There has been quite a bit of feedback on my recent post on the problems with the holy spirit as a concept. In this post I go over more feedback and then turn to a key question. With no holy spirit, how then do we pray? Read on for more.
In the earlier post I referenced the way Nebuchadnezzar ascribed the presense of a spirit on Daniel as to why Daniel could interpret dreams. Pharaoh does the same. Let me explain.
Many years ago we went to a lot of trouble and added voice coloring to the text in the BRB. The method behind our madness was so we could study the problem of authority. The Testimony still carries that voice coloring. It makes printed copies expensive but it is a very important feature of the text. Different colors mark different speakers. Changes in color marks changes in speakers.
Different speakers in the text carry different authority. As a base line the narrator carries the authority granted by the process of canonization. Because the text is considered inspired the writer of any given passage carries that level of authority.
Given narrator authority as a starting level, we find characters within those stories have different authority than the narrator. Some characters carry higher authority. So, for example, when the narrator quotes something said with a divine voice that quote has higher authority. Perhaps even the highest authority possible.
Everyone using the Testimony for regular lots quickly realizes the dark green text within a lot is the most important thing to pay attention to in the lot. This is a working example of this idea of authority.
On the other hand, if the narrator refuses to use his own authority to make a point, then the point likely carries low authority. Nebuchadnezzar is one of the villains, so points ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar carry narrator's authority as to what Nebuchadnezzar said. But, that evil king is not a model for us. Thus the narrator is making a negative point when he tells us Nebuchadnezzar says a spirit provides interpretation for dreams.
This same pattern is seen earlier in the writings surrounding Pharaoh. In Genesis 41:38 We find the narrator telling us that Pharaoh thought the spirit of god was resting on Joseph. Thus Pharaoh decides to promote Joseph to be that ancient nation's prime minister.
Again note the authority levels in this story. The narrator carries higher authority than Pharaoh. The narrator is NOT teaching how dream interpretation works, but IS explaining how this leader of a false religion thinks about dreams.
The narrator could have used his own authority. All he needed to do was say this is how Joseph interpreted dreams. The narrator intentionally did not do this, because it is not true. The narrator is teaching readers about how the false religious world of Pharaoh thinks about problems.
There are many other lessons in those Pharaoh stories. Communion, for example, also origins with Pharaoh's religion. The cupbearer and baker carry the cup and bread of communion. They officiate for Pharaoh. When the text was edited in Babylon these religious practices were reintroduced.
Even the king's title, Pharaoh, is the root for the NT term Pharisee. Pharisees, usually in the plural, are simply little Pharaohs. We are supposed to know this just by the vocabulary of the text. From more modern pharisees spring the banking cartel, fiat currency, fiat metals, fiat stock shares and the modern slave system of banking. Thus returning full circle to the slave systems of Pharaoh himself.
In general, everything Pharaoh believes is the same as Nebuchadnezzar, even though Nebuchadnezzar is around 1000 years future to Pharaoh. Even though they are very different empires and in different locations.
There is only 1 false religion, it just expresses itself in various ways. The narrator in Daniel's day is teaching the same subject as the narrator in Pharaoh's day.
The underlying threat in Moses' day is that anyone who does not keep the Testimony will be returned to the same religious systems as Pharaoh. This happened not by returning to Mizriam, but by being conquered by Babylon. This is why there is parallel construction in the text between these 2 eras.
Since we are still under that Babylonian system we see the same practices in church as we read about under Pharaoh.
Years ago, when we still did communion, we had gone on a drive and were planning communion when we did lots. The lots dealt with the false altar brought in to Jerusalem from Babylon. We knew at that time that communion was false and inserted. Now we find the holy spirit inserted too. Both come from Pharaoh's day or even before.
So, if you have had time in church circles that deal with the holy spirit, you have been dealing with Pharaoh's religion. Just as you are when you sit through a communion service. Neither is inspired. Neither make Joshua happy.
One of the feedback points I received from readers after my earlier post was a comment about Plato. To be complete I need to mention that point here, as it is important to this discussion.
Plato's writing stretches back in the Greek world to about the same time as Nebuchadnezzar. As there is but 1 false religion, Plato and Nebuchadnezzar are likely thinking along the same lines.
Plato apparently discusses how the world was thought to be organized. In his world view there was the material world that we all live in. There was also god, far away and distant. Between those 2 realms was the 'spirit' realm that was the interface between us here in the physical realm and god himself out there, far away.
Modern materialists want to scratch out the spirit realm and god, leaving behind just the material world. Others want to scratch out the material world and say everything is an illusion. A simulation in some divine computer.
Perhaps what we should think is that Joshua god is not far from any of us. There is NO buffer between us and him. Any distance we may feel between Joshua and ourselves is simply our rejection of relation with him.
There has been more feedback on the problems of the materialist world itself. Before the post on the holy spirit, I was passed a link to a video that surveys recent research into DNA and the nature of living organisms. This material is interesting to our manuscript work because the DNA molecule carries language in 25 letters. So research in this area is important background to Paleo language.
But the video also makes the point that the standard materialist view of DNA is probably wrong. Like so many other things, the High School level understanding is at least very incomplete.
So the material world should be considered much more complex than a simple machine. Some of what is normally ascribed to a spiritual world is really just unseen but very real and normal components of the material world.
There was also feedback mentioning the work of scientist Rupert Sheldrake. He is most well known for his banned Ted talk where he calls out 10 assumptions of science that are experimentally, provably, false. He goes into the research for each of these points in a published book, which one of our readers just finished. Here is the link if you are unfamiliar with his banned Ted talk.
Sheldrake was banned from employment in higher education soon after completing his own education and publishing his first book. He recovered by receiving independent funding and has had a long career doing simple, inexpensive, but amazing research. He is a favorite amoung high school level home school students because his simple experiments are easily reproduced.
For any budding scientists that may be reading this, take note. The best way to make a genuine new discovery is to go back and check all assumptions in your field of study. Sheldrake has done this and found 10 places were normal scientific assumptions are wrong.
Sheldrake also likes hounding the point that these false assumptions are still widely taught in public schools and in colleges. The religion of scientism drives those institutions, not results found using the scientific method. These are not truth seeking institutions.
So if we are closing Plato's gap by removing the spiritual domain then here again we must not overlook the problem of the material world's actual complexity. The real world reaches out into Plato's, and Pharaoh's, spiritual realm in surprising ways.
Joshua and People
Perhaps what we should think is that Joshua god is not far from any of us. There is NO spiritual buffer between us and him. Any distance we may feel between him and ourselves is simply our rejection of his offer to us of relationship with him.
Feedback from folks on this list who are regularly using lots tells me that Joshua is never far away. He delights to talk. If you don't live in that sort of world, then it is your problem.
Need For Prayer
I have shared on this blog a bunch of prophetic words dealing with events coming late in the 2020s. It looks like a nuclear war. It looks like this will have been warned about for 100 years. It looks like a call to prayer. Perhaps if enough people ask, Joshua will avert or at least minimize the events to come.
It also looks like Joshua does not pay very close attention when someone like a Pharaoh or like a Nebuchadnezzar, or like a pharisee, or like a Plato are praying. If you are one of their disciples, then Joshua is not going to pay much attention to you either. This is why these people often want a Joseph or a Daniel to help out.
This is also well known to modern Christian intercessors. Christian intercession is not always easy. It is not always effective.
In my now distant past I attended a wide variety of Christian denominational churches. Virtually all of them fussed over how to pray. Normally they wanted a specific structure to prayer. Praying to the 'father' in the name of the 'son.'
When pushed, some would also add that valid prayer was via the holy spirit. A nice trinitarian formula. It might as well be Pharaoh, or Nebuchadnezzar, or some NT pharisee who is praying when this formula is used.
Instead, think of it this way. Joshua is right where you are. You can talk and if you let him he can answer. What gets in the way is how you think about him. If you are thinking of him falsely, then he cannot answer because he would be endorsing that false god of yours.
As we keep hitting these big bumps in the text, the most recent being Nebuchadnezzar's and Pharaoh's spirit of god, we keep removing uninspired stories. Each time we are also removing barriers to effective prayer.
We are moving step by step to a very close, intimate, relationship with Joshua. Maybe intimate enough to avert nuclear war. Provided, of course, he wants the thing prayed for to actually happen.
Let me show you an example of this change by looking at the disciples and how they were praying.
I have been drawn recently, repeatedly, to Acts 4:23-31. I see it as an event where the narrator says the people involved were following a model for prayer.
This passage has a series of edits. It can never have quoted a passage from Psalms because there will be no more music in Babel. It cannot be referencing the holy spirit because this is how pharisees think. It cannot be citing the Babylonian creation myths because creation did not happen on earth. It cannot be Calvinist because prayer can change even the written future.
So if you follow this link, be sure additions are grayed out, so you can see it as I do. As always, still subject to change.
What seems to come out from behind the edits is a group prayer. A prayer directed strongly against the editors themselves. This is why it was so heavily edited. Also, what comes out is important editorial after the prayer in narrator's voice. That narrator wanted readers to know there was a structure to what the disciples were doing.
The narrator's voice, in verse 31, says they had 'petitioned' and 'supplicated' and then the place was shaken, confirming they had been heard and their prayer was accepted.
What is the petition? A statement of the wrong that existed: In their case, that a group of people had assembled in Jersualem, including Herod and Pilate, the Roman governors, against Joshua.
This is a statement of how the people in the room see the problem. This is their petition. It is the first half of effective prayer. They are praying against this exact wrong. Note how editors repeatedly insert prayer for mercy. Not these guys.
Then they turn to supplication. What is their supplication? That Joshua make a grant to his servants. That they may freely preach his word. Just as Joshua was already granting healings, mighty works and signs.
You can certainly go deeper on both these points. There are plenty of other passages to back them up. The narrator assumes you know the book. The narrator wants this account to be used as a model. Petition, then supplicate, or we might more simply say Petition and Ask... but only when Joshua is already demonstrating his power at work around you. He does those miracles and mighty works and signs to endorse the Testimony.
Could we do this to stop events later in the 2020s? Or even going on now in western politics? This is a question I am not ready to answer because people the text would consider villains are ruling most of the western world.
I was also asked this week about China. With villains ruling the west, maybe the Chinese army will be seen as deliverers? I cannot yet answer this with any certainty. Ancient Rome fell in a similar scenario. I hope not is all I can say right now.
In any case the path ahead must involve effective prayer. If for no other reason than to save lives.