From Mark Copeland... "FAITH IS THE VICTORY!" In Overcoming Depression

                        "FAITH IS THE VICTORY!"

                        In Overcoming Depression


1. In this series we have been considering how faith in Jesus gives us
   the victory...
   a. In overcoming sin
   b. In overcoming what are often the consequences of sin or sinful
   -- Using as our basic text 1Jn 5:4-5

2. We have stressed that faith in Jesus involves...
   a. A strong trust and conviction in who Jesus is, what He did, what
      He taught
   b. Accepting and acting upon His words and those of His apostles

3. We have looked at how faith in Jesus can address the problems of...
   a. Sin itself
   b. Anxiety
   c. Boredom

4. Now we will consider how faith in Jesus can help us overcome
   a. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)...
      1) During any one year period, 17.6 million people suffer from a
         depressive illness
      2) Depressive illnesses often interfere with normal function,
         causing pain not only to those with the disorder, but to those
         who care about them
      3) Serious depression can destroy family life as well as the life
         of the ill person
   b. Christians certainly are not immune to the problem of "depression"...
      1) Great men of God have been known to suffer depression: Elijah,
         David, Jeremiah
      2) I know mature Christians who have had to deal with the problem
         of depression

[Overcoming depression is not easy, but it can be done.  As before, 
let's start by trying to understand the problem we face...]


      1. According to the American Heritage Dictionary: A psychotic or
         neurotic condition characterized by an inability to
         concentrate, insomnia, and feelings of extreme sadness,
         dejection, and hopelessness
      2. According to NIMH:
         a. Depression is a "whole-body" illness, involving your body,
            mood, and thoughts
         b. It affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel 
            about yourself, and the way you think about things
         c. It is not the same as a passing blue mood, nor a sign of 
            personal weakness
         d. It is not a condition that can be willed or wished away; 
            without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, 
      3. Two serious types of clinical depression are...
         a. Major depression - manifested by a combination of symptoms
            that interfere with the ability to work, sleep, eat, and 
            enjoy pleasurable activities.  These disabling episodes of
            depression can occur once, twice, or several times in a
         c. Bipolar Disorder - formerly called manic-depressive 
            illness. Involves cycles of depression and elation or 
            mania. Mood switches can be dramatic and rapid, but
            normally are gradual. When in the depressed cycle, one can
            have any or all the symptoms of a depressive disorder. When
            in the manic cycle, any or all of the symptoms of mania may
            be experienced. It affects thinking, judgment, and social
            behavior in ways that can cause serious problems and
            embarrassment. It is often a chronic recurring condition.

      1. Depression
         a. Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
         b. Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness,
         c. Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities, 
            including sex
         d. Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
         e. Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
         f. Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
         g. Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
         h. Restlessness, irritability
         i. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
         j. Recurring aches and pains that don't respond to treatment
      2. Mania
         a. Excessively "high" mood
         b. Irritability
         c. Severe insomnia
         d. Grandiose notions
         e. Increased talking
         f. Disconnected and racing thoughts, easily distracted
         g. Increased sexual desire
         h. Markedly increased energy
         i. Poor judgment
         j. Inappropriate social behavior

      1. Other illnesses can bring on depression (e.g., strokes, some
         cancers, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, hormonal disorders).
      2. Some medications cause depressive symptoms as side effects
         (e.g., certain drugs used to treat high blood pressure and 
      3. Genetics and family history - Depression runs in families.
         Some people probably have a biological make-up that makes them
         particularly vulnerable.
      4. Certain personalities - People with low self-esteem or who 
         are very dependent on others seem to be vulnerable to 
      5. Life events, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, 
         moving to a new place, money problems or any sort of loss can
         be linked to depression. People without relatives or friends
         to help have even more difficulty coping with their losses.

      1. Medication - Useful for relieving symptoms, they include 
         antidepressants and are usually administered through trial and
         error to see which medications and dosage are beneficial to a
         particular patient
      2. Psychotherapy - Talking with a trained therapist can be 
         effective in treating certain depressions.  Therapy includes:
         a. Cognitive therapy - Aims to help the patient recognize and
            change negative thinking patterns that contribute to 
         b. Interpersonal therapy - Focuses on dealing more effectively
            with other people; improved relationships can reduce 
            depressive symptoms
      3. Biological treatments - This includes electroconvulsive 
         therapy; research is also being done on the use of light for
         the treatment of depression

[As a member of a family with a genetic predisposition toward
depression, I am particularly sensitive to the problem of depression. I
don't discount the value of medical efforts to treat depression or any
other illness, for even Paul counseled the medicinal use of wine to 
treat stomach ailments (cf. 1Ti 5:23).

I am persuaded, however, that faith in Jesus can greatly complement any
effort to overcome depression...]


      1. Among many things that can make people depressed, there are 
         such things as:
         a. Guilt for sins committed in the past
         b. Concern regarding one's relationship with God in the 
         c. Fear for what might happen in the future
      2. As we have stressed before, what Jesus has done, is doing, and
         will do, addresses such problems
         a. He addresses the problem of sin, through His death on the cross!
         b. He teaches us how to pray, and maintain a healthy 
            relationship with God!
         c. He gives us hope and promise concerning the future, through
            His resurrection and ultimate return!

      1. Cognitive therapy seeks to help one recognize and change 
         negative thinking patterns that contribute to depression; 
         sample suggestions include:
         a. Don't set for yourself difficult goals or take on a great
            deal of responsibility
         b. Break large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, do
            what you can as you can
         c. Don't expect too much from yourself too soon as this will
            only increase feelings of failure
         d. Participate in activities that may make you feel better
         e. Try to be with other people; it is usually better than 
            being alone
      2. In His teachings, Jesus stressed similar principles!
         a. Reminding us of God's providential love and care - Mt 6:25-32
         b. Teaching us where to place our priorities in life - Mt 6:33
         c. Revealing our own limitations - Mt 6:34
         d. Pointing out the kind of selfless service can provide true
            joy - cf. Jn 13:12-17; Ac 20:35
         e. That God is longsuffering, willing to forgive and comfort
            the downhearted - cf. Mt 5:3-6; the parable of the 
            Prodigal Son, Lk 15:11-32

      1. Interpersonal therapy focuses on one's disturbed personal 
         relationships that both cause and exacerbate the depression
      2. Jesus certainly addresses interpersonal relationships!
         a. Our relationship with God - cf. 2Co 5:18-21
         b. Our relationship with our fellow man - e.g., Mt 5:23-24; 18:21-22
      3. Through His death and teachings He strengthens interpersonal
         a. Reconciling us back to God and man - cf. Ep 2:14-17
         b. Teaching us how to love God and one another - e.g., 
            Jn 13:34-35; 1Jn 5:2-3
         c. His church is to be a family, providing strength and
            encouragement, even bearing one another's burdens - cf. 
            Ga 6:1-2; 1Th 5:14


1. Depression, like anxiety and boredom, is not something to be taken lightly...
   a. Many people suffer from it, including brothers and sisters in Christ
   b. It can have a debilitating effect on the one who suffers from it,
      and on those around them

2. Yet Christ can provide a way out for those willing to have faith in Him!
   a. Not just faith in the one suffering from depression
   b. But faith in those who are in position to aid the suffering
   -- It is only when both the "patient" and the "care-giver" accept
      and act upon the words of Jesus can there be the kind of joy,
      peace and comfort Jesus intended

3. Indeed, His teachings are designed to provide true joy and peace 
   - Jn 15:11; 16:33
   a. As Paul wrote, God "comforts us in all our tribulation" - cf. 2Co 1:3-4
   b. But such comfort is intended to be shared, that "we may be able
      to comfort those who are in trouble..."

Is our faith in Jesus what it ought to be?  Is it such that we can 
carry out Paul's admonition...?

   Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort
   the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. (1Th 5:14)

If so, then truly we can say:  "Faith Is The Victory!"

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

He Climbed Up the Waterspout by Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.


He Climbed Up the Waterspout

by  Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.

As David stood before the city of Jerusalem, the Jebusites, confident of their city’s natural and manufactured fortifications, taunted him: “You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you...” (2 Samuel 5:6). In response, David persuaded his army: “Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites...he shall be chief and captain” (2 Samuel 5:8). The parallel account in first Chronicles indicates that Joab accepted and accomplished David’s challenge (11:6).
For years, scholars have debated the exact means by which Joab penetrated the city’s fortification, questioning the translation of 2 Samuel 5:8, its historicity, or both. Yigal Shiloh, who re-examined the waterworks in the City of David (ancient Jerusalem), argued that such shafts as that mentioned by David appear on the historical scene after the time he conquered Jerusalem (1981, 7[4]:39). Hence, supposedly there was no water shaft at Jerusalem through which Joab could have entered the ancient city.
Translation considerations do not resolve this tension. The Hebrew word translated “water shaft” (2 Samuel 5:6) is tsinnor. This word appears only one other time in the Hebrew text, where it is translated “waterfalls” (Psalm 42:7), which is consistent with the aquatic imagery of this psalm. Further, the related word tsanterot appears in Zechariah 4:12, and means “pipes” or “tubes” (cf. Harris, 1980, 2:771; Kleven, 1994, 20[4]:34). Biblical usage, therefore, links tsinnor with a conduit of water, which is consistent with the traditionally accepted translation appearing in English versions. Additionally, Ugaritic texts corroborate the translation in 2 Samuel 5:8 as a type of water shaft (Kleven, 1994, 20[4]:35).
Cut-away view of the waterworks beneath the City of David (after Gill, 1994, 20[4]:24). Geologist Dan Gill has shown that ancient inhabitants merely modified a natural system of shafts and conduits formed by water eroding and dissolving limestone and dolomite rock. Joab’s assault force could have entered through the Gihon Spring and Warren’s Shaft, or through a conduit exiting on the eastern slope. At some unknown date, the spring’s drainage was diverted from the Kidron Valley, transforming Warren’s Shaft into a well, which was accessible via tunnels from behind the walls of the city. In 701 B.C., Hezekiah enlarged the conduit from the spring, bringing water 1748 feet into the Siloam pool.
Therefore, if Shiloh is correct, there is a serious problem with the Bible’s integrity. How could David speak of a water shaft that was non-existent? Recently, Dan Gill, the geologist on Shiloh’s staff, suggested that there were at least two points outside the city’s wall through which Joab could have entered Jerusalem by stealth: (1) from the Gihon Spring and up Warren’s Shaft; and (2) through a tunnel that exists on the eastern slope (1994, 20[4]:30). Warren’s Shaft, discovered in 1867 by Captain Charles Warren (and named after him), provided the ancient city with guarded access to the Gihon Spring, which lay outside the city’s protective wall. The irregular dimensions of the channel suggest that Warren’s Shaft was not humanly contrived initially; rather, in all likelihood it was a naturally occurring sinkhole (erosion shaft) caused by water percolating through dolomite (see Shanks, 1985, 11[6]:38). Thus, before artificial water systems became architectural norms in royal centers, the Jebusites had access to a much-coveted water supply. It is reasonable to believe that the Jebusites’ city was well known for this unusual accommodation. Fortunately for David, that convenience was the city’s Achilles heel.
Warren’s Shaft most likely was the aperture through which Joab ascended—a valiant feat that led to the demise of David’s unsuspecting enemy, and won him a place of honor in his king’s army. We can be certain of one thing: the physical evidence suggests that there was a water shaft at the ancient Jebusite city as mentioned by David. Thus, archaeological and geological data are consistent with the biblical record, and corroborate its historical reliability.


Gill, Dan (1994), “How They Met,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 20[4]:21-33,64, July/August.
Harris, Laird, Gleason Archer, and Bruce Waltke, eds. (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody), 2:771.
Kleven, Terence (1994), “Up the Waterspout,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 20[4]:34-35, July/August.
Shanks, Hershel (1985), “The City of David After Five Years of Digging,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 11[6]:22-38, November/December.
Shiloh, Yigal (1981), “Jerusalem’s Water Supply During Siege: The Rediscovery of Warren’s Shaft,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 7[4]:24-39, July/August.

Does God’s Existence Rest Upon Human Consensus? by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Does God’s Existence Rest Upon Human Consensus?

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Three minutes and 45 seconds into Dan Barker’s opening statement in our Darwin Day debate on February 12, 2009, he presented an argument that he has often used in other debates and writings. In his list of “probability” arguments, he included as his fifth argument against God’s existence the following comments: “There is no agreement among believers as to the nature or the moral principles of this God that they are arguing for. They all differ with each other” (Butt and Barker, 2009). According to Dan, since those professing Christianity come down on either side of moral issues such as abortion, divorce, and the death penalty, then the God Who wrote the Bible “in all probability” does not exist, and the Bible must not be a sufficient guide for human morality.
Is Dan correct in his assessment that disagreement among professed believers nullifies the existence of God? Certainly not! Barker is incorrect for a number of reasons, the majority of which are quite clear after the briefest consideration of the argument. First, we could simply say that Dan’s argument, used against his own brand of atheism, refutes itself, since he admits that atheists do not agree on moral issues. In his book godless, Barker stated: “Most atheists think that values, though not objective things in themselves, can be objectively justified by reference to the real world.... Although most atheists accept the importance of morality, this is not conceding that morality exists in the universe” (2008, p. 213-214, emp. added). Notice that Barker qualifies his statement with the word “most,” implying that some atheists do not see morality as he does. In his discussion of human free will, Barker wrote: “By the way, this contributes to my compatibilist position on human free will. (Not that all atheists agree with me.) I am an determinist, which means that I don’t think complete libertarian free will exists.... I admit that my definition of free will is subject to debate” (2008, p. 128, emp. added). If Barker’s statement about disagreement of professed believers is true, we could, with equal force, use it on atheism and say that since there is no agreement among atheists on moral issues, then atheism “in all probability” is false.
Of course, Barker does not want to extend his “truth” criterion to atheism. And his statement is inherently flawed in the first place. If two or more people disagreed on whether the holocaust happened, but they all professed to be honest historians, would their disagreement prove that there never was a holocaust? If two people, who both claim to be honest geographers, disagree on the fact that the continent of North America exists, would that negate its reality? Or if two or more people adamantly disagreed on the idea that Dan Barker exists, would his existence be jeopardized based on their disagreement? No, on every count. Agreement among people cannot be used as evidence of the truth or falsity of any proposition.
Barker’s atheistic colleague, Sam Harris, has eloquently written on this truth. He disagrees with many atheists about ethical questions. In spite of his atheism, he contends that objective right and wrong do exist (an impossible proposition for a true atheist to maintain, by the way). He wrote:
The fact that people of different times and cultures disagree about ethical questions should not trouble us. It suggests nothing at all about the status of moral truth. Imagine what it would be like to consult the finest thinkers of antiquity on questions of basic science: “What,” we might ask, “is fire? And how do living systems reproduce themselves? And what are the various lights we see in the night sky?” We would surely encounter a bewildering lack of consensus on these matters. Even though there was no shortage of brilliant minds in the ancient world, they simply lacked the physical and conceptual tools to answer questions of this sort. Their lack of consensus signified their ignorance of certain physical truths, not that no such truths exist (2004, p. 171, emp. added).
The irony of this quote from Harris is that it manifests the atheistic community’s lack of consensus on ethical issues, which should disprove atheism according to Barker’s line of reasoning. Furthermore, it hammers home the self-evident truth that consensus among professed followers of any concept or entity has no bearing on its existence or its claim to truth. Harris further remarked: “It is quite conceivable that everyone might agree and yet be wrong about the way the world is. It is also conceivable that a single person might be right in the face of unanimous opposition” (2004, pp. 181-182, emp. added).
While it is true that the lack of consensus on moral issues by those who profess Christianity does nothing to discount the existence of God, it is appropriate to ask why such disparity exists. Again, it is ironic that Dan Barker has answered his own question in this regard. In his speech, “How to be Moral Without Religion,” given at the University of Minnesota on October 19, 2006, Barker stated: “A tendency that we all have, we look through our documents to try to find what supports our already prejudice views about what we think morality should be like.” In one succinct sentence, Barker explained why there is a lack of consensus among professed believers on moral issues. It is not because God does not exist. It is not because the Bible is hopelessly confusing and cannot be understood. It is not because there is no objective moral truth. It is simply because humans bring their already prejudiced views to the text of the Bible and try to force it to say what they “think” it should say.


Barker, Dan (2006), “How to be Moral Without Religion,” [On-line], URL: http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/CASH1.mp3.
Barker, Dan (2008), godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Butt/Barker Debate: Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Harris, Sam (2004), The End of Faith (New York: W.W. Norton).

Atheist Parenting Book by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Atheist Parenting Book

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the July 16, 2007 issue of Newsweek, Lisa Miller informed readers about a new and different parenting book, titled Parenting Beyond Belief. Edited by Dale McGowan, this volume “aims to help folks who are raising their kids without religion deal with the sticky questions that come up about Santa Claus and heaven, and it raises more serious concerns about how to bring up ethical, confident, non-believing kids in a culture saturated with talk about God” (Miller, 2007, p. 10). According to McGowan’s Web site, Parenting Beyond Belief “is the first comprehensive parenting book by a major publisher on raising children without religion” (2007). McGowan added: “We hope it isn’t the last” (2007).
Included in Parenting Beyond Belief is discussion about a new summer camp for children of atheists. Camp Quest: The Secular Summer Camp, which operates in six different locations in North America, claims to be “the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States for the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Brights, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold to a naturalistic, not supernatural world view” (Camp Quest, n.d., emp. added).
It seems as if atheists are more determined than ever to indoctrinate children with godless materials and ideologies. In the end, Dale McGowan’s hope of seeing more atheistic materials for families ultimately fails to provide reasonable, not to mention comforting, answers to life’s biggest questions. Imagine the child who ponders his origin for the first time: “Mom, why are we here?” “Ricky,” mom replies, “we’re here because, by chance, billions of years ago a tiny ball of matter exploded. Eventually Earth was formed, life emerged from lifeless matter, and millions of years later humans evolved from lower animals.” “So we’re here by accident?” Ricky asks. “That’s one way of looking at it,” says his mother. Parenting Beyond Belief and Camp Quest no doubt help atheistic parents explain origins and ultimate destinations to their children in a more creative way. However, the bottom line is, children will learn that life ultimately is meaningless because their existence is accidental and there is no life beyond death.
The key to an abundant life, both in the present and in the afterlife, is found only through Christ Jesus (John 10:10). May God help us to teach our children this truth, as well as reach out to those reared by atheists, who may never have heard the answers that Jesus and His Word can provide.


Camp Quest: The Secular Summer Camp (no date), [On-line], URL: http://www.camp-quest.org/.
McGowan, Dale (2007), “Parenting Beyond Belief,” [On-line], URL: http://www.parentingbeyondbelief.com/.
Miller, Lisa (2007), “BELIEF WATCH: How To,” Newsweek, July 16.

Capital Punishment and the Bible by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Capital Punishment and the Bible

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The Bible is the written Word of God. Within its pages, we find the wisdom of God. We find what is best for the human race—how God intends for life to be conducted. What is God’s view of capital punishment? Both the Old Testament as well as the New Testament address this subject.


Very early in human history, God decreed that murderers were to forfeit their own lives: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he the man” (Genesis 9:6). This standard continued into the Mosaic period (cf. Numbers 35:33). As a matter of fact, the law God gave to Moses to regulate the Israelite nation made provision for at least sixteen capital crimes. In sixteen instances, the death penalty was to be invoked. The first four may be categorized as pertaining to civil matters.
1. Under the law of Moses, the death penalty was required in cases of premeditated murder (Exodus 21:12-14,22-23; Leviticus 24:17; Numbers 35:16-21). This regulation even included the situation in which two men might be fighting and, in the process, cause the death of an innocent bystander or her unborn infant. It did not include accidental homicide, which we call “manslaughter.”
2. Kidnapping was a capital crime under the Old Testament (Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7). One movie, which was based on an actual incident, depicted the kidnapping of a seven-year-old boy as he was walking home from school. The man who stole him kept him for some seven years, putting the child through emotional and sexual abuse, before the boy, at age fifteen, was finally returned to his parents. He was a different child, and never again would be the same. God would not tolerate such a thing in the Old Testament, and much of the same would be stopped in America if such crimes were taken more seriously.
3. A person could be put to death for striking or cursing his parents (Exodus 21:15,17; Leviticus 20:9). Jesus alluded to this point in Matthew 15:4 and Mark 7:10.
4. Incorrigible rebelliousness was punishable by death (Deuteronomy 17:12). For example, a stubborn, disobedient, rebellious son who would not submit to parents or civil authorities was to be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
The next six capital crimes can be identified as more specifically pertaining to religious matters.
5. Sacrificing to false gods was a capital crime in the Old Testament (Exodus 22:20).
6. Violating the Sabbath brought the death penalty (Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36).
7. Blasphemy, or cursing God, warranted the death penalty (Leviticus 24:10-16,23).
8. The false prophet, specifically one who tried to entice the people to idolatry, was to be executed (Deuteronomy 13:1-11), as were the people who were so influenced (Deuteronomy 13:12-18).
9. Human sacrifice was a capital crime (Leviticus 20:2). The Israelites were tempted to offer their children to false pagan deities, like Molech. But such was despicable to God.
10. Divination, or the dabbling in the magical arts, was a capital crime. Consequently, under Mosaic law, witches, sorcerers, wizards, mediums, charmers, soothsayers, diviners, spiritists, and enchanters were to be put to death (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:26,31; 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:9-14).
The next six crimes pertain to sexual matters.
11. Adultery was punishable by death under the Old Testament (Leviticus 20:10-21; Deuteronomy 22:22). Can you imagine what would happen in our own country if adultery brought the death penalty? Most of Hollywood would be wiped out, as well as a sizeable portion of the rest of our population!
12. Bestiality, i.e., having sexual relations with an animal, was punishable by death (Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 20:15-16).
13. Incest was a capital offense in the Old Testament (Leviticus 18:6-17; 20:11-12,14).
14. Homosexuality was a capital crime (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13).
15. Premarital sex brought the death penalty (Leviticus 21:9; Deuteronomy 22:20-21).
16. Rape of an engaged or married woman was a capital crime in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 22:25-27). Again, imagine what would happen in this country if rape brought the death penalty! Much of the unconscionable treatment of women now taking place would be terminated.
Capital punishment was written into God’s will for the Jewish nation in the Old Testament. The death penalty was a viable form of punishment for at least sixteen separate offenses. Some people have misunderstood one of the Ten Commandments which says, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). They have assumed that the law forbade taking human life under any circumstances. But God required the death penalty for some sixteen crimes. Therefore, the commandment would have been better translated, “You shall not murder.” In other words, the command was a prohibition against an individual taking the law into his own hands and exercising personal vengeance. But God wanted the execution of law breakers to be carried out by duly constituted legal authorities.


Moving to the New Testament, which reveals God’s will this side of the cross, the matter of capital punishment is treated virtually the same. The New Testament clearly teaches that capital punishment is God’s will for human civilization. Consider, for example, Romans 13:1-4.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
This passage clearly affirms that the state—civil government—has the God-ordained responsibility to keep law and order, and to protect its citizens against evildoers. The word “sword” in this passage refers to capital punishment. God wants duly constituted civil authority to invoke the death penalty upon citizens who commit crimes worthy of death.
For about the last thirty years, Americans have actually witnessed a breakdown on the part of judicial and law enforcement system. In most cases, the government has failed to “bear the sword.” Instead, the prison system has been overrun with incorrigible criminals. Premature parole and early release has become commonplace in order to make room for the increasing number of lawbreakers.
The apostle Paul, himself, articulated the correct attitude when he stood before Porcius Festus and defended his actions by stating, “If I am an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I do not object to dying” (Acts 25:11). Paul was acknowledging that the state properly possesses the power of life and death in the administration of civil justice.
Peter held the same position as that of Paul. He enjoined obedience to the government that has been sent by God “for the punishment of evildoers” (1 Peter 2:14; cf. Titus 3:1). Jesus implied the propriety of capital punishment when He told the Parable of the Pounds. Those who rebelled against the king were to be brought and executed in his presence (Luke 19:27). Compare that parable with the one He told about the wicked husbandmen in Luke 20:15-16 in which He indicated that the owner of the vineyard would return and destroy the husbandmen.


Those who oppose capital punishment raise a variety of objections to its legitimacy. For example, someone might raise the question: “Did not Jesus teach that we should turn the other cheek?” Yes, He did, in Matthew 5:39. But in that context, He was impressing upon the Jews their need not to engage in personal vendettas. The same point is stressed in Romans 12:14-21. Paul said, “Repay no one evil for evil” and “do not avenge yourselves.” In other words, Christians are not to take the law into their own hands and engage in vengeful retaliation. God insists that vengeance belongs to Him.
Notice, however, that Romans 13 picks right up where Romans 12 leaves off and shows how God takes vengeance. He employs civil government as the instrumentality for imposing the death penalty. So, individual citizens are not to engage in vigilante tactics. God wants the legal authorities to punish criminals, and thereby protect the rest of society.
A second objection to capital punishment pertains to the woman taken in adultery. “Did not Jesus exonerate her and leave her uncondemned?” Surely the story about the woman taken in adultery in John 8 has been misused and misapplied more than almost any other Scripture. Yet a careful study of this passage yields complete harmony with the principle of capital punishment. At least four extenuating circumstances necessitated Jesus leaving the woman uncondemned:
First, Mosaic regulation stated that a person could be executed only if there were two or more witnesses to the crime (Deuteronomy 19:15). One witness was insufficient to evoke the death penalty (Deuteronomy 17:6). The woman was reportedly caught in the very act, but nothing is said of the identity of the witnesses. There may have been only one.
Second, even if there were two or more witnesses present to verify the woman’s sin, the Old Testament was equally explicit concerning the fact that both the woman and the man were to be executed (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22). Where was the man on this occasion? Obviously, this was a trumped up situation that did not fit the Mosaic preconditions for invoking capital punishment. Obedience to the Law of Moses in this instance actually meant letting the woman go.
A third point to take into consideration is the precise meaning of the phrase “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7). If this statement is taken as a blanket prohibition against capital punishment, then this passage flatly contradicts Romans 13. Instead, what Jesus was getting at was what Paul meant when he said, “you who judge practice the same things” (Romans 2:1). Jesus knew that the woman’s accusers were guilty of the very thing of which they were willing to condemn her. He was able to prick them in regard to their guilt by causing them to realize that He knew they were guilty of the very same thing. The Old Law made clear that the witnesses to the crime were to cast the first stones (Deuteronomy 17:7). Jesus was striking directly at the fact that the woman’s accusers were ineligible to fulfill this role.
Fourth, capital punishment would have had to have been levied by a duly constituted court of law. This mob was actually engaging in an illegal action—vigilantism. Jesus, though the Son of God, would not have interfered in the responsibility of the appropriate judicial authorities to handle the situation. Remember that, on another occasion when one of two brothers approached Jesus out of a crowd and asked Him to settle a probate dispute, Jesus responded: “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” (Luke 12:14). So the effort by this mob in John 8 to ensnare Jesus was without legal justification.
Jesus actually handled the situation appropriately, in keeping with legal protocol of both Old Testament law as well as Roman civil law. The woman clearly violated God’s law, and deserved the death penalty. But the necessary prerequisites for pronouncing the execution sentence were lacking—which is precisely what Jesus meant when He said, “Neither do I condemn you.” Since the legal stipulations that were needed to establish her guilt were not in place, He would not override the law and condemn her. Jesus’ action on this occasion in no way discredits the legitimacy of capital punishment.
A third objection that has been raised in an effort to challenge the propriety of capital punishment is the insistence by some that the death penalty serves no useful purpose—especially when it comes to deterring other criminals from their course of action. Opponents insist, “capital punishment is not a deterrent to crime.” This kind of humanistic, uninformed thinking has held sway for some 30+ years. It might be believable if it were not for the inspired Word of God informing to the contrary.
Even if capital punishment did not serve as a deterrent, it still would serve at least one other worthwhile purpose: the elimination from society of those elements that persist in destructive behavior. The Bible teaches that some people can be hardened into a sinful, wicked condition. They have become so cold, cruel, and mean that even the threat of death does not phase them. Paul referred to those whose consciences had been “seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). Some people are so hardened that they are described as “past feeling” and completely given over to wickedness (Ephesians 4:19). God invoked the death penalty upon an entire generation because their wickedness was “great in the earth” and “every imagination of the thoughts of [their] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
So the human heart and mind can become so alienated from right, good, and truth that a person can be unreachable, incorrigible, and irretrievable. The death penalty would spare law-abiding citizens any further perpetration of death and suffering by those who engage in such repetitive actions. How horrible and senseless it is that so many Americans have had to suffer terribly at the hands of criminals who already have been found guilty of previous crimes, but who were permitted to go free and repeat their criminal behavior!
So even if capital punishment was not a deterrent, it is still a necessary option in society. It holds in check the growth and spread of hardened criminals. A careful study is warranted of the expression “so you shall put away the evil from your midst” (Deuteronomy 13:5; 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21; 1 Corinthians 5:13).
But the Bible clearly teaches that the application of penal punishment, including the death penalty, is, in fact, a deterrent. For example, God wanted the death penalty imposed upon any individual, including one’s relative, who attempted secretly to entice others into idolatry. Such a person was to be stoned to death in the presence of the entire nation with this resulting effect: “So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you” (Deuteronomy 13:11).
Another instance of this rationale is seen in the pronouncement of death upon the incorrigible rebel: “And all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act presumptuously” (Deuteronomy 17:13). The principle is stated again when the Jews were instructed to take a rebellious and stubborn son and stone him to death with the effect that “all Israel shall hear and fear” (Deuteronomy 21:21).
This same perspective is illustrated even in the New Testament. Paul emphasized that elders in the church who sinned were to be rebuked publicly “that others also may fear” (1 Timothy 5:20). Ananias and Sapphira, a Christian couple in the early church, were divinely executed in Acts 5, and in the very next verse Luke wrote: “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (Acts 5:11). These passages prove that a direct link exists between punishment and execution on the one hand, and the caution that it instills in others on the other hand.
The Bible teaches the corollary of this principle as well. Where there is inadequate, insufficient and delayed punishment, crime and violence increase. Notice Ecclesiastes 8:11—“Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” This very phenomenon is occurring even now in America.
The court system is clogged and backed up to the point that many cases do not come to trial for literally years. Criminals who have been shown to be guilty of multiple murders and other heinous crimes are given light sentences, while those who deserve far less are given exorbitant sentences. A mockery of the justice system has resulted. Such circumstances, according to the Bible, only serve to encourage more lawlessness. The overall citizenry cannot help but grow lax in their own attitudes. This principle is evident in the biblical expression, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6).
If the Bible is to be believed, capital punishment is, indeed, a deterrent to criminal behavior. The elimination of hardened criminals is necessary if societies are to survive. The liberal, humanistic values that have held sway in America for the last 40 years are taking their toll, and getting back to God’s view of things is the only hope if the nation is to survive.
A fourth quibble that someone might raise is that capital punishment appears to be a rather extreme step to take since it is as cruel, barbaric, and violent as the action committed by the criminal himself. Is it not the case that capital punishment is resorting to the same kind of behavior as the criminal? May capital punishment be viewed as a vindictive retaliation? The biblical response to this question is seen in the oft’-repeated phrases: “his blood be upon him” (Leviticus 20:9,13,27; Deuteronomy 19:10; Ezekiel 18:13; 33:5) and “his blood be upon his own head” (Joshua 2:19; 2 Samuel 1:16; Ezekiel 33:4; Acts 18:6).
Those who carry out the death sentence are, in reality, neutral third parties. They are merely carrying out the will of God in dispensing justice. The criminal is simply receiving what he brought upon himself—his “just desserts.” The expression “his blood be upon him” indicates that God assigns responsibility for the execution to the one being executed. It’s like we tell small children: “If you put your hand in the fire, you’re going to get burned.” There are consequences to our actions. If we do not want to be executed, we should not commit any act that merits death. If we do commit such an act, we have earned the death penalty, and we deserve to get what we have earned. The one who metes out the punishment is not to be blamed or considered responsible for the execution of the guilty.
Rather than oppose those who promote capital punishment, painting them as insensitive ogres or uncaring, callous, uncivilized barbarians, effort would be better spent focusing upon the barbaric behavior of the criminals who rape, plunder, and pillage. It is their behavior that should be kept in mind. Tears and compassion ought to center on the innocent victims and their families. Lethal injection of a wicked evildoer hardly can match the violent, inhuman suffering and death experienced by the innocent victims of crime. They continue to suffer, while the perpetrator carries on for many years, many trials, and many appeals before justice is served—if it ever is. The God of the Bible is incensed and outraged at such circumstances. The time has come to start listening to Him as He speaks through His inspired Word.

From Jim McGuiggan... Book of Revelation (6)

Book of Revelation (6)

It’s an overstatement but when you read books like 1 Samuel or Mark you read the words and know what the writer has in mind by the very words he uses. That’s because, whatever the writer means to do with what he writes he tells of actual events and people doing this or saying that or going here or there. But that’s now how it works in the book of Revelation. Revelation uses words to paint images and the reader has to ask, "What does the picture mean?" Anyone can tell you what the picture is (you only have to read it), but the issue is, what does the picture mean?
For example, John sees a seven-headed beast come up out of the sea in chapter 13:1. We aren’t supposed to think that sometime, somewhere (past or future) an animal like that came or will come up out of the sea. No! We’re supposed to look at the picture and ask, "What does the seven-headed sea-beast stand for?" The same is true of the Prostitute that rides the beast or the awful locusts or the terrifying plagues on the oceans, lakes and rivers of the world. In trying to understand Revelation (and, apart from some specific texts, it’s not that difficult) the thing to say to ourselves is, "That’s what he sees, now what does it mean?"
Let’s take a look at three more important images used in Revelation.
A new heaven and earth (21:1)
John sees a new heaven and new earth come into existence. He sees a red Dragon with seven heads, he sees a Glorious Woman with the moon at her feet and a world entirely without drinking water and we asked, "what do these things mean?" Now he sees a new heaven and earth and what are we to do? We’re to ask, "what does this mean?"
The vision of a new heaven and earth speaks of a new environment, a new state of affairs for the people of God. The old world in Revelation’s context has been dominated by the cruel and evil Roman Empire—it was, so to speak, their world! But they offended God and he attacked it. In Revelation its stars are torn down, its seas are turned to blood, earthquakes tore it in shreds and its vegetation is completely destroyed—the Roman world is dismantled. None of that literally happened! John now sees a new heaven and earth. But as surely as we’re not to believe in the literal dismantling of the Roman world (remember 22:6,10) we’re not to believe in a literal creating of a new heaven and earth. This is a book of pictures! It tells its message in images. It isn’t like other books and mustn’t be interpreted like other books. When Matthew says they met a man carrying a water pitcher on his head we tend to believe that that’s what they actually saw. When John says he saw a door open in heaven or that he saw a new city coming down out of the sky on to the earth we’re not supposed to take it as literal.
The vision of the new heaven and earth is Revelation’s way of saying that the People of God live to see the destruction of the world "owned" and shaped by the beast-empire of Rome. They are free from Rome. Rome can no longer murder them or make them cry or mourn (21:4). There is no more sea (21:1) therefore the Roman beast can rise from it no more (13:1).
The dismantling of the world of the oppressor is a common vision in Old Testament prophets. Babylon’s world is dismantled in Isaiah 13 and 14. Edom’s world is devastated in Isaiah 34:4-15. Judah’s world is "uncreated" in Jeremiah 4:22-26 and so on. In none of these cases are we to think of a literal destruction of the world. Can you imagine what would happen if a star the size of Mount Everest fell on an earth the size of a grain of sand just so Edom could be destroyed?
A new and glorious Jerusalem (21:2,9)
The city that dominated the world in John’s day was Rome (see 17:18). Nations walked according to her laws and nations brought their wealth into it. She persecutes the Church in defiance of God and the world saw her as unbeatable but her wicked crumbled around her and her city went up in flames her (read the whole of chapter 18 and 21:1).
In her place John sees another city. He sees it coming down from heaven on to the earth. This city is not of earthly origin, men didn’t build it, God did (compare Hebrews 11:10,16). It sits on the new earth (21:24) and it’s called the new Jerusalem (21:2,9). That’s what John sees. What does this city stand for?
Whatever it is it isn’t heaven! John tells us it is the bride of the Lamb, the wife of Christ (21:9-10). The bride, the wife of Christ is the Church, the People of God (see Ephesians 5:29-32 and 2 Corinthians 11:2). We aren’t supposed to think this is a literal city that sometime in the past or in the future comes down out of heaven and settles on the earth (remember the dimensions of it?). That misses the point altogether. John is contrasting the wicked City that went down in flames to utter ruin and this one that is glorious and beautiful and invulnerable to attack. Notice how the images switch between a woman and a city; that’s what they did in chapter 17 when discussing the Prostitute and the city that ruled the world. This glorious city is no more literal than the new heaven and earth.
The message in this section is this: When the smoke clears there is one glorious city and it came down out of heaven to take its place in a new environment. That environment is free from the Roman oppressor and the city they claimed was "the eternal city" was now gone. The glorious city is a picture of the triumphant People of God and much of the imagery is taken from the Old Testament (see Isaiah 54:11-12 for example).
Her identity is spelled out (21:9). Her dimensions we’ve talked about earlier. She brings light and healing to the nations of the world (21:24 and 22:2). There are those who say that the city is literal, that it is sitting even now (yes!) ready to come down and sit on the earth. John expressly tells us it is not a city! It is the wife of the Lamb! It isn’t heaven, it isn’t a literal city and it isn’t even a literal wife of anyone. It’s God’s People in and through Jesus Christ and they are pictured as gloriously triumphant over their enemy (Rome, inspired by Satan).
A home within the wilderness (12:6,14)
The glorious Woman of 12:1-2 is the People of God (see Revelation 3). In 12:6 and 14 she is forced to flee into the wilderness. But in the wilderness she is taken care of for a time, times and half a time. This phrase will be discussed in Revelation (7) along with some other numbers.
Israel, the ancient People of God, experienced a wilderness period. John borrows some from their experience. Elijah, one of God’s prophets and witnesses, had his own wilderness experience during a three and a half-year drought. In both cases the people of God endured a wilderness experience but in both cases God looked after his troubled people. See Deuteronomy 8:2-5 and 1 Kings 17:1-16.
We have the trouble/triumph and suffering-but-sustained theme again. The Woman flees to the wilderness and that’s not the South of France or Acapulco but while she is there God protects and provides for her. Via these images the church of God is told tough times are ahead so they shouldn’t be surprised but they’re assured that wherever they are God will be with them to protect and bring them through to victory. That is the message of the home in the wilderness for three and a half-years.
The battle of Armageddon (16:12-16 and 19:11-21)
The battle of Armageddon is introduced in 16:12-16 but it is fought in 19:11-21. In 16:12-16 we’re told it is between "the kings from the East (sun-rising)" and the two beasts and their allies. In 19:11-21 we’re told it is between the People of God led by Jesus Christ and the two beasts and their allies. What does that tell you?
It tells you that the kings from the sun-rising in 16:12 are the People of God. Jesus himself is said to be the Bright and Morning Star (22:16 and see Malachi 4:2) and his followers are the kings from the sun-rising. It’s from the East that the sun rises into the sky and floods the earth with light.
In 16:12 we hear that these royal ones (compare 5:10 and 1 Peter 2:9) cross water on dry ground. In the Bible only the People of God do such a thing. They did it in the days of Moses, and under Joshua. Elijah did it and so did Elisha. And when God speaks of rescuing his people from their enemies he speaks about bringing them across water on dry ground (Isaiah 11:15). These kings advance from the sun-rising to dispel darkness from the earth. See Psalm 110:1-3 and read the description of the battle of Armageddon in Revelation 19, noting especially 19:8.
And why Armageddon? It is a huge valley in Palestine where ancient armies fought. Israel gained famous victories there under Deborah and Gideon. A Bible dictionary would tell you the derivation of Armageddon and say something about the strategic importance of the town of Megiddo and its association with the plain or valley. Those having some acquaintance with the OT would have known immediately what was meant when a battle of Armageddon was mentioned. In Revelation the battle pictures Rome led by Satan losing a pitched battle against the Church led by Jesus Christ.

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

From Gary... Bible Reading June 30

Bible Reading  

June 30

The World English Bible

June 30
1 Kings 7-9

1Ki 7:1 Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.
1Ki 7:2 For he built the house of the forest of Lebanon; its length was one hundred cubits, and its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits, on four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams on the pillars.
1Ki 7:3 It was covered with cedar above over the forty-five beams, that were on the pillars; fifteen in a row.
1Ki 7:4 There were beams in three rows, and window was over against window in three ranks.
1Ki 7:5 All the doors and posts were made square with beams: and window was over against window in three ranks.
1Ki 7:6 He made the porch of pillars; its length was fifty cubits, and its breadth thirty cubits; and a porch before them; and pillars and a threshold before them.
1Ki 7:7 He made the porch of the throne where he was to judge, even the porch of judgment: and it was covered with cedar from floor to floor.
1Ki 7:8 His house where he was to dwell, the other court within the porch, was of the like work. He made also a house for Pharaoh's daughter (whom Solomon had taken as wife), like this porch.
1Ki 7:9 All these were of costly stones, even of cut stone, according to measure, sawed with saws, inside and outside, even from the foundation to the coping, and so on the outside to the great court.
1Ki 7:10 The foundation was of costly stones, even great stones, stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits.
1Ki 7:11 Above were costly stones, even cut stone, according to measure, and cedar wood.
1Ki 7:12 The great court around had three courses of cut stone, and a course of cedar beams; like as the inner court of the house of Yahweh, and the porch of the house.
1Ki 7:13 King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.
1Ki 7:14 He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass; and he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill, to work all works in brass. He came to king Solomon, and performed all his work.
1Ki 7:15 For he fashioned the two pillars of brass, eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits encircled either of them about.
1Ki 7:16 He made two capitals of molten brass, to set on the tops of the pillars: the height of the one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits.
1Ki 7:17 There were nets of checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the capitals which were on the top of the pillars; seven for the one capital, and seven for the other capital.
1Ki 7:18 So he made the pillars; and there were two rows around on the one network, to cover the capitals that were on the top of the pillars: and so did he for the other capital.
1Ki 7:19 The capitals that were on the top of the pillars in the porch were of lily work, four cubits.
1Ki 7:20 There were capitals above also on the two pillars, close by the belly which was beside the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred, in rows around on the other capital.
1Ki 7:21 He set up the pillars at the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called its name Jachin; and he set up the left pillar, and called its name Boaz.
1Ki 7:22 On the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.
1Ki 7:23 He made the molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and its height was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits encircled it.
1Ki 7:24 Under its brim around there were buds which encircled it, for ten cubits, encircling the sea: the buds were in two rows, cast when it was cast.
1Ki 7:25 It stood on twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; and the sea was set on them above, and all their hinder parts were inward.
1Ki 7:26 It was a handbreadth thick: and its brim was worked like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily: it held two thousand baths.
1Ki 7:27 He made the ten bases of brass; four cubits was the length of one base, and four cubits its breadth, and three cubits its height.
1Ki 7:28 The work of the bases was on this manner: they had panels; and there were panels between the ledges;
1Ki 7:29 and on the panels that were between the ledges were lions, oxen, and cherubim; and on the ledges there was a pedestal above; and beneath the lions and oxen were wreaths of hanging work.
1Ki 7:30 Every base had four bronze wheels, and axles of brass; and the four feet of it had supports: beneath the basin were the supports molten, with wreaths at the side of each.
1Ki 7:31 The mouth of it within the capital and above was a cubit: and its mouth was round after the work of a pedestal, a cubit and a half; and also on its mouth were engravings, and their panels were foursquare, not round.
1Ki 7:32 The four wheels were underneath the panels; and the axles of the wheels were in the base: and the height of a wheel was a cubit and half a cubit.
1Ki 7:33 The work of the wheels was like the work of a chariot wheel: their axles, and their rims, and their spokes, and their naves, were all molten.
1Ki 7:34 There were four supports at the four corners of each base: its supports were of the base itself.
1Ki 7:35 In the top of the base was there a round compass half a cubit high; and on the top of the base its stays and its panels were of the same.
1Ki 7:36 On the plates of its stays, and on its panels, he engraved cherubim, lions, and palm trees, according to the space of each, with wreaths all around.
1Ki 7:37 After this manner he made the ten bases: all of them had one casting, one measure, and one form.
1Ki 7:38 He made ten basins of brass: one basin contained forty baths; and every basin was four cubits; and on every one of the ten bases one basin.
1Ki 7:39 He set the bases, five on the right side of the house, and five on the left side of the house: and he set the sea on the right side of the house eastward, toward the south.
1Ki 7:40 Hiram made the basins, and the shovels, and the basins. So Hiram made an end of doing all the work that he worked for king Solomon in the house of Yahweh:
1Ki 7:41 the two pillars, and the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars; and the two networks to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars;
1Ki 7:42 and the four hundred pomegranates for the two networks; two rows of pomegranates for each network, to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the pillars;
1Ki 7:43 and the ten bases, and the ten basins on the bases;
1Ki 7:44 and the one sea, and the twelve oxen under the sea;
1Ki 7:45 and the pots, and the shovels, and the basins: even all these vessels, which Hiram made for king Solomon, in the house of Yahweh, were of burnished brass.
1Ki 7:46 In the plain of the Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarethan.
1Ki 7:47 Solomon left all the vessels unweighed, because they were exceeding many: the weight of the brass could not be found out.
1Ki 7:48 Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of Yahweh: the golden altar, and the table whereupon the show bread was, of gold;
1Ki 7:49 and the lampstands, five on the right side, and five on the left, before the oracle, of pure gold; and the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, of gold;
1Ki 7:50 and the cups, and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the fire pans, of pure gold; and the hinges, both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple, of gold.
1Ki 7:51 Thus all the work that king Solomon worked in the house of Yahweh was finished. Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated, even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, and put them in the treasuries of the house of Yahweh.

1Ki 8:1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' houses of the children of Israel, to king Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which is Zion.
1Ki 8:2 All the men of Israel assembled themselves to king Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
1Ki 8:3 All the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
1Ki 8:4 They brought up the ark of Yahweh, and the Tent of Meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; even these did the priests and the Levites bring up.
1Ki 8:5 King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who were assembled to him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and cattle, that could not be counted nor numbered for multitude.
1Ki 8:6 The priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Yahweh to its place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim.
1Ki 8:7 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and its poles above.
1Ki 8:8 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the holy place before the oracle; but they were not seen outside: and there they are to this day.
1Ki 8:9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when Yahweh made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
1Ki 8:10 It came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of Yahweh,
1Ki 8:11 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of Yahweh filled the house of Yahweh.
1Ki 8:12 Then spoke Solomon, Yahweh has said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
1Ki 8:13 I have surely built you a house of habitation, a place for you to dwell in forever.
1Ki 8:14 The king turned his face about, and blessed all the assembly of Israel: and all the assembly of Israel stood.
1Ki 8:15 He said, Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, who spoke with his mouth to David your father, and has with his hand fulfilled it, saying,
1Ki 8:16 Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build a house, that my name might be there; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.
1Ki 8:17 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
1Ki 8:18 But Yahweh said to David my father, Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart:
1Ki 8:19 nevertheless you shall not build the house; but your son who shall come forth out of your body, he shall build the house for my name.
1Ki 8:20 Yahweh has established his word that he spoke; for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised, and have built the house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
1Ki 8:21 There have I set a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of Yahweh, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.
1Ki 8:22 Solomon stood before the altar of Yahweh in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven;
1Ki 8:23 and he said, Yahweh, the God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above, or on earth beneath; who keep covenant and loving kindness with your servants, who walk before you with all their heart;
1Ki 8:24 who have kept with your servant David my father that which you did promise him: yes, you spoke with your mouth, and have fulfilled it with your hand, as it is this day.
1Ki 8:25 Now therefore, Yahweh, the God of Israel, keep with your servant David my father that which you have promised him, saying, There shall not fail you a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children take heed to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.
1Ki 8:26 Now therefore, God of Israel, Please let your word be verified, which you spoke to your servant David my father.
1Ki 8:27 But will God in very deed dwell on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens can't contain you; how much less this house that I have built!
1Ki 8:28 Yet have respect for the prayer of your servant, and for his supplication, Yahweh my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which your servant prays before you this day;
1Ki 8:29 that your eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which you have said, My name shall be there; to listen to the prayer which your servant shall pray toward this place.
1Ki 8:30 Listen to the supplication of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: yes, hear in heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.
1Ki 8:31 If a man sin against his neighbor, and an oath be laid on him to cause him to swear, and he come and swear before your altar in this house;
1Ki 8:32 then hear in heaven, and do, and judge your servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way on his own head, and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
1Ki 8:33 When your people Israel are struck down before the enemy, because they have sinned against you; if they turn again to you, and confess your name, and pray and make supplication to you in this house:
1Ki 8:34 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them again to the land which you gave to their fathers.
1Ki 8:35 When the sky is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against you; if they pray toward this place, and confess your name, and turn from their sin, when you afflict them:
1Ki 8:36 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of your servants, and of your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on your land, which you have given to your people for an inheritance.
1Ki 8:37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or caterpillar; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatever plague, whatever sickness there be;
1Ki 8:38 whatever prayer and supplication be made by any man, or by all your people Israel, who shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:
1Ki 8:39 then hear in heaven, your dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and render to every man according to all his ways, whose heart you know; (for you, even you only, know the hearts of all the children of men;)
1Ki 8:40 that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land which you gave to our fathers.
1Ki 8:41 Moreover concerning the foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, when he shall come out of a far country for your name's sake
1Ki 8:42 (for they shall hear of your great name, and of your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm); when he shall come and pray toward this house;
1Ki 8:43 hear in heaven, your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you for; that all the peoples of the earth may know your name, to fear you, as does your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by my name.
1Ki 8:44 If your people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to Yahweh toward the city which you have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for your name;
1Ki 8:45 then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
1Ki 8:46 If they sin against you (for there is no man who doesn't sin), and you are angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near;
1Ki 8:47 yet if they shall repent themselves in the land where they are carried captive, and turn again, and make supplication to you in the land of those who carried them captive, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have dealt wickedly;
1Ki 8:48 if they return to you with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city which you have chosen, and the house which I have built for your name:
1Ki 8:49 then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven, your dwelling place, and maintain their cause;
1Ki 8:50 and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions in which they have transgressed against you; and give them compassion before those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them
1Ki 8:51 (for they are your people, and your inheritance, which you brought forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron);
1Ki 8:52 that your eyes may be open to the supplication of your servant, and to the supplication of your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they cry to you.
1Ki 8:53 For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth, to be your inheritance, as you spoke by Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, Lord Yahweh.
1Ki 8:54 It was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication to Yahweh, he arose from before the altar of Yahweh, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread forth toward heaven.
1Ki 8:55 He stood, and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
1Ki 8:56 Blessed be Yahweh, who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there has not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by Moses his servant.
1Ki 8:57 Yahweh our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us;
1Ki 8:58 that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his ordinances, which he commanded our fathers.
1Ki 8:59 Let these my words, with which I have made supplication before Yahweh, be near to Yahweh our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel, as every day shall require;
1Ki 8:60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that Yahweh, he is God; there is none else.
1Ki 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with Yahweh our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
1Ki 8:62 The king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before Yahweh.
1Ki 8:63 Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to Yahweh, two and twenty thousand head of cattle, and one hundred twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of Yahweh.
1Ki 8:64 The same day did the king make the middle of the court holy that was before the house of Yahweh; for there he offered the burnt offering, and the meal offering, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar that was before Yahweh was too little to receive the burnt offering, and the meal offering, and the fat of the peace offerings.
1Ki 8:65 So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt, before Yahweh our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.
1Ki 8:66 On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that Yahweh had shown to David his servant, and to Israel his people.
1Ki 9:1 It happened, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of Yahweh, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,
1Ki 9:2 that Yahweh appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.
1Ki 9:3 Yahweh said to him, I have heard your prayer and your supplication, that you have made before me: I have made this house holy, which you have built, to put my name there forever; and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually.
1Ki 9:4 As for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep my statutes and my ordinances;
1Ki 9:5 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, according as I promised to David your father, saying, There shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.
1Ki 9:6 But if you shall turn away from following me, you or your children, and not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;
1Ki 9:7 then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have made holy for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
1Ki 9:8 Though this house is so high, yet shall everyone who passes by it be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why has Yahweh done thus to this land, and to this house?
1Ki 9:9 and they shall answer, Because they forsook Yahweh their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshiped them, and served them: therefore has Yahweh brought all this evil on them.
1Ki 9:10 It happened at the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the two houses, the house of Yahweh and the king's house
1Ki 9:11 (now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire), that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.
1Ki 9:12 Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they didn't please him.
1Ki 9:13 He said, What cities are these which you have given me, my brother? He called them the land of Cabul to this day.
1Ki 9:14 Hiram sent to the king one hundred twenty talents of gold.
1Ki 9:15 This is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised, to build the house of Yahweh, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.
1Ki 9:16 Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites who lived in the city, and given it for a portion to his daughter, Solomon's wife.
1Ki 9:17 Solomon built Gezer, and Beth Horon the lower,
1Ki 9:18 and Baalath, and Tamar in the wilderness, in the land,
1Ki 9:19 and all the storage cities that Solomon had, and the cities for his chariots, and the cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build for his pleasure in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
1Ki 9:20 As for all the people who were left of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of the children of Israel;
1Ki 9:21 their children who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel were not able utterly to destroy, of them did Solomon raise a levy of bondservants to this day.
1Ki 9:22 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondservants; but they were the men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots and of his horsemen.
1Ki 9:23 These were the chief officers who were over Solomon's work, five hundred fifty, who bore rule over the people who labored in the work.
1Ki 9:24 But Pharaoh's daughter came up out of the city of David to her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo.
1Ki 9:25 Three times a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar which he built to Yahweh, burning incense therewith, on the altar that was before Yahweh. So he finished the house.
1Ki 9:26 King Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion Geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom.
1Ki 9:27 Hiram sent in the navy his servants, sailors who had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.
1Ki 9:28 They came to Ophir, and fetched from there gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

Jun. 30, Jul. 1
Acts 3

Act 3:1 Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
Act 3:2 A certain man who was lame from his mother's womb was being carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask gifts for the needy of those who entered into the temple.
Act 3:3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive gifts for the needy.
Act 3:4 Peter, fastening his eyes on him, with John, said, "Look at us."
Act 3:5 He listened to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Act 3:6 But Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none, but what I have, that I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!"
Act 3:7 He took him by the right hand, and raised him up. Immediately his feet and his ankle bones received strength.
Act 3:8 Leaping up, he stood, and began to walk. He entered with them into the temple, walking, leaping, and praising God.
Act 3:9 All the people saw him walking and praising God.
Act 3:10 They recognized him, that it was he who used to sit begging for gifts for the needy at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. They were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Act 3:11 As the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.
Act 3:12 When Peter saw it, he responded to the people, "You men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Why do you fasten your eyes on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk?
Act 3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to release him.
Act 3:14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
Act 3:15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, to which we are witnesses.
Act 3:16 By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which is through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Act 3:17 "Now, brothers, I know that you did this in ignorance, as did also your rulers.
Act 3:18 But the things which God announced by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled.
Act 3:19 "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,
Act 3:20 and that he may send Christ Jesus, who was ordained for you before,
Act 3:21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God spoke long ago by the mouth of his holy prophets.
Act 3:22 For Moses indeed said to the fathers, 'The Lord God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him in all things whatever he says to you.
Act 3:23 It will be, that every soul that will not listen to that prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people.'
Act 3:24 Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those who followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days.
Act 3:25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'In your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.'
Act 3:26 God, having raised up his servant, Jesus, sent him to you first, to bless you, in turning away everyone of you from your wickedness."