10/31/16

"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Hosea - God's Redeeming Love (11:1-14:9) by Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                Hosea - God's Redeeming Love (11:1-14:9)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our survey of the book of Hosea we have proposed the theme as
   "God's Redeeming Love"; this may have seemed strange...
   a. As we considered "God's Indictment of Israel" in chapters 4-7
   b. As we considered "God's Punishment for Israel" in chapters 8-10

2. But as we saw in the first three chapters, Hosea's experience with
   Gomer serves as an analogy of God's experience with Israel...
   a. Following the adultery there was a period of separation
   b. Following the separation there was the ultimate restoration
   -- Therefore Israel would be restored, but only after a period of
      separation

3. Here is another way to summarize chapters 4-14...
   a. God is holy (which is why He must indict Israel for her sins) 
      - Hos 4-7
   b. God is just (which is why Israel must be punished for her sins)
      - Hos 8-10
   c. God is love (which is why He will restore Israel) - Hos 11-14
   -- So having declared the holiness and justice of God, Hosea now 
      proclaims His great love for Israel

[In this lesson we shall complete our study of Hosea by first looking
at...]

I. GOD'S PROMISE OF A FUTURE RESTORATION (11:1-14:9)

   A. GOD'S LOVE DESPITE ISRAEL'S REBELLION (11:1-11)
      1. God brought Israel out of Egypt, yet they worshipped the Baals
         - Hos 11:1-2
      2. God nurtured Israel though they knew it not - Hos 11:3-4
      3. God will send them to Assyria because of their backsliding 
         - Hos 11:5-7
      4. Yet God will return them to their homes - Hos 11:8-11

   B. ISRAEL'S REBELLION AND GOD'S CHASTISEMENT (11:12-13:16)
      1. Ephraim (Israel) is full of sin, and while Judah still walks
         with God to a degree, God has a complaint against Judah as 
         well - Hos 11:12-12:6
      2. Ephraim is cunning and boastful, and so God will bring his 
         reproach upon him - Hos 12:7-14
      3. Ephraim and Samaria (both representative of Israel), shall be
         held guilty and punished accordingly - Hos 13:1-16

   C. ISRAEL'S FUTURE RESTORATION (14:1-9)
      1. A call to return to the Lord, for Assyria will not save - Hos 14:1-3
      2. God promises to heal their backsliding and return them to the
         land - Hos 14:4-7
      3. Ephraim (Israel) will finally be cured of her idolatry - Hos 14:8
      4. A concluding call to wisely consider these things - Hos 14:9

[God fulfilled His promise to restore Israel (and Judah) starting with
the decree of Cyrus and under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and 
Nehemiah (cf. the books of Ezra and Nehemiah). As indicated in Hos 
14:8, Israel was once for all cured of her idolatry. Her faith in God
may have weakened later on, but idolatry never had the appeal it once 
had.

In the spirit of Hos 14:9, which calls upon us to understand and know
what is revealed in this book, here are some...]

II. CONCLUDING LESSONS TO BE DRAWN FROM HOSEA

   A. GOD IS A GOD OF LOVE...
      1. He loves His people
         a. Like a man loves his wife (cf. Hosea and Gomer)
         b. Like a father loves his child - Hos 11:1
      2. Because He loves His people...
         a. He blesses them abundantly
         b. He nurtures them patiently - Hos 11:3-4

   B. GOD IS A GOD OF HOLINESS...
      1. He expects His people to know His will - Hos 4:1-2,6; 8:12
      2. He expects His people to avoid harmful influences - Hos 7:8-9
      3. He expects His people to sow righteousness, not wickedness 
         - Hos 10:12-13

   C. GOD IS A GOD OF JUSTICE...
      1. He cannot let sin go unpunished - Hos 9:9
      2. Those who remain in sin He will devour - Hos 13:7-8

   D. GOD IS A GOD OF MERCY...
      1. He call upon His people to repent - Hos 14:1
      2. He will gladly heal those who do so - Hos 14:4

CONCLUSION

1. Hosea presents a picture of God who is certainly desirous of
   redeeming those He loves
   a. Sadly, not many took Hosea's message seriously
   b. I.e., only a remnant of Israel returned after the restoration
 
2. Today, God's redeeming love is offered through His Son Jesus Christ
   - cf. Ep 1:3-7
   a. Sadly, not many take the gospel message seriously either
   b. Even as Jesus warned - cf. Mt 7:13-14; 21-23

What many need to heed is the call of Hosea at the end of his book...

   Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? 
   Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The 
   righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.
                                        (Hos 14:9)

Are we growing in our knowledge and walking in the ways of the LORD?
 

"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Hosea - God's Redeeming Love (8:1-10:15) by Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                Hosea - God's Redeeming Love (8:1-10:15)

INTRODUCTION

1. Thus far in our survey of the book of Hosea, we have seen...
   a. The analogy of Hosea and Gomer, illustrating God's experience 
      with Israel
      1) Israel's rejection symbolized, in the names of Hosea and 
         Gomer's children - Hos 1:2-9
      2) Israel's restoration foretold - Hos 1:10-2:1
      3) Israel's unfaithfulness described, depicted as a wife guilty 
         of harlotry - Hos 2:2-13
      4) Israel's restoration described, finally cured of her idolatry 
         - Hos 2:14-23
      5) Israel's restoration symbolized, depicted as a harlot taken 
         back to be a wife - Hos 3:1-5
   b. God's indictment of Israel
      1) The charges brought against Israel - Hos 4:1-5:15
      2) Israel's appeal rejected - Hos 6:1-7:16
   -- The theme proposed for this book has been "God's Redeeming Love"

2. The love God has for Israel does not preclude the need for 
   punishment if she is to be truly redeemed...
   a. As mentioned in Hos 2:13
   b. This punishment will be seen in the form of the Assyrian 
      invasion, as foretold in the section now before us

[In this lesson, we shall continue our survey of Hosea by noticing 
God's warning of punishment that is to befall Israel, chapters 8-10...]

I. GOD'S PUNISHMENT FOR ISRAEL (8:1-10:15)

   A. WARNING OF APPROACHING JUDGMENT (8:1-14)
      1. Judgment is coming because they transgressed the covenant 
         - Hos 8:1-6
      2. They have sown the wind, through their alliances with Assyria,
         and shall reap the whirlwind - Hos 8:7-10
      3. The altars of their religion has made them sin, their 
         punishment will be a "return to Egypt" (Egypt as a symbol of 
         captivity)  - Hos 8:11-13
      4. Israel has forgotten his Maker, and even Judah places more 
         trust in fortified cities; but judgment will come upon them 
         both - Hos 8:14

   B. ASSYRIAN CAPTIVITY FORETOLD (9:1-17)
      1. Because Israel has played the harlot - Hos 9:1-2
      2. Ephraim (Israel) shall "return to Egypt" - Hos 9:3-9
         a. Egypt used as a type for captivity, but then Assyria is 
            mentioned by name
         b. They will be unable to celebrate the feasts
         c. They will be punished for their sins
      3. The fleeting glory of Israel - Hos 9:10-17
         a. Though considered the firstfruits, they soon gave 
            themselves over to idolatry
         b. Thus their glory will fly away, and they will be like one 
            childless
         c. For their wickedness, God will cast them away

   C. ISRAEL'S SIN AND CAPTIVITY REITERATED (10:1-15)
      1. Her guilt and coming captivity - Hos 10:1-8
      2. Her sin and coming punishment - Hos 10:9-15

[With such ample warnings through prophets like Hosea, God let Israel
know what was to befall her. Yet the prophet's message did not end
there. A message of hope concerning restoration was also proclaimed, 
which we will shall consider in our next lesson. For a few remaining 
moments, let's review...]

II. SOME KEY PASSAGES IN THIS SECTION

   A. "I HAVE WRITTEN FOR HIM THE GREAT THINGS OF MY LAW, BUT THEY WERE
      CONSIDERED A STRANGE THING"
      1. Notice Hos 8:12
      2. This is a sad commentary on the condition of Israel
         a. God had done a wondrous thing by giving them His Word - cf.
            Ps 19:7-11
         b. Yet they had become so perverted that God's word seemed
            strange to them!
      3. Is this not true today as well?
         a. We have been richly blessed with the full revelation of 
            God's will through His Son Jesus Christ
         b. Yet many people (even some in the church)...
            1) ...are so unaware of what the Bible says
            2) ...are so caught up in the thinking of the world
            ...that the principles and truths of God's word are 
               "considered a strange thing"!
      -- Is God's word considered a strange thing to you?

   B. "SOW FOR YOURSELVES RIGHTEOUSNESS, REAP IN MERCY"
      1. Consider Hos 10:12
      2. While we cannot earn our salvation by good works, works of 
         righteousness can result in experiencing God's grace and mercy
         a. A case in point is the conversion of Cornelius - Ac 10:1-6
         b. His fear of God, prayers, and alms did not save him, but 
            God did take notice
         c. By striving to serve and please God, he came to know the 
            way of mercy and salvation
      -- Thus we should be diligent in our service, not to earn 
         salvation, but to receive God's gracious mercy - e.g., 
         Onesiphorus - 2Ti 1:16-18

   C. "YOU HAVE PLOWED WICKEDNESS, YOU HAVE REAPED INIQUITY"
      1. Read Hos 10:13
      2. Iniquity (injustice, NASB) is the natural consequence of 
         wickedness
         a. When people turn their ears away from hearing the Word of 
            God, they will be wicked
         b. And the consequence is great injustice and lawlessness
      -- Sadly, I believe we can see why our society is reaping so much
         injustice and lawlessness today (because of the wickedness 
         that is sown)
         
CONCLUSION

1. The messages of Hosea, though first spoken to a people of an earlier
   time, speak to us also...
   a. History tends to repeat itself; we need to learn from the 
      mistakes of others
   b. The people of God are not immune from apostasy, wickedness and 
      rebellion

2. As Paul wrote to the church of Corinth, after reviewing parts of 
   Israel's history...

   "Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should
   not lust after evil things as they also lusted." (1Co 10:6)

3. God's "intent" in preserving the Old Testament was that we might 
   benefit from Israel's mistakes
   a. The works of prophets like Hosea can certainly help
   b. Will his words be well known to us, or will they too be 
      "considered a strange thing"?

I pray this study will help his words become more familiar to us...
 

God Cannot be Tempted...But Jesus Was? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.





http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=3580

God Cannot be Tempted...But Jesus Was?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

According to Scripture, Jesus was Deity in the flesh (John 1:1-5,14; 20:28). He was not sired by man; He was not conceived naturally by woman (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). Rather, Jesus came from heaven (John 3:13; 6:38), proved His “mighty God” Messiahship (Isaiah 9:6) through a variety of verified miracles (John 20:30-31; cf. Lyons and Butt, 2006), accepted worship (Matthew 14:33; John 9:38), and claimed a unity with God the Father that even His enemies understood was a profession of Deity (John 10:30,33). Some, however, question the Bible’s consistency of Jesus being God. The argument goes something like this (cf. Wells, 2010): The Bible declares that Satan tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1), and that Jesus was “in all points tempted as we are” (Hebrews 4:15). Yet, the Bible also declares that “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1:13). Therefore, the Bible (allegedly) contradicts itself regarding the nature of Jesus. How could He be God, if God cannot be tempted?

First, Christians freely admit that contemplation of the nature of God is by no means a simple mental exercise. We were created; He has always been (Psalm 90:2). We have flesh and bones; God is Spirit (John 4:24). We are limited in power; He is omnipotent (Genesis 17:1). We can become knowledgeable about some things; God’s knowledge has always been infinite—“too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6). The apostle Paul expressed his amazement of God to the Christians in Rome, saying, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (11:33). It is always a humbling mental struggle for mere man to contemplate the wondrous attributes of God.

Still, however, the legitimate question remains: How could Jesus be God, if He was tempted while on Earth? The answer to this question is basically the same for a variety of questions that one may ask about the nature of Jesus. How could Jesus not know something if He was God (e.g., the time of His Second Coming; Mark 13:32)? How could God the Father be greater than Jesus if Jesus was “equal with God” (John 14:28; John 5:18; Philippians 2:6)? The answer to these and similar questions must be understood in light of what the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi concerning Jesus’ self-limitation during His time on Earth. According to Paul, Christ

being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation [He “emptied Himself”NASB], taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:6-8, emp. added).
While on Earth in the flesh, Jesus was voluntarily in a subordinate position to the Father. Christ “emptied Himself” (Philippians 2:7; He “made Himself nothing”—NIV). Unlike Adam and Eve, who made an attempt to seize equality with God (Genesis 3:5), Jesus, the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:47), humbled Himself, and obediently accepted the role of a servant. But, as Wayne Jackson observed, Jesus’ earthly limitations “were not the consequence of a less-than-God nature; rather, they were the result of a self-imposed submission reflecting the exercise of His sovereign will” (1995, emp. added). In the form of man, Jesus assumed a position of complete subjection to the Father, and exercised His divine attributes only at the Father’s bidding (cf. John 8:26,28-29) [Wycliffe, 1985]. As A.H. Strong similarly commented, Jesus “resigned not the possession, nor yet entirely the use, but rather the independent exercise, of the divine attributes” (1907, p. 703).

Admittedly, as with Deity’s very nature, understanding Jesus as being fully human in addition to His divine nature is not a simple concept to grasp. When Jesus came to Earth, He added humanity to His divinity—He was made “in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). He moved from the spiritual realm to put on flesh (John 1:14) and became subject to such things as hunger, thirst, weariness, and pain. Our holy God chose to come into this world as a helpless babe, Who, for the first time in His eternal existence, “increased in wisdom” as a child (Luke 2:52). In order to become the perfect sacrifice and Great High Priest, Jesus willingly submitted Himself to temptation and death. As the writer of Hebrews noted: “[I]n all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (2:17-18).

In short, the Bible’s depiction of Jesus as God incarnated is not contradictory. As the immortal, invisible, pre-incarnate Word (1 Timothy 1:17), He was God (John 1:1). When the Word put on flesh, He was still by nature God (John 10:30,33; 20:28), though He willingly “humbled Himself” and “made Himself of no reputation” (2:6-8) in order to become the tempted, but perfect Man. Indeed, He “who knew no sin” became “sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

REFERENCES

Jackson, Wayne (1995), “Did Jesus Exist in the Form of God While on Earth?” Reason & Revelation, 15[3]:21-22, March,  http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=10&article=354.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2006), “The Very Works that I Do Bear Witness of Me,” Reason & Revelation, 26[3]:17-23, March, http://www.apolo geticspress.org/articles/2857.

Strong, A.H. (1907), Systematic Theology (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).

Wells, Steve (2010), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/tempt_god.html.

Wycliffe Bible Commentary (1985), Electronic Database: Biblesoft.

Don’t Bank Your Bucks in Big Bang Theory by Eric Lyons, M.Min.





http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1483

Don’t Bank Your Bucks in Big Bang Theory

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

For the past several decades, untold millions of students around the world have been taught that the Universe and everything in it is the result of a tiny ball of matter exploding 13-15 billion years ago (e.g., Hurd, et al., 1992, p. 61). Immediately following this “big bang,” the exploding material supposedly expanded in less than a millisecond to cause “most of the growth” of the 14-billion-light-year observable Universe (see Coles, 2007). This expansion, called “inflation,” has purportedly been “well established as an essential component of cosmology” (Coles, 2007, p. 33, emp. added). In fact, in an article penned in 2007 titled “Boomtime,” Dr. Peter Coles recognized that the theory of “[i]nflation puts the ‘bang’ in the big bang” (p. 36). Now, however, scientists are inching closer and closer to the conclusion that “the theory seems to have failed” (Brooks, 2008, 198[2659]:31).
The journal New Scientist recently ran an article by Michael Brooks titled “Inflation Deflated” (2008, 198[2659]:30-33). In the article, Brooks admitted that “[i]nflation is arguably the most important theoretical idea in cosmology since the big bang” (p. 31). Inflationary theory has “suggested that the major problems in cosmology could be solved if the universe had blown up like a balloon, inflating faster than the speed of light in the moments after its birth” (p. 31, emp. added). Yet now, the theory first proposed nearly 30 years ago to solve “major problems” with big bang cosmology, and the theory that has been advanced in classrooms all over the world as fact, is sheepishly “starting to look a little vulnerable” (p. 31). “[T]he theory seems to have failed,” wrote Brooks. Why? First, “there is the lack of any solid scientific idea for why or how inflation might have happened” (p. 32, emp. added). Second, “satellite measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation...seem to contradict the predictions of inflation” (p. 31). In short, although Brooks and others believe it is still “too early to say that simple inflation is definitely on the skids” (p. 33), “the theory seems to have failed” (p. 31). Atheistic cosmology’s “best theory of the early universe is starting to look a tad insecure” (p. 30, emp. added).
That must surely be a depressing thought to atheists: their “best theory” for the origin of the cosmos is “insecure,” lacking “any solid scientific idea for why or how inflation might have happened.” A better alternative to ultimate origins is found in the first verse of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1). “For He commanded and they were created” (Psalm 148:5). So, “[l]ift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these things” (Isaiah 40:26).

REFERENCES

Brooks, Michael (2008), “Inflation Deflated,” New Scientist, 198[2659]:30-33, June 7.
Coles, Peter (2007), “Boomtime,” New Scientist, 193[2593]:33-37, March 3.
Hurd, Dean, George Mathias, and Susan Johnson, eds. (1992), General Science: A Voyage of Discovery (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).

Did Jesus Break the Sabbath? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.





http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5155

Did Jesus Break the Sabbath?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One common misconception regarding the behavior of Jesus is that, on occasion, in healing the sick and performing other benevolent actions, He broke the Sabbath in order to accommodate the higher law of love. This viewpoint leaves the impression that law is sometimes, if not frequently, antithetical to being loving. It implies that sometimes breaking God’s laws is necessary in order to be loving. This notion, of course, is flawed and contrary to Bible teaching. As Paul explained to the Romans: “he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments…are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10). Paul meant that when you obey the law’s directives concerning how to conduct yourself toward your neighbor, you will be engaging in loving behavior. To love, one must enact God’s laws.
The fact is the perfect Son of God obeyed all of God’s laws, never violating even one Divine precept (Hebrews 4:15). Sin is defined as violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Since Jesus was sinless, He never broke God’s laws. Hence, He could not have broken the Sabbath. Those who leveled such an accusation against Him were, in fact, mistaken.

the pool

Take, for example, the incident in John 5, when Jesus caused a man, who suffered from a 38-year-old ailment, to rise from his bed of confinement and walk. The fact that Jesus’ action took place on the Sabbath drew the criticism of the Jews who promptly informed the man, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed” (vs. 10). Many would suppose that Jesus would not be concerned with careful conformity to the Law. They would assume that He would chide the Jews for their “nit-picky, legalistic” approach to religion, and that He would be quite willing to dismiss the requirements of the Law in order to give priority to human need in the name of compassion. But this viewpoint is fraught with error, not the least of which is its demeaning assessment of law—law which God, Himself, authored. Law, according to God, is given for human well-being (Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:13; Proverbs 29:18). God’s law is “holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12), and serves divinely intended, positive purposes (e.g., Romans 3:20). Indeed, Jesus’ handling of His critics illustrates the high regard He had for law, the necessity of carefully conforming to that law, and the critical importance of applying it accurately.
In John 7, calling attention to the miracle He performed in chapter 5, Jesus offered a logical rebuttal to the allegation that He violated the Sabbath. Here is that argument placed in syllogistic form:
Premise 1: If the Law of Moses requires the circumcision of a male infant on the 8th day after birth—even when the 8th day falls on the Sabbath—then healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.
Premise 2: The Law of Moses requires the circumcision of a male infant on the 8th day after birth—even when the 8th day fell on the Sabbath.
Conclusion: Therefore, healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.
Jesus then offered a concluding admonition that cinched the validity of His argument: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (vs. 24). Making application of God’s laws based on “appearance” refers to doing so based on how things seem or look to the person making the judgment, i.e., forming an opinion based on inadequate evidence. To the contrary, to “judge with righteous judgment” means to make accurate assessments by drawing only warranted conclusions from the evidence, i.e., thinking and acting rationally. One must be very careful that he is “accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NASB) and not “handling the word of God deceitfully” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

The Synagogue

Another instance in which Jesus was falsely accused of breaking the Sabbath is seen on the occasion when Jesus entered the synagogue and encountered a man who had a deformed hand (Matthew 12:9-13). This circumstance prompted His enemies to ask Him a question in hopes of being able to accuse Him of breaking the Law. They asked: “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Of course, they had pre-decided that the answer to the question was “no,” and that, in fact, the Law would naturally forbid such an action.
Unfortunately, the prevailing interpretation of the Law of Moses at the time, at least among the Jewish leaders, was that the Sabbath law enjoined total inactivity—as if everyone was to sit down for 24 hours and do absolutely nothing. This view was a distortion of God’s Law on the matter. The Law gave the right, even the obligation, to engage in several activities (that could rightly be designated “work”) that did not constitute violation of the Sabbath regulation. On this occasion, Jesus pinpointed one such instance: “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?” (vs. 11). Jesus was recalling a directive from the Law of Moses:
You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray, and hide yourself from them; you shall certainly bring them back to your brother. And if your brother is not near you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it to your own house, and it shall remain with you until your brother seeks it; then you shall restore it to him. You shall do the same with his donkey, and so shall you do with his garment; with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he has lost and you have found, you shall do likewise; you must not hide yourself. You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fall down along the road, and hide yourself from them; you shall surely help him lift them up again (Deuteronomy 22:1-4; cf. Exodus 23:4-5).
Such passages give insight into the nature of God and provide tremendous assistance in making proper application of God’s laws to everyday circumstances.
Observe that God’s laws never contradict or countermand each other. Unlike manmade laws which often manifest inconsistency and contradiction, God’s laws function in perfect harmony with each other. The Mosaic passage to which Jesus alluded demonstrates that the general principle of the cessation of usual work on the Sabbath did not conflict with any number of specific circumstances in which benevolence and compassion were to be expressed. In an agriculturally based society, a family’s survival depends on its farm animals. If a sheep, ox, or donkey were to break out of its stall, flee the premises, and then fall into a pit from which it would be unable to extricate itself, the animal would most likely die or become seriously ill if left in its predicament for 24 hours. To expend the necessary effort (i.e., “work”) to retrieve the animal from danger was not considered by God to be included in the Sabbath prohibition. Hence, Jesus stated the logical conclusion: “Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep?” (vs. 12). If action could be exerted to see to the well-being of a dumb animal, then obviously, God would approve of action taken to see to the physical care of a human being! Here, once again, is Jesus’ argument placed in syllogistic form:
Premise 1: If the Law of Moses requires a person to manifest care, concern, and physical effort to recover a neighbor’s escaped, endangered farm animal—even when the incident occurs on the Sabbath—then healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.
Premise 2: The Law of Moses requires a person to manifest care, concern, and physical effort to recover a neighbor’s escaped, endangered farm animal—even when the incident occurs on the Sabbath.
Conclusion: Therefore, healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.
The logic is penetrating and decisive. Indeed, “they could not answer Him regarding these things” (Luke 14:6; see also Luke 6:6-11). Far from suggesting that law is unimportant and may be ignored under the guise of “human need,” or implying that humans can break the “letter of the law” in order to keep the “spirit of the law” (see Miller, 2003), Jesus demonstrated that inherently built into God’s laws are all concerns deemed by Deity to be necessary. The benevolent, loving thing to do will always harmonize with God’s laws, since “love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10), i.e., every truly loving action has already been defined by God in His legal admonitions.

The Grain Field

A final instance in which Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath is seen in the grain field incident (Matthew 12:1-8). Many commentators automatically assume that the charge leveled against Jesus’ disciples by the Pharisees was a scripturally valid charge. However, when the disciples picked and consumed a few heads of grain from a neighbor’s field, they were doing that which was perfectly lawful (Deuteronomy 23:25). Working would have been a violation of the Sabbath law. If they had pulled out a sickle and begun harvesting the grain, they would have been violating the Sabbath law. However, they were picking strictly for the purpose of eating immediately—an action that was in complete harmony with Mosaic legislation (“but that which everyone must eat”—Exodus 12:16). A modern equivalent might be reaching for a box of cereal on the pantry shelf, pouring it in a bowl, retrieving the milk from the refrigerator, pouring it on the cereal, and eating it. The Pharisees’ charge that the disciples were doing something “not lawful” on the Sabbath was simply an erroneous charge (cf. Matthew 15:2).
Jesus commenced to counter their accusation with masterful, penetrating logic, advancing successive rebuttals. Before He presented specific scriptural refutation of their charge, He first employed a rational device designated by logicians as argumentum ad hominem (literally “argument to the man”). He used the “circumstantial” form of this argument, which enabled Him to “point out a contrast between the opponent’s lifestyle and his expressed opinions, thereby suggesting that the opponent and his statements can be dismissed as hypocritical” (Baum, 1975, p. 470, emp. added). This variety of argumentation spotlights the opponent’s inconsistency, and “charges the adversary with being so prejudiced that his alleged reasons are mere rationalizations of conclusions dictated by self-interest” (Copi, 1972, p. 76).
Observe carefully the technical sophistication inherent in Jesus’ strategy. He called attention to the case of David (vss. 3-4). When David was in exile, literally running for his life to escape the jealous, irrational rage of Saul, he and his companions arrived in Nob, tired and hungry (1 Samuel 21). He lied to the priest and conned him into giving to his traveling companions the showbread, or “bread of the Presence” (12 flat cakes arranged in two rows on the table within the Tabernacle [Exodus 25:23-30; Leviticus 24:5-6])—bread that legally was reserved only for the priests (Leviticus 24:8-9; cf. Exodus 29:31-34; Leviticus 8:31; 22:10ff.). David clearly violated the law. Did the Pharisees condemn him? Absolutely not! They revered David. They held him in high regard. In fact, nearly a thousand years after his passing, his tomb was still being tended (Acts 2:29; cf. 1 Kings 2:10; Nehemiah 3:16; Josephus, 1974a, 13.8.4; 16.7.1; Josephus, 1974b, 1.2.5). On the one hand, they condemned the disciples of Jesus, who were innocent, but on the other hand, they upheld and revered David, who was guilty. Their inconsistency betrayed both their insincerity as well as their ineligibility to bring a charge against the disciples.
After exposing their hypocrisy and inconsistency, Jesus next turned to answer the charge pertaining to violating the Sabbath. He called their attention to the priests who worked in the Temple on the Sabbath (12:5; e.g., Numbers 28:9-10). The priests were “blameless”—not guilty—of violating the Sabbath law because their work was authorized to be performed on that day. As previously noted, the Sabbath law did not imply that everyone was to sit down and do nothing. The Law gave the right, even the obligation, to engage in several activities that did not constitute violation of the Sabbath regulation. Again, examples of such authorization included eating, Temple service, circumcision (John 7:22), tending to the basic care of animals (Exodus 23:4-5; Deuteronomy 22:1-4; Matthew 12:11; Luke 13:15), and extending kindness or assistance to the needy (Matthew 12:12; Luke 13:16; 14:1-6; John 5:5-9; 7:23). The divinely authorized Sabbath activity of the priests proved that the accusation of the Pharisees brought against Jesus’ disciples was false. [The term “profane” (vs. 5) is an example of the figure of speech known as metonymy of the adjunct in which “things are spoken of according to appearance, opinions formed respecting them, or the claims made for them” (Dungan, 1888, p. 295, emp. added). By this figure, Leah was said to be the “mother” of Joseph (Genesis 37:10), Joseph was said to be the “father” of Jesus (Luke 2:48; John 6:42), God’s preached message was said to be “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:21), and angels were said to be “men” (e.g., Genesis 18:16; 19:10). Priestly activity on the Sabbath gave the appearance of violation when, in fact, it was not. Coincidentally, Bullinger classified the allusion to “profane” in this verse as an instance of catachresis, or incongruity, stating that “it expresses what was true according to the mistaken notion of the Pharisees as to manual works performed on the Sabbath” (1898, p. 676, emp. added).]
After pointing out the obvious legality of priestly effort expended on the Sabbath, Jesus stated: “But I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple” (12:6). The underlying Greek text actually has “something” instead of “One.” If priests could carry on Tabernacle/Temple service on the Sabbath, surely Jesus’ own disciples were authorized to engage in service in the presence of the Son of God! After all, service directed to the person of Jesus certainly is greater than the pre-Christianity Temple service conducted by Old Testament priests.
For all practical purposes, the discussion was over. Jesus had disproved the claim of the Pharisees. But He did not stop there. He took His methodical confrontation to yet another level. He penetrated beneath the surface argument that the Pharisees had posited and focused on their hearts: “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless” (12:7). In this verse, Jesus quoted from an Old Testament context (Hosea 6:6) in which the prophet of old struck a blow against the mere external, superficial, ritualistic observance of some laws, to the neglect of heartfelt, sincere, humble attention to other laws while treating people properly. The comparison is evident. The Pharisees who confronted Jesus’ disciples were not truly interested in obeying God’s law. They were masquerading under that pretense (cf. Matthew 15:1-9; 23:3). But their problem did not lie in an attitude of desiring careful compliance with God’s law. Rather, their zest for law keeping was hypocritical and unaccompanied by their own obedience and concern for others. They possessed critical hearts and were more concerned with scrutinizing and blasting people than with honest, genuine applications of God’s directives for the good of mankind.
They had neutralized the true intent of divine regulations, making void the Word of God (Matthew 15:6). They had ignored and skipped over the significant laws that enjoined justice, mercy, and faith (Matthew 23:23). Consequently, though their attention to legal detail was laudable, their misapplication of it, as well as their own neglect and rejection of some aspects of it, made them inappropriate and unqualified promulgators of God’s laws. Indeed, they simply did not fathom the teaching of Hosea 6:6 (cf. Micah 6:6-8). “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” is a Hebraism (cf. Matthew 9:13) [McGarvey, 1875, pp. 82-83]. God was not saying that He did not want sacrifices offered under the Old Testament economy (notice the use of “more” in Hosea 6:6). Rather, He was saying that He did not want sacrifice alone. He wanted mercy with sacrifice. Internal motive and attitude are just as important to God as the external compliance with specifics.
Samuel addressed this same attitude shown by Saul: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). Samuel was not minimizing the essentiality of sacrifice as required by God. Rather, he was convicting Saul of the pretense of using one aspect of God’s requirements, i.e., alleged “sacrifice” of the best animals (1 Samuel 15:15), as a smoke screen for violating God’s instructions, i.e., failing to destroy all the animals (1 Samuel 15:3). If the Pharisees had understood these things, they would not have accused the disciples of breaking the law when the disciples, in fact, had not done so. They “would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7, emp. added).
While the disciples were guilty of violating an injunction that the Pharisees had concocted (supposing the injunction to be a genuine implication of the Sabbath regulation), the disciples were not guilty of a violation of Sabbath law. The Pharisees’ propensity for enjoining their uninspired and erroneous interpretations of Sabbath law upon others was the direct result of cold, unmerciful hearts that found a kind of sadistic glee in binding burdens upon people for burdens’ sake rather than in encouraging people to obey God genuinely.
Jesus placed closure on His exchange with the Pharisees on this occasion by asserting the accuracy of His handling of this entire affair: “For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (vs. 8). In other words, Jesus affirmed His deity and, therefore, His credentials and authoritative credibility for making accurate application of the Law of Moses to the issue at hand. One can trust Jesus’ exegesis and application of Sabbath law; after all, He wrote it!
Matthew 12 does not teach that Jesus broke the Sabbath or sanctions occasional violation of His laws under extenuating circumstances. His laws are never optional, relative, or situational—even though people often find God’s will inconvenient and difficult (e.g., John 6:60; Matthew 11:6; 15:12; 19:22; Mark 6:3; 1 Corinthians 1:23). The truth of the matter is that if the heart is receptive to God’s will, His will is “easy” (Matthew 11:30), “not too hard” (Deuteronomy 30:11), nor “burdensome” (1 John 5:3). If, on the other hand, the heart resists His will and does not desire to conform to it, then God’s words are “offensive” (Matthew 15:12), “hard,” (John 6:60), “narrow” (Matthew 7:14), and like a hammer that breaks in pieces and grinds the resister into powder (Jeremiah 23:29; Matthew 21:44).

Conclusion

The religion of Christ surpasses all human religion. It is rooted in the very essence of Deity. When Jesus took on human form on Earth, He showed Himself to be the Master logician and exegete Who always conducted Himself in a rational manner and conformed His actions to divine law. May we do likewise.
[NOTE: For more on Jesus’ handling of the Sabbath, see Miller, 2004.]

REFERENCES

Baum, Robert (1975), Logic (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston).
Bullinger, E.W. (1898), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968 reprint).
Copi, Irving (1972), Introduction To Logic (New York: Macmillan).
Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Josephus, Flavius (1974a reprint), Antiquities of the Jews (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Josephus, Flavius (1974b reprint), Wars of the Jews (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
McGarvey, J.W. (1875), Commentary on Matthew and Mark (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Miller, Dave (2003), “The Spirit and Letter of the Law,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1225.
Miller, Dave (2004), “Situation Ethics—Extended Version,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=645&topic=38.

What Did You Expect? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.





http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=859

What Did You Expect?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In contrasting the God of Israel with the pagan idols of old, the prophet Isaiah issued a challenge to those who believed in the potency of their pagan deities. Isaiah said this about the idols: “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them…. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods” (41:22-23). According to Isaiah, any deity that could consistently forecast the future would be recognized as a true God, while any unable to tell the future should be relegated to the rubbish pile of false religions. In order to prove that the God of Israel was the true God, Isaiah quoted this from the mouth of God: “I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times thins that are not yet done” (46:9-10). Truly, Isaiah’s God could tell the future. The fall of Babylon, the reign of Cyrus, and the coming Messiah are but a few of the more prominent examples found within the book of Isaiah itself. In fact, the writers of the New Testament quoted the book of Isaiah more often than any other book of the Old Testament. The first-century Jewish community respected the book of Isaiah as inspired and infallible. Yet, the majority of first century Jews missed one of the main points of the book—that the coming Messiah would be not only a conquering king, but also a suffering servant.
Much of the time, people find what they want to find. During the time that Isaiah wrote his prophecy, the children of Israel suffered persecution from the surrounding nations. Years after Isaiah wrote, the nation of Israel fell into even greater troubles, even being led away into captivity by the Babylonians and being scattered throughout many different nations. During their various persecutions, they began to formulate a picture of the promised Messiah. The Coming One was He of whom it was spoken:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6-7).
From this prophecy, what else could one expect but a mighty, conquering Savior Who would carry the burden of the government on His own two shoulders; a sovereign Ruler the likes of David, Who would sit on the throne of a united, far-reaching kingdom? How Israel longed for such a Ruler Who would cast the burden of foreign bondage from their backs and lead them into a physical kingdom, victorious and everlasting!
However, Isaiah did not paint a one-sided picture of the Messiah. In fact, the entire chapter of Isaiah 53 details a suffering servant who would be “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” This suffering Messiah would be oppressed, afflicted, bruised, and stricken. At His death He would be counted among the wicked, led as a lamb to the slaughter. This picture of the Messiah was not of a conquering warrior, but rather of a beaten servant, carrying the sins of the world.
Of course, the pictures painted by the prophets were not mutually exclusive. The conquering power of the Messiah would result from His ability to bear the sins of the world through suffering and shame. But for most of the first-century Jews, a suffering Messiah was too much to bear. When Christ came from the despised Nazareth as a lowly carpenter’s son, He just wasn’t what they expected. They taunted Him to prove His power when they said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him” (Matthew 27:42). They failed to recognize the “time of their visitation” because they kept in mind only the prophecies that they liked—only those pictures that suited their fancy.
Let us learn a valuable lesson from those first-century Jews. What we expect from Christ is not always what we find. Christ’s Gospel was not one of health and wealth on this Earth. It was not one of moral laxity, or a half-hearted call to devotion. The Christ of the New Testament turned over moneychangers’ tables, set fathers against sons, cried out against divorce, and demanded undivided adoration. When we see something in the character of Christ that we did not expect to find, let us not join the majority of first-century Judaism in rejecting Christ and His Word based on a one-sided acceptance of the evidence. Instead, let us probe deeper for the full portrait of our Savior, based on all the evidence. Let us have the courage to go where that evidence takes us so that we can join the apostle Andrew in saying, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41).

Assumption-Based Rejection of Design by Eric Lyons, M.Min.





http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2522

Assumption-Based Rejection of Design

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In a recent New Scientist article titled “Evolution: A Guide for the Not-Yet Perplexed,” Michael Le Page expressed great confidence in The General Theory of Evolution, even going so far as to declare, “Evolution is as firmly established a scientific fact as the roundness of the Earth” (2008, 198[2652]:25). Le Page then proceeded to suggest various reasons why evolutionists reject Intelligent Design. After alleging the Earth is 4.5 billion years old (see DeYoung, 2005 and Thompson, 2001 for refutations of this idea), Le Page wrote:
Suppose for a moment that life was designed rather than having evolved. In that case organisms that appear similar might have very different internal workings, just as an LCD screen has a quite different mechanism to a plasma screen. The explosion of genomic research, however, has revealed that all living creatures work in essentially the same way: they store and translate information using the same genetic code, with only a few minor variations in the most primitive organisms (p. 26, emp. added).
Le Page continued: “[I]f organisms had been designed for particular roles, they might be unable to adapt to changing conditions. Instead, countless experiments...show that organisms of all kinds evolve when their environment is altered, provided the changes are not too abrupt” (p. 26, emp. added).
Notice Le Page’s reasons for rejecting Intelligent Design: (1) if life was designed, “organisms...might have very different internal workings,” and (2) designed organisms “might be unable to adapt” to changing environments (p. 26, emp. added). As should be obvious to anyone reading this recent issue of New Scientist, Le Page’s arguments are pure speculation. Neither the similarities in the genetic make-up of living organisms nor the ability of living things to adapt to their environments are reasons to reject design and accept evolution.
Creationists have long recognized similarities among animals and humans. In fact, such similarities (even on a cellular level) should be expected among creatures that drink the same water, eat the same food, breathe the same air, live on the same terrain, etc. But, similarities are just that—similarities. Evolutionists interpret these similarities to mean we all share common ancestors, but they cannot prove it. Likewise, the ability of animals to adapt to their surroundings could just as easily be explained as the product of an omniscient Designer programming life long ago with the ability to adapt to its environment.
New Scientist’s assumption-based rejection of design is completely unsubstantiated. Neither homology nor organisms’ adaptation abilities are proof of The General Theory of Evolution.

REFERENCES

DeYoung, Don (2005), Thousands...Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Le Page, Michael (2008), “Evolution: A Guide for the Not-Yet Perplexed,” New Scientist, 198[2652]:24-33, April 19.
Thompson, Bert (2001), “The Young Earth,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1991.

Christians Believe In Global Warming by Dave Miller, Ph.D.





http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=3772

Christians Believe In Global Warming

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The hoopla in recent years regarding global warming has reached a frenzied state. As Al Gore declared in his 2006 book An Inconvenient Truth:
Not only does human-caused global warming exist, but it is also growing more and more dangerous, and at a pace that has now made it a planetary emergency.... [H]umans are the cause of most of the global warming that is taking place.... [W]e are hearing and seeing dire warnings of the worst potential catastrophe in the history of human civilization: a global climate crisis that is deepening and rapidly becoming more dangerous than anything we have ever faced (pp. 8,9,10, emp. added).
Of course, the boisterous allegations of the climatologists have been fraught with self-contradiction. Today we are being told that due to human interference, global warming and the “greenhouse effect” are occurring, and that the Earth’s temperature is increasing (cf. Sagan, 1997, pp. 105ff.). Yet we have also been terrorized with the notion that our actions are “lowering the surface temperature of our planet” (Sagan, 1980, p. 103). Ironically, a 1974 article in TIME magazine reported a three decade long cooling of atmospheric temperatures and other “weather aberrations” that “may be the harbinger of another ice age” (“Another Ice Age?”). Insisting that “telltale signs are everywhere,” as expected, one of the culprits responsible for the threat was identified as man, since “dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth” (“Another Ice Age?”). The 1974 article concluded:
Whatever the cause of the cooling trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic. Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climate balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years (“Another Ice Age?,” emp. added).
So which is it? Ice age or global warming? Since yesterday’s science is today’s superstition, how wary ought we to be regarding the bold claims of today’s “science”?
The truth is that God created the Earth to be self-sustaining until it has served its purpose. It is self-healing, resilient, and restorative. It actually rejuvenates itself. The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon set into place by God. God designed gases in the atmosphere, like carbon dioxide and water vapor, to remain in balance and warm the Earth, creating a stable climate for the support of plant, animal, and human life. Without these gases, Earth would be 40 to 60 degrees colder—essentially a frigid desert (cf. Climate Change..., 1990, p. xxxvii).
The Earth is not “fragile” when it comes to human interference. Humans cannot destroy the Earth (let alone the Universe). Humans cannot eliminate the ozone layer. Humans cannot cause permanent, life-threatening global warming. Human ability to pollute, contaminate, and destroy the environment cannot begin to compare with the destructive forces of nature itself: volcanoes, tornados, hurricanes, drought, typhoons, earthquakes, and floods. The 1991 volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines introduced 20 to 30 megatons of sulfur dioxide and aerosols into the Earth’s atmosphere, with those materials completely encircling the Earth in some three months (Sagan, 1997, p. 107). Satellite data collected indicated that, as a result, “the ozone levels had depleted by about 15 percent” (Rickman, 1997). In fact, as a direct result of the large amounts of stratospheric sulfate particles from the Mount Pinatubo eruption, “record low global ozone levels were recorded in 1992 and 1993” (“Environmental Indicators...,” n.d., emp. added). NASA concluded: “Stratospheric aerosols such as those produced by major volcanic eruptions are thought to be important catalysts in the chemical processes leading to the observed ozone losses” (“NASA’s Ozone Studies,” n.d.; cf. “Incomplete Recovery...,” 2006). Humans cannot begin to compete with nature’s impact on itself. We humans have an inflated sense of our own importance if we think that we determine whether the world goes on after we are gone.
Sadly, while so much of the world’s attention is directed to physical concerns, America’s most important role of pointing the world to spiritual concerns, specifically, the truth of the Christian religion, has fallen by the wayside. Instead of being preoccupied with the future of the Earth—the God-designed, temporary abode of human habitation (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)—our foremost concern ought to be with where we will spend the afterlife: heaven or hell. As God warned the Romans: “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10-12). To the Corinthians, He explained: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11).
The world will last for just as long as God intends—regardless of how much environmental damage humans inflict on the planet. The Earth’s environment will remain intact until it fulfills the purpose for which He created it. When that day arrives, then, yes, global warming will most definitely occur—but it will be divinely instigated and exceed anything humans can even imagine. Here is God’s own description of that day:
But the heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.... The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? (2 Peter 3:7-12).

REFERENCES

“Another Ice Age” (1974), TIME Magazine, June 24, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914-1,00.html.
Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment (1990), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/reports.htm.
“Environmental Indicators: Ozone Depletion” (no date), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/indicat/index.html.
Gore, Al (2006), An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming (New York: Rodale).
“Incomplete Recovery Forecast for Earth’s Ozone Layer” (2006), CBC News, May 3, http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2006/05/03/ozone-layer060503.html.
NASA’s Ozone Studies” (no date), NASA Facts On-Line, http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/gsfc/service/gallery/fact_sheets/earthsci/ozonestu.htm.
Rickman, James (1997), “Los Alamos Computer Model Accurately Predicts Global Climate Effects of Pinatubo Eruption,” Los Alamos National Laboratory, http://www.lanl.gov/orgs/pa/News/012297text.html.
Sagan, Carl (1997), Billions and Billions (New York: Random House).
Sagan, Carl (1980), Cosmos (New York: Random House).

Where Did Peter Deny Christ? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=2871&b=John

Where Did Peter Deny Christ?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Q.

Did Peter deny Christ in the courtyard of Annas or Caiaphas? According to Matthew, Peter denied Jesus three times in the courtyard of Caiaphas, the high priest (26:57-75). John, however, seems to indicate that Peter was in the courtyard of Annas (Caiaphas’ father-in-law) when he denied Christ (18:13-27). Which is it?

A.

As is often the case in Scripture, the Bible writers frequently supplemented each others’ accounts (see Lyons, 2011). Similar to how today several different, but truthful, accounts of the same event can be heard from various news sources, God gave us four different, reliable accounts of the same Gospel.
Whereas John recorded how, after Jesus’ arrest, He was first taken to Annas, Matthew omits this part of the trial of Jesus, and jumps ahead to when Jesus was taken to Caiaphas. Matthew places Peter in the high priest Caiaphas’ courtyard when he denied Christ three times (26:57-58,69-75). [NOTE: Both Annas and Caiaphas are referred to as the “high priest” (cf. Luke 3:2). Caiaphas served as high priest from around A.D. 18 to 36, while his father-in-law, Annas, had held this position from about A.D. 6 to 15, “and was still called ‘high priest’ by many” (Robertson, 1930, 1:203).] John records the  events in the following way.
  • Jesus was taken to Annas (18:13)
  • Peter denied Jesus the first time in the courtyard of the high priest (18:15-18)
  • Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas (18:24)
  • Peter denied Jesus two more times (18:25-27)
So where exactly did Peter deny Christ? Was his first denial in the courtyard of Annas, while the second and third denials took place at the court of Caiaphas’? If so, why do Matthew, Mark, and Luke not mention that this is where Peter’s first denial took place?
First, John does not specifically indicate that Peter’s first denial was in the courtyard of Annas. John wrote that Jesus was led
to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in (John 18:12-16, emp. added).
It is assumed that because John mentions Peter’s first denial before Annas brought Jesus to Caiphas and his second and third denials afterwards, that John was implying Peter’s first denial was in the courtyard of Annas. However, such could not be proven; the Bible writers did not always write things in a strict sequential order (see Lyons 2005).
Second, it is possible that Annas was visiting his son-in-law Caiaphas, and thus were in the same palace the night Jesus was arrested. Jesus could have easily appeared before both of them at different times, while Peter was in the courtyard of the house denying his Lord. It may even be, as commentator Leon Morris proposed, that “Caiaphas and Annas shared the same palace” (1995, p. 665). That is, “Annas had apartments in the same palace with Caiaphas” (McGarvey, n.d., p. 696).
Whatever the case may be, there is no verified contradiction here. There are many possible, perfectly acceptable scenarios that might explain why John mentioned Peter’s first denial while Jesus was being questioned by Annas, and Peter’s second and third denials following Jesus’ appearance before Caiaphas.

REFERENCES

Lyons, Eric (2005), “Alleged Chronological Contradictions,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=570&article=574.
Lyons, Eric (2011), “Remembering the Role of Supplementation When Learning About Salvation,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=3502.
McGarvey, J.W. (no date), The Fourfold Gospel (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
Morris, Leon (1995), The Gospel According to St. John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), revised edition.
Robertson, A.T. (1930), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press).

The Lord is our Judge, Lawgiver and King! by Roy Davison




http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/043-JudgeLawgiverKing.html



The Lord is our Judge, Lawgiver and King!
“For the LORD is our Judge, The LORD is our Lawgiver, The LORD is our King; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22).

As is true of every effective government, God's kingdom has judicial, legislative and executive powers.

Because in worldly governments, people in power tend to misuse their power, the judicial and the executive powers are separated in democracies. Sometimes the legislative and executive powers are also separated.

God does not misuse His power. He knows everything, including “the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Because of His holiness, justice, knowledge, wisdom, love, goodness, mercy and power, the Lord is infinitely qualified to serve as Judge, Lawgiver and King.


The Lord is our Judge.

A judge is someone who is authorized to decide questions brought before a court of justice. A judge makes his decision after evaluating the facts and applying the law.

God is “the Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25). “He is coming to judge the earth” (1 Chronicles 16:32). “God is a just judge” (Psalm 7:11). “The Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness” (Psalm 9:7, 8).

The heavenly Father has appointed His Son, Jesus Christ, to “judge the living and the dead at His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:1). “They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5).

God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

On your calendar you have no doubt noted important appointments. What could be more important than our appointment with God on Judgment Day? “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9, 10).

Judgment Day is drawing near. It is extremely important that we know the basis upon which we will be judged.


The Lord is our Lawgiver.

A lawgiver is someone who is authorized to draft and enact laws. A law is a rule of conduct imposed by authority, which one is obligated to obey, usually with a designated punishment for violation.

“There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy” (James 4:12).

It is extremely important that we know the law of the Lord because compliance or non-compliance will determine whether we spend eternity in heaven or in hell. And eternity is a long, long time.

The law of the Lord must be learned. The Lord was well-disposed towards king Jehoshaphat of Judah because “his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 17:6). He sent leaders throughout the country to teach the law: “So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people” (2 Chronicles 17:9).

Ezra the priest “had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).

Of “the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) Paul wrote, “I delight in the law of God” and “I serve the law of God” (Romans 7:22, 26). He also explained that “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).

Of the Messianic reign it was predicted, “Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).

Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

The Lord has given us His law. By learning and obeying His law we are getting ready for the day of judgment.


The Lord is our King.

A king is the sovereign ruler of a kingdom, the highest authority over a realm.

“The Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King” (Jeremiah 10:10).

“I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:1).

“Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne” (Psalm 47:6-8).

The armed forces of a king support his authority. Our King is Yahweh Zebaoth, Lord of hosts, Lord of heavenly forces.

“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory” (Psalm 24:7-10).

When the king of Syria wanted to capture Elisha, “he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, 'Alas, my master! What shall we do?' So he answered, 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, and said, 'LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:14-17).

At various times God's people were rebuked when they sought help from the Egyptian army, rather than placing their confidence in the power of God: “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the LORD!” (Isaiah 31:1).

Our King has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). “He is Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God'” (Isaiah 44:6).

To Jesus, who is called 'the First and the Last' in Revelation 2:8, Nathanael said, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49).

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).

“They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: 'Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested'” (Revelation 15:3, 4).

“The LORD shall reign forever and ever” (Exodus 15:18).

When the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, John heard loud voices in heaven saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15).

And the most wonderful thing about all of this is, that our Judge, Lawgiver and King is also our Savior! “For the LORD is our Judge, The LORD is our Lawgiver, The LORD is our King; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22). 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
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading October 31 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading October 31 (WEB)
Oct. 31
Isaiah 17-20

Isa 17:1 The burden of Damascus: "Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.
Isa 17:2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken. They will be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
Isa 17:3 The fortress shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria. They will be as the glory of the children of Israel," says Yahweh of Armies.
Isa 17:4 "It will happen in that day that the glory of Jacob will be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh will become lean.
Isa 17:5 It will be like when the harvester gathers the wheat, and his arm reaps the grain. Yes, it will be like when one gleans grain in the valley of Rephaim.
Isa 17:6 Yet gleanings will be left there, like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outermost branches of a fruitful tree," says Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Isa 17:7 In that day, people will look to their Maker, and their eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.
Isa 17:8 They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands; neither shall they respect that which their fingers have made, either the Asherim, or the incense altars.
Isa 17:9 In that day, their strong cities will be like the forsaken places in the woods and on the mountain top, which were forsaken from before the children of Israel; and it will be a desolation.
Isa 17:10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not remembered the rock of your strength. Therefore you plant pleasant plants, and set out foreign seedlings.
Isa 17:11 In the day of your planting, you hedge it in. In the morning, you make your seed blossom, but the harvest flees away in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.
Isa 17:12 Ah, the uproar of many peoples, who roar like the roaring of the seas; and the rushing of nations, that rush like the rushing of mighty waters!
Isa 17:13 The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters: but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far off, and will be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like the whirling dust before the storm.
Isa 17:14 At evening, behold, terror! Before the morning, they are no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who rob us.

Isa 18:1 Ah, the land of the rustling of wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia;
Isa 18:2 that sends ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of papyrus on the waters, saying, "Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people awesome from their beginning onward, a nation that measures out and treads down, whose land the rivers divide!"
Isa 18:3 All you inhabitants of the world, and you dwellers on the earth, when a banner is lifted up on the mountains, look! When the trumpet is blown, listen!
Isa 18:4 For Yahweh said to me, "I will be still, and I will see in my dwelling place, like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."
Isa 18:5 For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and he will cut down and take away the spreading branches.
Isa 18:6 They will be left together for the ravenous birds of the mountains, and for the animals of the earth. The ravenous birds will summer on them, and all the animals of the earth will winter on them.
Isa 18:7 In that time, a present will be brought to Yahweh of Armies from a people tall and smooth, even from a people awesome from their beginning onward, a nation that measures out and treads down, whose land the rivers divide, to the place of the name of Yahweh of Armies, Mount Zion.

Isa 19:1 The burden of Egypt: "Behold, Yahweh rides on a swift cloud, and comes to Egypt. The idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence; and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst.
Isa 19:2 I will stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians, and they will fight everyone against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.
Isa 19:3 The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst. I will destroy its counsel. They will seek the idols, the charmers, those who have familiar spirits, and the wizards.
Isa 19:4 I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel lord. A fierce king will rule over them," says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies.
Isa 19:5 The waters will fail from the sea, and the river will be wasted and become dry.
Isa 19:6 The rivers will become foul. The streams of Egypt will be diminished and dried up. The reeds and flags will wither away.
Isa 19:7 The meadows by the Nile, by the brink of the Nile, and all the sown fields of the Nile, will become dry, be driven away, and be no more.
Isa 19:8 The fishermen will lament, and all those who fish in the Nile will mourn, and those who spread nets on the waters will languish.
Isa 19:9 Moreover those who work in combed flax, and those who weave white cloth, will be confounded.
Isa 19:10 The pillars will be broken in pieces. All those who work for hire will be grieved in soul.
Isa 19:11 The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish. The counsel of the wisest counselors of Pharaoh has become stupid. How do you say to Pharaoh, "I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?"
Isa 19:12 Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you now; and let them know what Yahweh of Armies has purposed concerning Egypt.
Isa 19:13 The princes of Zoan have become fools. The princes of Memphis are deceived. They have caused Egypt to go astray, who are the cornerstone of her tribes.
Isa 19:14 Yahweh has mixed a spirit of perverseness in the midst of her; and they have caused Egypt to go astray in all of its works, like a drunken man staggers in his vomit.
Isa 19:15 Neither shall there be for Egypt any work, which head or tail, palm branch or rush, may do.
Isa 19:16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women. They will tremble and fear because of the shaking of the hand of Yahweh of Armies, which he shakes over them.
Isa 19:17 The land of Judah will become a terror to Egypt. Everyone to whom mention is made of it will be afraid, because of the plans of Yahweh of Armies, which he determines against it.
Isa 19:18 In that day, there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan, and swear to Yahweh of Armies. One will be called "The city of destruction."
Isa 19:19 In that day, there will be an altar to Yahweh in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to Yahweh at its border.
Isa 19:20 It will be for a sign and for a witness to Yahweh of Armies in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to Yahweh because of oppressors, and he will send them a savior and a defender, and he will deliver them.
Isa 19:21 Yahweh will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know Yahweh in that day. Yes, they will worship with sacrifice and offering, and will vow a vow to Yahweh, and will perform it.
Isa 19:22 Yahweh will strike Egypt, striking and healing. They will return to Yahweh, and he will be entreated by them, and will heal them.
Isa 19:23 In that day there will be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
Isa 19:24 In that day, Israel will be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth;
Isa 19:25 because Yahweh of Armies has blessed them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance."

Isa 20:1 In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it;
Isa 20:2 at that time Yahweh spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, "Go, and loosen the sackcloth from off your waist, and take your shoes from off your feet." He did so, walking naked and barefoot.
Isa 20:3 Yahweh said, "As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder concerning Egypt and concerning Ethiopia,
Isa 20:4 so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, and with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
Isa 20:5 They will be dismayed and confounded, because of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory.
Isa 20:6 The inhabitants of this coast land will say in that day, 'Behold, this is our expectation, where we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria. And we, how will we escape?' " 
 

Oct. 31
2 Thessalonians 3

2Th 3:1 Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, even as also with you;
2Th 3:2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and evil men; for not all have faith.
2Th 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you, and guard you from the evil one.
2Th 3:4 We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you both do and will do the things we command.
2Th 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ.
2Th 3:6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks in rebellion, and not after the tradition which they received from us.
2Th 3:7 For you know how you ought to imitate us. For we didn't behave ourselves rebelliously among you,
2Th 3:8 neither did we eat bread from anyone's hand without paying for it, but in labor and travail worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you;
2Th 3:9 not because we don't have the right, but to make ourselves an example to you, that you should imitate us.
2Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: "If anyone will not work, neither let him eat."
2Th 3:11 For we hear of some who walk among you in rebellion, who don't work at all, but are busybodies.
2Th 3:12 Now those who are that way, we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
2Th 3:13 But you, brothers, don't be weary in doing well.
2Th 3:14 If any man doesn't obey our word in this letter, note that man, that you have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed.
2Th 3:15 Don't count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
2Th 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with you all.
2Th 3:17 The greeting of me, Paul, with my own hand, which is the sign in every letter: this is how I write.
2Th 3:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.