It wouldn't have taken the devil long to figure out that God's power existed in the First Century Church. It was the supernatural power on display among those who were taught by Jesus, and then, in turn, taught others of the power and authority available to all who believed on His Name. From the beginning, satan sought to interfere with that power, and to blind believers to the extensive influence they could have [in and on the world] by continuously seeking knowledge from Jesus and God. So our Adversary influenced men's hearts to infiltrate the newly formed Church, introducing opposing doctrines and stifling our desire to seek higher levels of understanding about our God and His character, principles, and precepts. Now, a couple of thousand years later, we find ourselves as part of a Body that no longer resembles that "on fire" congregation of Christ-followers. Instead, we have accepted a limited view of who we are to be, where and how we are to serve, and how far we are allowed to go in our search for answers. And it is literally killing our souls!
So, I am writing this post in response to the brave and honest request by Anonymous, who asked that I share the books, sources, teachers, and texts that Jesus has put in my path to lead me on my own search for His Truth. A word of caution --- this may not be the same path He is leading you on! And that's okay, as long as you are serious in discerning that it is His voice you are hearing. And Scripture is the basis by which I test ANY new knowledge of God.
Also, my journey has taken me down many roads, and I have run many conceptual rabbits down many trails, whereby I either accepted or rejected new information. I have read the ancient writings of early Church writers such as Josephus, Origen and Tertullian. I have read the extra-Biblical texts of Enoch and the Book of Jasher, which have either been referenced, quoted, or alluded to in the Bible. (If they were important enough that God inspired the Biblical writers to mention them, then they must have some importance to us, right?)
|Early Christian writings|
Now, if you are interested, let me show you how God pushed me "out of the nest", so to speak, and how one thing led to another .... When I began to realize that even the trusted leaders of my long-time Church were beginning to introduce outside sources to our study of the Lord, there was a deep desire in my soul to know what they believed about the Bible and Jesus. I discovered that these authors had ideas such as "the Bible is not the inerrant Word of God"; "Jesus did not know He was the Son of God until He was hanging on the Cross"; and "the old paradigm of thinking the Bible is a manual for living life has been replaced by a new paradigm that states the Bible is merely a guide full of allegories and symbolic lessons". I must tell you that my spirit felt violated! And it was as if I had been looking through a murky veil of truth. All of a sudden I knew that I had been lulled into accepting "Church doctrine" and teachings that might not even be what God intended me to know about Him! I was determined to do my own research and in the only source God had given me ... THE BIBLE! And I was beginning at the beginning.
It didn't take me long to find a concept that needed further exploration .... Genesis 3 and the Fall of Man had me looking deeper into all I could find out about the serpent. Was he really just a snake, or was he, as the Hebrew word for "serpent" [nachash] suggested, "an upright, bright, shining one"? Suddenly, the image of the snake in the Garden of Eden, that the Church had always perpetuated, took on a bigger, broader meaning and I got the fuller image of Lucifer, the brightest angel in heaven, who fell to earth in disgrace. That led to more thoughts and questions that had never been discussed in Church -- If Lucifer took a third of the angels with him and became satan, then how does that play into Genesis 6, which says "the sons of God" (referenced as angels elsewhere in the Bible) saw that "the daughters of men" were desirable and children were produced. These children were called Nephilim in the Hebrew, which indicated they were hybrid offspring of fallen angels and earthly women, who were birthed as giants. Well, I never heard that explanation in any Church!!! In fact, I had never heard Genesis 6:1-4 ever spoken of or expounded upon on in the 25 years I experienced in the Church.
That led to more questions, about the conflict between "the seed" of Eve and "the seed" of the serpent and all that suggests. I then became aware that the attempt to explain away the possibility of fallen angel hybrids by inserting the Sethite view, just didn't make sense. (Click here for my post on how I believe the Church has gotten this wrong). All of a sudden, I could see how satan tried for centuries to pollute the gene pool of mankind with the wicked DNA of fallen angels so that Jesus's line would become impure, and He could not be born. It explained so many other things in the Bible that didn't make sense ... For instance, why Daniel, when explaining the feet and toes of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, said, "Whereas you saw iron mixed with clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cleave to one another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."
In my research, I discovered that "clay" signified people. But what was miry clay? Miry clay is clay made from dust; Dust symbolizes Death in Job 7:21, Job 10:9, Psalm 22:15, and many other places throughout the Bible. And who is the "they" referenced, who mingle themselves with the seed of men .. obviously, something (or someone) other than the seed of men (human). That takes me right back to Genesis 6! And, Daniel is stating a prophecy about the future! Does that mean he is predicting what happened in Genesis 6 will happen again? Will there be a mingling of mankind's DNA with something alien to the human species? Suddenly, all the modern scientific interest in transhumanism comes into view and has great Biblical significance! (Click here for my post tying all this together).
I could spend hours showing you every dot that God began to connect for me. Just this one concept of looking deeper at the serpent led me to the Nephilim and all their implications throughout the Bible ... in Genesis 14:5-7, reference is made to Chedorlaomer, and the tribes of Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim -- all giants; in Genesis 23, the town of Kiryat Arba (where Abraham buries Sarah) means "town of four giants"; in Amos 2, God reveals that the Amorite tribe consists of giants; and we now have a broader picture of just who Goliath was, and why it was significant that David killed him. What's more, as I further researched the tribes that God ordered the Israelites to destroy in the land of Canaan, they were all revealed to have impure bloodlines. Now I understood why God ordered them all killed and for the Israelites to not marry foreign peoples... the bloodline must remain pure for Jesus to come into the world!
While I have railed about all the negative impact of technology and how satan has used it to deceive us, I've never forgotten that what was meant for evil, God uses for good. The internet is a very useful tool to start you on your path (always remembering to discern if it is pointing you to God's truth, or man's opinion). The ability to research the Jewish language and the writings of Jewish historians in regards to the Torah was immeasurable in researching all the above.
Needless to say, over the past five or six years, I have spent countless hours in my Bible and reading reference books, commentaries, and looking up the original Hebrew meanings and context of Bible passages. It has been important to study the historical commentaries of Matthew Henry, compare them to the modern exegesis of David Guzik, and then contrast them with what the Holy Spirit reveals to me in the Word. And it has been a blessing beyond measure! All those questions that I never dared to ask in my Church -- either, because I feared they would be frowned upon as heretical; or they could not be answered from a lack of interest or knowledge -- I have felt the freedom to pursue on my own. I cannot encourage you enough to start your own journey. It is as easy as opening your Bible, getting a Strong's Concordance and beginning to look up words that you have taken for granted. Look up the meaning of all those obscure, unpronounceable names in the Old Testament and I promise you the Holy Spirit will remove your own cloudy veil and open your eyes to new and profound revelations! And, as always, I am open to discussion and questions... I am not an expert, nor a scholar; but I am a disciple of Christ and eager to share my awakening to the immense knowledge that our Lord is just waiting to give you! The Bible is a treasure trove of information about the God who created us. I want to thank Anonymous for daring to ask about how my journey began. Now it's your turn. All you have to do is open the Word, begin reading, and the Holy Spirit will reveal the Glory of our Great God!
2 Timothy 2:7 "Think over the things I am saying [grasp their application], for the Lord will grant you insight and understanding in everything."