I am a brand new grandfather again this morning at 10 AM….7 lbs. 3 oz. beautiful baby boy, born to my son Wally and his wife. Neagnekwe mine ngwes gi minangowat o gigabes ngom kyet nam she epij chiwenmoyan ode mnwajmowen.
That makes 28 grandchildren for this old guy and I need somebody to congratulate me. Ho Wah! And 4 great grandchildren, I am starting to feel really blessed right about now.
Very interesting stuff. I have always loved anything to do with prophetic events as it allows me to compare with the prophecies of my people. It almost lines up with what we have been told by our elders many years ago for me now. I recall many talks around the fires in the evenings and later afternoons as I listened to those elders speak of stuff like this.
We say ganajmowen to describe prophetic events that are set to happen at some point in the future of our years. Creational and Durational times has always been seen as approximately 7,000 years for most people. I learned this from some of the travels I have done seeking the truth of prophecy among some of our aboriginal societies around the world. Many of our elders encouraged me to seek out other cultures and their teachings as to prophecy and what their teachings had to reveal. In other words, I was to make comparisons and seek the truth out. They always believed that everything was confirmed by two or three witnesses.
Many people have shared with me what they think about the longevity of this world, but our prophecies say it is going to come to an end. We are slowly poisoning our air, water, and food supply as we move along through life and that affects everyone. The old people who shared many of these prophecies with me when I was younger are no longer here, but they always spoke of the end as though it was set in stone. Prophecy is indeed like that!
Ode ekendemyan bgeji ebmadsewat edebwetagwzewat ode ganajmowen. Nanakech ejajibtebyan ngoji enendemyan wa je shewebek iw pi endomat o mnedo shkwase eyawen……..
Intriguing stuff this, at least for me. My elders spoke of a lot of mysterious things like this but it was never written down by anyone. Our Bodewadmi cultural thoughts and language are completely oral. Much of it has been written by various folks but there remains a lot that is either untrue, incorrect, or unverifiable. In short, I do not trust the stuff that has been written or recorded by some individuals, as there is no way to tell where they got their facts, and if the informants they used, in some cases, were even telling them the truth. There is such a thing as many informants attempting to make a name for themselves and exaggerating much of what they shared, or simply giving someone a “canned speech” just to get rid of them. I have heard many things said about those “informants” by elders. Many were called sell outs and were not respected once the gete Neshnabek knew they had been talking to the whites about our cultural ways.
To date, there is not a Potawatomi alive still practicing our old ways. I know of many of the old teachings and songs, but lack the “body of folks” necessary to help conduct said ceremonies. Some of the Ojibwe people are practicing a form of the “Old”, but it is still a mere shadow of what once was the truth of the matter. I once shared some old waubenoh songs with a certain group, but they tried to claim them as their own, and soon all was forgotten anyway. In short, if something isn’t practiced as a ritual every day, it is soon forgotten, and that what has happened to our old beliefs, and about to happen to our language as well. The old language is dead and gone, with a few of us still in command of some of the words, but not nearly enough to rescue them, and make them useful again.
I think I know what it feels like to be a dinosaur. One of my kids once called me that, some years ago, because I was trying to bring back some of the old ways of doing things, and it had to do with the material culture, more than the spiritual side of it. We go on though, eh?
Interesting to me, as we have an oral tradition among Neshnabek and I have studied to see if the giving of the Torah to the Israelites at Sinai was an oral thing at the beginning. I am currently studying this some more…….
I have some pretty extreme thoughts about my language and the way I view it. My language is very important to me as it is the preferred way I choose to commune with the Spirit of all Life, i.e., God, Mamogosnan, Yahweh, etc., etc. Prayers are private thoughts I have and I do not really care to share what I am thinking about in that regard, nor what it is I am conveying to the Holy God in my communications with him.
I have come to treat my language as a living thing as it does emanate from me, a living being to another living being, God Almighty. Favorite words or terms of expression are to be treated with a high degree of respect and honor then, in my way of thinking. Of course, I don’t speak for anyone else, nor do I advocate that anyone else should emulate me. If something I say does hit a chord within your heart, then by all means help yourself, but do not repeat what I do just because I say this is what I do.
I use words to worship the God of my being accordingly then. Lifting up his name for me is one aspect of my worship of him. Praising him for the works he has done either for me or someone else I know of is another way I demonstrate my love and affection for him. Viewing and reminding him how powerful he is and how he has dealt with other cultures in the past is something I regularly do as well. I never forget how tender and forgiving he has been toward me and the way he has responded to my sinful life in forgiveness. I will always praise him for reaching out to me in compassion and grace.
I do this all within the framework of the language I was born with, which is Bodewadmi. It means a lot to me to be able to pray and commune with my God in the tongue he gave my people. To do this within the cultural framework has become important also. To be able to stand outside, rain or snow, sunshine or darkness, out on the land, free of other noises which often pollute or contend with whenever I worship. I also like to crawl inside a sweat lodge and worship my Lord and Savior from that concept. It is not something others would do, but because I am Neshnabe, I feel close to my Lord using my original language and some of the cultural ways of my people.
Sometimes being inside a building is necessary depending on what kind of weather we are experiencing, but I like to be in the great outdoors when I worship my God. When Jesus walked this Earth with his disciples it was all outdoors most of the time, with the exception of worshiping in a synagogue periodically. So the God knows my heart and soul of why I feel this way about worship.
A final thought: Neshnabe ndaw i ye i emendokasyan ga wje zhechkewat gi gete neshnabek ngotek mno wi pi.
Once the condemned prisoner was scourged he was brought naked to his cross beam, which he would carry publicly to the place of execution. Nails would then be pounded into his hands and feet and he would be raised up to an upright position, usually around 10 feet above ground.
Jesus was brought outside the city gate and crucified at a place known in first century Israel as Golgotha (Calvary).
Hebrews 13:12 – Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
History of Crucifixion
Crucifixion did not begin with the Romans, but it was a method of execution that had developed centuries earlier in the ancient near East. The Medes and the Persians practiced this gruesome torture method as well as the Carthaginians and the Egyptians, and later it was adopted among the Greeks and finally the Romans in the first century. Crucifixion was mentioned in history from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD.
In 519 BC Darius I, king of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon;
The Roman Cross
The Romans called it by its Latin word crucifixus which means to “fix on a cross”. The first century Roman cross consisted of two large wooden beams, a stake and a crossbeam (patibulum). The crossbeam was locked into place at the very top of the perpendicular stake, or near the top.
Since the body needed air in the lungs, and blood circulating in the heart the victim would have to push himself up with his nailed feet, and pulled himself up with his nailed hands.
Breaking the Legs
To hasten a prisoner’s death the Roman soldier would break the prisoner’s legs with an iron club (crurifragium). This would also assure that the prisoner was indeed dead.
The Place of Execution
The place of crucifixion was usually in a very public place where the bodies were left to rot. In Israel crucified prisoners were taken down in observance of the Sabbath.
Announcement of the Crime
As the condemned prisoner was led bearing a crossbeam to his place of execution, he would be preceded by a public crier who would announce his crime. His primary charge was written on a tablet (titulus) which also preceded him and finally fixed to the cross that he was crucified on.
It was indeed the Romans who practiced crucifixion as a common method of execution. According to Roman law a Roman citizen could not be crucified, crucifixion was for slaves and extreme criminals, political or religious agitators, pirates, or those who had no civil rights.
Julius Caesar and Crucifixion
Julius Caesar in his youth was captured by pirates, being held for ransom. He later found them and crucified them all, but he also slit their throats first to hasten their deaths.
Augustus Caesar and Crucifixion
The Emperor Augustus once made a boast that he had captured 30,000 runaway slaves and crucified them, or at least the ones who were not vouched for by their master. Their are many accounts of the Romans crucifying their victims, mass public crucifixions. When Spartacus led his rebellion against Rome, once they were captured over 6,000 slaves were captured by crucified on the main road to Capua (Appian Way) by the order of Crassus. Their bodies remained there is a token of Roman justice to all who would attempt to rebel.
Crucifixion in the Colosseum
It was a common sight in the Flavian Amphitheatre to crucify deserters, prisoners-of-war, and criminals from the lower classes.
Martial records one crucifixion, a version of the mime Laureolus by Catullus, in which a notorious bandit was executed by crucifixion and filleted by a wild bear for the amusement of the crowd:
“As Prometheus, bound on a Scythian crag, fed the tireless bird with his too abundant breast, so did Laureolus, hanging on no sham cross, give his naked flesh to a Caledonian bear. His lacerated limbs lived on, dripping gore, and in all his body, body there was none. Finally he met with the punishment he deserved; the guilty wretch had plunged a sword into his father’s throat or his master’s, or in his madness had robbed a temple of its secret gold, or laid a cruel torch to Rome. The criminal had outdone the misdeeds of ancient story; in him, what had been a play became an execution.”
Crucifixion and the Jews
In Israel a man named Judas rebelled against Rome and he captured the city of Sepphoris and made it his headquarters. The legions of Rome finally defeated them under Varus, and the Romans crucified 2,000 Jews.
In 88 BC Alexander Jannaeus, the king and high priest of Judaea, crucified 800 Pharisees.
Crucifixion and Jesus
In Judaea on Passover at about 31 AD Pontius Pilate* (Rom. Gov. of Judaea 26-36 AD) had Jesus of Nazareth crucified as a criminal of Rome. Although the death of Jesus is mentioned in ancient sources outside of the Bible, the details of the crucifixion and the events surrounding his death and resurrection are mentioned only in the Bible. The Bible reveals that Jesus ‘ death was planned by the Jewish authorities, and because they did not have power to put to death a condemned criminal they turned him over to the Romans for execution. Pontius Pilate the Roman governor of Judea made the final decision to have Jesus crucified. The Romans first scourged Jesus, then the Romans mocked him by placing a purple robe on his body and hailed him as the “King of the Jews”, then the Roman soldiers made a crown of thorns and placed it on his head. Next the Romans led Jesus to his place of execution, he was made to bear his own cross but when he could not carry it any longer he was assisted by a man named Simon of Cyrene. When Jesus arrived to a place outside the city walls called Golgotha his place of execution, the Roman soldiers nailed his hands and his feet to the cross and a tablet was placed above his head announcing his crime of proclaiming himself King of the Jews, the tablet recorded this in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. Jesus was crucified with two other criminals and he hung there for three hours. The Roman soldiers divided his garments and cast lots for his robe, and people who passed by wagged their heads in disgust, and mocking him they stated “he saved others but he cannot save himself”. When the Roman soldiers were ordered to break the prisoner’s legs Jesus was already dead and his bones were never broken, but instead the soldier pierced him in the side with a spear. Jesus’ body was removed and he was buried in a tomb nearby. After three days and three nights he rose from the dead.
* Pontius Pilate was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under the Emperor Tiberius from 26–36 AD
The Emperor Nero who was much younger than many people imagine, crucified an immense number of Christians for his own insane pleasure. He had actually blamed the Christians for the great fire of Rome. According to tradition (Origen) the apostle Peter was crucified upside down. Throughout the history of the Roman Empire Christians were martyred and crucified.
Constantine Abolishes Crucifixion
Crucifixion came to an end under the Emperor Constantine in 337 AD who had a supposed vision of the sign of the cross. He abolished crucifixion throughout the Roman Empire as a means of punishment.
The Symbol of the Cross
The empty cross became a symbol for Christians of Jesus conquering death once and for all.
Crucifixion in Smith’s Bible Dictionary Crucifixion was used among the Egyptians, Ge 40:19 the Carthaginians, the Persians, Es 7:10 the Assyrians, Scythains, Indians, Germans, and from the earliest times among the Greeks and Romans. Whether this mode of execution was known to the ancient Jews is a matter of dispute. Probably the Jews borrowed it from the Romans. It was unanimously considered the most horrible form of death. Among the Romans the degradation was also a part of the infliction, and the punishment if applied to freemen was only used in the case of the vilest criminals. The one to be crucified was stripped naked of all his clothes, and then followed the most awful moment of all. He was laid down upon the implement of torture. His arms were stretched along the cross-beams, and at the centre of the open palms the point of a huge iron nail was placed, which, by the blow of a mallet, was driven home into the wood. Then through either foot separately, or possibly through both together, as they were placed one over the other, another huge nail tore its way through the quivering flesh. Whether the sufferer was also bound to the cross we do not know; but, to prevent the hands and feet being torn away by the weight of the body, which could not “rest upon nothing but four great wounds,” there was, about the centre of the cross, a wooden projection strong enough to support, at least in part, a human body, which soon became a weight of agony. Then the “accursed tree” with its living human burden was slowly heaved up and the end fixed firmly in a hole in the ground. The feet were but a little raised above the earth. The victim was in full reach of every hand that might choose to strike. A death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of the horrible and ghastly, –dizziness, cramp, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, tetanus, publicity of shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of untended wounds, all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but all stopping just short of the point which would give to the sufferer the relief of unconsciousness. The unnatural position made every movement painful; the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish; the wounds, inflamed by exposure, gradually gangrened; the arteries, especially of the head and stomach, became swollen and oppressed with surcharged blood; and, while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing, there was added to them the intolerable pang of a burning and raging thirst. Such was the death to which Christ was doomed. –Farrar’s “Life of Christ.” The crucified was watched, according to custom, by a party of four soldiers, Joh 19:23 with their centurion, Mt 27:66 whose express office was to prevent the stealing of the body. This was necessary from the lingering character of the death, which sometimes did not supervene even for three days, and was at last the result of gradual benumbing and starvation. But for this guard, the persons might have been taken down and recovered, as was actually done in the case of a friend of Josephus. Fracture of the legs was especially adopted by the Jews to hasten death. Joh 19:31 In most cases the body was suffered to rot on the cross by the action of sun and rain, or to be devoured by birds and beasts. Sepulture was generally therefore forbidden; but in consequence of De 21:22,23 an express national exception was made in favor of the Jews. Mt 27:58 This accursed and awful mode of punishment was happily abolished by Constantine. Read Full Article
Roman Crucifixion in Wikipedia Crucifixion was used for slaves, pirates, and enemies of the state. It was considered a most shameful and disgraceful way to die. Condemned Roman citizens were usually exempt from crucifixion (like feudal nobles from hanging, dying more honorably by decapitation) except for major crimes against the state, such as high treason.Notorious mass crucifixions followed the Third Servile War in 73–71 BC (the slave rebellion under Spartacus), other Roman civil wars in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, and the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. To frighten other slaves from revolting, Crassus crucified 6,000 of Spartacus’ men along the Appian Way from Capua to Rome. Josephus tells a story of the Romans crucifying people along the walls of Jerusalem. He also says that the Roman soldiers would amuse themselves by crucifying criminals in different positions. In Roman-style crucifixion, the condemned could take up to a few days to die. The dead body was left up for vultures and other birds to consume.Under ancient Roman penal practice, crucifixion was also a means of exhibiting the criminal’s low social status. It was the most dishonourable death imaginable, originally reserved for slaves, hence still called “supplicium servile” by Seneca, later extended to provincial freedmen of obscure station (‘humiles’). The citizen class of Roman society were almost never subject to capital punishments; instead, they were fined or exiled. Josephus mentions Jews of high rank who were crucified, but this was to point out that their status had been taken away from them. The Romans often broke the prisoner’s legs to hasten death and usually forbade burial. A cruel prelude was occasionally scourging, which would cause the condemned to lose a large amount of blood, and approach a state of shock. The convict then usually had to carry the horizontal beam (patibulum in Latin) to the place of execution, but not necessarily the whole cross. Crucifixion was typically carried out by specialized teams, consisting of a commanding centurion and four soldiers. When it was done in an established place of execution, the vertical beam (stipes) could even be permanently embedded in the ground. The condemned was usually stripped naked—all the New Testament gospels describe soldiers gambling for the robes of Jesus. The ‘nails’ were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 cm) long, with a square shaft 3/8 inches (10 mm) across. In some cases, the nails were gathered afterward and used as healing amulets. Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, abolished crucifixion in the Roman Empire in 337 out of veneration for Jesus Christ, its most famous victim. Read Full Article Also see: The Crucifixion of Jesus
Crucifixion in the ISBE Bible Encyclopedia Crucifixion: As an instrument of death the cross was detested by the Jews. “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal 3:13; compare Dt 21:23), hence, it became a stumbling-block to them, for how could one accursed of God be their Messiah? Nor was the cross differently considered by the Romans. “Let the very name of the cross be far away not only from the body of a Roman citizen, but even from his thoughts, his eyes, his ears” (Cicero Pro Rabirio 5). The earliest mode of crucifixion seems to have been by impalation, the transfixion of the body lengthwise and crosswise by sharpened stakes, a mode of death-punishment still well known among the Mongol race. The usual mode of crucifixion was familiar to the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, Persians and Babylonians (Thuc. 1, 110; Herod. iii.125, 159). Alexander the Great executed two thousand Tyrian captives in this way, after the fall of the city. The Jews received this form of punishment from the Syrians and Romans (Ant., XII, v, 4; XX, vi, 2; BJ, I, iv, 6). The Roman citizen was exempt from this form of death, it being considered the death of a slave (Cicero In Verrem i. 5, 66; Quint. viii.4). The punishment was meted out for such crimes as treason, desertion in the face of the enemy, robbery, piracy, assassination, sedition, etc. It continued in vogue in the Roman empire till the day of Constantine, when it was abolished as an insult to Christianity. Among the Romans crucifixion was preceded by scourging, undoubtedly to hasten impending death. The victim then bore his own cross, or at least the upright beam, to the place of execution. This in itself proves that the structure was less ponderous than is commonly supposed. When he was tied to the cross nothing further was done and he was left to die from starvation. If he was nailed to the cross, at least in Judea, a stupefying drink was given him to deaden the agony. The number of nails used seems to have been indeterminate. A tablet, on which the feet rested or on which the body was partly supported, seems to have been a part of the cross to keep the wounds from tearing through the transfixed members (Iren., Adv. haer., ii.42). The suffering of death by crucifixion was intense, especially in hot climates. Severe local inflammation, coupled with an insignificant bleeding of the jagged wounds, produced traumatic fever, which was aggravated the exposure to the heat of the sun, the strained of the body and insufferable thirst. The swelled about the rough nails and the torn lacerated tendons and nerves caused excruciating agony. The arteries of the head and stomach were surcharged with blood and a terrific throbbing headache ensued. The mind was confused and filled with anxiety and dread foreboding. The victim of crucifixion literally died a thousand deaths. Tetanus not rarely supervened and the rigors of the attending convulsions would tear at the wounds and add to the burden of pain, till at last the bodily forces were exhausted and the victim sank to unconsciousness and death. The sufferings were so frightful that “even among the raging passions of war pity was sometimes excited” (BJ, V, xi, 1). The length of this agony was wholly determined by the constitution of the victim, but death rarely ensued before thirty-six hours had elapsed. Instances are on record of victims of the cross who survived their terrible injuries when taken down from the cross after many hours of suspension (Josephus, Vita, 75). Death was sometimes hastened by breaking the legs of the victims and by a hard blow delivered under the armpit before crucifixion. Crura fracta was a well-known Roman term (Cicero Phil. xiii.12). The sudden death of Christ evidently was a matter of astonishment (Mk 15:44). The peculiar symptoms mentioned by John (19:34) would seem to point to a rupture of the heart, of which the Saviour died, independent of the cross itself, or perhaps hastened by its agony. Read Full Article
Crucifixion in Easton’s Bible Dictionary Crucifixion was a common mode of punishment among heathen nations in early times. It is not certain whether it was known among the ancient Jews; probably it was not. The modes of capital punishment according to the Mosaic law were, by the sword (Ex. 21), strangling, fire (Lev. 20), and stoning (Deut. 21). This was regarded as the most horrible form of death, and to a Jew it would acquire greater horror from the curse in Deut. 21:23. This punishment began by subjecting the sufferer to scourging. In the case of our Lord, however, his scourging was rather before the sentence was passed upon him, and was inflicted by Pilate for the purpose, probably, of exciting pity and procuring his escape from further punishment (Luke 23:22; John 19:1). The condemned one carried his own cross to the place of execution, which was outside the city, in some conspicuous place set apart for the purpose. Before the nailing to the cross took place, a medicated cup of vinegar mixed with gall and myrrh (the sopor) was given, for the purpose of deadening the pangs of the sufferer. Our Lord refused this cup, that his senses might be clear (Matt. 27:34). The spongeful of vinegar, sour wine, posca, the common drink of the Roman soldiers, which was put on a hyssop stalk and offered to our Lord in contemptuous pity (Matt. 27:48; Luke 23:36), he tasted to allay the agonies of his thirst (John 19:29). The accounts given of the crucifixion of our Lord are in entire agreement with the customs and practices of the Roman in such cases. He was crucified between two “malefactors” (Isa. 53:12; Luke 23:32), and was watched by a party of four soldiers (John 19:23; Matt. 27:36, 54), with their centurion. The “breaking of the legs” of the malefactors was intended to hasten death, and put them out of misery (John 19:31); but the unusual rapidity of our Lord’s death (19:33) was due to his previous sufferings and his great mental anguish. The omission of the breaking of his legs was the fulfilment of a type (Ex. 12:46). He literally died of a broken heart, a ruptured heart, and hence the flowing of blood and water from the wound made by the soldier’s spear (John 19:34). Our Lord uttered seven memorable words from the cross, namely, (1) Luke 23:34; (2) 23:43; (3) John 19:26; (4) Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34; (5) John 19:28; (6) 19:30; (7) Luke 23:46. Read Full Article
The Cross in Fausset’s Bible Dictionary The Cross was the instrument of a slave’s death, associated with the ideas of pain, guilt, and ignominy. “The very name,” writes Cicero (Pro Rab., 5), “ought to be excluded not merely from the body, but from the thought, eyes, and ears of Roman citizens.” The Hebrew, having no term for it as not being a punishment in their nation, called it “warp and woof.” Scourging generally preceded crucifixion: so Jesus (Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15; foretold in Isaiah 50:6; Isaiah 53:5). Pilate had probably hoped the Jews would be content with this scourging, and still let Him escape crucifixion (Luke 23:22; John 19:1). Jesus bore His own cross toward Golgotha outside the city (Hebrews 13:12; so Stephen, Acts 7:58), but sinking exhausted probably He was relieved, and it was transferred to Simon of Cyrene; prefigured in Isaac carrying the wood (Genesis 22:6; contrast Isaiah 9:6, “the government shall be upon His shoulder”.) Jesus’ sacred and lacerated body was raised aloft, the hands nailed to the transverse beam, the feet separately nailed to the lower part of the upright beam so as to be a foot or two above the ground (others think the two feet were pierced by one and the same nail). Stupefying drink, vinegar mixed with gall and myrrh, was first offered to Him and refused (Matthew 27:34), for He would meet suffering consciously. Near death, to fulfill Psalm 69:21, He drank of the sour wine or vinegar kindly offered Him on a sponge. His death was hastened by rupture of the heart (See BLOOD; also Mark 15:23; compare John 19:28; Matthew 27:48.) The sour wine called posca was the common drink of the Roman soldiers. Pilate marveled at His speedy death, crucifixion often not terminating in death for days. The approach of the Passover sabbath, one of peculiar solemnity, led to his permitting the Jewish law to be carried out which forbids bodies to hang after sunset (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). His legs could not be broken, because the Passover type must be fulfilled (Exodus 12:46). Constantine when converted abolished crucifixion. The agony consisted in: (1) the unnatural position of the body, causing pain at the least motion; (2) the nails being driven through the hands and feet, which are full of nerves and tendons, yet without a vital part being directly injured; (3) the wounds so long exposed bringing on acute inflammation and gangrene; (4) the distended parts causing more blood to flow through the arteries than can be carried back through the veins; (5) the lingering anguish and burning thirst. After Constantine’s vision of the cross in the air and the inscription, “Under this standard thou shalt conquer,” a new standard was adopted, the Labarum, with a pendent cross and embroidered monogram of Christ, the first two Greek letters of His name, and Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8). The Andrew’s cross is shaped like an X, through Hippolytus says he was crucified upright. The Anthony cross (embroidered on his cope) was shaped as a T. The pagan Egyptians, Copts, Indians, and Persians, all have the same sacred emblem. Tradition, and the inscription over our Lord’s head, make it likely that the form of His cross was +. The pole on which the brazen serpent was lifted by Moses was the type (John 3:14; Numbers 21:8-9). The fathers regarded its four limbs pointing above, below, and to both sides, as typifying” the height, depth, length, and breadth” of the love of Christ, extending salvation to all (Ephesians 3:18). The harmlessness of cruciform flowers is another suggested type in nature. Christ’s cross transforms the curse into a blessing (Galatians 3:13-14); the inscription was written with letters of black on a white gypsum ground. By a striking retribution in kind, the Jewish people, whose cry was “crucify Him,” were crucified in such numbers by Titus “that there was not room enough for the crosses, nor crosses enough for their bodies” (Joseptius, B. J., 6:28). The piercing of Jesus’ hands was foretold in Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10. The story of “the invention of the cross,” A.D. 326, is: Helena the empress, mother of Constantine, then nearly 80 years old, made a pilgrimage to the holy places, and there, by help of a Jew who understood her superstitious tastes, found three crosses, among which Christ’s cross was recognized by its power of working miracles, at the suggestion of Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem. Bits of this real cross were distributed as relics throughout Christendom. To supply the enormous demand, they were alleged to have been miraculously multiplied! In the church of the Holy Jerusalem Cross at Rome, relics of the top of the cross with the inscription are annually exhibited to the people for veneration. The falsity of the whole story appears from the fact that the Jews’ law required the cross to be burnt; Eusebius is silent as to the alleged discovery of it. A symbol or emblem merely at first, it soon began to have the notion of spiritual and supernatural efficacy attached to it. In the 6th century the crucifix image was introduced, and worship (latria) to it was sanctioned by the Church of Rome. Figuratively, the cross and crucifixion are used for spiritually mortifying the flesh, in union spiritually by faith with Christ crucified, not self-imposed austerities (Matthew 16:24; Philemon 3:18; Galatians 6:14; Colossians 2:20-23). Our will and God’s will are as two separate pieces of wood; so long as both lie side by side there is no cross; but put them across one another, then there is a cross. We must take up the cross Christ lays on us if we would be His disciples. Read Full Article
Crucifixion in Naves Topical Bible
-The reproach of Ga 3:13; 5:11
-Of Jesus See JESUS, HISTORY OF
-Of two criminals Mt 27:38
-Of disciples, foretold Mt 23:34
-FIGURATIVE Ro 6:6; Ga 2:20; 5:24; 6:14
The Bible Mentions Crucifixion:
John 19:10 – Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
Matthew 23:34 – Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and [some] of them ye shall kill and crucify; and [some] of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute [them] from city to city:
Hebrews 6:6 – If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame.
Matthew 20:19 – And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify [him]: and the third day he shall rise again.
Mark 15:14 – Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.
Matthew 27:31 – And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify [him].
Mark 15:20 – And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.
Mark 15:27 – And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.
Mark 15:13 – And they cried out again, Crucify him.
Luke 23:21 – But they cried, saying, Crucify [him], crucify him.
John 19:15 – But they cried out, Away with [him], away with [him], crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
John 19:6 – When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify [him], crucify [him]. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify [him]: for I find no fault in him.
Matthew 27:35 – And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
John 19:41 – Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
1 Corinthians 1:13 – Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
John 19:23 – Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also [his] coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 Corinthians 13:4 – For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.
Galatians 6:14 – But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Luke 23:23 – And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
John 19:20 – This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, [and] Greek, [and] Latin.
Revelation 11:8 – And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Mark 16:6 – And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
Acts 4:10 – Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
Mark 15:15 – And [so] Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged [him], to be crucified.
Acts 2:36 – Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Acts 2:23 – Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Matthew 28:5 – And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
Mark 15:32 – Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
Luke 23:33 – And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Luke 24:20 – And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
1 Corinthians 1:23 – But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
Matthew 27:22 – Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? [They] all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
Matthew 27:26 – Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered [him] to be crucified.
Romans 6:6 – Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
1 Corinthians 2:2 – For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:8 – Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Matthew 26:2 – Ye know that after two days is [the feast of] the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
Matthew 27:23 – And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
Mark 15:24 – And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.
Luke 24:7 – Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
The Bible Mentions The Cross:
John 19:17 – And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called [the place] of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
Mark 10:21 – Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Colossians 1:20 – And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.
John 19:31 – The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and [that] they might be taken away.
Philippians 2:8 – And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
John 19:25 – Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the [wife] of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Luke 23:26 – And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear [it] after Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:17 – For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Galatians 6:14 – But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Matthew 27:40 – And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest [it] in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Mark 15:21 – And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
Galatians 6:12 – As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
John 19:19 – And Pilate wrote a title, and put [it] on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Galatians 5:11 – And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
Mark 8:34 – And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mark 15:32 – Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
Matthew 27:32 – And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Philippians 3:18 – (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Colossians 2:14 – 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;
Matthew 16:24 – Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matthew 27:42 – He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
Luke 14:27 – And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Ephesians 2:16 – And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
Matthew 10:38 – And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Luke 9:23 – And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Mark 15:30 – Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
Bible Study and Faith
“The Bible is the most priceless possession of the human race.” – Henry H. Halley
“This handbook is dedicated to the proposition that every Christian should be a constant and devoted reader of the Bible, and that the primary business of the church and ministry is to lead, foster, and encourage their people in the habit.”
“The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts.”
“Great has been the blessing from consecutive, diligent, daily study. I look upon it as a lost day when I have not had a good time over the word of God.” – George Muller
“I prayed for faith, and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the 10th chapter of Romans, ‘Now faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ I had closed my Bible, and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.” – D. L. Moody
-H. H. Halley “Halley’s Bible Handbook” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960) p. 4, 6
Archaeological Study of the Bible
“A substantial proof for the accuracy of the Old Testament text has come from archaeology. Numerous discoveries have confirmed the historical accuracy of the biblical documents, even down to the obsolete names of foreign kings… Rather than a manifestation of complete ignorance of the facts of its day, the biblical record thus reflects a great knowledge by the writer of his day, as well as precision in textual transmission.”
-Norman L. Geisler, William Nix “A General Introduction to the Bible” 5th Edition (Chicago: Moody Press 1983) p. 253
Making no bones about it, the Crucifixion was a terrible and painful way to die. I share this as we are fast approaching the Easter Season and the time our Lord was crucified on a wooden cross. I like to be informed of reality and what it was like back then, and there remains no question in my mind that Jesus Christ went through extreme suffering for my sins and the world’s as well.
Therefor, I have no problem surrendering my life to him and acknowledging what the God went through for me. It is all the more reason why I trust him with forgiving me and keeping me in this world and reserving a place for me in the next.
Ahau, nin se Neaseno
Neshnabe ndaw edebwetagwziyan ga zhewebzet o Mnedo mine edapnayan o Zhezhos eshnekazot…
The thoughts you meditate on are most likely apparent in your everyday life. If you go on thinking the way you’ve always thought, you’ll go on behaving the same way you’ve always behaved. And if you go on behaving the same way you’ve always behaved, you’ll keep getting the same results. In other words, if you want to get different results in life, you need to change the way you think. After all, in many different ways, your thoughts create your reality. How? Because your thoughts later become your actions. Your thoughts are a part of who you are. If you don’t have thoughts – you don’t exist. And if you do have thoughts you must learn how to control your thoughts.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23
Learning to control our thoughts
If we won’t learn to control our thoughts and emotions, our thoughts and emotions will end up controlling us. Not only do we need to learn how to control our own thoughts. But also, whether we’re aware of it or not, others plant thoughts into our minds as well – advertisements, friends, family, and even the Devil. A child that grows up hearing his parents and siblings call him a bother and an annoying pest, or a girl that is constantly called fat and ugly by her friends will eventually come to think that something is wrong with them, and that the others were right. How do you think these thoughts will affect their self perception as adults? In what ways will these thoughts impact their behavior? How will it affect their manner towards other people? And all this because of lies that were planted in their minds, like poison that fills their minds and affects so many aspects of their lives.
Sometimes, when we’re faced with difficult or uncomfortable situations, out of force of habit or unintentionally, we tend to blame others for our failures. This eventually leaves us angry and disappointed because circumstances are not what we intended them to be. And finally, we find ourselves imprisoned by the negative thoughts of our mind, stuck with feelings of guilt and self-pity. How do we avoid this situation?We need to ask ourselves in every circumstance,
“Do I have control over the present situation?” If the answer is no, we still have control over the way we choose to respond, no matter how bad the circumstance is. Note for instance the words of psychiatrist and holocaust survivor, Dr. Victor Frankl:
“How you respond to a situation is your own choice. You don’t have control over what happens to you, but you always have control over the way you feel and respond to what happens. I can’t control the circumstance, but I can control my response.”
Man is like a boat out on the ocean in the heart of a storm. We have very little control over the things around us, but we do have complete control over the way we choose to respond to our circumstances. It doesn’t matter how bad the storm is around us, our if we’ve experienced traumas in the past, God gave us minds that can cope with any and every situation.
Cognitive neuroscientist and believer, Dr. Caroline Leaf, says: “We all have incredible minds, minds that are able to cope and prosper under all of life’s circumstances as we learn to operate in love.”
The power in our hands
In other words, our minds are able to adapt themselves to every situation. This means that we need to reach a conscious decision that no matter what life’s circumstances are, that we’ll choose to remain optimistic and to see the glass as half full and not as half empty. This isn’t fake happiness that depends on things we have no control over or on our temporary and changing circumstances. This is joy that is based on God’s promises, and that’s why we’re commanded in the New Testament:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
This doesn’t mean that as a believer one never faces challenges, but that one’s security doesn’t depend on one’s circumstances. A believer’s joy in life is based on one’s security in the Lord. This joy isn’t a temporary feeling of excitement or giddiness. This is deep and enduring joy that is based on our security and identity in Christ. A believer is someone who understands that 90% of their life is the way they choose to respond to things that are not in their control. They either chooses to rejoice because of some temporary circumstance or because of the security they have in Messiah:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)
Every day we are called to make decisions, and sometimes these decisions are not easy to make. It could be a moral conflict, or perhaps we’re asked to act against our principles at work, or maybe we’re given the opportunity to obtain financial advantage by deception, or perhaps it’s choosing whether to gossip or not. In order to navigate our ways through stormy seas, full of ethical and moral whirlpools, we need to know what values and principles we want to live our lives by. Why do we get up in the morning? What are we living for? What is the purpose of our lives?
According to the New Testament, we spend most of our lives trying to fulfil desires, wishes, longings, and inclinations that are not necessities for a happy life.Things like money, a career, and even love are not things we need in order to be truly happy. In fact, in order to be truly happy we need to stop relying on anything that isn’t God. Just as Yeshua said:
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26)
Our thoughts generate our decisions. Therefore, our thoughts are like a ship’s helm that steers us through life. Most people live for themselves, just like everyone else around them. But Yeshua challenges us to act differently:
“If you live for yourself, even if you gain the whole world, what will it matter if in the end you forfeit your soul?”
How to win the battle of the mind
The biggest wars are waged in our minds, because our thoughts determine for what and for whom we live our lives. Our thoughts have incredible power, even the thoughts of our subconscious mind. Have you ever set an alarm, only to wake up several minutes earlier because your body just knew it was time to get up? Or did a certain smell or taste ever cause strong emotions or memories to suddenly surface, suddenly throwing you back in time? Did your body ever overreact to something someone said? Your pulse quickens, your heart begins to beat hard, and you’re suddenly filled with fear and anxiety? These examples, showing the potency of thoughts, are only the tip of the iceberg. This incredible potency functions partly under our control, and partly out of it in our subconscious.
2000 years ago, long before the psychology coaches, psychologists, and personal trainers came along, Yeshua and the writers of the New Testament understood the potency of our thoughts, a conclusion that is only being reached today by leading psychologists. They taught about the incredible power our thoughts possess and about the effect they have on our lives and on the lives of those around us.
Why are our thoughts so important? It’s because our thoughts not only affect our lives, they also become part of who we are:
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7)
Putting it simply, you gradually become what you think of yourself as, deep inside. Our thoughts have the potential to become reality. If you constantly worry about getting sick, like a hypochondriac, you really will get sick. If you start believing that everything in life is bad, you’ll sink into depression.
However our thoughts can cause amazing things happen as well. The nation of Israel was established because a man named Herzl thought, meditated on, dreamt about, and hoped for the establishment of our nation! What started as Herzl’s thoughts turned into the reality that we all live in today.
Our mind, or what the Bible calls our “heart”, is like a garden
If our conscious mind is like a tree, our subconscious mind is like the soil out of which grow the roots of the seeds that we plant. If we plant negative and bad thoughts in the soil of our garden, we’ll get rotten and decaying roots, which will eventually grow into rotten and decaying trees. And it’s a lot harder to uproot an entire tree than to just remove roots.
Every time we think thoughts, it’s as if we’re planting seeds. The question isn’t whether we’re planting seeds or not, it’s what kind of seeds we’re planting. We’re either planting good seeds or planting bad seeds. Our words and our actions are the fruit of those very seeds we planted previously in our thoughts, the product of our thoughts. If we plant bad seeds – for instance, if we think of ourselves as worthless, unappreciated, and useless – we’ll become depressed, feeble, and insecure. Bad seeds bear bad fruit, that not only poison us but others as well. Good seeds bear good fruit that not only bless ourselves, but others as well. Every bad word that was ever spoken, every fight, every war, every murder, and every heinous act – began with a thought. All this implies that we have free will.
Free will and free choice
Many times we hear religious people say that fate has predestined everything, that it’s all in the hands of a higher power, that everything that happens, good or evil, happens because God willed it to be so. Yes, we can deny free will, and therefore find an excellent excuse to do whatever we want without bearing the consequences of our actions. It’s easy and takes away the burden of responsibility, because we don’t have control over our actions if everything has already been predestined. But according to the New Testament, we do make decisions – all the time.
We must choose between two different types of thought: between the thoughts of our flesh and the thoughts of the Spirit of God that dwells within us. The thoughts of the flesh are self-centered and focus on ways we can serve ourselves what to eat, what to wear, how we’ll make more money, and other wishes, desires, and lusts of the flesh. The thoughts of the Spirit, however, are motivated by love: care, support, grace, forgiveness, and compassion.
The problem is that these two mindsets are often contradictory to one another, like a never-ending duel, even over the small things, like wanting to pray. When Yeshua asked his disciples to pray, he spoke of this very conflict:
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
Are we helpless in regards to our thoughts? Are we forced to be watchers on the sidelines, to accept every thought that comes? Are we forced to let every thought that pops into our minds to remain there? Of course not! We need to obtain complete control over our thoughts.
We don’t have to dwell on every thought. We can choose to reject them and to dwell on other thoughts instead. The Apostle Paul explains this very issue:
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” (Galatians 5:16-17)
It’s important to understand that even though our thoughts are always present, we choose how to respond to them, what thoughts to dwell on, and what thoughts we choose to accept and believe. We can dwell lies about the world, about ourselves, and about God or we can dwell on thoughts that strengthen the inner man, through love and truth.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19)
When we feel physically drained, stressed, in pain, or lazy we can choose to give in to these feelings, and feel frustrated, annoyed, and miserable, which, by the way, not only affects us, but is also detrimental to those around us. Or we can choose to be aware of these thoughts, and choose to repress every negative, depressing, and stressful thought, choosing instead to declare every morning the words of King David:
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24)
Be conscious of your thoughts, discern and distinguish them, and train yourself to be aware of every thought, until you get used to subduing and rejecting negative thoughts, replacing them with positive thoughts. The choice between being miserable because of life’s circumstances and between rejoicing according to the will of God is yours alone:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
It’s impossible to remain bitter and upset while thinking thoughts of love, grace, and peace. We need to make a decision. Even if everyone else around you is stressed, annoyed, depressed, and pessimistic – remember:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Instead of thinking self-centered thoughts, such as: “Nobody appreciates me”, “I’m tired of being taken for granted”, think positive thoughts, such as: “Who can I encourage today? Who can I support? Who can I help?” Instead of thinking pessimistic and melancholy thoughts: “Nothing’s going right! I’m so tired of everything! I hate this! Leave me alone!” think godly thoughts, such as: “Even when things are rough, God still loves me and he is my strength!” Whether we like it or not, we’ll always have to deal with trials and tribulations in this world, and therefore:
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)
Of course, we’re not asked to “empty” our minds of thoughts, as they do in the meditations of the Far East, but to reject negative thoughts and to replace them with positive thoughts.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Your biggest battle, whether you’re aware of it or not, is inside your head
Your thoughts have the capacity to encourage, create, and uplift yourself, as well as those around you. But your thoughts can also be self-centered, and can cripple, shatter, destroy, and cause death. In our minds, in our thoughts – that’s where the real war takes place. That’s where the fiercest fighting happens, and it’s there that the Devil attacks us with lies, in attempt to render us powerless and leave us in a state of uselessness.
For instance, we’ve all experienced traumas in one way or another, particularly during our childhood. And we’ve all got skeletons in the closet, embarrassing and shameful secrets and sins we’ve committed. The Devil uses this to plant thoughts in our minds: “There’s something wrong with you! You’re a second-class citizen! You’re not as good as the others, and there’s no way you’ll be successful or find ways to enjoy life! You’re damaged goods!” Even though we might feel like this from time to time, we cannot let ourselves succumb to feelings. It would be tragic to live a life driven by emotions. So before we learn how to live our lives the right way, we first need to learn how to think in the right way. Why? Because our thoughts generate our actions and not the other way around.
If you want to see different outcomes in your life, you need to change the way you think.
You can’t go beyond the limits of your mind. If you’re like the lion who saw himself as a coward, you’ll always think of yourself as some hapless kitten. Modern research in the field of psychology has shown that if we repeat something long enough, it will automatically become a part of who we are.
Dr. David Feldman, a psychologist at Santa Clara University in the United States, gives the following example: “The first 10 times a pianist plays a particular sonata, he or she must think carefully and consciously about what each finger is doing. Eventually, however, playing the piece becomes automatic.”
Now what do you think will happen if we tell ourselves over and over again that we’re damaged goods, that we’re no good, or that nobody really loves us? It will gradually become a part of who we are. We’ll become indifferent, bitter, and unhappy people who deal with constant depression. And what will happen if we constantly distrust others, think that everyone is against us, envy others, constantly plot and plan ways to get revenge and to hurt others, or disparage others and their motives? What will be the outcome of those thoughts? What deeds and actions will these thoughts yield?
The Apostle Paul gives a list of examples of the works that are produced from the thoughts of the flesh:
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
As followers of the Messiah, we are called to overcome and reject thoughts of the flesh and to replace them with things from the second list of examples, works that are produced from the thoughts of the Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25)
It’s an ongoing battle. We’ll always have to deal with conflicting thoughts of the flesh and of the Spirit in our minds. What thoughts we choose to dwell on is a decision we must make every day. The question is whether your thoughts control you, or whether you control your thoughts. Who is the victor in this battle? And are you even aware of its existence? We don’t always choose which thoughts enter our minds. Sometimes thoughts from our subconscious pop into our minds. But this doesn’t mean that we must accept, believe, or even dwell on every thought that comes to mind. We can choose to overcome such thoughts. In other words, our part in this war is to examine every thought that comes to mind and make a decision for each one every single time – whether we accept and believe it or whether we overcome and reject it. Sounds exhausting, right, to stop and check every single thought that comes to mind, to bring it before the Lord and, if necessary, to overcome and reject it. It’s true, and this is perhaps the hardest war that we all must wage. When we choose to follow Christ our lives don’t get easier. Quite the opposite, we have new standards to live up to, and therefore we must work harder on improving ourselves, our characteristics, and our personality.
Steps to improving your thought life
First of all, we need to get rid of all the weeds, all the thorns and thistles that have been planted over the years, whether we’re aware of it or not, in our minds. And then, when we see that bad seeds are being planted anew, we need to stop them for growing any further. Don’t just wait and watch them grow, weed them out and plant good seeds in place of the bad ones. The Devil is pleased when bad seeds are planted in our thoughts, not just because we poison ourselves, but because we end up serving the Devil’s agenda – to poison those around us. The bad seeds that you plant destroy not only yourself, they also affect the atmosphere around you. You know exactly what we’re talking about – those thoughts we all struggle with: thoughts of jealousy, self-centeredness, dishonesty, arrogance, bitterness, anger, and contempt. Those are the bad seeds, the poisonous thoughts that led to the rejection and crucifixion of our Lord and Messiah. But God, in his sovereignty, chose the Messiah to be a seed himself: with his resurrection from the dead, he sowed good seeds on our behalf, that overcame the poisonous seeds. He rose from the dead to give us a new life, not just for future eternity, but starting now, on Earth. Yeshua created a vine on our behalf, to withstand the snares of the Devil. Alone, we don’t stand a chance against the Devil. But if we become a branch in the vine of Yeshua, we receive good nourishment to bear good seeds.
“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:3-5)
So next time the thought pops in your mind – that you just can’t take any more, that you don’t have what it takes, that you’ve run out of strength, that you’re a failure, and that there’s no chance you’ll succeed, choose to reject that thought and replace it with a positive thought:
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Don’t let yourself go to bed thinking, “Nobody really understands me”, or “Nobody really loves me”… Instead, dwell on these thoughts: “God understands me, he knows my deepest and darkest sins and secrets, and yet – he still loves me!” Professional athletes work out every day for countless hours, to improve and prepare themselves to reach their goal of winning the competition. We must behave likewise in a spiritual sense. We’re talking about a mindset change.
We need to develop an inner foundation of spiritual truths: starting with the knowledge of God and basing our identity in him. When you feel like you’re going through spiritual attack go back to that same foundation, remind yourself of your identity in him as a son or daughter of God.
We need to remind ourselves again and again, to meditate on these eternal spiritual truths until they become an integral part of who we are and our identity.
One of the most important things is to know who we are in Christ. Without the knowledge of our identity as children of God, we’ll live in the constant mindset of underserving slaves:
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:15-17)
We must not only choose our thoughts and change the way we think about ourselves, but also concerning others. We’ve been taught to automatically judge others first. “He’s not the brightest.” “She lacks a sense of style”, “He’s such a pain!” “She’s uneducated” “He’s got two left feet” However, the New Testament teaches us to see each other through the eyes of the Messiah, to see one another as God’s creations:
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)
The New Testament beat the Psychologists by 2000 years!
In summary, leading psychologists of today have come to the conclusion that the best way to bring about real change is through cognitive behavioral therapy. That is, to change the way the mind thinks through training and re-conceptualization, and thereby bringing about behavioral and perceptional change. These conclusions, that are only being reached by the best psychologists of today, were already concluded in the New Testament, 2000 years ago.
It’s important to remember that our lives are rarely made up of events but of the way we respond to them. We don’t have control over most of life’s circumstances but we do have control over the way in which we respond. We need to choose anew every day whether we choose to dwell on the selfish thoughts of the flesh or whether we reject them and replace them with thoughts of the Spirit, that are intended to uplift, encourage, and bless us. In this world, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more capable you become and the more accomplishments you achieve. Likewise in a spiritual manner.
So now that you know, there are no excuses. Start today! Be aware of every thought that enters your mind and ask the Holy Spirit for help to identify, discern, and suppress negative thoughts, and to replace them with positive thoughts. It’s easier said than done, but in the end – it’s all worth it.
There are 13 levels of consciousness found within the teachings of the Neshnabek that I learned as a youth.
These 13 teachings on the wheel of time are not exactly the same as Hebrew teachings but correspond greatly with them. Please read with an open mind and allow the Holy One Epijmendot to bring truth to the mind. We have many teachings about the universe and the world we live in. Also, this present world was not meant to last forever as some may think. There is just enough fresh water, fresh air, and fresh food to last for a time, and we are already in times and a half, as my old people used to tell us, and that was some 75 years ago now.