From Jim McGuiggan... Will God destroy Creation?

Will God destroy Creation?

I don’t believe God has purposed to utterly obliterate this creation. I believe in light of Genesis 3:17-19, 5:29 in particular and Genesis 3—8 in general (and see Romans 8:19-20) that God cursed the creation and that in Jesus Christ that curse is removed (see Romans 8:20-23). In the hymn Jesus Saves we sing “Earth shall keep her Jubilee, Jesus saves, Jesus saves.”
The year of Jubilee, of course, was the year of a new beginning (see Leviticus 25:8-17, 50-55). After seven cycles of seven years (sabbatical years) the Year of Jubilee was the fiftieth. The blowing of the ram’s horn (shophar) on the Great Day of Atonement signalled national cleansing and a new start that embraced the entire nation. Jubilee was the eighth year after seven sevens; it was eight, the number of new beginnings. Toil on the land was forbidden that year and the land freely gave the nation its food. All debts were cancelled and prisoners were freed (details were worked out) and the land inheritance returned to the original owners, those to whom God gave it (as stewards—for the land always remained God’s land and could not be sold in perpetuity).
I believe that the final removal of the curse is heralded in the Year of Jubilee and shadowed in passages like Ezekiel 47:1-12 and Revelation 21:1—22:22 with their “return to Eden” speech. Ezekiel and Revelation have their own specific agendas but as surely as every judgement shadows the Final Judgement every blessing and triumph for God’s people heralds the Final Triumph. (See how the song of Mary begins with God’s grace to her but is then taken as the assurance of grace to all—Luke 1:46-55. The psalms are saturated with that kind of “he did it for me therefore he will do it for all” kind of praise.)
But aren’t there texts, which plainly say that the creation will be destroyed? Well, there are a few (not nearly as many as people suppose) that look like that. The core text, I suppose, is in 2 Peter 3:1-13. I’m purposing to say something about it in another place.
Luke 21:33 (see also Matthew 24:35 and Mark 13:31) seems to predict that the creation will be destroyed. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away,” Jesus Christ said. Matthew 5:18 offers something similar. “Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
I don’t think these texts are affirming the destruction of creation. I think Jesus is affirming the changeless certainty of his word and I think he does it by saying what he did. I think he is saying (in essence), “You’ll see the heavens and earth pass away before you see my word fail.” In the Matthew 5:18 text he is not speaking of his own word but of the Jewish Law. I don’t think it matters, however, because his point is the same.
I think what is happening in these texts is that Jesus Christ is taking what humans regard as permanent and certain to be around, come what may, and he is using it to illustrate the abiding nature of his own word (or God’s). “You look at the unchanging creation and make that a standard of what abides. I tell you my word is even more sure.”
Let me illustrate further what I mean. Ecclesiastes 1:4 says this. “Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.” That closing phrase seems to deny that the earth will pass away.
In Psalm 78:69 a singer praises God for his faithfulness to a faithless people. He’s especially pleased that God chose David’s house and built Zion. Here’s what he said of Jerusalem, “He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever.” No matter how faithless Israel is, Jerusalem is secure and because God dwells there it’s like the very mountains on which it sits and it will abide like the earth God established forever.
Now I don’t believe that either of those texts is affirming anything about how long the creation will abide. They have a different agenda and point to make. They want to say something about how faithful God is (in the psalm) and how fleeting and vain human life is (as in Ecclesiastes). To do it they make use of the abiding nature of creation. Habakkuk 3:6 speaks of “ancient mountains [and] age-old hills”—unmoved until God moved them. Be sure to read that text though none of them is discussing how long the creation will be around. That’s not their point.
One more illustration from Jeremiah. Judah is about to go into captivity and that will complete the exile of the entire nation. Many were thinking and some were saying that God no longer cared for Israel and that his faithfulness had come to an end but Jeremiah 30—33 sets that nonsense right. God assures them that his promises would never fail and his covenants with Israel would be honored. And how does he do that?
Jesus said, “My faithfulness will last longer than heaven and earth.” God says, “My faithfulness will last as long as heaven and earth.”
Jesus Christ said, “You will see the creation obliterated before you will see my word come to nothing.” God says the opposite! He says, “You can be as sure of my word as you can be that the sun and moon will always be in the heavens!”
Here’s what he says in Jeremiah 31:35-36. “This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night...only if these decrees vanish from my sight, declares the Lord, will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.”
Again in Jeremiah 33:19-26 he says this. “This is what the Lord says: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken...Have you not noticed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two kingdoms he chose’? So they despise my people and no longer regard them as a nation. This is what the Lord says: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.”
In these texts God says they could be as sure of his word to Israel as they could of his covenant with creation. Some were saying God had rejected Israel and broken the covenants he made with them because he wanted nothing more to do with them. He tells them that that would only happen when there was no more sun or moon or stars. He says his covenants with Israel were as permanent and as sure as the fixed laws of nature. He assures them that as long as the sun, moon and stars are in their places he would be faithful to his covenants with Israel.
But while it’s reasonable enough to infer that such texts teach the creation will never cease, that is not their point. The creation is called in as something that is around when all the humans pass away and when God wants to illustrate how sure his promises are he says, “They’re as sure as the creation! My promises will last as long as the creation!” It’s a comparison thing. For obvious reasons he wouldn’t say, “My promises are as sure as a flower of the field.” Jesus Christ used a flower of the field as an illustration of something passing and he used heaven and earth as an illustration of something permanent. Jesus would not have said, “A flower of the field will die before my word will come to nothing.” People see flowers dying every day but they don’t see mountain ranges vanishing and creations passing away.
We’ve seen that God likens his enduring faithfulness to the enduring reliability of the creation (under his covenant, of course)—his faithfulness last as long as the creation lasts. But look what a psalmist does in Psalm 102:25-26. He contrasts God’s abiding nature with the passing nature of the creation.
“In the beginning you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”
So what does all that mean?
It means we should look carefully at what a writer or speaker means to do with what he says even if he/they speak on the same subject. Jeremiah says the creation never ends and so it illustrates God’s faithfulness, which never ends. Jesus Christ says, in comparison with the abiding nature of his words the creation is a passing affair.

The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul [Part I] by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul [Part I]

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part II of this five-part series appeared in the March issue. Part III appeared in May issue. Part IV appeared in the June issue. Part V appeared in the July issue.]
Throughout the whole of human history, man has struggled to find answers to any number of important (yet often difficult) questions that have to do with his origin, existence, nature, and destiny. Such queries as “Whence have I come?,” “Why am I here?,” and “Where am I going?” routinely intrigue and enthrall each of us as members of the human race. Securing clues to the exact makeup of the creature known popularly as Homo sapiens always has been one of mankind’s keenest intellectual pursuits. And along the way, perhaps no topic has perplexed us, or piqued our interest, as much as that pertaining to the origin, nature, and destiny of the soul.
Contemplate, if you will, the concept of the soul and the issues that spring from it. What is the definition of a soul? If the soul actually exists, what is its origin? Do humans possess a soul? Do animals? If souls do, in fact, exist, are they purely temporal—thus living only as long as our corporeal nature exists? Or are they immortal—surviving the death of the physical body? What is the difference, if any, between the “soul” and the “spirit”? What is the ultimate destiny of the soul? And what part does the soul play in the biblical statement that men and women were created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27)? These are the kinds of issues that I would like to investigate in this series of articles.
The subject of the soul—including its origin, nature, and destiny—has long been controversial. Some people believe that there is no such thing as a soul. Certain individuals advocate the position that only humans possess a soul, but that it ceases to exist at the death of the body. Others seek to maintain that both humans and animals possess a soul, and that those souls likewise die when the physical body dies. Still others are convinced that both animals and humans possess an immortal soul. And finally, there are those who have concluded that humans possess an immortal soul, but that animals do not. What, then, is the truth of the matter?
Science certainly cannot provide the answers to such questions, for they lie far beyond the purview of the scientific method. In her best-selling book, The Fire in the Equations, award-winning science writer Kitty Ferguson addressed this very issue. While discussing the efforts of several renowned, modern-day scientists (like eminent physicists Stephen Hawking, Paul Davies, and others) to uncover what they view as a grand, unified “Theory of Everything,” she asked:
Is there anything else? We needn’t get spooky about it. Part of the “anything else” might be human minds and personalities. Can we entirely account for our self-awareness, our minds, personalities, intuitions, and emotions, by means of a physical explanation? This is a matter of enormous significance for many of the questions we are asking in this book, and we will return to it frequently. If we are super-complex computing machines—the sum of our physical parts and their mechanical workings, which in turn exist as a result of the process of evolution—then science may ultimately be able to tell us everything there is to know about us. Even if no computer can ever assimilate the human mind, science may find another complete physical explanation. But we have at present no scientific reason to rule out the possibility that there is more to self-awareness, our minds, and our personalities than any such explanation can encompass. Is there such a thing as the soul? If there is, does its existence begin and end with our material existence? Despite some impressive advances in the field of artificial intelligence, and an increasing understanding of the way our minds work, certainly no-one would claim to be able to say at present, except on faith, whether science will eventually be able to assimilate the phenomena of self-awareness, mind, and personality into the materialistic picture. If science can’t, then there is truth beyond the range of scientific explanation.
Another part of the “anything else” may be what we call the supernatural. Perhaps it is simply figments of imagination, psychological events, not so much to be explained by science as to be explained away. Or perhaps these are real events which are at present unexplainable because we lack complete understanding of the full potential of the physical world. If either is the case, then the supernatural ought eventually to fall into the realm of scientific explanation. However, if the supernatural world exists, and if it is inherently beyond testing by the scientific method, then there is truth beyond the range of scientific explanation. There may indeed be more in heaven and earth than is dreamed of in our science (if not our philosophy) [1994, pp. 82-83, emp. added].
I would like to seize upon Ferguson’s “if...then” proposition as I begin this examination of the origin, nature, and destiny of the soul. Her argument—one that far too few scientists (or science writers) are even willing to consider—is that if the supernatural exists, then there is truth beyond the range of scientific explanation. The available evidence does establish, in fact, that the supernatural exists and that there is “truth beyond the range of scientific explanation.” As famed NASA astrophysicist (and self-proclaimed agnostic) Robert Jastrow put it: “That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact” (1982, p. 18). While I do not have the space here to present such evidence, I have done so elsewhere (see Thompson, 1995a, 1995b, Thompson and Jackson, 1982, 1992). The existence of the supernatural (i.e., God) may be doubted by some and ridiculed by still others, but that does not alter the evidence that establishes its reality.
Thus, whenever questions of spiritual importance are under consideration—as they are when discussing the existence, origin, nature, and destiny of the soul—the only reliable source of information must by necessity be the One Who is the Originator and Sustainer of the soul. God, as Creator of all things physical and spiritual (Genesis 1:1ff., Exodus 20:11), and Himself a Spirit Being (John 4:24), is the ultimate wellspring of the soul. The Bible, then, as God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), must be the preeminent authority on this subject. In the great long ago, the psalmist wrote: “The sum of thy word is truth; and every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth forever” (119:160). Speaking as a member of the Godhead, Christ said: “Sanctify them in truth; thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
We—if we would know the truth about the soul—must examine that Word in an in-depth fashion and be prepared to accept what it says. Only then can we obtain the answers to the many questions on this vital topic that have perplexed and plagued us through the millennia.


If you and I were having a conversation and I mentioned the word “banana,” likely you would have absolutely no difficulty understanding my meaning. Your thought processes immediately would conjure up a long fruit—with a yellow outer covering and a light beige, inner soft body—that grows on trees and is useful as food for both humans and animals. But were I to ask you to define the term “foil,” without seeing the word in context you could not possibly know what I meant. I might be referring to: (1) a noun that is used to define a fencing sword; (2) a noun that indicates a thin, shiny metal used by cooks in kitchens all over the world; or (3) a verb that is used as a synonym for “defeat.” However, if I were to say, “I covered the turkey with foil prior to placing it in the oven,” you would know immediately what I had in mind.
The same is true of the definition of the word “soul.” Minus its context, it is difficult, if not impossible, to define accurately. Speaking from the vantage point of a language scholar who had studied the Hebrew and Greek texts for over sixty years, Guy N. Woods once suggested that “...there is no pat and easy answer to the question, ‘What is the soul?’ ” (1980, 122[6]:163). Why is this the case? First, the word “soul” in modern English usage is represented by various words in the Hebrew and Greek languages in which the Bible originally was written. Second, those Hebrew and Greek words can have a number of different meanings in their original contexts. Robert Morey has noted:
These terms are not technical words in the sense that they have one consistent meaning throughout Scripture. They display unity and diversity by being synonymous at times when referring to the immaterial side of man, and at other times, referring to different functions or ways of relating. It is obvious that we should not impose 20th-century standards of consistency and linguistic preciseness to a book which was written thousands of years ago... (1984, p. 44).
Third, the matter of the progressive nature of God’s revelation to man must be considered. While it certainly is true that the Lord possesses a constant, unchanging nature (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17), His revelation of that nature and His will for mankind was a progressive process that was adapted to man as he matured spiritually through the ages. This explains why, in the course of human history, God sometimes tolerated in man both attitudes and actions that were less than what the divine ideal intended. This, of course, does not mean that the Holy God vacillates in His ethics or morality; rather, it simply means that—because of His infinite love—He dealt gently and compassionately with man in the particular state of spiritual maturation in which He found him at the time (cf. Acts 14:15-16 and 17:30-31). As God progressively revealed more and more of both His nature and His will, He did so in a manner, and in terms, that fit the occasion. In addressing the failure of some to comprehend and appreciate the importance of this concept, Morey observed that certain words, therefore,
...may have a dozen different meanings, depending on the context and the progressive nature of revelation. The failure to avoid reductionistic and simplistic definitions is based on the hidden assumption that once the meaning of a word is discovered in a single passage, this same meaning must prevail in every other occurrence of the word.... The resistance to the idea that what soul meant to Moses was probably not what it meant to David or Paul is based on their unconscious assumption that the Bible is one book written at one time. Thus as we approach the biblical term which describes the immaterial side of man, we will not attempt to develop artificial definitions based upon the absolutizing of the meaning of a word in a single passage but recognize that a contextual approach will reveal a wide range of meanings (1984, pp. 44-45, emp. added).
The word “soul” does indeed enjoy a “wide range of meanings.” In order to understand those meanings, it is necessary to examine how the word is employed within the various contexts in Scripture where it appears.

Use of the Word “Soul” in Scripture

The word for “soul” in the Bible (Hebrew nephesh [from naphash, to breathe]; Greek psuche) is used in at least four different ways (see Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, pp. 901-902; Thayer, 1958, p. 677). First, the term is employed simply as a synonym for a person. Moses wrote: “All the souls (nephesh) that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls (nephesh)” (Exodus 1:5; cf. Deuteronomy 10:22). In legal matters, the word soul often was used to denote an individual. The Lord told Moses: “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, ‘If a soul (nephesh) shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done’...” (Leviticus 4:2). When Jacob was speaking of himself in Genesis 49:6, he used the expression, “O my soul (nephesh)”—which meant simply “me.” Numbers 9:6 records that “there were certain men, who were unclean by reason of the dead body (nephesh meth) of a man, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day” (cf. Number 6:6 and Ecclesiastes 9:5). In the New Testament, the word psuche is employed in the same manner. In Acts 2:41, Luke recorded that “there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls (psuchai).” In Peter’s first epistle, when he addressed the topic of the Genesis Flood, he referred to the fact that “few, that is eight souls (psuchai), were saved by water” (3:20). In each of these instances, actual people—individually or collectively—were under discussion.
Second, the word soul is used to denote the form of life that man possesses in common with animals and that ceases to exist at death. In their Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, Brown, Driver, and Briggs noted that nephesh often is employed to mean “life principle” (1907, p. 659). In the King James Version, nephesh is translated as “soul” in the Old Testament 472 times, as “life” 118 times, and as “creature” 8 times; psuche is translated as “soul” in the New Testament 59 times and as “life” 39 times (Morey, 1984, pp. 45,55). In addressing the use of the word “soul” in such passages as Genesis 2:7 and 1:20, Woods wrote:
...the word soul from the Hebrew nephesh occurs, for the first time in the sacred writings, at Genesis 1:20, where it is assigned to fish, birds, and creeping things. (See also, another similar usage in Genesis 1:30.) As thus used, it is clear that the soul in these passages does not refer to anything peculiar to the constitution of man. It signifies, as its usage denotes, and the lexicons affirm, any creature that breathes, in all of these early occurrences in the book of Genesis. Nor is it correct to conclude that the phrase breath of life in the statement of Moses (“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”) sums up, or was designed to denote the whole constitution of man. The word “life” here is, in the Hebrew text, plural, literally breath of lives (nishmath khay-yim). It occurs, in similar form, in three other instances in the early chapters of Genesis (6:17; 7:15; 7:22). In the first of these the phrase is ruach khay-yim; in the second the same; in the third, nishmath-ruach khay-yim, and out of the four instances where the phrase, the breath of lives, occurs in our translation the last three are applied to the beasts, birds and creeping things. It follows, therefore, that the phrase “breath of life” does not designate anything peculiar to man. And in view of the fact that the word “soul,” from the Hebrew nephesh, is similarly extended to include the animal world, birds and creeping things, it may not be properly limited to man... (1985, 127 [22]:691, emp. and parenthetical comment in orig.).
In Genesis 1:20,24, and 30, God spoke of the nephesh hayyah—literally “soul breathers” or “life breathers” (often translated as “living creatures” or “life”—cf. Leviticus 11:10; grammatically the phrase is singular but it bears a plural meaning). The writer of Proverbs observed in regard to animals: “A righteous man regardeth the life (nephesh) of his beast; But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (12:10). Hebrew scholar Hugo McCord therefore noted:
Then the translators realized that the first meaning of nephesh is “breath,” and so Genesis 1:20,24,30 and Genesis 2:7 all fit together in understanding Moses as saying that all animals and man too are breathers. Breathers, coupled with hayyah, “living,” the translators thought, would be well translated, in the case of animals, as “living creatures,” and in the case of man as a “living being” (1995, 23[1]:87-88).
In Exodus 21:23, Moses commanded: “But if any harm follow, then thou shalt give life (nephesh) for life (nephesh).” He later wrote that “the life (nephesh) of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11,14). Blood often is said to be the seat of life because when blood is shed, death ensues (cf. Deuteronomy 12:23). In speaking of God’s retribution upon the Egyptians during the time of the Exodus, the psalmist wrote: “He spared not their soul (nephesh) from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence” (78:50). In this particular instance, the Egyptians’ souls represented their physical life and nothing more. Ezekiel later observed: “The soul (nephesh) that sinneth, it shall die” (18:20).
In the New Testament, the principle is the same. Christ observed in regard to humans: “Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life (psuche), what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body” (Matthew 6:25). God told Joseph: “Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead that sought the young child’s life” (psuche, Matthew 2:19). In the book of Revelation, John spoke of the fact that “there died the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, even they that had life (psuchas); and the third part of the ships was destroyed” (8:9; cf. 16:3, psuche). Many a follower of Christ was said to have risked his or her life (psuche) for the Lord. In Acts 15:25-26, Luke recorded that Barnabas and Paul were “men that have hazarded their lives (psuchas) for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Earlier, John recorded Peter as saying to the Lord: “I will lay down my life (psuchen) for thee” (John 13:37-38). In Philippians 2:30ff., Paul spoke of “Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier...hazarding his life (psuche) to supply that which was lacking in your service toward me.” And in Luke 14:26, one of the conditions of discipleship was to hate one’s own life (psuche)—that is, to be willing to deny oneself to the point of losing one’s life for Christ (cf. Luke 9:23; Revelation 12:11).
Third, the idea of the soul is used to refer to the varied emotions or inner thoughts of a man—a fact that explains why nephesh is translated “heart” (15 times) or “mind” (15 times) in the Old Testament (KJV) and why psuche is translated as “heart” (1 time) and “mind” (3 times) in the New. Man was called to love God with all his heart and with all his soul (nephesh; Deuteronomy 13:3b). The soul (nephesh) is said to weep (Job 30:16; Psalm 119:28) and to be exercised in patience (Job 6:7-11). From the soul (nephesh) originate knowledge and understanding (Psalm 139:14), thought (1 Samuel 20:3), love (1 Samuel 18:1), and memory (Lamentations 3:20). In His discussion with a lawyer, Jesus said: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (psuche), and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). In Acts 4:32, Luke recorded how, on one occasion, “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul (psuche).” In a similar fashion, “soul” also is employed to refer to the lower, physical nature of mankind. In his first letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul wrote that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (2:14). In addressing the specific intent of this passage, Woods noted that the phrase “natural man” is literally
the soulish man, since the adjective “natural” [psuchikosBT] translates a form of the Greek word for soul, which may be expressed in English as psychical. Thus, this usage is supported by etymology and required by the context. See, especially, Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 1:18-28 and 2:6-16 (1980, 122[6]:163, emp. in orig.).
Fourth, the word soul is used in Scripture to designate the portion of a person that is immortal and thus never dies. As early as the book of Genesis, the Bible sets forth such a concept. For example, in commenting on Rachel’s untimely death at the birth of her son, Moses wrote: “And it came to pass, as her soul (nephesh) was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin” (Genesis 35:18). On one occasion while the prophet Elijah was at the house of a widow in the city of Zarephath, the woman’s son fell ill and eventually died. But the text indicates that Elijah “cried unto Jehovah..., ‘O Jehovah my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul (nephesh) come into him again’ ” (1 Kings 17:21). When the psalmist prayed to Jehovah for forgiveness, he cried: “O Jehovah, have mercy upon me: heal my soul (nephesh); for I have sinned against thee” (41:4). In his discussion of the ultimate fate of those who dared to trust in earthly riches rather than in the supreme power of the God of heaven, the psalmist lamented that such people were “like the beasts that perish.... But God will redeem my soul (nephesh) from the power of Sheol” (49:15).
Many years later, Christ warned His disciples: “And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul (psuche) and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). In His discussion with the Sadducees in Matthew 22, the Lord quoted from Exodus 3:6 where God said to Moses: “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Christ then went on to state (22:32): “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living”—a fact that the Sadducees’ opponents, the Pharisees, already accepted as true (cf. Acts 23:8). Yet when God spoke with Moses (c. 1446 B.C.) about the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, those three men had been dead and in their tombs for literally hundreds of years.
Since from Christ’s own words we know that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living,” the point is obvious. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob still must have been living. But how? The solution to the seeming problem, of course, lies in the fact that while their bodies had died, their immortal souls had not. When the apostle John was allowed to peer into the book “sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1), he “saw underneath the altar the souls (psuchas) of them that had been slain for the word of God” (Revelation 6:9). Each of these passages is instructive of the fact that there is within man a soul that never dies.

Use of the Word “Spirit” in Scripture

During his tenure as associate editor of the Gospel Advocate, Guy N. Woods penned a “Questions and Answers” column in which he dealt with difficult Bible questions, topics, or passages. When one querist wrote to ask: “What is the difference between the soul and the spirit of man?,” Woods responded as follows:
Though it is characteristic of most people today to use these terms interchangeably the scriptures very definitely differentiate them. “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12.) Since the sacred writers provided for “the dividing of soul and spirit,” in those instances where they differ, so ought we and so we must if we are to entertain biblical concepts of these words.
The word “spirit,” when denoting the human entity (from the Greek word pneuma), is a specific term and designates that part of us which is not susceptible to death and which survives the dissolution of the body. (Acts 7:59.) It is infused in us directly from God and is not a product of human generation. (Hebrews 12:9.) “Soul,” from the Greek word psuche, however, is a generic word and its meaning must be determined, in any given instance, from the context in which it appears (1980, 122[6]:163, emp. added).
In my above discussion on the use of the word “soul” in Scripture, I examined the various ways in which the Hebrew and Greek terms for soul are employed. I now would like to examine the various ways in which the Hebrew and Greek terms for “spirit” are employed within the sacred text.
The Hebrew term for “spirit” is ruach (from rawah, to breathe). In their Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, Brown, Driver, and Briggs noted that ruach has nine different meanings, depending on the specific context. Ruach may refer to: (1) the Holy Spirit; (2) angels, both good and evil; (3) the life principle found within both man and animals; (4) disembodied spirits; (5) breath; (6) wind; (7) disposition or attitude; (8) the seat of emotions; and (9) the seat of mind and will in men (1907, pp. 924-925). In the Old Testament of the King James Version, ruach is translated variously as the Spirit of God (i.e., Holy Spirit) 105 times, man’s spirit 59 times, spirit (an attitude or emotional state) 51 times, spirits (angels) 23 times, wind 43 times, and several other items (Morey, 1984, p. 51).
The word ruach, like nephesh, has a wide range of meanings. First, it seems originally to have referred to the wind, which was viewed as being invisible and immaterial (Gen. 8:1). Second, since God is invisible and immaterial like the wind, He is described as “spirit” (Isa. 63:10). Third, since the angels of God are invisible and immaterial, they are called “spirits” (Ps. 104:4, KJV; cf. Heb. 1:14). Fourth, since the life principle which animates man and animals is invisible and immaterial, it is also called “spirit” (Gen. 7:22). In this sense it was viewed as the “breath” of life which departs at death. Fifth, since man has an invisible and immaterial self or soul which transcends the life principle by its self-consciousness, man’s “mind” or “heart” is called his “spirit” (Ps. 77:6; Prov. 29:11, KJV). The invisible side of man which is called “spirit” cannot be reduced to the mere principle of physical life or the breath of the body because man’s transcendent self is contrasted to those things in such places as Isa. 42:5. Also, man’s self-awareness as a cognitive ego obviously transcends the life principle which operates in animals. At death, this transcendent ego or disincarnate mind is called a “spirit” or a “ghost” (Job 4:15). This is parallel to rephaim or disembodied spirit (Job 26:5). Thus at death, while the life principle or breath of life ceases to exist in man or animals, the higher self or spirit of man ascends at death to the presence of God (Ps. 31:5; Eccles. 12:7).... Sixth, since attitudes and dispositions such as pride, humility, joy, or sorrow are invisible and immaterial, they are described as being someone’s “spirit” (Prov. 11:13; 16:18). The Holy Spirit is described as the “sevenfold Spirit” in the sense that He gives people the disposition, attitude, or spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear and holiness (Isa. 11:2; cf. Rom. 1:4; Rev. 3:1) [Morey, pp. 52-53].
The Greek term for “spirit” is pneuma (from pneo, to breathe). In their Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, language scholars Arndt and Gingrich noted that pneuma has seven different meanings, depending on the specific context. Pneuma may refer to: (1) wind or air; (2) that which gives life to the body; (3) disincarnate souls; (4) human personality or ego which is the center of emotion, intellect, and will; (5) a state of mind or disposition; (6) an independent, immaterial being such as God or angels; and (7) as God—as in the Holy Spirit of God, the spirit of Christ, etc. (1957, pp. 680-685). In his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Thayer provided five definitions for pneuma (1958, pp. 520-524). In the King James Version of the New Testament, pneuma is translated variously as Spirit (Holy) 165 times, Ghost (Holy) 88 times, spirits (good/evil, angels) 55 times, spirit (man’s) 45 times, spirit (attitude) 22 times, spirits or ghosts (man’s disincarnate soul) 7 times, spiritual (adjectival use) 23 times, life and wind 1 time each (Morey, pp. 60-61).
The word pneuma in its various forms is found 406 times in the New Testament.... First, the New Testament writers carry on the precedent set by the translators of the Septuagint by using the Greek words for wind such as animas instead of pneuma. The only instance where pneuma definitely refers to the wind is in John 3:8 where there is a poetic play upon the sovereign movement of the divine Spirit and the wind. Second, pneuma refers to the life principle which animates the body. This is actually a very rare usage in the New Testament. For example, the false prophet who accompanied the Antichrist in the last days will make an idol “alive” (Rev. 13:15). Third, pneuma is used to describe the immaterial nature of God and angels (John 4:24; Heb. 1:14). Christ defined a “spirit” or “ghost” as an immaterial being (Luke 24:39). Fourth, pneuma refers to the disposition which characterizes a person, such as pride, humility, fear, etc. (1 Pet. 3:4). Fifth, pneuma is used to describe the disincarnate spirit or soul of man after death (Matt. 27:50; Luke 24:37, 39; John 19:30; Acts 7:59; Heb. 12:23; 1 Pet. 3:19).... Sixth, man’s transcendent self, or ego, is also called pneuma because of its immaterial and invisible nature (1 Cor. 2:11). It is described as the center of man’s emotions, intellect and will (Mark 8:12; Mark 2:8; Matt. 26:41). Since man’s pneuma transcends his mere physical life, it is frequently contrasted to his body, or flesh (Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 24:39; John 3:6; 6:63; 1 Cor. 5:5; 7:34; 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 5:17; 6:8,9; James 2:26). It is man’s pneuma which ascends to God at death (Acts 7:59) [Morey, pp. 61-62].
Since ruach and pneuma both derive from roots meaning “to breathe,” it should not be surprising that on occasion they are used synonymously, as the information in the following table documents.

Synonymous Use of Spirit and Soul in the Old and New Testaments
Writing in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia about both the similarities and the differences between the Old Testament words nephesh and ruach as compared to their New Testament counterparts psuche and pneuma, J.I. Marais noted:
In the NT psuche appears under more or less similar conditions as in the OT. The contrast here is as carefully maintained as there. It is used where pneuma would be out of place; and yet it seems at times to be employed where pneuma might have been substituted. Thus in Jn. 19:30 we read: “Jesus gave up His pneuma to the Father,” and, in the same Gospel (Jn. 10:15), “Jesus gave up His psuche for the sheep,” and in Mt. 20:28 He gave His psuche (not His pneuma) as a ransom... (1956, 5:2838).
While the “spirit” (pneuma) is recognized as man’s individual possession—that which distinguishes one man from another and from inanimate nature—on occasion the same may be said of the soul (psuche; cf. Matthew 10:28 and Revelation 6:9-11). The pneuma of Christ was surrendered to the Father in death; His psuche was surrendered, His individual life was given, “a ransom for many.” His life “was given for the sheep.” In Acts 2:27, Luke quoted Psalm 16:10 regarding Christ’s physical death: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul unto hades, neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption.” The word that Luke used for “soul” is psuche, which is employed here not only as the Greek counterpart to the Hebrew nephesh, meaning body, but representing specifically a nephesh meth—a dead body (cf. Numbers 6:6, 9:6, and Ecclesiastes 9:5). Thus, Christ’s body was not abandoned to hades.
Hades is used in Scripture to refer to at least three different places: (a) the general abode of the spirits of the dead, whether good or evil (Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13-14); (b) a temporary place of punishment for the wicked dead (Luke 16:23; Revelation 20:13); and (c) the grave (1 Corinthians 15:55; cf. Acts 2:27). In Psalm 16:10 (the passage quoted by Luke in Acts 2:27), the writer stated: “Thou wilt not leave my soul (nephesh) to sheol.” In the Old Testament, sheol also is used to refer to three different places: (a) the unseen abode for spirits of the dead (Job 14:13-15; Ezekiel 26:20; Jonah 2:2); (b) a temporary place of punishment for the wicked dead (Psalm 9:17); and (c) the grave (Davidson, 1970, p. 694; Harris, et al., 1980, 2:892; cf. Numbers 16:30-37 where the conclusion of the rebellion of Korah [and those sympathetic with him] against Moses is described in these words: “The earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into sheol.”). In Acts 2:27 (hades) and Psalm 16:10 (sheol), the context seems to require the latter usage—i.e., the grave. Thus, both David and Luke were making the point (to paraphrase): “You will not leave my body in the grave, nor will you allow your Holy One to see decay.” In fact, just four verses later, the inspired writer referred back to David’s declaration and commented that “he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto hades, nor did his flesh see corruption” (2:31).
In referring to the death of the physical body, Solomon wrote that “the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). The psalmist addressed the same point when he wrote: “The dead praise not Jehovah, Neither any that go down into silence” (115:17) and “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (146:4). When Christ yielded up His soul/life (psuche; cf. nephesh, Psalm 16:10), His dead body was headed for the grave and therefore was in the condition that it could “know not anything” and “praise not Jehovah.” [The spirit (pneuma) that had vacated the body was alive and well in Paradise (Greek paradeisos, Luke 23:43). Paul addressed this principle when he said that Christ’s disciples always should be “of good courage, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8; cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:14).] Woods observed:
Death, mortality, corruptibility, decay, destruction are never affirmed of the spirit. It is, in the nature of the case, impossible for a spirit to die. The scriptures affirm deathlessness of the angels; and the angels do not die because they are angels, but because they are spirits (1985, 127[22]:692).
Yet it also is impossible for a soul to die (Matthew 10:28; Revelation 6:9-11).
However, as Hebrews 4:12 documents, there are times when the words spirit and soul are not used synonymously. The word spirit sometimes refers to wind or air (Genesis 3:8; 8:1; John 3:8); the word soul does not. The word spirit sometimes refers to demons (Mark 5:2; Luke 9:39); the word soul does not. The word soul sometimes refers to both the inner and outer man (i.e., a whole person; Exodus 1:5; Ezekiel 18:20; Acts 2:41; Romans 13:1); the word spirit does not. The word soul sometimes refers to a corpse (Numbers 5:2; 6:6; Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27); the word spirit does not. The word soul on one occasion refers to an odor, fragrance, or perfume (Isaiah 3:20); the word spirit does not.
Thus, while it is true that on some occasions the words “soul” and “spirit” are used interchangeably, in other instances they are employed in a non-synonymous fashion. As Woods observed, under certain conditions within Scripture “lexically, logically, and actually these terms differ and must not be confused” (1985, 127[22]:692). In any study of these two terms as they occur within God’s Word, the context and intent of the writers are the deciding factors that must be considered and respected.
[to be continued]


Arndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles Briggs (1907), A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (London: Oxford University Press).
Davidson, Benjamin (1970 reprint), The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Ferguson, Kitty (1994), The Fire in the Equations: Science, Religion, and the Search for God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Harris, R.L., G.L. Archer, Jr., and B.K. Waltke (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Jastrow, Robert (1982), “A Scientist Caught Between Two Faiths,” Interview with Bill Durbin, Christianity Today, August 6.
Marais, J.L. (1956), “Spirit,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 5:2837-2838.
McCord, Hugo (1995), “What is the Soul?,” Vigil, 23[11]:87-88, November.
Morey, Robert A. (1984), Death and the Afterlife (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House).
Thayer, J.H. (1958 reprint), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark).
Thompson, Bert (1995a), “The Case for the Existence of God—[Part I],” Reason and Revelation, 15:33-38, May.
Thompson, Bert (1995b), “The Case for the Existence of God—[Part II],” Reason and Revelation, 15:41-47, June.
Thompson, Bert and Wayne Jackson (1982), “The Revelation of God in Nature,” Reason and Revelation, 2:17-24, May.
Thompson, Bert and Wayne Jackson (1992), A Study Course in Christian Evidences (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Woods, Guy N. (1980), “What is the Difference Between the Soul and the Spirit of Man?,” Gospel Advocate, 122[6]:163, March 20.
Woods, Guy N. (1985), “What is the Soul of Man?,” Gospel Advocate, 127[22]:691-692, November 21.


I would like to express my deep, personal gratitude to the following men for their assistance in the preparation of this series of articles: Dr. Hugo McCord, professor emeritus of biblical languages, Oklahoma Christianity University of Science and Arts; Dr. William Woodson, professor emeritus and former chairman of the graduate program in Bible, Freed-Hardeman University; and the late Bobby Duncan, minister of the Church of Christ in Adamsville, Alabama. The changes and corrections they suggested that I incorporate into the finished manuscript were invaluable. The conclusions, however, remain the sole responsibility of the author.

From Mark Copeland... The Key To A Joyful, Productive Life (Romans 12:12)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

              The Key To A Joyful, Productive Life (12:12)


1. I suppose that we all have known Christians who go through life...
   a. Looking like they were "weaned on a pickle"
   b. Useless for any good work when things were going rough for them

2. But we have also known Christians who are the opposite...
   a. Joyful, steadfast in doing good
   b. Even though they are experiencing the same kind of hardships

3. Why the difference?
   a. I believe that the joyful, steadfast Christian has found the
      secret expressed in the Scriptures
   b. One place this "secret" is found is in Ro 12:12...

   "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing steadfastly
   in prayer;"

[As we consider this verse, there are several observations we can make.


      1. That joy is a matter of personal temperament (heredity)
      2. That joy is a matter of circumstances (environment)
      3. But how can that be when being joyful is enjoined upon us all?
         a. It is a command, a duty - 1Th 5:16; Php 4:4
         b. Commanded even when things are rough - 1Pe 4:13

      1. Seen in the example of the Hebrews - He 10:34a
      2. Also in the example of Christians in Asia Minor - 1Pe 1:6

      1. Notice our text:  "rejoicing in hope"
      2. It should be easy to see how hope is the source of joy in our
         a. A student, in hope of enjoying summer vacation, is happy as
            he thinks about it
         b. Likewise, it was the strong hope of the Hebrews that gave
            them joy despite the seizure of their property - He 10:34
         c. Again, the source of the Christians' joy in Asia Minor was
            their hope of salvation - 1Pe 1:5-6

      1. If Christians are not joyful, it is because they are not full
         of hope!
         a. And that is only because their minds are so preoccupied with
            things of this life
         b. I.e., they are just religious enough to be miserable!
      2. If they spent more time contemplating the hope we have as
         Christians, joy would automatically follow!
         a. Of course, hope is based upon faith - He 11:1
         b. And faith comes from the Word of God - Ro 10:17
         c. But if people do not read the Word, their faith is weak,
            their hope is shallow, and their joy is minimal

[But if we let God's Word produce the faith necessary for a strong hope,
then we too can have that joy which will help us no matter what the
circumstances.  This leads us back to our text, where we wish to make
another observation...]


      1. "patient"
         a. Means more than simply enduring, forbearing
         b. It also takes in the thought of activity despite the
            1) It is continuing to do good, regardless of the trials
            2) Not just sitting there, refraining from doing something
      2. "tribulations"
         a. These could be trials suffered for the cause of Christ
         b. Or those common to all (sickness, death, etc.)
      3. Paul is therefore talking about pressing on in doing good
         despite hardships

      1. This can be illustrated in several ways...
         a. The athlete
            1) Why does he or she endure the hardships of training?
            2) The joyful hope of attaining victory!
         b. The Pilgrims
            1) Why did they endure the hardships of sailing across the
            2) The joyful hope of finding freedom from religious
         c. The college student
            1) Why does he or she endure the hardships of study and
            2) The joyful hope of a successful career!
         d. The early Christians
            1) Why did they endure persecutions, pressing on in their
               faithfulness to Christ?
            2) The joyful hope of their inheritance in heaven! - He 10:
      2. Does this not explain why some Christians do not remain
         steadfast when things get rough?
         a. They do not have the "joyful hope" necessary
         b. And why not?  Their minds are so preoccupied with worldly

[One last observation I would like to make, based on our text...]


      1. The relationship between prayer and the joyful life is implied
         elsewhere in the Scriptures
         a. Notice 1Th 5:16-18
         b. If we pray without ceasing, we can rejoice always!
      2. For in proper prayer, we are constantly reminded of our hope
         (the source of joy and patience)
         a. In prayer, we should be made constantly aware of the reason
            for our hope (forgiveness of our sins through Jesus' blood)
         b. In prayer, we should be made constantly aware of the object
            of our hope (to one day be with God eternally)

      1. Not if we mean formal words of supplication and petition
      2. But prayer does not always have to be with formal words - cf.
         1Ch 5:20
      3. Prayer can also be:
         a. A mental attitude of devotion
         b. An unspoken reference to God in all that we do


1. Are our lives as joyful and productive as they should be?

2. If not, then let God's Word sink into our hearts:  "Continue
   steadfastly in prayer"

3. Do this, and we will more likely "rejoice in hope" and be "patient in

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading August 30

Bible Reading  

August 30

The World English Bible
Aug. 30
Psalm 20-22

Psa 20:1 May Yahweh answer you in the day of trouble. May the name of the God of Jacob set you up on high,
Psa 20:2 send you help from the sanctuary, grant you support from Zion,
Psa 20:3 remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah.
Psa 20:4 May He grant you your heart's desire, and fulfill all your counsel.
Psa 20:5 We will triumph in your salvation. In the name of our God, we will set up our banners. May Yahweh grant all your requests.
Psa 20:6 Now I know that Yahweh saves his anointed. He will answer him from his holy heaven, with the saving strength of his right hand.
Psa 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust the name of Yahweh our God.
Psa 20:8 They are bowed down and fallen, but we rise up, and stand upright.
Psa 20:9 Save, Yahweh! Let the King answer us when we call!
Psa 21:1 The king rejoices in your strength, Yahweh! How greatly he rejoices in your salvation!
Psa 21:2 You have given him his heart's desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.
Psa 21:3 For you meet him with the blessings of goodness. You set a crown of fine gold on his head.
Psa 21:4 He asked life of you, you gave it to him, even length of days forever and ever.
Psa 21:5 His glory is great in your salvation. You lay honor and majesty on him.
Psa 21:6 For you make him most blessed forever. You make him glad with joy in your presence.
Psa 21:7 For the king trusts in Yahweh. Through the loving kindness of the Most High, he shall not be moved.
Psa 21:8 Your hand will find out all of your enemies. Your right hand will find out those who hate you.
Psa 21:9 You will make them as a fiery furnace in the time of your anger. Yahweh will swallow them up in his wrath. The fire shall devour them.
Psa 21:10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from among the children of men.
Psa 21:11 For they intended evil against you. They plotted evil against you which cannot succeed.
Psa 21:12 For you will make them turn their back, when you aim drawn bows at their face.
Psa 21:13 Be exalted, Yahweh, in your strength, so we will sing and praise your power.
Psa 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?
Psa 22:2 My God, I cry in the daytime, but you don't answer; in the night season, and am not silent.
Psa 22:3 But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel.
Psa 22:4 Our fathers trusted in you. They trusted, and you delivered them.
Psa 22:5 They cried to you, and were delivered. They trusted in you, and were not disappointed.
Psa 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.
Psa 22:7 All those who see me mock me. They insult me with their lips. They shake their heads, saying,
Psa 22:8 "He trusts in Yahweh; let him deliver him. Let him rescue him, since he delights in him."
Psa 22:9 But you brought me out of the womb. You made me trust at my mother's breasts.
Psa 22:10 I was thrown on you from my mother's womb. You are my God since my mother bore me.
Psa 22:11 Don't be far from me, for trouble is near. For there is none to help.
Psa 22:12 Many bulls have surrounded me. Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
Psa 22:13 They open their mouths wide against me, lions tearing prey and roaring.
Psa 22:14 I am poured out like water. All my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; it is melted within me.
Psa 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have brought me into the dust of death.
Psa 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me. A company of evildoers have enclosed me. They have pierced my hands and feet.
Psa 22:17 I can count all of my bones. They look and stare at me.
Psa 22:18 They divide my garments among them. They cast lots for my clothing.
Psa 22:19 But don't be far off, Yahweh. You are my help: hurry to help me.
Psa 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog.
Psa 22:21 Save me from the lion's mouth! Yes, from the horns of the wild oxen, you have answered me.
Psa 22:22 I will declare your name to my brothers. In the midst of the assembly, I will praise you.
Psa 22:23 You who fear Yahweh, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify him! Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!
Psa 22:24 For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, Neither has he hidden his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard.
Psa 22:25 Of you comes my praise in the great assembly. I will pay my vows before those who fear him.
Psa 22:26 The humble shall eat and be satisfied. They shall praise Yahweh who seek after him. Let your hearts live forever.
Psa 22:27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to Yahweh. All the relatives of the nations shall worship before you.
Psa 22:28 For the kingdom is Yahweh's. He is the ruler over the nations.
Psa 22:29 All the rich ones of the earth shall eat and worship. All those who go down to the dust shall bow before him, even he who can't keep his soul alive.
Psa 22:30 Posterity shall serve him. Future generations shall be told about the Lord.
Psa 22:31 They shall come and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born, for he has done it. 
Aug. 30
Romans 11

Rom 11:1 I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Rom 11:2 God didn't reject his people, which he foreknew. Or don't you know what the Scripture says about Elijah? How he pleads with God against Israel:
Rom 11:3 "Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have broken down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life."
Rom 11:4 But how does God answer him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal."
Rom 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Rom 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
Rom 11:7 What then? That which Israel seeks for, that he didn't obtain, but the chosen ones obtained it, and the rest were hardened.
Rom 11:8 According as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day."
Rom 11:9 David says, "Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, a stumbling block, and a retribution to them.
Rom 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see. Bow down their back always."
Rom 11:11 I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? May it never be! But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy.
Rom 11:12 Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?
Rom 11:13 For I speak to you who are Gentiles. Since then as I am an apostle to Gentiles, I glorify my ministry;
Rom 11:14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and may save some of them.
Rom 11:15 For if the rejection of them is the reconciling of the world, what would their acceptance be, but life from the dead?
Rom 11:16 If the first fruit is holy, so is the lump. If the root is holy, so are the branches.
Rom 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them, and became partaker with them of the root and of the richness of the olive tree;
Rom 11:18 don't boast over the branches. But if you boast, it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you.
Rom 11:19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in."
Rom 11:20 True; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Don't be conceited, but fear;
Rom 11:21 for if God didn't spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.
Rom 11:22 See then the goodness and severity of God. Toward those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
Rom 11:23 They also, if they don't continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Rom 11:24 For if you were cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more will these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
Rom 11:25 For I don't desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you won't be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,
Rom 11:26 and so all Israel will be saved. Even as it is written, "There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
Rom 11:27 This is my covenant to them, when I will take away their sins."
Rom 11:28 Concerning the Good News, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sake.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Rom 11:30 For as you in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience,
Rom 11:31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they may also obtain mercy.
Rom 11:32 For God has shut up all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all.
Rom 11:33 Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!
Rom 11:34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"
Rom 11:35 "Or who has first given to him, and it will be repaid to him again?"
Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.