Now Will Be

Being a grammar-nut of sorts, when I really noticed the grammar in John 12:31, I had to reread it. I’ll share why in just a minute. First, let me give a touch of set-up for the verse.

It’s the week of Passover. Jesus will be crucified this weekend. And His soul is troubled because of the pain. But He is determined to fulfill His purpose. So He prays aloud, “Father, glorify Your name.”

Then a voice comes from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

While the onlookers wonder exactly what’s going on, Jesus explains for them.

Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.

Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples unto Myself.”

-John 12:30-32 (emphasis mine)

“Now” implies right at this time. “Will be” indicates at a future time. Yet Jesus says the ruler of this world will be cast out now. When?

When He is lifted up from the earth.

Typically, you hear that phrase “lifted up” referring to praising Jesus. And I suppose that applies. But it is not what Jesus was talking about.

Jesus referred to His crucifixion. Even the people who heard Him knew that. They asked (I paraphrase), “What do you mean, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? The law says the Christ will live forever. Who are you talking about?”

So Jesus’ crucifixion is the “now.” At Jesus’ crucifixion was the judgment of the world, and at Jesus’ crucifixion the ruler of this world will be cast out.

See the contradiction of time? I find it fascinating. Here’s what I think it means.

The ruler of this world is already defeated.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in [the cross].

-Colossians 2:15 (NKJV)

At the cross, Jesus overcame the power Satan had held since Adam and Eve sinned. On the records, Satan is listed “defeated.”

But the official casting-out ceremony is yet to be.

In Revelation 20:10, we read how, at the very end of the battle, the devil is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. (Isn’t it fun to read the end of the Book?) For now, he roams the earth “like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (see 1 Peter 5:8)

Satan still exerts power, yes. It is foolish to discount his schemes and his strength. But it is also wise to remember that much of his power lies in his skill to deceive.

Jesus is the Truth. (see John 14:6) And He promises that the Truth will set us free. (see John 8:32) Free from sin. Free from shame. Free from Satan.

Doesn’t mean there won’t be a long battle–maybe a grueling, crushing, desperate battle. But victory is eventually guaranteed if you press closer to Jesus without backing down, without wavering toward the world, without losing heart. Because the foe is already defeated.

Live now for what will be.

-Miss Darcy

P.S. Maybe I’m reading more into the wording than is there. Bear with me. I love to explore the richness of words.

Wisdom, a Poem

(I have a guest post today. A poem by my sister, Leah Fornier. Read it slowly. You might even want to read it twice. It’s that deep. And I love the wordplay.)

Wisdom

By Leah Fornier

We worship wisdom and the wise.
Where are the wise?
We search for understanding.
Where is understanding?
What is worldly wisdom and understanding?
They are foolishness.
Fools are we to follow
The worldly wisdom of the wise.
Who is wise?
Is it not God who has made
Our wisdom foolish?
The world in its wisdom
Forgot the wisdom of the most high God:
The God who made wisdom,
And gave wisdom.
The God who sent the message of salvation
Through the foolishness of His wisdom.
Can we then say, ‘That is foolish,’
Or, ‘That is wise’?
Do we know the wisdom
Of the God of wisdom?
What can we understand,
We, who scorned the Savior, as foolishness?
But who can say,
We who know not wisdom,
What is foolishness?
Christ is the foolishness of God,
Which is yet much wiser
Than the wisdom of man.
Christ is the wisdom of God,
For those who seek wisdom –
Foolishness in the light of worldly wisdom,
But wisdom in the light of God’s foolishness.
The foolishness of all who believe
Is the wisdom of God,
Made manifest to us through Jesus Christ,
The foolishness of God,
And the salvation of man.
This is wisdom.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

-1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)

-Miss Darcy

Understanding the Headship Veiling

(I went back and forth today about what I wanted to write, but this topic was pretty important to me several years ago, and it was interesting to research it.)

Maybe you’re thinking, What on earth is “Headship Veiling”?

See, in school, I used a lot of Mennonite curricula. (Loved their math, English, and Bible teaching programs.) And one doctrine the Mennonites focus on is the Headship Veiling, which is their interpretation of the passage in 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul says a woman is not to pray with her head uncovered.

Well, the teaching is in there. You can’t make it go away by ignoring it. And I didn’t want to be one of those people who says, “Oh, that was for their time. It isn’t relevant to us.” The minute you start saying that about different Bible passages, you are one step away from tossing out the whole Bible.

Now there are two main interpretations of this passage (besides the idea that it isn’t relevant to us). One is that a woman should wear a literal cloth covering on her head. The other is that she must wear her hair long for her covering.

Now the Mennonites teach that a born-again woman wears a literal covering. So I read the passage and I could see where they get it from. Paul spends nearly half the chapter explaining this. I read along through the first thirteen verses, thinking that while I didn’t (and still don’t) fully comprehend his reasons, he definitely says it’s important that a woman cover her head.

Then you get to verse 14, and all of a sudden he’s writing about hair length. What does that have to do with wearing a covering?

Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

Does not even nature itself teach that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?

But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.

-1 Corinthians 11:13-15

Ah, that’s where the hair comes in. Her hair is her covering.

But the Mennonites still maintain that a physical covering–a veil–is required in addition to the hair.

Who’s right?

I turned to koine Greek to see if the original language of the New Testament shed any light.

First I looked up “covering.” The word means “something thrown around one, i.e., a mantle or cloak.” I thought, Well, that sounds more like long, flowing hair than a little cap or bonnet.

Then I looked up “long hair.” In koine Greek, this word means “locks, as ornamental.”

I did this part of my study with a good old Strong’s concordance, the kind that weighs about 50 pounds and you have to use the King James Version to find your verse. I was fairly well convinced that the hair was the covering. Then I got a chance to peek at my cousin’s  Greek interlinear New Testament, and guess what clinched the findings for me.

A preposition.

Yes, that little word “for.” The verse says, “her hair is given her for a covering.”

The Greek preposition is pronounced “ahn-TEE.” Spelled in English characters, it looks like this: anti. Seem familiar?

It means “instead of.” So the verse could read, “her ornamental hair is given to her instead of a covering.”

And I was so glad to see that. Maybe I take things a little too seriously, but I was so glad to know for certain what I believed on this topic.

The locks of hair are the covering. So how long is long enough? Longer than a “typical” man’s style, or never-touch-it-with-the-scissors?  I’ve come to believe that the style should look feminine; decorative; distinctly ornamental. As opposed to a man’s style, which is more for practicality.

But…

We had it all wrapped up neatly. We know what’s right, and all those other people are wrong, right?

Look at verse 16 of our chapter. After Paul spends all this time explaining the practice of Headship Veiling, as the Mennonites call it, he writes:

But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

-1 Corinthians 11:16

What? You’re saying it doesn’t matter, after all that fuss?

Not, perhaps, that it doesn’t matter, but that it’s not as important as we might make it. It’s not worth becoming contentious, breaking relationships, and splitting the church fellowship.

One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

-Romans 14:5

To me, this Headship Veiling is one of the minor issues. “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.” And live by it.

I haven’t found anything in the Greek to indicate that ornamental (long) hair on a man is, in fact, acceptable. That’s pretty straightforward–even nature teaches that it’s a shame. But, back to Romans 14:5. “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.” It’s not worth breaking fellowship. If you listen to the Lord long enough, He’ll let you know what He wants you to do.

And by now, if you’ve read this far, you probably know way more than you ever cared to know on the subject of 1 Corinthians 11. But I always think it’s fun to dive into God’s Word. And, of course, I love the Greek.

-Miss Darcy

Why Independence?

On July Fourth, we celebrated Independence Day, the day when the world-changing Declaration of Independence was signed. But the Declaration did more than declare political independence.  Most of the document is devoted to explaining why the American Colonies decided to “dissolve the political bands” that connected them with Great Britain.

Mind you, much of the philosophy behind the Declaration doesn’t come straight out of the Bible, though the writer does appeal to God to justify this political move. The Declaration is full of Enlightenment thinking, which can be traced to John Locke way back in the 1600’s. Enlightenment philosophy pushed back against the “sovereign right of kings,” which had dominated thinking for so long.

The sovereign right of kings used the Bible to justify the king’s utter and absolute authority.  Enlightenment philosophy countered that the individual citizens of a country have certain rights as individuals, regardless of who is in power.

So, on to the reasoning Mr. Thomas Jefferson gave for seceding, as it were, from Great Britain. The second sentence in the document reads thus:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Are not they inspiring words?

We hold these truths

Wait right there. Notice that word truths.  Apparently early American thinking acknowledged absolute truth. In fact, Mr. Jefferson proffers truth as the basis for independence. My, but haven’t we come a long way since then?

to be self-evident,

And here begins a list of the truths which are the foundation of freedom.

that all men are created equal,

Now that one’s important. It actually took the United States a while to fully embrace that, as evidenced by slavery and segregation.

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,

If the Creator doesn’t endow them, we certainly have no way of determining what they are, and the founders of America recognized this. After all, they believed they had a right to have a representative in government if they were to be taxed. The British Crown denied this right. If men are responsible for choosing rights, then the person with the most power is correct. Period. But if Someone who transcends human affairs chooses the rights, then a person has those rights, no matter what. (I’m not saying God did or didn’t assign the rights Mr. Jefferson claimed. I’m saying Mr. Jefferson knew how to make a solid argument. He appealed to higher authority–the Maker of humankind. He acknowledged that his own opinion wasn’t enough.)

that among these are Life,

Come to think of it, we have yet to embrace these Rights for all humans in this country. Because extremely small people can be murdered at the convenience of their mothers (or sometimes fathers or grandparents).

Liberty,

Here I will include two definitions of liberty from Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language:

Natural liberty, consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state or exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.”

Civil liberty, is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty, so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty, not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. Civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.

‘The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.’
Ames.

In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty.”

I’m guessing that the Declaration refers to civil liberty, but see what you think.

and the pursuit of Happiness.

Actually, I believe mankind has a greater purpose than just pursuing happiness. I also believe that Christians have a duty to do more than pursue happiness. But for the citizens of a civilized nation, upon whom we wish to impose no particular religion, I suppose it makes a fine enough summation of a person’s desires.

(I might add here that the pursuit of personal happiness could become detrimental to others if your happiness came at the expense of another person’s welfare. Which is why governments are established.)

Fascinating–is it not?–the depth behind these words. I could go on (of course! Writers can get excessively long-winded). But I won’t. Here is a link to the transcript of the Declaration of Independence if you care to read it in its entirety. ‘Tis worth reading once in a while, perhaps even aloud. 

Good to remember where we came from.

-Miss Darcy

 

The God Above All Gods

Because I’m in a hurry today, I’ll give you this poem I wrote five years ago. Hope you enjoy it!

The Buddhists walk an eight-fold path
Pursuing peace of mind;
Forgiveness, though, they cannot find.
But my God, He is YAHWEH!

The Hindus worship many gods;
They work and try to please
Their cruel, wrathful deities.
But my God, He is YAHWEH!

Confucianists revere the dead;
They worship mortal men
Who struggled, just as they, with sin.
But my God, He is YAHWEH!

The Muslims worship Allah and
They work and hate and kill
Yet are not sure of heaven, still.
But my God, He is YAHWEH!

The Jews, they worship YAHWEH, from
His law they don’t depart;
Yet most of them don’t know his heart.
But my God, He is YAHWEH!

My YAHWEH is so beautiful.
He’s righteous, just, and true;
He’s merciful and loving, too.
Yes, my God, He is YAHWEH!

My YAHWEH sent his only Son
And let Him bear our sin,
Then poured His wrath at sin on Him!
Yes, my God, He is YAHWEH!

My YAHWEH left His Son to die
In that so horrid hour.
But soon He raised Him by His pow’r!
Yes, my God, He is YAHWEH!

So YAHWEH can forgive my sin;
Atonement has been made:
My debt His Son Jesus has paid.
Yes, my God, He is YAHWEH!

My YAHWEH loves me, I love Him,
I dwell within His hand;
He gives me strength for His command.
That’s why my God is YAHWEH!

-Miss Darcy

Terribly Awesome

In the New King James Version, Psalm 47:1-2 says:

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the LORD Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.

Is that not a glorious passage?

In the King James Version, it is exactly the same, except for one word.  It reads, “The Lord most high is terrible.” 

What?  Terrible?  Our God?  We are supposed to rejoice in that?  Ah, yes!

Take a closer look at the last word in the first verse. Triumph.  For me, anyway, that pulls up a picture of a battle, a completed battle, with one side standing victorious.  Our God is the triumphant One.  He vanquishes His enemies.

In fact, toward His enemies, He is devastating, terrifying, terrible.

And we rejoice in that?  Of course we do, unless we happen to be His enemy.  “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4b)  That’s pretty easy: God or the world.  Choose.

But for those who are God’s friends:

If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31b)

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

“The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you” (Deuteronomy 1:30a)

Our Lord promises to fight against our enemies, to make them His enemies.  He will be a terrible Enemy toward the spiritual forces that attack us.  And maybe even physical forces.

What wonderful protection, to have this terrifying Warrior on our side!

Fear not!  Rejoice!  For the LORD Most High is terrible!

-Miss Darcy

A Short Week?

Just for the fun of picking something to pieces, let us examine a phrase common enough in writing, “a few short weeks,” which I saw in a book by one of my favorite authors.

Whoever heard of a “short week” (except perhaps those six-day-week fanatics who thought seven-day-weeks were too Christian)?  A week is always seven days of 24 hours each.  No more, no less, never varying to either shorten or lengthen.

To human brains, which are not, I think, fundamentally mathematical, some weeks may seem longer or shorter.  This is only the faulty perception of the brain, which has way too much information to process to leave time for ticking off minutes.  And it is the spirit of the passing time that leads someone to describe a week as long or short.

Perhaps, though, there is a phrase to satisfy both technical and emotional requirements.  I present for consideration “a short few weeks.”  This refers to the few weeks as a period of time.  And for most situations, a few weeks is relatively short.  We might also say, “only a few weeks,” once again emphasizing the perceived shortness of the time span, but not insulting the individual weeks by implying that they shorten or lengthen according to our mood.  Accuracy and emotion hand in hand.

Of course, this is really insignificant in the scheme of things.  I just love to play with words.

-Miss Darcy