Beauty, Truth and the human heart!

Okay, here is yet another scenery photo.  Its pretty, but so what?  There are a great many beautiful places to be seen, so what is the point?  Simply stated, the point has nothing to do with the scenery, but rather with yourself.  Once you view the picture and think about it, YOU will change.  Beauty and truth both transform mere human beings if they are receptive!  One of the most famous examples of transformation in the New Testament is found in the Gospel of John, Chapter 4...

John, Chapter 4
  1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John  2 (although Jesus himself didn’t baptize, but his disciples),  3 he left Judea, and departed into Galilee.  4 He needed to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph.  6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.  7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”   8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 

  9  The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 

  10  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 

  11  The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. From where then have you that living water?  12 Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?” 

  13  Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again,   14  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” 

  15  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.” 

  16  Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 

  17  The woman answered, “I have no husband.” 

Jesus said to her, “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’   18  for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.” 

  19  The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.  20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 

  21  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father.   22  You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews.   23  But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers.   24  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

  25  The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” 

  26  Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.”   27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?”  28 So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people,  29 “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”
Jesus came into this world to change lives; to give them new meaning.  The Samaritan woman was doubtful at first, but as her conversation with Jesus continued, she changed.  She listened and believed.  The truth changed her from the pursuit of sin to one who gladly fostered interest in Jesus as the Christ of God.  For me, its like the picture at the top of the post, in that although its just Earth, Sea and Sky, its really more than that, because it represents the beginning of a new day.  And every single new one holds the possibly of beauty and truth to enrich the human heart to new heights of wonder.  This is what Jesus did for the woman at the well; he changed her thinking and her life became new!!! Look out your window and think of the wonder of creation and how its beauty can enrich your life- now, open your Bible and read the meaning behind the words--YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!!!!!

Torah: Could it give life or not?

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Torah: Could it give life or not?

Here's Leviticus 18:5: "Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord."
Here's Galatians 3:21: "For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law."
Which is true? Levitcus clearly says that life with God could be gained by obedience to the law and just as clearly Paul implies that no such law had been given. The answer is that both are true. Leviticus is speaking of an offer of life within the Mosaic covenant structure that was offered only to Jews and Paul is speaking of eschatological covenant life that is offered to humanity in and through Jesus Christ.
He says that a law had not been given (he uses edothe, an aorist in the indicative and passive) that would bring "life". That is, God hadn't given a law that was able to impart life. But, once more, that is exactly what God said he did do. How are we to "reconcile" Galatians 3.21 and Leviticus 18.5? As someone said a long time ago, you don't "reconcile" friends--they aren't enemies. These two friends are speaking of two  different agendas and two different eras.
Leviticus 18.5 and texts like it speak of God bringing life to Israel within the terms of the Mosaic covenant. That covenant brought righteousness (life with God) to those to whom it was given. Read the texts for yourself. The life God offered Israel was life he meant life can came to them as his people in contrast to those who worshiped the gods of Egypt and Canaan (Leviticus 18.1-4). This was life offered to sinners who lived in covenant fidelity with Yahweh.
But God's eternal purpose was to bring life to all nations and to bring it throough Jesus in the Messianic age. This was life for the world, eschatological life in Jesus Christ.
That was something to which the Jewish law pointed and led; something it laid the groundwork for by bringing in the Messiah but the Mosaic law itself could not accomplish that massive purpose. God never gave a law to accomplish that purpose (Galatians 3.21).
We need to bear in mind that Paul was writing to/about people who believed in Jesus as the Messiah.
Their problem didn't lie in saying that life with God was possible without Christ; they didn't believe that! 
But they wanted to restrict the life found in the Messiah to Jews and Jewish proselytes or at least Torah observant Gentiles; they wanted to restrict it to those keeping the Jewish law. Jesus was a Jewish Messiah, you understand, so one had to live as or become a Jew in order to gain the life and righteousness that could be found only in him based on keeping the Jewish lawLeviticus 18:5.
Paul insisted, of course, that righteousness and life could be found only in Christ but he insisted that this life and righteousness was for all nations rather than just Israel and he wouldn't tolerate this Jewish sectarianism—see Galatians 2.11-16.
But it was life in Christ that was the center of the debate. The issue in Galatians was not: "Could Israel have life with God before Christ's coming?" The issue was not: "On what terms could Israel have life with God before Christ's coming?"
The issue was: Now that Christ has come, who gains righteousness and life with God? Now that Christ has come does anyone gain righteousness and life with God by adhering to the Jewish law?
It was Paul's view that the glorious Jewish law (as a covenant) belonged to another age and had a limited range. He knew the commandment (torah) was intended to bring life (Romans 7:10) and he knew Moses offered them life with God in terms of keeping the law in trusting allegiance to God (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). None of that he would deny.
But that was not the issue in the Galatian situation.
There was nothing evil about the Law so it wasn't opposed to God's promises in Abraham (3:21 and Romans 7:7,12). But it wasn't adequate for the task of universal blessing in Abraham through Christ.
Paul said, "For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law." (Galatians 3:21) The life and righteousness of which he speaks is the life and righteousness that is to be found for all nations only in Christ, the seed of Abraham. It is that life and righteousness Paul has in mind. It is life in the Messianic age that Paul is talking about and not life prior to the coming of the Messiah. Note Hebrews 11:39-40.
So if we ask the general question, "Could the Law of Moses bring righteousness and life with God?" the answer has to be yes! To those who gave glad-hearted allegiance to God. That's Leviticus 18:5 and Deuteronomy 30:15-16. "You shalll keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live; I am the Lord." And, "See I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walkiing in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances then you shall live..."
(This was always a matter of God's grace. The Mosaic law did not require Jews to be sinless, for pity's sake. They were already sinners when God gave it to them and they would continue to be. What God insisted on is that Israel remain with him in covenant fidelity and not go off to serve other gods (Deuteronomy 30:11-20).
If we ask the more specific question, "Could the torah bring in eschatological righteousness and life?" the answer is a decisive no! The Mosaic torah (covenant law) was an interim arrangement and had a limited range. It was not intended to be and therefore could not result in the fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant. If a torah had been given by which eschatological righteousness and life could have been brought in Paul would have been content with that being the case (3:21). As it was, the torah that was brought in, while it served many purposes, wasn't intended to perform that function. Indeed, if it had been and God had ordained that universal righteousness had to come by the Jewish torah then Christ's death would have been for nothing (2:21).
In addition to all that, Israel refused to respond in covenant fidelity. They wouldn't give what they could give and were under obligation to give. The Law then became their accuser and judge and bound the nation to the curse that was attached to covenant infidelity. This meant Israel needed to be redeemed from the violated covenant which now (due to Sin's sinister working had become their enemy—Romans 7:11-14.
Again, we need to note that Paul is speaking to believers in the Christ. His opponents insisted that in the eschatological era life in and through Christ came by the Jewish Torah and therefore all who wanted life in Christ would have to submit to the Torah. Paul insisted that if universal righteousness could have come by the Torah then Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21). Had he been addressing non-believing Jews his argument would have been framed altogether different. But since he makes Christ's death the test of gospel truth it's clear that he's addressing believers in Jesus—besides, he opposes Peter and even his colleague in Gentile evangelistic work. Believers, Paul thought, had to make up their minds: acknowledge the impotency of the Torah to gain life in the eschatological age, the world to come, or conclude Christ died for nothing. They had to acknowledge that the Jewish covenant offered righteousness and life only to Israel and therefore couldn't fulfil the universal purposes of God in Abraham and his offspring Jesus Christ.
While it's true that God knew Israel as a nation would not keep the covenant (Deuteronomy 5:27-29 and elsewhere) it is nevertheless true that prior to the coming of Jesus Christ a trusting commitment to God in terms of the Torah brought life and righteousness. Leviticus 18:5, Deuteronomy 6:25 and elsewhere says so.
So could the Jewish law (Torah) bring life? Yes, to the obedient Jew to whom it was given and for as long as God caused that covenant to stand.
Could the life and righteousness of the "world to come" that embraced all nations in Abraham's promises come by the Jewish law? Absolutely not.
Onc more, the covenant Law the Jews wanted to bind on Gentiles was the very covenant Law the nation (as a whole) despised and dishonored throughout its history. The crucifixion of Jesus was the final proof of that. To bring Gentiles under the OT Covenant was to bring them under a curse—the one the Jewish nation itself was under.
You might think the related pieces in this section on this topic are of some use.

Bible Reading, Jan. 14

Jan. 14
Genesis 14

Gen 14:1 It happened in the days of Amraphel, king of Shinar, Arioch, king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Tidal, king of Goiim,
Gen 14:2 that they made war with Bera, king of Sodom, and with Birsha, king of Gomorrah, Shinab, king of Admah, and Shemeber, king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar).
Gen 14:3 All these joined together in the valley of Siddim (the same is the Salt Sea).
Gen 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year, they rebelled.
Gen 14:5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer came, and the kings who were with him, and struck the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
Gen 14:6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, to Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
Gen 14:7 They returned, and came to En Mishpat (the same is Kadesh), and struck all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that lived in Hazazon Tamar.
Gen 14:8 The king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar) went out; and they set the battle in array against them in the valley of Siddim;
Gen 14:9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings against the five.
Gen 14:10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell there, and those who remained fled to the hills.
Gen 14:11 They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their food, and went their way.
Gen 14:12 They took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who lived in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
Gen 14:13 One who had escaped came and told Abram, the Hebrew. Now he lived by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were allies of Abram.
Gen 14:14 When Abram heard that his relative was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.
Gen 14:15 He divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and struck them, and pursued them to Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
Gen 14:16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative, Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
Gen 14:17 The king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley).
Gen 14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High.
Gen 14:19 He blessed him, and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth:
Gen 14:20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand." Abram gave him a tenth of all.
Gen 14:21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people, and take the goods to yourself."
Gen 14:22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted up my hand to Yahweh, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth,
Gen 14:23 that I will not take a thread nor a sandal strap nor anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.'
Gen 14:24 I will accept nothing from you except that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their portion."

Daniel, The Vision Of The Four Beasts, Mark Copeland

                          "THE BOOK OF DANIEL"

                 The Vision Of The Four Beasts (7:1-28)


1. The book of Daniel naturally divides itself into two parts...
   a. In our introductory lesson, we described these parts as:
      1) God's providence in history - Dan 1:1-6:28
      2) God's purpose in history - Dan 7:1-12:13
   b. Wiersbe describes these two parts as:
      1) The personal history of Daniel - Dan 1:1-6:28
      2) The prophetical history of Daniel - Dan 7:1-12:13

2. The second half of the book contains four visions seen by Daniel...
   a. The vision of the four beasts - Dan 7:1-28
   b. The vision of the ram and the goat - Dan 8:1-27
   c. The vision of the seventy weeks - Dan 9:1-27
   d. The vision of the time of the end - Dan 10:1-12:13
   -- In which God reveals to Daniel many things about His purpose and
      plan in history, regarding the nation of Israel and the 
      everlasting kingdom to come

[In this lesson we shall consider "The Vision Of The Four Beasts",
found in Dan 7:1-28.  We begin by noting...]


      1. Received by Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar king of
         Babylon - Dan 7:1
      2. This would be about 550 B.C., when Belshazzar became co-regent
         with his father Nabonidus

      1. Part One:  The four beasts from the sea - Dan 7:2-8
         a. The four winds of heaven stirring up the Great Sea
            (Mediterranean Sea)
            1) The "sea" may symbolize the mass of humanity - cf. Isa 17:12; Re 17:15
            2) The "four winds of heaven" may be forces God uses to
               control and even destroy - cf. Jer 49:36; 51:1
            -- (Harkrider)
         b. Four great beasts coming up out of the sea
            1) The lion with eagle's wings
               a) Whose wings were plucked off
               b) Made to stand on two feet like a man
               c) A man's heart given to it
               -- The lion represents Babylon; the wings possibly
                  symbolizing the co-regency of Nabonidus and
                  Belshazzar, a kingdom shown to be remarkably fragile
                  - cf. Dan 5:1-31 (Believers' Study Bible)
            2) The bear with ribs in its mouth
               a) Raised up on one side
               b) Three ribs in its mouth between its teeth
               c) Told to "Arise, devour much flesh!"
               -- The bear represents the Medo-Persian empire; that it
                  raises on one side may reflect the Persian dominance,
                  the three ribs in its mouth may illustrate its
                  victories over Egypt, Syria, and Babylon (BSB)
            3) The winged, multi-headed leopard
               a) With four wings and four heads
               b) To whom dominion was given
               -- The leopard represents the Greek empire of Alexander
                  the Great; the wings may symbolize its rapid
                  conquest, the four heads prophetic of its division by
                  four generals after Alexander's death (BSB)
            4) The dreadful and terrible beast
               a) Exceedingly strong, with huge teeth
               b) Devouring, breaking in pieces, trampling residue with
                  its feet
               c) Different from all the beasts before it
                  1/ Unlike the other three, it is not compared with
                     any animal
                  2/ But if it is the beast of Revelation, note that it
                     was a conglomeration of a lion, bear and leopard
                     - cf. Re 13:1-2
               d) With ten horns; another little horn coming up among
                  1/ Before whom three of the first horns were plucked
                     from their roots
                  2/ In which were the eyes of a man, and a mouth
                     speaking pompously
               -- This beast represents the Roman empire; the ten horns
                  and little horn may represent emperors or kings who
                  ruled during events involving the establishment of
                  God's kingdom (see below) - cf. Dan 2:44
      2. Part Two:  An awesome judgment - Dan 7:9-12
         a. Thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was
            1) His garment was white as snow, His hair like pure wool
            2) His throne a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire, a
               fiery stream issued from before Him
            3) A million ministered to Him, a hundred million stood
               before Him
            4) The court (judgment) was seated, and books were opened
         b. The judgment of the four beasts
            1) The great and terrible beast
               a) The one with the sound of pompous words from the
                  little horn
               b) It was slain, its body destroyed, and given to the
                  burning flame
            2) The rests of the beasts
               a) They had their dominion taken away
               b) Their lives were prolonged for a season and a time
      3. Part Three:  The coronation of the Son of Man - Dan 7:13-14
         a. Daniel sees one like the Son of Man
            1) Coming with the clouds of heaven
            2) Brought near to the Ancient of Days
         b. To Him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom
            1) That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve
            2) His dominion is an everlasting dominion
            3) His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed - cf.
               Dan 2:44

[The parallels between this vision and Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Dan 2)
should be carefully noted.  Both involve the rise and fall of four
kingdoms, and a kingdom which would never be destroyed. In Daniel's
three-part vision, the conflict to come between the fourth kingdom and
the establishment of the everlasting kingdom is foretold as we see...]


      1. Grieved in his spirit - Dan 7:15
      2. Troubled by the visions he saw

      1. An overall summary of the vision - Dan 7:16-18
         a. Provided by one of those who stood by (an angel?)
         b. The four beasts represent four kings (kingdoms, cf. 7:23)
         c. Yet the saints of the Most High shall receive and possess
            the everlasting kingdom
      2. Daniel's desire to know more - Dan 7:19-20
         a. About the fourth beast, exceedingly dreadful
         b. About the ten horns on it head
         c. About the little horn
            1) Before which three horns fell
            2) Which had eyes and a mouth speaking pompous words
            3) Whose appearance was greater than his fellows
      3. What Daniel then saw - Dan 7:21-22
         a. The little horn making war against the saints, prevailing
            against them
         b. Until the Ancient of Days came
            1) With judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High
            2) And it was time for the saints to possess the kingdom
      4. What Daniel then heard - Dan 7:23-27
         a. Concerning the fourth beast
            1) It shall be a fourth kingdom on the earth
            2) It shall devour the whole earth, trample it, and break
               it in pieces
            -- The Roman empire, which came to rule the Mediterranean
         b. Concerning the ten horns
            1) They are ten kings to arise from this fourth kingdom
            2) After whom another shall arise
            -- These may be emperors who ruled during the first century
               A.D. when the everlasting kingdom (i.e., the church) was
               being established, or the ten kings alluded to in Re 17:
               12-13; then again, the number ten may be symbolic,
               reflecting their complete or full number, and not ten
               specific kings
         c. Concerning the little horn
            1) He shall be different from the first kings
            2) He shall subdue three kings
            3) He shall speak pompous words against the Most High
            4) He shall persecute the saints of the Most High
            5) He shall intend to change times and law
            6) Into whose hands the saints shall be given for a time,
               times and half a time
               1/ Perhaps 3 1/2 years (1 year, 2 years, 1/2 year), or 
                  42 months - cf. Re 13:5; also 11:2,3
               2/ A broken, short period of time involving persecution
            -- This is likely the persecuting emperor of Rome (e.g.,
               Domitian), described as the beast from the sea in
               Revelation - cf. Re 13:1-2,5-7
         d. Concerning the judgment
            1) The dominion of the little horn shall be taken away,
               consumed and destroyed
            2) Then the kingdom (of heaven?), and the dominion and
               greatness of the kingdoms under heaven shall be given to
               the saints of the Most High
            3) This kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and
               dominions shall serve Him
            -- As depicted in Revelation, the conflict between the
               Roman empire and the church would end with the ultimate
               victory of the people of God (who even though martyred,
               would reign with Christ) - cf. Re 17:14; 19:19-20; 20:4

      1. His thoughts greatly troubled him, and his countenance changed
         - Dan 7:28
      2. But he kept the matter in his heart - Dan 7:28
         a. A good course of action whenever we are unsure about the
            meaning of a particular Scripture, especially that which is
         b. As we continue to read and study, what we learn later may
            help enlighten the unclear Scripture we have kept in our


1. "The Vision Of The Four Beasts" is certainly interesting and
   a. It expands upon the vision seen by Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 2
   b. It introduces the conflict described in the vision seen by John
      in Re 13-20

2. I understand these visions to relate details concerning the 
   establishment of "the everlasting kingdom" (i.e., the church)...
   a. To occur during the days of the Roman empire - Dan 2:44; Lk 1:
      30-33; Mk 1:14-15
   b. Which began when Jesus ascended to heaven - Dan 7:13-14; Ac 1:9;
      2:36; Ep 1:20-23; 1Pe 3:22; Re 1:5,9
   c. Which experienced great persecution at the outset - Dan 7:25;
      Re 1:9; 2:10; 17:14

3. But the saints who persevered in those days, even to the point of
   death, continue to reign with Christ in heaven (i.e., they "possess
   the kingdom") - Dan 7:18; 2Ti 4:17-18; Re 20:4

The ultimate victory of the church over the Roman empire came to pass
as foretold to both Daniel and John.  May this fulfillment encourage us
to remain faithful until the time when Jesus returns to "deliver the
kingdom to God the Father"! - cf. 1Co 15:23-26

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011