From Mark Copeland... "LIFE AFTER DEATH" What Is The Eternal Destiny Of The Redeemed?

                           "LIFE AFTER DEATH"

              What Is The Eternal Destiny Of The Redeemed?


1. As we rapidly near the end of this series, we have considered what
   the Bible says about...
   a. The "intermediate state", i.e., the condition of man between death
      and the resurrection
   b. The second coming of Christ
   c. The resurrection of the dead
   d. The day of judgment

2. In the last two studies, we shall examine what the Bible reveals 
   about the FINAL state of man...
   a. What is the eternal destiny of the redeemed?
   b. What is the eternal destiny of the wicked?

[With this lesson we shall look first at "The Eternal Destiny Of The


      1. Jesus speaks of the righteous as being in "the kingdom of their
         Father", and inheriting "the kingdom prepared for you from the 
         foundation of the world"
         a. In explaining the "parable of the tares" - Mt 13:43
         b. In describing the judgment scene in Mt 25:31-34
         c. Compare this with statements by His apostles...
            1) Paul speaks of the "heavenly kingdom" - 2Ti 4:18
            2) Peter speaks of the "everlasting kingdom" - 2Pe 1:10-11
      2. Jesus speaks of the redeemed being with Him
         a. In the "parable of the talents" ("Enter into the joy of your
            lord") - Mt 25:21
         b. In praying to the Father in Jn 17:24 (cf. Jn 14:1-3)
         c. Paul also alludes to this continued fellowship with the Lord
            - 1Th 4:17-18
      3. Indeed, promises such as these are comforting for the 
         Christian, for they speak of unhindered and uninterrupted 
         fellowship with our Lord!
      4. Is this not our ultimate hope?  To be with the Lord for 

      1. In other words...
         a. Where will this fellowship with the Lord be experienced?
         b. Where will the "abode" of the righteous be?
      2. Will the "abode" of the redeemed...
         a. Be heaven itself?
         b. Or is it something "reserved" for us in heaven now, but when
            experienced it will actually be somewhere else?

[Previously I have suggested that when Christians die they will spend
the "intermediate state" in heaven.  While most Christians automatically
assume they will spend the "eternal state" in heaven, it appears the
Biblical evidence concerning the eternal "abode" may state otherwise!

Consider carefully, then, as we examine what the Bible says about...]


      1. The first is Col 1:5
         a. Which speaks "the hope which is laid up for you in heaven"
         b. Note carefully:  this verse does not say that our hope IS
            heaven, but rather that our hope is "laid up for you IN
         c. Whether our hope, when experienced, will be IN heaven,
            cannot be determined with certainty in this verse
         d. Only that for "now", heaven is where our hope is stored
      2. The second is 1Pe 1:3-4
         a. This passage speaks of our hope and inheritance, "reserved
            in heaven for you"
         b. Again:  this does not say that our hope (or inheritance) IS
            heaven, but rather that it is "reserved IN heaven"
         c. As before, we cannot determine from this passage alone 
            whether our hope and inheritance, when realized, will be in 
            heaven ITSELF
         d. Only that for "now" our hope and inheritance are presently 
            secured in heaven

      1. First, we find the author speaking of having "a better and 
         enduring possession for yourselves in heaven" - He 10:34
         a. Here the same point can be made as before
         b. I.e., at the present, our "possession" is IN heaven; but
            when we receive it, will it be in heaven then?
      2. In describing the hope of Abraham and the faithful, the author
         speaks of a CITY (or dwelling place)...
         a. "...the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker
            is God" - He 11:10
         b. "...for He has prepared a city for them" - He 11:13-16
      3. Speaking of himself and his fellow Christians, the author 
         writes:  "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the
         one to come" - He 13:14
      4. Here, then, is one way of speaking of the hope of the 
         righteous, as it relates to their eternal abode:
         a. It is a "city", whose builder and maker is God
         b. It is a "heavenly city", in the sense of its NATURE
         c. This "enduring possession" is PRESENTLY "prepared...laid up
            ...reserved" for us in heaven!
      5. But we have yet to answer the question:  "Where will this city
         (abode) of the righteous actually be when they experience it?"

      1. After describing the "day of the Lord" in which the present 
         universe will be dissolved, Peter speaks of looking for "new 
         heavens and a new earth" - 2Pe 3:7-13
      2. For Peter, this is what "we" (himself and all Christians) 
         should be looking for!
      3. Some questions:
         a. Is the "new heavens and a new earth" just a figurative 
            reference to heaven, or is it something different from 
         b. How do we reconcile looking for the "new heavens and a new 
            earth" (Peter), and looking for "the city whose builder is 
            God" (Hebrews)?
         -- The answer to these questions is found as we now look at...

      1. After describing the judgment scene (Re 20:11-15), John says 
         that he saw:
         a. "a new heaven and a new earth" - Re 21:1 (cf. Peter)
         b. "the holy City, New Jerusalem" - Re 21:2 (cf. Hebrews)
         -- In this way, John brings together both the "hope" of the 
            author of Hebrews and the apostle Peter!
      2. But where is this "city" at this point?  Note carefully how 
         three times in the Book of Revelation, it is stated that the
         city is NOT in heaven at this time...
         a. "...the New Jerusalem, which comes down OUT OF heaven from 
            my God." - Re 3:12
         b. "...the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down OUT OF heaven
            from God..." - Re 21:2
         c. "...the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending OUT OF 
            heaven from God..." - Re 21:10
      3. Rather than being IN heaven (the present dwelling place of 
         God), this "eternal abode" is described as being in "the new 
         heavens and a new earth"!
         a. A realm where there is the absence of death, sorrow, and 
            pain - Re 21:4
         b. A realm in which there is complete fellowship with God and 
            Christ - Re 21:3,22-27
         c. A place of perpetual life and good health - Re 22:1-2
         d. A place where God's servants both serve and reign! 
            - Re 22:3-5

      1. The redeemed have a wonderful hope concerning their "eternal 
      2. It pertains to a "city", built by God and PRESENTLY reserved 
         for us in heaven...
         a. However, when experienced, this "city" (abode) will not be 
            IN heaven
         b. But having come down OUT OF heaven, it will be in the "new 
            heavens and new earth" (i.e., a totally new order of things)
      3. This is NOT to say that we will not be with God and Christ...
         a. For as one considers the experience of the righteous as
            described in Re 21-22, we see that we will be with God and
            Christ forever!
         b. To be exact, however...
            1) It is not that we will be with God and Christ in
            2) But that They will be with us in the "new heavens and new
         c. Consider...
            1) "Behold the tabernacle of God IS WITH MEN, and HE WILL 
               - Re 21:3
               a) Note that in each phrase the direction is one in which
                  God is with us; He dwells with us in this "city" which
                  comes down out of heaven
               b) Contrary to the idea that we are in heaven with God!
            2) "...the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be IN IT" 
               - Re 22:3
               a) In the "eternal state", the throne is in this "holy 
                  city" which comes down out of heaven
               b) Whereas earlier in the Revelation, the throne of God 
                  was in heaven - Re 4:2; 7:9-17
                  1) The latter passage (7:9-17) I take to describe the
                     "intermediate state"
                  2) It is during this interim that the righteous are
                     with God in heaven
            3) "But I saw NO TEMPLE in it, for the Lord God Almighty and
               the Lamb are its temple." - Re 21:22
               a) John saw no temple in this "holy city"
               b) Whereas he saw the temple of God in heaven when
                  describing the "intermediate state" - cf. Re 7:15
         d. Again, the indication is that God will dwell with us for 
            eternity in this "new heavens and new earth" (in the "New
            Jerusalem"), not that we will be with Him in heaven


1. Admittedly, in a book like Revelation we are dealing with very
   symbolic language, and must be careful not to strain a point too

2. But the terminology used by John is the same as that used by Peter
   and the author of Hebrews as they wrote plainly of our "hope" (i.e.,
   such terms as "city", "new heavens and new earth")

3. And these terms are used consistently in such a way as to make a
   clear distinction between...
   a. What is currently the dwelling place of God (i.e., "heaven")
   b. And where God will spend eternity with the redeemed (i.e., in the
      "holy city" that comes down "out of heaven" into the "new heavens
      and new earth")

4. Should we not be careful to make the same distinction?

Do we, "according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth 
in which righteousness dwells" (2Pe 3:13)?  If so, then be sure to 
heed the admonition of Peter...

   "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent
   to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and
   account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation..."

                            - 2Pe 3:14-15a

And remember the words of John:

   "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have
   the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates
   into the city."
                            - Re 22:14

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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Too Much Activity on Day Six? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Too Much Activity on Day Six?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

One of the reasons skeptics reject the validity of the biblical account of creation is because they find it impossible to believe that one man could name every single species of animal on the Earth in a single day. Considering there are only 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour period, we are told it is ridiculous to believe that an individual (who had never seen animals before the day he named them) could name several million species of animals in one day. Perhaps over a period of a few weeks he could accomplish such a task, but certainly not in a single day—right?
The problem with such objections to Genesis 2:18-20 is that they are based on assumptions. The question that skeptics often ask, “Could Adam have gathered and named all of the animals on the Earth in one day?,” is misleading because the Bible places certain restrictions on the animals Adam named. Consider the following.
  • Adam’s task did not include searching for and gathering all of God’s creatures. Rather, God “brought them” to him (Genesis 2:19). Likely this was in some sort of orderly fashion in order to reduce the amount of time and human energy necessary to complete the process.
  • Genesis 2:20 does not say that Adam named “all” of the animals on the Earth. The text actually says, “Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field.” Excluded from this naming process were sea creatures and creeping things mentioned earlier in the creation narrative (cf. Genesis 1:21,25).
  • The beasts God brought to Adam are qualified by the descriptive phrase “of the field” (hassadeh). Although the precise limits of the term “field” are difficult to determine, it is possible that it refers only to those beasts living in Eden.
  • If the beasts of the field were limited to those animals within the boundaries of Eden, then livestock and birds could have been similarly limited. This would greatly reduce the number of animals involved in the naming process, since it is very unlikely that all created animals lived in Eden. [If so, Eden would have been quickly overrun and destroyed.]
  • Contrary to popular belief, Adam did not name millions of species of animals on day six (cf. Wells, 2001; McKinsey, 2000, p. 84). Genesis 1 states that the animals were created “ according to their kind(s)” (vs. 21), not species. The Bible was written long before man invented the modern Linnaean classification system. The “kinds” (Hebrew min) of animals Adam named on the sixth day of Creation were probably very broad—more like groups of birds and land animals rather than specific genera and species. Adam would have given animals general names like “turtle,” “dog,” or “elephant,” not special names like “pig-nosed soft-shell turtle” or “Alaskan Husky.” As Henry Morris has pointed out,
...the created kinds undoubtedly represented broader categories than our modern species or genera, quite possibly approximating in most cases the taxonomic family. Just how many kinds were actually there to be named is unknown, of course, but it could hardly have been as many as a thousand (1984, p. 129).
All of these textual considerations suggest that the events of day six could have been accomplished easily within a 24-hour period. Adam did not have to spend a great deal of time pondering what he would call each animal; he was created with the ability to speak and reason. If my two-year-old son can look at a book and call the names of 60 different kinds of animals in 60 seconds, I have no problem believing that Adam, having been created directly by the hand of God and made in His image (see Lyons and Thompson, 2002), had the ability to name hundreds (if not thousands) of birds and land animals in 3,600 seconds (just one hour!).


Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2002), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God,’ ” Reason & Revelation, 22:17-32, March & April.
McKinsey, Dennis (2000), Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).
Morris, Henry (1984), The Biblical Basis for Modern Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible [On-line], URL:http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/1cor/index.html

The Decline of Atheism by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Decline of Atheism

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Among a growing number of philosophers, intellectuals, and scholars, atheism is in decline in the world. Two reasons have been posited for this circumstance: (1) atheism is losing its scientific underpinnings, and (2) like religion, atheism has produced its own share of lunatics, frauds, and psychopaths (Siemon-Netto, 2005). The former reason is no doubt spurred by the fact that the theory of evolution, as repeatedly documented in the work of Apologetics Press, continues to take a beating for its paltry attempts to coerce and bully students and society into accepting its assertions without adequate evidence.
Despite this seemingly encouraging revelation, in reality, people are not moving closer to New Testament Christianity. In fact, they are simply becoming more confused and more pluralistic. Their belief systems are degenerating into various forms of false spirituality and outright paganism—analogous to the raw forms of paganism described in the Old Testament, from animism and idolatry to ethical perversity and sexual immorality. How tragic that at the very time in history when the world is open to an alternative to unbelief, the United States of America is in the process of abandoning its own foundational underpinnings as articulated by its Founders: the God of the Bible and the one true religion of Christianity. Nevertheless, the Bible provides the only rational, authentic explanation for the meaning of human existence. Unlike atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam, the Christian religion constitutes the only accurate barometer of spiritual reality and the only means of preparation for the afterlife. The Bible merits honest and serious evaluation by every person. It is not enough to be religious—one must be religiously right.


Siemon-Netto, Uwe (2005), “Science, ‘Frauds’ Trigger a Decline in Atheism,” Washington Times, March 4, [On-line], URL: http://www.washtimes.com/world/20050303-115733-9519r.htm.

False Charges Against Creationists by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


False Charges Against Creationists
by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


I’ve seen a lot of charges made against creationists, especially by those who are antagonistic to God, the Bible, and creationism. How should we respond to these kinds of charges?
When one encounters an ideological position with which he disagrees, there are several possible reactions. He could honestly reflect upon the new idea, carefully research it, and give it a fair consideration. That certainly would be the noble thing to do. Then again, if the concept makes him uncomfortable, he might simply ignore it, hoping it will “go away.” On the other hand he may, as a consequence of intense philosophical bias, immediately reject it with a vengeance. In such a case, it is possible that one may so despise a teaching that he will caricature it. That is, he will present it in an absurd light so that, hopefully, he can deter others from even giving it consideration. Unfortunately, this latter approach has been demonstrated repeatedly in the creation/evolution controversy. Evolutionists, and religionists who have been influenced significantly by them, are constantly misrepresenting biblical creationism in an effort to bolster their own faltering cause. In this article, I propose to highlight some of these spurious attempts to discredit the biblical teaching relative to the doctrine of creation.


John Lightfoot (1602-1675), the prominent Hebraist of Cambridge University, once suggested that the creation events of Genesis 1 transpired the week of October 18-24, 4004 B.C., with Adam being made on October 23rd at 9:00 in the morning (Ramm, 1954, p. 174). For this speculation, of course, there is absolutely no support. Nevertheless, this incident is repeatedly resurrected by evolutionists (both atheistic and theistic) and associated with modern creationism. There is simply no validity to this tactic.
What creationists do contend is this. First, the Bible clearly indicates that both the Earth and the human family came into existence during the same week. The Earth, in its rudimentary form, was created on the first day of the creation week (Genesis 1:1), and man and woman were fashioned on the sixth day of the same week (Genesis 1:26ff.). Second, that initial week was a literal week of seven normal days. This is demonstrated by a consideration of Exodus 20:11 where it is apparent contextually that the “days” of the creation week were of the same type as the sabbath “day,” which every Hebrew was required to observe weekly. Third, there are chronological data in the Scriptures which indicate that the human family, back to Adam (the first man, 1 Corinthians 15:45), has been in existence only several thousand years—certainly not millions of years as evolutionists claim. While there may be some minor elasticity in the genealogical records (cf. Genesis 11:12; Luke 3:35-36), attempts to accommodate the biblical genealogies to evolutionary anthropology result in gross textual distortion. As J. Barton Payne noted, this concept “leaves the Bible’s detailed lists of figures as generally pointless” (1975, 1:831).


This allegation generally is employed to intimidate those who reject the notion of premillennialism (as well they should), but who are inclined to accept the Genesis record at face value, thus accepting the fact that all living kinds were made within the same creation week. An example of this ploy is seen in the following allegation. In referring to “scientific creationism,” one compromising writer alleged that “the theological basis of most” of this type of teaching is the result of “the close association with millennial tradition” (Clayton, 1993, p. 20; see Sears, 1983, p. 415, for the same charge). Of course, not a word of proof was offered for this baseless charge, because there is none.
There is absolutely no intrinsic connection between the affirmation that the entire creation was accomplished in six literal days—a truth clearly set forth in the Scriptures—and the theological speculation (with no semblance of scriptural support) that Christ will return to the Earth and reign for 1,000 years on David’s throne in Jerusalem. Elsewhere we have dealt with this matter more specifically (see Jackson, 1985). We are gratified that agnostic writer Ronald Numbers, in his book,The Creationists, has noted correctly that the writings issuing from the offices of Apologetics Press have not been associated with any type of premillennial assumptions (1992, p. 315).


While some writers of the past argued for the fixity of species, modern creationist scholars do not. Those who have given ample study to the biblical text, and who have confidence in its reliability, simply affirm, in the language of Scripture, that God made all biological organisms “after their kind” (Genesis 1:11ff.). The term “kind” (Hebrew, min) is employed 31 times in the Old Testament (ten times in the initial chapter of the Bible). It is a generic word that certainly allows for considerable biological modification. As professor W.H. Rusch has observed, “There is absolutely no justification for equating this Genesis ‘kind’ with the species of the biologist” (1959, p. 14).
In Leviticus 11:16, Moses refers to “the owl...after his kind,” and yet there are more than 250 known species of owls. The original dog family probably included the potential for producing the more than 200 different breeds of domestic dogs, the Australian dingoes, coyotes, wolves, possibly jackals and foxes, and maybe even hyenas, though these animals are now classified as different species. Walter Kaiser has commented: “God created the basic forms of life called min which can be classified according to modern biologists and zoologists as sometimes species, sometimes genus, sometimes family or order. This gives no support to the classical evolutionist view which requires developments across kingdom, phyla, and classes” (1980, 1:503-504).
What the creationist insists is this: the Bible does not allow for the notion that all biological life forms have descended from a common ancestor (or even a few initial forms). Invertebrates have not produced vertebrates; fish do not evolve into reptiles; reptiles do not become birds; birds are not transformed into mammals, etc. The creationist believes that both Scripture and science support horizontal variation within basic kinds—not vertical evolution. There is a vast difference between the two.


There is no truth to this charge. The fact of the matter is, creationists recognize that science deals with present phenomena; this discipline is, by the very nature of its methodology, incapable of determining events/ processes that transpired thousands of years ago. Paul Weiss expressed it like this: “All science begins with observation, the first step of the scientific method. At once this delimits the scientific domain; something that cannot be observed cannot be investigated by science” (1965, p. 40).
It is a scientific fact that water freezes at 32°F. It is not a scientific fact that biological life was “spontaneously generated” a few billion years ago. That is evolutionary speculation. Self-confessed agnostic Robert Jastrow has addressed this very point:
Perhaps the appearance of life on the earth is a miracle. Scientists are reluctant to accept that view, but their choices are limited; either life was created on the earth by the will of a being outside the grasp of scientific understanding, or it evolved on our planet spontaneously, through chemical reactions occurring in nonliving matter lying on the surface of the planet.
The first theory places the question of the origin of life beyond the reach of scientific inquiry. It is a statement of faith in the power of a Supreme Being not subject to the laws of science.
The second theory is also an act of faith. The act of faith consists in assuming that the scientific view of the origin of life is correct, without having concrete evidence to support that belief (1977, p. 52).
Creationists do not reject genuine (proven) facts of science. What they do dispute are unsupported theories that have been designed to explain those facts. For instance, it is a fact that there are certain similarities between the bone structures of animals and men. However, it is an unsubstantiated speculation to suggest that this indicates that humans evolved from animals. Creationists are not opposed to true science.
Additionally, it is worthy of mention that many of the greatest minds in the history of science have been firmly committed to the idea of supernatural creation. Men like Newton, Pasteur, Kepler, Lister, Boyle, Pascal, and others—household names in science—were not atheists; they believed that science and the concept of creation were quite compatible. It is the worst form of misrepresentation to suggest that those who believe in creation are anti-science (see Jackson, 1993).


When the charge is made that “creationists take the Bible literally” the aim is to leave a negative impression. It is implied subtly that a “literal” perception of the biblical text reflects an antiquated, uneducated viewpoint. The truth is, such an allegation hints of the inclination to interpret the Genesis record in a symbolic (mythological) way. The real motive behind such an ambition is to accommodate the Mosaic record to Darwin’s evolutionary ideology. Two observations need to be made regarding this criticism.
First, there are no negative connotations per se associated with literalism. When the Declaration of Independence affirms that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” it is a valid assumption that the term “men” denotes real human beings, and that the authors of this document believed that there is a literal “Creator.” It is quite reasonable to view this reference in a literal way. In fact, a basic rule of literature interpretation is this: a statement ought to be viewed as literal unless there are compelling reasons for rejecting a literal concept and assigning figurative meaning to the language. There is no reason to view the creation narrative as a figurative treatise. There is a solid body of evidence which indicates that a literal God literally created the entire literal Universe in six literal days. Again we insist—there is nothing, except anti-supernatural bias, that searches for symbolism in Genesis 1.
Second, even literal and historical events can be depicted with figurative terminology without any sacrifice of genuine historicity. When the Old Testament affirms that the Ten Commandments were written with the “finger of God,” even though we acknowledge that Jehovah is not physical, and thus anthropomorphism was employed to describe Him, we still must conclude that God Himself actually gave the Decalogue in a miraculous fashion. When Jesus foretold that He had a dreaded “cup” to drink, we recognize the symbolism, yet we are aware that the Savior was literally going to be subjected to the bitter pangs of Calvary. Thus, the charge of “literalism” against creationists is meaningless.


Again, the accusation is completely false, and, in reality, is a thinly veiled suggestion that the Scriptures are not trustworthy in scientific matters. There is an invalid form of reasoning known asfalse obversion. Such a fallacy obtains when one attempts to draw a negative conclusion from a positive statement (or vice versa). For example, a salesman in New England had difficulty selling white eggs, because people were used to buying brown eggs. So, he inserted in his store window a sign which read, “Our eggs are guaranteed not to turn brown.” Of course, white eggs can be kept under refrigeration for six months without turning brown. But he wanted people to draw the inference that the brown eggs people were purchasing were once white eggs that had turned brown. He committed the fallacy of false obversion. Similarly, when critics charge: “The Bible is not a textbook on science,” they are generally suggesting that it is factually flawed in areas of science. They have then committed the same fallacy (see Dillow, 1981, p. 1).
While it certainly is true that the Scriptures never were intended to be a “textbook” on biology, geology, chemistry, mathematics, etc., it is not the case that they contain blunders in these disciplines. For example, in its use of figurative language characteristic of apocalyptic literature, the book of Revelation suggests that 12,000 people were “sealed” unto God from twelve different tribes of Israel. The reader has every right to expect that the total number of this symbolic company would be 144,000—which is exactly the figure given by the inspired writer (7:4). The Bible is not a textbook on physics, but when it contends that the creation process is “finished” (Genesis 2:1), and thus by implication that nothing is being created currently, we are gratified to note that this is precisely what the First Law of Thermodynamics suggests. And when the Scriptures affirm that the Universe is “growing old” (Hebrews 1:11), we can expect that to be a statement of fact, as indeed the Second Law of Thermodynamics confirms. Just because creationists contend that the Scriptures are accurate, even when touching on incidental matters of science, does not mean that we are attempting to make the Bible into a science textbook. That is a false charge.


A charge occasionally made against creationists, in an attempt to make them look ridiculous, is the assertion that these simple folk believe that dinosaurs never existed in the past. It is alleged that creationists contend that God merely placed dinosaur bones in the Earth’s strata to make it appear that these huge creatures once roamed this planet. Can this accusation be documented from a solitary publication distributed by scholars of the creationist movement? It cannot.
While it may be true that a rare, uninformed religious person, who does not know how to deal with the dinosaur problem, will idly advance this uneducated opinion, it certainly is not representative of those who are well-informed in Bible/science matters. The truth is, creationists have published a considerable body of excellent material dealing with dinosaurs. Actually, we teach a more balanced and correct view of the dinosaur phenomenon than do the evolutionists.
True creationists—and I am referring to those who have not yielded to the compromises of theistic evolution—not only argue that dinosaurs lived upon the ancient Earth, but also contend that these marvelous examples of God’s wisdom and power were contemporary with ancient humanity, and that very likely there are allusions to dinosaurs and other extinct reptiles in the Bible. The book of Job (40:15ff.) may very well contain reference to these creatures (see Jackson, 1983, pp. 85-88; Bromling, 1993; Thompson, 1993).
In conclusion we confidently affirm that the creationist case is quite strong, and is not weakened by the misrepresentations of those who have no confidence in the Scriptures.


Bromling, Brad T. (1993), “Dinosaurs in the Bible?,” Reason & Revelation, 13:60, August.
Clayton, John N. (1993), “Book Reviews,” Does God Exist?, 20[2]:19-20, March/April.
Dillow, Joseph C. (1981), The Waters Above (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Jackson, Wayne (1983), The Book of Job (Abilene, TX: Quality Publishing).
Jackson, Wayne (1985), “Premillennialism and Biblical Creationism,” Reason & Revelation, 5:17-20, May.
Jackson, Wayne (1993), “Are Faith and Science Compatible?,” Christian Courier, 29:25-27, November.
Jastrow, Robert (1977), Until the Sun Dies (New York: Warner Books).
Kaiser, Walter C. (1980), “Kind,” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R.L. Harris, G.L. Archer, B.K. Waltke (Chicago, IL: Moody Press), 1:503-504.
Numbers, Ronald (1992), The Creationists (New York: Knopf).
Payne, J. Barton (1975), “Chronology of the Old Testament” Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill C. Tenney (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 1:829-845.
Ramm, Bernard (1954), The Christian View of Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Rusch, Wilbert H. (1959), “Darwinism, Science and the Bible,” Darwin, Evolution, and Creation, ed. Paul A. Zimmerman (St. Louis, MO: Concordia).
Sears, Jack Wood (1983), “How The Worlds Were Framed,” Studies in Hebrews, ed. Dub McClish (Denton, TX: Valid Publications).
Thompson, Bert (1993), “The Dinosaur Controversy,” Reason & Revelation, 13:57-59,61, August.
Weiss, Paul (1965), Elements of Biology (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Pluralism, Multiculturalism, Syncretism, and America by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Pluralism, Multiculturalism, Syncretism, and America

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

As America continues her downward spiral into social, moral, ethical, and spiritual chaos, it is difficult to realize that the first 150 years of American civilization stand in such stark contrast to current culture. The Christian orientation of this country from its inception is irrefutable, revisionist history notwithstanding. The present extensive transformation of society, and the wholesale abandonment of biblical principles, are astonishing. If the Founding Fathers could be resurrected momentarily to observe the change, they would be unquestionably incredulous. They would be aghast, horrified, and deeply saddened that America could be so thoroughly redirected toward moral degradation—a condition that characterized the France of their day.
Pluralism is the notion that all religious belief systems and philosophies are of equal validity. Multiculturalism is the idea that American culture has historically been neither superior to nor preferable over any other culture in the world, and that all cultures—regardless of basic religious, moral, ethical, and spiritual beliefs and practices—are equally credible, viable representations of proper behavior and living. Multiculturalism actually denigrates American civilization as inferior to the other cultures of the world, demonizing it as oppressive, coercive, and exploitive. For both multiculturalism and pluralism, absolute truth does not exist. Both systems embrace the self-contradictory notion that truth is relative, and that right and wrong depend upon the subjective assessments of fallible humans. The politically correct climate that has been forged, insists that whatever people choose to believe is, indeed, correct and good—at least for them!
One illustration of the mad rush to dilute truth and to advocate the mindless acceptance of every imaginable belief or practice is the recent Interfaith Congress held at the Paul VI Pastoral Center in Fatima, Portugal, site of the Catholic shrine dedicated to “the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Attended by delegates representing many religions, including Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and African Paganism, the Shrine’s rector, Monsignor Luciano Guerra, spoke of the need to create a shrine where different religions can mingle—a “universalistic place of vocation” (“Fatima,” 2003). Jesuit theologian Jacques Dupuis insisted that the religions of the world must unite: “The religion of the future will be a general converging of religions in a universal Christ that will satisfy all” (“Fatima”). Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, spoke of the Shrine’s “inter-religious dimension” (“Vatican,” 2003).
Dupuis argued: “The other religious traditions in the world are part of God’s plan for humanity and the Holy Spirit is operating and present in Buddhist, Hindu and other sacred writings of Christian and non-Christian faiths as well” (“Fatima”). The Congress issued an official statement that urged all religions to refrain from proselytizing those of other religions, since “no one religion can irradiate another or strengthen itself by downplaying others. What is needed is that each religiontreat each [other] religion on the same footing of equality with no inferior or superiority complexes (“Fatima”). The statement emphasized the idea that peace may be achieved among all religions—if everyone will admit that contradictions exist between beliefs, and then concentrate on what unites them rather than what separates them.
History repeats itself over and over again. Stubborn humanity refuses to learn from the mistakes of the past. The Israelites were plagued by syncretism [the fusion of differing systems of belief, as opposed to remaining individualistic] through much of their Old Testament history. They did not remove God completely from their lives. They did not become outright atheistic (although polytheism amounts to the same thing). Rather, they engaged in syncretism and, as a result, mixed many elements of false religion into their own beliefs and practices. During the dark ages of the judges, a man named Micah was typical of the spiritual climate of the day. He had a shrine dedicated to the gods of the pagan nations, but he also latched on to a Levite in hopes of currying the favor of the one true God as well (Judges 17:5-13). The condition of the northern kingdom of Israel at the time of the Assyrian captivity was one in which “[t]hey feared the Lord, yet served their own gods” (2 Kings 17:33). By Zephaniah’s day, the same conditions prevailed. God pronounced judgment on Judah in the following words: “I will stretch out My hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place, the names of the idolatrous and pagan priests—those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops; those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord, but who also swear by Molech” (Zephaniah 1:4-5).
Precisely the same malady is afflicting America. Many Americans still claim to believe in the God of the Bible (although the number is declining year by year). However, many—perhaps most—have bought into the idea that we must not be “judgmental” or “intolerant” of the beliefs of others. Hence, our society is swiftly becoming a strange mixture of every sort of religious belief and practice. People in high places are calling upon nationwide acceptance of all religions without reservation—from Native American animism to Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Most shocking of all is the way that so many Americans have simply chosen to embrace a nebulous blend of ambiguous New Age beliefs that enables them to embrace diversity without consideration of specific differences in belief and practice. Spiritual ambiguity has become the sum and substance of religion for many.
It is interesting—if not sadly tragic—that although Israel was born in monotheism in 1500 B.C., it degenerated into paganism, polytheism, and idolatry. America, too, was born in monotheism—the God of the Bible, not Allah or the gods of Hinduism or Buddhism. But her citizenry is now moving full swing into raw paganism. The gods of sensualism and ethical relativity have become the focus of attention for large numbers of Americans. Sensible people have looked back over the centuries and recognized that any country or culture that worships physical things, or attributes divinity to anyone or anything except the one true God, is a country that is ignorant, superstitious, and unenlightened. Who would ever have dreamed that America would one day turn into just such a country? Israel returned to monotheism by the time of Christ—but only after years of suffering and tribulation as a consequence of their national sin. Will America survive the present mad rush away from God? History shows—probably not. The nation likely will face severe punishment in a variety of forms. Oh, that Americans in large numbers would heed the advice of God given to Solomon—a prescription for national health and well-being: “[I]f My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).


“Fatima to Become Interfaith Shrine” (2003), The Portugal News, November 1, [On-line], URL: http://the-news.net/cgi-local/story.pl?title=Fatima to become interfaith shrine &edition=all.
“Vatican Denies Fatima Will Become Interfaith Shrine” (2003), The Portugal News, November 29, [On-line], URL: http://the-news.net/cgi-local/story.pl?title=Vatican denies Fatima will become interfaith shrine&edition=all.

Oh Brother…or is it Nephew? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Oh Brother…or is it Nephew?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

I am constantly amazed at what “Bible contradiction” the skeptic will come up with next. A person would like to think that critics of the Bible’s inerrancy might have some limits to their allegations, but, apparently, they do not. Instead of taking a few moments with the Bible (and a concordance or a Bible dictionary) in order to learn how a particular word is used throughout Scripture, some skeptics simply look at a particular English word in one place, and if that particular word is used elsewhere in the Bible in a different sense, then they claim that there is an obvious “contradiction.” Such is the case with the skeptics’ treatment of Lot in the book of Genesis. Allegedly, Lot cannot logically be described as Abraham’s “nephew” and his “brother” at the same time. Because Genesis 14:12 states that Lot was “Abram’s brother’s son” (NKJV; “nephew”—NIV), and Genesis 14:14 and 14:16 say that Lot was Abram’s (or Abraham’s—Genesis 17:5) “brother,” skeptics allege that the writer of Genesis erred. The renowned Bible critic Dennis McKinsey has this alleged discrepancy listed three different times on his Web site. In one section simply titled “Contradictions,” he states:
If there is any area in which the Bible’s imperfections and errancy is most apparent, it is that of inconsistencies and contradictions…. As incredible as it may seem, there are some individuals who still say, “The Bible is perfect and inerrant. There are no inaccuracies.” So, for the benefit of these holdouts, I am going to provide a list of some simple, straight-forward problems that even some well-known spokesmen for the fundamentalist position grudgingly concede (1983, emp. added)
One of the “contradictions” McKinsey lists is that of Lot being described as both Abram’s nephew and his brother. As he and numerous other skeptics (whose writings can be accessed easily on the Internet) see it, these verses represent a “simple, straight-forward problem” for the apologist who seeks to defend the inerrancy of the Bible.
The truth is, however, there is a “simple, straightforward” solution to the problem. In Genesis 14:12, the Hebrew terms ben ‘achiare used to indicate that Lot literally was Abraham’s “brother’s son.” Lot was Haran’s son, and thus Abraham’s nephew (Genesis 11:27; 12:5). At the same time, Lot was also Abraham’s brother (Hebrew ‘achiw). He was not Abraham’s brother in the literal sense we so often use this word today, but he was Abraham’s brother in the sense that they were family. For the skeptic’s argument to hold any weight, he first must prove that the term for brother (‘ach) was used in the Bible only when speaking of a male sibling. Unfortunately, for them, they cannot prove that point. Although its basic meaning is male sibling (cf. Genesis 4:2), the Hebrew term for brother(s) appears about 629 times throughout the Old Testament in a variety of ways.
  • Whether two males have the same mother and father, only the same father, or just the same mother, the term “brother” is used to describe their relationship (cf. Genesis 37:14; 42:3-4; Judges 8:19).
  • In Genesis chapter 29, Laban is called Jacob’s “brother”: “And Laban said unto Jacob, ‘Because though art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought?’ ” (vs. 15, emp. added, KJV). Just before Laban’s statement, “Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s [Laban’s] brother” (v.s 12, KJV). Considering that Jacob was only Laban’s nephew (24:29-31), when these men used the term “brother” in discussions with (or about) each other, they merely were speaking of one another as blood relatives, and not actual male siblings.
  • In another nuance, members of the same tribe are called “brethren” ('acha) in 2 Samuel 19:12.
  • In Exodus 2:11, Moses’ fellow Israelites are called “brethren” (cf. Acts 3:22; Hebrews 7:5). As is noted in A.R. Fassuet’s Bible Dictionary, the Israelites often “distinguished a ‘brother’ as an Israelite by birth, and a ‘neighbor’ a proselyte, and allowed neither title to the Gentiles” (1998).
  • In the midst of his suffering, Job spoke of his friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) as “brothers” (NKJV, Hebrew 'acha).
  • In the New Testament, the term “brother(s)” (Greek adelphos) is used numerous times in reference to the relationship Christians have with one another as children of God (1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:6; 7:12; Philippians 2:25; et al.).
Dennis McKinsey and other skeptics who parade Genesis 14:12 and 14:14 in front of the world as a “simple, straight-forward problem” that allegedly has no solution are (as usual) guilty of misrepresenting the biblical writers. Every indication in Scripture leads the unbiased person to conclude that the term “brother” has a wide variety of semantic shadings to it.
Considering the many ways in which the term “brother” was used in ancient times, and even the variety of ways it is used in twenty-first-century America, any sincere truth-seeker should be appalled at the blatantly false accusations made by McKinsey and others regarding Genesis 14 and the use of the term “brother.”
Fausset, A.R. (1998), Bible Dictionary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
McKinsey, C. Dennis (1983), “Contradictions,” Biblical Errancy, [On-line], URL: http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/bepart12.html#issref121.

From Jim McGuiggan... Anything that contradicts,

Anything that contradicts,

What if there is no God? What if there’s no one to right all the wrongs and make it up to those that were hounded and tormented from the cradle to the grave? Then there is no happy ending for the oppressed poor of all the ages; they lie down forever beside the Nazi commandants, the human parasites, the heartless rapists and plunderers, the respectable merchants of war and all the agony-bringers who died peacefully in old age, content to go to a permanent sleep and do it with a smile. Doesn’t the very thought of that burn you almost as badly as the sights and sounds of their wickedness? Do you wonder why people still want to read good literature and watch decent movies with happy endings? They want a happy ending not only for themselves but for the tormented of the world. Only a crusading atheist like Daniel Dennett or a sad little atheist like E.O Wilson would say an immediate and definitive “no” when they were asked if they would not want there to be a God like one who shows himself as Jesus. They feel no need of such a God, you see, and because they feel no need of one they don’t care about the profound need of the countless unmissed and un-mourned whose bones were ground to powder.
Can you believe it? People like these who’d love someone to rise up and transform or or any other hell-hole of the world into a place of warm righteousness, honourable prosperity and justice for all, tell us they wouldn’t want there to be a God who would transform the entire planet!
Well, we won’t apologize for longing for justice! We won’t apologize for wanting a happy ending for the unknown and forgotten tormented of the world. We won’t apologize for hoping that there is indeed a God, one who is at least as disturbed as we are by the cunning cruelty and heartless brutality and destructive greed that’s rampant in our world.
Maybe there isn’t such a one but we’ll be damned if we don’t wish there was one because no human worthy of the name can look around and not want someone to do something about it all.  
And I’ll tell you something else we won’t apologize for—we won’t apologize for trusting Jesus Christ. Those of us who’ve been privileged to hear the gospel and meet him there (and God will know how to work with all those who never have heard the good news)—we know there’s nothing glib or nonsensical about his view of the world’s awful state. When this young Knight came rattling his lance against the shields of humanity’s enemies it was no mere production, however inspiring that might be. This young man’s coming was God personally entering into our bewildering world as humanity’s champion.
I haven’t the foggiest notion why God chose to wait so long to come in the first place and I haven’t an inkling as to why he has waited so long to return (yes, yes, I can say things and make guesses to keep from saying nothing) but because I don’t know the answers doesn’t mean there are none! But with his first coming we’re invited to believe God and assess the meaning, significance and outcome of the world in light of Jesus. It’s certainly possible to judge the meaning of existence (or lack of it) in light of tsunamis or wars or pancreatic cancers or , a parasite-ridden child or in light of a Hitler or a Stalin—these are all real and Jesus knew about such things and such people. We look at them and then look at him; we know these things say something vast and sombre but he knows that too and still says, “Trust in God, trust also in me” (John 14:1).
But when he calls us to trust God it implies that God’s purpose is to bring it all out right in the end, to his glory and humanity’s boundless happiness. The plain message is that in the man Jesus—the man God is being—something is accomplished for the human family. His personal victory over sin and death is not his alone, it’s ours as well.
Not to connect Jesus’ life with the rescue of a world is to entirely misread the scriptures. The NT never encourages us to congratulate Jesus as if we’re pleased for him that he at least made it. No, it constantly calls us to praise and thank him and to join him in his grand enterprise for God and the world. And why would we praise and thank him if his entire career was centered on himself and had no outward look? You can make no sense of the coming, the life, death, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus unless it has in it what he insisted it has—the deliverance of a world and that’s why he says to all who hear his voice, “Trust me!”
In the end I’m certain that John Mark Hicks’ gut feeling is right—it isn’t a rational theodicy we need, it’s a proclamation! We need a proclamation that enables us to believe that God is indeed as we see him in Jesus and that in some real way the victory of Jesus is the victory of the human family. We’re happy for Jesus, don’t you understand, that things worked out right for him, that he was vindicated, that the humiliation finally ended and that in the resurrection he got what he most fully deserved. But if his vindication is nothing more than his personal experience, if it has nothing to say about any of the rest of us then after a while we lose interest in the story of Jesus and maybe even begin to resent his success and the praise he gets for seeing it through. Of course we’d tell ourselves that Jesus deserved his exaltation because his marvelous life was a challenge to God—“match that!” But our lives; what do we deserve? Yes, that would silence most of us, but still we have to go back again to those who from the cradle to the grave get nothing but abuse and deprivation. Are we to say they deserve no better? Would it be like Jesus to say of these millions that they’re getting all they have a right to expect from vicious landlords, war lords, gangs, pillaging militia, the predatory wealthy, corrupt government, drugs and booze barons?
Our deep and pervasive ignorance of even the simplest and most familiar things in life doesn’t obliterate the truth that’s wrapped up in them and our ignorance about how God is working to fulfill the best hopes of humanity doesn’t wipe out the truth that he’s doing it. And then there’s that look of Jesus who signed his commitment to us all in his own blood—our ignorance can’t deny the reality of that or his resurrection that says, “You didn’t think I came here to fail, did you?”
Donovan Tarrant gave wise counsel to his young son Ralph who had heard some really bad teaching about the nature and character of God. He told him: “Don’t believe anything that contradicts: “Our Father”. The advice is good when speaking about savage doctrine that violates the notion that God is the “Father” of all of us (Acts 17:26-29) but it works equally well when we look with steady eyes at the harsh realities of life in this world. Pancreatic cancer, wars, global credit crunches, generated by the greedy and irresponsible, that press millions of people on the lower rungs of the social and financial ladder, the loss of a devoted parent or child, the awful sense of abandonment that afflicts millions for many reasons—they all make claims that frighten us at times and they frighten us because they seem so persuasive. At times and under trials like these we hear the voice of Jesus saying: When you pray say, Our Father. When life’s experiences come saying all sorts of things, let them have their say but don’t believe anything that contradicts: Our Father.

From Roy Davison... Do we remember and forget the right things?


Do we remember and forget the right things?
Scripture reading: Philippians 3:7-14
Our memory is a tremendous gift from God.
It is intriguing to observe the development of a child’s memory. A preschooler can learn the alphabet in a song long before he can memorize a series of 26 letters.
Our one and a half kilo brain not only controls most body functions (including the unfathomable complexity of seeing, hearing and speaking), but it organizes and stores a vast quantity of data, which is available for recall, and which serves as source material for decision-making and the performance of complicated activities.
Because our memory space is limited, our brain must conserve its memory by forgetting most of what we see, hear and read.
We have short-term memory and long-term memory.
Long-term memory can be enhanced: for example, by music, by repetition, by multisensory input, by association, by orderly organization, and by the conscious assignment of a high level of importance.
Memory data fades to the background if unused, so must be refreshed to remain readily available.
The Creator of our brain tells us to remember certain things and to forget certain things.

What must we remember?

We must remember our Creator!

In Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 Solomon urges young people to remember God before the infirmities of age weigh them down and their life draws to a close.
“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
‘I have no pleasure in them’:
While the sun and the light,
The moon and the stars,
Are not darkened,
And the clouds do not return after the rain;
In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,
And the strong men bow down;
When the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look through the windows grow dim;
When the doors are shut in the streets,
And the sound of grinding is low;
When one rises up at the sound of a bird,
And all the daughters of music are brought low.
Also they are afraid of height,
And of terrors in the way;
When the almond tree blossoms,
The grasshopper is a burden,
And desire fails.
For man goes to his eternal home,
And the mourners go about the streets.
Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well.
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.”

In our youth and when older, we should remember our Creator. “You shall remember the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 8:18). “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth” (1 Chronicles 16:12).
Sometimes God allows us to get ourselves all tangled up to remind us that He is the only one who can save us.
Jonah was willing to be thrown overboard so his shipmates could be saved, and maybe so he could escape his responsibility. But he was the right man for that preaching job at Nineveh, so God gave him a choice: meal for a fish or submarine ride, direction Nineveh?
In the depths of despair because of his own sin, Jonah remembered the Lord, and his prayer was heard: “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple” (Jonah 2:7).
Remembering God is our only hope: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7).
Fast forward to the twenty-first century. Some trust in tanks, and some in planes; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God, the I AM, who created us and is the only one who can save us.

We must remember the word of God.

Memory plays a crucial role in doing God’s will. To obey His commands we must remember them: “The mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them” (Psalm 103:17, 18).
Shortly before his death, Peter wrote two letters as reminders: “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease” (2 Peter 1:12-15). “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both ofwhich I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:1, 2).
Jude wrote something similar: “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17).
Paul told the Ephesian elders: “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:35) and to the Romans he wrote: “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on somepoints, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God” (Romans 15:15).

How can we etch God’s word into our memory?

Before we can remember the words of Christ and His apostles, we must learn them by reading them a sufficient number of times. When we read the Scriptures repeatedly, our memory is refreshed, and God’s word is given a permanent home in our heart.
I warn students who study their lessons only until they barely know them, that they still almost do not know them, and their scant knowledge may be gone the next day!
As time goes by our memory dims if we do not refresh it. Something that must be remembered must be learned well enough that even when our memory dims, the knowledge remains. 
We must read God’s word over and over until we remember it, until it becomes a part of us, until it dwells within us: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16).

We must remember the resurrection of Christ.

Paul tells us to remember the resurrection, which is the focal point of the Christian faith: “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead” (2 Timothy 2:8). We assemble on the first day of the week to break bread because Jesus said: “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).
We remember our Creator, His word and the resurrection of Christ.

What must we forget?

We must forget what lies behind us.

Referring to “the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9), Paul says: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14 RSV).
We will discuss various elements of this text.
Our goal lies in front of us, not behind us. Thus, to reach that goal we must forget what lies behind us. We must forget the things of the world, our past victories and our past defeats.

We must forget our former life in the world.

Jesus said: “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
I remember watching my father till the soil with a hand- held, horse-drawn plow when I was six years old. It requires great skill and careful attention. One cannot plow an even, straight furrow while looking back!
“Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). God gave her an opportunity to escape the destruction of Sodom, but she disobeyed, and looked back.
In the wilderness, the Israelites forgot the immense suffering of slavery and longed for the ‘pots of meat’ they had enjoyed in Egypt (Exodus 16:3). They were not satisfied with manna from God. 
Christians sometimes forget the bondage of their former life, and long for worldly pleasures they enjoyed before they were Christians.

We must forget past victories.

We may not rest on our laurels.
Like Paul, we must strain forward to the things that are ahead, we must press on toward the goal. To ‘strain forward’ means to strive for something not yet achieved. A goal is something toward which we are working, something we want to accomplish that gives direction and meaning to our actions.
To reach our goal in the Christian marathon we must cross the finish line with the help and by the grace of God. In this race, everyone who remains faithful until death wins gold, whether he comes in first or last (Revelation 2:10; Matthew 19:30).
No matter how well we have run in the past, we must finish the race to receive the prize. The final stretch is sometimes the hardest part.
In 1971 a promising young Belgian cyclist was killed, evidently because of a habit of looking back to see how far ahead he was. He was ahead of the others, but while looking back on a narrow road he collided with an on-coming car.
We should not look back to see if we are ahead of others. That might cause us to forget how far we are behind Christ.
Paul said: “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

We must forget past defeats.

Even if we have stumbled in the past, we may not slow ourselves down by continually looking back.
God is willing to forget the sins of His saints: “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12), “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23, 24). Let us press on, and finish the race. Each day is an opportunity for a new beginning.
Difficulties can be overcome with the help of God. When God’s people were blocked by the Red Sea, with Pharaoh’s army closing in from behind, the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the children of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:15).

And what is the goal that lies before us?

“The prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
It is an upward call. The race is up-hill all the way. We are called by God to be like Christ, to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29), and that is definitely upward. We are “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1). We press forward because we still have a long way to go.
The prize is “the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8), “the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10), “the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:4).
God teaches us to remember and forget the right things.
Let us remember our Creator, His word and the resurrection of Christ, also the words of Paul: “One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14 RSV). Amen.
Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive