New Testament: Pinoy Version (Pinoy NT), My Journey into Understanding and Appreciating the Science and Art of Biblical Translation

New Testament, Pinoy Version
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New Testament, Pinoy Version

New Testament, Pinoy Version

You may have heard the news recently regarding the publication by the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) of a New Testament (NT) in heterogeneous language (mixture of Tagalog and English, or Taglish). Calling it the New Testament: Pinoy Version (Pinoy NT) the PBS launched this NT translation on 13 September 2018, along with a Catholic Edition, at the 39th Manila International Book Fair that was held at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay.

The PBS website said this about the Pinoy NT: it is “‘the first of its kind in the Philippines, this unique contemporary version uses the modern Filipino language variety that is commonly used by the younger generation.’ According to PBS’s Translation Consultant Dr. Anicia del Corro, ‘To capture the way the contemporary Filipino speaks, especially among the youth, this Pinoy Version is made available as an alternative version.’” The website added that its target audience are, “people in their teens to early thirties who are reading the Bible for the first time.”

Galatians 1 in NT Pinoy Version

Sample passage from Galatians 1 in the NT Pinoy Version (image from Bible.org website)

Furthermore, the website claims that, “However modern in its form, even sounding informal to most readers, the Pinoy Version is a faithful translation employing the method of dynamic equivalence, also used in other meaning-based translations such as the Magandang Balita Biblia (MBB), Good News Translation (GNT), and Contemporary English Version (CEV).”

Since its launch, the NT Pinoy Version has caused quite a stir among theologians, preachers, and even among ordinary folks alike, many voicing out their own opinions over long threads on social media, particularly Facebook. As some have correctly observed, many people from hiding suddenly felt concerned for the Bible with the release of Pinoy NT. They thus came out of their spiritual closets, polished their pens, and freely expressed their appreciation, indifference or dismay with this new translation.

Many however, specially among teens, welcomed it describing it as a fresh translation that speaks to them in a personal way. Some were indifferent, preferring English versions or the KJV Bible over it. Many criticised it, pointing out how informal, disrespectful and irreverent it sounds, so uncharacteristic of the nature and language of the Holy Bible from which it was based, they said. Some, with knowledge of the Greek language of the NT, even challenged how some words were translated pointing our errors allegedly committed by the translators.

As someone who loves the Bible and the God it proclaims, I was thus engulfed in this whirlwind. I have no degree in theology nor have I formally studied biblical translation nor biblical languages. My tertiary education is in the field of accountancy, now specialising in information systems auditing. Nevertheless, with my desire to understand God’s Word better, and to correctly understand it and more confidently teach it to others, I taught myself basic theology and Biblical Greek and Hebrew. I claim no expertise in these biblical languages, far from it. On the contrary, I may well be a novice compared to many others who are learned and have degrees in these disciplines. Yet I grow in the knowledge of Greek and Hebrew grammar daily, and am able to make use of Bible software tools and apps at my disposal to get to the Greek and Hebrew texts, to rightly handle God’s true Word.

Being thus familiar with original languages, I am well aware of the difficulty of translating words from the source to the receptor language, why different Bible versions sometimes translate in English the same Greek or Hebrew word differently, or even why one Bible version translates the same Greek or Hebrew word differently in different passages. It is due to these that my interest was drawn with the news of the Pinoy NT’s launch. But I was more curious with all the squabbles surrounding it.

Desiring to make my own informed judgment regarding this issue then, I took on the task of researching biblical translation and matters related to this field. It led me to the time around the reformation era when biblical translation, specially into the English language, was at its infancy, and then to famous Bible translators like Wycliffe, Tyndale and Luther. Next, I ventured into understanding more about Koine Greek, the common language much like English is today, at the time of Jesus and the apostles. This is the same language in which the NT writers penned the New Testament, including the Gospels and letters. Finally, I was at the center of it all: Bible translation, its different philosophies, approaches and methods. The assessment criteria for determining the success of any Bible translation is enlightening as it is interesting.

With this, I felt the need to write about my discoveries in this quick but exciting journey. It’s been a long while since I blogged about anything, and I think it is all worth the time and effort getting back at writing. My desire, by presenting some informative articles that I came across in my readings as starting points for intelligently assessing this new translation that has come to us, is for each of us to grow up and mature, from being uninformed or misinformed critics mindlessly echoing the opinions of people we look up to, into educated critical thinkers, researching reliable sources, carefully weighing the issues and thus making our very own informed judgments.

In the coming days, I’ll be writing about biblical translation and translators around the reformation era of the 1500s, the Koine Greek of early Christian time, and then biblical translation as a science and an art. Be sure to come back here again soon to read more about these interesting topics. But for this first installment, I want to present Martin Luther’s defense of his German translation of the Bible against his critics during his time.

Martin Luther and His German Translation of the Bible

According to Timothy Larsen in his book Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, the translation of the Bible by Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, “influenced the German language in the same way as the King James Version influenced English.”

Opening of Genesis in Luther's 1534 German Bible

Opening of Genesis in Luther’s 1534 German Bible

Writing about Luther’s legacy, church historian Philip Schaff said about Luther’s German Bible in his book the History of the Christian Church:

“The richest fruit of Luther’s leisure in the Wartburg, and the most important and useful work of his whole life, is the translation of the New Testament, by which he brought the teaching and example of Christ and the Apostles to the mind and heart of the Germans in life-like reproduction. It was a republication of the gospel. He made the Bible the people’s book in church, school, and house. If he had done nothing else, he would be one of the greatest benefactors of the German-speaking race.”

Luther’s Defense of His German Bible

Luther's Open Letter on Translation, in German

Luther’s Open Letter on Translation, in German

Nevertheless, not everyone was happy with Luther’s German Bible. To these critics he wrote, in his defense, an open letter entitled in German: Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen (An Open Letter in Translating). What follows is a selection of texts from that letter.

Dr. Martin Luther

Dr. Martin Luther, Father of the Reformation, Protestant Theologian, and Bible Translator (image from Proclaim, by Faithlife Corp.)

Qualifications of a Translator

Oh, translation is not an art just anyone can do, as the mad holy ones believe; it requires a righteous, pious, faithful, diligent, fearful, Christian, educated, experienced, practised heart.

Luther’s Faithfulness to the Text

You can say that I have translated the New Testament into German to the best of my abilities and as conscientiously as possible; I can testify in good conscience that I have demonstrated my highest faithfulness and diligence in this, and never had any false thoughts—for I have neither taken nor sought a farthing for it, nor won any with it. Neither have I sought honour for myself in this, God knows, my lord; rather I did it as a service to Christianity and in honour of one who sits on high, who does me so much good in all hours that even if I had translated a thousand times as much and as diligently, I still would not have earned an hour to live or have a sound eye: all that I am and have comes from His grace and mercy, indeed, it is from His dear blood and bitter sweat, therefore it should all, God willing, serve to honour Him, with joy and from the heart. Should the bunglers and papal asses slander me, well then, the pious Christians praise me, together with their Lord Christ, and I am all too richly rewarded if just one Christian considers me a faithful worker.

Difficulties Encountered in Translating

I have taken pains in translating in order to render a pure and clear German. And it often happened that we sought and questioned a single word for fourteen days, three, four weeks, and at times still could not find it. In Job we worked this way, Master Philips, Aurogallus, and I, so that in four days sometimes we could hardly finish three lines. Rather— now that it is in German and ready, anyone can read and criticize it. Now a person can fly through three, four pages and never stumble once, but is not aware of the sort of stones and stumps that had been there, where he now walks along as on a smooth-planed board, where we had to sweat and fret before we were able to clear such stones and stumps out of the way so that one could walk along so finely.

It is a joy to plough a field that has already been cleared. But rooting out the brush and the stumps and preparing the field—no one wants that part. It is a thankless task. If God Himself can get no thanks for the sun, for heaven and earth, or even for His own son’s death: the world is and remains the world in the devil’s name, because it won’t have it any other way.

Luther Defends a Meaning-Based Translation

When the traitor Judas says in Matthew 26: 8: ‘Ut quid perdı ́tio haec?’ and Mark 14: 4: ‘Ut quid perdı ́tio ista ungue ́nti facta est?’ If I were to obey the asses and literalists, then I would have to translate it as: Warum ist diese Verlierung der Salben geschehen? [Why has this loss of ointment occurred?] What kind of German is that? What German would say something like that: Loss of ointment has occurred? And if he actually understands it then he will think that the ointment has been lost and someone should look for it, though even that still sounds vague and dubious. If that is good German, why don’t they come forward and make us a fine, lovely new German Testament and leave Luther’s Testament alone? I think they ought to show their skill the light of day.

Centrality of Readers in Meaning-Based Translations

They do not see that it nevertheless speaks to the sense of the text, (and if one wants to translate it into German clearly and powerfully it is needed), because my intention was to speak German, not Latin or Greek, when I undertook to speak German in the translation. That is how German is.

For one need not ask the letters of the Latin language how one ought to speak German, the way these asses do, rather one should ask the mother in her house, the children in the streets, the common man in the marketplace, about it and see by their mouths how they speak, and translate accordingly: then they understand it well and recognize that one is speaking German to them.

Luther Gets Back at His Critics

If I, Doctor Luther, had been aware that all the papists together were so skilful that they could translate one chapter of the Holy Writ into German correctly and well, then, truly, I would have been humble and asked them for help and advice in translating the New Testament. But since I knew then and still see now that they have no idea how one should translate or speak German, I spared both them and myself the trouble.

Luther’s Boastings in Paul’s Language Style

If they want to strut about and boast with their asses’ heads; and as Paul sang his own praises against his holy fools, I will sing my own against these asses. Are they Doctors? So am I! Are they educated? So am I! Are they preachers? So am I! Are they theologians? So am I! Are they debaters? So am I! Are they philosophers? So am I! Are they dialecticians? So am I! Are they lecturers? So am I! They write books? So do I!

And I will keep on praising: I can interpret Psalms and Prophets; they cannot. I can translate; they cannot.

Luther’s Scathing Words Against His Critics

I have not forced anyone to read it but simply left it available and only done so as a service to those who cannot do any better. No one has been forbidden to make a better one. Whoever does not want to read it can leave it alone; I am not begging or cajoling anyone to read it. It is my Testament and my translation and shall remain mine. If I have made any mistakes in doing so (which I would not consciously do, nor would I wilfully mistranslate a single letter)—on that I will not tolerate the papists as my judge, because their ears are too long for that and their ‘hee-haw, hee-haw’ is too weak for them to judge my translation.

I know well, and they know less than the miller’s beast, what sort of skill, diligence, judgement, and intelligence are needed for translation, because they have never tried it.

It is said: ‘He who works on the road has many masters.’ So it has been for me. Those who have never yet been able to speak, let alone translate, they are all my masters and I have to be their disciple.

But why should I care if they rage or storm? I do not want to hinder them from translating what they want; but I do want to translate not as they want, but as I want. Whoever does not want it can leave it to me and keep his mastery to himself, for I do not want to see nor hear it; and for my translating they need give neither answer nor account.

And why should I have to talk so much and for so long about translation? If I were to note the reasons and thoughts behind all of my words, it would take a year of writing. I have learned well what sort of art and work translation is; therefore I will tolerate no papal ass or mule who has not attempted anything as my judge or critic in this. Whoever does not want my translation can leave it be. The devil thank him who doesn’t like it or alters it without my will or knowledge. If it needs to be altered, then I will do it myself. If I do not do it myself, then one should leave me my translation in peace and make himself whatever sort of translation he wants and fare well!

Naimbagka Kadi Nga Tao?

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No timbangen, nadagdagsen kadi dagiti “naiimbag” ngem dagiti “nadadakes” nga aramidmo?

Maysaka kadi a nasayaat nga tao segun iti pangrukod ti Dios? No kasta, umdas kadi ti “kinasayaatmo” tapno makaapanka sadiay Langit?

Ammoem ita babaen iti panangsungbatmo kadagitoy walo nga saludsod:

1. Napadasam kadin ti nagulbod? (Maibilang ti pannagananda nga puraw nga ulbod.) Wen no Haan

2. Nagtakawka kadin wenno nangala iti anyaman nga banag nga dim kukua? (Uray pay no kasano kabassit ti pategna, uray no kasanon kabayag.) Wen no Haan

3. Nasolisogka kadin gapu ta adda kinaderrep wenno nailubongan nga kalikagum iti panunotmo bayat iti panangmatmatmo iti maysa nga tao? Wen no Haan

4. Naiyebkasmon kadi dagitoy nga sarita: “Dios ko” wenno “Susmaryosep” iti pannakakigtotmo wenno kas panangipakita iti pungtot, unget wenno panagladingit? Wen no Haan

5. Mangmangtedka kadi iti kuartam wenno sanikuam a kas tulongmo kadagiti marigrigat? Wen no Haan

6. Dinominggoka kadi nga agsimsimba? Wen no Haan

7. Aramidmo kadi nga basaen ti Biblia iti inaldaw? Wen no Haan

8. Natungpalmo kadi ti umuna kadagiti Sangapulo nga Bilin ti Dios? (Ti umuna kadagiti Sangapulo nga Bilin ket: “Dika agdaydayaw iti sabali nga dios no di laeng siak.” – Exodo 20:3) Wen no Haan

Maiparit ti sumirip. Madim kitaen daytoy a paset agingga nga malpasmo nga sungbatan dagiti walo nga saludsod.

Sungbat kadagiti saludsod:
1. Segun iti pangrukod ti Apo Dios, maysaka nga ulbod nga tao uray no naminsanka laeng nga nagulbod. Idiay libro ti Paltiing 21:8, kinuna ni apostol Juan, “amin nga ulbod – agyandanto iti dan-aw ti gumilgil-ayab nga apuy ken asupre nga isu ti maikadua nga ipapatay.” (Maikasiyam nga Bilin)

2. Maysaka nga agtatakaw segun iti pangrukod ti Dios uray no naminsanka laeng nga nagtakaw iti uray anyaman a banag (haan nga maibilang ti kinadakkel, kinabassit wenno kinapateg ti banag nga tinakaw). Idiay 1 Taga-Corinto 6:10, nakasurat daytoy, “Awanto kadagiti agtatakaw ti makapagtagikua iti pagarian ti Dios.” (Maikawalo nga Bilin)

3. No naaramidmon nga matmatan iti maysa nga lalaki wenno babai nga adda laokna nga gartem, dayta ket maipada iti pannakikamalala. Imbaga ni Jesus, “Ti siasinoman a mangmatmat iti maysa a babai, ket gartemanna, iti pusona nakabasolen iti pannakikamalala.” (Mateo 5:28) Iti surat ni apostol Pablo, 1 Taga-Corinto 6:9-10, kinunana, “dagiti mannakikamalala, dagiti aggartem iti padada a lalaki wenno padada a babai… awanto kadakuada ti makapagtagikua iti pagarian ti Dios.” (Maikapito nga Bilin)

4. Pananginsulto iti nasantoan nga nagan ti Dios ti pabarengbareng nga panangyebkasmo iti naganna tunggal a makigtotka wenno kas panangipakitam iti pungtotmo, ungetmo wenno panagladingitmo. Kinuna ti Dios idiay libro ti Levitico 24:16 nga, “siasinoman a mangilunod iti nagan ti DIOS… ket masapul a matay.” (Maikatlo nga Bilin)

5, 6, 7. Segun iti Biblia, “amin kadagiti kasayaatan nga aramidmo mayarigda laeng iti nakarugrugit a nisnis… (Isaias 64:6) Kayatna a sawen daytoy ket amin kadagiti maaw-awagan nga “naiimbag nga aramidmo” ket madidanto kaanoman nga mabalin nga ikkaten, abbongan wenno sukatan dagiti panaglaksidmo kadagiti Nasantoan nga Bilin ti Apo Dios.

Panunutem daytoy, no kadi iti maysa nga tao ket nakaaramid iti nakaro unay nga panaglabsing… kas pangarigan, pammapatay… ngem kalpasanna daytoy ket nangited met isuna iti dakkel a gatad ti kuarta para kadagiti managrigrigat, umdas kadin dayta tapno basta laengen nga lipatan ti linteg ti pammapatay na? Haan! Masapolna latta nga pagdusaan iti basolna. Kasta met dagiti basbasolmo iti Dios, haanmo ipagarup nga mabalin dagitoy nga masukatan wenno madalusan iti “naiimbag nga aramidmo” a kas koma iti panangtulongmo kadagiti managrigrigat, dinominggom nga panagsimba wenno inaldaw nga panagbasa iti Biblia.

8. Ti umuna kadagiti Sangapulo nga Bilin ket: “Dika agdaydayaw iti sabali nga dios no di laeng siak.” Kayatna a sawen, masapul nga ayatem ti Dios iti aminmo nga puso, panunot, kararua ken bileg. Segun iti Biblia, awan siasinoman ti nakatungpal iti daytoy nga bilin (Dagiti Salmo 14:2-3) – no kunaem nga naaramidmo daytoy, nasalungasingmo pay ketdi iti maikasiyam nga bilin babaen iti panagulbodmo. (Umuna nga Bilin)

Ayos ka pay kadi gayyem?
Impakaammo kenka babaen daytoy naababa nga eksamen no kasano iti pudno nga kasasaadmo no inka sangoen ita ti Apo Diyos ket ukomennaka babaen iti lima laeng kadagiti Sangapulo nga Bilinna. No usaren ti Dios dagiti Bilinna a kas panangukom kenka, maibagam kadi nga awananka iti basol, wenno maysaka a managbasol? (Napaneknekanen nga maysaka nga managbasol kasla kadagiti amin nga tao. Uray pay nga no iti entero nga biagmo ket natungpalmo nga awan biddutna dagiti siyam kadagiti Sangapulo nga Bilin ti Dios, napaayka met iti Umuna nga Bilin – kitaem ti maikawalo kadagiti saludsod). No ngarud managbasolka, naikalintegan kadi nga gungunaannaka pay ti Dios babaen ti panangpastrekna kenka idiay Langit – iti nasantoan nga pagtaenganna – wenno rebbeng laeng a dusaennaka idiay Impiyerno a kas supapak iti pannakabasolmo? Ammotayo amin nga iti maysa a naimbag nga ukom ditoy daga ket ipadusana ti siasinoman nga manglabsing iti linteg. Madi kadi a kasta met ti namnamaentayo nga aramiden ti naimbag nga Apo Dios – ti nalinteg ken awan idumdumana nga Ukom ti Sangalubongan?

Madika koma nga maupay gayyem. Dawatenmi koma nga aganoska ket ituloymo nga basaen daytoy. Napudno unay ti paaymi nga maawatam ti kasasaadmo gapu iti napaypayso nga panangisakit mi iti kararuam.

Pakadanagam kadi iti pannakaammom nga magmagna kan ita iti nalawa nga dalan nga agturong idiay Impiyerno? Rebbeng laeng nga maboriborka ken mariribukanka! Kinuna ni Jesus nga ti Impiyerno ket nakabutbuteng unay nga pagyanan, nasaysayaat pay kano nga dukutem ti maysa kadagiti matam no babaen daytoy ket maisalakanka, ngem ti addaanka nga agpayso ti duwa nga mata ngem agtalinaedka met sadiay Impiyerno iti agnanayon gapu iti panagayatmo kadagiti basbasolmo (Marcos 9:43-48).

Ammom kadi ti naimbag unay nga inaramid ti Apo Dios para kenka tapno madimto a kasapulan nga agtaeng idiay Impiyerno iti agnanayon a kas dusam? Imbaonna ti kakaisuna nga Anakna, ni Jesus, tapno matay babaen iti krus – sakbay dayta, nagsagaba umuna isuna a kas dawdawaten iti kinalinteg. Ngem iti maikatlo nga aldaw, nagungar isuna manipud idiay tanem, ket pinarmekna iti patay a naminpinsan! Kastoy ti nakasurat iti Biblia, “Gapu iti kasta unay a panagayat ti Dios iti lubong, intedna ti kakaisuna nga Anakna tapno ti siasinoman a mamati kenkuana saan a matay no di ket agbiag nga agnanayon (Juan 3:16). Nilabsingmo dagiti Bilin ti Dios, binayadan ti awanan-basol nga ni Jesu-Cristo ti multam, kasta ti panagayat ti Dios kenka.

No agladingitka ken agbabawika kadagiti basbasolmo ken agtalekka iti ipapatay ni Jesus – ti kakaisuna nga mabalin nga pangbayad kadagiti panaglabsingmo, inkari ti Dios nga pakawanenna amin nga basbasolmo ken itedna kenka ti sagut iti biag nga awan patinggana. No agbabawika (kayatna a sawen, ipudnom ken ilaksidmon dagiti basbasolmo) ken mamatika ken ni Jesus ken ti inaramidna para kenka, madimto masapulen nga agsagaba idiay Impiyerno gapu ta amin nga basolmo ket binayadanen ni Jesus babaen iti ipapatay na iti krus. Ngem no ituraymo ken ipilitmo latta iti pammatim nga naimbagka nga tao ket gapu iti daytoy, maikari nga makaapanka idiay Langit, awanen iti namnama nga maisalakanka gapu ta immay ni Jesus ditoy daga tapno isalakanna dagiti managbasol, haan nga dagiti awanan-basolna.

No umannurotka mga maysaka nga managbasol ket kasapulam iti pammakawan ti Dios ngem madika sigurado no anya iti ikararagmo, mabalinmo nga usaren daytoy a kas pagtuladam:

“Apo Dios, agbabawiak ita kadagiti amin nga basbasolko kenka, a kas koma iti: (ibagam amin nga basbasolmo). Kaasiannak koma ken pakawanennak kadagitoy. Agtalekak ita ken ni Jesu-Cristo a kas Manangisalakanko ken Apo (babaen iti panangbigbigmo ken ni Jesus a kas Apo, kayatna a sawen nga isukomon ken ni Jesus ket isunan ti mangiturong iti biagmo). Itedmo koma kanyak ti biag nga agnanayon. Agyamanak unay iti naindaklan nga ayatmo, daytoy ti kararagko babaen iti nagan ni Jesus, amen.”

Inaldawmon nga basaen ti Biblia manipud ita ken tungpalem dagiti mabasam nga nakasurat ditoy. Dikanto baybay-an wenno panawan ti Apo Dios.

Anya pay ti ururayem gayyem?

Mabuti Ka Bang Tao?

Christmas is as Basic as ABC.

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“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.'” (Luke 2:10-11)

The message of Christmas is really very plain and simple: God was made just like one of us to bring wayward sinners back to Himself, to reconcile sinners to God. Luke called Jesus the Savior, Matthew supplied the reason why: He will save his people from their sins. Christmas is Jesus God coming to earth to reconcile us sinners back to God. So if you don’t see yourself as a sinner then you have no good reason to celebrate Christmas since you are not among the persons for whom Jesus was born.

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.‘” (Mark 2:17)

You are looking for meaning and happiness in the wrong “place” so you get depressed and disappointed and say to yourself, “I don’t feel Christmas.”

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinnersof whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)

The apostle Paul, the writer of half of the New Testament, knew the reason for Christmas, and was very humble enough to claim that he is the worst among sinners. Are you better than the apostle Paul? Well, you proudly think you are if you see yourself as good and righteous instead of what you really are: a sinner, I would go as far to say a sinner worse than Paul. You want to be convinced? Go here.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

Again I say, Jesus came the first Christmas day to “seek and to save” sinners like us. God showed how much he loved us not just by humbly becoming as one of His creatures but by eventually accomplishing His mission of giving up His life through the most inhumane ways of dying- on the cross- to ransom us from Satan, the god of this world.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a human being,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death–
even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:8-9)

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”

Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel

Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth

Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

May you find the real meaning of Christmas today! Happy CHRISTmas!!!

Are You a Good Person?

If You Were the Supreme Court Chief Justice, Will You be Acquitted?

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It is easy to judge when the person in question is other than oneself. We all have that double standard mentality wherein we demand strict implementation of justice from others but desire leniency and mercy for ourselves. If we are called to judge ourselves fairly and honestly, how will we do? Imagine for a while that you were the accused or the defendant in that impeachment court instead of the former Supreme Court Chief Justice, will the verdict be favorable to you? Will you be acquitted?

Imagine no more, we will all have our day in court, each one of us. The Bible says that it is appointed for a man to die once and after that, the judgement. We will all face God on judgement day- each one of us regardless of race or nationality or skin color or sex or age or economic, social, civil or spiritual status. Each one will have to give an account of his life before the God of Creation. If it was almost unthinkable for the Supreme Court Chief Justice to face trial being the highest magistrate of the nation, that is just an ordinary scene in God’s impeachment court.

Now once again, if you were the Supreme Court Chief Justice, will you be acquitted? “On what charges?”, you may ask. Well, let me play the lead prosecutor and lay down the articles of your impeachment.

Article 1: Lying – You are a liar. (How many lies have you told in your whole life, [white lies and half-truths included]? A hundred? A thousand? Too many to count?)

Article 2: Stealing – You’re a thief. (Regardless of value, what things did you get that didn’t belong to you? How much did you steal from daddy’s wallet or mommy’s purse? How often did you cheat in school? How often do you buy pirated CDs or DVDs, or download copyrighted music or movie from the Internet? Piracy is a crime. Have you installed unlicensed software or illegally installed apps? Have you cheated on your liquidation statements or taxes?)

Article 3: Adultery – You’re an adulterer. (But you may counter, “No, I’m not, I’m not even married.” Jesus said that whoever looks at someone with lust has already committed adultery in his heart. God judges even the intents of the heart. How many times have you had that sexual immoral thought? Or have you done that while you’re by yourself in front of your computer? How about premarital sex? Sex outside of marriage is fornication.)

Article 4: Blasphemy – You disrespectfully use God’s name substituting it for the filth word shit. (“Oh my G-d.” “OMG.” How many times have you uttered that? You use the holy name of God, the one who gave you life and everything else you value, in disrespect. You wouldn’t even do that with your mother’s name or with Bin Laden’s. Jews wouldn’t even dare to speak God’s name out of respect but you use it thoughtlessly.)

Article 5: Murder – You’re a murderer. (Yes you may not have killed someone but Jesus said that whoever is angry with another without just cause is guilty of murder. Anyone who hates another is a murderer according to the Bible. How many times have you gotten angry at someone or hated someone? God judges even the intents of the heart.)

Article 6: Idolatry – You’re an idolater. (Has God always been number one in your life? The Bible says that you should love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Have you loved God in that manner? If I asked those who know you what is the most important thing in your life, will they say God is? Does your love for the closest persons in your life seem like hatred when compared with your love for God? Anything or anyone that you place above God is your idol. God is a jealous God.)

Article 7: Covetousness – You’re greedy and ungrateful. (How many times have you desired for yourself something or someone that belongs to another? When will you be content with what God blessed you with? Have you always thanked God for His blessings?)

Article 8: Parental Disrespect – You’re a disrespectful and disobedient child. (Have you always did what your parents told you the first time they said you to do it? Have you never made your parents angry or sad because of your stubbornness? Have you always obeyed your parents? Have you always honored and respected your parents? Have you always told the truth to your parents?)

Article 9: Neglect of Worship – You don’t prioritize the Lord’s Day. (Have you always went to church to worship and praise and thank God? Regularly? Have you ever felt that going to church is a burden? Have you been to church and yet your mind was on other things?)

Article 10: Idol Worship – You disobey God by bowing down or praying to a carved image. (God said not to make an image or a likeness of anything on the earth or above the earth or under the earth and to not bow down or pray to anything like it. God is a jealous God. He is spirit. Those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth. Have you never prayed or bowed down or venerated an image of anything or anyone?)

These are the primary articles of your impeachment. There are many more but these 10 are more than enough to get a conviction. If you have noticed, these are God’s 10 Commandments – Jesus Christ will use these as a standard to judge you on the day of reckoning. In one of the accounts written in the Bible where a rich man went to Jesus and asked how he may enter heaven, Jesus brought up these 10 Commandments as the standard. “What does the law say?”, was Jesus’ answer?

Who is the presiding judge in your trial? None other than Jesus Christ. He is the one who sits at the Judgement Seat. Unlike a human judge, He is holy and pure and righteous and good and impartial and fair and just. More than that, He knows all about you and everything you have done. He does not need a little lady to hand Him a piece of evidence. He doesn’t have to resort to unclean tactics to produce one. And all His evidences are verified true and correct. He knows all about you and your thoughts, words and deeds, these are all written in His book. The law on confidentiality or secrecy doesn’t apply to God, there is no need to waive anything since everything is transparent before Him. He who made your brain and your heart can see everything inside it. These are also written in your minds. Any charge that you are accused of is pulled out from your memory bank and laid bare before Him.

Who is the witness? It is inside you. Your conscience agrees and accuses you guilty of all the charges against you. It has been with you ever since so it is a very reliable witness. God has written His laws in your heart so that you know right from wrong- animals don’t, dogs don’t have court systems that try and convict bad dogs – but we do because we are moral beings. Your conscience always speak up when you do something wrong that’s why you feel guilt, but you have always ignored it and drowned out its voice so that you can’t hear it anymore.

Now who is going to defend you? None but yourself alone. In God’s impeachment court, each one will have to stand individually and defend himself. You as the accused will also be your own lawyer.

What are the rules in God’s impeachment court? If you are guilty in even one of the articles of your impeachment, you’re out. The Bible says whoever keeps the whole law yet stumbles at just one is guilty of breaking all of it.

What’s the consequence of being found guilty before God’s impeachment court? This is the exciting part because if you’re acquitted, you not only get your name cleared but you get the reward of living with God in heaven with all the angels and saints for eternity. However, if you are impeached, you will have to suffer your penalty in hell for eternity with Satan and all his fallen angels and all who were impeached along with you.

Before we get to the verdict, know these things from the Bible- God’s Constitution. All liars shall end up in the Lake of Fire- the second death. So you see, with God not telling the truth and the whole truth, like not declaring all your assets in your SALN, deserves the penalty of hell forever- much higher than the Supreme Court Chief Justice’s punishment of merely removal from office. No thief, adulterer, fornicator, blasphemer, idolater or murderer will enter heaven. Heaven is God’s dwelling place, and since God is holy, He will not permit any unholy or impure person or things to dwell along with Him. He said, “Be holy as I am holy.” Hell on the other hand is a place of torment, of anguish, of pain, suffering, of weeping, of wailing, of gnashing of teeth. It is a place God made for Satan and his followers and all who will reject Him.

So what’s your verdict about yourself? More importantly, what will Jesus’ verdict be? If you will just be honest, you know that you are guilty in all the ten articles of your impeachment. And even if you say, “No, not all,” that doesn’t matter. Guilty of one, guilty of all, remember? If you say you haven’t violated any one of the articles of your impeachment, you’re a liar so you end up breaking all the articles instead. The Bible (God’s Constitution) says that there is no one good- not even one- but God alone, and that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard- the 10 Commandments. So if you see yourself differently from how God views you, then one of you must be lying, you cannot be saying opposite things and both be true. God does not lie, so you must be the one who is wrong. So again I ask you, how did you do? What will Jesus’ verdict be?

I don’t claim to be holier than thou, honestly, I myself have broken all of those articles of impeachment many many times. Ask me if I’m good and I’ll tell you without hesitation that I am wretched. Left to myself and if given the chance to do anything without being caught and without being punished, I’ll be as bad as I can be. If I’m older than you are, chances are I’ve broken more of God’s laws than you do. Even the apostle Paul said that he was the chief of sinners.

Now that the verdict is clear- you’re guilty, what must God do to you, reward you in heaven or punish you in hell? You know the answer. So what do you do now my friend, what will you say? We already established that if you are to die today and face God in judgement you will end up in hell. What will you now do?

You might say, if those are the standards then everyone will go to hell. That’s true, God should send everyone, without exception, to hell. We have all broken God’s standard and deserve to be punished. I myself deserve to go straight to hell.

How will you defend yourself? Well, you might have in mind the following:

“What about asking for forgiveness and saying sorry for the things I have done?” Let’s just assume that during the chief magistrate’s impeachment trial, he said these things: “Yes, your honor, I admit I am guilty and am very sorry for what I have done- I did not fail to declare all my assets in my SALN, I intentionally hid them. I ask this quasi-judicial court and the nation to please forgive me, I am truly sorry. This will never happen again. Now please just let it pass and let me continue my duties as the Supreme Court Chief Justice.” Do you think that his admission of guilt and his asking for forgiveness will clear him from the penalty of what he has done? Will the verdict be different if he said those things? You know that the answer is no. What makes you think then that the fair and righteous Judge of the Universe will just let your sin be stricken out of your record and just forget everything with just a simple sorry? In fact, the Bible says that we will all be judged according to what we have done.

“What about all the good things I have done?” Put these words in the mouth of the chief magistrate during his trial. Will this be relevant at all? No, regardless of the good things you have done, you will still have to bear the penalty for the law that you broke. Let’s assume that the Supreme Court Chief Justice has, at the time of the trial, a 20-year old charitable institution taking street children out of the streets, giving them refuge, food, clothing and education. Will this fact be taken into account during the trial? No, the issue at hand is the violation he committed- he will be judged for that without regard to the admirable things he has done.

“I am better than most people.” That may be true, but God measures goodness not against other people but against Himself. How did you do with the measure God has given you- the 10 Commandments? Are you still good using that set of standard?

“But my sins were mostly in the past.” Aren’t all crimes committed in the past? I have yet to hear of a case filed for a future crime. God is omniscient- He knows all things and He remembers everything- even the sins from your youth. All these will be taken into account.

“But God does not judge the way humans do, God is different.” You’re right. God’s standards are so much higher- He considers lust as adultery and hatred as murder. He considers your intention and motive, not just the act itself. To God, merely thinking about committing something is the same as having done it. Furthermore, He is not at all subject to political pressure, therefore, his judgement will be fair and true. His agenda is nothing but righteousness and justice.

Just like the Supreme Court Chief Justice, you really don’t have a good defense, do you? All you have are merely excuses (palusot). As mere excuses are inadmissible and an insult to intellect, so are your excuses in God’s sight. The more you claim that you are innocent and good, the more you are exposed of your hypocrisy and self-righteousness. It is pride that makes a person cling to his goodness when all evidences say otherwise. If you claim you have no sin, you call God a liar says the Bible.

Guilty is the clear verdict against you, you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If some people have doubts about the verdict given to the former Supreme Court Chief Justice as some reasoned out that there was insufficient evidence, that is not the case with you. You are guilty with a hundred percent certainty. You deserve to be punished because you have sinned against God. The fires of hell are waiting to engulf you.

Do you know what you have at your disposal that the Supreme Court Chief Justice didn’t have at the time of his trial? He didn’t have the chance to pay for his violation. If he were just allowed by the constitution to pay in money his violation and thereafter keep the office he wouldn’t have any problem doing that with the huge amount of money that he owns. That would have been a piece of cake. I’m not saying that he should have been allowed to do so, that is not right. The constitution provided for the punishment and I agree that that is the right penalty. My point is this: if payment was not an option to the former Supreme Court Chief Justice, it is to you. Somebody has already paid for all of your sins so that you can be declared not guilty when the time of your judgement comes. Two thousand years ago, Jesus came to this earth, lived a sinless life, but suffered and died as a criminal on a Roman cross. He didn’t die because of any wrong doing because he was sinless then. He died because of you, He died for you. He took upon Himself all of your sins and of the sins of us all and paid for these with His body when He died on a cross. You broke God’s law, Jesus paid your fine.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

But what Jesus did does not automatically apply to anyone. There are requirements for you to be able to appropriate such payment for yourself. The question then is, how do you get this payment credited to your account? There are just two requirements, two simple but not easy requirements: repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Biblical repentance is agreeing with God and admitting with a broken and humble heart that you have grossly sinned against Him, asking God for His forgiveness, hating sin once for all, turning your life around, dying to yourself daily and starting to live your life the way God wants you to be. It’s a complete life U-turn to God after acknowledgment of sin and asking for forgiveness.

Faith in Jesus Christ means trusting in Jesus alone for your salvation. That means knowing and believing that on your own, you have no chance of getting right with God and getting into heaven. It involves acknowledging that there is nothing good at all that you can do that will merit salvation. It is laying down everything and putting your trust that it is Jesus’ death on the cross that will totally pay for all your sins and that is what will save you. It is not faith in Jesus plus your good deeds, it is Jesus’ blood alone that saves.

This is what the Bible says: God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

So there you have it my friends, if you want acquittal when your impeachment trial comes, repent of your sins and submit to Jesus Christ. Today is the day of salvation. Don’t tarry any longer, do this now for when your trial is submitted before the court, it will be too late. When you die without having repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ, there will be no more hope. You have all the time to do God’s two requirements for heaven while you are alive but that time ends the moment you breathe your last breath. Do you know when that time will be? No, it may be an hour from now, or tonight, or tomorrow, who knows? So you really don’t have all the time in the world after all. Do repent and put your trust in Jesus while God is still patient with you. God does not desire anyone to go to hell but to come to the knowledge of truth and be saved. But the choice is yours.

As the presiding judge in the impeachment trial got offended when the former Supreme Court Chief Justice walked out without permission saying that the act was a sign of disrespect, God will be so offended with you if you ignore this knowledge of God’s gift of salvation and just walk out. How can He not? He gave His only Son to die for you but you treat it as nothing. That will be disrespect at the highest level.

So what will you do now? I hope you make the right decision, and make it fast. God bless you.

I rest my case.