street, and the river, spontaneously Christ as the tree of life will supply our being. Even today, when we turn to the Lord and touch his word in a living way with our spirit, we can eat of Him as our life supply (John 6:63).

Finally, there are the matters contained in Revelation 22:3-5 concerning our seeing, serving, and reigning with God. The prerequisites to these are the previous items, submitting to the throne, walking on the street, and being supplied by the river and the tree. Once we experience these matters, the seeing, serving, and reigning will be spontaneous. Seeing God equals gaining and entering into God. God as the reality of the temple is our dwelling place (Psa. 90:1; Rev. 21:22), and it is in God that we serve Him. Serving God is simply eating and drinking Him (John 4:24; 6:55; 7:37-39). God can do everything, but He cannot eat, drink, and partake of Himself. We need to experience Him in these ways so that we can be the ones to fulfill His desire to be partaken of. This is the true service to God. We enter into and gain God by seeing Him, and in Him we serve Him by eating and drinking Him. Then we reign with Him. The leaves of the tree being for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2) shows that by our enjoying the tree of life, our conduct (symbolized by the leaves) will regulate and govern the unregenerated nations that they may live forever. This can be our experience today. We can turn our heart to the Lord to behold Him with an unveiled face (2 Cor. 3:18). We enter into God through our organic union with Him by believing and being baptized (John 3:16; Matt. 28:19) and we remain in Him by abiding in Him (John 15:4). We reign with Christ, experiencing His authority even today (Rom. 5:17; 1 Cor. 4:8). As we experience these things today, we proceed toward the goal of our Christian living and work, the full experience of these things as the New Jerusalem in eternity future.

We are a little New Jerusalem today, a miniature of the full experience of the New Jerusalem in eternity future. We have the throne of God in the middle of our being, just as the throne of God is the center of the holy city which is the aggregate of all God’s chosen and redeemed ones. As we submit to the throne, we walk by the divine nature symbolized by the golden street of the New Jerusalem. In this submitting and walk is the flowing river of water of life and the tree of life. We experience the consummated Spirit as our flowing supply and the crucified and resurrected Christ as our life supply today. By enjoying all these aspects of the New Jerusalem we see God, we serve God, and we reign with God. All of these are our portion in eternity future, but we need to experience them today to bring about their consummation. This mainly starts with the throne, which is the center and source. The best way to submit to this throne is to start every morning by giving ourselves to the Lord to be under His throne and headship. As we submit to the throne in every aspect of our daily life, we experience the other items of the New Jerusalem and live a life in the center of God’s economy which will consummate in the New Jerusalem for the fulfillment of His eternal heart’s desire.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I write about the Bible because I was fortunate enough to attend the Full-time Training in Anaheim (FTTA) for two years as a young adult, after finishing my undergraduate education. During these two years, I studied God's Word, learned Greek, fellowshipped with other seeking believers in Christ, took care of children and college students, and cultivated a proper human living (i.e. one according to the Bible). It has since been my opinion that the years from 20-24 define one's life like no other, and I am indescribably grateful to the Lord, and to the other believers in Christ, who made it possible for me to spend two of these critical years in Anaheim.

Instead of describing the diverse experiences I had while attending school in Anaheim, I felt that
twothree samples of what I wrote there may do more to show its value. In
twothree subsequent posts, I will be re-writing (with only minor edits) my two final exams (the second included two shorter essays) from the course on the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21—22), which spanned two semesters. It is my sincere hope you enjoy reading these
twoessays as much as I enjoyed writing them.

First Three Weeks

As the school year was starting, I had the privilege of meeting with other Christians on campus for three weeks to orient incoming students as to how we meet on Sundays. During these times, I was able to share several basic points of truth and practice with those attending. These are listed below with verse references and footnotes (from the Recovery Version of the Bible).

I appreciated and enjoyed these times on campus and hope they were mutually beneficial to all those who attended.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Setting up a Mac Pro

We recently acquired a new Mac Pro workstation for some electrophysiology in the Pfaff Lab and I've had quite a time setting it up. I'll avoid the details of what went wrong to protect the innocent (and guilty), but below are three very important things I've learned about installing Windows on a Mac.

1. If you need PCI cards or other non-USB peripherals, Parallels and VMware Fusion will not work for running windows; use Boot Camp instead.

2. Boot Camp installations should be done with Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), not SP3. After installing the Windows Boot Camp Update 2.1 (link), SP3 can be installed via Windows Update (although I have yet to try this part).

3. Do not delete or modify any of the partitions other than the partition made by the Boot Camp assistant during the Windows XP installation. This could render either Windows or Mac OSX useless and warrant a trip to the Apple Store. Small, seemingly unnecessary partitions are used by the Mac to read the various volumes and drives in the computer.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

1 John 1:1-4

In writing the opening sentences of his first epistle, John makes use of at least three different tenses to review nearly his entire experience of Christ. According to time: 1. He describes concrete interactions with Christ in the aorist tense (we beheld and our hands handled). 2. He highlights the present state of change he has experienced using the perfect tense (we have seen and we have heard). 3. John introduces the present result of the previous two points — these interactions with the Lord have compelled him to announce, testify, and report to the recipients of this epistle what he has experienced — present tense. Finally, the purpose of all of this is to bring these believers into the same fellowship with the Triune God that John is experiencing and that the apostles' joy may be made full — present and perfect subjunctives.

Although John's writings seem to be some of the simplest in the New Testament, the depth of what he describes in 4 short verses at the beginning of this epistle are unsearchable. I have read these verses in English and Spanish, and have studied them in Greek since I began to learn it 6 years ago. Yet each time I revisit these verses, there something new.

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