What if I were to tell you that I am in possession of what can only be described as the most offensive message in history? A message so offensive to humanity that entire wars and campaigns of brutal persecution have been waged to stamp it out? A message so hated that people are still being beaten, tortured, raped, imprisoned, burned alive, beheaded, hung, impaled, and fed to half-starved wild animals for not only refusing to refrain from sharing this message, but for refusing to stop adhering to its central tenets? When it comes to messages in life, this one hits with the force of millions upon millions of nuclear weapons and fundamentally changes every life it impacts, and I am going to share it with you.
Before I set about laying out this message, there is a lot of background that must be covered. The story of this message begins in a place that is both well known and unknown all in one go. No one is quite sure where this place is physically located and yet this place has served as the source for all of humanity, the good, the bad, and the brutally ugly. This place is the Garden of Eden, and this place is where history’s most offensive message began to take shape.
Where we begin is in Genesis 3:1-7,
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
Prior to the moment when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden, the universe had existed in perfect balance. Neither Adam nor Eve were subject to death and decay, which means that they were meant to be immortal. The Serpent changed all of that when he targeted Eve because she was the most vulnerable. Adam had failed in his charge as the first created, and as husband, to properly instruct Eve on the only Law God had given him, which was,
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” ~Genesis 2:17
Note the discrepancy between Eve’s understanding of the command given by God (Gen. 3:2-3) and the actual command He gave (Gen. 2:17). This is a case of failure on the part of Adam because he was the one who was supposed to have told Eve about that tree. It was also his job to instruct her properly and ensure that she understood. He failed all around, and topped it off with a brilliant example of how to be apathetic as a man because Scripture shows that he was present for the conversation between Eve and the Serpent. This means that he did not have a single excuse for what happened next, which makes his attempt to shift blame when questioned by the Lord even worse (Gen. 3:12). When he says, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat”, he was seeking to place blame on both God and Eve for what was clearly his own fault. What we have here is the first recorded case of “If I’m going down, so are you” in history.
Where Adam went wrong, and how he became the one to whom the credit for original sin goes, is that it was his responsibility to teach Eve what she needed to know for life in the Garden, and he failed to do so. It was his irresponsibility that left her vulnerable to begin with, and it was that vulnerability, combined with feminine pride, that led to her decision. This does nothing to absolve her of guilt, as her act was borne out of pride, but it does show where this whole series of events began, and where we are to look first when it comes to failure in marriage and the home. Adam was Eve’s husband, her spiritual cover, and the one who bore the most responsibility for her entire life. She came out of him, and therefore, it was his responsibility to teach, guide, and lead her.
From this point on, things would not remain the same. God expels them from the Garden, and the struggle begins from there. However, there are a few elements that I want to bring to your attention before we move on from here. First, Adam and Eve were the first Gnostics in history. One of the primary driving forces behind Gnosticism is the idea that there is hidden divine knowledge that can elevate people to a divine status. For example, Celtic Druidism taught that reincarnated souls would go through time gaining what they called “authority”, eventually evolving into a god-like status, which is like the teachings of the Mormon Church, though there are some major differences. This is relevant because Genesis 3 shows us the origin of that lie. Genesis 3:5 says, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”. This is the birth of Gnosticism, a heresy that we still must deal with in the modern age, the very first heresy that led to the downfall of the first man and first woman, and the heart of this heresy centers around the human desire to be like God.
The second point here is that there is a modern heretical teaching surrounding this passage and Genesis 3:22-24, “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” The teaching is that this was a point where the Serpent had been honest while the Lord had lied, and the basis of this teaching centers around the fact that Adam and Eve did not immediately die upon tasting the fruit.
I came across this heretical teaching a short time ago, and was immediately struck by the way it was structured. It involves a careful twisting of Scripture and applies an exegetical approach that is entirely too simplistic and adherence requires one to ignore the fact that no part of this has ever been interpreted by Jewish or Christian scholars in that way. The person I debated with argued that God had lied in the Garden, and that Scripture was wrong because it said that Adam and Eve had not known death. Their reasoning was that they ate of the fruit in the Garden, which meant that they most definitely knew about death. They also said that the reason why God had lied was that He feared what would happen should Man become like Him.
The argument was long and drawn out, and they were unconvinced in the end, but in case you encounter an argument similar to this, the point I made was that 1) yes, they were aware of the concept of death and decay because they ate food, 2) they were unaffected by death and decay prior to sinning in the Garden, and 3) upon eating the fruit they took the universe from a closed system to an open one, at which point the Second Law of Thermodynamics became a factor. This made them subject to death and decay, which meant that the instant they ate of the fruit they began to do what every human has done since, which is to slowly die even as they live. In effect, Adam and Eve became dead people walking the moment the fruit touched their lips, and the only question that remained was how long they had remaining before their now inevitable deaths. As an added element to this, imagine what would have happened if they had eaten of the tree of life and become immortal while remaining subject to decay. God saved them from a truly wretched fate by expelling them from the Garden.
The overall impact their decision had on humanity is that their descendants inherited something that had not been there originally, namely the desire to defy the Lord and His Law. From that point on, we have been born with the inherent compulsion to live our lives separated from God and His Law. It was this change in Adam that prompted the Lord to give the very first Messianic prophecy, Genesis 3:14-15,
“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
This compulsion to defy God is so powerful that it has caused no end of struggle, strife, and misery throughout the whole of human history. We cannot help it; it has become second nature to us. If the Lord tells us to go one way, our immediate desire is to go the opposite. Additionally, we are also quite skilled at deluding ourselves when it comes to this tendency. Rather than admit that our behavior is sinful and demonstrates a complete lack of trust in the Lord, we seek to qualify or justify our misdeeds. We try to grade our sins on a scale that makes us appear to be decent people who make mistakes, while painting other people as “monsters” and “sinners”. In this way, humans can get away with pretending that they do not in fact come away from this dirty.
In the modern age, this is accomplished through things like watching the nightly news and declaring the people committing horrible acts in the news stories as sinners and horrible people while simultaneously declaring that they are not sinners because they are not doing those horrible things. The problem here is that this is all an illusion, a carefully crafted lie that people are using to avoid facing the truth about their base nature. No human is safe from this, no human is exempt, and the sooner an individual human realizes this, the better. Humans are in possession of a base nature that is depraved and contrary to the Law of God, and this is the greatest stumbling block for humanity. This is also why this message is so offensive. It is an effort to force someone to acknowledge that which they fear more than anything else in this world, which is the true statement that they are wretched rebels, standing in opposition to the living God, existing without hope for redemption before Him in judgment.
Human beings do not want to be made aware of how wretchedly depraved they are. They either want to cruise through life committed to the idea that they are good people, or they simply love their sins. They will seek to surround themselves with people who will continuously reinforce the idea. Anything that poses a threat to this comfortable delusion is greeted with malice, hatred, and rage. I have seen this, most especially with people living in the LGBTQIA+ lifestyles, whose criticisms of Christianity can be distilled down to the fact that we will not tell them that their lifestyles are acceptable before God.
Their response will generally be one in which they will go to great lengths to not only silence the one delivering the message, but they will also seek to prevent others from hearing the same message. It is not enough to not have to hear it themselves, they must go out of their way to ensure no one else has to endure it, either. Therefore, street preachers seeking to share this highly offensive message so often face verbal and physical opposition in the form of yelling, screaming, threats, and acts of violence, all with the intent of preventing them from sharing this message. This is a certainty for one who engages in the act of street preaching, so be prepared for it.
All around the world, people who seek to live out this message are targeted by their governments for abuse. Why? Because adherence places certain requirements on the person, not the least of which is self-reflection, self-evaluation, and total honesty regarding one’s base nature. A person must go from “I’m ok” to “I’m really not ok” in a way that fills people with fear and loathing. It requires that a person discard the comfortable lie for an uncomfortable truth, and that is simply too much to ask for most people. In response, their first instinct is to block or remove whatever it is that is causing that discomfort in the same way that a person removed a pebble from their shoe, and this includes persecution. It is the original cancel culture, and it is not going anywhere any time soon. Today, this takes the form of censorship on social media platforms, the taking down of videos and automatic removal of offending comments on YouTube, doxing followed by protests and acts of violence at people’s homes, and people being accosted in public places.
At the root of the persecution that takes place is the desire to maintain the illusion that everything is alright. The natural desire to run away from God’s Law leads to the formation of human societies whereupon people are taught that their way of life is as good as it gets, and that there is nothing beyond that reality. In countries like China and North Korea, for example, this takes the shape of leader worship and the State control of every aspect of life. There is no shortage of accounts coming out of those countries of people being forced to devote their entire lives to service to the State and their “Dear Leader” while being told that the rest of the world is in worse shape. Especially in North Korea, people are starving daily, and they are being told that they never had it so good. The result is that people go from cradle to grave never knowing the truth of their depravity and their wretched situation.
Persecution of those sharing this message is not anything new, either. The first three centuries of Christian history are marked by persecution, abuse, destruction, and a concerted effort by the powers-that-be to erase this message from the face of the earth. Roman historian Tacitus wrote that Emperor Nero blamed Christians for the fire that had burned half of Rome, and in reprisal inflicted all manner of horrific abuse on them. They were being imprisoned, tortured slaughtered, and some were even impaled on stakes and lit on fire for use as human torches. Such was the desire to stamp out the message of the Gospel that wholesale atrocity became the norm when it came to the treatment of Christians in the Roman Empire.
Nor was this restricted to Rome. The Apostle Thomas met his end in India, having traveled there to honor Jesus’ command to spread the Gospel. The message of the Gospel was viewed with such contempt and hatred that they had him executed by four spearmen who ran him through simultaneously. The Apostles spread out in all directions and all but one met with grisly ends on three different continents because of the message they proclaimed and refused to recant.
Everywhere the Gospel goes, it is viewed with contempt, hatred, and anger. Why? Because it forces us to look inward to the parts of us that are too ugly to contemplate. We want to believe that we are good people, and that all we need to make it to the afterlife is to do more good deeds than bad and hope for the best. Sadly, this could not be farther from the truth. We do not even have the luxury of blaming Satan for this as “the Devil made me do it” is not a valid excuse.
Scripture is clear where our works are concerned. For example, Isaiah 64:6 states, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Take note of the words I have placed in bold print. They are “our righteousnesses”, “filthy”, and “rags”. The word rendered as our righteousnesses is צִדְקֹתֵ֑ינוּ (sidkotaynu) and can alternately be translated as “our righteous deeds or acts”. According to Strong’s Concordance (#6666), sidkotaynu references both our subjective and objective rightness. It comes from the root צְדָקָה (tzedakah) and is a reference to what we Americans would call “all that is right with the world”. This is a word that carries the connotation of justice, rightness, rectitude, virtue, and prosperity. Everything we associate with the English word “good” is covered by this one word.
The next word is filthy, עִדִּ֖ים (‘iddyim). The root is עִדִּים (aid), and can only be rendered as filthy. This is a word that carries a connotation of rot, corruption, being soiled, and is used in conjunction with references to menstrual flow. When coupled with the word for rags, וּכְבֶ֥גֶד (ukebeged), what we get is menstrual rags. What we have then is a comparison between every act or deed we would consider good, right, or just and a used menstrual pad or tampon. I want you to consider the imagery very carefully from just those three Hebrew words and what they mean in English. All that you can do, every single good, just, and righteous act you could possibly commit, up to and including sacrificing your own life for others, is viewed with contempt because it all bears the taint of Sin. If it bears the taint of Sin, and is therefore contemptible, how can any of us have even a glimmer of hope of Salvation?
This is a big part of the reason why the Gospel message is so offensive. In many of my interactions with people, one of the things they have most often done is to present themselves as good people that the Lord will grant entrance into heaven because they are good people, and it frustrates me to no end. Jesus said it best, “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18). All too often what I am told is, “He knows my heart”, and I always have to respond with “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) If you have used this line, you are correct, and therefore you are sunk. He knows your heart, and your heart is a big part of why you are under His wrath.
Where this leaves us is in dire need of hope in a hopeless situation, and this is where the Lord God has offered us an opportunity. His love for us is so great that He chose to assume human form, came to the earth, lived as a human being, taught, stood trial, and was executed for crimes He did not commit, to bring us redemption. Jesus of Nazareth is God in the flesh, and He came to the earth so that we may be redeemed and cleansed of our Sin. He chose to go up on that Cross and take the Father’s cup of Holy wrath for our sake. He stood in the gap and took the punishment intended for us, so that we may enjoy eternal life, and He did it all even though He did not have to!
John 3:16-21, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
There is not a scenario whereupon you will be declared righteous before God based on your own merits. If there was, then Jesus went through the ordeal of the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension for nothing! This is what can only be described as one of the greatest sticking points in the entire Gospel message because people are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable. This idea can only be described as problematic for everyone, even those of us who have been saved, and therefore there have been so many violent acts committed against believers for as long as there have been believers. Taking someone who has fully committed themselves to the idea that they are good people and removing that veil of illusion is not just painful, it is devastating! This is how we end up with ideas like the most recent philosophical standpoint that words are violence. [Note: this standpoint is not new, just recycled over and over]
If words constitute violence, then the act of taking down someone’s logically fallacious arguments regarding things like the Gospel message would be equivalent to knocking in someone’s front teeth. In their minds, they are then justified in responding in kind by seeking to literally knock in your front teeth. As if that was not enough, this philosophical standpoint has the added benefit of being hypocritical as the person holding said standpoint must commit an act of verbal violence against you by telling you that your words are violence. Good luck getting them to acknowledge that, though. Every time I have made that point, it has been completely ignored. It all comes back to the all too human desire to be seen as a good person, which finds its root in pride, and both confirmation bias and narcissism count as the worst forms of pride.
Not too long ago I took the time to read a blog post regarding a news story involving a teacher who had been relieved of his duties because he refused to play along with the demands of a transgendered student. The main thrust of the post was one that denigrated the teacher for holding his position, and the comments section was full of people referring to how wrong the teacher is because, well, reasons. No one was making a cogent argument, just using misconception and half-truths to support the idea that we should fully support delusional people in their delusion because words are violence.
When I chose to comment, I quoted something that appeared in the post, specifically, “dangerous ramifications for the incitement of violence,”. I made the point that, regardless of which side you fall on an issue, these words could be taken as a threat of violence. While the two people who responded to me in the comment section were respectful, one only barely so, the fact of the matter is that they were both convinced that there was nothing wrong with the quote I focused on. One of them went so far as to say, “I can’t wait until “its just a opinion” dies in the fires of Hell”.
When I sought clarification on where that person would draw the line between words and violence, their response was in part, “I would draw the line at that teacher degrading that child. That teacher is SUPPOSED to be a person who protects children, not mock them.” Of course, I asked for an example of how the teacher was degrading the child in question, however, no answer was forthcoming. They were just angry, and openly advocating violence, because someone dared question the narrative.
The other one to respond was a bit more forthcoming, but ultimately shut down the discussion because I had an answer for all their objections to the existence of Jesus and the truth of Scripture. Before the conversation came to an end, there was some back and forth over the idea that words are violence, and one of the things said to me was, “You need to understand and appreciate the power you possess and use it responsibly”. While this is a technically true statement, the fact remains that words do not constitute violence unless they are openly advocating violence, but our opposition has chosen to make OUR words equivalent to acts of violence to silence us. Can words cause pain? Yes. Can they damage our psyche? Yes. Do we have the right to respond with violence if someone says something hurtful to us? No. Jesus taught that we are to turn the other cheek, and this is exactly what He meant, no vengeance, no reprisal. Sadly, there are too many humans on this planet who would disagree with the last statement, which takes us back to the point of being in rebellion against God. If a disagreement over pronouns is enough to justify violence, then what does that say about the Gospel message itself? If fists can fly over, he/him, she/her, or whichever other pronouns people are attaching to themselves, then what does it say about “You are a wretched sinner who is living your life under the wrath of God and need to repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for Redemption and Salvation”?
If you were wondering why I refer to the Gospel message as history’s most offensive message, this would be why. The truth of this message hits at the core of our being and goes entirely against the inclinations of our flesh. Too often the passions of the flesh will hit on deep seated wounds and prejudices that people find too difficult to get past, IF they are inclined to do so at all. When something bumps against those things, the first instinct is to lash out in a violent manner, and it takes a great deal of control to move past that initial response, and most people are not inclined to exercise that kind of control over their emotions.
What then are we to do? If we are all but guaranteed to face violent opposition in our efforts to share the Gospel, then how can we make the determination that it is worth it to share? Jesus answers that question very succinctly in Matthew 10:26-31,
“Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
We do not have the right to call ourselves followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and allow fear, anxiety, or worry over whether we are being offensive to slow us down in any way with honoring His commands. This applies as much for keeping His Commandments as it does to sharing the Gospel. No matter the cost, we are obligated to do this, and there is no getting around it. We cannot worry over the idea of being harmed or killed for this message, and the Lord is all-knowing, which means that He will know when we stumble or fall over ourselves in the process. No pressure.
What is repentance?
One of the words that will be used frequently is “repentance”, but what does it mean? How do we repent? The short answer is that we must not only acknowledge our Sin, but we must apologize for it and make the conscious decision to turn away from it. For most Sin, this is easier said than done, as many of us will end up repeating our sinful behavior many times before it finally sticks. This is where the Lord’s mercy and grace come into play. There are two words in Scripture that cover this concept, and we will look at them both.
The first word used is μετάνοια (metanoia), and the word generally means “repentance, a change of mind, change in the inner man”. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance says the following about metanoia,
“…especially the change of mind of those who have begun to abhor their errors and misdeeds, and have determined to enter upon a better course of life, so that it embraces both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and hearty amendment, the tokens and effects of which are good deeds…”
The Hebrew words used for repentance, נֹחַם (nocham) and שׁוּב (shub), both translate as “sorrow, repentance” (nocham) and “to turn back, return” (shub). Collectively these words embody a similar concept to metanoia, in that we are to be sorrowful and broken over the ways that we have wronged the Lord, and that we are to turn away from the sinful things of our past and turn our eye toward the Lord and His Salvation.
This is an especially profound change that takes place within the individual, and it must take place for one to be saved. As human beings are not capable of such change in and of themselves, this means that the change can only come from a source that is not found within us, and that source is the Holy Spirit. This is what the Doctrine of Regeneration is all about. In being converted, we become a new person, imbued with a new nature, and given to new ideals and passions that did not exist within us before. Since my conversion I have experienced a whole host of changes to my habits. I have not only given up my addictions, but my musical preferences have changed, I no longer watch TV, I gave up social media, and many of my former tendencies and personality quirks have changed in ways I am still trying to understand. I have become calmer, more reliable, less apt to lose my temper, and I find joy and pleasure in things relating to God and my family. My sense of humor has changed, in that those things I once found funny simply are not anymore. Do I still have some of the tendencies I had before? Yes, however, I am a work in progress. I may not be the man I am supposed to be, but I am not the man I once was, and I give all the credit and glory to the Holy Spirit because there is no way I could affect this kind of change within myself. I am depraved, broken, and corrupted. It takes the Holy Spirit to remove all of that and fill me with the desire to follow Him and His Law.
Here is another example of the kind of changes the Holy Spirit brings about in our hearts. Before I converted, one of my favorite TV shows was Two-and-a-half Men. One of the actors on the show, Angus T. Jones, who played Jake Harper, turned to Christ a few years before I did, and he said something that I did not fully understand until I too had converted. He said,
“If you watch Two and a Half Men, please stop watching Two and a Half Men. I’m on Two and a Half Men, and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it, and filling your head with filth. People say it’s just entertainment. Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, especially with what you watch.”
The work of the Holy Spirit in his life and heart was so profound that he was led to apologize for his involvement in the show. In case you are not familiar, the show was about two brothers, Alan (John Cryer) and Charlie (Charlie Sheen) Harper, and Alan’s son Jake (Jones). They live in Charlie’s house and the entire comedy centers around Charlie’s hedonistic lifestyle, and Alan’s efforts to deal with his life as a weak man who tries to cope with a failed marriage and a son who is growing up to be a man. Much of the humor is crude and physical, presenting vulgarity and dysfunction as something to be laughed at. Granted, we oftentimes find ourselves in situations so horrible that our only options are to laugh or cry, but this show takes things to an obscene length. This is just one example of the changes that have taken place. I used to enjoy this show and now the thought of watching it makes me feel sick.
When I was younger, I used to be mystified by the way that some Christians would categorically reject various things that I saw as being “not that bad”. Since beginning my walk, not only have I come to reject things that can hinder my walk with the Lord, but I have found that I can give people the boot as well. I have ceased speaking to relatives and friends who I recognized quickly as being detrimental to my relationship with the Lord. This is something that we must all be willing to do, cling to the Lord no matter the cost. Your relationship with Him should be the premier relationship in your life, even above your own spouse. Never forget that you are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength, and mind. All else will flow from there.
 Second Law of Thermodynamics: “The second law of thermodynamics states that any spontaneously occurring process will always lead to an escalation in the entropy (S) of the universe. In simple words, the law explains that an isolated system’s entropy will never decrease over time.
Nonetheless, in some cases where the system is in thermodynamic equilibrium or going through a reversible process, the total entropy of a system and its surroundings remains constant. The second law is also known as the Law of Increased Entropy.” (Excerpted from https://byjus.com/jee/second-law-of-thermodynamics/)
 “Gnosticism is a philosophical worldview that stresses special knowledge. The word comes from the Greek gnosis meaning knowledge. Gnosticism was prevalent in the first century during and after the time of Christ. It maintains that matter is evil and spirit is good. Because matter is bad human souls, in a sense, are trapped in a material world.” ~ “What is Gnosticism?” by Matt Slick https://carm.org/heresies/what-is-gnosticism/
 Monroe, Douglas (2002), “The 21 Lessons of Merlyn: A Study in Druid Magic and Lore”, Llewellyn Publications
 Exegesis: the detailed explanation of a piece of writing, especially religious writing.
 “Yet no human effort, no princely largess nor offerings to the gods could make that infamous rumor disappear that Nero had somehow ordered the fire. Therefore, in order to abolish that rumor, Nero falsely accused and executed with the most exquisite punishments those people called Christians, who were infamous for their abominations. The originator of the name, Christ, was executed as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius; and though repressed, this destructive superstition erupted again, not only through Judea, which was the origin of this evil, but also through the city of Rome, to which all that is horrible and shameful floods together and is celebrated.” ~Tacitus, Annals, 15.44
 The only Apostle to die of old age was John, and he spent decades imprisoned and exiled for his refusal to recant his testimony.
 “Regeneration takes place at the moment of salvation when the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit in the believer in order that they may receive the imputation of eternal life enabling the believer to live with God forever.” (https://www.wenstrom.org/downloads/written/doctrines/soteriology/regeneration.pdf)
 Angus T. Jones full bio, IMDB (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0427489/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm)