After this great victory, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram in the Valley of Salem, the valley of the kings, north of Jerusalem in Genesis, 14:17-24.  King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine because he was the priest, כֹהֵ֖ן (kohen), of the God Most High, לְאֵ֥ל (leel) עֶלְיֽוֹן (Elyown).  He then blessed Abram.  This episode has another name for God other than Yahweh. Many have seen Salem as Jerusalem.  This combination of a king priest of Jerusalem, Melchizedek, with his bread and wine, became a figure or allegory for Christ with his bread and wine, within the priestly order of Melchizedek.  In fact, the Christian NT book called the Letter to the Hebrews, especially chapters 5-8, talked extensively about Melchizedek and Jesus rather than the Jewish Levitical priesthood.  This emphasis on Melchizedek can be attributed to the work known as 2 Enoch.  The theological universe of 2 Enoch was deeply rooted in the Jewish apocalyptic literature of the Second Temple period.  However, the end of 2 Enoch had five chapters about Melchizedek, chapters 69-73.  Clearly, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews had a high regard for Melchizedek, unlike all the other Christian authors of the canonical New Testament, who never mentioned him.  This Melchizedek uttered the famous saying, “Blessed be, בָּר֤וּךְ (baruk), Abram, אַבְרָם֙ (Aḇram), by the God Most High, לְאֵ֥ל (leel) עֶלְיֽוֹן (Elyown), maker of heaven and earth, קֹנֵ֖ה (qoneh) שָׁמַ֥יִם (samayim) וָאָֽרֶץ׃ (waares)!  Blessed be God Most High, וּבָרוּךְ֙ (ubaruk) אֵ֣ל (El) עֶלְי֔וֹן (Elyown), who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”  So far, God has been called Elohim, Yahweh, Elohim Yahweh, and now Elyown and El Elyown.  Abram gave 10% of everything to King Melchizedek.  Perhaps this was a foreshadowing of things to come or was already in place concurrently at the time of this writing.  The king of Sodom said he wanted the people, but not the goods that had been conquered.  Abram refused to take any goods, because he did not want to be known as someone who got rich out of this battle, since he already was rich.  He even swore by the Most-High God, the creator of heaven and earth, as mentioned by Melchizedek.  Abram took nothing except what his men had eaten and the Amorite men’s share.  He wanted the other local kings to get their share.  Abram was a good neighbor.  What do you know about Melchizedek?

The beast from the earth (chapter 13)

Then John saw another beast rise up from the earth, who had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon.  This earth beast had all the authority of the first sea beast.  This beast wanted all the humans to worship the first beast with the healed mortal wound.  This earthly beast performed great signs, so that it deceived humans.  It wanted the humans to make an image of the beast that was wounded by the sword but yet still lived.  Then he gave breath to this image, so that the image could speak, causing those not worshiping him to be killed.  Everyone was to be marked, either on the forehead or the right hand, no matter whether they were rich or poor, small or great, free or slave.  No one could buy or sell without the mark of the beast or the number of its name.  You needed wisdom to understand that the number of the beast was 666.  Have you ever heard about 666?

Scorpion-tailed locusts

Locusts and scorpions are also mentioned in Revelation.  The attack of the locusts is similar to the plague of locusts in ancient Egypt.  These locusts had the poison of scorpions.  Locusts and scorpions have been also applied by some commentators to the armies of Mohammad in their wars of conquest.  Authority was given to them as a scourge against apostate Christianity.  However, there were no Muslims at the time of Christ, so that this anti-Muslim interpretation does not hold up.  What do you know about Muslims?

When will you judge the inhabitants of the earth? (Rev 6:10)

“They cried

With a loud voice,


‘Sovereign Lord,


And true,

How long will we be

Before you judge

And avenge

Our blood

On the inhabitants

Of the earth?’”

καὶ ἔκραξαν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγοντες Ἕως πότε, ὁ Δεσπότης ὁ ἅγιος καὶ ἀληθινός, οὐ κρίνεις καὶ ἐκδικεῖς τὸ αἷμα ἡμῶν ἐκ τῶν κατοικούντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς;

John said, “They cried (καὶ ἔκραξαν) with a loud voice (φωνῇ μεγάλῃ), saying (λέγοντες), ‘Sovereign Lord (ὁ Δεσπότης), holy (ὁ ἅγιος) and true (καὶ ἀληθινός), how long (Ἕως πότε) will we be before you judge (οὐ κρίνεις) and avenge (καὶ ἐκδικεῖς) our blood (τὸ αἷμα ἡμῶν) on the inhabitants (ἐκ τῶν κατοικούντων) of the earth (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς)?’”  These martyred Christians under the heavenly altar cried out to God.  They called him their sovereign Lord, holy, and true.  They wanted to know how long they would have to wait until God pronounced his judgment and avenged their blood on the wicked ones living on earth.  Are you expecting the final judgment day?

You are wretched (Rev 3:17)

“You say,

‘I am rich.

I have prospered.

I need nothing.’

You do not realize

That you are wretched,




And naked.”

ὅτι λέγεις ὅτι Πλούσιός εἰμι καὶ πεπλούτηκα καὶ οὐδὲν χρείαν ἔχω, καὶ οὐκ οἶδας ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ ταλαίπωρος καὶ ἐλεεινὸς καὶ πτωχὸς καὶ τυφλὸς καὶ γυμνός,

John indicated that the Son of Man said, “You say (ὅτι λέγεις), ‘I am rich (ὅτι Πλούσιός εἰμι).  I have prospered (καὶ πεπλούτηκα).  I need nothing (καὶ οὐδὲν χρείαν ἔχω).’  You do not realize (καὶ οὐκ οἶδας) that you are (ὅτι σὺ εἶ) wretched (ὁ ταλαίπωρος), pitiable (καὶ ἐλεεινὸς), poor (καὶ πτωχὸς), blind (καὶ τυφλὸς), and naked (καὶ γυμνός).”  The Son of Man was mad about their pretentious wealth.  They claimed to be rich and not needing anything.  They did not realize the real situation that they were in.  They were really wretched, miserable, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked in the sight of God.  They thought that their wealth was a shield from all human problems.  They were wrong.  Just the opposite.  They were all the things that they thought that they were avoiding.  Do you think that wealth will solve your personal problems?

I will make you a pillar in the temple of God (Rev 3:12)

“If they prevail,

I will make them

A pillar

In the temple

Of my God.

They will never go out

Of it.

I will write

On them

The name of my God,

And the name

Of the city of my God,

The new Jerusalem

That comes down

From my God

Out of heaven,

And my own name.”

Ὁ νικῶν, ποιήσω αὐτὸν στῦλον ἐν τῷ ναῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ μου, καὶ ἔξω οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃ ἔτι, καὶ γράψω ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Θεοῦ μου καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς πόλεως τοῦ Θεοῦ μου, τῆς καινῆς Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἡ καταβαίνουσα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ μου, καὶ τὸ ὄνομά μου τὸ καινόν

John indicated that the Son of Man said, “If they prevail (Ὁ νικῶν), I will make them (ποιήσω αὐτὸν) a pillar (στῦλον) in the temple (ἐν τῷ ναῷ) of my God (τοῦ Θεοῦ μου).  They will never go out of it (καὶ ἔξω οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃ ἔτι).  I will write (καὶ γράψω) on them (ἐπ’ αὐτὸν) the name (τὸ ὄνομα) of my God (τοῦ Θεοῦ μου), and the name (καὶ τὸ ὄνομα) of the city (τῆς πόλεως) of my God (τοῦ Θεοῦ μου), the new Jerusalem (τῆς καινῆς Ἱερουσαλὴμ) that comes down (ἡ καταβαίνουσα) from my God (ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ μου) out of heaven (ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ), and my new name (καὶ τὸ ὄνομά μου τὸ καινόν).”  The Son of Man indicated that if they prevailed, he would make them a pillar in the eternal temple of God.  A pillar was a symbol of permanence.  They would be permanently in eternity.  They would be part of the living temple of God, as an honored person.  They would no longer be unstable.  There will be a lot of references to this heavenly temple throughout this work.  In fact, the Son of Man called this eternal temple the New Jerusalem Temple.  The prevailing Christians would never leave eternity.  The Son of Man was going to write on them the name of the New Jerusalem.  He referred to God as “my God”, not God the Father.  Thus, he was speaking from his human nature.  They would bear the name of God, the New Jerusalem, and the new name of Jesus Christ.  Clearly, this was meant for a Jewish Christian audience, but was open to all.  Would you want to be a pillar in the new heavenly Jerusalem Temple?

Born of God does not sin (1 John 5:18)

“We know

That all those

Who are born of God

Do not sin.

God protects

The ones who were born of God.

The evil one

Does not touch them.”

Οἴδαμεν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει, ἀλλ’ ὁ γεννηθεὶς ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ τηρεῖ αὐτόν, καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς οὐχ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ.

This author said, “We know (Οἴδαμεν) that all those who are born (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος) of God (ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ) do not sin (οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει).  God protects (τηρεῖ αὐτόν) the ones who were born (ἀλλ’ ὁ γεννηθεὶς) of God (ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ).  The evil one (καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς) does not touch them (οὐχ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ).”  This author further elaborates that we know that anyone born of God does not sin.  This was the normal expectation of a new follower of Jesus Christ.  God then protected these newly born followers of the Son of God from the clutches of the evil one, the devil.  Only later in the fourth century with the infusion of many new Christians, did they allow for a second penance or reconciliation that was tied to the Lenten season with the catechumenates.  Are you born of God?

Righteous people do right things (1 John 2:29)

“If you know

That he is righteous,

You may be sure

That everyone who does right

Has been born

Of him.”

ἐὰν εἰδῆτε ὅτι δίκαιός ἐστιν, γινώσκετε ὅτι καὶ πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν δικαιοσύνην ἐξ αὐτοῦ γεγέννηται.

This author said, “If you know (ἐὰν εἰδῆτε) that he is righteous (ὅτι δίκαιός ἐστιν), you may be sure (γινώσκετε) that everyone (ὅτι καὶ πᾶς) who does right (ὁ ποιῶν τὴν δικαιοσύνην) has been born (γεγέννηται) of him (ἐξ αὐτοῦ).”  This author indicated that one way that you can tell a righteous person is if he does right things.  The righteous people have been reborn in Jesus Christ.  Baptism has made people righteous, as long as they continue to do the right things.  Are you righteous?

Draw near to God (Jas 4:8)

“Draw near

To God!

He will draw near

To you.

Cleanse your hands!

You sinners!

Purify your hearts!

You double-minded!”

ἐγγίσατε τῷ Θεῷ, καὶ ἐγγισεῖ ὑμῖν. καθαρίσατε χεῖρας, ἁμαρτωλοί, καὶ ἁγνίσατε καρδίας, δίψυχοι.

James said, “Draw near (ἐγγίσατε) to God (τῷ Θεῷ)!  He will draw near (καὶ ἐγγισεῖ) to you (ὑμῖν).  Cleanse (καθαρίσατε) your hands (χεῖρας)!  You sinners (ἁμαρτωλοί)!  Purify (καὶ ἁγνίσατε) your hearts (καρδίας)!  You double-minded (δίψυχοι)!”  This is the only time that this word appears in the NT writings, here in the Letter of James, δίψυχοι, that means of two minds, wavering, or double-minded.  James had this wonderful saying that resonates so well today.  If you draw near to God, he will draw near to you.  However, there were some stipulations and warnings.  James went into a diatribe against his Jewish Christian readers.  They were sinners with dirty hands.  They had to purify their hearts.  This imagery is from Psalm 24:3-4, “Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, those who do not lift up their soul to what is false, those who do not swear deceitfully” were the people who could enter the Temple.  However, his readers were double-minded, wishy-washy doubters who could not make up their minds.  The answer was simple.  Draw near to God.  Do not be a sinner with dirty hands and an impure heart.  Otherwise, they would never get near to God because of their lack of a strong faith.  Do you try to draw near to God?

The whole law (Jas 2:10)

“Whoever keeps

The whole law,

But fails

In one point

Has become accountable

For all of it.”

ὅστις γὰρ ὅλον τὸν νόμον τηρήσῃ, πταίσῃ δὲ ἐν ἑνί, γέγονεν πάντων ἔνοχος.

James said, “Whoever (ὅστις) keeps (τηρήσῃ) the whole law (γὰρ ὅλον τὸν νόμον), but fails (πταίσῃ) in one point (δὲ ἐν ἑνί) has become (γέγονεν) accountable (ἔνοχος) for all of it (πάντων).”  James pointed out that if you say that you are going to follow the whole Torah or the law of God, then if you fail in one point, you are liable for all of it.  Failure or a transgression against one law is denying the power of God in all the laws.  They were disrespecting God in failing to do one law.  It is all God’s will, so that they are like people who have stopped believing in God.  Do you believe that every sin is showing disrespect to God?