11/25/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Luke 2:11, a son is GIVEN

Luke 2:11, a son is GIVEN

Isaiah 8 closes with a picture of awful gloom and judgement and chapter 9 opens with a glorious passing of the night and the rising of the sun with the darkness banished. The prophet then describes a glorious future and in 9:6-7 gives the ground on which that future is based, "For unto us a child is born unto us a son is given…The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."

For unto us a child is born says why the future will not be like the past. "Unto us a son is given"—he is a gift. A gift! Not something we merit; we didn't earn him. He was sent by God as a gift. We didn't come up with him, didn't mould and shape him to suit our needs; we can't claim in that sense that he is "one of our own". He came from God! And though it is profoundly true that he was altogether one of us and because we dare not offer ourselves before the Holy Father we offer Jesus—though all that is true Jesus is not our gift to God he is God's gift to us!

Our salvation, our hope, our life are all wrapped up in Jesus who was given to us as a gift from God. Salvation begins and ends with God. It doesn't begin with our believing but with God's gracious purpose to save us before times eternal which when brought to us in the gospel generates faith in us (Philippians 1:29). Speaking of God in 2 Timothy 1:9 Paul says, "Who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time."

God saved us not because of anything we have done! God saved us because of his own purpose and grace! This grace was given to us! This grace was given to us before the beginning of time. This grace is experienced by us here and now.

Before we wrestle with the difficulties that such talk generates, the proper thing to do is confess the truth of it! If it's the case that we are saved then we should thank God that we have been saved because he purposed it in grace through Jesus Christ before the beginning of time. It's all right, don't you know, to be gob-smacked by this and it's all right to say, "How does that work?" because it's only when we take the passage seriously that we're overwhelmed and bewildered with a glad bewilderment.

Some of us aren't in the least staggered; we have it all worked out; we can easily "explain" and with very little effort (quoting a verse here and there and constructing a little syllogism here and there) we can plumb the depths of such truth. But I'm sure that says more about our ignorance than about our understanding and maybe it says a bit about our sense of our own brilliance.
No, the son in the manger is given to us, the prophet said. "Today in the city of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord," says the angel in Luke 2:11. A Saviour has been "born to you" is the angels equivalent to Isaiah's "a son is given."

Whatever the mystery here or the difficulties that need to be worked out, this we know: our salvation didn't begin with us! Our salvation was purposed before we came along. God didn't look down the ages to see who would receive him and then say, "I purpose to save those whom I foresee are willing to receive me." God purposed to save, sent his Son to save and the Spirit brings the gospel to save. When we happily, joyously find ourselves saved we know we have freely responded to God's eternal purpose. We know then that unto us a Son was given.

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com

Left Behind—or Left Bedazzled? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5051

Left Behind—or Left Bedazzled?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

[EDITORS’ NOTE: This article is the first installment in a two-part examination of Dispensational Premillennialism. Part II will follow next month.]
The American Heritage Dictionary defines bedazzled: “To dazzle so completely as to make blind” (2000, p. 159). A significant portion of Christendom has been bedazzled by the sensationalism of Dispensational Premillennialism. Events in the Middle East continually evoke a steady stream of fundamentalist outcries that the end of time is near, the Rapture is about to occur, the Antichrist, Armageddon, and the Tribulation are all imminent. Does the Bible really teach these doctrines? Does the Bible really speak about Iraq, Russia, China, the modern state of Israel, and the Middle East?
The claim that “the end is near” is certainly not new. Indeed, such claims have been incessant since Jesus left the Earth. Periodically, a religious figure will capture national attention, announcing the impending return of Jesus, even to the point of setting a date, only to fade into the anonymity from which he arose when his claim falls flat—but having achieved his “15 minutes of fame” (see Whisenant and Brewer, 1989). The sensationalism sells well and tweaks the curiosity of large numbers of people. Incredibly, this pattern has been repeating itself literally for centuries. Hal Lindsey achieved nationwide attention over 40 years ago with his national best-seller The Late Great Planet Earth (1970). With the approach of Y2K, outcries of doom, global disruption, and Armageddon were widespread. More recently, a prominent repackaging of the dispensational brand of premillennialism is the popular 12 volume Left Behind book series first published from 1995 to 2007 by Tyndale House (Left Behind, 2008). The book series spawned three movies starring Kirk Cameron between 2000 and 2005, and the newly released (October, 2014) remake starring Nicolas Gage (“Left Behind: The End…,” 2014).

introduction

Unlike postmillennialism (the view that Jesus will return after the world is Christianized following a long period of peace and righteousness), and amillennialism (the view that the Bible predicts no worldwide period of peace and righteousness, with good and evil continuing until the end), premillennialism is the view that Jesus will return before a 1,000 year period of peace and righteousness and reign in person as king on Earth. The dispensational brand of premillennialism is a system of Bible interpretation that was advocated in the early 19th century through the writings of John Darby (Stokes, 1885, pp. 537-552), which were popularized in the early 20th century in the Scofield Reference Bible (Gaebelein, 1943; Mangum and Sweetnam, 2009). According to this view, history is divided into seven dispensations with the “church age” preceding the arrival of the kingdom. Briefly, the basic planks of dispensationalism are as follows:
  1. At some point in the near future, Jesus will secretly “Rapture” the saved, both living and deceased, from the Earth, taking them to heaven to receive their reward.
  2. A seven year period of intense “Tribulation” will then ensue on Earth.
  3. During the seven year period of “Tribulation,” the “Antichrist” will appear.
  4. Worldwide turmoil will escalate, culminating in the battle of “Armageddon.”
  5. Jesus will return with His saints in order to end “Armageddon” and usher in His 1,000 year reign (the “Millennium”) on a literal throne in Jerusalem, at the end of which, eternity will commence with some going to heaven and the rest to hell.
Consider the following evaluation of each of these five planks.

WILL THERE BE A RAPTURE?

The word “rapture” comes from the Latin word “rapere” which means “to seize, snatch out, take away.” Dispensationalists apply this word to the idea that Christ will come suddenly and secretly in the air to snatch away from the Earth the living saints and the resurrected bodies of those saints who have died. This “Rapture” is supposed to occur just prior to the seven-year “Tribulation” period.
Proponents allege that families will be shocked by the strange disappearance of a mother, father, or child. Driverless cars will collide in the streets (cf. bumper sticker: “In case of rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned”). A man and wife will be in bed; she hears a noise and turns her head to find him gone. Planes will crash with no pilots found. The “Rapture” is represented as an invisible coming of the Lord for His saints leaving visible results of chaos and confusion among the remaining unbelievers.
In reality, the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible, though it is claimed to be the Latin equivalent of harpadzo translated “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NKJV). Lindsey admitted, “[i]t is not found in the Bible” (p. 126), and noted that the word “translation” is just as suitable. Yet the word “translation” does occur in the English New Testament. Paul referred to the fact that God “delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love” (Colossians 1:13, ASV). So when an unbeliever obeys the Gospel, receives forgiveness of sins, and is added to the church of Christ, he is taken out of the world and transferred to Christ’s kingdom. This use of the term conflicts with the idea that it refers to Christians being “raptured” from the physical Earth to meet Jesus in the air.
Actually, the Scriptures use three terms to refer to the return of Christ. First, parousia is translated “coming, presence, or advent.” Second, epiphaneia is translated “appearing, manifestation, or brightness.” Third, apokalupsis is translated “revelation.” Dispensationalism claims that “coming” (parousia) refers to the “Rapture” which occurs seven years before the “Appearing” (epiphaneia) or “Revelation” (apokalupsis). Accordingly, at the “Rapture,” Jesus will come for the church only, while at the “Revelation,” Jesus will return with the church and put an end to the “Tribulation” and “Armageddon.”
The primary passage used to support the idea of the “Rapture” is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. But this passage was not given to deal with the return of Christ, but to clarify the status of Christians before the return of Christ. Its purpose was twofold. First, it was designed to reassure Christians that their deceased loved ones would be able to share in the Lord’s return, and second, it informed Christians that those who are still living when Christ returns will have no precedence or advantage over those who have already died. This dual function of the text constitutes a very different emphasis from that imposed upon it by dispensationalists.
The dispensational distinctions made between the three terms referring to Christ’s return are simply untenable (see Boettner, 1957, pp. 163-165). Dispensationalists assert that the “coming” (parousia) in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1 refers to the “Rapture.” Yet the same word is used in 1 Thessalonians 3:13 to speak of Jesus coming “with” His saints and therefore coincides with the dispensational concept of the “Appearing” or “Revelation” seven years after the “Rapture.” Dispensationalists apply 2 Thessalonians 2:8 to the “Antichrist” and therefore must understand this verse as a reference to the “Appearing” (epiphaneia). Yet the verse uses the expression “the manifestation (brightness—epiphaneia) of His coming (parousia).” Thus the term “coming” is used in the New Testament to refer to both dispensational concepts of the “Rapture” and the “Appearing,” and the two expressions are even combined in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 to refer to one and the same event.
The term “Revelation” (apokalupsis) in 1 Corinthians 1:7 is descriptive of what the dispensationalists call the “Rapture” since Christians await it. But in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, it clearly refers to the “Appearing” (epiphaneia). The term “appearing” (epiphaneia) is used in 1 Timothy 6:14 as the event that terminates Christian activity on Earth and thus fits the “Rapture” concept. But in 2 Timothy 4:1, the reference to judgment fits the “Appearing.” Paul stated: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Observe that dispensationalists would have Paul translated into heaven at the “Rapture” before he receives his crown of righteousness—which he says he will receive at Jesus’ “appearing” (epiphaneia).
In view of these observations, it is evident that the three words relating to Christ’s return are used in the New Testament synonymously and interchangeably. The New Testament simply makes no distinction between the coming of the Lord for His saints (“Rapture”) and the coming of the Lord with His saints (“Appearing” or “Revelation”). The dispensational dichotomy is not supported by the language of the New Testament.
Additionally, if Christians are to be removed seven years before the “Revelation,” then no passage should admonish them to live their lives expecting to remain on Earth until the “Revelation.” However, many passages do just that. For example, in Titus 2:13, Paul refers to the “blessed hope” and the “appearing” as one and the same event, i.e., Christ’s coming. Boettner observes:
In the original Greek the two substantives hope and appearing are closely united with the common article. They are not two separate events, as if it read, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing,” but simply, “looking for the blessed hope and appearing.” The one explains the other. “The blessed hope” of Christians is “the glorious appearing” of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (p. 166, italics in orig.).
Another example is 1 Peter 2:14 and 4:13 where the grace that the Christian is to set his hope on is to be received at the revelation (apokalupsei) of Christ, at which time the Christian may rejoice. But, according to dispensationalism, the Christian may rejoice seven years earlier at the “Rapture.”
Further, the word “end” (sunteleia) means “completion, consummation, close, the full end” (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 799; Thayer, 1901, p. 606; Nicoll, n.d., 1:202; Moulton and Milligan, 1982, p. 613). Used six times in the New Testament, it refers to the end of the world (i.e., the last of life on Earth). Noted Presbyterian commentator Albert Barnes explains that the term as used in Hebrews 9:26 refers to “the last dispensation or economy; that under which the affairs of the world will be wound up” (1971, p. 215). The term parallels the expression “last days” which likewise refers to “the closing period of the world” (Barnes, 2005, p. 31). Lutheran commentator R.C.H. Lenski describes the word as “‘the completion’ when all things shall reach their goal and end” (2001, p. 538).
In Matthew 28:20, Jesus promised to be with the disseminators of the Gospel message to the very “end.” Such a promise implies that the church will remain on the Earth, preaching the Gospel, until the Judgment day. But if the church is raptured away seven years before the end, she cannot fulfill what Christ commanded her to do. In Matthew 13:39-49, no removal of the saints occurs before the “full end.” The righteous and the wicked grow together until the very end. The separation of the two comes at the end (not seven years before the end). The dispensationalist claims that the righteous will be taken out from among the wicked. But the Bible says just the opposite: the wicked will be taken out from among the righteous (Matthew 13:39-40).
The same concept may be seen in the New Testament use of “the last day.” The doctrine of the “Rapture” asserts that believers will be raised seven years before the “Revelation” and 1,007 years before the end of the “Millennium.” But Jesus Himself stated four times that believers will be raised “at the last day” (John 6:39,40,44,54). How can there by additional days after the last day? Dispensationalism contradicts Jesus’ own statements that He will raise believers at the last day, implying that believers cannot be raised before the last day.
A final observation on the “Rapture” is its alleged secretive nature. The second coming of Christ is nowhere depicted as secret. In fact, just the opposite is true. Christ’s coming will be accompanied by “blazing fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:7), the sound of a trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52), a “shout,” the “voice of the archangel,” and the “trump of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). In fact, “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7). Clearly, all persons will witness this incredible occasion. In fact, the very passage upon which the doctrine of the “Rapture” is founded (i.e., 1 Thessalonians 4:16), far from describing a quiet and secretive event, is as Boettner notes, “about the noisiest verse in the Bible!” (p. 171).

WILL THERE BE A TRIBULATION?

Dispensationalists also believe that when Christ comes secretly and snatches away the saved at the “Rapture,” He will take them to heaven where they will receive their reward. They say Revelation chapters four and five describe this heavenly scene. During this period, a seven year Tribulation will rage on Earth, as described in Revelation chapters 4-19, that will culminate in the battle of Armageddon. Various passages are sprinkled here and there in this elaborate theory of the end times. But Matthew chapter 24 is perhaps the most prominent passage that is offered in an effort to prove an alleged “Tribulation.” Hence, an exegesis of this central proof-text is necessitated.

Matthew 24

In Matthew 23, Jesus pronounced multiple woes upon the Jewish authorities of His day. In verse 38, He declared that the Jews’ house would be left to them desolate. He then left the immediate confines of the Temple complex, but paused at a distance with His disciples to continue the same line of thought. He referred their attention to the Temple and said: “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be torn down” (Matthew 24:2). Such a declaration would have been shocking, if not horrifying, to these “dyed-in-the-wool” Jews that took great pride in the Temple. Privately, the disciples asked Jesus two questions: (1) “When will these things (the Temple disruption—DM) be? and (2) “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). Jesus proceeded to answer these questions in such a way as to distinguish between the destruction of the Temple on the one hand, and the end of the world on the other. He showed that they are completely separate events.
Jesus began His response by delineating numerous signs that would take place prior to the toppling of the Temple. First, many would come claiming to be the Christ (vs. 5). As a matter of fact, near the time of Jerusalem’s fall in A.D. 70, many false messiahs arose, claiming to be the Christ. Josephus, a Jewish historian, said that such messiahs became more numerous before the siege of the city (Antiquities..., XX.V.1; XX.VIII.6; The Wars..., II.XIII,4). Gamaliel also alluded to such figures during that time period (Acts 5:34-37). And Paul warned of false “apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13).
Second, Jesus said that “wars and rumors of wars” would circulate, “but the end is not yet” (vs. 6). Numerous wars were engaged in by the Romans against various smaller nations as Rome continued her trek toward worldwide domination. At the same time, Rome had to cope constantly with revolt and rebellion among her conquered peoples. Josephus verified this fact (e.g., Antiquities..., XX). The “end” referred to in this verse applied to the end of the Temple, not the end of the world.
Third, Jesus predicted that famine, pestilence, and earthquakes would occur (vs. 7). It is documented historical fact that during the years leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, famines and earthquakes occurred. There was a massive famine during the reign of Claudius Caesar before the destruction of Jerusalem (Acts 11:28; cir. A.D. 47; see Bruce, 1962, 4:309). An unusual number of great earthquakes occurred during the reign of Nero in A.D. 60-70, destroying many cities of Asia Minor (Tacitus, Annals, XII.43/58; XIV.27; XV.22). The occurrence of these signs between the time of Jesus’ word (A.D. 30) and the destruction (A.D. 70) would be seen as the direct fulfillment of Jesus’ statements. But if Jesus’ words apply to a yet future event, His words make no sense for there have been earthquakes and famines all over the world for the last 1,900 years, and the occurrence of them today is no sign at all.
Fourth, Jesus further stated that the apostles would be hated, persecuted, and even killed (vs. 9). Peter, Paul, James (Acts 12:2), and James the Less were all put to death before the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus said that false prophets would arise, many Christians would stumble, and evil would abound (vss. 10-13). As the pressure of persecution increased during the early decades of Christianity, so the faith of many decreased. Apostasy became prevalent. It is during such turmoil that false teachers make their mark by capitalizing on spiritual confusion, doubt, and weakness (cf. Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29-30; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Peter 2:1-2).
Fifth, Jesus said that the Gospel would be preached in all the world (vs. 14). It is also historical fact that the Gospel was preached to all the world prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Paul wrote to Christians in Rome (A.D. 58) and said their faith was spoken of “throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). When Paul wrote to the church of Christ at Colossae (A.D. 62), the Gospel was “bearing fruit and increasing” (Colossians 1:6) in the entire world, which can only happen if the seed is first sown “in all the world.” In fact, Paul flatly stated that the Gospel had been preached “to every creature which is under heaven” (KJV), or “in all creation under heaven” (NASB—Colossians 1:23). The point is clear: The Gospel was preached to the world prior to A.D. 70 as Jesus predicted.
Once all of these signs (i.e., false Christs, wars/rumors of wars, famines/earthquakes, persecution, death of the apostles, the apostasy of many, the rise of false prophets, and worldwide proclamation of the Gospel) came to pass, Jesus said the “end” would come (vs. 14). That is, the end of Jerusalem, the end of the Temple, the end of formal Judaism, and the end of the Old Testament economy would occur. Jesus said this end would come about with the presence of the “abomination of desolation” in the holy place (vs. 15). He applied Daniel 9:27 to the presence of the Roman army at the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (cf. Luke 21:20).
Consequently, Jesus urged the faithful in Judea to “flee into the mountains” (vs. 16). History records a remarkable factor concerning the fall of Jerusalem. With the approach of A.D. 70, Jewish Christians took the invasion of the Roman armies as the appointed sign which Christ had given. Upon seeing the Roman military machine in full march, Jewish Christians dropped everything and made their escape to Pella, a village east of the Jordan in Perea about 15 miles south of the Sea of Galilee (Boetnner, p. 201; Keener, 1993, p. 113; Wilson, 1989, p. 76; Eusebius, Church History, 3.5.3; Sheppard, 2013, pp. 10-14; Gichon, 1981, 113:56; Epiphanius, De pond, et Mens, 15). Thus, while God was bringing due wrath upon unbelieving Jews, He made provision for those Jews who had become Christians to escape.
Jesus pronounced woe on those who, in facing the hardships that would occur, would have the added difficulties associated with protecting and nursing children—especially if it occurred in winter or on the Sabbath (vss. 19-20). Bearing and caring for children is a difficult task in and of itself. But such functions become incredibly difficult when one is “on the run.” Likewise, escape from the onslaught of a ruthless military force would be complicated by the conditions that accompany the wintertime. The cold and hunger would constitute hardship on children and adults alike. The allusion to the Sabbath refers to the fact that Jewish authorities would still be enforcing observance of the Sabbath with closed city gates (Nehemiah 13:19). Thus, these two verses deal with hindrances to flight from the besiegement of Jerusalem.
Jesus further stated that “great tribulation” would be associated with these events, comparably worse than at any time and resulting in the loss of many lives (vss. 21-22). We who live subsequent to A.D. 70 have difficulty fathoming the magnitude of the tribulation experienced during the destruction of Jerusalem. At that time, Jews were crowded together from all over the world to observe Passover. The mass misery that resulted from the Roman siege was extensive. Josephus, an eyewitness, alluded to the atrocity in the words, “neither did any other city suffer such miseries...from the beginning of the world” (The Wars..., V.10.5). The phrase “nor ever shall be” shows that Jesus had in mind a time near His own day with much time to come after the event. If He was alluding to some period near the end of time (as per dispensationalism), He would not have added such words since there would be no future time left for such an occurrence. God could have easily permitted every single Jew to be wiped from the face of the Earth. But for the sake of His church (which included converted Jews), the period of tribulation was shortened (vs. 22).
Next, Jesus warned that during the period leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, false Christs and false prophets would come forward and display magical tricks to deceive people into thinking they were authentic representatives of God (vss. 23-26). When people face severe and intense disruption to their lives, they tend to become easy prey for those who seek to exploit the hardships of others. Jesus warned of this phenomenon as the time for Jerusalem’s destruction grew nearer. When any individuals, even in our own day, seek to seduce people into believing that the Lord’s final coming is imminent, Jesus says, “Don’t believe it!” (cf. vs. 26). Why? Because when Jesus comes at the end of time, everyone will know it. The second coming will be as visible and as evident as a blinding flash of lightening that covers the entire sky (vs. 27).
In contrast with the ultimate return of Jesus, the coming of Jesus in judgment on Jerusalem would be discernible on very different grounds: “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together” (vs. 28). Typically classified as a type of vulture due to its carrion feeder traits, the eagle was the symbol of Roman power. It was carried by the different units of the Roman army wherever Roman authority was being exerted (Lightfoot, n.d., 24:28; cf. Arndt and Gingrich, p. 19—“eagle symbol of swiftness”). The contemporaries were readily familiar with this fact. Thus, in A.D. 70, the Roman vultures swarmed over Jerusalem and devoured the carcass of apostate Judaism (cf. Wallace, 1960, p. 252).
Next, Jesus resorted to the use of several highly figurative phrases which are based upon Old Testament apocalyptic language: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (vs. 29). The phrase “after the tribulation of those days” means after the horrible events that occurred during the siege of the city, which history records began on August 10, A.D. 70 and lasted some two months. In that short period, 1.1 million died in unspeakable anguish, and 97,000 were taken as slaves (Josephus, The Wars..., VI.9.3). After the tribulation of the siege, the final destruction occurred. Jesus described this destruction in symbolic, apocalyptic terminology reminiscent of the description of the destruction of Babylon recorded in Isaiah 13: “The day of the Lord is near” (vs. 6); “For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will not shed its light. Thus I will punish the world for its evil” (vs. 10); “I will shake the heavens, and the earth will be shaken from its place” (vs. 13). All one need do is read Isaiah 13 to see that these statements referred to the military onslaught of the Medes in the sixth century B.C. that brought about the downfall of the Babylonian empire. Similarly, Isaiah depicted the destruction of Edom in terminology that spoke of the cosmos being dissolved and the sky rolling up like a scroll (34:4). Ezekiel portrayed the fate of Egypt in terms of the darkening of the stars, Moon, and Sun (32:7). There is no question that such language is highly figurative, hyperbolic, and designed to make an impression, to create an effect in the mind of the hearer, and not intended to be taken literally. If God can discuss the overthrow of Babylon, Egypt, and Edom in such extravagant, dramatic terminology, surely He can do the same when discussing the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
At this point would “appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven” (vs. 30). In other words, the darkening of the Jewish temple, the shaking up of the Jewish commonwealth, and the fall of Jewish authority through the instrumentality of imperial Rome was the sign or signal that Christ had come in judgment on Israel. He was the One responsible for the misery that would shroud the Jewish nation. Jesus had done exactly what He had told Caiaphas he could expect to witness personally: “the Son of man is coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). Jews knew that such language was completely normal when describing God’s execution of wrath in history. When God punished Egypt in the long ago, He “rode on a swift cloud...into Egypt” (Isaiah 19:1)—a graphically appropriate way to envision God’s vengeance. (NOTE: The use of the term “tribes” refers to the Jewish families that mourned the fall of national Judaism—all the Jewish tribes of the Earth.)
Next, angels would go forth with a great trumpet sound and gather together the elect (vs. 31). Historians report that once Jewish opposition to Christianity (reflected throughout the book of Acts) was removed in A.D. 70, the true nation of God (i.e., the church of Christ—the “holy nation” [1 Peter 2:9]—the Christian elect) began to experience unparalleled effectiveness. The sound of the Gospel trumpet was heard more clearly than ever before. The word for “angel” is the normal Greek word for “messenger.” In this passage it refers to the emissaries of the Gospel who, by means of the preached Word, gathered individuals into the elect fold from all over the world. Such phraseology is reminiscent of the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) in which every 50th year, the believing community sounded a ram’s horn all through the land, and proclaimed the year as a year of release or liberation.
Jesus next uttered a brief parable about a fig tree (vs. 32-33). Tender branches and new leaves on a fig tree function as signs—signals that summer is near. Likewise, the signs that Jesus delineated pinpointed the time when Jerusalem was to be destroyed. Once faithful disciples began to observe the unfolding of these signs, they would realize that the city was about to be besieged by the Roman armies. They could then “look for their redemption” (Luke 21:28), i.e., act upon their providentially prearranged escape plan and receive deliverance from the persecutions of Jewish authority. The repetition of the second person plural pronoun is further proof that Jesus was referring to His own generation, not a generation centuries in the future: “So you also, when you see...” (vs. 33).
Jesus brought to a close His response to the first question asked by His disciples with the words: “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (vs. 34). The generation to whom He was addressing Himself would still be living when “all these things” would occur. Thus every single sign that Jesus pinpointed would occur during that generation. Some, however, suggest that the Greek word for “generation” (genea) may also be translated “race,” in which case Jesus was simply saying that the Jewish race would not pass out of existence before all these things happened to them. But if this be true, then Jesus is put in the position of telling the Jews what would happen to their race, and then saying that their race would not pass away until everything that was going to happen to their race happened—an absurdly redundant notion. Why would God declare a group’s fate, and then assure the group that they would still be around to suffer that fate? Obviously, God would never have told them the specifics of their fate if they were not going to be present to experience those specifics. The fact of the matter is that the word “generation” is used repeatedly in the Gospel of Matthew, and it designates those who are living at a particular point in time (cf. Matthew 1:17; 11:16; 12:39-43; 23:36). In fact, in Matthew 23:36-39, where the context is the same as Matthew 24, Jesus spoke of the contemporary population of Jerusalem as the “generation” that He had in mind—the one that He sought to “gather” and whose house would be “left desolate.”
Verse 35 functions as a transition verse. Then Jesus turned His attention to dealing with the disciples’ second question. He emphatically distinguished between the destruction of Jerusalem, that He had been discussing, and the end of the world or second coming. Even if the disciples had not asked about “the end of the world,” it would have been appropriate for Jesus to have dealt with the matter since He would not want the two to be confused. So He alluded to “that day,” i.e., the day heaven and earth will pass away (vs. 35), the world will end, and Christ would come again (vs. 3). Thus, verses 36-51, as well as chapter 25, refer to the end of time. Jesus’ first point was that, whereas those who give proper heed to the signs can pinpoint the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, no one can pinpoint the day of Christ’s return. There will be, in fact, absolutely no signs to alert men to the second coming. Verses 37-39 clearly show that life on this Earth will be going on as it always has with “business as usual.” Jesus’ ultimate return will be totally unexpected with no signs to warn of its approach (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10).
When studied carefully in context and in light of history, verses in Matthew 24 that dispensationalists claim refer to the end times are seen to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. Without a doubt, there will be tribulation in the world. Christians are, in fact, assured of such (2 Timothy 3:12; John 16:33; Acts 14:22). Christians always have and always will endure tribulation. But there will be no future period of tribulation from which saints will be exempt as the dispensationalists describe. The world may well experience World War III. Horrible atrocities may well be unleashed upon humanity. But such future events will in no way result as the fulfillment of biblical teaching. The Bible simply does not teach that there will be a future seven year “Tribulation” on Earth that will culminate in a battle of Armageddon.

will there be an antichrist?

Moving to the next prominent doctrine of dispensationalism, we consider the alleged appearance during the “Tribulation” of the “Antichrist.” The term “antichrist” occurs only five times in Scripture, only in the writing of John, and only in two of his five books: 1 John 2:18,22; 4:3; 2 John 7. The implications are significant. Dispensationalists do not go to 1 and 2 John when they discuss the Antichrist. They go to Revelation, 2 Thessalonians, or Daniel. They go to passages that do not even use the word “Antichrist.”
In stark contrast to current claims, John applied the term “antichrist” to more than one individual, and to individuals who were living then—in the first century. First John 2:18 states that numerous antichrists had arisen in John’s day, and he therefore contended that “it is the last hour” (i.e., the final period of religious history commonly referred to as “the last days” as in Acts 2:16-17). He then described their behavior as “not of God” (1 John 4:3). “Antichrists” were simply all those who denied Christ (1 John 2:22). John, therefore, labeled any such deluded soul as “the deceiver” and “the antichrist” (2 John 7). Notice the use of the article. John was saying that people living in his own day who denied the incarnation of Jesus were to be regarded as the antichrist! Not just an antichrist—but the antichrist! The idea that the term “antichrist” is to be applied to some “future fuehrer” (Lindsey, 1970, p. 87) who will draw the world into a global holocaust is totally out of harmony with John’s inspired use of the term.

Daniel 9

The first passage which some say predicts an “Antichrist” is Daniel 9:24-27. Observe carefully the content of this marvelous prophecy. During the prophetic period that Daniel identified in terms of 70 symbolic weeks (vs. 24), transgression, sin, and iniquity would be “finished,” “ended,” and “reconciliation provided for.” This terminology clearly refers to Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross (Hebrews 9:26). The effect of Christ’s atoning work was that “everlasting righteousness” was ushered in. As Paul stated: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. Jeremiah 23:5-6). Because of what Jesus did, individuals may now stand before God completely righteous through obedient faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26). Likewise, “vision” and “prophecy” would be “sealed up.” This refers to the inevitable termination of Old Testament prophecy and its fulfillment in Christ’s appearance in human history: “Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days” (Acts 3:24; Hebrews 1:1-2). Finally, the phrase in Daniel 9:24 that speaks of the “anointing” of the “most holy” refers to the public ministry and subsequent official crowning of Jesus as He took His place upon His throne to rule in His kingdom. Isaiah said: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor” (61:1, emp. added). On the day of Pentecost, Peter said: “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God” (Acts 2:33). Notice that Daniel summarized the entire 70 week period by including all of these factors in the 70 weeks.
Next, Daniel broke the 70 week period into three segments: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week. Verse 25 pertains to the first two sections of the 70th week period. During these two periods, that is during 69 of the 70 prophetic weeks, a decree would go forth calling for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the reconstruction of the Temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians (cf. Nehemiah 2:7-8; Ezra 1:1-3). Daniel made clear that these 69 weeks of the prophetic period, during which the Temple would be rebuilt and national Israel reestablished, would take one up to the appearance of the Messiah.
Verse 26 speaks of the final week of the 70 week prophetic period, for he said “after the 62 weeks” (which already followed the initial 7 weeks). “After” puts one into the final or 70th week of Daniel’s remarks. Two significant events were to occur during this final week. First, the Messiah would be “cut off.” This definitely refers to Jesus’ death upon the cross: “He was cut off from the land of the living” (Isaiah 53:8). Second, a “prince” and his people would come and destroy the city and the sanctuary—an obvious allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple edifice in A.D. 70 by Titus and his Roman army.
Verse 27 alludes to the activation of the new covenant between the Messiah and “many,” that is, between Christ and those who are responsive to the demands of the new covenant. As the Hebrews writer said: “Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (8:8; cf. Acts 3:25). The New Testament teaches that the cutting off of the Messiah—the crucifixion—was the act that confirmed the covenant (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:15-29), and brought an immediate end to the validity of the Old Testament practices of sacrifice and oblation (Colossians 2:14; Luke 23:45; Hebrews 10:18-20). Then Daniel alluded to the ruthless invasion of Jerusalem in the phrase “abomination of desolation” (interpreted by dispensationalists to be the “Antichrist”). Jesus quoted this phrase in Matthew 24:15 and Luke 21:20, and applied it to the Roman desecration and destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in A.D. 70.
Thus, the fundamental purpose of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy was to show God’s final and complete decree concerning the Israelite commonwealth. All of the events described in the prophecy were literally fulfilled nearly 2,000 years ago. As far as God is concerned, the logical end of the Old Testament and Judaism has occurred. Now He deals only with the spiritual children of Abraham, whether Jew or Gentile (Romans 4:11-12,16; 9:8)—the church of Christ which is the actual “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).
[to be continued]

REFERENCES

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
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).
Barnes, Albert (2005), Notes on the New Testament: Acts (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Barnes, Albert (1971), Notes on the New Testament: Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Boettner, Loraine (1957), The Millennium (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed).
Bruce, F.F. (1962), “Christianity Under Claudius,” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 44:309-326, March.
Eusebius, Pamphilius (2005), Church History, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.toc.html.
Gaebelein, Arno (1943), The History of the Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Our Hope Publications).
Gichon, Mordechai (1981), “Cestius Gallus’ Campaign in Judaea,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 113:56.
Josephus, Flavius (1974 reprint), Antiquities of the Jews, transl. William Whiston (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Josephus, Flavius (1974 reprint), The Wars of the Jews, transl. William Whiston (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Keener, Craig (1993), The IVP Bible Background Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press).
Left Behind (2008), Tyndale House Publishers, http://www.leftbehind.com/.
“Left Behind: The End Begins” (2014), Left Behind Movie, Stoney Lake Entertainment All, http://www.leftbehindmovie.com/.
Lenski, R.C.H. (2001), The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers).
Lightfoot, John (no date), A Commentary of the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Philologos.org, http://philologos.org/__eb-jl/default.htm.
Lindsey, Hal (1970), The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Mangum, R. Todd and Mark Sweetnam (2009), The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church (Colorado Springs, CO: Paternoster Publishing).
Moulton, James and George Milligan (1982), The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Nicoll, W. Robertson (no date), The Expositor’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Sheppard, Si (2013), The Jewish Revolt AD 66-74 (Long Island City, NY: Osprey Publishing).
Stokes, George (1885), “John Nelson Darby,” The Contemporary Review, 48:537-552, October.
Tacitus, Cornelius (1805), The Works of Cornelius Tacitus, trans. Arthur Murphy (London: John Stockdale).
Thayer, Joseph H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
Wallace, Foy E. (1960), God’s Prophetic Word (Oklahoma City, OK: Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Publications).
Whisenant, Edgar and Greg Brewer (1989), The Final Shout Rapture 1989 Report (Nashville, TN: World Bible Society).
Wilson, Marvin (1989), Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

From Mark Copeland... Jesus Questioned About Fasting (Mark 2:18-22)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                Jesus Questioned About Fasting (2:18-22)

INTRODUCTION

1. The nature of Jesus' ministry caught the attention of many...
   a. He healed the sick, cast out demons - Mk 1:34
   b. He traveled from city to city, preaching in the synagogues - Mk 1:39

2. The attention of religious leaders led to close scrutiny...
   a. As when the scribes took issue with His claim to forgive sins - Mk 2:6-7
   b. As when the scribes and Pharisees took issue with His dining with
      sinners - Mk 2:16

[Not just Jesus, but also His disciples were scrutinized.  When His
disciples were not fasting like other men's disciples, Jesus was asked
why...]

I. THE NARRATIVE

   A. JESUS QUESTIONED REGARDING FASTING...
      1. Why did His disciples not fast? - Mk 2:18
      2. Both disciples of John and those of the Pharisees fasted
         - ibid.
      3. Fasting was commonly practiced at the time
         a. The Law of Moses ordained one fast, on the day of Atonement
            - Lev 23:26-32
         b. But Jews fasted on many other occasions, for different
            reasons, lengths, and degrees of abstinence - cf. "Fasting In The Old Testament"
         c. In the first century, many Jews fasted twice weekly - cf. Lk 18:12; Didache 8:1
      -- Since it was so common, why did the disciples of Jesus not
         fast?

   B. JESUS' RESPONSE REGARDING FASTING...
      1. He first gave the illustration of friends and the bridegroom
         - Mk 2:19-20
         a. Friends with the bridegroom do not fast while he is with
            them, it is time for feasting!
         b. When the bridegroom is taken away, then they will fast
      2. He then gave the illustrations of new cloth and new wine - Mk 2:21-22
         a. New cloth is not sown on an old garment, or the tear is made
            worse
         b. New wine is not put in old wineskins, or the old wineskins
            will burst
      3. Jesus' explanation was two-fold:
         a. First, it was inappropriate for His disciples to fast while
            He was with them
         b. Second, ritualistic fasting would be out of sync with His
            "new doctrine" (Mk 1:27)
      -- The trappings of Judaism would be incompatible with the
         religion of Jesus

[So was Jesus saying that fasting would have no place in the New
Covenant?  Here are some observations taken from the text and other
passages related to fasting...]

II. SOME OBSERVATIONS

   A. JESUS INDICATED HIS DISCIPLES WOULD FAST...
      1. With His illustration:  "...they will fast in those days" - Mk 2:20
      2. When Jesus' ministry on earth was over, some fasting would be
         appropriate
      -- Thus Jesus did not rule out fasting altogether

   B. HE TAUGHT FASTING THAT PLEASES GOD...
      1. In His sermon on the mount - Mt 6:16-18
      2. Done not to impress men, but to please God
      -- Thus Jesus expected His disciples to fast

   C. EARLY CHRISTIANS PRACTICED FASTING...
      1. The church at Antioch, as they ministered to the Lord - Ac 13:
         1-3
      2. The churches of Galatia, when they appointed elders - Ac 14:
         21-23
      3. The apostle Paul, as part of his ministry - 2Co 6:5; 11:27
      4. Husbands and wives, by mutual consent - 1Co 7:5
      -- When joined with prayer, fasting apparently is suitable for
         Christians

   D. WHEN FASTING WOULD BE PROPER TODAY...
      1. Whenever circumstances require God's help
         a. These may be occasions on an individual level
            1) When faced with difficult temptations
            2) When faced with the serious illness of a loved one
         b. These occasions might be on a congregational level
            1) As when appointing elders
            2) As when sending out missionaries
      2. Whenever circumstances call for much prayer
         a. Is not God more likely to answer our  prayers if we are
            persistent? - cf. Lk 18:1-8
         b. Is not God more likely to respond if we fast in the proper
            manner? - cf. Mt 6:17-18
      -- Not as some ceremonious ritual, but when appropriate for the
         occasion

CONCLUSION

1. Richard Foster (Celebration Of Discipline) wrote that in a culture
   where the landscape is dotted...
   a. With shrines to the "Golden Arches" and an assortment of "Pizza
      Temples"
   b. Fasting may seem out of place, out of step with the times

2. Views about fasting usually go to extremes...
   a. "Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and
      reason, and others have utterly disregarded it." - John Wesley
   b. Some consider fasting unnecessary, something to be ignored; others
      think it should be bound as a matter of faith (like baptism)

3. From this brief study we have observed...
   a. There is a place for fasting, but its practice would not be
      ritualistic
   b. For the disciple of Christ, fasting is left primarily to
      individual discretion
   c. When properly understood and practiced, it can be a valuable
      spiritual discipline
   d. A way to humble oneself before God; when joined with prayer, a way
      to solicit God's help - cf. Ezr 8:21-23

We do well to carefully study the subject of fasting (cf. "Fasting - A
Special Study").  It would be a shame to have a spiritual tool at our
disposal and not make use of it as disciples of Christ...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Jesus And The Tax Collector (Mark 2:13-17)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                 Jesus And The Tax Collector (2:13-17)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Jesus went about preaching and healing, He called people to follow
   Him...
   a. Such as Simon and Andrew - Mk 1:16-18
   b. Also James and John - Mk 1:19-20

2. Today, Jesus wants us to call people to follow Him...
   a. To become His disciples - cf. Mt 28:19-20
   b. To enjoy His salvation - cf. Mk 16:15-16

[Who are suitable prospect for discipleship and salvation?  We might
think those who are religiously inclined.  But our text for this study
(Mk 2:13-17) should caution us not to limit our prospects...]

I. THE NARRATIVE

   A. JESUS CALLS THE TAX COLLECTOR...
      1. Jesus was teaching by the shores of Galilee - Mk 2:13; cf. 4:1
      2. He saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax office - Mk 2:14
         a. Better known as Matthew, the apostle and gospel writer - cf.
            Mt 9:9; 10:3
         b. His father was Alphaeus, not likely the father of James
            - cf. Mk 3:18
      3. He was a tax collector (publican), a profession not well-liked
         - cf. Lk 5:27
         a. Viewed as traitors - as Jews working for the Roman
            government
         b. Viewed as extortionists - for publicans often charged
            exorbitant fees
         c. Classed together with sinners and harlots - cf. Lk 15:1-2;
            Mt 21:31-32
      4. Yet Jesus calls him to become a disciple - Mk 2:14
         a. "Follow Me" - cf. Mk 1:17-18
         b. He "left all" and followed Jesus - cf. Lk 5:28
      -- Not someone you might consider having potential as a follower
         of Christ

   B. THE TAX COLLECTOR HOSTS JESUS...
      1. Levi (Matthew) gave Jesus a great feast in his house - Mk 2:15;
         cf. Lk 5:29
      2. There were many tax collectors and sinners present - Mk 2:15
      3. The scribes and Pharisees are shocked - Mk 2:16
         a. Luke says they "complained" - cf. Lk 5:30
         b. They wondered how Jesus could eat with tax collectors and
            sinners
      4. Jesus' response - Mk 2:17
         a. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those
            who are sick"
         b. "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to
            repentance"
      -- Jesus' words reveal why Levi (Matthew) was a prospect for
         discipleship

[As we reflect on this narrative, what lessons might we glean from it?
Starting at the end of our text and working backward, here are...]

II. SOME LESSONS

   A. JESUS IS LOOKING FOR SINNERS...
      1. "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance"
         a. His purpose was to seek and save the lost - cf. Lk 19:10
         b. This gives great hope to those burdened by the guilt of sin
      2. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who
         are sick"
         a. In regards to the disease of sin, we are all sick - cf. Ro 3:23
         b. But the Great Physician is ready to heal those willing to
            repent of sin
      -- If you are burdened and suffering because of sin, Jesus is
         looking for you!

   B. FRIENDS OFFER GREAT POTENTIAL...
      1. Levi (Matthew) provides a wonderful method of personal
         evangelism
         a. He invited friends and co-workers to his home
         b. He provided opportunity for them to hear Jesus
      2. Cornelius did the same thing, even before he became a Christian
         a. He invited family and friends - cf. Ac 10:24
         b. He provided opportunity for them to hear Peter - cf. Ac 10:33
      -- Inviting family and friends for a home Bible study is a great
         way to share the gospel!

   C. WE ARE TO BE SEPARATE, NOT ISOLATED...
      1. The Bible teaches the principle of separation
         a. Evil company can corrupt good habits - cf. 1Co 15:33
         b. We are to be separate, not unequally yoked with unbelievers
            - cf. 2Co 6:14-18
      2. But separation does involve total isolation
         a. Otherwise we would have to leave this world - cf. 1Co 5:
            9-10
         b. Jesus and His disciples were willing to eat with sinners
            - Mk 2:15-16
      -- To heal those sick with sin, we must be willing to spend time
         with them!

   D. JESUS OFTEN CALLS THE BUSY TO SERVE...
      1. Consider those whom Jesus called to follow Him
         a. Fishermen like Simon and Andrew, James and John - cf. Mk 1:
            16-20
         b. A tax collector sitting at the tax office - cf. Mk 2:14
      2. We should not think that God wants only those with youth or
         time on their hands
         a. E.g., only young men who go to school to become preachers
         b. E.g., only older people who are retired with nothing better
            to do
      -- Remember the adage:  "If you want something done, ask a busy
         man to do it"

CONCLUSION

1. Jesus' interaction with the tax collector should serve to remind
   us...
   a. We are never too sinful to be saved by Jesus
   b. We are never too busy to serve Jesus
   c. We must be willing to reach out to those who are lost
   d. Good prospects are family, friends, and co-workers

2. How about you...?
   a. Are you willing to let Jesus be your Great Physician?
   b. Are you willing to serve Jesus no matter how busy you may be?

Are you willing to join Him in seeking and saving the lost...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Jesus Heals A Paralytic (Mark 2:1-12)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                    Jesus Heals A Paralytic (2:1-12)

INTRODUCTION

1. Among the miracles of Jesus, one of the better known is the healing
   of a paralytic...
   a. Found in all three synoptic gospels - Mt 9:1-8; Mk 2:1-12; Lk 5:
      17-26
   b. In which a man was let down through a roof by his friends to be
      healed by Jesus

2. The occasion produced a range of emotions...
   a. Jesus charged with blasphemy by some
   b. God glorified with amazement by others

[The healing of the paralytic contains several valuable lessons for us
today.  Turning to Mark's account of the miracle (Mk 2:1-12), let's
first read and examine...]

I. THE NARRATIVE

   A. HELPFUL FRIENDS...
      1. The place:  the miracle occurs in Capernaum - Mk 2:1-2
         a. Described as "His own city" - Mt 9:1; cf. Mt 4:13
         b. Located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee
         c. Served as the base for His public ministry in Galilee
         d. Preaching in a house, which soon overflowed with listeners
      2. The paralytic:  His friends carry him to Jesus - Mk 2:3-4
         a. Totally immobile, confined to a stretcher, unable to enter
         b. With great effort, his four friends let him down through the
            roof
      3. The pardon:  Jesus forgives him of his sins - Mk 2:5
         a. Jesus observes the faith of the paralytic and his friends
         b. He replies, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."
         c. Matthew adds, "...be of good cheer..." - Mt 9:2
      -- It seems strange Jesus forgave him first rather than healed
         him, but Jesus' purpose will be revealed as we proceed

   B. HOSTILE FOES...
      1. The disdain of the scribes:  blasphemy! - Mk 2:6-7
         a. Luke mentions both scribes and Pharisees - Lk 5:21
         b. They reasoned in their hearts, not speaking
         c. Silently accusing Jesus of blasphemy, for only God can
            forgive sin
      2. The defense of the Savior:  He has power to forgive sin - Mk 2:
         8-10
         a. Jesus knew their hearts, their reasoning - cf. Jn 2:24-25
         b. Which is easier to say (and do):  to forgive or to heal?
         c. Both require divine authority and power
         d. Jesus has power to do both!
      -- Here is Jesus' purpose in forgiving before healing is revealed:
         to make known His divine power to forgive sins

   C. HAPPY FINALE...
      1. For the paralytic:  healed! - Mk 2:11-12a
         a. Jesus tells him to arise, take up his bed, and go home
         b. Which he does immediately, in the presence of all!
         c. Luke adds that he went "glorifying God" - Lk 5:25
      2. For the people:  amazed! - Mk 2:12
         a. The crowd has never seen anything like this!
         b. Matthew adds their amazement was that God had given such
            power to men - Mt 9:8
         c. Luke adds their amazement was joined with fear - Lk 5:26
         d. They also were "glorifying God" - Lk 5:25
      -- A man healed, people amazed, Jesus' power made known, but most
         of all, God is glorified!

[From helpful friends to hostile foes to a happy finale, the healing of
the paralytic is a wonderful story. But it is more than just a story.
There are lessons to be gleaned.  Here, then, are...]

II. SOME LESSONS

   A. THE POWER OF CHRIST TO FORGIVE SINS...
      1. On earth, Jesus demonstrated His power to forgive sins
         a. Not only in the case of the paralytic - Mk 2:5,10-11
         b. But also with the woman who washed and anointed His feet
            - Lk 7:44-48
         c. And for the thief on the cross - Lk 23:39-43
      2. From heaven, Jesus continues to have power to forgiven sins
         a. Made possible by the shedding of His blood - Mt 26:28; Ep 1:7
         b. Offered to those who respond to His gospel - Mk 16:16; Ac 2:
            38; 10:42-43; 22:16
         c. Ever available to those who walk with God - 1Jn 1:7,9
      -- Have we looked to Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins?

   B. THE PRECIOUSNESS OF FRIENDS WITH FAITH...
      1. The paralytic was blessed with friends with faith
         a. Jesus saw "their faith" - Mk 2:5
         b. Evidenced by their great effort to assist their paralyzed
            friend
         c. Without them, the paralytic would have been unable to come
            to Jesus
      2. Do we have and appreciate friends with faith?
         a. In His church, Jesus provides us with many friends with
            faith
         b. Brethren ready to assist and serve us in time of need
         c. Does our involvement in the local church indicate that we
            appreciate such friends? - cf. He 10:24-25
         d. If a brother is in need, can they rely on our faith? - e.g.,
            Ga 6:1-2
      -- Nurture your network of friends with faith, and share your
         faith with them!

   C. THE PRIVILEGES SO EASILY SQUANDERED...
      1. The miracle occurred in the city of Capernaum
         a. Described as Jesus' "own city" - Mt 9:1
         b. There He did many wonderful works
            1) Healed the centurion's servant - Mt 8:5-13
            2) Healed Peter's mother-in-law - Mt 8:14-15
            3) Cast out many spirits in the demon-possessed - Mt 8:16
            4) From Cana He healed the nobleman's son at Capernaum - Jn 4:46-54
         c. Yet those in the city brought judgment upon themselves - cf.
            Mt 11:23-24
      2. Have we squandered our privileges?
         a. Living in a country where God's Word is freely accessible?
         b. Blessed to be near a congregation of fellow Christians?
         c. Having many opportunities to grow and serve in the work of
            the Lord?
         d. "...For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will
            be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him
            they will ask the more." - Lk 12:48
      -- We have been given much by the Lord, let us give much in
         return!

CONCLUSION

1. The healing of the paralytic reveals a man...
   a. Who was in need
   b. Who was blessed with good friends
   c. Who was forgiven of his sins by Jesus Christ

2. We all are like that paralyzed man...
   a. With needs only Jesus can fulfill
   b. Who needs forgiveness that only Jesus has power to bestow
   c. With friends of faith willing to help

But are we like the paralyzed man in regards to faith?  His faith led to
Jesus fulfilling his needs.  May we have the same faith today...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading November 25



Bible Reading  

November 25

The World English Bible

Nov. 25
Jeremiah 50-52

Jer 50:1 The word that Yahweh spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by Jeremiah the prophet.
Jer 50:2 Declare you among the nations and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and don't conceal: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is disappointed, Merodach is dismayed; her images are disappointed, her idols are dismayed.
Jer 50:3 For out of the north there comes up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they are fled, they are gone, both man and animal.
Jer 50:4 In those days, and in that time, says Yahweh, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; they shall go on their way weeping, and shall seek Yahweh their God.
Jer 50:5 They shall inquire concerning Zion with their faces turned toward it, saying, Come you, and join yourselves to Yahweh in an everlasting covenant that shall not be forgotten.
Jer 50:6 My people have been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place.
Jer 50:7 All who found them have devoured them; and their adversaries said, We are not guilty, because they have sinned against Yahweh, the habitation of righteousness, even Yahweh, the hope of their fathers.
Jer 50:8 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the male goats before the flocks.
Jer 50:9 For, behold, I will stir up and cause to come up against Babylon a company of great nations from the north country; and they shall set themselves in array against her; from there she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of an expert mighty man; none shall return in vain.
Jer 50:10 Chaldea shall be a prey: all who prey on her shall be satisfied, says Yahweh.
Jer 50:11 Because you are glad, because you rejoice, O you who plunder my heritage, because you are wanton as a heifer that treads out the grain, and neigh as strong horses;
Jer 50:12 your mother shall be utterly disappointed; she who bore you shall be confounded: behold, she shall be the least of the nations, a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.
Jer 50:13 Because of the wrath of Yahweh she shall not be inhabited, but she shall be wholly desolate: everyone who goes by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.
Jer 50:14 Set yourselves in array against Babylon all around, all you who bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she has sinned against Yahweh.
Jer 50:15 Shout against her all around: she has submitted herself; her bulwarks are fallen, her walls are thrown down; for it is the vengeance of Yahweh: take vengeance on her; as she has done, do to her.
Jer 50:16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him who handles the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn everyone to his people, and they shall flee everyone to his own land.
Jer 50:17 Israel is a hunted sheep; the lions have driven him away: first, the king of Assyria devoured him; and now at last Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones.
Jer 50:18 Therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel: Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.
Jer 50:19 I will bring Israel again to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead.
Jer 50:20 In those days, and in that time, says Yahweh, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I leave as a remnant.
Jer 50:21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: kill and utterly destroy after them, says Yahweh, and do according to all that I have commanded you.
Jer 50:22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.
Jer 50:23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut apart and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!
Jer 50:24 I have laid a snare for you, and you are also taken, Babylon, and you weren't aware: you are found, and also caught, because you have striven against Yahweh.
Jer 50:25 Yahweh has opened his armory, and has brought forth the weapons of his indignation; for the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, has a work to do in the land of the Chaldeans.
Jer 50:26 Come against her from the utmost border; open her storehouses; cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly; let nothing of her be left.
Jer 50:27 Kill all her bulls; let them go down to the slaughter: woe to them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.
Jer 50:28 The voice of those who flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of Yahweh our God, the vengeance of his temple.
Jer 50:29 Call together the archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow; encamp against her all around; let none of it escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she has done, do to her; for she has been proud against Yahweh, against the Holy One of Israel.
Jer 50:30 Therefore shall her young men fall in her streets, and all her men of war shall be brought to silence in that day, says Yahweh.
Jer 50:31 Behold, I am against you, you proud one, says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies; for your day is come, the time that I will visit you.
Jer 50:32 The proud one shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up; and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all who are around him.
Jer 50:33 Thus says Yahweh of Armies: The children of Israel and the children of Judah are oppressed together; and all who took them captive hold them fast; they refuse to let them go.
Jer 50:34 Their Redeemer is strong; Yahweh of Armies is his name: he will thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
Jer 50:35 A sword is on the Chaldeans, says Yahweh, and on the inhabitants of Babylon, and on her princes, and on her wise men.
Jer 50:36 A sword is on the boasters, and they shall become fools; a sword is on her mighty men, and they shall be dismayed.
Jer 50:37 A sword is on their horses, and on their chariots, and on all the mixed people who are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is on her treasures, and they shall be robbed.
Jer 50:38 A drought is on her waters, and they shall be dried up; for it is a land of engraved images, and they are mad over idols.
Jer 50:39 Therefore the wild animals of the desert with the wolves shall dwell there, and the ostriches shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited forever; neither shall it be lived in from generation to generation.
Jer 50:40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities of it, says Yahweh, so shall no man dwell there, neither shall any son of man sojourn therein.
Jer 50:41 Behold, a people comes from the north; and a great nation and many kings shall be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth.
Jer 50:42 They lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, everyone set in array, as a man to the battle, against you, daughter of Babylon.
Jer 50:43 The king of Babylon has heard the news of them, and his hands wax feeble: anguish has taken hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
Jer 50:44 Behold, the enemy shall come up like a lion from the pride of the Jordan against the strong habitation: for I will suddenly make them run away from it; and whoever is chosen, him will I appoint over it: for who is like me? and who will appoint me a time? and who is the shepherd who can stand before me?
Jer 50:45 Therefore hear the counsel of Yahweh, that he has taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he has purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely they shall drag them away, even the little ones of the flock; surely he shall make their habitation desolate over them.
Jer 50:46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth trembles, and the cry is heard among the nations.
Jer 51:1 Thus says Yahweh: Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against those who dwell in Lebkamai, a destroying wind.
Jer 51:2 I will send to Babylon strangers, who shall winnow her; and they shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her around.
Jer 51:3 Against him who bends let the archer bend his bow, and against him who lifts himself up in his coat of mail: and don't you spare her young men; destroy you utterly all her army.
Jer 51:4 They shall fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans, and thrust through in her streets.
Jer 51:5 For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, of his God, of Yahweh of Armies; though their land is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel.
Jer 51:6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and save every man his life; don't be cut off in her iniquity: for it is the time of Yahweh's vengeance; he will render to her a recompense.
Jer 51:7 Babylon has been a golden cup in Yahweh's hand, who made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.
Jer 51:8 Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: wail for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.
Jer 51:9 We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go everyone into his own country; for her judgment reaches to heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.
Jer 51:10 Yahweh has brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of Yahweh our God.
Jer 51:11 Make sharp the arrows; hold firm the shields: Yahweh has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes; because his purpose is against Babylon, to destroy it: for it is the vengeance of Yahweh, the vengeance of his temple.
Jer 51:12 Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set the watchmen, prepare the ambushes; for Yahweh has both purposed and done that which he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.
Jer 51:13 You who dwell on many waters, abundant in treasures, your end is come, the measure of your covetousness.
Jer 51:14 Yahweh of Armies has sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill you with men, as with the canker worm; and they shall lift up a shout against you.
Jer 51:15 He has made the earth by his power, he has established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding has he stretched out the heavens:
Jer 51:16 when he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightning for the rain, and brings forth the wind out of his treasuries.
Jer 51:17 Every man is become brutish and is without knowledge; every goldsmith is disappointed by his image; for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
Jer 51:18 They are vanity, a work of delusion: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
Jer 51:19 The portion of Jacob is not like these; for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance: Yahweh of Armies is his name.
Jer 51:20 You are my battle axe and weapons of war: and with you will I break in pieces the nations; and with you will I destroy kingdoms;
Jer 51:21 and with you will I break in pieces the horse and his rider;
Jer 51:22 and with you will I break in pieces the chariot and him who rides therein; and with you will I break in pieces man and woman; and with you will I break in pieces the old man and the youth; and with you will I break in pieces the young man and the virgin;
Jer 51:23 and with you will I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock; and with you will I break in pieces the farmer and his yoke of oxen; and with you will I break in pieces governors and deputies.
Jer 51:24 I will render to Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, says Yahweh.
Jer 51:25 Behold, I am against you, destroying mountain, says Yahweh, which destroys all the earth; and I will stretch out my hand on you, and roll you down from the rocks, and will make you a burnt mountain.
Jer 51:26 They shall not take of you a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but you shall be desolate for ever, says Yahweh.
Jer 51:27 Set up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz: appoint a marshal against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough canker worm.
Jer 51:28 Prepare against her the nations, the kings of the Medes, its governors, and all its deputies, and all the land of their dominion.
Jer 51:29 The land trembles and is in pain; for the purposes of Yahweh against Babylon do stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant.
Jer 51:30 The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight, they remain in their strongholds; their might has failed; they are become as women: her dwelling places are set on fire; her bars are broken.
Jer 51:31 One runner will run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken on every quarter:
Jer 51:32 and the passages are seized, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are frightened.
Jer 51:33 For thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while, and the time of harvest shall come for her.
Jer 51:34 Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me, he has crushed me, he has made me an empty vessel, he has, like a monster, swallowed me up, he has filled his maw with my delicacies; he has cast me out.
Jer 51:35 The violence done to me and to my flesh be on Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and, My blood be on the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.
Jer 51:36 Therefore thus says Yahweh: Behold, I will plead your cause, and take vengeance for you; and I will dry up her sea, and make her fountain dry.
Jer 51:37 Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment, and a hissing, without inhabitant.
Jer 51:38 They shall roar together like young lions; they shall growl as lions' cubs.
Jer 51:39 When they are heated, I will make their feast, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, says Yahweh.
Jer 51:40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with male goats.
Jer 51:41 How is Sheshach taken! and the praise of the whole earth seized! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!
Jer 51:42 The sea is come up on Babylon; she is covered with the multitude of its waves.
Jer 51:43 Her cities are become a desolation, a dry land, and a desert, a land in which no man dwells, neither does any son of man pass thereby.
Jer 51:44 I will execute judgment on Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he has swallowed up; and the nations shall not flow any more to him: yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall.
Jer 51:45 My people, go you out of the midst of her, and save yourselves every man from the fierce anger of Yahweh.
Jer 51:46 Don't let your heart faint, neither fear for the news that shall be heard in the land; for news shall come one year, and after that in another year shall come news, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.
Jer 51:47 Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will execute judgment on the engraved images of Babylon; and her whole land shall be confounded; and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.
Jer 51:48 Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for joy over Babylon; for the destroyers shall come to her from the north, says Yahweh.
Jer 51:49 As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the land.
Jer 51:50 You who have escaped the sword, go you, don't stand still; remember Yahweh from afar, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.
Jer 51:51 We are confounded, because we have heard reproach; confusion has covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of Yahweh's house.
Jer 51:52 Therefore, behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will execute judgment on her engraved images; and through all her land the wounded shall groan.
Jer 51:53 Though Babylon should mount up to the sky, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall destroyers come to her, says Yahweh.
Jer 51:54 The sound of a cry from Babylon, and of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans!
Jer 51:55 For Yahweh lays Babylon waste, and destroys out of her the great voice; and their waves roar like many waters; the noise of their voice is uttered:
Jer 51:56 for the destroyer is come on her, even on Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, their bows are broken in pieces; for Yahweh is a God of recompenses, he will surely requite.
Jer 51:57 I will make drunk her princes and her wise men, her governors and her deputies, and her mighty men; and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake up, says the King, whose name is Yahweh of Armies.
Jer 51:58 Thus says Yahweh of Armies: The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly overthrown, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the peoples shall labor for vanity, and the nations for the fire; and they shall be weary.
Jer 51:59 The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. Now Seraiah was chief quartermaster.
Jer 51:60 Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come on Babylon, even all these words that are written concerning Babylon.
Jer 51:61 Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When you come to Babylon, then see that you read all these words,
Jer 51:62 and say, Yahweh, you have spoken concerning this place, to cut it off, that none shall dwell therein, neither man nor animal, but that it shall be desolate forever.
Jer 51:63 It shall be, when you have made an end of reading this book, that you shall bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates:
Jer 51:64 and you shall say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise again because of the evil that I will bring on her; and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
Jer 52:1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
Jer 52:2 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
Jer 52:3 For through the anger of Yahweh did it happen in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
Jer 52:4 It happened in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it round about.
Jer 52:5 So the city was besieged to the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
Jer 52:6 In the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.
Jer 52:7 Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king's garden; (now the Chaldeans were against the city all around;) and they went toward the Arabah.
Jer 52:8 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.
Jer 52:9 Then they took the king, and carried him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; and he gave judgment on him.
Jer 52:10 The king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he killed also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.
Jer 52:11 He put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in fetters, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison until the day of his death.
Jer 52:12 Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, who stood before the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem:
Jer 52:13 and he burned the house of Yahweh, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great house, burned he with fire.
Jer 52:14 All the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all the walls of Jerusalem all around.
Jer 52:15 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the poorest of the people, and the residue of the people who were left in the city, and those who fell away, who fell to the king of Babylon, and the residue of the multitude.
Jer 52:16 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poorest of the land to be vineyard keepers and farmers.
Jer 52:17 The pillars of brass that were in the house of Yahweh, and the bases and the bronze sea that were in the house of Yahweh, did the Chaldeans break in pieces, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.
Jer 52:18 The pots also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass with which they ministered, took they away.
Jer 52:19 The cups, and the fire pans, and the basins, and the pots, and the lampstands, and the spoons, and the bowls--that which was of gold, in gold, and that which was of silver, in silver,--the captain of the guard took away.
Jer 52:20 The two pillars, the one sea, and the twelve bronze bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made for the house of Yahweh. The brass of all these vessels was without weight.
Jer 52:21 As for the pillars, the height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a line of twelve cubits did compass it; and its thickness was four fingers: it was hollow.
Jer 52:22 A capital of brass was on it; and the height of the one capital was five cubits, with network and pomegranates on the capital all around, all of brass: and the second pillar also had like these, and pomegranates.
Jer 52:23 There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates were one hundred on the network all around.
Jer 52:24 The captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the threshold:
Jer 52:25 and out of the city he took an officer who was set over the men of war; and seven men of those who saw the king's face, who were found in the city; and the scribe of the captain of the army, who mustered the people of the land; and sixty men of the people of the land, who were found in the midst of the city.
Jer 52:26 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.
Jer 52:27 The king of Babylon struck them, and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away captive out of his land.
Jer 52:28 This is the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand twenty-three Jews;
Jer 52:29 in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty-two persons;
Jer 52:30 in the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty-five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.
Jer 52:31 It happened in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison;
Jer 52:32 and he spoke kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings who were with him in Babylon,
Jer 52:33 and changed his prison garments. Jehoiachin ate bread before him continually all the days of his life:
Jer 52:34 and for his allowance, there was a continual allowance given him by the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.


Nov. 25
Hebrews 11

Heb 11:1 Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.
Heb 11:2 For by this, the elders obtained testimony.
Heb 11:3 By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.
Heb 11:4 By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it he, being dead, still speaks.
Heb 11:5 By faith, Enoch was taken away, so that he wouldn't see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God.
Heb 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.
Heb 11:7 By faith, Noah, being warned about things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared a ship for the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Heb 11:8 By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went.
Heb 11:9 By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.
Heb 11:10 For he looked for the city which has the foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Heb 11:11 By faith, even Sarah herself received power to conceive, and she bore a child when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised.
Heb 11:12 Therefore as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the sea shore, were fathered by one man, and him as good as dead.
Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Heb 11:14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.
Heb 11:15 If indeed they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had enough time to return.
Heb 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Heb 11:17 By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son;
Heb 11:18 even he to whom it was said, "In Isaac will your seed be called;"
Heb 11:19 concluding that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead.
Heb 11:20 By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come.
Heb 11:21 By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
Heb 11:22 By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave instructions concerning his bones.
Heb 11:23 By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
Heb 11:24 By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,
Heb 11:25 choosing rather to share ill treatment with God's people, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time;
Heb 11:26 accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Heb 11:27 By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
Heb 11:28 By faith, he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them.
Heb 11:29 By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to do so, they were swallowed up.
Heb 11:30 By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days.
Heb 11:31 By faith, Rahab the prostitute, didn't perish with those who were disobedient, having received the spies in peace.
Heb 11:32 What more shall I say? For the time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets;
Heb 11:33 who, through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Heb 11:34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, rom weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee.
Heb 11:35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
Heb 11:36 Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment.
Heb 11:37 They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated
Heb 11:38 (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth.
Heb 11:39 These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn't receive the promise,
Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.