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Did Jesus Use Hyperbole?

Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

QUESTION:

I was disturbed when I read Matthew 18:9, “And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” I don’t believe Jesus was teaching us that we need to literally pluck our eye out, was He? I assume it had to do with sin in our lives and doing whatever it takes to get rid of it. Am I right about this?


ANSWER:
Yes of course you’re right. We need to realize that Jesus used hyperbole in many of His teachings and these images were not to be taken literally. A hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses an exaggerated or extravagant statement to create a strong emotional response. Some familiar examples of hyperbolic statements would include:

“He’s got tons of money.”

“He is older than the hills.”

“I’m so hungry I can eat a horse.”

“His brain is the size of a pea.”

“My feet are killing me.”

In regards to Jesus’ statement regarding “plucking out your eye” (Matthew 18:9), we know the Lord did not intend this to be taken literally. The Bible condemns self-mutilation or inflicting woundHyperboles on your body, which is the temple of God. The Roman Catholic Church, for instance, has encouraged the practice of self-flagellation (imitating the sufferings of Jesus) for centuries on their “Good Friday” holiday. They believe that scourging their backs with whips or placing a crown of thorns on their heads until their blood runs down is pleasing to God, when in fact He disapproves of it completely.

Other examples of the use of hyperbole by Jesus in His teachings are found elsewhere in the gospels. One involves His statement:

“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ (You vain fellow) is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” – Matthew 5:22

Although we should most certainly avoid cursing other people or calling them harmful names when we are angry at them, I don’t believe that God would send you to hell for calling someone a “fool.” Neither is the sin of visually or intensely lusting after a woman (or man) the same as actually committing the physical act of adultery with her.

Jesus used exaggerated or extravagant statements (hyperbole) to emphasize the point He was trying to drive home in His teachings. They are not intended to be taken literally, in most cases, but analyzed in view of the essence of the message.

– Luis Josephus

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comment_smCOMMENT FROM DONNA:

“Another great explanation of God’s Word. As I understand it, the word “fool” as used in the Bible would be best defined as someone who refuses to do as instructed. For instance, the five foolish virgins were foolish because they did not listen when they were told to bring extra oil. (Matthew 25:1-13). By using this definition of “fool”, (someone would have to be foolish not to listen to God’s wisdom), we can better understand what the Bible means when someone is called a fool. When we call someone a fool, it is equal to condemning that person, saying that we believe that person is condemned as a fool for not listening to God’s instructions.”

comment_smCOMMENT FROM BROTHER LUIS: “Amen Donna. A fool is indeed a fool for not listening to God’s instructions. God has given us His Word to provide wisdom and protect us from making mistakes. If we don’t take His fatherly advice, how foolish is that?”



FOR FURTHER STUDY:

The Use of Extreme Language By Jesus
http://www.voiceofjesus.org/extremelanguage.html

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Rebuke a Wise Man

A Wise Man_jpg

“Do not correct a fool or he will hate you; correct a wise man and he will appreciate you.” – Proverbs 9:8

Do you love God? I’m sure you do.

Do you love your church pastor?
Ah, maybe you have to think about that question some more. You see, too many Christians do not fully recognize that their local church pastor  or elder is God’s representative and spiritual authority over your life. They have been given the responsibility to look after you…to teach you and disciple you and protect you from straying away from God’s flock or making mistakes that will hurt your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Your local church pastor is your overseer (1 Peter 5:12). His is the ruling shepherd in the church and is accountable to God for you under the “Chief Shepherd” Jesus Christ. Their job is to feed you the Word of God, guide you in your spiritual walk, and guard over your souls.

Loving Reproof

It is also a pastor’s job to correct you when you’re doing something wrong. Some believers don’t like this part of a pastor’s function, but it is a biblical fact. Reproof and rebuke is often necessary for all of us. When your pastor reproves you, don’t get angry at him or falsely accuse him of being unloving. If he cares enough to correct you, he is demonstrating the same love that God has for you:

“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son [or daughter] He receives.” – Hebrews 12:6

The Greek word used here for “chastening” is paideia. It not only carries the nuances of “discipline,” “rebuke,” and “correction,” but also the positive connotation of “training” and “guiding instruction” by a loving parent to bring their son or daughter to mature adulthood.

When a pastor chastens us for something that needs to be corrected in our lives, we should do the right and wise thing and accept his correction with humility. We should recognize that He loves us and desires to see us achieve our fullest potential in Christ.

“Reprove not a fool, lest he hate you.” The fool, on the other hand, does not respond well to reproof or discipline. He faints when being rebuked and becomes angry and resentful towards his pastor or God. The fool is destined to never learn from his mistakes or reach any spiritual maturity. Some are so prideful they will actually leave the church when reproved and fall away from God.

”… rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”

The wise Christian doesn’t get their feelings hurt when reproved by their pastor because he regards the Lord’s discipline as evidence of his pastor’s love and concern. He sees God’s grace and commitment to us as our Father in his actions.

” Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11

When we receive correction from those in church authority – such as a pastor or elder, instead of getting mad, let us remember the admonition of Jesus who declared that whom He loves, He rebukes. Instead of sulking in self-pity, let us repent quickly and learn to love reproof.

” As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.“ – Revelation 3:19

– Luis Josephus

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Are you really saved?

By Luis Josephus

“Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me?” – John 14:9

Come Unto JesusIt is quite possible to think you are a “Christian” and not really know the Lord Jesus in a personal way. Many might find that hard to believe, but it happens a lot. I can truthfully say that I had considered myself a Christian for most of my early life. As a boy I went to church regularly, prayed, learned my catechism, confessed my sins to the priest, and took the Holy Communion. But I really wasn’t saved. nor really knew the true Jesus of the Bible. I was practicing a religion without having a genuine relationship with God.

Calling yourself a “Christian” doesn’t automatically make you a Christian. Today, the term “Christian” has become more of a cultural label than a true testimony that Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, dwells in you.

Until I was spiritually “born again” and personally invited Jesus the Messiah to become my Savior and Lord, I didn’t really become a true Christian. When I had this life-altering experience at the age of 29, I didn’t really know God. Jesus came to dwell in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit and my life was transformed for the better. I realized what I had been missing all of my life was a personal encounter with the Living God. I finally understood the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, a religious Jew and leader in his church, that he needed to be born again.

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. ‘Rabbi,’ he said, ‘we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.’ Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” – John 3:1-3

Like Nicodemus, you may consider yourself religious, or even believe you are already a Christian, but if you’re not sure that you are really spiritually born again, you’re probably not really saved. If you’re not sure, pray this prayer of faith right now and invite Jesus to become your Savior and Lord of your life:

“Dear Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God who came to die on the cross for the penalty of my sins. I repent of my sins and ask you to forgive me. I invite you today to become my Savior and the Lord of my life. I submit myself in obedience to you and ask you to take full control of me; change me into your image, and help me to be the kind of person you created me to be. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer, email us with your complete postal address and let us know so that we can rejoice with you and welcome you into our Christian family. We will also send you some helpful study materials to enrich your Christian growth.

The Next Step

Now that you have received Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of your life, below are some necessary and practical steps you need to take to grow in your development as a Christian.

1. Prayer – It is important for you to spend time talking to God every day through prayer. Thank Him for your salvation, share your thoughts and concerns, and pray for the needs of others.

2. Bible Study – Personal Bible study is the primary way that God speaks to us and instructs us on how to live. As you read the Bible, ask God to show you which passages apply to your life. A good place to start your study is by reading the Gospel of John in its entirety.

3. Join a Good Church – Attend regularly and get involved with other Christians. As you get plugged into a local church, you will receive the teaching, encouragement, support, and fellowship you need to become a mature Christian.

4. Tell Others About Jesus – Share your new faith with others who need to know God. Invite family and friends to go to church with you.

5. Live a Godly Life – Make every effort to live a new life in Christ by practicing holiness, goodness, self-control, perseverance, kindness, and love.

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Except You Abide in the Vine

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except you abide in Me.” – John 15:4

In the parable (allegory) of the vine tree, Jesus compares Himself to the “True Vine” because when we come to salvation, we are spiritually born again and given a special position as a branch on the Tree of life, which is Jesus the Messiah. He alone is the only Savior that can give us eternal life; all others are false prophets and false religions.

God the Father, on the other hand, is the “husbandman” (the farmer) that cultivates us as branches on the vine and tends to our care. He waters us every day, prunes our twigs, trims our leaves, and makes sure we are receiving the right amount of sunshine and nutrients from the ground.

But Jesus reminds us that unless we continue to abide in Him, we cannot bear good fruit or flourish as one of His branches, since a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless we abide in the source of nourishment – the tree.

To abide comes from the original Greek word, menō, which means: to remain, continue, abide or live in. If the branch is broken, snapped or disconnected in any way from the vine or tree, the life-giving support cannot continue to flow. Without the tree’s nourishment, the branch will eventually wither and die. Likewise, the life of Christ can only continue to flow in us as long as we abide in Him by:

  • Studying the Word of God daily, keeping it continually in our hearts and minds, and letting it guide our lives.
  • Maintaining the habit of prayer and communion with the Holy Spirit in order to draw new and fresh strength from Him.
  • Obeying God’s commandments and endeavoring to live pleasing to Him.
  • Attending church regularly and loving the fellowship of the brethren.
  • Witnessing for Jesus everywhere we go and helping to bring lost souls to salvation.

We will continue to abide in Christ if we follow the above guidelines. As we do, we will also continue to bear the kind of good fruit He desires from us as His disciples and remain eternally secure in our salvation.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him,” Jesus said, “the same brings forth much fruit [not some fruit, but much fruit]. For with Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

– Luis Josephus

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Comment from Donna: “This morning I was thinking about being grafted into the vine and what it means. I was thinking of the fact that the power that flows from the vine to us is LOVE. It is his love that gives us life. That is what the two great commandments were all about: LOVE. It’s not about what we do, per say, it is about how we LOVE God first and then others. All the instructions that you gave for abiding in the vine can be summed up in: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS. May the Lord truly bless you for your service to Christ!”

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Free Booklet, “Grace For Today.”

Grace For TodayOrder your free devotional booklet “Grace For Today” by Pastor Luis Yosefus which contains many more inspirational messages written to encourage your life and enhance your understanding of God’s Word. Simply email us your postal address and we will mail it to you free of charge at no obligation.


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Doing the first works

Bible_man_reading_1“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works…” – Revelation 2:4-5.

Jesus is speaking to many of us through this letter to the Church of Ephesus who had “lost their first love.” These Ephesians church members were still blood-washed, born-again believers, but they had lost the excitement and devotion they once had for Jesus. Remember when you first got saved; how excited you were about God?

Spiritual backsliding is a common problem in the church. After years of walking with God, many of us may slowly begin to neglect spending quality time with God or even going to church. Our faith becomes lukewarm and we might also backslide morally. The solution for correcting this problem, Jesus said, is to remember therefore from where we have fallen; repent, and do the first works again.

Since the first step is to repent, we need to acknowledge our sins to God and ask Him to forgive us. He is always merciful and faithful to forgive us, and to cleanse us, once again, from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Secondly, we must start from scratch in our faith and “do the first works” we once did in the beginning. What are the first works?

  • Studying the Bible daily.
  • Spending quality time in prayer and hearing God’s voice.
  • Going to church regularly and saturating your spirit with sound biblical teaching, and collective praise and worship.
  • Fellowship regularly with other believers.

If you have lost your first love, or drifted away from God, or fallen into immoral sins, don’t give up on Jesus, because He hasn’t given up on you. He still loves you dearly and desires to restore you back to Himself. All He asks is that you Repent, Confess, and “Do the first works” again. He will restore your life with His abundance of peace and joy.

– Luis JosephusRealJesus Logo+75x75

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comment_smComment from Pastor Emeka: “Dear Pastor Luis Yosefus, thanks for your newsletter. I am inspired and encouraged by your messages and revelations of the word of God. I am a pastor of a small fellowship in Corby, United kingdom (People for Christ Ministries).


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Was Christopher Columbus Jewish?

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

I recently came across the following article on the Spanish website www.Semana.com. This reliable editorial details the latest revelations on the true ancestry of Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) and the primary motivation behind the discovery of The Americas. It further confirms my own Jewish ancestry that dates back to the migration of Spanish Jews to the island of Cuba onboard the voyages of Columbus.

Here are some highlights of these recent revelations:

  • Christopher Columbus was not of Italian nationality as previously supposed. He was actually a Spanish Jew who went to great lengths to hide his Jewish-ness by obscuring his childhood records. However, much of Columbus’ personal correspondence contained reference to King David of the Bible, the often used term “Bet Hei” (which is Hebrew for “with God’s help”) and his letters were written from right to left in the Hebrew reading fashion, instead of left to right.
  • During this period in history, the Spanish Inquisition was in full force. The powerful Roman Catholic Church in Spain was arresting, imprisoning, torturing, and burning alive all Jews in Spain who refused to convert to Roman Catholicism. It is estimated that as many as 120,000 Jews fled from Spain to avoid the persecution. Many of these Jews traveled on Columbus’ voyages and populated the countries of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Hispaniola (today Dominican Republic/Haiti), Venezuela, Panama, Honduras, Mexico, and many other islands in the Caribbean. Columbus himself is buried in the Dominican Republic.
  • Many Jews who remained in Spain changed their Jewish names and identities to avoid persecution. They also pretended to convert to Roman Catholicism while practicing their own Jewish religion in secret. These new Jewish converts were nevertheless labeled “Marranos*” (swine or pigs) and Christopher Columbus is believed to have been one of those professing conversion while remaining a secret Jew.
  • Columbus’ first voyage set sail from Spain on August 3, 1492. It is believed this date was deliberately chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the destruction of the two Jewish temples in Israel.
  • Contrary to previous opinion, the voyages of Columbus that resulted in the discovery of the Americas was not  financed by the Catholic kings Fernando II de Aragón and Isabel I de Castilla, but by the wealthy Jewish community (Marranos*) who remained in Spain.
Map of Spanish colonization of North America many years before the English Puritans landed.

Map of Spanish colonization of North America many years before the English Puritans landed.

Christopher Columbus made a total of four trips to the Americas during 1492-1504. It is believed that during these trips to the Caribbean Islands and Central and South America, hundreds and thousands of Jews disembarked and began lives in the new world with religious freedom. It’s no wonder that these new colonies began to thrive under God’s favor. God has historically blessed the nations that supported the Jewish people.

“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” – Genesis 12:3

Could it be that these countries were blessed of God because of the first Jewish inhabitants? Let us remember that the United States was first colonized by Jews from Spain in the areas of Florida (Spanish word meaning “Feast of Flowers”) and other parts of the U.S. eastern coastline. It is quite possible that the United States was blessed of God – not only because of the English Puritan colonists, but also because of the first Spanish-Jewish settlers.

– Luis Josephus

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FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Jewish Ancestry’s Influence on Cuban Culture

There are many Jewish Cubans (nicknamed “Jewbans”) like myself who’s ancestors first settled on the island of Cuba fleeing the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th Century. Here is a new version of Hava Nagila performed by Cuban singers and dancers (possibly descendents of Spanish Jews) within a backdrop of Old Havana, Cuba. In this video, they have incorporated the Cuban “salsa” rhythms. “Hava Nagila” (Hebrew: “Let Us Rejoice”) is a popular Hebrew folk song that is traditionally sung at Jewish weddings, and Bar Mitzvah’s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sss1BTQFPYY

The Cuban Connection & Israel

During the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Cuban planes and pilots brought nearly 150,000 Jews to Israel from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and India. “Unreported for nearly 60 years, the airlift was one of the largest in history”

https://yehudafm.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/the-cuban-connection-israel

¿Colón era Judío?

Una exposición muestra que el descubrimiento de América habría sido financiado, no con las joyas de la reina Isabel, sino con dineros de la comunidad judía, a la cual pertenecería, además, el descubridor.

http://www.semana.com/gente/colon-judio/159526-3.aspx

Marranos Secret Passover Seder

Marranos: Secret Passover Seder in Spain during the times of the Spanish Inquisition, painting by Moshe Maimon.

* Marranos (Spanish: [ma-rranos];  were originally Jews living in the Iberian Peninsula who had been forced to convert to Roman Catlocism, some of whom may have continued to observe rabbinic Judaism in secret. The term came into later use in 1492 with the Castilian Alhambra Decree, reversing protections originally in the Treaty of Granada (1491). The converts were also known as Cristianos nuevos (Spanish) and Cristãos novos (Portuguese), which mean New Christians, and conversos (the converted).
The term Marrano derives from Arabic muarram; meaning “forbidden, anathematized”. Marrano in 15th century Spanish first meant pig, from the ritual prohibition against eating pork, practiced by both Jews and Muslims. Marrano in Spanish still means pig and dirty, but it is no longer commonly related to religious beliefs.
Although originally the term was used by common people, the insult was mostly racist. Marrano acquired connotations of “filthy-dirty” (sucio) and “unscrupulous” (sin escrúpulos) during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, when the term was used to impugn the character of the recalcitrant crypto-Jew. In contemporary Portuguese the word refers only to crypto-Jews, with marrão meaning the animal pig or swine.
Today, even among Jewish historians, the term ‘marrano’ is no longer considered correct. The preferred terms are ‘anusim’ (Hebrew for “forced”); or ‘conversos’ or ‘conversas’ (Spanish) for men and woman respectively (singular ‘converso’ and ‘conversa’).
–         From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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Did Jesus have long hair?

Jesus_long hairWe actually don’t know what Jesus looked like since there is no archaeological record depicting His appearance dating back to the first century. In addition, the early Christians abstained from making graven images less they find themselves committing the sin of idolatry:

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…” -Exodus 20:4-5

Therefore, none of the early disciples captured Jesus’ likeness in any form.

It was only after hundreds of years later that images appeared of Jesus when segments of Christianity were corrupted by the Roman Catholics. During this period, graven images, statues, and paintings were made of Jesus. By that time, no one really remembered what He looked like. These images typically depicted a blonde haired, blue-eyed Jesus, or with European features. However, they were based on the artist’s faulty imagination.

Although it is possible that Jesus had long hair as a “Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23), long hair on men was not the normal hairstyle in the Jewish culture. “The Jewish texts ridiculed long hair as something Roman or Greek,” said New York University’s Lawrence Schiffman (Jesus Scholars Find Fault in Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion’”) (1 Cor. 11:14)

It is more likely that Jesus looked like the average Jew of His day with dark brown hair or black, cut relatively short, traditional Jewish beard, and Semitic facial features. He was not the sometimes effeminate-looking man that is commonly pictured in paintings. Since He was a carpenter and a builder, He was most probably muscular and tanned from working long hours outdoors cutting down trees, hauling rocks, and constructing buildings from stone and timber.

– Luis Josephus

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How did the resurrected Jesus appear in John’s vision?
SEE: Revelation 1:9-20