Of power and majesty

Autumn in the Northeast is absolutely wonderful!!!  How marvelous and breathtaking God's creation can be!!!  Yet, it is as nothing as compared to what the majesty of the creator must be like.  These verses came to mind...

Isaiah, Chapter 46
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me;  10 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; 

God is not man.  Man is subject to weaknesses of all sorts; mental, physical, emotional, etc..  Today, our society has been making an effort to eliminate God; it will fail!!!  God has and will continue to prevail!!!  The picture reminds me of something that the deceased Thomas Kinkade might paint, but the scene reminds me of the all powerful creator.  What a way to start off a beautiful Sunday morning; thoughts of beauty and the one who made everything!!!

Sept. 23 Psalms 95-97

Sept. 23
Psalms 95-97

Psa 95:1 Oh come, let's sing to Yahweh. Let's shout aloud to the rock of our salvation!
Psa 95:2 Let's come before his presence with thanksgiving. Let's extol him with songs!
Psa 95:3 For Yahweh is a great God, a great King above all gods.
Psa 95:4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth. The heights of the mountains are also his.
Psa 95:5 The sea is his, and he made it. His hands formed the dry land.
Psa 95:6 Oh come, let's worship and bow down. Let's kneel before Yahweh, our Maker,
Psa 95:7 for he is our God. We are the people of his pasture, and the sheep in his care. Today, oh that you would hear his voice!
Psa 95:8 Don't harden your heart, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
Psa 95:9 when your fathers tempted me, tested me, and saw my work.
Psa 95:10 Forty long years I was grieved with that generation, and said, "It is a people that errs in their heart. They have not known my ways."
Psa 95:11 Therefore I swore in my wrath, "They won't enter into my rest."
Psa 96:1 Sing to Yahweh a new song! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth.
Psa 96:2 Sing to Yahweh! Bless his name! Proclaim his salvation from day to day!
Psa 96:3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.
Psa 96:4 For great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised! He is to be feared above all gods.
Psa 96:5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but Yahweh made the heavens.
Psa 96:6 Honor and majesty are before him. Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Psa 96:7 Ascribe to Yahweh, you families of nations, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength.
Psa 96:8 Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due to his name. Bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Psa 96:9 Worship Yahweh in holy array. Tremble before him, all the earth.
Psa 96:10 Say among the nations, "Yahweh reigns." The world is also established. It can't be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.
Psa 96:11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar, and its fullness!
Psa 96:12 Let the field and all that is in it exult! Then all the trees of the woods shall sing for joy
Psa 96:13 before Yahweh; for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, the peoples with his truth.
Psa 97:1 Yahweh reigns! Let the earth rejoice! Let the multitude of islands be glad!
Psa 97:2 Clouds and darkness are around him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Psa 97:3 A fire goes before him, and burns up his adversaries on every side.
Psa 97:4 His lightning lights up the world. The earth sees, and trembles.
Psa 97:5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of Yahweh, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
Psa 97:6 The heavens declare his righteousness. All the peoples have seen his glory.
Psa 97:7 Let all them be shamed who serve engraved images, who boast in their idols. Worship him, all you gods!
Psa 97:8 Zion heard and was glad. The daughters of Judah rejoiced, because of your judgments, Yahweh.
Psa 97:9 For you, Yahweh, are most high above all the earth. You are exalted far above all gods.
Psa 97:10 You who love Yahweh, hate evil. He preserves the souls of his saints. He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
Psa 97:11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
Psa 97:12 Be glad in Yahweh, you righteous people! Give thanks to his holy Name.

Sept. 23 2 Corinthians 3

Sept. 23
2 Corinthians 3

2Co 3:1 Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as do some, letters of commendation to you or from you?
2Co 3:2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
2Co 3:3 being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh.
2Co 3:4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God;
2Co 3:5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God;
2Co 3:6 who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2Co 3:7 But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which was passing away:
2Co 3:8 won't service of the Spirit be with much more glory?
2Co 3:9 For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
2Co 3:10 For most certainly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses.
2Co 3:11 For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.
2Co 3:12 Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech,
2Co 3:13 and not as Moses, who put a veil on his face, that the children of Israel wouldn't look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away.
2Co 3:14 But their minds were hardened, for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ it passes away.
2Co 3:15 But to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
2Co 3:16 But whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2Co 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Hebrews, introduction by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"


The epistle to the Hebrews is a unique book in the New Testament.  It
begins as an essay (He 1:1-2), progresses as a sermon (He 2:1-4), and
ends as a letter (He 13:23-25).  Its contents are deep and challenging.
Many Christians find it difficult; some equate its difficulty with the
book of Revelation.

But for Christians willing to take the time to read and reflect upon it,
they will be:

   *  Reminded of how blessed they are to have trusted in Christ

   *  Impressed with the superiority of Christ and His New Covenant over
      Moses and the Old Covenant

   *  Warned of the danger of apostasy and the need for steadfastness in
      their faith


The author does not identify himself.  Many believe it to be the apostle
Paul (e.g., Clement of Alexandria) and have offered arguments in his
favor (cf. Commentary on Hebrews, Robert Milligan, p. 5-19).  Yet it
seems unlikely when you  consider the author’s statement, "...was
confirmed to us by those who heard Him" (He 2:3).  This suggests the
author received the gospel message second-hand, while Paul declared that
he had not received the gospel from or through men (Ga 1:11-12).

Other names have been proposed over the years:  Barnabas (suggested by
Tertullian), Apollos (suggested by Luther), even Priscilla (suggested by
Harnack).  Perhaps Origen says it best, "But who wrote the epistle, to
be sure, only God knows."


The general consensus is that this letter was written to Jewish
Christians.  There is uncertainty as to where they and the author were
at the time of composition.  Many believe the recipients were in
Palestine, and the author in Rome.  Others suggest the readers were in
Rome and the author elsewhere, based upon a possible implication in He
13:24.  In any case, they were Jewish Christians whom the author knew
personally (He 10:34; 13:19).


We know the epistle was written prior to 96 A.D., because Clement of
Rome quotes from Hebrews in his letter that was written at that time.
There are certainly strong indications that it was written prior to 70

   *  There is no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple

   *  The author writes as though priests were still offering sacrifices
      - He 8:4; 10:11

If the Jewish Christians were in Palestine, it was likely before or at
the beginning of the Jewish Wars (ca. 66-70 A.D.; cf. He 12:4).

The time frame of 63-65 A.D. is often suggested.


The author wrote this epistle to prevent his readers from abandoning
their faith in Christ (He 2:1-4).  To encourage his Jewish brethren not
to go back to the Old Law, he endeavored to show the superiority of
Christ and His Covenant (He 8:1-2,6).  A key word found throughout the
epistle is "better":

   *  Christ is "better than the angels" - He 1:4

   *  We enjoy "the bringing in of a better hope" - He 7:19

   *  Jesus has become "the surety of a better covenant" - He 7:22

   *  He is also "the Mediator of a better covenant, which was
      established on better promises" - He 8:6

   *  The heavenly things benefit from "better sacrifices" - He 9:23

Indeed, the purpose of this epistle was to exhort his readers to remain
faithful to the much better things they have in Christ (He 13:22).  As
for its theme, I suggest the following:

               The Superiority Of Christ and The New Covenant


Here is a simple outline of the book, with its main divisions...

1. The superiority of Christ - He 1:1-8:6
   a. Better than the prophets, as a much better Spokesman - He 1:1-3
   b. Better than the angels, by virtue of His Deity and humanity - He
   c. Better than Moses, for He is the Son who provides a heavenly rest
      - He 3:1-4:13
   d. Better than Aaron, as His priesthood is a superior one - He

2. The superiority of the New Covenant - He 8:7-10:18
   a. For it is based upon better promises - He 8:7-13
   b. For it is based upon a better sanctuary - He 9:1-28
   c. For it is based upon a better sacrifice - He 10:1-18

3. Exhortations drawn from this superiority - He 10:19-13:25
   a. Draw near to God and hold fast - He 10:19-39
   b. Run the race of faith with endurance - He 11:1-12:29
   c. Miscellaneous exhortations - He 13:1-25


A unique feature of the epistle to the Hebrews are the warnings
throughout the book.  As we conclude this introduction, perhaps it may
be profitable to summarize them.

1. The warning against drifting - He 2:1-4
   a. Through neglect we can easily drift away
   b. The solution is to give the more earnest heed to the things we
      have heard

2. The warning against departing - He 3:12-15
   a. Through sin’s deceitfulness we can become hardened and develop a
      lack of faith by which we can depart from the living God
   b. The solution is exhort one another daily and remain steadfast

3. The warning against disobedience - He 4:11-13
   a. Like Israel in the wilderness, we can fail to enter our rest
      through disobedience
   b. The solution is diligence and heeding the Word of God

4. The warning against dullness - He 5:11-6:6
   a. Dullness of hearing can make it difficult for us to appreciate the
      extent of our blessings in Christ, and even falling away to the
      point of crucifying the Son of God afresh!
   b. The solution is grasping the first principles of the oracles of
      God, and then pressing on to spiritual maturity and perfection

5. The warning against despising - He 10:26-39
   a. It is possible to so despise God’s grace as to no longer have a
      sacrifice for sins, but only a certain fearful expectation of
   b. The solution is to hold unto our confidence in Christ, and believe
      with endurance

6. The warning against defying - He 12:25-29
   a. It is possible to refuse to listen to the One who now speaks from
   b. The solution is to look diligently to the grace of God, receiving
      it in such a way so we may serve Him acceptably with reverence and
      godly fear

With such warnings, this book is indeed a "word of exhortation" (He


1) Who is author of the book of Hebrews?
   - Only God knows

2) Who were the original recipients of this epistle?
   - Jewish Christians, possibly in Palestine or Italy

3) When was it written?
   - Likely between 63-65 A.D.

4) What has been suggested as its purpose?  Its theme?
   - An exhortation to remain faithful to Christ
   - The superiority of Christ and the New Covenant

5) What are the three main divisions of this epistle?
   - The superiority of Christ - He 1:1-8:6
   - The superiority of the New Covenant - He 8:7-10:18
   - Exhortations drawn from this superiority - He 10:19-13:25

6) List the six warnings found in this epistle.
   - The warning against drifting - He 2:1-4
   - The warning against departing - He 3:12-15
   - The warning against disobedience - He 4:11-13
   - The warning against dullness - He 5:11-6:6
   - The warning against despising - He 10:26-39
 - The warning against defying - He 12:25-29