Having studied the Bible for several years now, I see how wise my grandmother was.
Let’s Go In Town
When I was a kid, my grandmother took me “in town” or “up town” a lot. We lived in a major U.S. city, and these were the terms she and many others of her generation used when referring to the part of town with the skyscrapers– you know, the part of a big city that most people refer to as “downtown.” But we never used the word “downtown” for that part of town because we lived even farther downtown, on the south side of town. So downtown wasn’t actually DOWN town to us. It was UP town, or IN town. Get it? Good.
Anyway, sometimes we would walk, and sometimes we’d take the bus. Either way, I loved being out with my grandmother. When on the bus, my grandmother taught me that a man should always give up his seat for a lady. For a lady to stand during a bus ride while men sat was contemptible. I learned this at the earliest age, and I never forgot it.
And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman [Specifically, Mary, the mother of Jesus, but also the female of the human species in general because God brought forth Messiah from a woman rather than simply zapping Messiah into existence. To show yourself as Godly rather than Satanly, give a woman your seat.] ~ Genesis 3:15
Honoring The Elderly
Also contemptible to my grandmother was the idea that youngsters occupied seats while the elderly had to stand.
You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man… ~ Leviticus 19:32
As we walked through the city, grandmom would always say hello to cops. She probably thanked them too, but I really don’t remember. But she certainly paid homage to them with a big smile and a big “hello officer!” Read this passage from Lamentations, describing conditions in ancient Israel when respect for Godly authority had disintegrated. I have inserted modern equivalents within brackets to show that, as Ecclesiastes 1:9 tell us, there is nothing new under the sun.
We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword [armed robbery] in the desert [streets of our cities]… Women have been ravished [raped] in Zion [New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, etc.]… Princes [Godly men including cops] have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect. ~ Lamentations 5:9-12
American crime is increasing in proportion to the disrespect we show our police, hanging them up by their hands and throwing them into prison for doing their jobs. My grandmother knew this outcome intuitively, and she strode against it. She swam upstream from the Satanic cultural current and made sure to honor and respect cops.
Honoring Christian Clergy
A priest or a nun could not walk by my grandmother without receiving a big “hello father,” or “hello sister.” More often than not, my grandmother would try to press a few bucks into the priest’s palm. She always said that if she ever hit the lottery, the first thing she would do is help the church.
…priests are holy to their God ~ Leviticus 21:7
The priests are shown no honor [when society is in a downward spiral to hell, coming apart at the seams]… ~ Lamentations 4:16
Honoring A Woman’s Head
On these wonderful adventures up town, we would often stop by my grandmother’s church on the way home. It’s a beautiful church in a part of town that dates back to colonial times. Before entering church, my grandmother would always do something that I never forgot. That is, she would always cover her head. I suppose during winter months she had a headscarf or “babushka” with her. But during summer months, she would take a tissue out of her purse, and bobby-pin it on top of her head. I have never seen my grandmother set foot into a church without her head covered.
…every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head… ~ 1 Corinthians 11:5
Honoring The Pain Of Others
My grandmother lived her entire life in one of the biggest cities in America, but she never grew calloused to crime and violence. She would watch the news with a deeply pained look on her face. For decades now, the evening news has had a “if it bleeds, it leads” marketing strategy. This means that the most violent stories go to the front of the line. The first few minutes of the evening news was a rapid-fire barrage of murder and mayhem, and my grandmother winced at every bit of it.
She would slowly shake her head “no” and profoundly utter “my God” as she stared at the screen; still unable to process the violence after so many years; incapable of understanding how people could be so cruel to each other; getting her insides twisted in knots of pain for crime victims she never met, people from every race and creed from all over the city. Grandmom felt everybody’s pain. She would sometimes actually hold her stomach and vomit from the stress it brought.
Lazarus is dead… Therefore, when Jesus saw her [Lazarus’ sister, Mary] weeping… He groaned in the spirit and was troubled [just like my grandmother]… ~ John 11:14-33
In my teen years, I vividly remember the face grandmom would get whenever a TV show announced that a fossil or galaxy was “billions” of years old. She would scrunch her face into the shape of incredulity, a look that said “puh-leeze!” And then (with scrunched face), she would dismissively utter the words “how do they know?” She was referring to the fact that these “scientists” proclaimed this or that thing millions or billions of years old. She never bought it for a second.
By this time, I had absorbed enough “wisdom” from the world to challenge my grandmother on this. I would say, “Gram, they’re scientists and they have methods of finding these things out.” Grandmom simply responded with more scrunched face, unflinching in her certainty. If “talk to the hand” had been invented back then, she would have given me that too!
My grandmother knew (with a fourth grade education) what it took me decades to figure out– that all science supports the Biblical age of the earth, which is around 6,000 years.
For in six days [not 5 billion years] the LORD [not an accident] made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them… ~ Exodus 20:11
Perhaps the fourth grade education was the reason my grandmother had more wisdom than me. That is, she did not have to unlearn all the brainwashing and propaganda that I did with my much higher educational pedigree.
You couldn’t walk into my grandmother’s house without eating, drinking, or being incessantly harassed by her until you did so. My grandmother would offer you some food, then some coffee, then a beer. If you said no, the offers would be repeated several minutes later, then several minutes after that. It drove my grandmother crazy when she couldn’t get you to eat or drink in her home. She felt inadequate, as if she’d somehow failed to deliver that old world warmth and hospitality here in the new world.
…Practice hospitality. ~ Romans 12:13
No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty [check], has been faithful to her husband [check], and is well known for her good deeds [check], such as bringing up children [check], showing hospitality [check], washing the feet of the saints [not so sure about this one], helping those in trouble [check] and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds [check]. ~ 1 Timothy 5:9-10
Dividing Joints And Marrow
My grandmother’s parents immigrated from Eastern Europe, and were Eastern Orthodox Christians upon their arrival in America. They eventually converted to Catholicism, so my grandmother’s tender heart was shaped by these two streams of Christianity. She died several years ago, probably never having made the outright “profession of faith” verbally claiming Jesus as her Lord and Savior. This bothered me for a while– actually it still does. But I do see signs of hope for my grandmother’s precious soul.
What of those who actually do make the profession of faith, but fail to exhibit the Godly character traits my grandmother exhibited, and which I described in this article?
My grandmother probably never verbally stated that Jesus Christ was her Lord and Savior, but her reverence for him was palpable. Her ability to clearly identify Godliness from deviltry was astounding, and cut much deeper than mere intellectual scrutiny. What I mean is that she not only could intellectually tell good from evil, she could actually feel good from evil to the point that it cut her in her very bones and marrow, making her a ball of stress who would get physically sick at all the demonic activity around her.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~ Hebrews 4:12
Was this not the very spirit indwelling my grandmother??? To me, it undeniably was!
In This Life Or The Next
I will close with a tantalizing statement made by none other than Jesus Christ himself. When Jesus was accused of using Satanic power for his miracles, he sharply warned his accusers.
And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven , either in this age or in the age to come. ~ Matthew 12:31-32
Popular theological thinking tells us that the eternal condition of our soul is dependent upon one parameter– whether or not we have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior by the time we draw our last breath. So what in the world is Jesus doing talking about the idea of forgiveness “in the age to come”? Doesn’t Jesus know that there is no forgiveness in the age to come, and that heaven or hell depends on what we decide in this age?
I wrote a detailed piece on this verse, which you can read here. But here’s a quick summary. The reason Satan is so busy in this world calling evil good and good evil is so that you and I (and my grandmother) will not recognize Jesus when we meet him. God says Israel is his chosen land and his chosen people. Satan says Israel is an Islamic land for Islamic people. God says homosexuality is wrong. Satan says being anti-homosexuality is wrong. God says to honor women, and the elderly, and Christian clergy, and cops. Satan says to put women in burqas and beat them, and to euthanize the elderly, and to persecute Christian clergy, and to put cops in prison for doing their jobs.
Get it? If, when you see Jesus, you identify everything he is, with everything that you have learned is evil, you will not go to him, and your sins will remain unforgiven. This passage of Matthew is commonly taught as the “unforgivable sin.” However, nowhere does it say “unforgivable sin.” It says “will not be forgiven.” No one will run to the arms of someone they think is evil. Therefore, if you believe Jesus is evil, you will run away from him, not toward him, and your sin “will not be forgiven” because you will not ask for forgiveness because you will not believe you need forgiveness because you believe good is evil and evil is good.
For the saved soul, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. But what about the unsaved soul? Does the unsaved soul instantly go to hell for all eternity as soon as the body draws its last breath? No! The Bible says no such thing. Hell is not permanent. The Lake of Fire is permanent. The Bible says much about the condition of souls between the time the last breath is drawn, and the time of final judgment, and we tend to ignore every bit of it. Read it here.
I can say that from everything I know about my grandmother, she will run, with tears streaming down her face, her stomach finally free of knots, toward the loving arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.