Thursday, July 14, 2005

Does Christianity Preach Fear? p2


NOESIS

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:
and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Proverbs 9:10

Sombrero Galaxy - Hubble Space Telescope - NASA [1]

Part 1 of this series looked at [the fear of the LORD] and what this means from the Biblical perspective. In this article we will take a look at [realizing fear]. In following articles, we will look at varying arguments that are used claiming the Bible teaches fear and so, the need for Christians to preach fear.

So then.... what is fear actually?

Fear is... apprehension through awareness. Once realized, the essence of consummation and fulfillment causes, cognizance. This is to say that, recognition comes through understanding. Fear is then; knowledge, cognition. Therefore, because I am able to perceive this truth through knowledge, the above quote of Proverbs 9:10 reveals to us that; wisdom comes through understanding. Therefore, the essence of noesis is understanding. This is the beginning of wisdom.
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD. Psalms 14:4

.."I'm thinking the more knowledge we absorb, the more we realize what and how much we don't know. To me, that's enlightenment."
The Knowledge of The Holy Has Been Revealed

The truth of God's wisdom has been revealed unto His creation. The beginning of the knowledge of God is that; He loves us. And because we are His creation, He is the moral authority of mankind. This truth has been revealed through the evident realization of Israel and is the record of the Old Testament, confirmed by the prophets and fulfilled through the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, The living God, "Now in the things which we are saying the chief point [is this]: We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man." (Hebrews 8:2-3).

Fear 1: a feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger. A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear. 2:A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish. 3: extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power. 4: reason for dread or apprehension: To be afraid or frightened of, to be uneasy about, to consider probable; expect: I fear you are wrong. 5: Archaic. To feel fear within (oneself). Synonyms: fear, fright, dread, terror, horror, panic, alarm, dismay, consternation, trepidation.
  • #3 describes how the Bible teaches; fear towards God.
Fear is a Fact of Life

Do you doubt this truth? Who does not fear something? Do you fear cancer, burning alive, going to war, being tortured, AIDS, losing a limb, environmental pollutants, chemical warfare, radiation poisoning, wrongfully accused and sentenced to prison, death of a parent, child or sibling, loss of finances, being robbed, raped, murdered, an airplane crash and etc, etc.. Even Santa Claus preaches fear!

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town! He's making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty or nice. He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!

The list of fears is too long and exhaustive for this article, but it is my hope that you may consider my point of view. On the one hand, the fear of something is a good thing. Take cancer for example. People choose not to smoke cigarettes for fear of getting cancer. Does a person preach the fear of smoking because they are afraid of cancer, which cigarettes are a known cause? This position does make sense does it not? On the other hand, the reverse is true as well. That is, even though a person may not smoke cigarettes, this does not mean that they will not get cancer.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
The fact is, that fear is an element of life which may help us in many ways as to determine something which may be beneficial to us, whether that fear may be realized or not. I may never get cancer, but it is true that I do fear cancer. Who wouldn't? Whether this would take years to bring on such as from smoking, or from something that can become instant, say eating arsenic, fear is only relative to the immediate consequence of whatever circumstance develops.
"Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable". - Harry Emerson Fosdick
Say for example, a helicopter was hovering over your house and fired a missile aimed at you! This would certainly cause fear, would it not? This would definitely be frightening, causing one to be in terror. On the other hand, say you got a little paper cut; are you now in fear because you may develop a serious infection, due to the possibility of infectious diseases? I am reminded of the beginning days of HIV and the fear and hysteria that was caused through the speculation of ignorance; the lack of knowledge, therefore, the lack of wisdom and understanding.
"Fear makes us feel our humanity". - Benjamin Disraeli
Be Ye Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

The most common claim about Christianity preaching fear is based from a place called; Hell. Jesus taught about such a reality, such a place. Jesus spoke much concerning this condition in which mankind is now chained and bound, that of wickedness and evil, that of death. Because of this eternal truth, that wickedness and evil exist, Heaven cannot be Heaven unless there is a Hell and because of this truth, Jesus warned mankind of such a final condition of the eternal soul.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:13-14
His message, his life, fulfilled the Mosaic Law, through the servitude of a sinless life, so that condemnation into an eternal Hell, the penalty for sin, is now ransomed by His death, making final, the Atonement for sin. Jesus came to fulfill the Fathers demand; the price of His Holy and Precious blood. For the life is in the blood (Lev:17:11). Jesus came into this world to do the will of the Father, to testify of Him, and to drink of the bitter cup of His indignation, His holy wrath and judgment of sin. Because of Him, we are able to profoundly escape such condemnation, which is to be greatly feared and recognized.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Galatians 3:13
Friend, have you understood this truth? For the Bible is a polemic against sin, that which Israel and many others have testified to. God is asking you today, as in that day, consider and understand; are you perfect in righteousness and in holiness? Fear not and come! For we have such a great salvation. "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still."(Isaiah 5:25)

Songs of Solomon 7:9
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

To come fully to the knowledge in which Solomon spoke in this verse, gain the wisdom and understanding in which the Lord Jesus spoke these words:

Mark 14:25
Verily I say unto you,
I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine,
until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

  • asleep to speak (Isa:35:6, 5:19,20, Acts:2:47, Eph:5:14). Jesus Christ's first miracle turned water into "good wine kept until now" (John 2:10); just as the Gospel revives those asleep and dying under the law (Prov:31:6, Rom:7:9,10,24,25,8:1)
This reveals that Jesus loved us because He willingly endured the Cross, not fearing torture, shame, ridicule, and the indignation; being despised and forsaken (Acts:2:27). For it was His Joy and Passion to face such fear, such death, for those who through wisdom, will choose the understanding of holiness, recognizing the desire to escape such an eternal condition, which realizes the lost condition of sin. For the law was given by Moses, but it could not deliver from the penalty of sin; that of death. For the law was given to show that man could not keep God's perfect divine laws. The Law had no mercy, for redemption pointed towards a better sacrifice, that of grace and truth, which came by Jesus Christ, the only Begotten (John 1:17).
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? Hebrews 1:5
Because Hell is not made immediately known to us, the fear concerning this place is greatly diminished and leaves people complacent, not fearful of such a reality. Nonetheless, fear is the same substance, the same essence, no matter how, or when, someone experiences it. This is to say, that the truth of something is only the realization of it. In part one of this series, I asked a simple question about making left turns during rush hour traffic. The question was; "if the consequence of turning left meant your punishment would be hell, because you broke the law, would you still do it"? I believe most people are able to answer such a simple question. Yet ironically, very few people actually do consider such a question and bringing it to realization, even though they have understood and are aware. Yet because of the lack of immediacy, people will remain complacent and satisfied, lacking fear, even to the point of rejecting, denying and professing such a condition cannot be true, for it has not happened to them!
Lamentations 3:46-58
All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction. Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven. Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city. Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause.

They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.


I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.

O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.
The Truth of Something is the Essence of it's Realization.

An example of this would be a Chainsaw. Do you fear the potential of being mortally wounded by using this device? You would be wise to be aware of such a situation, because those who use this device will tell you of its simplicity, yet the awesome power that this tool contains. I am confident that chainsaws are in use the world over. So my question is, where is the preaching of fear for chainsaws throughout the world? This does sound silly I know, but a more reasonable explanation could be found by first examining the owners manual, then if you decide to use this device, maybe ask an experienced user of this tool to show you how to use it, what to be fearful of, what to be watchful of, the proper way to handle such a device, the need for eye protection, maintenance, and so on..
"Chain saws are powerful tools that make your job of cutting firewood and fallen trees and removing small trees much easier. But their power makes them very dangerous tools. Most accidents are the result of a moving chain contacting the operator in some way. The good news for you is that there are several things you can do to keep yourself from becoming a victim. [2]
In the same like manner, the Bible (the owners manual for humanity) explains to us what happens to those who are judged and condemned to Hell upon their death. Do you doubt this because you cannot realize truth of such a place? Don't worry, because you are not alone, and as a matter of fact, people actively deny such a place exists. Yet the reality of this truth will only be realized when it's essence is made fully manifest. And so, the question is; why take such a great risk to deny or avoid something that is revealed as truth? [3]
Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Isaiah 28:15
The full realization of this verse can be found in Ecclesiastes 8:8:
No one has authority over the wind to restrain it, and there is no authority over the day of death; there is no furlough in battle, and wickedness will not allow those who practice it to escape.
Revealed throughout the Bible, God tells us that at the time of death, it will be too late to change our mind. The reason this is so is because of the intense fear of such realization. That is, God does not cause people to choose Him through, the use of fear. We are to come to the knowledge that God is awesome, in power and judgment, and this will cause us to be fearful, but this is not why, or how, we will choose God, because we will visually see Him then, and the sudden terrifying manifest realization that truth then becomes witnessed. No friend, this can be done now, in this day. Today is the day of salvation (2Cor:6:2). By then it is too late, for we are asked today to consider, are we sinners? God is perfect and perfection requires judgment. It is that simple friends. You fear cancer, whether you smoke or not because the reality of such truth is made evident to you. The fear of God is none different, friend. (Romans 1:18).
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. Luke 13:28
Realization of Truth Through The Mosaic Law

The following verse will demonstrate to us why the Mosaic Law was used in ancient Israel. To clearly understand the meaning of [the wages of sin is death] we must realize that this is the spiritual understanding of what takes place, after death. Prior to the crucifixion of Jesus [fear of; punishment] was practiced for disobedience to the law. The same is true for those who practice disobedience of God's commands today, even though they have life in this world now. God does not strike dead anyone in this day for rejecting him. Yet the truth is, that after we depart this physical world, we enter into the spiritual world of eternity, and the sudden realization that we are eternal beings, created in the image of God.
The Lord says: I will not relent from punishing Judah for three crimes, even four, because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept His statutes. The lies that their ancestors followed have led them astray. Amos 2:4
The wages of sin is eternal death. The wage of Jesus' death is eternal life. God has asked the only important question a person could ever consider; are you a sinner? If you are able to realize this simple truth, then God has asked you to consider even that question in which He cannot answer. What about those who reject? This should cause us to stop and consider. This is the beginning of understanding the holy.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; Hebrews 2:3
The full explanation of Hebrews 2:3 is found with the example of Noah.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Hebrews 11:7
The judgment placed upon all mankind for sin, has been revealed through the biblical scriptures as evidenced by Israel, through the Mosaic Law. In that day, the Mosaic Law was used to fully realize truth. If you broke the law, you would suffer the consequence. The Israelites willingly received the law at Mt. Sinai. God gave these laws through Moses, to make certain that all understood the seriousness of his demands. By using such a law, God had revealed his eternal mercy and forgiveness, for at the very heart of the Mosaic Law was a Mercy seat [4]. The very center of life and belief in Israel, was the Temple, where the Mercy Seat was given.
Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the vestibule [of the temple] and its buildings, treasuries, upper rooms, inner rooms, and the room for the place of atonement. 1 Chronicles 28:11
God promised Israel blessings if they would hearken unto His ways. And if they turned away, they would turn from His blessing to that of curses. For when we turn away from the blessings of God there can be nothing but curses. This is a picture, if you will, of what Hell will be like. A picture of what the consequence for rejecting truth will bring.
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 2:6
The historical record of ancient Israel (The Old Testament) is given to us for the true testament of God, revealing His holiness and righteousness, what He expects from his creation, revealing His morality and judgment of; wickedness and evil. For God to be righteous and holy He must judge sin. This is true for all people of all times and cultures. All are weighed on the same holy scales.
And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: Deuteronomy 17:19

"The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else". - Oswald Chambers
Israel was the realization of this truth, given to us as to know and to be clear that God is our Creator and that we should have reverent fear of his power and majesty, of his everlasting tender mercies towards the creation He loves. The Bible claims in no uncertain terms that this is what happened to Israel. God will redeem His Israel because of their rejection of Him, causing their destruction, hardships and complete humiliation. These are His chosen people, His chosen Land, not because of them but because of His Holy and Righteous Name (Ezekiel 36).
Leviticus 26:14-39. A Curse To The Disobedient

But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; and if ye shall reject my statutes, and if your soul abhor mine ordinances, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant; I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. Leviticus 26:14-16
Preaching Fear Does Have Merit

An entire array of subjects preach fear. Such as; governments, doctors, nutritionists, Internal Revenue Service, weather forecasters, seat belt laws, homeland security, crash test dummies, warning signs and labels, safety proof bottles, faulty wiring, and on and on, etc, etc. All these subjects have merit. Yet the difference of:
what is the motive will be determined by what is true.
What fear do you preach? Is it true and can you prove it as valid? Whatever fear it is that you preach, you will do so with all conviction. It is my hope that you will realize and understand, in all wisdom, why the Bible declares and makes known this simple subject through the history of Israel, God's own chosen people, land and Son. The Old Testament is given to us to realize the prophesied emulation and fulfillment of the New Testament, that of our Lord and King, the only begotten son of God, Christ Jesus (John:1:14).

Hosea 11:1
When Israel was a child, then I loved him,
and called my son out of Egypt.

In following articles of this series, we will examine different claims which accuse Christianity of; preaching fear which are similar to the following statement, which was taken from an Internet conversation. Part three of this series will examine the following statement and see if it has any merit.
"The church is nothing more than a control freak. The preachers, preaching fear, to be afraid that you will go to HELL if you don't do what I tell you to do. Poor people that have no means of finances, can be controlled like that".
The following four examples are what I consider to be the main arguments used by people to make the claim that Christianity; preaches fear: In following articles we will look at these four examples and starting with Part Three of this series, we will examine the claim of; Control. Are these claims true? The answers may surpise you!
  • 1) Control
  • 2) Money; Big Business
  • 3) Intolerance; creates racism, bigotry and hatred
  • 4) It is not the story of Love.
So.. Stay tuned, as we are just beginning to examine; preaching fear.

2Corinthians 5:11
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.


Discussions on this article

[1] M104 Sombrero Galaxy Hubble Space Telescope - NASA
[2] Protreptikos Monism and Pluralism (Essence and Existence) A publication of Introduction to Philosophy
[3] National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Project UCS/CCU 306075-03-1
[4] Mercy Seat Crosswalk.com

Noesis: The psychological result of perception and learning and reasoning; cognition, knowledge.


Copyright Wendell Leahy
published by Suite101.com

2 Comments:

Anonymous dubh said...

Is this a new site, W? Or have I been here before. Either way--very very nice!

2:15 PM  
Blogger Wendell said...

Hi Dubh!... Yes indeed, you have visited before! And thank you for visitng again! (smile)...

2:59 PM  

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