"FAITH IS THE VICTORY!" In Overcoming Discontent INTRODUCTION 1. I trust that as we are making our way through this series that the value of faith in Jesus is becoming ever more apparent... a. In overcoming sin b. In overcoming anxiety, boredom, depression, and despair -- I.e., "Faith Is The Victory!" in overcoming the world with its many ills - cf. 1Jn 5:4-5 2. Another ailment that afflicts many people is "discontent"... a. It appears to be closely related to "boredom" b. Just as "anxiety" and "despair" are closely linked 3. In my study on the subject of "discontent", I found what seems to be conflicting views... a. Some describe discontent as evil: "A man's discontent is his worst evil." (George Herbert, 1593-1633) b. Others speak of it as something good: 1) "Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation." (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900) 2) "Restlessness and discontent are the necessities of progress." (Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931) 3) "Show me a thoroughly satisfied man - and I will show you a failure." (Edison) [Is it wrong to be "discontent"? Or is it necessary for progress? The problem may be one of semantics, so let's start with seeking to understand exactly what it is we are talking about...] I. UNDERSTANDING DISCONTENT A. DISCONTENT DEFINED... 1. According to the American Heritage dictionary: Absence of contentment; dissatisfaction; a restless longing for better circumstances 2. There appears to be two different kinds of "discontent"... a. "There are two kinds of discontent in this world: the discontent that works, and the discontent that wrings its hands. The first gets what it wants, and the second loses what it has." (Gordon Graham) b. It is the discontent that "wrings its hands" that we are discussing in this lesson 1) It is the absence of contentment as a result of covetousness 2) It is that dissatisfaction which is often accompanied by grumbling and complaining B. THE DANGER OF DISCONTENT... 1. It affects our relationship with God! a. When we are discontent because of covetousness, we become idolaters! - cf. Ep 5:3-5; Col 3:5 b. When we are discontent because of dissatisfaction with what we have, are we not being ungrateful for what God has given us? 1) "Whenever you find yourself disposed to uneasiness or murmuring at anything that is the effect of God's providence, look upon yourself as denying either the wisdom or goodness of God." (William Law, 1686-1761) 2) "Complaining about our lot in life might seem quite innocent in itself, but God takes it personally." (Erwin W. Lutzer) 2. It hurts ourselves! a. Contentment is a virtue that is highly praised and valued: 1) "He is richest who is content with the least." (Socrates) 2) "He who is content can never be ruined." (Chinese proverb) 3) "The contented man is never poor, the discontented never rich." (Unknown) 4) "...godliness with contentment is great gain." - 1 Ti 6:6 b. But discontentment hurts those who possess it: 1) "Those who want much are always much in need." (Horace,65-8 B.C.) 2) "It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor." (Seneca, 4 B.C.-65 A.D.) -- We only make ourselves unhappy by being discontent 3. Those discontented also hurt others! a. When we are discontent, we become grumblers and complainers 1) Affecting our friends, families, and brethren 2) Ruining not only our own selves, but those closest to us b. Nothing destroys a friendship and congregation quicker than the grumbling and murmuring of those discontent 1) "Grumbling is the death of love." (Marlene Dietrich) 2) Which may be why such complaining is condemned in the Scriptures - 1Co 10:10; Php 2:14-15 [So much unhappiness is the result of discontent in our own lives. If we wish to overcome discontent, we must look to the One who helps us overcome the world...] II. FAITH IN JESUS HELPS US TO OVERCOME DISCONTENT A. JESUS PROVIDES CONTENTMENT... 1. Through His teachings... a. By telling us what is truly important in life 1) Not material abundance - Lk 12:13-15 2) But being rich toward God! - Lk 12:16-21 b. By telling us to lay up our treasure in heaven 1) For earthly treasures will decay or be stolen - Mt 6:19 2) Whereas treasures in heaven are safely guarded - Mt 6: 20; cf. 1Pe 1:4 -- Thus ensuring that our hearts are set upon that which cannot be destroyed - Mt 6:21 2. Through His promises... a. Promising to always be with us - Mt 28:20; cf. He 13:5-6 b. Promising God's providential care - Mt 6:30-33; 7:7-11;10:29-31 B. THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS, THE CHRISTIAN CAN BE CONTENT... 1. Even as Paul was content - cf. Php 4:11-13 a. It was something he learned as a disciple of Christ! b. It was something he had through the power of Christ! 2. It has been said that "Contentment is the power to get out of any situation all there is in it." a. Paul had certainly made the best of his imprisonment! - cf.Php 1:12-14 b. He saw how his circumstances enhanced that which was truly important - the spread of the gospel! 3. It has also been said that "Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have." a. If anyone realized how blessed he was, it was the apostle Paul! b. For he served his God who could supply all one's needs! - cf. Php 4:19 c. Even when he knew his life was near its end - cf. 2Ti 4:18 CONCLUSION 1. "All the world lives in two tents--content and discontent." a. Which "tent" do you live in? b. Paul, as a disciple of Jesus, lived in a constant state of contentment c. A contentment learned and enjoyed through his relationship with God through Jesus Christ 2. He encourages us to follow his example, if we desire to have the same relationship with God - cf. Php 4:9 a. To learn of his "ways in Christ" which he taught in every church - 1Co 4:16-17 b. Such "ways" certainly included those taught by our Lord Himself! If we desire to overcome discontent, then let's be inspired by the example of Paul who wrote: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Ga 2:20) When one can truly say they "live by faith in the Son of God", then "Faith Is The Victory!" in overcoming discontent!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Luke, the author of the New Testament books of Luke and Acts, by profession, was a physician. His writings manifest an intimate acquaintance with the technical language of the Greek medical schools of Asia Minor. For example, of the four gospel writers, only Dr. Luke referred to Jesus’ ordeal as “agony” (agonia). It is because of this agony over things to come that we learn during His prayer “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat (idros), a much used term in medical language, and only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat as consisting of great drops of blood (thromboi haimatos)—a medical condition alluded to by both Aristotle and Theophrastus (Hobart, 1882, pp. 80-84). The Greek term thromboi (from which we get thrombus, thrombin, et al.) refers to clots of blood (Nicoll, n.d., 1:631; Vincent, 1887, 1:425). Bible scholar Richard Lenski commented on the use of this term: “‘As clots,’ thromboi, means that the blood mingled with the sweat and thickened the globules so that they fell to the ground in little clots and did not merely stain the skin” (1961, p. 1077).
The Greek word hosei (“as it were”) refers to condition, not comparison, as Greek scholar Henry Alford observed:
The intention of the Evangelist seems clearly to be, to convey the idea that the sweat was (not fell like, but was like drops of blood;—i.e., coloured with blood,—for so I understand the hosei, as just distinguishing the drops highly coloured with blood, from pure blood.... To suppose that it only fell like drops of blood (why not drops of any thing else? And drops of blood from what, and where?) is to nullify the force of the sentence, and make the insertion of haimatos not only superfluous but absurd (1874, 1:648, italics in orig.; cf. Robertson, 1934, p. 1140).We conclude that the terminology used by the gospel writer to refer to the severe mental distress experienced by Jesus was intended to be taken literally, i.e., that the sweat of Jesus became bloody (cf. Robertson, 1930, 2:272).
A thorough search of the medical literature demonstrates that such a condition, while admittedly rare, can and has occurred. Commonly referred to as hematidrosis or hemohidrosis (“Hematidrosis,” 2002; Allen, 1967, pp. 745-747), this condition results in the excretion of blood or blood pigment in the sweat. Under conditions of great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can rupture (Lumpkin, 1978), thus mixing blood with perspiration. This condition has been reported in extreme instances of stress (see Sutton, 1956, pp. 1393-1394). During the waning years of the twentieth century, 76 cases of hematidrosis were studied and classified into categories according to causative factors (Holoubek and Holoubek, 1996). Acute fear and intense mental contemplation were found to be the most frequent inciting causes. While the extent of blood loss generally is minimal, hematidrosis also results in the skin becoming extremely tender and fragile (Barbet, 1953, pp. 74-75; Lumpkin, 1978), which would have made Christ’s pending physical insults even more painful.
From these factors, it is evident that even before Jesus endured the torture of the cross, He suffered far beyond what most of us will ever suffer. His penetrating awareness of the heinous nature of sin, its destructive and deadly effects, the sorrow and heartache that it inflicts, and the extreme measure necessary to deal with it, make the passion of Christ beyond comprehension.
Allen, A.C. (1967), The Skin: A Clinicopathological Treatise (New York: Grune and Stratton), second edition.
Barbet, P. (1953), A Doctor at Calvary: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ as Described by a Surgeon (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image Books).
“Hematidrosis,” (2002), Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, [On-line], URL: http://www.mercksource.com/pp/us/cns/cns_hl_dorlands. jspzQzpgzEzzSzppdocszSzuszSzcommonzSzdorlandszSzdorlandzSzdmd _h_05zPzhtm.
Hobart, William K. (1882), The Medical Language of St. Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1954 reprint).
Holoubek, J.E. and A.B. Holoubek (1996), “Blood, Sweat, and Fear. ‘A Classification of Hematidrosis,’ ” Journal of Medicine, 27[3-4]:115-33.
Lenski, R.C.H. (1961), The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Lumpkin, R. (1978), “The Physical Suffering of Christ,” Journal of Medical Association of Alabama, 47:8-10.
Nicoll, W. Robertson, ed. (no date), The Expositor’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Robertson, A.T. (1930), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Robertson, A.T. (1934), A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press).
Sutton, R.L. Jr. (1956), Diseases of the Skin (St. Louis, MO: Mosby College Publishing), eleventh edition.
Vincent, M.R. (1887), Word Studies in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946 reprint).
Don’t Bank Your Bucks in Big Bang Theory
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
For the past several decades, untold millions of students around the world have been taught that the Universe and everything in it is the result of a tiny ball of matter exploding 13-15 billion years ago (e.g., Hurd, et al., 1992, p. 61). Immediately following this “big bang,” the exploding material supposedly expanded in less than a millisecond to cause “most of the growth” of the 14-billion-light-year observable Universe (see Coles, 2007). This expansion, called “inflation,” has purportedly been “well established as an essential component of cosmology” (Coles, 2007, p. 33, emp. added). In fact, in an article penned in 2007 titled “Boomtime,” Dr. Peter Coles recognized that the theory of “[i]nflation puts the ‘bang’ in the big bang” (p. 36). Now, however, scientists are inching closer and closer to the conclusion that “the theory seems to have failed” (Brooks, 2008, 198:31).
The journal New Scientist recently ran an article by Michael Brooks titled “Inflation Deflated” (2008, 198:30-33). In the article, Brooks admitted that “[i]nflation is arguably the most important theoretical idea in cosmology since the big bang” (p. 31). Inflationary theory has “suggested that the major problems in cosmology could be solved if the universe had blown up like a balloon, inflating faster than the speed of light in the moments after its birth” (p. 31, emp. added). Yet now, the theory first proposed nearly 30 years ago to solve “major problems” with big bang cosmology, and the theory that has been advanced in classrooms all over the world as fact, is sheepishly “starting to look a little vulnerable” (p. 31). “[T]he theory seems to have failed,” wrote Brooks. Why? First, “there is the lack of any solid scientific idea for why or how inflation might have happened” (p. 32, emp. added). Second, “satellite measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation...seem to contradict the predictions of inflation” (p. 31). In short, although Brooks and others believe it is still “too early to say that simple inflation is definitely on the skids” (p. 33), “the theory seems to have failed” (p. 31). Atheistic cosmology’s “best theory of the early universe is starting to look a tad insecure” (p. 30, emp. added).
That must surely be a depressing thought to atheists: their “best theory” for the origin of the cosmos is “insecure,” lacking “any solid scientific idea for why or how inflation might have happened.” A better alternative to ultimate origins is found in the first verse of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1). “For He commanded and they were created” (Psalm 148:5). So, “[l]ift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these things” (Isaiah 40:26).
Coles, Peter (2007), “Boomtime,” New Scientist, 193:33-37, March 3.
Hurd, Dean, George Mathias, and Susan Johnson, eds. (1992), General Science: A Voyage of Discovery (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).
Australia's Unique Animals
|by||Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.|
Q.How do creationists explain the origin and distribution of Australia’s unique animals in terms of a young Earth and a worldwide flood?
A.Explaining the origin of Australia’s marsupial population, and especially its uniqueness to that one isolated southern continent, is difficult for evolutionists and creationists alike. Marsupials such as kangaroos, opossums, wallabies, and koalas seem unusual, but monotremes (i.e., the echidna and the platypus) are even more puzzling. The main difference between marsupials and most other mammals centers on the reproductive system. Marsupials give birth prematurely and allow the fetus to develop in an external pouch. In other mammals, excluding the monotremes which lay eggs, the fetus develops within the uterus and is attached to, and nourished by, the placenta.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about marsupials is that they nearly all have non-marsupial equivalents in other parts of the world (see Dobzhansky, et al., 1977, Figure 9.3, p. 267). The kangaroo has a similar role to the antelope roaming the African savanna. The wombat resembles a badger, and even has a backward-pointing pouch so that it will not fill with dirt while burrowing! There also are many small marsupials that have rodent counterparts. Evolutionists attribute such similarities to “parallel evolution” in both homology (being alike in form) and analogy (occupying a corresponding niche). That is, they believe that these marsupials and their placental peers developed independently; they share similar characteristics, but took two different paths to get there (see Simpson and Beck, 1965, pp. 499-501). A common ancestry, combined with similar forces of natural selection, evolutionists assert, will result in the same sort of changes through time. This common ancestor is thought to be the opossum because it is a marsupial and is found in other areas of the world apart from Australia.
According to evolutionary theory, the opossum was a primitive mammal living 200 million years ago on a single southern land mass called Gondwanaland. When parts of this supercontinent divided into what are now Australia and South America, the opossums were separated geographically. Over eons of time, so the story goes, the Australian descendants of the opossum developed into the various types of marsupials seen today. However, in South America, they “evolved” placentas and eventually migrated to North America and Eurasia.
These evolutionary ideas suffer from a number of problems, as listed below:
There are no intermediate fossils (“transitional forms”) showing the
development of the various marsupials from an opossum or opossum-like
ancestor. Further, to suggest that one type of mammal could arise by
supposed evolutionary mechanisms is incredible enough, but the chances
of having both placental and non-placental forms evolve in the same way,
at the same time, and in different regions, are remote to say the
The humble opossum has been nominated as the ancestor of all mammals
because it is supposed to be so “primitive,” having a relatively small
brain and no “specialized” characteristics. But the opossum has thrived
virtually unchanged in many parts of the world. In general, marsupials
often are considered less “advanced” because they lack the complex
internal reproductive system of placental mammals. However, they possess
many other characteristics that could give them an edge over their
placental counterparts. For instance, a female kangaroo can nourish two
young ones of different ages at the same time, providing the appropriate
formula from each teat. Unlike placental mammals, marsupials can
suspend or abort the embryo deliberately if adverse conditions arise.
And, of course, the pouch provides a superior place of protection for
the young marsupial. Yes, marsupials are different, but they are not
The distribution of marsupials is not well-answered by evolutionary
theories. According to Michael Pitman, “the most diverse fossil
assemblies have been obtained from South America and, later (Pliocene),
Australia” (1984, p. 206). That is, according to the fossil record, the
marsupials already were well-defined as a distinct group before the
separation of Australia from other continents. Thus, geographic
separation cannot be as significant to their development as
evolutionists like to think. An alternate, biblically based model is as
It is reasonable to suggest that God created the various kinds of marsupials. Hence, the many varieties of opossums, kangaroos, wallabies, and so on, most likely have arisen since the time of creation.
There could be any number of reasons that God created both placental
and non-placental forms. One possibility is that marsupials were
created for a specific environment. For example, on the African savannas
or North American plains, animals migrate to different areas according
to the seasons, and range over huge tracts of land in search of better
grazing. However, vegetation patterns in Australia do not allow such
flexibility. The unique characteristics of marsupials that allow them to
survive in a tough environment are indicative of good design, not blind
Representatives of marsupial kinds went into the ark and were
carried through the Flood. Any other varieties not in the ark became
extinct with the Flood (and now exist only as fossils).
After the Flood, marsupials may have migrated to Australia across
land connections or narrow waterways. Perhaps there is a supernatural
element involving the second point made above. That is, God, having
created specially equipped creatures, may have directed them to settle
in Australia in particular. If God can arrange for all the animals to go
to Noah (Genesis 6:20), then He very well could assist and direct them
in their migration from Ararat once they left the ark (Genesis 8:17).
- There is no need to postulate long periods of time for whole-scale movement of animal kinds over the Earth. Initial studies by Richard Culp show that there are minimal differences between many North American, European, and Asian varieties of certain plant and animal species (Culp, 1988). The lack of dissimilarities, and the occurrence of unique animal or plant assemblages in various parts of the world (not just Australia), may be evidence for a rapid resettlement in relatively recent times. This would be consistent with the Genesis account.
Culp, G. Richard (1988), “The Geographical Distribution of Animals and Plants,” Creation Research Society Quarterly, 25:24-27, June.
Dobzhansky, Theodosius, F.J. Ayala, G.L. Stebbins, and J.W. Valentine (1977), Evolution (San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman).
Pitman, Michael (1984), Adam and Evolution (London: Rider).
Simpson, G.G. and W.S. Beck (1965), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World), second edition.
- It is reasonable to suggest that God created the various kinds of marsupials. Hence, the many varieties of opossums, kangaroos, wallabies, and so on, most likely have arisen since the time of creation.
Choosing Who Has To Die
|by||Kyle Butt, M.A.|
Imagine an armed soldier walking into a kindergarten class, followed closely by a doctor. In a gruff voice, the soldier demands that the 18 five-year-olds line up in single file. The scared children do as they are told. Starting with the first in line, the doctor inspects each child for genetic defects. Those who have asthma are removed from the line. Those with poor eyesight come out of the line. The little girl with scoliosis is taken aside. The Down syndrome boy is yanked from the line. After the inspections are finished, only five children pass the examination. They are given an official certificate from the soldier that says they can live. The other 13 are taken outside, shot in the head, and thrown in the dumpster. Does this sound like the plot from a horror movie, or one of the heinous crimes of Hitler and his henchmen? Do you think our “civilized” society is above such gruesome brutality? Think again.
In her article, “Picking the Best Embryo from the Bunch,” Emily Singer describes new testing methods that can be used on embryos that are created during in vitro fertilization. In a nutshell, in vitro fertilization is the process by which several eggs from a woman are fertilized in a lab. Medical personnel then screen the embryos for genetic health and viability. A few of the most promising embryos are implanted in the mother-to-be’s womb. Other “healthy” embryos might be frozen for future implantation, while the remaining “unhealthy” embryos are discarded. Disposed of. Basically, flushed down the drain.
So what characteristics do these genetic screening methods attempt to identify? Why are some embryos discarded? Singer explains: “Such embryos are less likely to lead to successful pregnancies—they either fail to implant or miscarry, or if they do come to term, they can produce babies with disabilities such as Down's [sic] syndrome.” Notice that Singer implies that a non-successful pregnancy would include one from which a Down syndrome baby is born. Also notice her subtle, but false, differentiation between an embryo and the babies “they can produce.” The truth of the matter is that an embryo is a baby. Sly semantic tactics cannot change that fact. An embryo does not produce a baby. It simply grows into maturity, just as a child does not produce a teenager, but grows into one (for a more complete discussion of this point see Harrub, 2002; Miller, 2006). In reality, then, these genetic screenings are little more than a doctor’s examination to see which babies “deserve” to live and which ones are not “normal” enough to get a chance—because they might be Down syndrome babies, or “defective” in some other way.
Have we forgotten the inspired words of the wise man: “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood...” (Proverbs 6:16-17)? Just because we have acquired the ability to detect “normal” babies at their earliest stages does not give us the right to exterminate all others that might have “less of a chance” of survival, or might survive but have Down syndrome. Who gave us the prerogative to play God in such a vicious fashion? Hitler and his ilk tried to play God and were convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yet our society has become so insensitive to the value of human life that those who frequently destroy thousands of babies in embryonic stages are decorated as scientific overachievers. As the prophet of old warned: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21). May God give us the wisdom and the courage to stand against the brutal holocaust that is being carried out in the name of Science!
Miller, Dave (2006), “Embryos are People,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2995.
Singer, Emily (2007), “Picking the Best Embryo from the Bunch,” Technology Review, January, [On-line], URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=18027.
Book of Revelation (8)It’s time we took a look at how the book hangs together. If we can remember the place given to each of the main characters and images it shouldn’t be too difficult to gain at least an overall view of where the book’s going and how it develops its message.
- Introduction: chapter 1
- The seven churches addressed: chapters 2-3
- The throne and its occupants: chapter 4-5
- The Seals: chapter 6
- The People of God assured: chapter 7
- The trumpets: chapters 8-9
- A solemn warning and commission: chapter 10
- The People of God are assured: chapters 11-12
- The two beasts: chapter 13
- The People of God are assured: chapters 14-15
- The bowls of wrath: chapter 16
- The great Prostitute/City: chapters 17-18
- Celebration and then Armageddon: chapter 19
- The vision of victory: chapter 20
- The triumphant church in a new world: chapters 21-22
The introduction takes up the whole first chapter. When you go back to read chapter 1, having gained some sense of how things are developed, chapter 1 is deeper and richer than before. All the themes that are developed in the book are hinted at in chapter 1. See if you don’t find this to be true in your own study of the book.
The Revelation (unveiling) from God concerns things that are soon to transpire because the time was near. It came from the triune God (1:4) and it came to John while he was in prison. Precisely how he ended up there we’re not sure. Was there some local tyrant that vented his spite rather than some official policy? Who knows, but it worked out that he was there to receive the Revelation (1:9). His first vision is the resurrected Lord who twice tells him to record everything he sees and that includes the commission to write it down (1:11,19).
The Lord is dressed in high-priestly garments (1:13), his white hair speaks of majesty and purity and his burning eyes say he can see into the heart of things (1:14). His bronze feet can tread down enemies (1:15 and see Micah 4:13) while his word pierces in judgement (compare Hebrews 4:12). He has experienced death and conquered both it and Hades (1:18). He speaks the truth in an age of liars who inform on others and he’s the ruler of the kings of the earth (1:5). He loves his people, forgives their sins and gives them purpose to their lives (1:6). He dwells in the church, which is imaged as a seven branched-candlestick (1:13,20). Although the latter is written to seven actual churches in Asia Minor (1:11) the seven reminds us that it speaks to the universal church (see Lesson 7 on the number seven).
All these qualities would be especially comforting to the Christians who were about to undergo persecution by the Roman Empire. Those who would be lied about know He speaks the truth. Those who were to die would know that He has conquered death. And so on.
The seven churches addressed
Each letter is addressed to "the angel" of the church (2:1). Everything in the book has an "angel" whether it is a river, a book, the wind, trumpet or plague. The angel of a thing is the inner nature of that thing. It is the essence and heart of the thing. When he writes to the churches he writes to what they really are rather than what they appear to be (see 1:16,20 and 2:2,9,13). The constant "I know" reminds them that he isn’t fooled by appearances.
The Lord commends each church where he can, then he rebukes them if he must, appeals to them and warns them. He threatens the disobedient that he will "come" and deal with them if they don’t repent (2:5,16,25 and 3:3,11,20). This means the "comings" may or may not happen. We need to examine the "comings" of the Lord in their contexts.
The over-comers are those who remain faithful during this time of trial. They will be vindicated and blessed with things like white stones (2:17), immunity from the second death (2:11), reigning with Christ (2:26-27) and so forth. But overcoming implies that there is a test ahead.
The throne and its occupants
Chapters 4 and 5 go together. They are placed at the beginning to assure the saints that whatever they hear after this, everything is going to be all right. The throne that rules the universe is not in Rome, Italy, where the emperors bear rule. The world is ruled from heaven and heaven is open to the People of God (4:1-2) who in Revelation are called "those that dwell in heaven" (12:12; 13:6 and see Philippians 3:20). Note that those who are allied to and worship the beast are said to be "dwellers on the earth" (13:8,12 and14). Around the throne there is a rainbow (see Genesis 9:12-16) and there too are the living creatures (the cherubim) who are the executors of God retributive justice (see Ezekiel chapter 1 and elsewhere). The church is there represented by twenty-four elders dressed in priestly white. They are crowned with stephanoi, the crowns of overcomers, rather than the diadems of titled kings, and they reign with God (see 3:5,21 and 4:4). Chapter 4 has God as Creator and chapter 5 has God as Redeemer (see 5:6). In the middle of the throne that rules the world is the self-giving Lord in the image of a lamb. It bears the marks of having been slain and yet it is standing and reveals the immediate destiny of the saints by removing the seals from "the little book"(5:1-5). Then a song of praise goes up and redemption is acknowledged (5:9-12).
These two chapters strengthen the disciples in the face of what is to follow.
The seals are removed
Remember that to remove seals from a document (a scroll) is to reveal the contents of that book. The removal of the first seal reveals Jesus Christ as a warrior going forth conquering and to conquer (6:2). In the book of Revelation only the "good guys" wear white or ride white horses. In the whole book of Revelation only one other white horse is singled out and its rider is the Word of God (19:11) and he leads his followers on white horses (19:14). So whatever else is revealed when the seals are ripped off, everything is going to be okay.
The second and third seals are torn away and they show great trouble that is soon to begin. The seals reveal that war, Death and Hades will slay many people using the sword, famine, plague and wild beasts (6:3-8). But Ezekiel calls these destroying elements, the "four sore judgements of God" (14:21). So these awful events are not just "bad luck" and while evil people are involved in bringing them about they are the holy judgements of God. So in the face of these the saints are still to trust because in the course of this trial on the earth many believers would die (6:9) and these are shown under the fifth seal with a question for God. The question is would the ungodly get away with it? The righteous are called to be patient until God fulfils his purpose through the evil ones (6:11) since God would render judgement that would right all wrongs and this judgement is shown under the sixth seal (6:12-17).
The people of God are assured
Here is a pattern that exists throughout the book of Revelation. Because the saints are to face a profoundly trying time they are given numerous visions to assure them that they are safe in God’s hands (notice this in the outline). Under the sixth seal a horrific judgement is to come on the earth and the People of God are assured that they are exempt from the judgement. Not exempt from the pain that is generated by the judgement. It would be helpful if you went back and refreshed your mind about the 144,000 in Lesson 2. The sixth seal closes with the question in 6:17, "Who is able to stand?" and chapter 7 answers, "Those who are God’s and wear his mark." So the judgement is announced and now it begins with the trumpets.
The trumpets are blown
The seventh seal reveals seven trumpets. These are warning judgements. And as the seventh seal contains the seven trumpets so the seventh trumpet will contain the seven bowls (8:1 and 10:7). The trumpets take the form of plagues and we’re reminded of the plagues that fell on Egypt when God warned them to let his people go free. (See this discussed in lesson 5.) But as in the case of Egypt so it is with Rome; they did not repent despite the warning judgements (9:21).
A solemn warning and commission
Since they won’t repent they will be warned no more (10:6). A mighty angel has a new commission for John. The commissioning takes the form of eating a book (10:8-11 and see Ezekiel 2:8—3:3). He is to tell his message of judgement wherever he goes through the whole Roman world and to its allies. Isaiah in chapter 6 had a similar message to carry to Israel—a message of judgement that would be preached until cities were devastated.
The World English Bible (WEB)
1 Kings 13-15
1Ki 13:1 Behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of Yahweh to Beth El: and Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense.
1Ki 13:2 He cried against the altar by the word of Yahweh, and said, altar, altar, thus says Yahweh: Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you shall he sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall they burn on you.
1Ki 13:3 He gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which Yahweh has spoken: Behold, the altar shall be torn, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.
1Ki 13:4 It happened, when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, that Jeroboam put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. His hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back again to him.
1Ki 13:5 The altar also was torn, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of Yahweh.
1Ki 13:6 The king answered the man of God, Entreat now the favor of Yahweh your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. The man of God entreated Yahweh, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
1Ki 13:7 The king said to the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.
1Ki 13:8 The man of God said to the king, If you will give me half your house, I will not go in with you, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place;
1Ki 13:9 for so was it commanded me by the word of Yahweh, saying, You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, neither return by the way that you came.
1Ki 13:10 So he went another way, and didn't return by the way that he came to Bethel.
1Ki 13:11 Now there lived an old prophet in Bethel; and one of his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken to the king, them also they told to their father.
1Ki 13:12 Their father said to them, Which way did he go? Now his sons had seen which way the man of God went, who came from Judah.
1Ki 13:13 He said to his sons, Saddle me the donkey. So they saddled him the donkey; and he rode thereon.
1Ki 13:14 He went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak; and he said to him, Are you the man of God who came from Judah? He said, I am.
1Ki 13:15 Then he said to him, Come home with me, and eat bread.
1Ki 13:16 He said, I may not return with you, nor go in with you; neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place:
1Ki 13:17 for it was said to me by the word of Yahweh, You shall eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that you came.
1Ki 13:18 He said to him, I also am a prophet as you are; and an angel spoke to me by the word of Yahweh, saying, Bring him back with you into your house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied to him.
1Ki 13:19 So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water.
1Ki 13:20 It happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of Yahweh came to the prophet who brought him back;
1Ki 13:21 and he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, Thus says Yahweh, Because you have been disobedient to the mouth of Yahweh, and have not kept the commandment which Yahweh your God commanded you,
1Ki 13:22 but came back, and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, Eat no bread, and drink no water; your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.
1Ki 13:23 It happened, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the donkey, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
1Ki 13:24 When he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and killed him: and his body was cast in the way, and the donkey stood by it; the lion also stood by the body.
1Ki 13:25 Behold, men passed by, and saw the body cast in the way, and the lion standing by the body; and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.
1Ki 13:26 When the prophet who brought him back from the way heard of it, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient to the mouth of Yahweh: therefore Yahweh has delivered him to the lion, which has torn him, and slain him, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke to him.
1Ki 13:27 He spoke to his sons, saying, Saddle me the donkey. They saddled it.
1Ki 13:28 He went and found his body cast in the way, and the donkey and the lion standing by the body: the lion had not eaten the body, nor torn the donkey.
1Ki 13:29 The prophet took up the body of the man of God, and laid it on the donkey, and brought it back; and he came to the city of the old prophet, to mourn, and to bury him.
1Ki 13:30 He laid his body in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!
1Ki 13:31 It happened, after he had buried him, that he spoke to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the tomb in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones.
1Ki 13:32 For the saying which he cried by the word of Yahweh against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely happen.
1Ki 13:33 After this thing Jeroboam didn't return from his evil way, but made again from among all the people priests of the high places: whoever would, he consecrated him, that there might be priests of the high places.
1Ki 13:34 This thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the surface of the earth.
1Ki 14:1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
1Ki 14:2 Jeroboam said to his wife, Please get up and disguise yourself, that you not be known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and go to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, who spoke concerning me that I should be king over this people.
1Ki 14:3 Take with you ten loaves, and cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him: he will tell you what shall become of the child.
1Ki 14:4 Jeroboam's wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.
1Ki 14:5 Yahweh said to Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam comes to inquire of you concerning her son; for he is sick: thus and thus you shall tell her; for it will be, when she comes in, that she will feign herself to be another woman.
1Ki 14:6 It was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, you wife of Jeroboam; why do you pretend to be another? for I am sent to you with heavy news.
1Ki 14:7 Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: Because I exalted you from among the people, and made you prince over my people Israel,
1Ki 14:8 and tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it you; and yet you have not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in my eyes,
1Ki 14:9 but have done evil above all who were before you, and have gone and made you other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and have cast me behind your back:
1Ki 14:10 therefore, behold, I will bring evil on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam everyone who urinates on a wall, him who is shut up and him who is left at large in Israel, and will utterly sweep away the house of Jeroboam, as a man sweeps away dung, until it be all gone.
1Ki 14:11 Him who dies of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him who dies in the field shall the birds of the sky eat: for Yahweh has spoken it.
1Ki 14:12 Arise therefore, go to your house: and when your feet enter into the city, the child shall die.
1Ki 14:13 All Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him; for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward Yahweh, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam.
1Ki 14:14 Moreover Yahweh will raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now.
1Ki 14:15 For Yahweh will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and he will root up Israel out of this good land which he gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking Yahweh to anger.
1Ki 14:16 He will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he has sinned, and with which he has made Israel to sin.
1Ki 14:17 Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and as she came to the threshold of the house, the child died.
1Ki 14:18 All Israel buried him, and mourned for him, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke by his servant Ahijah the prophet.
1Ki 14:19 The rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
1Ki 14:20 The days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his place.
1Ki 14:21 Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which Yahweh had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there: and his mother's name was Naamah the Ammonitess.
1Ki 14:22 Judah did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they committed, above all that their fathers had done.
1Ki 14:23 For they also built them high places, and pillars, and Asherim, on every high hill, and under every green tree;
1Ki 14:24 and there were also sodomites in the land: they did according to all the abominations of the nations which Yahweh drove out before the children of Israel.
1Ki 14:25 It happened in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem;
1Ki 14:26 and he took away the treasures of the house of Yahweh, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
1Ki 14:27 King Rehoboam made in their place shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the captains of the guard, who kept the door of the king's house.
1Ki 14:28 It was so, that as often as the king went into the house of Yahweh, the guard bore them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.
1Ki 14:29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
1Ki 14:30 There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.
1Ki 14:31 Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and his mother's name was Naamah the Ammonitess. Abijam his son reigned in his place.
1Ki 15:1 Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat began Abijam to reign over Judah.
1Ki 15:2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.
1Ki 15:3 He walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him; and his heart was not perfect with Yahweh his God, as the heart of David his father.
1Ki 15:4 Nevertheless for David's sake did Yahweh his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem;
1Ki 15:5 because David did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, and didn't turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
1Ki 15:6 Now there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.
1Ki 15:7 The rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.
1Ki 15:8 Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his place.
1Ki 15:9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Asa to reign over Judah.
1Ki 15:10 Forty-one years reigned he in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.
1Ki 15:11 Asa did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, as did David his father.
1Ki 15:12 He put away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
1Ki 15:13 Also Maacah his mother he removed from being queen, because she had made an abominable image for an Asherah; and Asa cut down her image, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.
1Ki 15:14 But the high places were not taken away: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect with Yahweh all his days.
1Ki 15:15 He brought into the house of Yahweh the things that his father had dedicated, and the things that himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels.
1Ki 15:16 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
1Ki 15:17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not allow anyone to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
1Ki 15:18 Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of Yahweh, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants; and king Asa sent them to Ben Hadad, the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, who lived at Damascus, saying,
1Ki 15:19 There is a treaty between me and you, between my father and your father: behold, I have sent to you a present of silver and gold; go, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
1Ki 15:20 Ben Hadad listened to king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel, and struck Ijon, and Dan, and Abel Beth Maacah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali.
1Ki 15:21 It happened, when Baasha heard of it, that he left off building Ramah, and lived in Tirzah.
1Ki 15:22 Then king Asa made a proclamation to all Judah; none was exempted: and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and its timber, with which Baasha had built; and king Asa built therewith Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.
1Ki 15:23 Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? But in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.
1Ki 15:24 Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father; and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place.
1Ki 15:25 Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah; and he reigned over Israel two years.
1Ki 15:26 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin with which he made Israel to sin.
1Ki 15:27 Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha struck him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel were laying siege to Gibbethon.
1Ki 15:28 Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha kill him, and reigned in his place.
1Ki 15:29 It happened that, as soon as he was king, he struck all the house of Jeroboam: he didn't leave to Jeroboam any who breathed, until he had destroyed him; according to the saying of Yahweh, which he spoke by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite;
1Ki 15:30 for the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and with which he made Israel to sin, because of his provocation with which he provoked Yahweh, the God of Israel, to anger.
1Ki 15:31 Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
1Ki 15:32 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
1Ki 15:33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, and reigned twenty-four years.
1Ki 15:34 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin with which he made Israel to sin.
Jul. 2, 3
Act 4:1 As they spoke to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came to them,
Act 4:2 being upset because they taught the people and proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
Act 4:3 They laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was now evening.
Act 4:4 But many of those who heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
Act 4:5 It happened in the morning, that their rulers, elders, and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem.
Act 4:6 Annas the high priest was there, with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and as many as were relatives of the high priest.
Act 4:7 When they had stood them in the middle of them, they inquired, "By what power, or in what name, have you done this?"
Act 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "You rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
Act 4:9 if we are examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed,
Act 4:10 be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, in him does this man stand here before you whole.
Act 4:11 He is 'the stone which was regarded as worthless by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner.'
Act 4:12 There is salvation in none other, for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, by which we must be saved!"
Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled. They recognized that they had been with Jesus.
Act 4:14 Seeing the man who was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
Act 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
Act 4:16 saying, "What shall we do to these men? Because indeed a notable miracle has been done through them, as can be plainly seen by all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we can't deny it.
Act 4:17 But so that this spreads no further among the people, let's threaten them, that from now on they don't speak to anyone in this name."
Act 4:18 They called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Act 4:19 But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves,
Act 4:20 for we can't help telling the things which we saw and heard."
Act 4:21 When they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people; for everyone glorified God for that which was done.
Act 4:22 For the man on whom this miracle of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
Act 4:23 Being let go, they came to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
Act 4:24 When they heard it, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, "O Lord, you are God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them;
Act 4:25 who by the mouth of your servant, David, said, 'Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing?
Act 4:26 The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers take council together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.'
Act 4:27 "For truly, in this city against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together
Act 4:28 to do whatever your hand and your council foreordained to happen.
Act 4:29 Now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness,
Act 4:30 while you stretch out your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy Servant Jesus."
Act 4:31 When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
Act 4:32 The multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul. Not one of them claimed that anything of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
Act 4:33 With great power, the apostles gave their testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Great grace was on them all.
Act 4:34 For neither was there among them any who lacked, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
Act 4:35 and laid them at the apostles' feet, and distribution was made to each, according as anyone had need.
Act 4:36 Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas (which is, being interpreted, Son of Encouragement), a Levite, a man of Cyprus by race,
Act 4:37 having a field, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.