Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chapter 9: Gotta Have Faith



In this video, Brian Anthony Bowen reveals Scriptures the Church never talks about which prove that Jesus taught that LGBT people are born this way...and that prove the Apostle Paul ordained Gay Marriage...IN THE BIBLE!

This changes EVERYTHING!
More info:
http://BrianBowenMinistries.com

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We’ll recall from Chapter 5 of The Bed Keeper that we examined the details of what the New Covenant that God has said gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people must “take firm hold of” in His eunuch prophecy from Isaiah 55:11-56:8.   In doing so, we studied a large swath of Scriptures from the Book of Hebrews 6-10.  If we pick up from our reading at that point and now include chapter 11 of Hebrews, we learn what faith truly is:
Hebrews 11

1 Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

2 For by [faith--trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.

3 By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.

4 [Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking.

5 Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God.

6 But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].

7 [Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family.   By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed judgment and sentence on the world's unbelief and became an heir and possessor of righteousness (that relation of being right into which God puts the person who has faith).

8 [Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.

9 [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise.

10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.

11 Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.

12 So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore.

13 These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God's] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.

14 Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland (their own country).

15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.

16 But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God--the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], for He has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was still in progress], had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God's] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son,

18 Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned.

19 For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead.

20 [With eyes of] faith Isaac, looking far into the future, invoked blessings upon Jacob and Esau.

21 [Prompted] by faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons and bowed in prayer over the top of his staff.

22 [Actuated] by faith Joseph, when nearing the end of his life, referred to [the promise of God for] the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his own bones.

23 [Prompted] by faith Moses, after his birth, was kept concealed for three months by his parents, because they saw how comely the child was; and they were not overawed and terrified by the king's decree.

24 [Aroused] by faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,

25 Because he preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.

26 He considered the contempt and abuse and shame [borne for] the Christ (the Messiah Who was to come) to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt, for he looked forward and away to the reward (recompense).

27 [Motivated] by faith he left Egypt behind him, being unawed and undismayed by the wrath of the king; for he never flinched but held staunchly to his purpose and endured steadfastly as one who gazed on Him Who is invisible.

28 By faith (simple trust and confidence in God) he instituted and carried out the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood [on the doorposts], so that the destroyer of the firstborn (the angel) might not touch those [of the children of Israel].

29 [Urged on] by faith the people crossed the Red Sea as [though] on dry land, but when the Egyptians tried to do the same thing they were swallowed up [by the sea].

30 Because of faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encompassed for seven days [by the Israelites].

31 [Prompted] by faith Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed along with those who refused to believe and obey, because she had received the spies in peace [without enmity].

32 And what shall I say further? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,

33 Who by [the help of] faith subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions,

34 Extinguished the power of raging fire, escaped the devourings of the sword, out of frailty and weakness won strength and became stalwart, even mighty and resistless in battle, routing alien hosts.

35 [Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life. [I Kings 17:17-24; II Kings 4:25-37.]

36 Others had to suffer the trial of mocking and scourging and even chains and imprisonment.

37 They were stoned to death; they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith]; they were sawn asunder; they were slaughtered by the sword; [while they were alive] they had to go about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated—

38 [Men] of whom the world was not worthy--roaming over the desolate places and the mountains, and [living] in caves and caverns and holes of the earth.

39 And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,

40 Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].   Hebrews 11:1-40

NOTE:   In this chapter of the Book of Hebrews, we find some of the Bible's greatest heroes of faith. Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and many others are given as examples of people who lived by faith.  The Book of Hebrews tells us these people subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, (and although they aren’t mentioned by name), there were those people of faith who “closed the mouths of lions,” (Daniel), and those who“extinguished the power of raging fire,” (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). This chapter of The Bed Keeper will mostly focus on these men as a comparison to modern day gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, in order to bring to our remembrance the story of how these men became heroes of faith, and so too can we!

As the account unfolds in the first 3 chapters of the Book of Daniel, we find King Nebuchadnezzar had ordered Ashpenaz, the master of the eunuchs, to brings some children of Israel (from both the royal family and the nobility), who were without blemish, well favored in appearance, and skillful in all wisdom, discernment, and understanding to serve in the King’s palace, and to learn literature and the language of the Chaldeans. The phrase “without blemish” is important here in understanding that although these men were indeed eunuchs (in that they did not marry), they were nevertheless intact, and not castrated. 

Originally, the names of those selected were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (their Hebrew names). But upon entering the service of the Babylonian king, Ashpenaz gave them the Persian names of Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, respectively. Most of us are familiar with how Daniel (Belteshazzar) determined he would not eat the king’s rich and dainty foods, and chose instead to maintain a strict vegetarian diet instead. We see that God Himself made Daniel to find favor with Ashpenaz who exceeded to his entreaty, and after ten days of nothing but vegetables and water, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were better looking and had gained more muscle than all the others in the king’s service. This was the first step of faith we see them take into the Hall of Faith found in Hebrews 11.

After this, God gave Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knowledge, and Daniel was given the ability to interpret dreams and visions. When brought before the king, he found them to be ten times better in understanding and wisdom than all the magicians and enchanters he was accustomed to relying on. Daniel goes on to interpret the famous dream King Nebuchadnezzar had of the future kingdoms of the earth by praying to God for the interpretation. This was the first time that God protected Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from death, because the king had issued a decree that all his other magicians and enchanters were to be killed when they were unable to interpret the dream for him.

Daniel immediately goes to his house, where we learn Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego also live with him, and they all begin to pray. Even in captivity, these eunuchs knew to pray, even without being able to attend synagogue every Sabbath, and God revealed the interpretation to Daniel in a dream. Daniel blessed God and declared that He changes the times and the seasons, He removes kings and sets up kings, and He is the One Who gives wisdom and knowledge to His people by revealing deep and secret things. Daniel fervently praised God for revealing the interpretation of the king’s dream, and urged that the wise men not be killed, but for King Nebuchadnezzar to allow Daniel to come before him instead. The first thing Daniel did before revealing the interpretation was to praise God again, only this time in the very presence of King Nebuchadnezzar saying, “There is a God in heaven Who reveals secrets.” As many of the revelations shared from God’s Word throughout The Bed Keeper have already demonstrated, indeed there is!

After Daniel reveals the interpretation of his dream, King Nebuchadnezzar himself then bows down and begins to praise God saying to Daniel, “your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a Revealer of secret mysteries,” and he put Daniel in charge of all Babylon as its chief governor. Daniel then entreated King Nebuchadnezzar to also promote Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into high level government positions as well. 

Following these events, King Nebuchadnezzar then decides to build a golden idol for all the people of Babylon to worship, declaring that anyone who did not bow down to it would be thrown into a fiery furnace. Being Jewish, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused, choosing instead to obey the Ten Commandments given to Moses for the Israelites; the first of which included, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Some of the Chaldeans came to see King Nebuchadnezzar and informed him that these 3 men would not bow down to the idol, and he subsequently commanded they be brought before him for questioning.

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king [caused to be] made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits or ninety feet and its breadth six cubitsor nine feet. He set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.

2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the satraps, the deputies, the governors, the judges and chief stargazers, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs and lawyers, and all the chief officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had [caused to be] set up.

3 Then the satraps, the deputies, the governors, the judges and chief stargazers, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs and lawyers, and all the chief officials of the provinces were gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

4 Then the herald cried aloud, You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,

5 That when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.

6 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall that very hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

7 Therefore, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

8 Therefore at that time certain men of Chaldean descent came near and brought [malicious] accusations against the Jews.

9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever!

10 You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music shall fall down and worship the golden image,

11 And that whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed and set over the affairs of the province of Babylon--Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; and these men were brought before the king.

14 [Then] Nebuchadnezzar said to them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, very good. But if you do not worship, you shall be cast at once into the midst of a burning fiery furnace, and who is that god who can deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, it is not necessary for us to answer you on this point.

17 If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up!

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury and his facial expression was changed [to antagonism] against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Therefore he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than it was usually heated.

20 And he commanded the strongest men in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these [three] men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics or undergarments, their turbans, and their other clothing, and they were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame and sparks from the fire killed those men who handled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king [saw and] was astounded, and he jumped up and said to his counselors, Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered, True, O king.

25 He answered, Behold, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the form of the fourth is like a son of the gods!

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God, come out and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the midst of the fire.

27 And the satraps, the deputies, the governors, and the king's counselors gathered around together and saw these men--that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed; neither were their garments scorched or changed in color or condition, nor had even the smell of smoke clung to them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! And they set aside the king's command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, and language that speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut in pieces and their houses be made a dunghill, for there is no other God who can deliver in this way!

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.   Daniel 3:1-30

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood their ground, refused to worship a false idol, and kept their faith in God. They even tell King Nebuchadnezzar “we do not need to answer you on this point,” as if they realized that King Nebuchadnezzar knew they would refuse all along. They declared that if God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, He would do so, but under no circumstances were they going to bow down to this idol King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. In doing so, God kept His faith in them, and delivered them from the fiery furnace. Their clothes were not burned, their hair was not singed, and they didn't even smell like smoke! The only thing that changed is the ropes they had been bound with had been burned off!

Many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have been through the fiery furnace of bigotry and ignorance from so many Christians, and many of us continue to cling to our faith in God in spite of such persecution. Through their courageous act of faith, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego moved God to once again intervene on their behalf, and He preserved their lives for a greater purpose than they could have ever imagined. I believe The Bed Keeper is living proof that God is about to do the same for LGBT people who refuse to give up on any of the promises for us as we have already seen are clearly contained in His Word!

When faced with the thought of being burned alive, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood on their faith and wavered not, and it ultimately convinced the richest and most powerful man on the face of the earth at that time in history that God was on the side of these eunuchs and was more powerful than any earthly king! As these three men were cast into the fiery furnace, a fourth man (Jesus) suddenly appears amidst the flames with them. Seeing this, King Nebuchadnezzar leapt from his throne and declared that this fourth man looked like the “sons of the gods.” As these 3 eunuchs stood in the face of certain death, Jesus came to the rescue, even meeting them within the very flames of the furnace itself!

In doing so, God showed Himself as the ultimate Arbiter in matters of faith, and King Nebuchadnezzar declared that the entire Babylonian Empire would from then on worship the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. What’s really interesting is that for as many times as Scripture refers to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we see this one time where He is known as the God of three seemingly insignificant eunuchs. It’s also interesting how this parallels so closely to the allegory we explored in Chapter 4 of The Bed Keeper regarding King Jehu who called Queen Jezebel outside her window and led King Jehu to ask, “Who is on my side? Who?” And two or three eunuchs looked out at him.

Brothers and Sisters, I have faith that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people will one day convince even the current religious and political power structures in countries like Iran, Uganda and Ghana that LGBT people living in their countries have God on our side, and that He soon will bring an end to the barbaric practice of indiscriminately condemning gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to death. I don’t know exactly how He will do so. All I know is that when He does, it will cause people of those countries to turn and worship Him, and the entire world will stop to take notice. I believe it will not only convince them that God is real, but will make them extremely happy to see us show up with them to praise God in His House of Prayer for ALL people!

More than saving souls, The Bed Keeper is also an attempt to save lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who still live in countries that use religion as an excuse to kill in the name of God. I believe this is the important human legacy of faith that Scriptures show gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender believers being a part of, whether the Church ever tells us so or not. I believe that as we take our God-given places in His house of prayer for all people, we will begin to unveil even more mysteries pertaining to eunuchs contained within the Scriptures, and how they have been revealed by God as prophetically important to the fulfillment and completion of His purposes in the earth for not only the Church, but for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people all over the world, and even for the Return of Jesus Christ Himself! (See Chapters 21 and 22 of The Bed Keeper for a detailed hypothesis of how this could realistically be manifested by explaining it in terms relevant to the times we live in).

In Chapter 1 of The Bed Keeper, we saw God prophesy to eunuchs about being included in His house of prayer for all people. We also learned that Jesus taught that LGBT people are born so, and that He had exempted 3 different types of eunuchs from heterosexual marriage. In Chapter 2 of The Bed Keeper, we saw the Apostle Paul ordain single gender marriage. In Chapter 3 of The Bed Keeper, we learned that the Holy Spirit led Philip to baptize a eunuch to teach Christians the proper and effective way to teach people about Jesus by modeling our efforts on the only account of evangelism in all of Scripture. And now in this chapter, we just saw how it was the faith of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that brought a secular leader to honor God, and promote those faithful to Him to high level government positions throughout the Babylonian Empire! In Chapter 4 of The Bed Keeper, we saw an allegory based on eunuchs chosen of God that illustrated the important prophetic role gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in conveying these Scriptural messages from the King to the Church, and we saw eunuchs being used to prepare the Church for the ultimate return of Jesus Christ.

As if that wasn’t enough to convince us that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were indeed born from our mothers’ wombs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, we’ll now see yet another eunuch, Ebed-melech, whose faith in God preserved his own life, as well as led him to rescue the prophet Jeremiah from a dungeon and impending death as related through the 37th through the 39th chapters of the Book of Jeremiah.

The account begins with Pharaoh’s army coming in to besiege Jerusalem. The Chaldeans who had already possessed the city then departed upon hearing that Pharaoh’s army would soon invade. Jeremiah left Jerusalem and went to the city of Benjamin where a sentry accused him of defecting with the Chaldeans, which Jeremiah denied, but they put him in prison anyway.

1 And Zedekiah son of Josiah, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, reigned instead of Coniah [also called Jeconiah and Jehoiachin] son of Jehoiakim.

2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to and obeyed the words of the Lord which He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah.

3 Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah with Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now to the Lord our God for us.

4 Now Jeremiah was coming in and going out among the people, for they had not [yet] put him in prison.

5 And Pharaoh's army had come forth out of Egypt, and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard the news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem and departed.

6 Then came the word of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah:

7 Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: Behold, Pharaoh's army, which has come forth to help you, will return to Egypt, to their own land.

8 And the Chaldeans shall come again and fight against this city, and they shall take it and burn it with fire.

9 Thus says the Lord: Do not deceive yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans will surely stay away from us--for they will not stay away.

10 For though you should defeat the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only the wounded and men stricken through among them, every man confined to his tent, yet they would rise up and burn this city with fire.

11 And when the army of the Chaldeans had departed from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's approaching army,

12 Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin [to slip away during the brief lull in the Chaldean invasion] to receive [the title to] his portion [of land, which the Lord had promised would eventually be valuable] there among the people.

13 And when he was at the Gate of Benjamin, a sentry was [on guard] there, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, You are deserting to the Chaldeans.

14 Then said Jeremiah, It is false! I am not deserting to the Chaldeans. But the sentry would not listen to him. So Irijah took Jeremiah and brought him to the princes.

15 Therefore the princes were enraged with Jeremiah and beat him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe--for they had made that the prison.

16 When Jeremiah had come into the cells in the dungeon and had remained there many days,

17 Zedekiah the king sent and brought him out; and the king asked him secretly in his house, Is there any word from the Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is! And he said also, You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.

18 Moreover, Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, In what have I sinned against you or against your servants or against this people, that you have put me in prison?

19 Where now are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you or against this land?

20 Therefore hear now, I pray you, O my lord the king. Let my supplication, I pray you, come before you and be acceptable, that you do not cause me to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.

21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard, and a round loaf of bread from the bakers' street was given to him daily until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained [imprisoned] in the court of the guard. Jeremiah 37:1-21

Zedekiah the king sent privately for Jeremiah, and asked him if he had any new revelations from God. Jeremiah assured him he did, and warned Zedekiah that the city would be given into the hands of the Babylonian king, and anyone who remained in the city would be killed. At the time, all the other “prophets” Zedekiah consulted were telling him there was no need for concern. They knew that if they warned Zedekiah to flee the city, it would be the end of their own perceived power in that they “had the ear of the king.” 

This is very similar to many preachers today who will “prophesy” anything if it means being able to get the ear of politicians. In turn, politicians often find these preachers to be “useful idiots”who can be used to whip up their flocks with fear mongering designed to garner votes for these politicians. While the “prophecies”of the folks Zedekiah was listening to were designed to assure the “prophets”of the status quo by assuring him that all is well, this same type of“prophets” today are intent on changing the status quo by convincing politicians they need to be fearful. Either way both types of “prophecies” are designed by the false prophets to gain entry into the king’s palace so they can experience the perceived power of false influence, not to actually share the truths of God’s Word.

In Jeremiah’s case, he is a lone voice crying in the wilderness who encourages the citizens to flee the city with the Chaldeans. This of course would mean the “prophets” who previously had Zedekiah’s ear would no longer be necessary, and as Jeremiahs’ prophecy comes true, they would be exposed as the false “prophets” they were.

Zedekiah also seems to realize that if the people find out that even as king, he would be unable to preserve them from Pharaoh’s army or the Babylonian king’s invasion, the people might turn on Zedekiah and raise up someone else to be the king instead. (We recall from our look at Daniel, that indeed God removes kings and sets up kings). 

Zedekiah yields to the same temptations so many modern day politicians do. Rather than heed the truth, he took steps to silence the messenger by ignoring the message, and leaving it up to his advisers to deal with Jeremiah. They decide to sentence him to prison, but not in a prison! Instead, they choose to lower him into a dungeon so his message would not even be able reach the ears of the soldiers and prison guards for fear of the people abandoning the city and leaving Zedekiah as a king without a city, (and his advisors without a king’s ear to have). 

This is a good allegory of so many modern day preachers who would rather silence or ignore the message being conveyed in The Bed Keeper, rather than to risk losing tithing incomes by sharing this message with their flocks. But as we’ll see in Chapter 20 of The Bed Keeper, the message from God’s Word revealed herein also promises great blessings to both the Shepherds and the Churches who embrace God’s truth (Isaiah 56:2-4 and 1 Chronicles 7:1-3). The question for them will boil down to two main points:

Will they begin taking steps to ensure God’s House is indeed made a House of Prayer for ALL people, and begin recognizing the demonic doctrine the Holy Spirit declares forbidding LGBT people from marrying to be? (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

OR

Will they decide it is better to maintain the status quo so they can continue to have the ear of the politicians they believe they influence with their perceived power? 

In too many cases, we see preachers and politicians alike continue to rail against LGBT people in the public square hoping it ensures that the preachers can continue to enjoy the benefits of being wooed by politicians, and that the politicians continue to enjoy the benefits of being voted for by the preachers’ flocks. Truth be known, I would venture to guess that most preachers already know most of what is revealed in The Bed Keeper as regards born eunuchs as confirming that Jesus taught LGBT people are born so, or there would not be such a glaring absence of a definition of born eunuchs from authoritative Christian study resources. 

As the arc of history continues to bend toward justice, I believe we will find that just as in the cases of slavery, women’s equality and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Bible indeed already agreed with these advances toward human liberty all along, and all along the way there were those preachers so tied to the deceitfulness of riches and power that they chose to maintain their perceived influence among policy makers and remained willfully blind to the truth, just as God said they would in Isaiah 56:10-12:

10 [His] watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, they love to slumber.

11 Yes, the dogs are greedy; they never have enough. And such are the shepherds who cannot understand; they have all turned to their own way, each one to his own gain, from every quarter [one and all].

12 Come, say they, We will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink! And tomorrow shall be as this day, a day great beyond measure. 

As Jeremiah is lowered into the dungeon, suddenly God raised up yet another eunuch named Ebed-melech, who happens to also be an Ethiopian eunuch like the one who was baptized in Acts 8, and becomes instrumental in the rescue of Jeremiah from the dungeon.

We recall Zedekiah abdicated any responsibility for Jeremiah, leaving his fate in the hands of the soldiers who feared losing their power and authority if the people were to abandon the city with the Chaldeans. (This sounds very much like Pontius Pilate washing his hands of any responsibility at Jesus’ trial, even as he knew He was innocent). Ebed-melech goes to speak to the king, telling him of Jeremiah’s predicament. Surprisingly, Zedekiah seems to prove himself as a man of conscience after all, and tells Ebed-melech to take thirty soldiers and rescue him! They go and raise Jeremiah out of the mire of the dungeon, and the king then sends for Jeremiah privately. Something in his heart seems to tell him Jeremiah was telling the truth, and finally asks him how he should respond. Jeremiah (fearing Zedekiah would kill him if he revealed the truth to him), makes a deal with Zedekiah wherein he swears not to harm him if he tells him.

Through Jeremiah, God reveals to Zedekiah that if he would surrender himself to the princes of Babylon that he would live and the city would not be burned, but that if he did not, the city would be given into the hands of the Chaldeans and burned. Finally, Zedekiah reveals his true concern that the Jews who had already abandoned the city with the Chaldeans (who were retreating upon hearing word that Pharaoh’s army was soon to invade) would “mock and abuse” Zedekiah. In other words, the only thing keeping Zedekiah from acting on the truth of God’s Word uttered through Jeremiah was that he was afraid of what people would think of him, (even though ignoring the message would mean every citizen who may have cared enough to criticize Zedekiah would themselves be killed if they indeed remained in the city).

Zedekiah reveals the innate and primary instinct of every living thing on the planet: his own survival. Unfortunately, for many preachers, even as their own survival in ministry will prove dependent upon heeding the message from God’s Word concerning His House of Prayer being for ALL people (as we examined in Chapter 4 of The Bed Keeper), they aren’t at all certain they want to live in a world so changed from the status quo, such as what affirming LGBT people in their congregations would mean to them personally, financially, and politically.  Ironically, they don't seem to be aware of the blessings God promises the "son of man" in Isaiah 56:2, and how any presumed losses they may experience is more than compensated for if they would just follow God's Plan to replace them with eunuch offerings, as discussed in Chapter 20 of The Bed Keeper.

1 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jucal [also called Jehucal] son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah spoke to all the people, saying,

2 Thus says the Lord: He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life as his only booty [as a prize of war], and he shall live.

3 Thus says the Lord: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it. Jeremiah 38:1-3

NOTE:  While the circumstances are completely different, this account of Zedekiah, Jeremiah and Ebed-melech from Scripture can also serve as an allegory of God (the King), God’s Word (Jeremiah), and those within the Church (whom God says are “the shepherds who cannot understand” in Isaiah 56:12) as those who “remain in the city." Those who remain in the city seems to be another way of saying those in today’s Church who are more interested in preserving their financial status and political power than in the Church becoming a House of Prayer for ALL people. When viewed as an allegory, we see the Lord makes His Word sure, and declares that those who “remain in this city” will die by the sword, famine, and pestilence. God seems to repeat the same message through Jeremiah that He illustrates through the account of Queen Vashti; that the Church has a choice to make between moving past the status quo, or death. We’ll recall this was the same choice the allegory presented in Chapter 4 of The Bed Keeper gave, as it showed God employing eunuchs to convey a message to Queen Vashti (The Church) to either prepare to join Him at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, or be divorced from Christ and ultimately die.

4 Therefore the princes said to the king, We beseech you, let this man [Jeremiah] be put to death; for [talking] thus he weakens the hands of the soldiers who remain in this city and the hands of all the people by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of these people, but [to do them] harm. Jeremiah 38:4

NOTE:  Just as the soldiers accused Jeremiah of intending to harm the people of the city instead of warning them to flee with the Chaldeans as a matter of life and death, so too we recognize many anti-gay preachers who tell their congregations that gay people “do not seek the welfare of the Church, but to do it harm,” or “homosexuality will bring an end to human civilization,” or “gay people are not interested in God’s Truth, but only want to pervert it,” or “gay people cannot also be Christians,” or “gay people are possessed by an evil spirit that seeks to do God’s kingdom harm.”

5 Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hands; for the king is in no position to do anything against you. Jeremiah 38:5

NOTE:   Viewed a bit differently, we can also see an allegory between King Zedekiah leaving Jeremiah’s fate up to his princes as a representation of God (Who has already given the Church His Word and prophecy regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people being included in His house of prayer for all people), and therefore cannot intervene if the Church decides to attempt to silence His Word in an effort to maintain the status quo in regards including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. We see God confirming that He will not interfere in the free will of each individual Church anymore than He interferes in the free will of individual people. Jesus illustrates as much through the letters He sends to each Church in the Book of Revelation, charging each to “let the Churches hear what the Holy Spirit is saying,” and even goes so far as to warn the Church in Ephesus that if they do not heed the message, He will come personally and remove their lamp stand! God gave us His Word, and He gives the Church a choice: comply or die. As we saw, that is all He’s going to do—at least without the help of a faithful eunuch.

6 So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon or cistern pit [in the charge] of Malchiah the king's son, which was in the court of the guard; and they let Jeremiah down [into the pit] with ropes. And in the dungeon or cistern pit there was no water, but only mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire. Jeremiah 38:6

NOTE:  When allegorically viewing Jeremiah as God’s Word, we also see a comparison to the anti-gay preachers who lower God’s Word into a dungeon, hoping to lock away the true meaning of the eunuch Scriptures that appear throughout God’s Word from ever coming to light and crashing their party. We see and hear it in the vitriol of anti-gay rhetoric that continues to fall from the lips of so many bigoted Christians against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, even though they know full well God’s Word teaches them to “judge not lest ye be judged.” Jesus also taught that believers should be “rivers of living water,” yet in the allegory of Jeremiah, we see there is no water in the dungeon, but only mire.

All too often, we have seen too many Christians lower God’s Word into a dungeon of secrecy or apathy, and it has all too often “sunk into the mire” of ignorance and irrelevance, or been used as a weapon to further political and social injustice toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

To me, this represents God’s Word on the matter having already been given to the Church, and teaching us that He will not force the Church to act on it, teach it, or obey it against its will. Instead, we see Him leaving it up to eunuchs (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people) to communicate with and rescue the Church from starving from “lack of bread,” or God’s Word. Further still, this allegory seems to show God telling gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to raise Jeremiah (God’s Word) out of the dungeon before It dies.

7 Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian [a Cushite], one of the eunuchs who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon or cistern pit; and while the king was then sitting in the Gate of Benjamin,

8 Ebed-melech went out of the king's house and spoke to the king, saying,

9 My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon or cistern pit; and he is liable to die of hunger and is [as good as] dead in the place where he is, for there is no more bread left in the city. Jeremiah 38:9

NOTE:   Notice this eunuch, (Ebed-melech) is “in the king’s house” (God’s House of Prayer for all people) and heard they had put Jeremiah (God’s Word) in the dungeon. Continuing the allegory, this would represent faithful gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who are already Christians (or “in the king’s house”) who learn of God’s Word (Jeremiah) being silenced in Church, and coming to speak to the king (or allegorically speaking, “praying to God”) about the matter saying:

My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon or cistern pit; and he is liable to die of hunger and is [as good as] dead in the place where he is, for there is no more bread left in the city. 

If any passage of Scripture could serve as an allegory to represent the purpose of The Bed Keeper, it’s this one! While the circumstances are completely different, the message is the same here as it was from the eunuchs to Queen Vashti (whom we learned can allegorically represent the Church) in Chapter 4 ofThe Bed Keeper: Listen to God or die. Notice from Jeremiah 38:8 that the eunuch here is “in the king’s house.” In this illustration, we see the Church destined to die of starvation unless God (and a faithful eunuch) intervenes. We most strikingly see the phrase used is “for there is no more bread left in the city.”

Let’s recall here John 6:35:

Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life.  He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time).

To me, this represents God’s Word on the matter having already been given to the Church, but that He will not force the Church to act on it, teach it, or obey it against its will. Instead, we see Him leaving it up to eunuchs (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people) to communicate with and rescue the Church from starving from “lack of bread,” by sending eunuchs to share with the Church that the Bread of Life has already shown God’s intentions for His house to be a House of Prayer for all people, as we have seen in Isaiah 55:11-56:8.

10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from here thirty men with you and raise Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon or cistern pit before he dies. Jeremiah 38:10

NOTE:   Continuing the allegory, this seems to be God telling gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to raise Jeremiah (God’s Word) out of the dungeon before It dies. It’s clear that God’s Word will never die, but there have been many points in history that it indeed needed rescuing. We saw it during the Dark Ages, when the Word was locked away and out of sight from everyday people. We see it today where it is simply ignored by so many preachers unless they need a Scripture to justify killing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, or to write a book on 7 steps to get rich quick.

11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king [to a room] under the treasury, and took along from there old rags and worn-out garments and let them down by ropes into the dungeon or cistern pit to Jeremiah. Jeremiah 38:11

NOTE:   As we have seen so many examples of God’s Word being hidden away due to the financial lack that could come about if gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were to be included in Church (and so many Church members leaving as a result), it’s interesting to note that of all the places Ebed-melech is shown to go for the tools necessary to rescue Jeremiah (God’s Word), it’s “under the treasury” of the king’s house (the Church).

12 And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put now these old rags and worn-out garments under your armpits under the ropes. And Jeremiah did so.

13 So they drew up Jeremiah with the ropes and took him up out of the dungeon or cistern pit; and Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. Jeremiah 38:12-13

NOTE:  Viewed through an allegorical lens, the account of Jeremiah and Ebed-melech represents God’s Word being rescued, re-examined, reconsidered, and restored to its proper use in the Church as a guidepost to the Return of Jesus Christ. So many in Christendom today are crying out to God in their meetings for an “Awakening to God.” It seems to me that before people can awaken to God, they need to first be awakened to His Word, especially in regards to the spiritually apathetic condition of the Church that the eunuch accounts throughout Scripture consistently and accurately represent, not to mention Paul’s own stout words from 1 Corinthians 5:6-7:6

6 [About the condition of your church] your boasting is not good [indeed, it is most unseemly and entirely out of place]. Do you not know that [just] a little leaven will ferment the whole lump [of dough]?

7 Purge (clean out) the old leaven that you may be fresh (new) dough, still uncontaminated [as you are], for Christ, our Passover [Lamb], has been sacrificed.

Returning now to our examination of the allegory between the Church and Ebed-Melech:

15 Now the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah while he was [still] shut up in the court of the guard, saying,

16 Go and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring to pass My words against this city for evil and not for good; and they will be accomplished before you on that day.

17 But I will deliver you [Ebed-melech] on that day, says the Lord, and you will not be given into the hands of the men of whom you are afraid.

18 For I will surely deliver you; and you will not fall by the sword, but your life will be [as your only booty and] as a reward of battle to you, because you have put your trust in Me, says the Lord.  Jeremiah 39:15-18

A few important things of note in this account are not only have we seen God be faithful to eunuchs in the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and how He delivered them from the fiery furnace, but now we see how He had chosen yet another eunuch to save Jeremiah (God’s Own Word) from the mire into which it had sunk, and from death. We see God not only deliver Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Book of Daniel, but rewarded them with powerful positions in the government of Babylon. We see he also rewards Ebed-melech in the Book of Jeremiah with a promise that He will bring His Word to pass “against this city,” which again can allegorically represent the present day Church’s stance against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and God’s Word coming to the rescue to not only include them in His House of Prayer, but to also prepare the Bride of Christ for the Return of Jesus Himself!

At the same time, God assures gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people that He will preserve our lives, and promises we will not fall by the sword (another term for God’s Word), but that our life will be preserved as a reward of battle (or what the New Testament calls) a good fight of faith! And why? Because we have put our hope in Him! After all, that’s what the Book of Hebrews says faith is: the substance of things hoped for! I think I speak for all LGBT people when I say that the things we hope for go far beyond equal rights from governments, but the recognition by the Church of our God ordained status as sons and daughters of God, and equal partakers in the Kingdom of Heaven as well! In fact, I believe that’s what He is conveying to the priests in Malachi 3 when He says:

16 Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name.

17 And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, My peculiar treasure). And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.   Malachi 3:16-17

In this account, we see God being true to His Word, and reward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who keep the faith, in spite of so many in the Church who would keep God’s Word bogged down “in the mire,” or locked away in a dungeon of obscurity somewhere “under the treasury.” But the question then becomes, “if we are to be included in the congregation of the Lord, then how are we to respond to fellow Christians we encounter who may continue to question our belonging, even in light God’s Word on the matter? I think the next portion of Scripture answers that question for us well:

Hebrews 13

1 Let love for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you [never let it fail]. Hebrews 13:1

NOTE:   That certainly seems to be a tall order for those of us who are persecuted by the Church simply because we were born gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It’s difficult to bless those who persecute us, but that is indeed what Jesus taught us to do. Beyond that reason, the next verse gives us plenty more reason to give heed to it:

2 Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood--being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.

3 Remember those who are in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are ill-treated, since you also are liable to bodily sufferings.

4 Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.   Hebrews 13:2-4

NOTE:  I settled on The Bed Keeper as the title of this book, because the main thrust of the message is not only to show a Biblical Case For Gay Marriage, but also because the eunuchs of the Bible were customarily in charge of protecting a King’s wife from being raped by others. In an allegorical sense, the King is God, His Bride is the Church, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are being called to protect the Church from false doctrines, and (as we saw in Chapter 4 of The Bed Keeper), to identify and cast down the Apostate Church, and to prepare the true Bride of Christ for the return of Jesus!

Further, when Jesus speaks of the rapture in Luke 17:34, He says,

“I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.”

This verse tells me that not only did Jesus foresee and foretell the reality of single gender marriage in conjunction with His teachings on born eunuchs being exempted from the heterosexual marriage model in Matthew 19:11-12, He also seems here to indicate that keeping marriage held in honor by keeping the marriage bed undefiled ties into the above Scripture from Hebrews 13:4, and admonishes gay couples to remain faithful to each other, just as heterosexual couples are admonished to.

We see it says to “keep the marriage bed undefiled, for God will judge and punish the unchaste and adulterous,” and Jesus’ statement in Luke 17:34 seems to verify this as only one of the two men in the same bed are taken. It seems a clear indication that the one who was not taken had not been faithful to his marriage partner, and that Jesus is telling us that adultery is adultery, even within the context of gay marriage.

5 Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [ Assuredly not!]

NOTE:   This is a very reassuring passage considering that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are poised to take our places at the King’s Table! Here, we see God promise that if we do our part to honor Him and each other, He will see to it that we are supported from within the Church as well, even if not in every Church, and even if it’s not something that happens overnight.

6 So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me? Hebrews 13:1-6

And THAT, my friends….is FAITH!

1 Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

2 Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God's favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.

3 Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.

4 And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

6 While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly.

7 Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die.

8 But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.

9 Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ's blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin's dominion) through His [resurrection] life.

11 Not only so, but we also rejoice and exultingly glory in God [in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received and enjoy [our] reconciliation.

12 Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned.

13 [To be sure] sin was in the world before ever the Law was given, but sin is not charged to men's account where there is no law [to transgress].

14 Yet death held sway from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who did not themselves transgress [a positive command] as Adam did. Adam was a type (prefigure) of the One Who was to come [in reverse, the former destructive, the Latter saving].

15 But God's free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man's falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God's grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.

16 Nor is the free gift at all to be compared to the effect of that one [man's] sin. For the sentence [following the trespass] of one [man] brought condemnation, whereas the free gift [following] many transgressions brings justification (an act of righteousness).

17 For if because of one man's trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God's] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

18 Well then, as one man's trespass [one man's false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man's act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men.

19 For just as by one man's disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man's obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him).

20 But then Law came in, [only] to expand and increase the trespass [making it more apparent and exciting opposition]. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God's unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased the more and superabounded,

21 So that, [just] as sin has reigned in death, [so] grace (His unearned and undeserved favor) might reign also through righteousness (right standing with God) which issues in eternal life through Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) our Lord. Romans 5:1-21

1 We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves.

2 Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].

3 For Christ did not please Himself [gave no thought to His own interests]; but, as it is written, The reproaches and abuses of those who reproached and abused you fell on Me.

4 For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.

5 Now may the God Who gives the power of patient endurance (steadfastness) and Who supplies encouragement, grant you to live in such mutual harmony and such full sympathy with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,

6 That together you may [unanimously] with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

7 Welcome and receive [to your hearts] one another, then, even as Christ has welcomed and received you, for the glory of God.

8 For I tell you that Christ (the Messiah) became a servant and a minister to the circumcised (the Jews) in order to show God's truthfulness and honesty by confirming (verifying) the promises [given] to our fathers,

9 And [also in order] that the Gentiles (nations) might glorify God for His mercy [not covenanted] to them. As it is written, Therefore I will praise You among the Gentiles and sing praises to Your name.

10 Again it is said, Rejoice (exult), O Gentiles, along with His [own] people;

11 And again, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise Him!

12 And further Isaiah says, There shall be a Sprout from the Root of Jesse, He Who rises to rule over the Gentiles; in Him shall the Gentiles hope.

13 May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.

14 Personally I am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are rich in goodness, amply filled with all [spiritual] knowledge and competent to admonish and counsel and instruct one another also.

15 Still on some points I have written to you the more boldly and unreservedly by way of reminder. [I have done so] because of the grace (the unmerited favor) bestowed on me by God

16 In making me a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. I act in the priestly service of the Gospel (the good news) of God, in order that the sacrificial offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable [to God], consecrated and made holy by the Holy Spirit.

17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have legitimate reason to glory (exult) in my work for God [in what through Christ Jesus I have accomplished concerning the things of God].

18 For [of course] I will not venture (presume) to speak thus of any work except what Christ has actually done through me [as an instrument in His hands] to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed,

19 [Even as my preaching has been accompanied] with the power of signs and wonders, [and all of it] by the power of the Holy Spirit. [The result is] that starting from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel [faithfully executing, accomplishing, carrying out to the full the good news] of Christ (the Messiah) in its entirety.

20 Thus my ambition has been to preach the Gospel, not where Christ's name has already been known, lest I build on another man's foundation;

21 But [instead I would act on the principle] as it is written, They shall see who have never been told of Him, and they shall understand who have never heard [of Him]. Romans 15:1-21 

(See Chapters 21 and 22 of The Bed Keeper for a more complete explanation of that vision as regards gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people).

21 And since we have [such] a great and wonderful and noble Priest [Who rules] over the house of God,

22 Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water.

23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.

24 And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities,

32 But be ever mindful of the days gone by in which, after you were first spiritually enlightened, you endured a great and painful struggle,

33 Sometimes being yourselves a gazingstock, publicly exposed to insults and abuse and distress, and sometimes claiming fellowship and making common cause with others who were so treated.

34 For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession.

35 Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.

36 For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

37 For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay.

38 But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him.

39 But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul. Hebrews 10:21-24, 32-39

20 Now may the God of peace [Who is the Author and the Giver of peace], Who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood [that sealed, ratified] the everlasting agreement (covenant, testament),

21 Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages). Amen (so be it).

22 I call on you, brethren, to listen patiently and bear with this message of exhortation and admonition and encouragement, for I have written to you briefly.

25 Grace (God's favor and spiritual blessing) be with you all. Amen (so be it). Hebrews 13:20-22, 25

11 So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

12 For you shall go out [from the spiritual exile caused by sin and evil into the homeland] with joy and be led forth [by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and His word] 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.

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name of renown, for an everlasting sign [of jubilant exaltation] and memorial [to His praise], which shall not be cut off. Isaiah 55:11-13

1 Thus says the Lord: Keep justice, do and use righteousness (conformity to the will of God which brings salvation), for My salvation is soon to come and My righteousness (My rightness and justice) to be revealed.

2 Blessed, happy, and fortunate is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold of it and binds himself fast to it, who keeps sacred the Sabbath so as not to profane it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, The Lord will surely separate me from His people. And let not the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

4 For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths and choose the things which please Me and hold firmly My covenant—

5 To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial and a name better [and more enduring] than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.

6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord to minister to Him and to love the name of the Lord and to be His servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath so as not to profane it and who holds fast My covenant [by conscientious obedience]—

7 All these I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

8 Thus says the Lord God, Who gathers the outcasts of Israel: I will gather yet others to [Israel] besides those already gathered. Isaiah 56:1-8

10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].

11 Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

13 Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,

15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.

16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].

17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.

18 Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people). Ephesians 6:10-18

13 For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved.

14 But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?

15 And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!]

16 But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us?

17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself). Romans 10:13-17

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Dear Valued Readers,
This blog continues to be a work in progress. As recent revelations and events throughout Christendom have created an increasingly fluid situation, updates will no longer be published at the end of each post, but rather only at the beginning of the corresponding posts so impacted.  As of August 1, 2013, the only updates to appear at the end of each post will be churches that are personally endorsed by The Bed Keeper as a "SAFE SPACE."

Readers may email thebedkeeper@gmail.com to discuss or comment on any posting.  Please note that while all feedback is highly valued and appreciated, it may not be possible to reply to each email.
 
UPDATE 01.15.12:
Lakewood Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

UPDATE 11.22.11:

Eagle Mountain International Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

THANK YOU for your generous support of this work!
 
Let him who receives instruction in the Word of God share all good things with his teacher, contributing to his support.
Galatians 6:6