Posted in crown, curse, encouragement, savior, thorns

The curse of thorns and the crown of thorns

In the desert, cacti and thorn bushes mean business. Often, there are impenetrable thickets of rough bushes with spiky thorns that hurt even if you catch a glancing blow. Some cacti don’t even wait for a glancing blow but eject their little hairs to hurl at you as the wind of your passage awakens them. Desert thorns means business.

It wasn’t always that way. When the earth was created and the Garden of Eden planted nothing inside the Garden would hurt man as he passed. Which was good, because he was naked and not ashamed. Soft plants, beauteous flowers, stately trees, and mild animals dotted the landscape.

Then sin entered the world through one man, Adam, and because he listened to the voice of his wife, the ground became cursed. In some places today, the landscape even hurts to look at it.

After the Fall, thorns sprung up everywhere. Thorns hurt, thorns are negative, thorns are because of sin.

And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;

(Genesis 3:17-18)

Anytime there was a curse thereafter, thorns are frequently mentioned as part of the curse. (Nu 33:55; Jos 23:12-13; Isa 5:5-6; 7:23-25; 55:8-13; Jer 12:13; Hos 9:6). Jesus used the symbols of “thorns” in his teaching in a negative sense (Matt. 7:16; Mark 4:7, 18; Heb. 6:8).

Thorns came in with sin, and were part of the curse that was the product of sin, Gen. 3:18. Therefore Christ, being made a curse for us, and dying to remove the curse from us, felt the pain and smart of those thorns, nay, and binds them as a crown to him (Job 31:36); for his sufferings for us were his glory. Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume.

In Matthew 27:29 we read that the soldiers who were crucifying Christ had some mocking fun with Him and placed a crown of thorns over His head.

Source Logos Bible Software

Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.’ (Isaiah 55: 12-13)

Trees ‘clapping their hands’ is indicative of the fact that creation will no longer groan (Romans 8:22) but be glad.

In the crown of thorns placed upon His head, it was not only a mocking activity performed by pagans, but symbolic of the Lamb caught in the thorn thicket when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac. It is symbolic of the curse of sin that Jesus took upon Himself, so that we may escape it through Him.

EPrata photo

When you see that crown of thorns, and you think about the mockery and pain Jesus endured on our behalf, think about Him the spotless Lamb taking upon Himself the sins you and I do daily.

The Roman soldiers unknowingly took an object of the curse and fashioned it into a crown for the one who would deliver us from that curse. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). (source)

What a tremendous, loving, wonderful Savior we have in Jesus Christ.


Further Reading

The Splendor of Thorns

Can you imagine the Wal-Mart floral department offering a bouquet of thorns? Does the Garden Center ever advertise Acacia thorn bushes? Do carpenters choose two-by-fours made of thorn wood? Except for our botanist friends, few people find thorns captivating. They are not beautiful. And they don’t seem very useful, though they do burn extremely well. The negative associations of thorns are what make their appearance in the Bible so intriguing, for God weaves these very thorns into the revelation of His grace. He gives them a star role in the unfolding drama of His judgment and unbelievable mercy.

The curse on the Man, part 2

In the original Eden you didn’t have to have cultivated planned crops, and you didn’t have any weeds. You had the natural flourishing of the earth producing all manner of food without crops, as we know them, that now produce flour and from that we make bread and there was no siach, no weeds which grow profusely now. And it also mentions in chapter 2 verse 5 that the rain contributes to that as we well know. Take a vacant piece of dirt, do nothing to it, just wait and let it rain and you will have a flourishing field full of weeds.

What is the meaning and significance of the crown of thorns?

After Jesus’ sham trials and subsequent flogging, and before He was crucified, the Roman soldiers “twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said” (Matthew 27:29; see also John 19:2-5). While a crown of thorns would be exceedingly painful, the crown of thorns was more about mockery than it was about pain. 

Posted in amazing grace, discernment, hymns, savior, sinner, words, wretch

Do you mind when they change the lyrics to ‘Amazing Grace’ and leave out "wretch"?

Words matter. I was a newspaperwoman for 7 years and let me assure you, the words we choose to put in print color our perceptions of the world, of people, and of concepts. The same goes for poems, stories, and textbooks. I can’t imagine any writer who doesn’t take care with choosing exactly the right word to use at particular points of his or her piece. (Except maybe Proust).

Consider this sentence,

“The large group of activists marched through town”
“The large group of protesters walked through town”

A different take, depending on which word was chosen, isn’t it?

On March 11, 2003 an actual NY Times headline read:
Iraq forces suspension of U.S. surveillance flights

And on the same day the headline reporting the same incident in USA Today read:
U.N. Withdraws U-2 Planes

This is known as bias. As the essay from ‘News Bias Explored: Word Choice‘ defines, “Words are very precise building blocks that form the basis for all communicated ideas…Bias, in many forms, is not necessarily explicit in the words that have been used but can be recognized when seen in the fuller context that the words represent. Journalists do this by manipulating single words in such a way that whole sentences’ meanings are subtly changed…and sometimes not so subtly.

I wasn’t saved by grace until I was 43 years old. That meant I had many years as a youth and a fully grown adult to reject Jesus and all He stands for. I remember several times being in places where the hymn “Amazing Grace” by John Newton was sung. Whether it was a concert or a church wedding, the hymn is usually familiar to even the most oblivious of a non church-going person, like me, because it is played even at so many places other than church where the lost tend to congregate.

Wikipedia says of the song:

Author Gilbert Chase describes “Amazing Grace” as “without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns.” Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates that it is performed about 10 million times annually. “Amazing Grace” stands as an emblematic Negro spiritual and exemplar of Appalachian shape note hymnody. In the nineteenth century the hymn was sung by Native Americans enduring the ordeal of the Trail of Tears, by abolitionists, by soldiers in the U.S. Civil War, and by homesteaders settling the Prairies. Today it has attained international popularity…” (Left, John Newton, author of Amazing Grace”)

What an opportunity the lost person has to learn of the grace of the Great Savior! That they are lost, which they do not know! That grace awaits, which they do not understand. They they are a wretch but can be saved, that they need but do not want. In places where bibles are banned and sermons are stopped, songs can be sung with loaded words which carry the grace of Jesus and the first, dawn-like whiffs of hope and deliverance.

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)When I was lost, I liked the hymn. I thought it was pretty, and had a good message and stirred me somehow. Except one part I hated. When it got to the lyric that said, “saved a WRETCH like me.” When it got to that part, I closed my mouth and refused to sing the line. ‘I’m not a wretch’ I’d think to myself. ‘I’m a good person! How ridiculous to have such low self-esteem!’

Of course, that was the point Newton was trying to make. He was a very great sinner, but so are we all. No matter who is singing this song, save one exception in the universe (Jesus), that wretch lyric can and does apply.

Now that we are in such an apostate world, no one likes to believe they are a wretch. But unless we understand how very great of a wretch we are, we will not understand how very great a Savior we have. I heard “Amazing Grace” this week by a new artist. The lyric had been changed. This is what she sang-

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a SOUL like me.”

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:17)
We all have a soul. Even the most atheistic of people believe we have a soul and it goes somewhere after we die, if even to be annihilated or changed into a centipede. What’s so amazing about grace that saves a soul? Nothing. It is the wretch that is saved that is so amazing.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us“. (Romans 5:8)

Jesus didn’t die for souls, He died for sinners, wretched sinners. If you are confronted with a lyric or a verse where it has been changed, please know that it makes a difference. Remember that what you read or hear are words, and words communicate ideas. The most important idea in the universe is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, and that Savior IS Jesus Christ and no other. We are all wretches, and Jesus as the Sinless One lifted us up and gave us new life in Him. As the article above I’d quoted and linked to states, the lost world likes to change ideas and they do “this by manipulating single words in such a way that whole sentences’ meanings are subtly changed.” Wretch and soul are not the same. Words matter.

Further Reading:

Here is a short documentary about the song and how it came to be written.

Amazing Grace: The Story Behind the Song

Wretched Radio with Todd Friel

Posted in Jews for Jesus, messiah, messianic jews, savior, Yeshua

Messianic Yeshua campaign causes buzz in Israel

And the toughest missionary field in the world is…Israel.

This is because God has partially hardened their hearts to His truth until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:7-8, 25).

Nonetheless, God weeps over His rejecting people. Through Isaiah, He drenched Moab with His tears. In Luke 19:41-42, Jesus wept over His people Israel as He approached Jerusalem.

When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace!

They rejected the Messiah of peace, and to this day they are at enmity with God, in a hostile war between souls of sin and the Soul of holiness.

In that day, the people cursed His name! (Matthew 12:24, Matthew 27:23, 25). The very people whom He had healed and personally fed, wanted Him dead. The Pharisees sought to kill Him! (John 8:58-59; John 10:30-33).

Not much has changed since then, as evidenced by this interesting news article I read. It is from the publication Israel Today. The article in its entirety is extremely interesting as you read the flow and its context. Please read the full essay to get the full effect.

Radio Darom broadcasts in Israel and as usual with other radio stations, there are radio hosts and there are radio guests. On one such program, super conservative member of the Shas party, Ofer Karadi was appearing along with the deputy mayor of Beersheva and a local Jew for Jesus, AKA Messianic Jew. (who was not named in the article). Things, shall we say, got heated.

I’ll post a few quotes here:

Yeshua Campaign Causes Buzz in Southern Israel
While the gospel campaign by Jews for Jesus created a lot of buzz among local residents, not everyone was as sympathetic toward the Messianics as the general. “May his name be cut off forever,” screamed Ofer Karadi

His fervency and hatred is striking isn’t it? That is because it is demonic. (Genesis 3:15, Revelation 12:12, Revelation 12:17).

How can you give a platform for these empty-headed people,” cut in Karadi. “They are extremists. They are causing a civil war here in Israel!” (what this really means is that if Messianic Jews keep preaching the gospel in Israel, the orthodox will rise up with violent resistance).


Have things changed? Not one bit. The LORD’S plan was set from the foundation of the world and He is enacting it in His sovereign timing and His sovereign will. Though the missionary field of Israel is a hard, stony place for His seed to grow, never forget He has left behind a remnant, elected by grace. (Romans 11:5). By His grace there are Messianic Jews proclaiming His name in His land! What a beautiful sight, even if is it met with spittle spewing Orthodox Jesus haters. This is not a surprise.

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you… John 15:18-20a)

I praise the Lord for His remnant, for His people on a hard and rocky mission field. I praise the Lord for His tears, His love for the lost people, and for His future plan to bring them to His bosom. It is written,

And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.
~Romans 11:26-27

By Yoav Dothan. All rights released (Public domain)
Posted in false worship, messiah, newsweek, Obama, savior

Newsweek depicts Obama’s second inauguration as the Second Coming of Christ

Well, this is just gross. Newsweek calls Obama’s next presidential term, The Second Coming.

I’ve discussed before that the Messianic language and pictorial representations of Obama abound. They have been foisted on us since 2007 when Obama first ran for President. He has been called Pharaoh (in the nicest, most king-y way), Messiah, and The National Groom. He has been depicted with halos, in crucified pose, as part of nativity scenes, and ministering to his adoring proselytes. He’s been called the New Hope, the Last Hope, and Hope and Change. He even discovered a likeness of himself on an Egyptian tomb. He’s been called the Healer-In-ChiefHe has been proclaimed savior outright. You can see many, many of the Obama halos here.

The Truth Michael Dantuono

One accidental depiction, OK. One wayward artist, fine. One lapdog photographer, I understand. But please note that the media has purposely and constantly presented this man as Messiah for five years. It is not an accident.

Obama says these things himself about himself. His campaign slogan was “Believe”. He said in NH in 2008, ““… a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany … and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama” (Barack Obama, Lebanon, New Hampshire, Jan. 7, 2008)”

OK, so those were the facts. The media, whose power to influence and reflect a skewed reality is immense, has for years shown us and told us Obama is a messianic figure here to save us. What does all this language and Obama-idols mean?

It means America (and parts of the world) are deep into idolatry. It also means that America (and parts of the world) have a monumental gullibility that satan will monumentally exploit. First, our nation’s gullibility.

The unsaved population is under satan’s sway. They will believe anything. The bible says that deception in the last days will abound.

–“while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)
–“Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” (2 Timothy 2:16)
–“and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matthew 24:11)
–“and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

It’s clear, deception abounds to all those who refuse to believe the truth.

All the unsaved believe satan’s lie. The bible shows us that they are the most gullible people in the world, ever. That gullibility will find its final expression by the time Revelation 13 comes to pass:

“One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Revelation 13:2-4).

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

Aside from the gullibility of the unsaved, at eternal risk from satan, the second meaning of all this Obama-worship involves idolatry. Credible watchmen and mature pastors recognize and preach Romans 1 in terms of the biblical statement on the downward progression of a society. Sexual sins and homosexuality/lesbianism are the benchmarks by which it is written that judgment comes.

However, let’s not forget the sin of idolatry. Idolatry will kill a society faster than you can say “Barak Obama”.

GotQuestions deals with the topic of idolatry: “The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God.”

And wouldn’t you know it, we’re right back to Romans 1 and read that the Omniscient Lord knew that our tendency is to worship the created and not the Creator.

Holman Standard says it well:

“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.” (Romans 1:23)

When people worship a person, whether it be Lance Armstrong sports star, or Oprah Winfrey media darling, or Hitler the political genius, or Obama the savior, they’re engaging in a most dangerous practice. When the majority of a society idolizes something or someone besides God and gives it worship, Romans 1 comes into play. What that means is, judgment looms.

Deluded Americans dangerously heap Godly worship unto Obama, who gladly accepts this false glory. What can one expect of a nation and/or an individual who do these things? Well, when Herod accepted Godly worship unto himself, he died.

“Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.” (Acts 12:20-23)

Nebuchadnezzar took the glory that was God’s and put it onto himself. And the judgment came and was swift:

“All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you,…” (Daniel 4:28-31).

It is a dangerous thing for a society to replace the one True God with any idol, whether it be persons living or dead, image or animal.

We are living in the Age of Grace. How wonderful to have a Savior who bestows so much grace to us while we are still sinners! Who even replace Him with craven images and sinning men! The Age of Grace is upon us!

Jesus is so wonderful. His grace abounds. You don’t have to believe the damnable lie, but bask in His grace and believe the truth. We worship the ONE God and no other. And with a God as glorious as He is, why would we need another?

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10).

Posted in bible, savior

Jesus knows us, remembers us, will not forget us

Many times in the bible, there are appeals for the Lord to remember a person. ‘O Lord, remember me’ is a common entreaty. Here are just a couple of examples from the New Testament and the Old Testament.

“Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people. (Nehemiah 5:19)

“O LORD, You know; Remember me and visit me, And take vengeance for me on my persecutors.” (Jeremiah 15:15a)

“Remember me, O LORD, in Your favor toward Your people; Visit me with Your salvation,” (Psalm 106:4)

“Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (Thief on the cross Luke 23:42)

The entreaty speaks to a private concern. Even though we know that God’s ways are not our ways and that His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8), we still worry that He won’t remember us. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. I can’t remember the title of the last book I read. Because we are human and we filter all our experiences and thoughts based from the last experiences and thoughts we’ve had (connecting the new to the known), we project understanding out from ourselves. It’s a habit. So we can’t conceive of how the Lord will remember each and every person who ever lived…deep down. We have a little niggling worry. From early rock art painting hand stamps to Kilroy Was Here, we all do things to imprint our impression upon the world so that the world will remember that we were here. Can God really remember each and every person? Hard to conceptualize. Easier to sink back into fleshly bewilderment that there just may be one tiny crack that I slip though, forgotten.

NOT SO! Do not worry. In many scriptures, the Lord says He will remember us. He knows us! He knows us each by name. He knows us inside and out. He knows the hairs on our head. He cares for us, shelters us, and will not forget when we are called to go. He will greet us by name.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14)
“To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” (Nahum 1:7)

“Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” (2 Timothy 2:19a)

“But the man who loves God is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:3)

He not only knows your name, but He has prepared a place for you and will give you a new name when he greets you!

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)

It is a beautiful miracle that the God of the universe, Creator since always, Savior of all humanity, knows us. Take comfort. He will not forget you. But here is the question of the day: do you know HIM?