Redemption n. the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil. -Oxford
To appreciate the Lord's love for his people and his plan for redemption, we have to understand the history behind the servant(s) of the Lord. As we read through scripture, both Old and New, we see the same pattern of human behavior rise up and fall. A time of great morality and prosperity, then a time of great rebellion leading to oppression and suffering. When society begins to turn away from the Lord's moral law and starts following the customs of other nations, (ie, "other gods"), the Lord turns his face away from us for a time and watches as we begin to suffer in our blindness. The Lord calls this suffering process "the furnace of affliction" and its intended purpose is to burn the impurities out of our spirit so we can return to him.
See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
We don't see many people refining silver today but the way it works is by putting silver in a furnace and when it melts the impurities float to the top. The refiner skims off the dross until he can see his image reflected in the silver, then he knows the silver has been purified.
For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,
The Bible teaches us that it's these impurities in our spirit, our sins, that are leading to our suffering. But where did these impurities actually come from?
1 Peter 1:18
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors
Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.
The Lord knows that we have been blinded into this empty way of living by our ancestors and our priests. They did not instruct us to live according to the ways of our God, which would have lead to happiness, good health and great contentment. This loss of understanding, referred to as spiritual blindness, prevents us from recognizing the root cause of our suffering. But the Lord is gracious and eventually he sends a servant (or messenger) to teach us the truth, to open our eyes. The servant doesn't ask for money or if you have an insurance card.
For this is what the Lord says: “You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed.”
If the servant is successful, he will redeem us to the Lord. By leading us to repentance and teaching us the truth about God's Laws. This leads to lasting, permanent wiring changes in the brain by reversing the connections in the reward system of our mind.
When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him.
This renewal process, or in technical terms "extinction learning" is the force that changes our spirit and leads to our salvation. We can see how it works in the brain maps, so now we can prove the scriptures true. By understanding what's really happening in our mind, we can finally see how our brain can actually be changed.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation,
actually is salvation? We hear this word used quite often but do we
really understand it? In Hebrew, "Yeshuah" means salvation.
salvation NOUN deliverance from sin or harm, rescue, preservation from ruin or loss, safety and welfare.
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
So in order to turn our life and even our society around, the servant must first know the word of the Lord. By his knowledge he will then gain the trust of the people so they can hear the true words of God again, as false teachers over the generations have corrupted it. Then the eyes of the people will be opened and they will finally understand why they are suffering. This enlightenment leads to repentance, the spiritual returning to God. The people must believe that this man was sent by God (or inspired by God) and that he is not a false prophet looking to make a profit. This trust (faith) will cause many miracles in the changes in behavior leading to humility and ultimately the restoring of happiness. And these changes will eventually lead to a return to morality. Unfortunately, due to our stubborn hearts, we can't turn back until we suffer in that furnace of affliction first. When we finally get to the point where we realize that "our way" is never going to work, we start accepting the fact that we need to change. Believe me, I know this by experience because I went through this enlightenment process myself and many have seen the changes in me.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifited me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock, and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord, and put their trust in him.
So what are the qualities of the Lord's servant?
The Servant of the Lord
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”
So in summary, the servant's responsibility is to be faithful to the Lord and to serve the people (who don't necessarily deserve to be helped). The servant must have compassion because he knows that these people are trapped in sin due to their ancestor's sin of not teaching (and demonstrating) the Lord's Law which would have protected them from the control of sin. So the servant must come into the world and speak to the people to gain their trust; a very difficult task because many of the leaders of the age, like the priests, kings or even the rich, may feel that they are losing their power over the people they once controlled. But the servant must offer to help them also. The servant knows that these people are being oppressed by others yet they are blind to it. The servant must be wiser than their oppressors, he must be patient and act in such a way that nobody has anything bad to say about him, otherwise they will find a reason to throw him into prison or even to execute him. The servant is not serving himself, has no pride, but rather is humbly doing what he believes in his heart the Lord wants for the people who are suffering. The servant has complete knowledge of the Lord's righteous laws, submits to them, and desires to establish justice on the earth. In order for the servant to help those who are suffering, he must destroy the currently accepted "wisdom" of that age.
1 John 3:8
The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 Corinthians 1:19
For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise"
Who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense.
So let's look back at some of the biblical servants. While not taught in most Christian churches, there were many servants in the Old Testament that mirror Christ, where the servant was selected prior to birth or at a very young age. Many times the child's purpose is foretold to his parents prior to birth or even conception, and the child grows in wisdom till his time to serve has come. Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, Samson and Jeremiah were all predestined as servants.
The Call of Jeremiah
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.
Servant #1 Abraham
Genesis 26:24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
Servant #2 Isaac
Genesis 24:14 let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac
Servant #3 Jacob
Genesis 26:24 For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen
Deuteronomy 9:27 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overlook the stubbornness of this people, their wickedness and their sin.
And there were many more including, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, Muhammad and, of course, Jesus.
Joshua 1:7-9 Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you.
The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
2 Kings 14:25
He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
A Servant is also called a messenger or an angel. The Hebrew word Malach means both messenger or angel. This is where the term "angel" comes from. It's not the winged creature that has been engrained into our mind by the church. Actually, nowhere in the Bible does it ever mention that the angel has wings except for the misinterpreted term for cherubim which is something completely different. The cherubim, which have wings, are only found on the cover of the ark of the covenant and protect the tree of life in the Adam and Eve story. In fact, when angels were seen in the Bible, they were often mistaken for men. Here are some translations that use the word angel, messenger and Malach interchangeably and we see how priestcraft makes us believe that angels have wings.
Exodus 23:20-21 (New International Translation)
“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion"
Exodus 23:20-21 (Orthodox Jewish Bible)
""Hinei, I send Malach before thee, to be shomer over thee in the derech, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Pay heed to him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your peysha’im"
Exodus 23:20-21 (God's Word Translation)
“I’m going to send a Messenger in front of you to protect you on your trip and bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him, and listen to him. Don’t defy him, because he will not forgive your disobedience"
And just to make this more clear. Joshua saw a man who claimed to be the commander of the Lord's army who looked like a regular man. While Jacob had a famous dream about angels that had to use a ladder to climb up to heaven. If they had wings, would they need to climb a ladder?
And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!
Joshua 5:13-15 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
In this section, we will learn how "Sin", just like a computer virus, gets into the reward system of our mind and controls us without us realizing it. Sin is deceptive because once it's "planted" in us, we are unaware that its neurons are growing stronger, and then it finally overpowers us and we become like a slave to it. Sin becomes a menace in our life, leading us down a path to failed relationships, emotional distress, addictions, discontentment and poor health while spreading itself like a wildfire to others, even those we love. While we are suffering in our "sin", the rich are profiting from us, trapping us into working long hours for "trips and bonuses", selling us drugs, alcohol, junk food, advanced degrees, medical treatments and tests we don't need, counseling services, worthless religion, sex, material goods and more. We can finally get to the root of "sin" by tracing its pathways in our brain wiring and discovering how, through idolatry, it hijacks our reward system and masters us. This neuroscience enlightenment will finally allow us to "trust" the wisdom found in scripture so we can unwire the control of "sin" in our lives.
Now we can understand how King David, the prophets and later Jesus Christ all understood exactly what "sin" was and how to heal from it. You can't recognize what you can't see, so the first step in healing is to separate the "evil" that our brain has wired as "good". If your religion has not assisted you in this process, you are in the proverbial "darkness", you don't even know you are sinning. For many religions, the more people sin, the more they come to church and donate money. So greed can corrupt any church or preacher. By knowing the truth, you are finally be able to identify when and where you "ate the fruit", meaning you digested it in your mind and accepted the bad advice, bitterness, or behavior of your idols. You were deceived by sin and thought it was rewarding, so its neurons grew in your reward system, controlled your desires, then produced its fruit in you when you spread the behavior or advice to others. Once you recognize "sin" by its "root" and repent it, you will finally clear it out for good by removing its "reward" value and even setting it as a "punishment". The process is like installing anti malware software on your computer, it can identify viruses on your computer, clean them out, and prevent new ones. Once sin has been washed clean from us, we will see how to install the Lord's law into this same reward system, we become slaves to righteousness giving us a new spirit (a holy one) that brings joy, love and happiness to everything we do. -Enjoy the healing. You may very well be the next miracle. Amen!
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols *. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
*idols are the people (or gods) we have been taught to worship and follow.
The first step in changing our spirit is to recognize that we are following idols. Our idols (or gods) are the people we currently believe are leading us to a way that is "good" and away from a way that is considered "evil". They are the ones we trust in, look up to, and want to be like. The ones we teach our children to "idolize" and follow which they may devote (sacrifice) their lives to. For example sports figures, actors, teachers, politicians, scientists, doctors, activists, parents, etc. The world uses these idols to control us into believing what our idols have or do is "good" through boasting, clapping/cheering for them. By creating idols and promoting them through the media, societies can actually be controlled to change their evil/good values without the people realizing it. There is a brain network that controls this behavior which works by reading the facial expressions of others. This is why commercials use famous "idols" to sell products and teachers use idols to control our future goals.
I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord.
Look at the effect professional sports has on society. Today, everyone wants their child to be the next superstar athlete, not the next Jesus. And remember what Hitler did using the media and propaganda to brainwash the people. Since its inception, America was always a nation where parents used the Bible as the main reference in raising their children. But in the 1950's millions of Christian parents made the switch, choosing Dr Spock as their "god" and following his advice in raising their children and not the Bible. He urged parents to trust themselves, writing 'you know more than you think you do". This is in complete contrast to Proverbs 3:5 which warns us not to trust our own instincts.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
So, did Dr Spock get it right? (see article 1, article 2, article 3 ). Today we can see the negative impact that this "entitlement generation" has on children, family life, health and society. So, we first have to recognize who our idols are in order to change and heal. These idols can be the biggest mountains blocking our way, calling bad advice "good" and good advice "evil".
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
You have wearied the Lord with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them”
Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
And so the servant of the Lord must first learn, master and submit to what is really evil and good, what is really bitter and sweet in the Lord's eyes, not in the hearts of man. For it is by these things, through the actual design of our brain, that humans find true peace and happiness.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right,
See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
Jesus saw himself as this Messiah (which means "anointed one") and servant of the Lord as we can tell by his reading of this Isaiah scripture in the synagogue.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place (Isaiah 61:1) where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free (see full passage below)
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
After reading these words the people thought that he was arrogant and wanted to stone him. They didn't believe they were blind and that their idols were actually controlling their behavior.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Neuroscientists use the term "Plastic" to describe our brain's ability to change. Engineers would say the brain is reprogrammable to suggest that the brain's wiring can be easily modified. After six years of mapping the brain and reading scripture, I now have a great understanding of how this works. How these high-tech circuits arise from our senses, to our recognition area in our temporal lobe, connect to our orbital and prefrontal cortex (PFC) which store our rewards and emotions, then wire down to our hypothalamus, the body's control center. The hypothalamus controls the pituitary gland, which controls our hormones and regulates the body. So if we can change the way we react, we can change our health and lower our blood pressure, control our appetite, reduce stomach acid, calm our digestive system, and sleep restfully which strengthens our immune system (See Sleep and your immune system). By changing the way we think and react, we can maintain a peaceful state of mind without the need for medication. The evidence that it's possible to modify our brain's wiring, leading to a change in spirit and in health, can be found in both the brain maps and in scripture. (see Brain Maps)
Peter answered them, “All of you must turn to God and change the way you think and act"
Deuteronomy 4:29-31 If you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him.
By studying how brain circuits actually function, we can see the wonderful purpose of the Lord's plan for us. See the world wants to deceive us because it profits from the things it tells us are "good". As we can see in society today, the ways of the world lead to a life of greed, pride, college debt, selfishness, sexual immorality, women in the workforce and even new idols to follow. The brain's internal design shows us how the fruit of these ways actually leads to stress, anxiety, drunkenness, drug use, mental disorders, depression, failed relationships, irritable bowel syndrome, absence of love, bitterness and other major health disorders. Once we are made "slaves" to the world's sins, we become oppressed and are trapped into working longer hours, just like slaves, in order to earn more of these empty rewards. Reward that don't lead to lasting happiness, only a burst of temporary satisfaction. However, when men and women obey God word together it leads to love, marriage and children which produces high levels of the neurotransmitter oxytocin. Brain research has proven that Oxytocin lowers our stress levels, bonds us together in real love, improves our happiness, our overall health and well being. So if we trust in the ways of the Lord, by design, we will be blessed with oxytocin.
Oxytocin Boosts Happiness
"The higher your oxytocin, the higher your happiness and well-being, at least for women," says Paul Zak, PhD, a researcher at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif.
Before we can change the way we think and act, we have to understand how we got to this state of mind in the first place. Our society (which the Bible refers to as "the world") wants us to believe that we are who we are because of our genes. They convince us that we are born with all these mental issues, telling us that we need their products and services, their drugs and treatments, their degrees and teaching, in order to achieve health and happiness in our lives. They write lots of books and form lots of different groups they want us to join. They tell us how to raise our children and how we should discipline them. They even tell us we evolved from animals and life formed on its own in a puddle of water millions of years ago. They call themselves "experts" and with all their "expert" advice, things should be getting better, right? But according to recent statistics, nearly 70% of Americans are now on at least one prescription drug and 40% are on at least two. According to the CDC, the percent of persons using at least one prescription drug in the past month increased nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2010. (see study) The study claims that nearly one in four women ages 50 to 64 were found to be on an antidepressant. Today, prescription drugs cause more deaths than car accidents, guns and suicide, and drug companies are being sued. They are being accused of waging a ‘campaign of deception’ against patients and doctors. (see story)
Dear friends, you already know these things. So be on your guard not to be carried away by the deception of people who have no principles. Then you won’t fall from your firm position.
Are we really born with all these problems? If so, how could the prescription rate climb more than 50% in just 10 years? Maybe our "experts" are wrong. Let's do some research and see what modern neuroscience and ancient scripture tell us about our behavior?
“It has been argued that it is in the period from early childhood to
kindergarten in which the PFC forms the basic neural circuitry that will
later underlie higher cognitive functions. Experiences early in life can
therefore lay down the basic circuitry that is modified in adolescence.
Early experiences (aversive or other) set up the PFC trajectories and
lifelong consequences on behavioral regulation..” pg 17187
Experience and the developing prefrontal cortex
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you? You want what you don’t have, so you commit murder. You’re determined to have things, but you can’t get what you want so you quarrel and fight. You don’t have the things you want, because you don’t pray for them. When you pray for things, you don’t get them because you want them for the wrong reason—for your own pleasure. You unfaithful people! Don’t you know that love for this evil world is hatred toward God? Whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.
"Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray"
The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed other gods, as their ancestors taught them.”
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
So now using Neuroscience and the Bible, we can finally understand how we become who we are and what has led to our suffering, our depression, obesity, addiction, bitterness, divorce, anger, etc? According to both the Bible and Neurosciece we see that our behavior comes from the way we have been taught and who we put our trust in.
This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you,” declares the Lord, “because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods.
So what happened here in America? Have we forsaken the advice from our founding fathers? Have we made the same mistakes as acient Israel and turned from the ways that led to prosperitiy? Have we been tricked into a life of oppression by removing our understanding of God and the teaching of the Lord's servants? According to John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States...
"No human society has ever been able to maintain both order and freedom, both cohesiveness and liberty apart from the moral precepts of the Christian Religion. Should our Republic ever forget this fundamental precept of governance, we will then, be surely doomed" -John Jay, first chief justice of the United States
One thing is for sure, something has gone wrong, so where are we heading?
Isaiah 30:12-14 Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
But there is hope, we can change our brain without drugs.
Before any changes can happen, there must be trust. Trust turns off a region in the amygdala (a multi-sensor in the brain) which activates the nucleus basalis, a part of the brain that produces a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This chemical in the brain has many functions, but in the function of learning, relearning or rewiring, acetylcholine can either open or close circuits like a switch. The circuitry of the nucleus basalis is wired throughout the cortex where your orbital and prefrontal cortex stores emotional and reward memories. When we eat, a signal is sent from the stomach to the amygdala (through the vagus nerve) to also turn on your trust circuit. When we feed animals, it turns their amygdala response off, allowing them to trust us, allowing them to learn and be trained by the release of acetylcholine into the cortex. It's up to you to decide what you "trust in", so you can change the wiring of your emotional circuits, it's as easy as switching off the lights. Christ teaches us in scripture how he heals using "faith" because they "trust" in him and believed in what he was telling them. There is so much misunderstanding about this concept of faith, trust and belief between the many different denominations of Christianity. Hopefully, this will shed some "light" on the subject and lead to a better understanding of the scriptures.
Psalm 86:2 "Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God."
Mark 5:34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Luke 18:42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
Acts 3:16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
Matthew 13:57-58 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Acts 10:37-38 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
This is the most important understanding when reading the miracles of Christ and one that most religions get completely wrong. I have studied this extensively because on the surface you might not understand, especially if you have a "blind guide" priest. See, no one healed was physically blind that they couldn't see vision, or physically deaf that they couldn't hear, they were spiritually blind that they didn't see how sin (the power of the devil) was controlling them. It takes a thorough reading of the prophet Isaiah to understand spiritual blindness, or blind in their sin.
But to this day the Lord hasn’t given you a mind that understands, eyes that see, or ears that hear.
Isaiah 42:20 You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.”
At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.
Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge;
So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them."
Now we can understand how Christ is healing them, by opening their eyes and allowing them to recognize their sin, so then they are no longer blind to the root of their suffering. Christ shows them how they, or their parents, were breaking God's law which led to their anxiety, fears, depressions, etc. He does this by teaching them the true righteousness of God and leading them to repent their sins. It is through this repentance and trust that their brain changes and makes them well again. After all, they didn't have all the pharmaceutical drugs we have today to help them cope.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
By opening their minds so they can finally understand the words of the scroll, (Moses teaching and the prophets), Jesus shows his follower's essentially how their brain's reward system was programmed through worldly advice, worldly values and false preachers, which lead to their suffering. So now, once enlightened and no longer blind, no longers prisoners to darkness (lack of understanding), they could finally change and be healed. The human brain is plastic, it can relearn and reprogram itself, and that change can happen quickly.
The concept of being reborn in scripture sounds strange to those who don't understand its principle. I must admit that I was initially turned off by people who claimed to be "born again" and kept away from them. Now I understand that many are simply confused by religion. They were led astray by false preachers who spread their errors, heresies and discord from generation to generation, so the truth found in scripture slowly fades away. This fading away has led to the demise of many great societies and history reveals this. William Bradford explained what was transpiring in England in the 1600's that led to their fleeing of the country and settling in America.
William Bradford writes: "As it is well known, ever since the breaking out of the light of the gospel in England, which was the first country to be thus enlightened after the gross darkness of popery (the Pope) had overspread the Christian world, Satan has maintained various wars against the Saints, from time to time, in differnet ways. He began to sow errors, heresies, and discord amongst the clergy themselves, working upon the pride and ambition and other frailties to which all mortals, and even the Saints themselves in some measure are subject."
So if the clergy can be controlled by pride and blinded by money, then what about the scientist, and the doctor, the professor, and even the judge; surely they can be victims of pride and greed; surely they could go blind too.
“Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.
But my new understanding of the brain and how it changes when we really "believe" something is right and we trust the one who is teaching us. In order to change your "plastic" brain, you must have "trust" in the words you are receiving. In biblical terms, you must "eat its fruit". You have to see that "your ways" violate the Moral Law of the Lord and are leading to your suffering (addictions, bitterness, grudges, anxiety, quarreling, obesity, etc.). And "your ways" are harming others too, even your children. You must accept that you need to renew your mind. Your mind must be wiped clean of its old values and reborn with new biblical values.
John 3:5-7 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
So the biblical terms being "Born Again" actually means, uninstalling the old values (rewards) and then installing your new values from the Law found in scripture. From the brain maps, this makes a lot of sense. So the question now is "how can we do this without drugs or surgery?"
This is what it means to repent. In Hebrew the word is "teshuva". Teshuva is not just a confession of the sin, but rather a true regretting of the behavior; how it has hurt others and especially that it was a a transgression against the Lord's moral law. True repentance that has the power to change your brain takes weeping. It takes real sorrow over how your sinful behavior has hurt yourself, your relationship with God, and how you hurt or misled others.
The People’s Confession of Sin While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly.
They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
Now you will have the "faith" that your behavior will change and you will no longer do the things you don't want to do. This way of thinking changes an area of the brain called your Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex or in biblical terms, your "spirit". Many priests may disagree with me here and teach that the spirit is some kind of ghost or something, but actually the Bible is very clear that your spirit is the "laws" of the "god" you follow, hard-wired into the neurons of your mind to release dopamine when you follow them and create fear when you break them. When you seek to obtain the things that society has told you are "good" they end up leaving your feeling depressed and empty. Now that our eyes are open, we can understand how these false gods control us while profiting from our sinful nature (priests, professors, politicians, actors, even doctors and judges, etc). So, if you change your internal "Law", you will change the "gods" that you followed that led to your suffering. Boy that Adam and Eve story is looking very intelligent now, when did you eat the fruit of bad advice?
Jeremiah 7:5-7 (NIV)
If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.
Jeremiah 31:33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."
So, if you follow the moral law of the Lord, like Christ did, then he will be your God and you will have his "Holy Spirit".
Zechariah 12:1 "The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares:"
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin.
And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.
So here is what I feel is the greatest understanding in the Bible, a blindness that has over taken most of Christianity and Judaism Today. We are not Christians simply because we say we are, and we are not Jews because we were born Jewish. More importantly, the Lord is not your God because you go to church, donate money and call him God. No, the Lord is your God if and ONLY if his law is within your heart. That is who our god really is, the one we trust in, the one who tells us what is Good and what is Bad. For most people today, that is just about everyone but God. Now just to make this even more clear; the Lord is not your God because you know his law and/or even follow it through fear. No, the Lord is only your God because you love and obey his law. That's what it means to have his law in your heart and that's what makes us a Jew or a Christian and in both senses, a child of God. When the Lord's law is in your heart, it's wired into your reward system producing dopamine when you obey him and protecting you from sin. We are slaves to righteousness and no longer under the control of sin. This is why many prayers go unanswered and why most people who go to church are still trapped in sinful living and suffering for it.
Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns
A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
“I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
People (the world) give us advice and we accept it because we "believe" in them, we trust them. They use facial expressions and peer pressure to convince us that their way is right and even use mockery to turn us away from following others. They tell us what is good and evil, subconsciously wiring up our "reward system" without us knowing it. Then we find ourselves striving like slaves to obtain those very things that "the world" said we need. In the process, we make many sacrifices. We sacrifice our love, our future children, we borrow money and get ourselves in debt (a form of oppression), we party, get drunk which leads to debauchery, and we don't realize that any of this behavior will have future consequences, not realizing that our brain remembers it all, but then we realize it does.
Wicked people have set a trap for me, but I have never wandered away from your guiding principles.
he said to them, “Pay attention to all these warnings I’ve given you today. Then you will command your children to faithfully obey every word of these teachings.
34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
We could have been free, but we trusted in lies and became slaves.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
Slaves to our pride, to greed, jealousy, money, delicacies, material things, sex, etc. We gave up our love to seek "equality", our family to seek "fame and wealth", our children to seek "advanced degrees". The rich have used our pride to master us, haven't they? They profit from us, they have turned us into their slaves and we were too blind to see it. They told us not to change "who we are", and they shaped us into who they wanted us to be. Christ calls this "living in darkness", but tells us that the truth will set you FREE. The teaching of Christ is that we must change "who we are" to be free from the ways of the world, because "who we are" is evil in the eyes of the Lord.
That's why "the world" killed Christ, because he was opening the eyes of the blind, so they began to see the evil that was controlling them. The people weren't sure at first who to trust; can you blame them? Maybe you are going through the same emotions right now, I know I was at one time. It is humbling for us to accept our mistakes, even the mistakes of our parents. But we finally must admit that we were fooled by "the world". At one time we too were fools and believed in our experts, the scientists. We believed in Evolution because it's taught in all our schools. We believed that the world's most advanced electronic system, with over 34,500 microprocessors, formed by chance in a puddle of water. How foolish are we !!!
“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.
Woe to the priests, Christ gave this warning to them.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil. Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit
“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty. “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
So we see that even priests become blinded, just like the rest of us. It took the sacrifice of Christ's death to finally see the evil that deceives us. When the people saw the "holy men" kill a kind and innocent man, their eyes were opened. It only took three days. By looking at the design of the brain, we see that it takes faith (trust) to fire our nucleus basalis and releases acetylcholine and make changes in our cortex. It takes faith to change our beliefs. And so, it is through faith "in the teaching of Christ" that he leads us to repentance, heals us and redeemed us back to the Lord.
2 Thessalonians 2:13
You are loved by the Lord and we thank God that in the beginning he chose you to be saved through a life of spiritual devotion and faith in the truth.
This understanding of Christ is the main cause for the division of Christianity and now, using the understanding of the brain's actual design, we can finally see the truth. Christ had to die so that the eyes of many could be opened and they can finally see the evil in those they once trusted, the priests who had corrupted the law for their own selfish gain. Isn't it time we opened our eyes now and get ourselves back on the right path. Stop trusting in "the world" and start trusting in the word. See, the Lord's mercy is that he designed our brain to be "plastic" and it can change. When we repent, the things that we once desired can be reprogrammed so that we now see them as a punishment. The people we once trusted, we can now see as evil.
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.
What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
So all we need to do now, is to learn what is evil and what is good. This teaching comes from the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament, (the Torah or Moses' Teachings) and was taught by Christ in the New Testament. As a matter of fact, that was one of the prophecies of the Messiah.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.
All we need to do is "repent" and our brain will go through a change neuroscientists call Extinction Learning and the Bible calls "baptism" or "washing" of our old ways. You must overcome your pride and recognize that your way (or your parent's way) was actually the wrong way. Otherwise, the change won't happen.
So you might be thinking that baptism and circumcision are things to be done to infants, well some religions follow this practice and preach it, but this is not the baptism that Christ spoke of in the Bible. Christ's baptism is the baptism of "repentance", a baptism for adults to begin a process of spiritual change and Christ did not baptize with water, John baptized with water.
And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.
The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh—
He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
This baptism is similar in effect to the washing away of sin preached by King David in Psalm 51. A cleansing that will start the renewal process in your mind. Let's see how it works.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Here, King David acknowledges his sin and this is where most will fail because they don't actually know God's laws that they are breaking. This is where Christ's baptism comes into affect. John's baptism with water is actually worthless without being followed up with Christ's baptism of fire.
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.
When we hear the Lord's words, they penetrate deeply into our spirit." They have the power to overcome our stubbornness and pride which were preventing us from accepting our mistake or the mistakes of our parents and putting them behind us. They are like a refiner's fire that melts the impurities out of precious metals to make them pure. You are precious to the Lord and he wants to make you pure.
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.
If your religion is flawed and you don't know "the law", this will be a stumbling block to you and even your children. Many of our "ways" come from watching our parents and even if they are no longer living, they can still haunt you. That's why scripture also tells us to "repent the sins of your ancestors" and Jesus said he has come to turn a daughter against her mother, ones enemies are the members of his own family.
But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me,
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple
So, if you truly feel sorry for your old ways and acknowledge the pain they caused others, you will shut down that circuit for good. But many can't let go of their pride. They can't humble themselves and acknowledge that they were wrong.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.
With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble,
2 Corinthians 7:10
For Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
This spirit is wired in from your senses, to your Prefrontal Cortex, to your Amygdala or Nucleus Accumbens which control the amount of dopamine released. Dopamine is probably the most influential feeling we have in our brain that gives you that "good feeling" about something. It's the key to the feeling of happiness but sometimes that feeling can lead us into trouble. If you know the Lord's law and you are happy when you follow it, you have his "Holy Spirit". If you know the Lord's law and force yourself to follow it, you have the "Law" but not the "Spirit" since you have not let go of your old ways. The Bible teaches us how to let go of your old ways and release that acetylcholine (trust) to cutoff that old circuit that produces dopamine. True repentance (teshuva) produces tears of sorrow.
Redemption is the turning back to the moral law of the Lord. You have already repented your old ways and now need to be reprogrammed with the right code. The code that brings peace, love, family and good health. Just look at the world today, is it going in the right direction? The Founding Fathers of America knew how important the moral law was to their new society. See (The Law)
John Jay "No human society has ever been able to maintain both order and freedom, both cohesiveness and liberty apart from the moral precepts of the Christian Religion. Should our Republic ever forget this fundamental precept of governance, we will then, be surely doomed."
“This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord. “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.
And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Look down from heaven and see, from your lofty throne, holy and glorious. Where are your zeal and your might? Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us. But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.
Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Many don't understand this but there are two kinds of wisdom. Worldly wisdom which is trusting the beliefs of your society (or the world) and Biblical wisdom which is the trust in scripture. The Bible warns about worldly wisdom because the world wants you to be its slave, to buy its products, trust in its medication, to be part of its group, to pay for its education, even if it leads you into debt. The fruit of worldly wisdom produces stress, debt from advanced degrees, coveting, greed, pride, divorce, emotional problems, quarreling, selfishness, obesity, drug or alcohol addiction, health problems, high blood pressure, oppressive children, fewer or even no children, etc. The fruit of biblical wisdom produces peace, good health, gentleness, satisfaction in your work, freedom from addictions, love, many children, financial stability, godly offspring, thankfulness, etc. For most of my life, I followed the worldly advice and it didn't help me find peace.
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives.
The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
This brings us to the final and most important point of this section- the Lord's promise. If you really believe that the Lord created you then you should understand that he knows how our brain and body works. In the section called The Prophecy we talk about how the Creator, the Engineer of our body, can predict how the future will unfold when people stop following his ways. Because of our human nature, which is designed in us by our Creator, the Lord promises us what will happen when we obey or even refuse to obey his laws. Since all humans have been created with free will we all get to choose what we believe is good and evil. Many times these values come from what we have been taught and what has been modeled to us by our parents, coaches and teachers. Today many children are learning these values from YouTube and other websites. So the Lord makes promises to all of us individually. These promises are the key to understanding why you are suffering and how you can trust that you actually can change. The Lord made a promise to Abraham (he swore) that his descendants would be numerous and grow to become a great nation "if" Abraham would teach his children (and his decedents after them) to obey the Lord.
For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
See, I set before you today life and prosperity or death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
So our prosperity comes from our obedience to our God and our suffering comes from our disobedience. In the story of Cain and Able, Cain sinned against God and the Lord gave him a chance to correct it. He told Cain "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?" Cain refused to repent and we know what happened next. Don't be like Cain, take advantage of the Lord other promise. The promise to restore you "if" you return to the Lord and follow his ways and not the ways of the world. This is your path to redemption. I pray you can humble yourself and take it like I did.
Deuteronomy 30:9-16 The Offer of Life or Death
You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.
Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”
The Servant: The messenger sent to teach us why we are suffering
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