"THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT" Infractions Of The Law Of Love - I INTRODUCTION 1. Our study of the "works of the flesh" as found in Ga 5:19-21 now focuses on a rather large group of sins that can be categorized together as "Infractions Of The Law Of Love" a. There are eight such sins listed b. They are "hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy" (NKJV) 2. Many people find it hard to conceive that these eight sins are really all that terrible... a. Notice this news clipping that made the front page of the Orlando Sentinel (1/7/81) under the heading, "Pope Widens Sin Definition": "Pope John Paul II said today that sins of the flesh are not limited to fornication, orgies and drunkenness, but include idolatry, jealousy, envy and unfriendliness. "The pope made the remarks to his weekly general audience at the Vatican, his forum for the past 14 months on the subject of sex and sin. "In his latest discussion of the subject, the pope cited St. Paul, the first-century apostle, as giving Christianity a very wide definition of sins of the flesh. "'It is significant that when Paul speaks about the works of the flesh, he mentions not only fornication, impurity, libertinage, drunkenness and orgies which are the sins of sensual pleasure,' the pope said, 'but also speaks of other sins to which we are not accustomed to attribute a carnal and sensual character: idolatry, witchcraft, unfriendliness, discord, jealousy, dissent, divisions, factionalism, and envy.'" b. The paper makes it sound like the pope is declaring something new, but as the pope himself stated, this is what Paul taught in the very passage we are studying c. Indeed, what is said of immorality and drunkenness is also said of these eight sins: "...those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" 3. Therefore there is a great need... a. To be informed as to what these sins entail b. To make a concentrated effort to put them out of our lives [In this lesson, we shall look at the first two sins, which are closely related to one another. Starting with...] I. ECHTHRA (enmities, hatred) A. THE WORD DEFINED... 1. Closely related to the word "echthros" which is the Greek word for ENEMY 2. "echthra" means ENMITY, HOSTILITY 3. Notice how it is used in... a. Lk 23:12 - "they had been at enmity with each other" b. Ro 8:7 - "the carnal mind is at enmity against God" c. Jm 4:4 - "friendship with the world is enmity with God" 4. It was used to describe the enmity or hostility between... a. Social classes - the "haves" and the "have nots" b. Races - as existed between Greeks and Barbarians, Jews and Gentiles c. Man and man - as often exists where there is hostility for one reason or another 5. Thus it describes a state and attitude of mind toward other people which involves barriers between them and you B. WHY THIS SIN IS SO CONTRARY TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE... 1. Because Jesus died to remove the barriers that separate men from one another - Ep 2:13-16 a. It is true that He died to reconcile us back to God b. But it is just as true that He died to reconcile man back to man! c. As we grow in Christ, we are to be so renewed in Him that distinctions lose their meaning - Col 3:9-11 -- When we are at enmity with one another, we undo the work of Christ on the cross and in our lives! 2. Enmity is the direct opposite of love (agape); consider the contrast: a. "agape" - an attitude of mind which will never allow itself to be bitter to any man; always seeking the highest good of others b. "echthra" - the attitude which puts up barriers and draws the sword of division -- When we allow the work of the flesh to rule (e.g., echthra) we cannot allow the Spirit to produce the proper fruit in our lives (e.g., love) [The sin of "enmity" involves any sort of hostility or prejudice towards others; as such it has no place in the life of the Christian. This is also true of...] II. ERIS (contentions, strife, variance) A. THE WORD DEFINED... 1. "eris" is the expression of enmity or hatred; it is the outcome in actual life of that state of mind 2. Other versions translate the word "eris" as "wrangling", "quarreling", "fighting", "discord" 3. Paul uses this word to describe one of the evils that was characteristic of the pagan world - Ro 1:28-29 4. Sadly, it can also describe the condition that may exist in a church - cf. 1Co 1:11; 3:3 B. UNDERSTANDING AND DEALING WITH THIS SIN... 1. This particular sin invades churches more often, perhaps, than many others a. Because of our tendency to categorize sins, we may allow this one to linger and fester more than such sins as fornication, adultery b. Yet this sin is most destructive of Christian fellowship; it will just as easily destroy (maybe even more so) a local congregation as will sins of moral impurity 2. Overcoming "contentions"... a. Begins with realizing that it is often the expression of "hatred" or "enmity", which has no place in the heart of the Christian b. As illustrated in the case of Corinth, it often arises when members place too high a value on personalities, and not on Jesus Christ - cf. 1Co 1:12 c. The key, then, is to exalt Jesus Christ as Lord, and let His attitude and example govern our dealings with one another - cf. 1Co 2:2; 2Co 4:5; Php 2:3-5 CONCLUSION 1. Notice again these brief definitions... a. "echthra" - enmity or hostility that one may harbor in one's heart toward another b. "eris" - strife or quarreling that results from such hostility 2. That such sins can keep us out of the kingdom of heaven just as easily as fornication, idolatry and sorcery, ought to cause us to seriously reflect about our spiritual growth and development as Christians 3. Perhaps more than ever since we started this study, we see the challenge we face as we live the Christian life a. It is not a matter of simply abstaining from what some people might call the "big" sins b. It is a matter of undergoing a complete transformation of character, made possible only as we submit to the working of the Spirit in our lives! c. As Paul wrote to the brethren in Rome: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." -- Ro 12:1-2 Are you seeking to be so transformed by the renewing of your mind? It begins with a "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit"... - cf. Tit 3:5; Jn 3:5; Mk 16:16
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011
Inspired Prediction is Proof of Bible Inspiration
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Why would anyone believe that the Bible is the Word of God, having been transmitted through men who were supernaturally guided by God? Because the evidence so indicates. One of the proofs of Bible inspiration is predictive prophecy. Men committed to writing detailed predictions that pertained to events several hundred years into the future. One such example is the prophecy recalled by the writer of the book of Hebrews in which he quotes from Psalm 40. He places the words in the mouth of Jesus, applying the prediction to Jesus’ incarnation and sacrifice on the cross. His citation is taken from the Septuagint version rather than the original Hebrew:
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not de-sire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is writ-ten of Me—to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:5-7, emp. added).
The Bible teaches that Deity came to the Earth in human flesh in order to offer Himself as an atonement for the sins of the human race (Galatians 2:20; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14; et al.). The book of Hebrews was written in the first century A.D. But the Psalms were written several hundred years before that, with Psalm 40, written presumably by David, a thousand years earlier. That means that a thousand years separates the prediction from the fulfillment. Even the most liberal treatment of the Psalms places their composition prior to the first century A.D. The Greek Bible is generally believed to have been completed in the third century B.C., which means the Psalms had to have been completed prior to that time.
But how detailed was this prediction? Did it contain vague generalities and ambiguous phrases that can be bent to refer to just about anything? By no means. Among the details of the prediction, observe that the passage represents God (the Father) as being responsible for preparing/providing a body for Jesus (the Son) to inhabit. This body would replace the animal sacrifices and offerings contained in the Old Testament economy for dealing with sin. Such predictions are hardly vague or ambiguous. In fact, they are extremely specific and complex.
One of the great marvels of the Christian religion is the virgin conception in which Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit, enabling her to conceive a child (Matthew 1:18-25). That child was Jesus Christ who vacated the heavenly realm temporarily to fulfill the magnificent, incomprehensi-ble purpose of sacrificing Himself for lost humanity (Philippians 2:6-8). A physical, fleshly body was necessary to accomplish this purpose. Hence, the need to be “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4; cf. Genesis 3:15) by which Deity could inhabit a human body. Observe that the physical body was genetically derived from David via his descendent Mary (Luke 3:23,31; Romans 1:3)—in ful-fillment of another predictive prophecy (1 Samuel 7:12). But Jesus Himself is not to be confused with His physical body. Jesus Himself preceded the preparation and formation of the physical body that He inhabited in first century Palestine. Jesus Himself has always existed since He is Deity and eternal (Colossians 1:16; 2:9). Jesus Himself participated in the creation of the Universe (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:17).
How in the world could any mere human have predicted, hundreds of years in advance, that a person would be born who, unlike all other humans ever born, was in fact God inhabiting a physi-cal body? No mere human could have predicted such an event. Hence, the Bible bears the attributes of a supernatural origin.
Former Atheist, Antony Flew, Dies at 87
|by||Kyle Butt, M.A.|
For many years, Antony Flew reigned as arguably the most able defender of atheism in the world. In fact, the subheading of one of Flew’s last books described him as “the world’s most notorious atheist” (Flew and Varghese, 2007). Flew’s monumental paper “Theology and Falsification,” which he “first presented at a 1950 meeting of the Oxford University Socratic Club chaired by C.S. Lewis, became the most widely reprinted philosophical publication of the last century” (2007, pp. vii-viii, emp. added). He authored more than 30 books, including his now-famous The Presumption of Atheism (“Antony Flew…,” 2010).
In spite of his atheistic teaching and writings, Flew rocked the atheistic community in 2004 when he announced that he had changed his mind (see Miller, 2004). He concluded that enough evidence had accrued to prove that some type of intelligent designer must be behind the origin of the Universe. In his book, There Is a God, co-written with Roy Varghese, Flew wrote:
The leaders of science over the last hundred years, along with some of today’s most influential scientists, have built a philosophically compelling vision of a rational universe that sprang from a divine Mind. As it happens, this is the particular view of the world that I now find to be the soundest philosophical explanation of the multitude of phenomena encountered by scientists and laypeople alike (2007, p. 91).Of course, the atheistic community did not appreciate his “conversion.” Some prominent atheists accused him of being senile and attempted to downplay his book, claiming that he did not write much of it, but simply put his name on the material Roy Varghese wrote. Flew responded by explaining that he was not senile, and that the evidence for a divine Mind was inescapable.
Flew’s courageous decision to defy the atheistic community and admit that the evidence demands a divine Creator is commendable. His bravery brought to light the fact that the “advocates of tolerance were not themselves very tolerant. And, apparently, religious zealots don’t have a monopoly on dogmatism, incivility, fanaticism, and paranoia” (2007, p. viii). Flew experienced the ugly reality that creationists endure on a regular basis: those who believe in a Creator are persecuted for standing for the truth.
In spite of Flew’s bravery, his position failed to follow all the evidence to its logical conclusion. Flew, unfortunately, held a deistic belief in a divine Creator “who takes no interest in human affairs” (“Anthony Flew…,” 2010). He did not follow his quest for truth to the end of the path that would have led to the acceptance of Christianity (see Butt and Lyons, 2006).
On April 8, 2010, Antony Flew died at the age of 87 after fighting a long illness (“Antony Flew…,” 2010). He will be remembered for the writing he did in favor of atheism, and his courageous stand late in his life against that false philosophy. His life should remind us all that standing for the truth, in the face of fierce opposition, is the admirable course to take. His life should also encourage us not to stop at a mere belief in a Creator, but to invest our lives completely in the pursuit of identifying that Creator’s will for our lives (see Lyons and Butt, n.d.).
REFERENCES“Anthony Flew, Once a Prominent Atheist, Dies at 87” (2010), April 14, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100414/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_obit_flew.
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2006), Behold! The Lamb of God: Exploring the Historicity, Deity, and Personality of Christ (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Flew, Antony and Roy Varghese (2007), There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York: Harper Collins).
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2010), Receiving the Gift of Salvation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Receiving%20the%20Gift%20of%20Salvation.pdf.
Miller, Dave (2004), “Atheist Finally ‘Sobers Up,’” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2662.
Big Bang False. Eternal Universe True?
|by||Jeff Miller, Ph.D.|
If you do not want to accept that God exists, you have to be able to explain the existence of the Universe without Him creating it. If He is not in the equation, then either the Universe created itself or is eternal—there are no other options (Spencer, 1882). The popular theory today, of course, is the Big Bang Theory, which posits that the Universe created itself. Recall that in 2014, science magazines, journals, and media hailed the discovery of gravitational waves that supposedly proved Big Bang inflation (Miller, 2014). Inflation is a fundamental and crucial element of the Big Bang Theory, needed to fix the “horizon” and “flatness” problems in the Universe if there was no God to create it, but which as yet had no direct observational evidence. Further recall Nature publishing in January, 2015 the article “Gravitational Waves Discovery Now Officially Dead” (Cowen, 2015). The supposed evidence for gravitational waves proved to be merely galactic dust (Miller, 2015). So Big Bang cosmologists are, in the words of the cosmologist who proposed inflation in the first place, Alan Guth of M.I.T., “pretty much back to where we were before” (as quoted in McKee, 2015). Where were we before? In the place where there is no evidence of inflation. In the words of theoretical physicist and professor at Princeton Paul Steinhardt, “[T]he inflationary paradigm is so flexible that it is immune to experimental and observational tests…. [T]he paradigm of inflation is unfalsifiable…. [I]t is clear that the inflationary paradigm is fundamentally untestable, and hence scientifically meaningless” (2014, emp. added).
With the announcement that there is, once again, no evidence of inflation, one might predict that a new theory would emerge that solves the problem for naturalists, by perhaps resorting to an eternal Universe instead. Sure enough, a week and two days later, Phys.org announced the results of mathematical calculations completed by Ahmed Farag Ali of Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology in Egypt and Saurya Das of the University of Lethbridge in Canada. Ali and Das acknowledged and highlighted the most fundamental problem with the Big Bang Theory, which creationists have long pointed out: if it’s true, how did it all start? Where did the singularity—the cosmic egg (i.e., the ylem) that “exploded”—come from? It could not create itself, according to the First Law of Thermodynamics, and if one argues that the First Law did not exist before the ylem, how did the First Law write itself into existence along with the appearance of matter and energy? If the First Law did exist, Who made it? All laws have law makers! [See Miller, 2013 for a thorough discussion of these matters.] Ali and Das claim to have resolved the problem by calculations that indicate that there was no Big Bang anyway—no singularity (Zyga, 2015). According to them, the Universe is eternal. What does this mean for creationists?
First, we wish to highlight that Ali and Das are in agreement with us that there is a major scientific problem with the Big Bang in the origin of the ylem. It could not have created itself. Such a suggestion is unscientific and unnatural—there is no scientific evidence from nature that such a thing could happen. Simply put, it would be supernatural—witchcraft without a witch. Second, we should highlight that the work of Ali and Das has not even been verified as legitimate by the scientific community at large. LiveScience, for example, noted with regard to their theory, “If [the] new theory turns out to be true, the universe may not have started with a bang” (Ghose, 2015, emp. added). As of the writing of this article, four months have passed since the announcement of Ali and Das’ work, and neither Science, Nature, Scientific American, New Scientist, or American Scientist have even weighed in on the discussion.
Third, we note that the eternality of the Universe is not a new concept. Before the Big Bang was en vogue, eternal models were popular (e.g., Sir Fred Hoyle’s Steady State Model), but in time were rejected based on the observable evidence. For example, Robert Jastrow, evolutionary astronomer and former director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, wrote:
And concurrently there was a great deal of discussion about the fact that the second law of thermodynamics, applied to the Cosmos, indicates the Universe is running down like a clock. If it is running down, there must have been a time when it was fully wound up…. Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion; all indicated that the Universe had a beginning (1978, pp. 48-49, 111).Simply put, the Universe cannot be eternal, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. All available scientific evidence indicates that the matter and energy in the Universe is wearing out or decaying. Everything is moving towards disorder and chaos, and we are depleting usable energy. This trek towards disorder and decay is an irreversible process known as entropy. The unavoidable truth of entropy is why perpetual motion machines are understood to be impossible machines in the Universe. If the Universe is eternal, then it is a perpetual motion machine in defiance of the Second Law—which has no exceptions.
If, however, we base our conclusions on the actual scientific evidence, we are forced to conclude that the Universe could not have existed forever, or it would be completely out of usable energy—i.e., it would be completely worn out (see Miller, 2013 for further discussion on the Laws of Thermodynamics and the origin of the Universe). So the only way the Universe could be eternal is if there was Someone outside of the Universe countering entropy by adding usable energy to it on a Universal scale. But then this discussion would cease to be a discussion of nature and would move into the realm of super-nature, which the naturalist-infested, modern scientific community would not even consider.
Ultimately, there is no evidence that energy or matter are coming into the Universe—hence the existence of the First Law of Thermodynamics. So the Universe could not be eternal. If one believes anyway that it is, he is doing so against the scientific evidence. Since he is drawing conclusions not warranted by the evidence, he is being irrational (Ruby, 1960, pp. 130-131). In short, he has a “blind faith.”
REFERENCESCowen, Ron (2015), “Gravitational Waves Discovery Now Officially Dead,” Nature.com, January 30, http://www.nature.com/news/gravitational-waves-discovery-now-officially-dead-1.16830.
Ghose, Tia (2015), “Big Bang, Deflated? Universe May Have Had No Beginning,” LiveScience, February 26, http://www.livescience.com/49958-theory-no-big-bang.html.
Jastrow, Robert (1978), God and the Astronomers (New York: W.W. Norton).
McKee, Maggie (2015), “Big Bang Discovery Crumbles to Dust,” New Scientist, 225:10, February 7.
Miller, Jeff (2013), Science vs. Evolution (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Jeff (2014), “Was the Big Bang Just Proven by Astronomers?” Reason & Revelation, 34:81-83, June, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1156.
Miller, Jeff (2015), “Big Bang Inflation Evidence Officially Bites the Dust,” Reason & Revelation, 35:62-65.
Ruby, Lionel (1960), Logic: An Introduction (Chicago, IL: J.B. Lippincott).
Spencer, Herbert (1882), First Principles: A System of Synthetic Philosophy (New York: D. Appleton & Company), fourth edition.
Steinhardt, Paul (2014), “Big Bang Blunder Bursts the Multiverse Bubble,” Nature, 510:9, June 5.
Zyga, Lisa (2015), “No Big Bang? Quantum Equation Predicts Universe Has No Beginning,” Phys.org, February 9, http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html.
Cockeyed Conclusions About Connecticut
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
In the wake of the horrifying rampage in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults shot to death, reactions from the anti-Christian media and liberal politicians are exactly what you would expect: “We’ve got to get rid of the guns!” Never mind the fact that murder goes back to the beginning of the human race when Cain killed his brother—without a gun. Guns have been around only a few hundred years; people have been killing each other for thousands of years. You do the math. If there were no guns—clubs, rocks, and sharpened sticks would do the job. Building a bomb or setting the school on fire would accomplish the same or worse. Shall we outlaw rocks, sticks, matches, and fertilizer?
Legion are the emotional, irrational explanations that have inundated the Web: “Adam Lanza and his mother both spent time at an area gun range” (Thomas, 2012); “Technology has rendered the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution obsolete” (“Adam Lanza’s…,” 2012); “New York mayor demands action on gun control” (“Connecticut…New York…,” 2012)”; “Connecticut Governor calls for a federal framework for gun control laws” (“Connecticut…State’s…,” 2012).“Time to get rid of the guns!” (Mackey, 2012); “The gunman had hundreds of rounds of ammunition!” (“Connecticut…Gunman…,” 2012); “The mother and father are Republicans” (Swain and Sanchez, 2012). Even the National Rifle Association missed the point when it announced, “The N.R.A. is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again” (“NRA News Release…,” 2012). As if money can fix morality.
Interestingly, regarding the propriety of citizens having free access to guns, prominent Founder Thomas Jefferson approvingly quoted (1926, p. 314) from the celebrated Italian jurist, philosopher, and politician, Cesare Beccaria’s 1764 treatise, An Essay on Crimes and Punishments, words which are hauntingly prophetic of our present predicament:
Yet, as American society’s Christian moorings continue to erode, and immoral human behavior rapidly replaces traditional American values, the left continues to trot out their insane assessments and godless “solutions”—completely missing the only explanation and the only solution. If only Americans would take the time to reread their Bibles and go back to the Founding Fathers to see the clear and unmistakable explanation for our predicament. This is not rocket science. It is not that difficult to see with clarity what is happening.
The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons (1983, p. 91, emp. added).
Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794)
The Central Issue and SolutionThe fact is that the Creator of the human race is the sole Author and Source of objective morality. Otherwise, moral distinctions would simply be the product of the subjective whims of humans. Morality would thus legitimately vary from person to person and country to country. One society might decide to legalize pedophilia while another might make it illegal—and both would be “right” in the sense that each person would be free to formulate his own moral standards. The result would be complete and utter social anarchy in which every person would be equally free to believe and behave however he or she chooses. Sound like America? What has happened? How can such profound change come over an entire civilization?The Founders of the American Republic anticipated just this social scenario—and even described the circumstances under which it would occur. The Founders predicted that if Americans do not retain an ardent commitment to the moral principles of Christianity, civil society will wane.
Consider the following prophetic voices. In the 1811 New York State Supreme Court case of The People v. Ruggles, the “Father of American Jurisprudence,” James Kent, explained the importance of punishing unchristian behavior, when he wrote that Americans are a “people whose manners are refined, and whose morals have been elevated and inspired with a more enlarged benevolence, by means of the Christian religion” (1811, emp. added). The gentility of the American spirit has historically been contrasted with those peoples “whose sense of shame would not be affected by what we should consider the most audacious outrages upon decorum” (1811, emp. added).
The Founders understood that the Bible presents the only logical and sane assessment of reality: an objective standard, authored by the Creator, which exists for the entire human race—what Thomas Jefferson identified as “one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively” (1789). That standard resides within the confines of the Christian religion as articulated in the New Testament. Unless human civilization gauges its moral behavior according to that objective, absolute framework, moral and spiritual chaos in society will be the end result—even if all the guns in the world were dumped into the ocean. In the words of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence: “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they, therefore, who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure...are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments” (as quoted in Steiner, 1907, p. 475, emp. added).
Yet, for some 50 years now, Americans have been pummeled with the humanistic notion that morality can be maintained in society to the exclusion of Christianity. With almost prophetic anticipation, the very first president of the United States—the Father of our country—anticipated and addressed this sinister misnomer. After serving his country for two terms as president, George Washington delivered his farewell address to the nation, articulating forcefully the key to achieving security and protection for our lives:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric? (1796, pp. 22-23, emp. added).Declaration of Independence signer Benjamin Rush stated: “[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments” (1806, p. 8, emp. added). Dr. Rush further stated:
We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism (pp. 112-113, emp. added).Dr. Rush also insisted:
I wish to be excused for repeating here, that if the Bible did not convey a single direction for the attainment of future happiness, it should be read in our schools in preference to all other books, from, its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.... By withholding the knowledge of this [Christian] doctrine from children, we deprive ourselves of the best means of awakening moral sensibility in their minds (pp. 100,105, emp. and bracketed item added).Over the past 50 years or so, the liberal establishment has convinced society that evil actions are merely the result of “disturbed,” “mentally ill,” and “genetically predisposed” people who are not, in the final analysis, responsible for their behavior. But both the Bible and the Founders insisted that a failure to fill one’s mind and thoughts with pure, righteous, virtuous concepts found in the Bible inevitably leads to a confused mind, a reckless lifestyle, and harm to society. In his scathing repudiation of Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, Continental Congress president Elias Boudinot insisted: “[O]ur country should be preserved from the dreadful evil of becoming enemies to the religion of the Gospel, which I have no doubt, but would be introductive of the dissolution of government and the bonds of civil society” (1801, p. xxii, emp. added). Dr. Benjamin Rush added his blunt observation: “Without the restraints of religion and social worship, men become savages” (1951, 1:505, emp. added). Noah Webster stated: “[R]eligion has an excellent effect in repressing vices [and] in softening the manners of men” (1794, Vol. 2, Ch. 44, emp. added).
The Founders believed that, should Christian principles be jettisoned by Americans, manners would be corrupted, and social anarchy and the fall of the Republic would naturally follow. Declaration signer and “The Father of the American Revolution,” Samuel Adams, issued a solemn warning in a letter to James Warren on February 12, 1779: “A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy” (1908, 4:124). In his inaugural address as the Governor of Massachusetts in 1780, Founder John Hancock insisted that both our freedom and our very existence as a Republic will be determined by public attachment to Christian morality: “Manners, by which not only the freedom, but the very existence of the republics, are greatly affected, depend much upon the public institutions of religion and the good education of youth” (as quoted in Brown, 1898, p. 269, emp. added). The words of Declaration signer John Witherspoon are frightening: “Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction” (1802, 3:41, emp. added). In contrasting the general religion of Christianity with Islam, John Quincy Adams likewise explained:
The fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion, is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies. There is no denomination of Christians, which denies or misunderstands this doctrine. All understand it alike—all acknowledge its obligations; and however imperfectly, in the purposes of Divine Providence, its efficacy has been shown in the practice of Christians, it has not been wholly inoperative upon them. Its effect has been upon the manners of nations. It has mitigated the horrors of war—it has softened the features of slavery—it has humanized the intercourse of social life (1830, p. 300, emp. added).We are a blind and hard-hearted people if we refuse to recognize the truth and validity of these observations. Fixating on guns, and other peripheral issues, sidesteps the eternal reality that when a society is organized and geared to respect God and His Word, aberrant behavior will still occur, but it will be far more infrequent that what America is now experiencing. Though mocked, ridiculed, and hotly denied, the truth remains that Connecticut, Columbine, and a host of other tragic occurrences America is experiencing, are the result of banishing God from our schools, our government, and our civic institutions. It is the natural result of teaching three generations of Americans that they owe their ultimate origin to rocks, slime, and soup which produced them over millions of years. It is the result of over half of Americans no longer attending church. It is the inevitable result of demeaning the Bible in universities and the corresponding loss of respect for inspired writ as seen in the failure of most Americans to read and study it. As the ancient prophet Hosea, in quoting God, forcefully declared many millennia ago concerning another nation: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you.... Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame” (4:6-7, emp. added).
A good summary of the attitude of the Founders regarding the key to a tranquil, nonviolent society is seen in an “election sermon” preached by Chandler Robbins before the joint assembly of government officials of Massachusetts on May 25, 1791 which included the Governor, John Hancock (the first to sign the Declaration of Independence), the Lieutenant-Governor, Samuel Adams (the “Father of the American Revolution”), and both houses of the state government. Robbins articulated the widespread sentiments of his fellow citizens that now, more than two centuries later, sound haunting and eerily prophetic:
Our advantages for happiness as a people are great, almost beyond a parallel, bounteous Heaven has, with liberal profusion, poured his blessings upon our land, has given us a name and distinction among the kingdoms of the earth, we are spread over a great continent, so that…“we make a WORLD within ourselves…. We enjoy the divine WORD—are favored with the glorious privilege of the GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Indeed, there seems to be nothing wanting, to complete our character and our happiness as a community, but the spirit and practice of real religion. The want of this, it must be acknowledged, has the most threatening aspect upon our nation. The diffusive and rapid progress of declared infidelity and deism, of licentiousness and skepticism, the disregard of divine institutions, the practical contempt of the gospel of our Salvation, the awful dishonor, which, with unblushing confidence, many have openly cast upon the ETERNAL SON OF GOD, whom we are commanded to “honor as we honor the FATHER,” because he is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” In fine, the torrent of immorality, profaneness and impiety, which daily increased among us, exhibit but a sad presage, if persisted in, of impending miseries on our land. It is, in the nature of things, impossible it should eventually go well with a people of the above description, and who remain impenitent and unreformed…. It is manifest therefore, that righteousness alone can truly exalt our nation—that RELIGION is the only basis, on which true happiness can be founded, either in communities or individuals. Let this then, be the object of universal concern (pp. 5-51, italics and caps in orig., emp. added).A sizeable percentage of our politicians and citizens don’t get it. Yet the truth is so simple and plain, echoed in Robbins’ allusion to Proverbs 14:34—“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Mark it down: as more and more Americans lose their connection to the nation’s spiritual and moral roots—the Christian religion—the more our nation will be plunged into the nightmarish onslaught of events like the one which occurred in Newtown, Connecticut.
CONCLUSIONIt is fully to be expected—it is absolutely inevitable—that as society expels God and Christianity, civility and morality among the people decreases. As people abandon Christian morality, more laws must be made to restrain their evil deeds. As more laws are made to restrain a lawless people, the less freedom those people enjoy. I repeat: Morality and religion are absolutely necessary to achieve and retain freedom. Once Americans abandon the Christian moral framework, they will inevitably clamor for more prisons, more security forces, more screening devices, and yes, fewer guns. But these “solutions” are merely temporary band aids that will not fix the problem and, in actuality, create more problems. The truth is that only two options lie before us, pinpointed in the 1840s by the Speaker of the U.S. House, Robert Winthrop: “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet” (1852, p. 172, emp. added). Observe: Americans have banned the Bible from the public square and have opted for the bayonet—more government control and fewer freedoms.
What was going on in that child’s life that would enable him to so conduct himself? Not the existence of guns! The Left does not want to go to the root of the problem—because their very philosophy and belief system has already dismissed God and Christian morality as irrelevant, if not harmful. They recoil at the thought of promoting self-restraint and strict Christian morality. Hence, to them, the problem must lie elsewhere. (Although, they are perfectly happy to blame God for the killings.) But this 20-year-old boy was not born with the propensity to kill children. Even his suspected autism is not responsible for the violence. His attitude and behavior was developed and nurtured during his formative years. His training, experiences, and personal choices made him who he became. Not his genes, not the presence of guns in the world, not visits to the gun range, and certainly not the existence of “Bible-thumping, right wing radical Christians.” The Bible plainly teaches that a stable home environment, with both biological parents present nurturing their children in the principles of Christianity, are the most effective aids to producing successful, productive, law-abiding citizens. The Founders wholeheartedly affirmed this approach to life and realized that the societal environment most conducive to producing stable citizens and a happy country is one that is based on and rooted in the moral principles of the Bible. Yet this boy’s personal life very likely possessed features that contributed to his degeneration to a “debased mind” (Romans 1:28), even enabling him to kill his own mother by shooting her in the face (Swain and Sanchez, 2012). This was a troubled child, to say the least. His troubled condition did not arise from the presence of guns. Until America faces the reality of what creates the increasing numbers of troubled children, society will continue to reap the consequences.
REFERENCES“Adam Lanza’s Weapons” (2012), New York Post, December 18, http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/adam_lanza_weapons_NU2tb0tIf9hNsOCZkPJ1XP.
Adams, John Quincy (1830), The American Annual Register (New York: E. & G.W. Blunt).
Adams, Samuel (1904-1908), The Writings of Samuel Adams, ed. Harry Cushing (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons).
Beccaria, Cesare (1983), An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (Boston, MA: International Pocket Library, http://books.google.com/books?id=InuKBpD_ 21YC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Cesare+Beccaria,+An+Essay+on+Crimes+ %26+Punishments&hl=en&sa=X&ei=TkzTUJ-ZNIH88gScxoGoCg&ved =0CDQQ6AEwAA).
Boudinot, Elias (1801), The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia, PA: Asbury Dickins), http://www.google.com/books?id=XpcPAAAAIAAJ.
Brown, Abram (1898), John Hancock, His Book (Boston, MA: Lee & Shepard Publishers), http://www.archive.org/details/johnhancock00browrich.
“Connecticut School Shooting: Gunman Had Hundreds of Rounds of Ammunition” (2012), Chicago Tribune, December 16, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-connecticut-school-shooting-victims-20121216,0,5491415.story?page=2.
“Connecticut School Shooting: New York Mayor Demands Action on Gun Control” (2012), The Telegraph, December 17, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews /northamerica/usa/9751633/Connecticut-school-shooting-New-York-mayor -demands-action-on-gun-control.html.
“Connecticut School Shooting: State’s Governor Calls for Action on Gun Control” (2012), The Telegraph, December 17, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews /northamerica/usa/9751905/Connecticut-school-shooting-states-governor- calls-for-action-on-gun-control.html.
Jefferson, Thomas (1789), “Letter to James Madison,” The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, ed. Paul Leicester Ford, http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field(DOCID+@lit (tj050135)).
Jefferson, Thomas (1926), The Commonplace Book of Thomas Jefferson: A Repertory of His Ideas on Government, ed. Gilbert Chinard (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press).
Mackey, Robert (2012), “Dec. 18 Updates on Connecticut Shooting Aftermath,” The New York Times, December 19, http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/latest-updates-on-connecticut-shooting-aftermath/.
“NRA News Release on December Press Conference” (2012), The National Rifle Association of America, http://www.nrablog.com/.
The People v. Ruggles(1811), 8 Johns 290 (Sup. Ct. NY.), N.Y. Lexis 124.
Robbins, Chandler (1791), A Sermon Preached Before His Excellency John Hancock, Esq., Governour, His Honor Samuel Adams, Esq., Lieutenant-Governour, the Honourable the Council, and the Honourable the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, May 25, 1791 Being the Day of General Election (Boston, MA: Thomas Adams), http://openlibrary.org/works/OL1743074W /A_sermon_preached_before_His_Excellency_Jonh_sic_Hancock_Esq. _governour_His_Honor_Samuel_Adams_Esq._.
Rush, Benjamin (1806), Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia, PA: Thomas & William Bradford).
Rush, Benjamin (1951), Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L.H. Butterfield (Princeton, NJ: The American Philosophical Society).
Steiner, Bernard (1907), The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, OH: Burrows Brothers).
Swain, Jon, and Raf Sanchez (2012), “Connecticut School Shooting: Adam Lanza Was Assigned Psychologist,” The Telegraph, December 17, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/ usa/9750422/Connecticut-school-shooting-Adam-Lanza-was-assigned- psychologist.html.
Thomas, Pierre, et al. (2012), “Connecticut School Shooting: Adam Lanza and Mother Visited Gun Ranges,” ABC News, December 16, http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/connecticut-school-shooting-adam-lanza-mother-visited-gun/story?id=17992396.
Washington, George (1796), Address of George Washington, President of the United States...Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore, MD: George & Henry Keating).
Webster, Noah (1794), “The Revolution in France,” in Political Sermons of the American Founding Era: 1730-1805, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund), 1998 edition, http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/817/69415.
Winthrop, Robert (1852), Addresses and Speeches on Various Occasions (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, & Co.).
Witherspoon, John (1802), The Works of the Rev. John Witherspoon (Philadelphia, PA: William Woodard).
BLESSED SUNDAY MORNINGWho are these that gather together on Sunday mornings? Old and young, women and men, slow and quick, smiling and frowning, glad and sad, sick and well, alone and with families. Who are they? In their Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes or in their casuals, from out of town and just around the corner, the eager and the subdued, the tired and those with too much energy, the bored and the expectant, on time and running late?
And what do the neighbors think as they peek out from behind their curtains, pass them in the streets or nod at them from the doorstep? What do they think as they hear the hymns dancing or marching or struggling through the air? What do they think when they note the silences between the hymns and know that this is probably the moment when prayers of confession, praise, petition, thanksgiving, adoration and lament are going up to God?
And why do these people come week after week, month after month and year after year? God knows. At different times they come with different moods, from different motivations and for different reasons. To see friends, because parents require it, because it’s expected of them, because their children and their friends need them to be present maybe even because there’s a certain boy or girl there, because…
I suppose we’ve all shared in the poor, bad or doubtful reasons for congregating, but there are times when, by God’s grace, we get it right and we gather for very good reasons—the best reasons.
We’re never so visibly one as when we make an appointment at a given place and a given time for a given purpose—and keep it!
Sometimes we gather simply to thank God! And millions of us have so much to be thankful for! (I have nothing to say at this point about those sorrowful people whose lives are so tragically hard that they feel they have nothing to be thankful for. And I get that! I’ve said a little about that elsewhere.) I’m speaking now about us who have food, clothes, clean water, parks, rivers, friends, loving children or parents, jobs, health to work, financial security—enough to see us through, tiny grandchildren who must have our spectacles to eat or husbands/wives to make lovely days even lovelier. Sometimes we just want to thank someone for rain and warm sunshine for friends to love and be loved by and so we gather to sing our gratitude.
Sometimes we come to apologize for our wrongs. We don’t come to grovel and crawl before God, pleading for forgiveness as though he were tightfisted and miserly and had to be begged into a good mood. The cross of Christ! Imagine him speaking from the cross—this Savior of ours—“Do I look like you have to grovel and crawl to find forgiveness? Has the Holy Father who sent me here to this place and for this reason strike you as one you must crawl before, like some petty and heartless tyrant?” Were we to crawl and grovel would it not be an insult—would it not? The cross shows he views our sin with profound seriousness but it shows that the last word with him is, “I delight—yes, delight in forgiving your sins.” (Micah 7:18-19 with John 3:16-17) And it’s centrally because he in generous righteousness forgives us freely and fully that we can’t help apologizing that we sadden him. “Yes,” he would say, “it’s all right to apologize but don’t grovel. Get up and move on toward a better heart and a better day and I will help you.”
Sometimes we come for challenge and kind rebuke. We don’t want your smugness and self-righteousness whitewashed, we don’t want to be forever babied or spoken to in that “there, there, it’s all right” tone as if we were little children who were a little naughty. God’s Holy Son didn’t come nor did his Holy Father send him to make it easier for us to sin or to blind us to the destructive power of the evil that feeds like a slimy parasite on the entire human family and vulnerable Christians. We want to be awakened out of our christianly sleep and lolling to engage in war with the “world” (organized cosmic corruption) for the human family as our Master has done and is doing.
We wish to be made bold in our praying; we want to be transformed so that we pray less for trivia and more for strength to engage in kingdom living—the kind of living that’s described in Revelation as war against red Dragons, seven-headed sea monsters and all the earth’s allies of brutality and human enslavement. We want to hear preaching and teaching that will stun us with the truth of who our God is and what it is he is up to and having stunned us it will then galvanize us to join with him in his cosmic rescue!
These and more are reasons we gather on Sunday morning!
(With permission I borrowed the drift of this from my little book called, Where the Spirit of the Lord Is…)
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
The World English Bible
1 Chronicles 22-23
1Ch 22:1 Then David said, This is the house of Yahweh God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.
1Ch 22:2 David commanded to gather together the foreigners who were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to cut worked stones to build the house of God.
1Ch 22:3 David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the couplings; and brass in abundance without weight;
1Ch 22:4 and cedar trees without number: for the Sidonians and they of Tyre brought cedar trees in abundance to David.
1Ch 22:5 David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be built for Yahweh must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.
1Ch 22:6 Then he called for Solomon his son, and commanded him to build a house for Yahweh, the God of Israel.
1Ch 22:7 David said to Solomon his son, As for me, it was in my heart to build a house to the name of Yahweh my God.
1Ch 22:8 But the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, You have shed blood abundantly, and have made great wars: you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight.
1Ch 22:9 Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days:
1Ch 22:10 he shall build a house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.
1Ch 22:11 Now, my son, Yahweh be with you; and prosper you, and build the house of Yahweh your God, as he has spoken concerning you.
1Ch 22:12 May Yahweh give you discretion and understanding, and put you in charge of Israel; that so you may keep the law of Yahweh your God.
1Ch 22:13 Then you shall prosper, if you observe to do the statutes and the ordinances which Yahweh gave Moses concerning Israel. Be strong, and of good courage. Don't be afraid, neither be dismayed.
1Ch 22:14 Now, behold, in my affliction I have prepared for the house of Yahweh one hundred thousand talents of gold, and one million talents of silver, and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and you may add to them.
1Ch 22:15 There are also workmen with you in abundance, cutters and workers of stone and timber, and all kinds of men who are skillful in every kind of work:
1Ch 22:16 of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise and be doing, and Yahweh be with you.
1Ch 22:17 David also commanded all the princes of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying,
1Ch 22:18 Isn't Yahweh your God with you? Hasn't he given you rest on every side? for he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand; and the land is subdued before Yahweh, and before his people.
1Ch 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek after Yahweh your God; arise therefore, and build the sanctuary of Yahweh God, to bring the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of Yahweh.
1Ch 23:1 Now David was old and full of days; and he made Solomon his son king over Israel.
1Ch 23:2 He gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.
1Ch 23:3 The Levites were numbered from thirty years old and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty-eight thousand.
1Ch 23:4 Of these, twenty-four thousand were to oversee the work of the house of Yahweh; and six thousand were officers and judges;
1Ch 23:5 and four thousand were doorkeepers; and four thousand praised Yahweh with the instruments which I made, said David, for giving praise.
1Ch 23:6 David divided them into divisions according to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
1Ch 23:7 Of the Gershonites: Ladan and Shimei.
1Ch 23:8 The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the chief, and Zetham, and Joel, three.
1Ch 23:9 The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, and Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the heads of the fathers' houses of Ladan.
1Ch 23:10 The sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, and Jeush, and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei.
1Ch 23:11 Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah didn't have many sons; therefore they became a fathers' house in one reckoning.
1Ch 23:12 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four.
1Ch 23:13 The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses; and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons, forever, to burn incense before Yahweh, to minister to him, and to bless in his name, forever.
1Ch 23:14 But as for Moses the man of God, his sons were named among the tribe of Levi.
1Ch 23:15 The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer.
1Ch 23:16 The sons of Gershom: Shebuel the chief.
1Ch 23:17 The sons of Eliezer were: Rehabiah the chief; and Eliezer had no other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many.
1Ch 23:18 The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the chief.
1Ch 23:19 The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the chief, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth.
1Ch 23:20 The sons of Uzziel: Micah the chief, and Isshiah the second.
1Ch 23:21 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish.
1Ch 23:22 Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters only: and their brothers the sons of Kish took them to wife.
1Ch 23:23 The sons of Mushi: Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three.
1Ch 23:24 These were the sons of Levi after their fathers' houses, even the heads of the fathers' houses of those who were counted individually, in the number of names by their polls, who did the work for the service of the house of Yahweh, from twenty years old and upward.
1Ch 23:25 For David said, Yahweh, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people; and he dwells in Jerusalem forever:
1Ch 23:26 and also the Levites shall no more have need to carry the tabernacle and all its vessels for its service.
1Ch 23:27 For by the last words of David the sons of Levi were numbered, from twenty years old and upward.
1Ch 23:28 For their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of Yahweh, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, even the work of the service of the house of God;
1Ch 23:29 for the show bread also, and for the fine flour for a meal offering, whether of unleavened wafers, or of that which is baked in the pan, or of that which is soaked, and for all manner of measure and size;
1Ch 23:30 and to stand every morning to thank and praise Yahweh, and likewise in the evening;
1Ch 23:31 and to offer all burnt offerings to Yahweh, on the Sabbaths, on the new moons, and on the set feasts, in number according to the ordinance concerning them, continually before Yahweh;
1Ch 23:32 and that they should keep the duty of the Tent of Meeting, and the duty of the holy place, and the duty of the sons of Aaron their brothers, for the service of the house of Yahweh.
Jul. 20, 21
Act 13:1 Now in the assembly that was at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Act 13:2 As they served the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Separate Barnabas and Saul for me, for the work to which I have called them."
Act 13:3 Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Act 13:4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia. From there they sailed to Cyprus.
Act 13:5 When they were at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. They had also John as their attendant.
Act 13:6 When they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar Jesus,
Act 13:7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of understanding. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul, and sought to hear the word of God.
Act 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn aside the proconsul from the faith.
Act 13:9 But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him,
Act 13:10 and said, "Full of all deceit and all cunning, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
Act 13:11 Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is on you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sun for a season!" Immediately a mist and darkness fell on him. He went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
Act 13:12 Then the proconsul, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
Act 13:13 Now Paul and his company set sail from Paphos, and came to Perga in Pamphylia. John departed from them and returned to Jerusalem.
Act 13:14 But they, passing on from Perga, came to Antioch of Pisidia. They went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down.
Act 13:15 After the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, speak."
Act 13:16 Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, "Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen.
Act 13:17 The God of this people chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they stayed as aliens in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm, he led them out of it.
Act 13:18 For a period of about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness.
Act 13:19 When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land for an inheritance, for about four hundred fifty years.
Act 13:20 After these things he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
Act 13:21 Afterward they asked for a king, and God gave to them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Act 13:22 When he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, to whom he also testified, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.'
Act 13:23 From this man's seed, God has brought salvation to Israel according to his promise,
Act 13:24 before his coming, when John had first preached the baptism of repentance to Israel.
Act 13:25 As John was fulfilling his course, he said, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. But behold, one comes after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'
Act 13:26 Brothers, children of the stock of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, the word of this salvation is sent out to you.
Act 13:27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they didn't know him, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him.
Act 13:28 Though they found no cause for death, they still asked Pilate to have him killed.
Act 13:29 When they had fulfilled all things that were written about him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb.
Act 13:30 But God raised him from the dead,
Act 13:31 and he was seen for many days by those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses to the people.
Act 13:32 We bring you good news of the promise made to the fathers,
Act 13:33 that God has fulfilled the same to us, their children, in that he raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second psalm, 'You are my Son. Today I have become your father.'
Act 13:34 "Concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he has spoken thus: 'I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.'
Act 13:35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, 'You will not allow your Holy One to see decay.'
Act 13:36 For David, after he had in his own generation served the counsel of God, fell asleep, and was laid with his fathers, and saw decay.
Act 13:37 But he whom God raised up saw no decay.
Act 13:38 Be it known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man is proclaimed to you remission of sins,
Act 13:39 and by him everyone who believes is justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Act 13:40 Beware therefore, lest that come on you which is spoken in the prophets:
Act 13:41 'Behold, you scoffers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which you will in no way believe, if one declares it to you.' "
Act 13:42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
Act 13:43 Now when the synagogue broke up, many of the Jews and of the devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas; who, speaking to them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
Act 13:44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city was gathered together to hear the word of God.
Act 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy, and contradicted the things which were spoken by Paul, and blasphemed.
Act 13:46 Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, and said, "It was necessary that God's word should be spoken to you first. Since indeed you thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
Act 13:47 For so has the Lord commanded us, saying, 'I have set you as a light for the Gentiles, that you should bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.' "
Act 13:48 As the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of God. As many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
Act 13:49 The Lord's word was spread abroad throughout all the region.
Act 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, and stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out of their borders.
Act 13:51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came to Iconium.
Act 13:52 The disciples were filled with joy with the Holy Spirit.