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They Didn't Make It Up

Two good friends and I were listening to this nine-minute Roger Campbell video:

It's in Chinese, so below I have made an English transcript. If you just want to skip to the conversation we had because of this video, scroll down to the end of the translation:
Jesus Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant. As I said before, the content of the Bible is split up into two main sections. The first is called the Old Covenant. The second is called the New Covenant. Whose new covenant is it? It is Jesus' new covenant.

Please turn to 1 Corinthians 11, page 240. 240.

Please notice, when Jesus himself was living on this earth he was a Jew. Let me say that again. Jesus lived on this earth as a Jew.

The Jews at that time were under the Old Covenant law, called the Law of Moses. Why was it called the Law of Moses?. Because in the time of the Old Covenant, God spoke through a man called Moses to give the Jews his law. So it was called the Law of Moses.

I want to bring up two more facts. First, in Taiwan people think, "Jesus is not suited to us Asians." Why? "He's a Westerner." Actually, in fact, Jesus is not a Westerner. "No, Jesus is a Westerner!" Actually, in fact, Jesus is not a Westerner.

Jesus was born in Bethleham. Where is Bethleham? From Jerusalem to Bethleham is about 8 miles. Jerusalem and Bethleham belong to present-day Palestine. Palestine is located in the Middle East. Jesus is an Easterner!

"But his religion is Western, so his religion doesn't suit us Asians." Jesus established his church in Jerusalem. His church started in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is in Palestine. Palestine is in the Middle East.

Actually, in God's sight, people are not split up into Easterners and Westerners, Northerners, Southerners. People are people!

But don't misunderstand - when Jesus lived on this earth he was not a Westerner. Even though later more people in the West accepted him, his religion was not reserved for the East or the West.

So because Jesus was a Jew while living on this earth, because the Old Covenant law, the Law of Moses, was still in effect, so when Jesus was living on this earth he followed the Old Covenant law. Jesus himself followed the Old Covenant law.

But he used his blood to establish the New Covenant. On the night he was betrayed, the night before he was crucified, when he was together with his apostles in Jerusalem, he started his supper, called the Lord's Supper. This is the bread we eat and the grape juice we drink on Sunday.

Let's look at 1 Corinthians 11:24-25.
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the NEW COVENANT in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
According to verse 25, the new covenant is established with Jesus' blood. So that's why it's called Jesus Christ's New Covenant.

Now all the people in the world are all under the teaching of Jesus. I just mentioned how Jesus told his disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."

Please notice, the Old Covenant law, the Law of Moses, was given to the Israelites. But the teaching of the New Covenant is given to the people of the whole world.

But you say, "Mr. Campbell, it's not everybody that accepts it." We're not talking about whether they accept it or don't accept it. But God's plan, the will of God, is that everybody is under the teaching of Jesus.

So how do we know Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant? Please turn to Hebrews 8. Page 310. 310.

The author of Hebrews often compared the Old and New Covenants. What was the Old Covenant like, what is the New Covenant like. Let's notice Hebrews 8:6,7:
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant ...
See, he is the mediator of a better covenant.
... which has been enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
Please notice verse 7 mentions the first covenant and also mentions the second covenant. Now in the book of Hebrews, when the author of Hebrews mentions a first and second covenant, he's talking about the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

So the author of Hebrews is constantly emphasizing that we have through Jesus a more beautiful [?], a better one. We have a better new covenant, better promises, a better mediator. According to verse 6, who is the mediator of the New Covenant? It's Jesus Christ. Please turn to Hebrews 9:15:
For this reason He ...
"He" is referring to Jesus.
For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
So this verse is very clear. Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant.

So brothers and sisters, friends, don't misunderstand. The Old Covenant law was a really great law. The law of Moses which God gave to the Israelites was a really great law. How do we know? Because it came from God, of course it was good. God knew what the Israelites needed in the time of the Old Covenant, so he gave them the Law of Moses.

But when Jesus came and established his church, God knew that the teaching his church needed and the teaching of the Old Covenant were two different things. So Jesus came to be the mediator of the New Covenant. And don't forget, when Jesus was crucified, he nailed the Old Covenant teachings to the cross.

From that point on, the Old Covenant law, the Old Covenant teachings, were no longer in effect. All people everywhere are now under the teaching of Christ's New Covenant.
About three-fourths of the way through, something in this video or our discussion prompted one of my friends to say:

"So all these rules were made up by men, Jesus's disciples writing down what he said AFTER he was gone, but the rules were really made up by his disciples, like Confucius' disciples writing everything down 100 years later."

"No!" I said, and showed them what Jesus said would happen after he left:

"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." (John 14:16,17)

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." (John 14:26)

"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (John 15:26-27)
"And especially this verse!" I told them, and we continued reading:
"But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.... But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 16:5,6,13-15)
Then I showed them how just before Jesus went back to heaven he told them to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit:
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.... (Acts 1:1-13)
Then we jumped to the day of Pentecost when ten days later the Holy Spirit came with a rushing wind and everybody could hear them speaking in their own language:
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.

They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs -we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God." And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."

But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know - this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power...."

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"

So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. (Acts 2:1-24,37-43)
"So the apostles did miracles, too," my friend said.

I said, "Yes, to prove that their words came from God. When the last apostle died and the Bible was all finished, the miracles couldn't continue very long after. For instance, if you wanted to be able to do miracles, an apostle would have to come lay his hands on you. [Acts 8 - we'd discussed it before.] You could then do miracles but you could never pass on that ability. So when the last apostle died, and the last person who could do miracles died, the age of miracles stopped. Otherwise if I told you I had a new book to add to the Bible and I could back it up with an undeniable miracle that even atheists would accept, then we'd have to add that book to the Bible."

We went back to listening to the video, when I suddenly paused it again and said, "What the apostles wrote had to have come from God, because in the day of judgment he's going to have the Bible and the book of our life lying side by side and he's going to compare the two. (Rev. 20:12) If the apostles didn't get it straight, if it was only their own thinking, if they didn't have the Holy Spirit like Jesus said; how could God judge us in the day of judgment? 'God, what are you doing judging me when it was your apostles who got it all wrong. How dare you judge me.' How could Jesus say his words would judge us (John 12:48) if he couldn't even guarantee that his disciples would write them down correctly?"

And then we finished watching the video.

Sorry for the video-audio lag, I would try to recut it, but ffmpeg doesn't seem to work on my present system (Sabayon Linux) and I can not find a website to walk me through how to get the avconv equivalent of "ffmpeg -i -ss 00:29:59.0 -t 00:09:14.0 -vcodec copy -acodec copy". Any pointers would be greatly appreciated in the comments.

Chinese New Year 2012

For the first time we had two more for Chinese New Year. My second brother brought his wife and my first brother brought his fiance!

My brother was in Taichung to attend a church event, so he and his fiance rode back down with my other brother and his wife on Tuesday, and they all got in at 1 AM. We did not open gifts that night!

My second brother and his wife.

My first brother and his fiance.

They had announced their engagement a few days before.

Chinese New Year

Chinese Lunar New Year is not a fixed date on the solar calendar and can come any time from January through March. (This year it came on January 23).

It's not a private little holiday for the immediate family but like Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one. All the married sons and their families travel home to make the family circle complete again.

By nightfall on Chinese New Year's Eve, all businesses have shut down, the streets are empty, and everybody is home at the big family reunion dinner, prepared to stay up all night celebrating. They do not give gifts but the young people especially get red envelopes of cash.

The next day is the first of the lunar new year. The department stores will probably be open to get everybody's Red Envelope cash, but most other types of businesses will stay closed.

The second day of the lunar new year is when all married daughters and their families return home to see their parents, further congesting the roads with travelers.

On a bad year the Chinese New Year falls on a Thursday and everybody has to go back to work on Monday, with only four days off. This was a very good year with Chinese New Year falling on a Monday and giving most people nine days off!

The Next Day

showing old family photos

Showing my little sister how to play her recorder.

Eating spaghetti.

By late afternoon we were finally ready to open presents and they told me to pass out the gifts. It was my first time to be in charge of that and I hadn't known it was so fun keeping track of who was ready for their next gift and timing them to the situation.

The Next Day

My sister-in-law's sister came down to pick up a homeless cat for a friend and dropped in to see us that morning.

My father doing what he loves best, talking Bible.


I agreed to babysit the cherub because his parents said I didn't have to teach him anything, they just wanted him to have exposure to the English spoken in our family. I had visions of reading him all my Narnia books.

The cherub had his own ideas. Being three, he does not read and he sees life as The World According to Cherub.

When he first walked in the door he screamed if you even looked at him. Eardrum-piercing shrieks that left your ear sort of silent for a second. If you were lucky he wouldn't throw himself to the floor and start trying to inflict brain damage.

About the second day, I decided not only to buy ear plugs but I also decided no more. The instant he shrieked I whisked him over to a deep armchair and waited him out, sending his mom out of sight so he wouldn't keep screaming just for her benefit. I did not care how long he screamed. Holding him in the chair was the most restful part of the class.

I was doing this because in the Chinese culture they fully expect the teacher to train the child and make the child behave, they figure that's why he goes to school, so I have to constantly fight my instinct to keep my hands off and defer to the mother, waiting for her to take care of it.

I had also seen Sister Wang do something like this with her grandson. He had been fed, burped, changed and was screaming in anger at his nap. Sister Wang just kept him on her shoulder peacefully patting his back and saying, "Pa zhe, pa zhe". Every time he pushed away screaming, she would cluck at him sympathetically, telling him what a great singing voice he would have, and putting him back on her shoulder over and over ... FOR 2 HOURS.

Halfway through it was starting to get to his dad, who got up to take his son, but Sister Wang airily waved her son-in-law away, saying if you stopped the process in the middle he would never learn. Her daughter and son-in-law went out somewhere soon after that. Meanwhile the baby eventually tired himself out and took the nap.

Sister Wang told me she had done that with all her kids so that when she needed a free hand, all she had to say was "Pa zhe" and they would curl up and sleep and she wouldn't have to worry about them for that moment.

Anyway, back to the cherub. He peed the chair but I ignored it. When he had tired himself out after 15 minutes and was silent I let him out of the chair. It only took a few times before he would calm down real fast (to get his mother back in the room!) and even suck his thumb contentedly in peace, like he appreciated the time to sort things out in his mind and try being good again. (He even stopped peeing the chair after a few days because it wasn't going to get him out of there any faster.)

I admire energetic children. I have seen people who get nervous with children in the house. That is not me. When the cherub tries to talk to me I listen to him intently, all shiny-eyed at his potential. Even when I was holding him in the chair and letting him scream it out, I was keeping up a steady stream of soft patter about the way all this would make him a stronger, more helpful grown-up in the future, and the great things he would go on to accomplish with his energy.

He also had a habit of smacking himself in the head every time he wanted to get attention or get something because then an adult would rush over offering whatever they could to get him to stop hitting himself, and I stopped that real fast too by putting him in the chair a couple times, and not letting him hit himself while in time-out. I didn't want him growing up to be a cutter.

However, a few weeks later I was dreading the class one morning because it wasn't going to be held at home or in a park but in a nearby department store for the first time.

I had tried to get away from chasing the cherub aimlessly around our house (to his credit he loves helping me "wash dishes" and put vegetables in the juicer, I believe in including little ones in everything even if it takes twice as long ... it saves time further on!) and now I would be chasing him around from aisle to aisle trying vainly to get him to repeat the names of the items on the shelves ... and the first time he threw that first testing tantrum in a new environment where was I going to let him scream it out?

At first the cherub's mom and I did follow him through the aisles. He got one of the wheeled suitcases on display to drag through the store and his mom told me they'd said it was OK for him to do that. Well, if his mom and the store people had said it was OK what could I do? I just made sure he didn't bump into stuff or people.

Up to that point the class was fairly easy because we were walking and I was doing something nice and logical like having his mom repeat in English everything she wanted to tell him or me and putting it in the tape recorder. But when I saw his mom trying to look at stuff on the fly and herded him toward her, he got irritated and screamed.

I immediately strode off with the piece of luggage and put it back in its place on the other side of the store. He never screamed again.

But see, he knows from experience I mean business. I do not keep promising him more and more stuff to get him to stop screaming. No, I take more and more stuff away, and if he screams about that I put him in a chair.

His mom took him to get a shopping cart telling me it made him go slower and he wouldn't run. The sight of him with the cart made things start clicking in my brain. Children are supposed to follow their parents through the store!

I kept my hand on the cart and made him follow his mom wherever she wanted to go, whatever she wanted to look at, except when she didn't know what she wanted to look at and followed him. But as we were watching his mom look at slippers it was suddenly clear-cut in my brain. What if he was my little kid and she was a friend I was going shopping with ... how would I make a son of mine behave? how had I made my baby sister behave when she was little? ... and then it was a lot more obvious how to react to anything he did.

There were still some moments when she had the cart and I had to keep him from running on ahead, my hand ready to grab his jacket, since she thought it was OK for him to wander freely without holding her hand.

I told her I know she wants him to get exercise but any time I was with them he was going to have to hold somebody's hand in the store. As I told my mom later, if you have to constantly worry about your kid breaking into a run and leaving you in the store, then he's too young to be walking about without his hand held. Now he seems to love holding my hand everywhere.

There were some more episodes in the food court when the cherub finished eating before his mom and got up to wander around. I put him back in his chair, with expected results, and I did not care how many people in the food court stared at us. But he was a lot nicer the next time we went out.

He wants to be good and he needs consistent boundaries to base his decisions on, and I want his mom to enjoy taking him many places in life.

How I kicked the flu in 1998 and last week.

In 1998 I was back in the States after 8 years away. Everybody at my aunt's house came down with the flu in turn except for me.

Somewhere I had read about Sacagawea, the Indian guide for Lewis and Clark, drinking a pint of oil to stave off sickness. (I could not find a trace of this anecdote when I looked it up on the web for this post.)

My aunt was cooking Spanish Rice that night and I persuaded her to leave in all the chicken skins because

1. The oil from chicken skins in chicken soup supposedly kills germs.
2. Nobody wants their chicken skins?! I will totally eat them for you.

That night I peeled and ate garlic after garlic with the chicken skins and rice.

In the middle of the night I woke up feeling royally indigested but I refused to get up and went back to sleep.

I was fine in the morning. My mom and sister were throwing up and my cousin would soon be incapacitated in agony, but I never came down with the flu.

Fast forward to last week.

The first we knew my sister was sick was when she started gagging over supper and ran to the bathroom but couldn't even throw up. She just sat on the sofa with a fever and tears running down her cheeks. I just held her and hugged her and kept giving her as many good things to sip as I could think of, a big dose of C, as high as I could safely give her of A, grapefruit seed extract in a cup of water, strong hot ginger tea, etc., and she was all well 2 days later.

It was the afternoon of that third day when I felt the distinct stirrings of nausea. I got to a stopping point on my laptop and took 2000 mg of C before I remembered I had to get some activated charcoal down me first.

If you've never heard of activated charcoal it's a backup that hospitals will give you for food poisoning if for some reason they can't pump your stomach. 2 decades ago my dad ate something bad and came racing home in a taxi with diarrhea. He took charcoal and then went right back to town that day.

I knew I really shouldn't take them together, the charcoal might try to absorb the C and the C might ruin the efficacy of the charcoal but I didn't want to go into this without charcoal.

20 minutes later the nausea was still there and had ratcheted up a notch. I imagined my forehead felt warmer than normal.

I peeled 2 garlic and ate the slices in between typing. When the garlic got too hot, I sliced 2 more garlic and swallowed them down like vitamin pills with a couple of glasses of water, trying to crush them a bit first with my teeth on the way. The nausea went away.

An hour or so later the nausea came back and I washed two more garlic down with water. Again the nausea went away.

At supper I was really hungry and knew it was my last chance to nip the flu in the bud if I didn't want to be throwing up my supper. I remembered my 1998 experience. I had no chicken skins but I had olive oil.

So I took about 5 tablespoons of leftover spaghetti-sauce-ground-beef-macaroni, poured 3 tablespoons of olive oil over it, some liberal pinches of salt, and 4 HEAPING tablespoons of some Parmesan cheese we had just got in the house for New Year's. I love me a little spaghetti with my Parmesan cheese, oil and salt ... it was scrumptious! Why hadn't I been doing this when I wasn't sick? Every bowl of food must taste better swimming in olive oil, Parmesan and salt.

It was so delicious I had two more bowls just like it, eating a clove of garlic with each bite, and then I finished it off with some fresh-ground hot coffee to make sure my stomach acids kicked in and digested the food before my body decided to be sick.

The nausea never came back!!! Not that night nor the next day.

I can only guess what my breath smelled like for Bible Class later but I was happily full and slept well all night, my forehead back to normal.

That was a total of about 15 cloves of garlic and almost 9 T of olive oil.

Sunday Photos

Ling's mom became a christian recently.

Tracy is that person who leaves the trail and comes back with something to cook. Here she picked some greens from somewhere outside our house for another sister after services.

Christine and her husband do the church bulletin every week. Here they are on the right. I teach their 3 beautiful children - a bookworm and two twins.

My mom and dad.

Joyce invited Tracy out to eat on her birthday. Ling and her mom, Jared, Candi and I went too.

This was a hot pot restaurant. Beside each table is a small gas tank on the floor hooked up to the burners:

Walking back after lunch.

Afternoon coffee in a tea cup.

Tracy and I went to the market so she could fix soup for supper. She seldom gets to cook at home.

I shot this video because even though I'm used to seeing live fish on the table (as kids my brother and I would stand at the fish stall waiting to see if one would flop off the table) this was the first time I was horrified to see live fish with their tails tied up to their mouths (just barely seen in the video) still breathing.

Tom Yam Soup

Tracy won.

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