The Blind Church
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- Published: Tuesday, 31 October 2017 10:30
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The Blind Church
By Augusto A. Kho
Christ the Living Stone Fellowship
October 22, 2017 (Sunday); 9:00 A.M.
Updated: October 25, 2017 (Wednesday); 6:00 P.M.
One night, the Lord said to me, "A blind pastor is a blind church."
How could the Church possibly teaches the Truth of Christ (John 14:6) if she herself is blind? How could a pastor possibly guide the flock when he himself is misguided?
When the Pharisees seeing Christ's disciples didn't wash their hands according to tradition, they were offended, and they took notice of Him and slightly rebuked Him. Christ knowing the intents of their hearts said,
"But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch," (Matthew 15:13-14).
Religious customs and traditions no matter how noble or sacred they may be if the hearts are not right can blind anyone.
Nobody wanted to be misguided. No one ever wanted to be lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere or in the dark.
Christ rebuked the world’s most ancient and prestigious religion, Judaism. Judaism is oldest ever existed. But religious traditions can be a cover-up for sins. Remember when the Pharisees wanting to find fault on Messiah through the Jewish traditional washing and Christ spoke, “It is not what goes in the inside that can make unclean but what goes out from the mouth.” Jesus branded them a “blind guides,” (Matt. 23:16).
Blindness can be literal or figurative. It derived from the Greek word “tuphlos” which is either blind or mentally blind.
The human eye
The human eye is an organ which reacts to light and pressure. As a sense organ, the mammalian eye allows vision. Human eyes help provide a three dimensional, moving image, normally coloured in daylight. Rod and cone cells in the retina allow conscious light perception and vision including color differentiation and the perception of depth. The human eye can differentiate between about 10 million colors and is possibly capable of detecting a single photon. (Photon is the unit of intensity of light).
Similar to the eyes of other mammals, the human eye's non-image-forming photosensitive ganglion cells in the retina receive light signals which affect adjustment of the size of the pupil, regulation and suppression of the hormone melatonin and entrainment of the body clock.
Perception vs. Reality
Perception is something the way you perceive or believe in though it is far from the reality. Reality is what is in the natural. Natural Science speaks of what is real while perception is an idea of the mind.
Sometimes that we perceive is not what is real. For example, some people measures happiness and fulfillment in terms of success, wealth, position, marriage, financial security and investments, academic degree and more.
Laodicea isn't a petty church. It is one among the wealthiest as far as I know out of the Seven Churches of Asia. The wealthiest churches are Pergamon, Ephesus and Laodicea.
Pergamon is settled on the top of mountain like the Acropolis in Athens, Greece overlooking Aegean Sea. It that has the world biggest library next only to Alexandria in Egypt. The Pergamese citizen must be scholarly in mind and very Greek indeed, philosophically.
Ephesus on the other hand is 4th times a neokoros. Ephesus maintained its "cityhood" by the four (4) neokoros they obtained from the Roman Capital in Rome. They were not 2nd class or 5th class municipality but highly urbanized. Have you heard the word, "metrosexual?". Those are people who live in bustling metropolis. Indeed people of Ephesus are pretty much metrosexual.
Laodicea is located between Heliopolis, a high mountainous region known for its hot spring and to the Aegean Sea. It is somewhere in between, a plateau. So when the hot water from Heliopolis in Pamukkhale flows down to Laodicea, it is no longer warm nor cold. It is lukewarm. So God likened Laodicean Church to the condition of the natural water which is "neither hot nor cold."
The Laodiceans perceived themselves as rich but in reality in the very eyes of God, they are poor. They perceived themselves lavishly-dressed as "fashionistas" (fashionable) with their branded apparels and fine garments on , but God looks at them a dirty naked. Though Laodicea was made famous for of their "best eye-hospitals" in the world, Jesus call them "blind." It is a perception vs. reality? Sometimes what we perceived of who and what we are is not what it is meant to be and it is far from reality.
Said by archaeologist Mark Fairchild when we were in Laodicea on June 13, 2017, "Laodicea have many well-known hospitals, mostly eye- hospitals where we have this herb that can cure blindness. Not until a massive earthquake hits Laodicea that brought so much great damage. "
Laodicea was tremendously rich. It has 5 fountains, 4 public bath houses, and 5 agoras which are trade centres. And "they bragged their wealth, Fairchild said. How could such affluent church cannot cure her blindness? Greek scholar Dr. Mark Fairchild concluded, "This is a Church that compromised her faith. " Are we “compromising church” as well?
Eye is defined by Webster as a part of the body that you see with; it is the faculty of seeing with eyes or the faculty of intellectual or aesthetic perception or appreciation.
Biblically, the eye in Greek "opthalmos" in Matthew 13:15 refers metaphorically 'as the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing." Literally it means "vision" or "sight".
So envy can blind a person?
I had a casual talk with a bank manager of BDO. I asked him this question? “You’re a manager and often you deal with clients in regards to money. My question is this, how would you know that the person is materialistic?” He said, “That person is when he keeps treating you out; who keeps on buying things even though he doesn’t need them; when he envious or mainggitin (jealous). “
Figuratively speaking, eye (Greek: opthalmos) means "envy (from the jealous side glance).” Eyes can show an expression of compassion but envy as well. Christ said it is "better to have one eye rather than having two eyes yet the whole body should be cast into hell," (Matthew 5:29)
Biblically the word eye in Hebrew "ayin" is the 16th letter in the Hebrew alphabet. It goes and looks like this “ayin” evolved tremendously which means the following:
Ancient Name: ayin
Meanings: Watch, Know, Shade
Remember Psalm 121? What do think the song is implying for?
Psa 121:1-8 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help
cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he
that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he hat keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite
thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thy out going and thy coming in
from this time forth, and even for evermore."
The word "ayin" speaks of God's watchfulness over you or me that gives us an ultimate shade or
protection to preserve us from any evil or harm. That is why God addressed Israel as the "apple of
Apple of the eye
In today's generation, independence is often sought for by anyone who does not want to be under one's authority. Have you seen a poster that reads, "No fear." It sounds like it refuses or defies authority. But authority denotes security (Romans 13:1).
Deuteronomy 32:10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Psalm 17:8 "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings."
The apple of my eye refers to something or someone that one cherishes above all others. Out of 12 disciples, 3 of these were quite dear to the Lord's heart in the persons of John, Peter and James. Often you see these three being mentioned in the Gospel. Out of the 3, it is John the Beloved who was closest to the Lord’s heart.
God is our watchman
Since we are the Lord’s apples of His own eyes, He is our watchman. If not the Lord is posting set watchmen to guard our souls.
Jeremiah 6:17, "Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. "
Watchmen in Hebrew "traphah" as "to look out or about; to observe; to peer into the distance,
Spying is like having a GPS in your body as if you are being tracked wherever you go, as if your being spied or closely watched at anytime at anyplace. Would that be like stalking? But stalking is a crime in the Philippines now.
Well, God is so sovereign and omniscient that He knows everything as the psalmist declared.
But watchfulness from someone who is over us speaks of spiritual covering which a sort of immunity from any harm or danger. That is why God gave us a pair of eyes that we may not grope in the dark that may endanger our lives.
There is a song entitled, "From the Distance." God watches over our soul even from the distance. He knows where we are in whatever time. Psalm 139:1-17 speaks of God's omnipotent power over us that we cannot hide or conceal anything from Him even in the most darkest place- He sees us from afar.
That is why God gives much importance to ruler-ship or governance to post His watch over us. Submission and obedience on the other hand is being required from our end.
How can there be order without rules? How can they be government without subjects? How can there be peace without submission?
God posted some watchmen like spies for some good reasons like the church, government, family's parents, school heads or principals, etc.
Heb 13:17 "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. "
The word "agrupneo" in Greek word "watch" means those whom God sent to us are "to be sleepless; keep awake, watchful, attentive and ready."
Even Israel was accused by Jehovah of being blind. If God's chosen people was afflicted with blurred vision, how about us?
Isaiah 6:8 "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”
Shut in Hebrew “sha’a” i.e. "stroke, smeared, blinded." Strong Bible Dictionary defined it as "complacency."
Webster define "complacency" as "uninformed, unaware," or much worst, "self-satisfied especially unaware of actual dangers."
Complacency makes us blind?
Sometime on August 2014, I was invited as Resource Speaker in the House of Representatives on Committee Hearing on "Anti-SOGI Discrimination Act," a bill that gives "special power" on LGBT's as a sort of "legal immunity" LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I strongly pointed out that the bill is not "grossly unconstitutional" but anti-Filipino Family, unethical and anti-God that defy even the Natural Law (Science). Two weeks later, I gave my "Position Paper" and months that follow, over 12,000 signatories from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao for "NO to Anti-SOGI Discrimination Act."
I called the pastors from District 6 of Pangasinan and warned them of the danger of the said bill that once it is approved as a law will asssail religious liberty that can shut down churches, persecute the moralists, criminalize and imprisoned preachers, ban Gospel reading and preaching, and Bible can be rebutted as "discriminatory" and therefore it can be considered "illegal" creating a national-scale persecution against Christianity. I warned the churches through text and through our website of such future scenario.
The only way "to kill" the said bill is for the moralists and Christians to submit their Position Papers and submit Signature Campaign against the bill but to no avail. Or to get a support of a lawmaker (be a congressman or a senator) to sponsor and kill the bill as "unconstitutional". Yet, my campaign to our fellow brethren in the Lord fell on deaf ears. Complacency, what does it mean?
Now, will complacency makes us a blind church, if not a dead church? (Ephesians 5:14). if we are fully aware yet we have not done anything at all? Or we have done something yet not good enough? Complacency is also being apathetic or indifferent or uninterested.
Is it not Israel was rebuked by God when He said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee," (Hosea 4:6)?
Now that no less than the House Speaker who filled a bill for LGBT last October 21, 2017 (Saturday), can we blame it to the Church's complacency whose "conscience" got seared and never done any legal move?
Alvarez files house bill recognizing LGBT unions
By: Vince F. Nonato - Reporter / @VinceNonatoINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:18 AM October 21, 2017, Saturday
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has formally filed a bill seeking to recognize licensed unions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples.
Calling such unions “civil partnerships,” Alvarez filed House Bill (HB) No. 6595 seeking to grant LGBT couples the same rights and privileges enjoyed by spouses.
Or the Church's complacency can be attributed to lack of discernment between the right and the wrong and that anything goes? Or complacency indeed made us blind as a church?
Prophet Ezekiel spoke of the "conspiracy of the prophets" in Ezekiel 22:25. Conspiracy is treason like what Judas did to Christ. Judas conspired with the Pharisees and Roman government for the illegal arrest of his Master. Conspiracy (literal or figurative) is making and alliance or confederation with the unlawful. Such spiritual treason made the priests of the land undiscerning, complacent and blind.
Or have we committed "treason" during the recent Presidential Election when we have not consulted with the Lord corporately and prayerfully? Have we blatantly disregarded God’s guidance in Exodus 18:20-21?
Ezek. 22:26, "Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. " No less than the priests knew nothing on what is sacred and what is not. Are we not being called into "royal priesthood" in 1 Peter 2:9.
When the Final Reading on Anti-SOGIE Discrimination Act was approved with "zero" vote on "No" and "Abstain," as published by Philippine Daily Inquirer dated September 21, 2017. The newspaper simply implying that all members of the Congress voted in favor to such dubious bill? I asked myself where is the "conscience vote" of CIBAC (Citizen Battle Against Corruption)? Have we (as Evangelical Christians ) not supported CIBAC since the first time it joined the lower Congress Voice of the Lord to be heard in the Congress? Where is the Voice of God now in the Congress?
I chanced to meet Pastor Domeng Rivera of JIL last October 11 in Pasay city and asked him what happened to the vote of CIBAC? He knew nothing so far and he said he will check later. Don't we have some evangelical legislators in the House of Representatives for such a "dubious" bill' to be passed without an objection? Or do we truly lack a "conscience vote" in the Congress? Otherwise, is it immorality is not merely being condoned but do lawmakers deliberately legalize them? In judicial debate there is the so called, “legal but immoral.” Or it the law is being perverted and crafting lies as true? Or Job is right when he said, "The earth is given into the hand of the wicked " in Job 9:24. The word “wicked” in Hebrew “rasha” means “criminal.” Do legislators like the House of Representatives can be branded as criminal should they pervert the Law? What is a Law?
Ancient Pergamon and Laodicea
We visited Pergamon, where Asklepius' best hospital was once located. I saw the statue of Asklepius with the emblem of the snake. I have taken a snapshot on the statue of Galen in the city of Bergama.
Where’s the eyesalve, a healing for blindness will be coming from? It is indeed ironic! Why? Here what is it says from the readings:Laodicea was well known for it's school of medicine and it’s compound of medicine that finds cure for blindness but ironically, LAODICEA is BLIND.
Phrygian powder that can cure eye-diseases can only be found in Laodicea. Yet this compound of medicine could not even cure Laodicea of her blindness.
Galen, a well known doctor confirmed the existence of Phyrgian powder. Galen is said to be schooled by Asklepius, the son of Apollo, a healer whose healing power have been attributed from the snake who gave him the power. Galen's name can be found in many books in the field of Medicine.
Would you like to branded as a "Blinded Church"? This is a true story.
One evening, I received several text messages from one church elder and two or three pastors from the other denominations. What was surprisingly odd is that they were requesting me to pray persistenly to their senior pastor who have lost his left eye due from severe cataract and the other eye was also being infected. In other words, the senior pastor's pair of eyes was fastly waning its sight and it badly needed an eye operation immediately. But the church elders and fellow pastors of the senior pastors only sought God's in prayers and other intercessions without doing the most practical way - an action. " Faith without works is dead, " James said.
I've found the text message a bit intruding because we were holding our church staff Christmas Party that night. And I felt why should I should be involved there when they have a Church Council or Board. Suddenly the Voice of God came saying, "A blind pastor is a blind church."
Right there and there (after hearing the Word), I called some of this senior pastor's pastors and elder and immediately called for a meeting with the Board Council as well with the existing Pastoral Movement on that town.
Two days later, I was seated with them on a local fastfood and said, "This guy is your senior pastor as well as fellow pastors on this town. I heard a word from God, "that in the event that you cannot help this pastor, this Church in this town will be called Blind Church. I am giving seed money for as financial help for his immediate operation. I appeal that you will do the same thing."
(To be honest, I pained me releasing one-month of my honorarium from the church. But the Bible says "obedience is better than sacrifice").
Two months later, this senior pastor called up and said, "I am fast recovering from eye operation. I owe this to you. Now I can see." You and me want to be branded as a Church Who Can See.
Mark 10:51, "And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight."
Christ's purpose for coming to Jericho is not Bartimaeus. we didn't know what did he do there in Jericho. However on his way out of Jericho when the blind man started calling His name. While his disciples warned the blind man to keep his mouth shut, the more that Bartimaeus called on Jesus' name loudly until he did catch the attention of Christ who was merely passing by.
A passer-by do not normally stops because he is heading to his own planned direction. No one wants his plan aborted much more to a beggar or blind like Bartimaeus, right?
But Christ did stop. Christ did listen. Christ did.
God will always abort His plan should He heard us yelling, calling for help. God still stop whatever things that keeps Him busy just to listen to us. That is what He did to Bartimaeus. While others merely passing by to this beggar, God did stop and listened to him.
Mark 10:46, "And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging."
Do you think that God wlll not do the same thing to you should you call Him by His name? Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. "
God has always a plan for us. We are always in the plan of God. (Jeremeiah 29:11). Because we are created with sense of purpose. For the sick like Bartimaeus, God's plan for the blind is to be healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24). Like the blind Laodicea Church, God wanted a blind church to be well and be healed. That is why in Revelation 3:18, Jesus said, "and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
Laodice by David Padfield
Laodicea was the chief city of the Lycus River Valley region. The full name of the city was Laodicea ad Lyceum (Laodicea on the Lycus). The city was originally known as Diospolis, "the City of Zeus".
The Greek deity considered to be the greatest of the Olympian gods. Homer, the Greek poet, often called Zeus "the father of gods and men," the ruler and protector of all.
The city was founded between 261 and 253 B.C. by Antiochus II Theos, king of Syria, and named in honour of his wife, Laodice (Laodike). "The early population of the city probably consisted of natives of the area, Hellenized Greeks and veteran soldiers in the army of Antiochus II" (Fatih Cimok, A Guide to the Seven Churches, p. 88).
Laodicea’s spice nard
"One of the principles of medicine at that time was that compound diseases required compound medicines. One of the compounds used for strengthening the ears was made from the spice nard (spikenard? an aromatic plant,” Dr. Galen says that it was originally made only in Laodicea, although by the second century A.D. it was made in other places also. Galen also described a medicine for the eyes made of Phrygian stone. Aristotle spoke of it as a Phrygian powder. Ramsay tries to explain what kind of medicine it was by saying it was not an ointment but a cylindrical collyrium that could be powdered and then spread on the part affected. The term used by John in Revelation is the same that Galen uses to describe the preparation of the Phrygian stone. Would not these medicinal concoctions be a reason why John cautions the Laodiceans to buy 'ointment for your eyes so that you may see' (Revelation 3:18)?" (Blake and Edmonds, Biblical Sites in Turkey, p. 140).
"The principal deity worshipped in Laodicea was the Phrygian god Men Karou, the Carian Men. In connection with this god's temple there grew up a famous school of medicine, which followed the teachings of Herophilus (330-250 B.C.) who began administering compound mixtures to his patients on the principle that compound diseases require compound medicines." Writes Otto F.A. Meinardus, St. John of Patmos, p. 125).
Two of the doctors from Laodicea were so famous that their names appear on the coins of the city (Zeuxis and Alexander Philalethes).
In the ancient city of Sardis, we proceeded to the nearby temple dedicated to Artemis who is being worshipped in Sardis and Anatolia...The 3rd AD year old was built during the Lydian Empire. It is a very important pagan worship. The pillar speaks saying, " I am the first pillar erected." We saw some local women who were cleaning some fragments of a ancient column that was recently excavated
I climbed to the reclined columns to reach a higher erected column with graffiti that reads, " phos” and “zoe" which is being referred by John 1:1-3 as the "light" and "life." John the Beloved also mentioned life and light as inseparable words in His first epistle.
In Acts 19:24, Artemis is called “Diana” which means “complete light.” Artemis is called Tauric or Persian, the goddess of many Asiatic people who is distinguished as “Artemis” among the Greeks. Of course, we know no one as the true and complete but Christ alone. John the Beloved described the Lord Jesus in this way, ":In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not," (John 1:4-5). Anyone who walks in the dark can never understand Christ as the light. John 8:12 says, " I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Light and life are indeed inseparable from Christ.
It is scientifically proven that without light there is no life. And it is same thing that when there is no water there is no life. These three (3) were branded in the Lord Christ. He alone claimed to be the Life (John 11:25; 14:6), Light (John 8:12) and Living Water (John 410).
NASA have been exploring the space for years in search for another life in this entire universe yet have they've found one? Scientists reveals there is water in planet Mars (the Roman god of war) or we call it the red planet yet is there anything with life found there?
Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. Befitting the red planet's bloody color, the Romans named it after their god of war. The Romans copied the ancient Greeks, who also named the planet after their god of war, Ares. Other civilizations also typically gave the planet names based on its color — for example, the Egyptians named it "Her Desher," meaning "the red one," while ancient Chinese astronomers dubbed it "the fire star," according to Charles Q. Choi (October 10, 2017) entitled, "Mars Facts: Life, Water and Robots on the Red Planet."
Sorry, there is no life there. Only earth has life as Genesis chapter profoundly explained. ,
Some photos are taken from the internet.
The Modern Science
Modern Science cannot cure spiritual blindness. Only God can cure that. That is why Jesus said, "Blessed are your eyes for they see," (Matthew 13:16) Earlier in verse 13, Jesus said, "Therefore speak I them in parables; because they seeing see not..." (Matt. 13;14) And such fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah according to Christ . Isaiah 6:9-10, "And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. "
If to this very day, Israel as God’s special people remained spiritually blind, what more to a church like Laodicea who is blind as well. John the Beloved saw the possible future blindness of the Church. Only the Lord Jesus can anoint her eyes that she may be able to see.