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Plug for "Kyrie Eleison"

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  • Christopher Orr
    For those of you unaware of Anastasia s treasure trove of a blog - especially now that she is back from Greece - here is a sampling of her work there: The
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 22, 2008
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      For those of you unaware of Anastasia's treasure trove of a blog -
      especially now that she is back from Greece - here is a sampling of her work

      The Doctrine of the Celestial

      God told Moses, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live."
      (Exodus 33:20) In some circles, this is interpreted to mean that God is a
      Celestial Prig. This Celestial Prig allegedly cannot abide even a whiff of
      wickedness in His all-holy presence, so if you should blunder into that
      Presence or be brought there, you, as a sinner, would be zapped. Of course
      this is total nonsense. Well, not total; it does contain a grain of truth,
      which I intend to point out, but first, let us debunk this unbiblical,
      unchristian, primitive notion of God.

      Biblical examples usually given to back up the doctrine of the Celestial
      Prig are the stories of Uzzah, of Abihu and Nadab, of Ananias and Sapphira,
      all of whom were struck dead.

      Uzzah's story takes place as King David is transferring the Ark of the
      Covenant to the capital city. Now the Ark, besides containing holy relics,
      (Hebrews 9:4) was also the place where God dwelt. More specifically, the
      gold-covered lid of the Ark had a carving of a cherub on either side of it,
      and God's glory dwelt between the cherubim. Although the general population
      was forbidden to touch the Ark, Uzzah arrogated to himself the privileged
      responsibility of steadying it during its journey. "Uzzah put out his hand
      to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger
      of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his
      error; and he died there by the ark of God." (2 Samuel 6:7)

      Was it because Uzzah approached too closely to the Lord that he was struck
      dead, or was it not rather because he had disobeyed Him? That the latter is
      the case is clearly shown by the fact that the Ark, whereupon the Lord
      dwelt, was was then taken to the house of Obed-Edom, the Gittite, where it
      remained for three months. "And the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his
      household. Now it was told King David, saying, 'The Lord has blessed the
      house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God'."

      Nobody in Obed-Edom's house died from being in direct proximity to the Lord.
      On the contrary, they were blessed.

      Moreover, afterward, human beings carried the Ark without being zapped: "So
      David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the
      City of David with gladness. And so it was, when those bearing the ark of
      the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep". (2
      Samuel 6:11-14)

      I Chronicles 15:26 tells us specifically the men carrying the Ark were

      Merely touching the Ark, then, did not kill a person; only touching it in
      disobedience did. Being in close proximity to the Lord was in itself neither
      harmful nor unsafe, but to the contrary, a blessing.

      On to the next story that allegedly teaches the doctrine of the Celestial

      Abihu and Nadab were priests in the Tabernacle, who decided to ignore God's
      commands concerning how HE wished to be worshipped, and undertook to worship
      Him in ways of their own devising.

      Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire
      in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He
      had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them,
      and they died before the LORD. And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the
      LORD spoke, saying:

      'By those who come near Me
      I must be regarded as holy;
      And before all the people
      I must be glorified.'"

      And Aaron was shocked. (Leviticus 10:1-4, verse 4 being from the Septuagint)

      Again, was it from being in close proximity to the Lord that these men died?
      No, it was from disobedience. Their brothers serving in the same Tabernacle
      remained alive and unharmed, impure though they undoubtedly were, as all of
      us are.

      On to the New Testament case.

      Ananias and Sapphira were Christian converts. The original Christians sold
      all their possessions and put the proceeds into a common fund, but Ananias
      (no relation to Ananias the High Priest or Ananias who baptized Saul) and
      his wife, Sapphira, kept back part of their profit for themselves, laying
      the rest at the apostles' feet.

      But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy
      Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it
      remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own
      control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied
      to men but to God."

      Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great
      fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and
      wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

      Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what
      had happened. And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for
      so much?"

      She said, "Yes, for so much."

      Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the
      Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are
      at the door, and they will carry you out." Then immediately she fell down at
      his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her
      dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came
      upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. (Acts 5:3-11)

      In none of these stories do we see people who have died because they saw the
      Lord or because they were in His direct presence; on the contrary, they died
      because they sinned; and in sinning, they were *separating* themselves from

      So none of these stories serves to prop up the doctrine of the Celestial
      Prig who cannot stand being in the presence of wickedness.

      In fact, the one man who did actually see God, Isaiah, was not zapped. On
      the contrary, he was purified. Isaiah writes:

      In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high
      and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood
      seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he
      covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

      "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
      The whole earth is full of His glory!"

      And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and
      the house was filled with smoke.

      So I said:

      O wretched man that I am!
      I am stunned;
      for being a man and having unclean lips,
      I live among a people having unclean lips,
      and I have seen the King,
      the Lord of Hosts, with my eyes!"

      Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he
      had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it,
      and said:

      "Behold, this has touched your lips;
      Your iniquity is taken away,
      And your sin purged."
      (Isaiah 6:1-7, verse 5 is Septuagint)

      St. John, in two places, (John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12) assures us, "No man has
      seen God at any time." What are we to make of Isaiah's account now?
      Obviously, that it was a vision, not a literal, physical event. We should
      have known that anyway, as there is no way a burning coal could literally
      take away wickedness, any more than picking a rose could stop thunder; nor
      were Isaiah's physical lips blistered. The coal showed the prophet's
      cleansing in a symbolic way.

      No man has seen God at any time. What God said to Moses, then, is not
      exemplified by Uzzah, by Abihu and Nadab, or by Ananias and Sapphira. None
      of these saw the Lord. None was in closer proximity to the Lord than others
      who survived. All of them were flagrantly disobedient. They died not because
      God is dangerous, but because sin is, although this statement needs some
      qualifying; keep reading.

      Yet there is a sense in which Christians, at least, have indeed seen God.
      Jesus said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father." Looking at Jesus,
      then, do we see revealed any Celestial Prig? Is that what Jesus is? If God
      cannot abide even the whiff of wickedness in His Presence, how is it He
      Himself consented to be born into this wicked world? Shouldn't He rather
      have sent an angel than to have come in Person? If God cannot tolerate sin,
      how is it that He actually sought out sinners and ate with tax collectors
      and allowed a whore to weep all over His feet and anoint Him with oil and
      dry Him with her own hair? (As a matter of fact, Christ our God allowed
      Himself also to be descended from a prostitute, Rahab.) If God cannot abide
      sin, why did God the Son harbor Judas among His most intimate friends? Why
      did Pontius Pilate and Herod not drop dead when He stood before them, or
      they sat before Him? In fact, why did not everybody He met drop dead at the
      sight of Him, as Peter was afraid he might? "Depart from me, Lord," he said,
      "for I am a sinful man!" But Jesus did not depart from him, and Peter lived.
      Even when Jesus cleansed the Temple, he only overturned the tables. He could
      have zapped the sinners, but you can be sure it was not long before they
      were right back at it. If God cannot abide sin, why did Christ allow Himself
      to die between two thieves and murderers? Even those who whipped Him and
      spat upon Him and mocked Him and drove the nails through Him who dwelt above
      the Ark were not zapped on the spot, due to the incomprehensible forbearance
      of our God. The earth shook, the Sun was darkened, the veil of the Temple
      was torn from top to bottom, but nobody was zapped. In fact, the opposite:
      graves opened, and saints arose from them. If God is a Celestial Prig Who
      cannot bear the presence of evil, how did He manage to descend to the very
      bowels of hell?

      No, God is no prude. God is an adult deity. He can handle evil.

      Moreoever, His nature is so entirely unlike our own and nothing we do is
      able to change Him in the least. He is totally independent of us. He is
      immutable. He is not kindly disposed toward you one moment and ready to kill
      you the next, or vice-versa. Instead, He always loves you, no matter how
      displeased He may be with your undertakings. The doctrine of the Celestial
      Prig is forced to teach that He must be changed in order for us to be saved.
      But Scripture tells us the very opposite: first, that He does not change;
      and secondly, that His unchanging nature is precisely why we are *not*zapped!

      James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes
      down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow
      of turning.

      Malachi 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob
      are not consumed.

      Lamentations 3:22 [It is of] the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed,
      because his compassions fail not.

      God is love, and love is infinitely stronger than evil. Love does not avenge
      evil but (what is infinitely better!) *corrects* it, heals it, abolishes it
      the same way knowledge abolishes ignorance.

      He deals with evil by displacing it with His Goodness and also by thwarting
      it. In Job 5:12, we read: "He disappoints the devices of the crafty, so that
      their hands cannot perform [their] enterprise." And that brings us to the
      grain of truth in the lie of the Celestial Prig, because the fact is, you
      could conceivably find yourself among the disappointed. And that's putting
      it mildly. God, in His love, frustrates our evil intents and stops our evil
      deeds, which is always good for us, not to mention for our victims. Yes, it
      is always good for us to cease eroding our character, mutilating our souls,
      numbing our consciences � and God in His mercy may shorten our days if
      necessary to keep us from that. (We children of Adam were all going to die
      anyway, so we can't exactly say God will kill us, but He will decide when
      the time is right for each of us to leave this life and enter the next.) You
      could conceivably find yourself among the zapped!

      But it won't be because you came too near to God, but rather because you
      were too far from Him, Who is your only safety. It won't be because, like
      some prissy old woman needing a flask of ammonia under her nose to revive
      her, God is so scandalized by your sins, but because He is rescuing you from
      racking up any more everlasting regrets -- and/or He is delivering others
      from your schemes. And/or for some other good, kind, compassionate, loving,
      reason we may or may not be able to discern.

      Sinning, not God, is hazardous to your health.

      God is your only safe haven.


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