Friday, 5 April 2013

"...For It Was Founded Upon A Rock": The Helix Ianthina

There's a very cool thing that has come out of some studying that I've been doing.  It's something that I don't ever remember any pastor teaching, and I would like to share that with you, most excellent Theophilus. 

Numbers 15 appears to have a number of topics that all may seem like separate issues (i.e. the offerings, the "one law", the guy who gathered sticks, and the blue ribbon on the clothes).  But to me they all form one big lesson.  Jesus, in a different format, covered every point of that big lesson in The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).  The point in particular that I like is the statement that Jesus makes at the end of the sermon that the person who does these things is like a wise man who built his house upon the rock, so that when the storm comes, the house will not fall.  What is He saying here by this statement though?  He's saying, if you do what God commands, you will be protected, and will not fall. That is to say that the commandments of God were meant for your protection!

How many times have you heard a parent say "my rules are for your protection" or "this is because I love you"?  Well this is what Jesus is saying at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, and it is also what is being said with the figure of the blue ribbon at the end of Numbers 15, as we will see. 

But first, the connection of the subjects.  The offerings in the beginning of Numbers 15 show that you may freely give God love offerings of good works (as symbolized by the bodies of the animals) as large as you wish; the bigger the offering, the more consideration, wisdom, grace, love and joy should go with that offering, hence the larger portions of flour, oil, and wine.  (This concept is similarly described in the Sermon on the Mount in Jesus' parables of the salt and the light).  Second, we have the statement that there is one law for all people.  This is no big difficulty to understand.  Having different sets of rules leads to confusion, and God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  Period.  (This is illustrated by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount by stating that not one jot or tittle of the law will pass until all be fulfilled, which is really to say until the end of time because the law prophesied to that day.)  Third, the man who broke the law was "cut off" from the People.  Why?  The law had just been given to the People and the man showed that he was more interested in his own good than following the law.  This is dangerous to the whole congregation, and it is better to have him out of the congregation than to put it in jeopardy.  (Was this illustrated in the Sermon on the Mount? Yep.  The illustration of cutting your hand off or plucking your eye out, as applicable on the level of how the law applies to the whole house or congregation, is to say that if you have rebels in the congregation looking out for their own good and jeopardizing the wellbeing of the whole, it is high time to flush them out rather than to suffer the loss of the congregation [i.e. the whole "body of Christ" - 1 Corinthians 12:27].  Conversely, it is possible to accept them back again after they have learned their lesson, but not until that time. That's proper discipline.)  And lastly, the blue thread to remember the commandments of the Lord.  This is my favourite part, and why I set out on this post.  The lesson here comes not so much from the colour of the ribbon or how it is obtained, but from the nature of the very animal that the colour came from itself.  This is a neat study in biology.

The colour blue that was used to dye the ribbon came from a sea shell that the Hebrews called chelzon, and that Gesenius' Lexicon calls helix ianthina: or simply, a sea snail.  The shell of the snail would be ground up and added to water to make a beautiful royal purplish (hyacinth colour) dye.  This was then used to dye the ribbon that would be sown into the fabric of the Hebrew clothes to remember the commandments of the Lord.  But what was the purpose of that shell on the sea snail itself?  It was for the snail's protection.  It was the snail's "house".  It was the protection that the animal needed because, without it, the snail is a very very fragile creature.  It carried this shell around with it wherever it went, like an outer garment, just like the Hebrews would carry around the reminding blue ribbon on the outside of their clothing everywhere they went.  The fact that they were to use this ribbon to remember the commandments of the Lord was to say, "These rules that you must remember are for your protection because I love you;" just like the shell is used for the snail's protection, a protection that it abides in.  That's a cool lesson.  Did Jesus also teach this in the Sermon on the Mount?  Absolutely, in the illustration of the wise man who built his "house upon the rock" by doing the commandments of the Lord, which protected him from the storm to come.

Fantastic.  I love that God created biology and science, and I love it when they come into the lessons that are taught in the Bible... for our protection.  God bless.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The People Which Sat in Darkness Saw Great Light...

We have been walking chapter by chapter, and verse by verse, through the Book of Matthew in a Bible Study group that I am in.  We just covered chapter 4, and a really cool lesson shone through that I would like to share with you.  I've been puzzled at some of the "fulfilments of prophecy" that Matthew cites in his telling of the Gospel, but just recently had the light shone on the one in chapter 4 - which is very apropos because of the subject. 

Level 1: Jesus shines His light

Matthew describes how Jesus overcomes Satan's temptations in the first part of chapter 4 by using the instructions that God gave in the law; all three of Jesus' quotes from Scripture come directly from Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:16, and 1:3-4.  (The incident reminds me of Psalm 119, where the psalmist says, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee," and again later, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.") So Jesus defeats Satan with the Word of God, the lamp unto His feet, and then begins His ministry, proclaiming, as though He were sounding a watchman's trumpet call, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  Matthew says that this fulfils Isaiah's prophecy, "The land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the People which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up (Matthew 4:15-16)."  The fantastic thing is that this is the first level of three that we need to understand how Jesus has fulfilled this prophecy.  Jesus overcomes Satan by shining the light of the truth of the Word of God and sounding the trumpet of the Word of God is Level 1.

Level 2: The prophecy of Isaiah

Matthew's quote above comes from Isaiah 9:1-2.  (In Isaiah's time, Israel and Judah were not one nation, but had split into two nations.  Ten of the tribes of Israel made up "the house of Israel" in the north, and two of the tribes of Israel made up "the house of Judah" in the south.  The split happened because of the harshness of Rehoboam's rule as king in 1 Kings 12.)  The verses are in the middle of a speech from Isaiah (resulting from an incident starting in chapter 7) concerning the fact that Pekah, the king of the house of Israel, had conspired with Rezin, the king of Syria, to conquor the house of Judah.  Ahaz, the king of the house of Judah, was shaking in his boots for fear of this threat, like the leaves of a tree shake in the wind (see Isaiah 7:2).  And the Lord says through Isaiah not to fear Rezin and Pekah, but to trust in Him, and "'Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.' Thou hast multiplied the [exultation, Thou hast]* increased the joy: they joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.  For Thou has broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.  For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.  For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."  What Isaiah is saying is that there is no need to fear the enemy, the king of Assyria (see Micah 5:5), because the Lord will protect His people.  This is not a battle to be fought of flesh and blood (see Ephesians 6:12), but a spiritual battle to be fought with the Spirit of God (see Zechariah 4:6), Who is a consuming fire (see Deuteronomy 4:24 and Hebrews 12:29).  The Word of the Lord, that lamp and light unto our feet, is the burning and fuel of fire that Isaiah is describing above.  This leads us to "the day of Midian" which is a deeper and further witness of this.

Level 3: The day of Midian

The day of Midian that Isaiah is referring to above is told through the story of Gideon in Judges 6-7.  Israel, which was not yet split into two houses in Gideon's time, but was still one nation, was allowed by God to fall into oppression (read: correction) under the nation of Midian for seven years because they were behaving poorly.  The word Midian means "strife".  After seven years, they cried out to the Lord and He chose a deliverer for them, a man named Gideon.  The name Gideon means "harvester" or "cutter down" (see where Isaiah says "they joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest" above).  In the story of the day of Midian, Gideon performs two acts.  First, he overthrows the image of Baal that his father had allowed to be set up in his house, and he also cuts down the grove by which they worshipped Baal.  Baal is a figurative representation of Satan, and the grove a representation of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from the Garden of Eden.  This is similar to Jesus conquering Satan in the wilderness in Matthew 4, and overthrowing Satan's reasonings in his temptations.  Next, the Lord gets Gideon to pick out a small number of men - 300 to be exact - to go and defeat the armies of Midian, who were described as "grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude (Judges 7:12)."  300 men against... a lot more!  So, what Gideon did was give each of the 300 men a torch (a lamp/light like above), which they hid under earthen pitchers at first to conceal their lights,  and he also gave every man a trumpet.  Then they all moved up to the top of a hill in the middle of the night (in the "middle watch" as it is described), and all at the same time, broke the pitchers that were hiding their torches (to let their lights shine), all sounded their trumpets, and all cried "the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!" (See what the sword of the Lord is by reading Revelation 1.)  What happened? All of the enemy became terrified and fled away. This was the victory that the Lord brought.  And what did Gideon do? He shone his light, and he blew his trumpet, and proclaimed the Word [sword] of the Lord, and Almighty God took care of the rest.  How does this connect to Matthew 4?  In that chapter, Jesus overthrows the image and the knowledge of Satan, and then He shines His light on the people in the darkness, and blows the trumpet to proclaim the gospel of kingdom of heaven, just like Gideon did. 

It's pretty cool how many levels the fulfilment of that prophecy has.  God bless.

* This translation is supplied by Dr. C. D. Ginsberg, whereas the translation in a regular King James Version Bible states, "Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before The according to the joy in havest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil."  The statement as translated is clearly contradictory.  Ginsberg suggests that the manuscripts read one word "haggilo" (exultation), and not two words "haggow  l'o" (nation, not).

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

...The Simplicity That Is In Christ...

I talked about the term "babylon", which is to say "confusion", in my last post.  This post is a juxtaposition to that post because I want to put the purpose for this time that we live on the earth in simple terms, using a few different passages.  The purpose of this age is very easy to remember because Moses told us, "Thou shalt remember all the way that the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, and to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no (Deuteronomy 8:2)."  And it is important to know what is in our hearts because that is where true belief begins, "for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)." "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32 & Romans 10:13)."  And we know that there have been 2,000 years since Christ walked the earth, which seems like a long time because the Lord is "longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9);" but this period of time will come to an end at some point.  "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry (Habakkuk 2:3)." And we want to be those who have listened to God and have taken heed to what He has said, not confused, "lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, [our] minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2)."  For "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33)."

So believe in Him.  And call on Him. "His name is great (Psalm 76:1)."  What is His name?  "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He is also become my salvation (Isaiah 12:2)." "Jehovah is His name (Exodus 15:3, Jeremiah 33:2, Amos 5:8 & Amos 9:6)." God bless.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Deliver Thyself, O Zion, That Dwellest With The Daughter Of Babylon...

The title of this post is taken from Zechariah 2:7, but the reason for this post is very short.  I simply want to give the meaning of the word "Babylon" and connect it to what is going on in the world today.  The word Babylon in the Bible is the Hebrew word "babel".  The word means "confusion" and originates from the events that occurred at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11).  It comes from the root word "balal" which means "to mix together".  So the entire meaning of the word is given in that Babel is "confusion by mixing things together"... or like when you would say, "you have that all mixed up".  (It is also very closely related to the English word babble, which is nonsensical speaking.)  At that time (in Genesis 11), man had begun to build a tower to the heavens to save themselves from a possible second flood, and God came down and confused all of their languages to prevent them from building the tower too far and taking stock in supplying their own salvation.  The story has close connections to what is going on today.

Today people all over the earth are working together to come up with answers to every question under the sun.  Nations are working together in the fields of science, politics, education, finance and numerous other areas to advance our civilization to heights that have never before been reached.  There is just one problem with that: as cultures come together more and more, the morals and ethics of those cultures are getting all mixed together and the once distinct cultural systems are changing over time.  You see a lot of this mixing occurring in the entertainment world and, with all deceitfulness, there are a lot of hard hitting immoral lessons that are being delivered with sugary-sweet, catchy pop beats.  We in North America are seeing things that were once considered to be immoral by the very people that founded our nations being thought of as moral under a new ideology - things which are directly opposed to the Word of God.  And God has told us, "I am the Lord, I change not (Malachi 3:6);" and again "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law [the Word of God], till all be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18)."  So when nations that founded themselves on the laws and precepts of God begin to change what is right, it won't be too long before He's coming down to put a stop to it, just like He did at the Tower of Babel.  We're getting closer and closer to that time my friends.

The Bible has clearly laid out what the events are that lead up to the end of this age, so don't be someone who gets carried off into Babylon, which is to say "confusion", because there are people out there who want to mix everything together and confuse it.  Examine the Bible, let it be your foundation and your tower, and you won't be lead astray.  God bless.

Friday, 9 March 2012

He That Gathereth Not With Me Scattereth...

Incubation time is good.  I've taken some time away to study and think, and now have some thoughts to jot down... 

My previous posts focused on which spiritual family tree you make yourself a part of.  They focused primarily on God's family tree, but there is also the other family tree - Satan's family tree - and the Bible has plenty to say about that tree and how to identify it.  Jesus showed us how to deal with Satan's family tree in the gospels.  First Jesus dealt with Satan's temptations in the wilderness for 40 days, then He continued to deal with Satan's childrens' temptations for the remainder of His 33 years (40 years less 7 years).

Satan's children are the Pharisees in the gospel - this is undeniable.  Both Jesus and John the Baptist call the Pharisees a "generation of vipers" (Matthew 3:7; Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23:33; Luke 3:7) meaning the children of the serpent (Satan being the serpent from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3).  Jesus makes this even more explicit in John 8:44 where He says to the Pharisees, "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning..."  This pinpoints what Satan's goal is - to murder.  It's my belief that Satan couldn't give two figs about murdering a human body, because a human body is temporary.  Rather, Satan wants to murder the souls of people.  He does this by scattering people from God, keeping them from the truth.  And this is where the title of the post comes in because Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, "He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad."

The idea of scattering is the principal idea for the post.  This was what the Pharisees intended to do.  When you read the Bible and take note of how the Pharisees act when they are around Jesus, they continually want to use the Old Testament law to condemn and kill people, but they never use it for it's intended purpose, which is to protect people (especially vulnerable people).  The only time they use it to protect someone is to protect and justify themselves.  They separate themselves from all of the other "sinners" that they believe are going to hell.

The idea of separation and scattering in connection with the Pharisees is interesting, especially when you look at what the word Pharisees means.  The word Pharisee (the Greek word) comes from the Hebrew root "parash", which is translated a couple of different ways.  In a couple of verses, it is translated "show" or "declare", but the sentiment is more like "distinguished", and the Pharisees definitely thought they were distinguished (see Matthew 23 for a better picture of this).  In Ezekiel 34:12, the word parash is translated as "scattered" and refers specifically to the scattering of sheep ("He that gathereth not with Me scattereth...").  In Proverbs 23:32, the word parash is translated as "stingeth", as in the sting of the serpent ("Ye generation of vipers...").

These verses all go hand in hand so that we can observe the types of behaviours the children of Satan exhibit, so we can not behave that way, and so we can protect our family (our spiritual family) from people that do behave this way.  They let us know how not to scatter, so that we can go on gathering.  God bless.  

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Aaron and Lucas

Just a short post today.  I find names to be fascinating in the Bible.  Quite often there is overlap with names that we might not even realize if we don't look at the history and the meaning of the names.  One such example is that the name Jesus was the modernized version of the name Joshua. (Isaiah also comes from the same roots.)

Two names I want to point out that I find remarkably similar:

Aaron = "light bringer"
Luke* = "light giving"

*The word in the Greek texts is always "Lucas" as refered to in 2 Corinthians 13:14, Colosians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:11, and Philemon 1:24.

God bless.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

God Trieth the Hearts and Reins...

There are two concepts that I would like to explore in this post.  The first is what it means to be a "Son of Abraham".  The second is how God knows if you are a Son of Abraham.  Both of these concepts are firmly lodged in the story of Abraham, and are also illustrated elsewhere in the Bible.

To Be A "Son Of Abraham"

Abraham's name is mentioned 250 times in the King James Bible.  But what does the name mean? (If you have been following my blog previously, you know that I love to use names in the context of the stories being told.)  Abraham is introduced in Genesis 11 as "Abram", which means "exalted father."  At this point in history, Abram had yet to have a son, and does not produce the heir of his estate until later, when he is 100 years old.  (100 in terms of Biblical Numerics is the number of the elect, or chosen.)  Then, in Genesis 17:5, God changes Abram's name - He adds an "H" to his name, an "H" which is also found in the middle of God's sacred name, Jehovah (yah-Ho-vah) - to create the name "Abraham", which means "father of many nations". (Indeed, God gives the meaning of the name in the very same verse).  But what does that mean, that Abraham will be a father of many nations?  Abraham is the great-great-great-etc-grandfather of Jesus, Who is the Lord of all nations.  And that is what Abraham's name means.  (There is no word for "grandfather" in Hebrew; the word father was always used, even when a grandfather was being described.)

But how is it that he is considered the "father of many nations"?  It's true that he fathered Ishmael, who is considered to be the father of the Islamic nations, and that he fathered a number of children with his second wife after Sarah had died, who also became nations, but I believe the name has to do with those who are faithful to God and His Son Jesus Christ.  The family relationship is considered through faith, and not by genealogical birth.  Let me explain through some Scriptural examples:

In Matthew 3, John the Baptist chastises the Pharisees and the Sadducees that come out to see him, by saying, "Think not to say within yourselves [in your thoughts], 'We have Abraham to our father:' for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."  Meaning that birth by genealogy was not going to save them; rather it is faith and repentance unto God that will gain His salvation.

The Pharisees seemed to think that salvation was a physical birthright, though.  In John 8, after the incident where the crowd wanted to stone the adulterous woman (possibly adulterous... maybe falsely accused? I'm not sure how trustworthy the mob was - see the next post on when to believe crowds in Scripture) the Pharisees are arguing with Jesus about their heritage.  Jesus corrects them in verse 24 by saying, "If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." Meaning, regardless of whether Abraham was there patronymic father or not, without faith there was no salvation for them.  He later says, in verse 37, "I know that ye are Abraham's seed." The word for seed in the Greek is "sperma", so that there is no confusion that Jesus is talking about the actual physical offspring of Abraham.  A few verses later He says, "If ye were Abraham's children [the word here is "teknon", not "sperma", to differentiate from the prior statement], ye would do the works of Abraham."  I think the Pharisees see what Jesus is getting at by using the two different words, switching from a physical meaning to a spiritual meaning, because they reply, "We have one Father, even God;" to which Jesus replies, "If God were your Father, ye would love Me... ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." This once again focused who's child a person is by what they do and how they act.  (I've condensed the argument for the sake of discussion and illustration, but I encourage you to go back and read the entire chapter.  It's a good one!)

Once again, in Matthew 12 and Mark 3, Jesus asks, "Who is My mother? and who are My brethren?...whosoever shall do the will of My Father Which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother." Here, the mother is the "mother nation," and the brothers and sisters are those who believe and act in God's will. 

Paul makes this crystal clear in Galatians 3:26-29 when he says, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

A son of Abraham is one who believes and acts like it. (Now think about this in terms of Zacchaeus' actions in my prior post.)

How God Knows Whether You Are A Son Or Daughter Of Abraham

How does God know whether you are truly a Son or Daughter of Abraham?  He can see your insides, which is to say, He knows your thoughts and motivations.  He gave us plenty of examples to explain this to us, and I will go through a few below.

Solomon says in Proverbs 21:2, "Every way of man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts." We may be able to justify our own actions, but God knows what your thoughts are at the time that you act, and He takes this into consideration in His judgment.

Solomon's father David wrote in Psalm 7:9, "Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins." Trieth is also another word for "examine".  Though we may not know a persons intentions when they act, thus making it all the more difficult to judge them for it ("judge not, lest ye be judged"), God does know their intentions.

In Revelation 2:23, Jesus says, "I AM He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto everyone of you according to your works." Now compare this statement with the parable that Jesus tells in Jericho after calling Zacchaeus out of the sycomore tree (see the next post).  God rewards based on your intentions and the actions that come from those intentions.

How do we know that God means that He can see your thoughts in the verses above? God tells Amos in Amos 4:13, "For, lo ["lo" is like an asterisk, and it means "pay attention to this!"], He that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, [Jehovah], The God of hosts, is His name."  Since the Lord is declaring His name in the verse, I used the actual Hebrew name, rather than "The Lord" that is in the English translation.  Jesus also constantly was able to determine peoples' thoughts when He was around them, and dealt with them righteously (an example is in Luke 6:8). 

What about a physical example?  Well, a physical example of this has to do with Abraham, who is the main tie together for this post.  In Genesis 15, the Lord speaks with Abraham, and tells him that Abraham and his seed will inherit the promised land, and Abraham asks "how will I know this will happen?" and the Lord tells Abraham to lay out an offering, physical animals, and that they would be split down the middle and laid out in halves (except for the birds).  Abraham does so, and he also drove away any unclean birds that would try to peck at the insides of the offering.  Then what happened?  The Lord walked in the middle of the cloven animals with a lamp... so that He could see the insides of the offering.  And once He had seen the insides of the offering, He made a covenant with Abraham.  This is the same figure as God "trying the hearts and reins".  It's also the same as Jesus telling the Pharisees to "wash the inside of the cup" (Matthew 23:26) and is also the same figure as washing the "inwards" (insides) of the offerings that are made to God (see Leviticus 1:9 for an example).

"But how do we know that the offerings and sacrifices you described above mean us?" you may ask me.  Paul gives you the answer to this in the beginning of Romans 12.  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  The figure of the sacrifice was always meant to be our love and good actions and knowledge of God (see Hosea 6:6).

Are you a son or daughter of Abraham?  Remember it is your thoughts and actions that determine if you are.  You can change your behaviours (a.k.a. repentance from the old behaviours) and pray also for help to do so.  God bless.