Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost" - How I Met 1979 and 1996 Again

Sendai is the Major City in Northeast Japan including the 2011 Tsunami Hit Areas

How I Met 1979 and 1996 Again

I visited a humble and old Shinto shrine in a very local town.

The shrine was on a small triangular hill covered by woods along the main road of the town with gentle mountains behind.  A community center and other public buildings were on the left side of the hill base.  Almost no one was walking and cars passed by only sporadically.  The sky was grey and the air was chilly.

At the foot of the hill there was a humble shrine wooden gate, with tow vertical poles set up a few meters apart and connected by two top crossbars, where a holy rope made of rice straws was stretched in the air just above the height of a man.  Ten or so holy stripes of white paper were attached to the straw rope at several inch interval to one another horizontally.

I walked through the shrine gate and climbed steep stone steps for 12 meters or so.  Then I met a man cleaning up the humble and old wooden shrine or fixing some damaged parts.  He might be a Shinto priest in casual dress.

"May I donate money?" I asked, observing a humble and old offertory box, 1.2 meters wide.   "Yes," replied the man who then walked toward the back side of the shrine structure.

I prayed for peace and threw coins into the box.  But when I turned back to return, I found two one-yen coins on the small garden, a little wet for light snow falling several days ago, before the shrine structure.  I first thought I had dropped them when I pulled other coins out of my pocket.  However, they looked having been left there for some time with some dirt at their rims.  I then wondered if the possible Shinto priest might have dropped.  But, it was also unlikely,

I checked years impressed on the surfaces of the two aluminium coins.  They were 1979 and 1996.  

I put them on the edge of the offertory box, laying them side by side.  And I descended the stone steps, leaving the nameless town or village shrine once and for all.

On New Year days, hundreds of town residents would visit the shrine, though I don't know what will become of the two one-yen coins.

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Mat 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
Mat 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
Mat 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"love the Lord thy God with all thy heart" - Year after Year, Page after Page, and Teaching after Teaching

Government District in Tokyo, January 2, 2014 

Year after Year, Page after Page, and Teaching after Teaching

Now December 30 was over in Japan.

The sun is coming back to the north hemisphere from the solstitial position.

But it is strange that a man never counts his days since he was born.  If you were born 30 years ago, you are now living the 11,000th day or so.  If a man lives for 100 years, he would count his 36,500th day.

The number of pages of the Old Testament is 993 and that of the New Testament is 288, total 1,281 pages.

If Christ Jesus had read the Old Testament at a pace of 100 pages per day, he should have needed ten days to read them all.  If 200 pages per day, then five days.  If His followers had read it at 10 pages per day, they should have read it all in three months.

So, we had better assume that they read and knew the Old Testament very well.  Or at least, they must have sufficient knowledge about the Old Testament.

If we read the Old Testament at a pace of 1 page per day, we can accomplish it in three years.  If we read the Old Testament at a pace of 1/10 page per day, we can accomplish it in 30 years.

But if you believe teachings of Christ Jesus, you can get rid of the burden of reading the Old Testament.

Matthew 22:36-40New Living Translation (NLT)

36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

In addition, there are 114 chapters in Koran and 5,048 volumes for Buddhist scriptures as specified by Chinese monks in the 8th century.

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Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"the God of the living"

Japanese New Year's Visit to a Shrine, around Tokyo, on January 1, 2014

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Mar 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
Mar 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

Friday, December 26, 2014

"not able to do that thing which is least" - From Him Much will be Required

 Tiny Shrine on Back Street around Tokyo

From Him Much will be Required

The word of God and teachings by priests are different essentially.

When Christianity was preached in Japan around 1600 by missionaries from Portugal and Spain, some Japanese were puzzled as some Western priests told that ancestors of those Japanese who had never heard the Gospel preached should fall into the hell.

Christ Jesus said:
Luke 12:48New King James Version (NKJV) 
48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
If you have never heard of teaching of Christ, you can gain admission to Heaven without being subject to various difficult conditions Christianity has set.  But if you learn the Gospel, you must meet some critical conditions Christianity requires.

So, those missionaries from Europe to Japan around 1600 were wrong as they failed to correctly understand the word of Christ Jesus.

Infants who have never read the Bible could easily enter Heaven if they unfortunately meet their end.  Or some tribes living deep in the tropical environment or isolated areas could be also welcomed in Heaven if they live righteously even without reading the Bible.

In this context, who are required to fulfill the most rigorous conditions among Judaists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or people following other religions?        

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Luk 12:24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
Luk 12:25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
Luk 12:26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

"Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem" - On the 25th of December, Tokyo


On the 25th of December, Tokyo 

In Tokyo, department stores, big shops, and other vendors have soon started to remove Christmas sales signs and decorations to replace them with New Year celebration display and sales announcements as the Christmas Day was over in Japan.

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Act 12:25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"But the word of God grew and multiplied" - So, Merry Christmas!


So, Merry Christmas!

The summit of the year is the day of winter solstice, which was December 22, this year.

So, it is a little strange that January 1 was not set around December 22.

But culturally, the summit of the year in the Christian world is December 25, the Christmas day.  China has its own summit of the year around the Chinese New Year Day, which is February 19, 2015.

As for Japan, it seems to be December 31.  In the night of the last day of the year, people go to shrines or Buddhist temples nearby or far.  If they could stay in the crowded precincts of a shrine or temple, notable or nameless, from 23:59 of December 31 to 00:01 of January 1, which is usually called the "two-year's respect shown to the shrine (ninen mairi)," they could feel as if they had accomplished something so great and pious.

So, in Japan, Christmas is a kind of wake-up call.  People think that the summit of the year is getting closer when Christmas is over.

So, Merry Christmas!

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Act 12:24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

"He shall not strive, nor cry" - Some Japanese Recluses

Tokyo Station

Some Japanese Recluses

There are some old stories or records about Buddhist monks, including high priests, who deserted their high status or positions in temples to live like beggars, the homeless, or men of lowly occupation.

For hundreds years before the modernization of Japan, there were exceptionally such Buddhist monks.  One day they suddenly stopped living as respected priests and disappeared in society.

According to a typical pattern of those stories, one day an ex-disciple of such a priest met his former teacher while he was travelling in a local place.  The ex-disciple tried to talk with the old man about why he had deserted a great temple.  But, the ex-high priest vanished into deep mountains or remote villages.

A  religion is a way to truth and salvation of souls.  However, for a religion to be accepted in society or a nation, it must compromise with noble people, politicians, wealthy people and other persons of influence.  Any religion that is definitely against the worldly power will be expelled.  Buddhism in Japan had been spreading among ordinary people out of the world of the nobility and getting strongly integrated into the social system and regime before the first samurai regime was established in the late 12th century.

Kamo no Chōmei (1153 or 1155–1216) was a Japanese author who wrote a book about such Buddhist monks and similar people.   Chomei himself became a recluse though he was born in a family of noble class.

Chōmei's specific reasons for becoming a recluse are unclear, but a string of bad luck, specifically the death of his father and his inability to fill the position left behind by him, may have caused him to leave court life.

During his later life, Chōmei maintained a socio-historical perspective that was rare in court poets of the time. The accounts of chaos in the capital in the first part of Hōjōki suggest Chōmei's social interests, and he contrasts them with his peaceful life as a Buddhist in seclusion. His account coincides with the spread of Buddhism to the general populace; and his careful depictions of the natural surroundings of his hut and of the natural and social disasters in the capital form a unique microscopic and macroscopic view of life during a violent period of transition. Attention to nature and self-reflection characterize the genre of recluse literature, and Chōmei was its pre-eminent practitioner.  
It was akin to nihilism, but its negative attitudes were directed to ugliness and evil of established religions.

In deed you cannot trust anything in this world, including religious bodies, except your relationship with God.

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Mat 12:19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
Mat 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

Friday, December 19, 2014

"Behold my servant"

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Mat 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
Mat 12:19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" - The End of the Universe

Around Tokyo

The End of the Universe

The universe is expanding at an accelerated pace.

It is as if the whole universe is falling down to an abyss.  Like gravitation, something is pulling the universe, including the solar system and the earth.

It is expected that the universe will become larger and larger in its size.  It will never cease to expand.  As the total quantity of material and energy in the universe is finite, their density will become virtually zero when the size of the universe gets close to infinity.  It means the whole universe will be a kind of vacuum eventually.

However, it is said that this universe was born from the vacuum as a very tiny entity of energy.  So, the universe was born from the vacuum and is expanding to become a vacuum.  Finally, the Angel in charge of control of the universe might say, "From a vacuum to a vacuum, it is perfect!" There will be no evidence left that mankind has ever existed in this universe.

Nonetheless, it is said there is a complete record of each of us in Heaven, since some Angel is counting correctly the number of our hairs.  
Matthew 10:30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Of course, as God is almighty, He can reproduce, at any time, the human world based on these records in Heaven for those who are admitted into Heaven.

Indeed, probably this universe must be closer to the hell than Heaven.

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Mar 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.

"he entreated Abram well for her sake" - General Election was Over

Around Tokyo in Winter

General Election was Over

A general election was over in Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling party won 291 among 475 Lower House seats.  However, the turnout was about 52% and only half of them voted for the LDP now in power.

Put simply only one of four among 100 million voters actively supported PM Abe.  Other 75% of voters didn't.

In general, the right wing blocs in the Japanese political communities lost 20 or so seats while the left wing camp newly obtained about 20 seats.  Abe's LDP just kept almost the same seats as before the election conducted the last Sunday.

However, I saw the word in the Bible before the election: "The summer house will beat the winter house.  And the great ivory house will be destroyed."  It is a little hard to see an implication.

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Gen 12:15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.
Gen 12:16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
Gen 12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth" - Death and Eternal Survival of the Body

Japan in Winter

Death and Eternal Survival of the Body 

A man is born to live and die.

But a man is not expected to be afraid of his death all the time, though he cannot get rid of this fate.  He is expected live with all his heart and all his ability.  Death is beyond his capacity.  He cannot conquer death.

No matter how advanced the medical science will be, he cannot evade death.  If all the aging parts of his body, including cells and  neurons in the brain, can be replaced with new ones produced using some advanced biological technique, his spiritual entity must be lost and his personality and his self-consciousness must be vanished.

Indeed death is extinction of one's consciousness.  If his body could live forever through a parts-replacing technology, his consciousness must be lost at a certain point of the process of renewal of his brain cells.

New International Version
Matthew 6
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifee ?

King James Bible
Matthew 6
25Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?     

Probably not only each man but also the whole mankind cannot add a single hour to their life or become taller like a giraffe.

Probably our mind under restrictions of physical conditions is not perfect.  It must leave the body to be perfect.  However, we are not expected as soon as possible to die for this purpose.  We are created to live our life with all of our mind and might to make our mind grow enough according to a criterion each individual is given by God.

Our death is so meaningless before God who is expected to save our soul.

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Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Rev 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Rev 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

Friday, December 12, 2014

"a man better than a sheep"

The Tokyo Station

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Mat 12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
Mat 12:12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

"Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?" - At Prayer in Shrine

Festivity in a Shinto Shrine, around Tokyo

At Prayer in Shrine 

This universe has a finite size at any moment since its birth from the so-called vacuum.

It is 13.7 billion years old and its width is said to be about 40 billion light-years.

This physical universe, at one of whose corners our solar system is situated, is not infinite, though it is expanding toward the infinite.

On the other hand, the spiritual universe seems infinite, though our mental ability to imagine the expansion of the spiritual universe is so limited.  We really can't understand how old and how large the spiritual universe is.  But one thing sure is our mind belongs to this universe more than the physical universe.

And God is the sole creator of both the universes.  For this reason, it is very deplorable that we cannot see God in either of the universes.  You haven't probably seen God in material environments and in your minds.  It must be very disappointed, if you admit existence of God.

But even in Japan some people try to see God, a god, or any favorable gods in a shrine, so that they occasionally visit a shrine to pray at an altar in the sanctuary.  They join their hands in prayer while closing the eyes to see an image of a god, making a wish.

Of course, you may pray to God in a Christian church.  Probably God wouldn't care.

The Kingdom of God is near to believers wherever they may be.

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Mat 12:10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
Mat 12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

"the lord of the vineyard do" - Great Living in the US

Mt. Fuji Viewed from Tokyo Suburbs, 100 km Far

Great Living in the US

You don't need education to be saved by God.

You don't need to be white to be saved by God.

And you never need to be rich at all to be saved.

Accordingly, do not trust a white with higher educational backgrounds and much money.  But, a poor and violent black man without higher education is sometimes treated so badly.  And the point at issue is that you are still requested by God to live for Him in this world.

If you don't think of God enough, you will be surely misguided.  If you think of your fortune first before God, you will be surely handled by evil spirits capriciously and destroyed by Satan eventually.

If you keep the principle "God First and Oneself Next," you will be protected from malicious spirits; even an ill fate in the worldly sense will not harm your soul.

This is a teaching of Christ Jesus.  All you have to do is to follow it, and then you will forget your not being a rich, white, and educated white.

Otherwise, you have to write a letter to Obama, asking for help, in my opinion.

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Mar 12:9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

"five sparrows sold for two farthings" - Believers and Unbelievers

Around the Tokyo Station

Believers and Unbelievers

To think that God always watches himself or herself is a basic notion for a believer.

As God is almighty, He must be able to observe and record every moment around any man.  God must keep such records somewhere.  Even what a man thinks and feels must be also recorded in archives of God.  Accordingly God judges everyone in a fair manner.

To believe existence of God means to accept teachings of God.  It is to regard teachings of God as absolute laws and rules on which a man is judged.

Conversely, if one doesn't accept such absolute codes, everything in this world would look like just having a relative value.  There is no absolute justice and no absolute evil, they would think.  Therefore, at any moment, they would commit a harmful act or engage in immoral behaviors.

But if you admit that God is the only absolute source and bases for value and morals, you might try to meet the absolute codes as much as possible in any moment.

The gap between a believer and an unbeliever is so large, since one is to enter Heaven and be given eternal life while another goes down to the hell to be lost.

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Luk 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

Friday, December 05, 2014

"this ointment sold for three hundred pence" - Another Miracle

Mt. Fuji (3,376 m) Viewed from Tokyo Suburbs

Another Miracle

It is mysterious why and how Christ Jesus called or invited Judas into the group of His followers.
Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the last in the list of the disciples. Judas was the son of a certain Simon (compare John 6:71) and bore the second name Iscariot, which means “man from Kerioth.” As Kerioth is situated in Judea, Judas came from Judea. How strange! The betrayer came from the royal tribe. We hear nothing of his personal calling, even if Matthew 10:1-4 makes it clear that he was called. He was just as much a disciple as the other eleven. He heard the words of the Master, saw His miracles, and was himself sent out to proclaim the Word and to do miracles. Peter said of him, “For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry” (Acts 1:17).
But what should have happened if Judas had not joined other disciples?

Christ Jesus must have seen all the possibilities and He must have chosen the best case.  For example, high priests of the Temple and Roman officers might have attacked violently Christ Jesus and His followers.  But Judas simply betrayed Christ Jesus so that only the leader of the early Christians was arrested and executed.

Indeed, it is very strange that only Christ Jesus was arrested and executed but no others that belonged to His religious movement.

Maybe, in order to avoid involving His followers as victims of persecution from Judaist priests and the Roman authority, Christ Jesus used Judas, since He knew Judas would only target Him.

Anyway, one of big mysteries rarely discussed is why only Christ Jesus was arrested and executed while His enemies of Jewish leaders and Roman officers could apprehend and put in prison many of His followers and disciples.  And the key person who pertained to this miracle was Judas Iscariot.

Truly, Christ Jesus let Judas alone, against the day of His burying.

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Joh 12:5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
Joh 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
Joh 12:7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

"he put him in prison" - A Racial Issue


A Racial Issue

When Christ Jesus lived in Israel 2000 years ago, Israelis were subject to Romans.

Therefore, Judaists at the time were all a kind of blacks and Romans were all whites by analogy.  If a Roman soldier, namely a white, had killed an Israelite, that is black, there must have been no blame on him.

So, circumstantially, American blacks are closer to Judaists and followers of Christ Jesus 2000 years ago than American whites are.

Indeed, we have to admit that Israelites were suffering from the Roman rule like African Americans are suffering from the rule of European Americans.  If a saint should appear in the US, he should come from an African American community.

In this context, African Americans are more blessed than whites are.

Nonetheless, the race has no meaning before God.

Genesis 1:26-27 ESV 

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

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Act 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
Act 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.