From Mark Copeland.... "MINISTERING SPIRITS" The Ministry Of Angels To Christians

                         "MINISTERING SPIRITS"

                  The Ministry Of Angels To Christians


1. Our study of angels as "Ministering Spirits" has shown how they
   ministered to...
   a. The people of God in the Old Testament
   b. Jesus in the flesh, and continue to serve Him in heaven

2. It is understandable that Christians often wonder...
   a. Do angels minister in our behalf today?
   b. If so, in what way?

3. Christians have good reason to wonder about such things...
   a. By God's grace we have "become heirs according to the hope of
      eternal life" - Tit 3:7
   b. Angels are said to be "sent forth to minister for those who will
      inherit salvation" - He 1:14

[As we seek to determine what angelic ministry might entail, let's first
review what we know about...]


      1. In the case of the twelve apostles - Ac 5:17-20
      2. In the case of Peter - Ac 12:7-11

      1. Sending Philip to meet the Ethiopian Eunuch - Ac 8:26-28
      2. Appearing to Cornelius to send for Peter - Ac 10:1-8,21-22;

      1. In the case of Herod, who delivered a great oration 
         - Ac 12:21-22
      2. He failed to give God glory, so an angel struck him with a
         terrible disease - Ac 12:23

      1. Appearing to Paul, while on his journey to Rome - Ac 27:21-23
      2. Assuring him that he and his fellow travelers would eventually
         arrive - Ac 27:24

      1. In the book of Revelation - Re 1:1; 22:16
      2. Depicted throughout the Revelation as serving Christ
         a. Praising Him around the throne - Re 5:2,11
         b. Carrying out the Lord's warnings and judgments
            1) E.g., sounding the seven trumpets - cf. Re 8:2,6
            2) E.g., pouring out the seven bowls of wrath - cf. Re 16:1

[There are many references to angels in Revelation, but their ministry
takes place "behind the scenes".  The visible activity of angels in the
early church was very limited, as we have seen.  Yet from the teachings
of Christ and His apostles, what might we glean about the activity of
angels today...?]


      1. They rejoice when sinners repent - Lk 15:10
      2. Little ones who believe are said to have "their" angels, who
         behold the face of God in heaven - cf. Mt 18:10
      3. Here is a sampling of opinions regarding "guardian angels"...
         a. "Disclosing the fact that the ministration of angels is not
            only general but special, certain angels being entrusted
            with the care of certain individuals, and all of them
            supplementing their own wisdom and power by direct access to
            the presence of God." - McGarvey
         b. "The doctrine of guardian angels is emphatically taught in
            the Scriptures. See 1Ki 19:5-8; Ps 91:11; He 1:13;
            Ac 27:23. Who can afford to despise the children who have
            representatives right at the throne of God?" - B. W. Johnson
         c. "Our Lord here not only alludes to, but, in my opinion,
            establishes the notion received by almost all nations, viz.
            That every person has a guardian angel; and that these have
            always access to God, to receive orders relative to the
            management of their charge." - Clarke
         d. "He does not mean, I suppose, to state that every good man
            has his guardian angel, as many of the Jews believed; but
            that the angels were, in general, the guards of his
            followers, and aided them and watched over them." - Barnes
         e. "Does Jesus mean to teach here that each little child or
            child of faith had a special angel who appears in God's
            presence ('see the face of my Father') in special intimacy?
            Or does he simply mean that the angels do take an interest
            in the welfare of God's people (He 1:14)? There is comfort
            to us in that thought. Certainly Jesus means that the Father
            takes special care of his 'little ones' who believe in Him."
            - Robertson's Word Pictures
         f. "A difficult verse; but perhaps the following may be more
            than an illustration: Among men, those who nurse and rear
            the royal children, however humble in themselves, are
            allowed free entrance with their charge, and a degree of
            familiarity which even the highest state ministers dare not
            assume. Probably our Lord means that, in virtue of their
            charge over His disciples (He 1:13; Jn 1:51), the angels
            have errands to the throne, a welcome there, and a dear
            familiarity in dealing with 'His Father which is in heaven,'
            which on their own matters they could not assume." - JFB
         -- I doubt the issue can be resolved with the little evidence
            that we have

      1. All Christians believe in the providence of God
         a. God's working in answer to prayer - e.g., Paul's prayer to
            visit Rome, Ro 1:9-10
         b. In ways non-miraculous, but working nonetheless - e.g.,
            Paul's journey to Rome
      2. How God carries out His providence likely involves angels
         a. As it did in the affairs of nations according to the book of
         b. As it will in the affairs of nations according to the book
            of Revelation

      1. As Jesus illustrated in the story of the rich man and Lazarus
         - Lk 16:22
      2. "The Jews held the opinion that the spirits of the righteous
         were conveyed by angels to heaven at their death. Our Savior
         speaks in accordance with this opinion; and as he expressly
         affirms the fact, it seems as proper that it should be taken
         literally, as when it is said the rich man died and was buried.
         Angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those
         who are heirs of salvation (He 1:14), and there is no more
         improbability in the supposition that they attend departing
         spirits to heaven, than that they attend them while on earth."
         - Barnes

      1. As depicted in John's vision of the New Jerusalem - Re 21:12
      2. "Stationed there as guards to the New Jerusalem. Their business
         seems to have been to watch the gates that nothing improper
         should enter; that the great enemy should not make an insidious
         approach to this city as he did to the earthly paradise."
         - Barnes
      3. "...an additional emblem of perfect security, while the gates
         being never shut (Re 21:25) imply perfect liberty and peace."
         - JFB
      4. "Still waiting upon the heirs of salvation." - Wesley


1. Angels continue to minister for those who will inherit salvation
   - cf. He 1:14

2. Their visible activity for Christians was limited even in the first
   century, perhaps for this reason:

   "The visible activity of angels has come to an end, because their
   mediating work is done; Christ has founded the kingdom of the Spirit,
   and God's Spirit speaks directly to the spirit of man (via the Word
   of God, MAC). This new and living way has been opened up to us by
   Jesus Christ, upon whom faith can yet behold the angels of God
   ascending and descending. Still they watch the lot of man, and
   rejoice in his salvation; still they join in the praise and
   adoration of God, the Lord of hosts, still can they be regarded as
   'ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them
   that shall inherit salvation.'" - ISBE

3. Due to the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit, the need for angels'
   visible activity has diminished, and we do well to heed the warnings
   about angels...
   a. Do not worship them
      1) As the angels themselves warned John - Re 19:10; 22:8-9
      2) As Paul warned the Colossians - Col 2:18-19
   b. Do not heed new doctrines from them
      1) As Paul warned the Galatians - Ga 1:8
      2) Remember what Satan is capable of! - cf. 2Co 11:14

With these warnings in mind, we can still praise God that among our many
spiritual blessings in Christ in the heavenly places are His
"Ministering Spirits" who serve us! - cf. Ep 1:3

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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What About the Discovery of Q? by Brad Bromling, D.Min.


What About the Discovery of Q?

by Brad Bromling, D.Min.


has been found! So claims Burton L. Mack, professor of New Testament at the School of Theology at Claremont, California. It has been postulated for years, but its discovery is now said to be official. No, a cache of ancient scrolls and artifacts has not been uncovered in Asia Minor. And no, a janitor has not found a previously unclassified manuscript upon a dusty shelf in the basement of a museum somewhere that scholars can now recognize as Q. So where was the document found?
Scholars have long supposed that, besides Mark, Matthew and Luke employed a common source when they composed their Gospels. The main clue to this was the fact that besides the material that they share in common with Mark, both Matthew and Luke contain additional material in common with each other that is not in Mark. This shared material amounts to over 200 verses. Luke’s comment that other reports concerning Jesus were circulating before he put his record down on paper has led some scholars to suspect that more than mechanical dictation or “inspired memory” was at work when the Gospels were written (Luke 1:1-4). The question then arose: What was this source that both writers used? Because the German word for source is quelle, it became scholarly shorthand to refer to this undiscovered source as “Q.”
The search for Q overlapped and sometimes came in conflict with what became known as the search for the historical Jesus. Many scholars came to the opinion that the New Testament tended to obscure the actual character and identity of Jesus. They reasoned that the well-meaning writers of the New Testament embellished the actual historical facts about Jesus. So they set out to find the authentic Jesus. One of these efforts was attempted by Adolph von Harnack (1851-1930), who extracted from the Gospel records all the “sayings” of Jesus. He thought that if we would read those sayings without their narrative settings, we would be able to form a more objective opinion of the historical Jesus.
Eighty years later, some scholars believe that Harnack was both very far from, and yet very close to, finding Q. Where he went wrong was in putting all the sayings on equal footing (whether they were actually said by Jesus or merely attributed to Him). He was close to Q, though, because it has now been decided (by some) that Q is a subset of the sayings that Harnack had isolated.
Q’s discovery, on the one hand, is somewhat anti-climatic, since (according to these scholars) we have been reading it all along, but just didn’t know it! On the other hand, it has created a maelstrom of controversy. Why all the furor? The reason is because scholars who have isolated Q suggest that reading Q alone leads us to a radically different picture of Jesus and the earliest movement He created. By analyzing Q as a document that arose out of a particular cultural, social, and political climate, we are given insights into the original community of people who followed Jesus. What does Q tell us about these people? Mack explains:
The remarkable thing about the people of Q is that they were not Christians. They did not think of Jesus as a messiah or the Christ. They did not take his teachings as an indictment of Judaism. They did not regard his death as a divine, tragic, or saving event. And they did not imagine that he had been raised from the dead to rule over a transformed world. Instead, they thought of him as a teacher whose teachings made it possible to live with verve in troubled times. Thus they did not gather to worship in his name, honor him as a god, or cultivate his memory through hymns, prayers, and rituals (1993, p. 4).
That is Mack’s story. Conservative scholars, however, are not so impressed.
While recent enthusiasm over Q is running at an all-time high, there are fundamental problems that must be addressed. First, merely distilling the gospel material that is common to Matthew and Luke (and absent in Mark) and printing it as a separate Gospel ignores the question as to whether the Q hypothesis is the best explanation for the commonality. The issue of literary dependence cannot be merely assumed, but must be proved. This has not been done (Linnemann, 1992, pp. 145-152). A more likely explanation for common material is that the Gospel writers were all discussing the same core of historical data surrounding the same central figure. Second, there is no manuscript evidence that Q existed or was in circulation as an independent document. Its existence is still mere conjecture. Third, even if the so-called Q material in Matthew and Luke were drawn from an independent source (and this stretches the imagination), there is no way to know how much of that source actually exists in the Gospels. So, all efforts to reconstruct the beliefs of an early community of Jesus’ followers based upon the Q material alone are lame. To say, as does Mack, that the “people of Q” knew nothing of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus begs the question. It assumes that the Q material isolated in Matthew and Luke was all there was to the original document. That is a claim that never can be substantiated without a Q manuscript.
The bottom line is this: Q has not been discovered.


Linnemann, Eta (1992), Is There a Synoptic Problem? (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Mack, Burton L. (1993), The Lost Gospel—The Book of Q and Christian Origins (San Francisco, CA: Harper).

The Human Skin—Engineered by God by Taylor Richardson


The Human Skin—Engineered by God

by Taylor Richardson

In what single place can you find the following things: 19 million cells, 625 sweat glands, 90 oil glands, 65 hairs, 19 feet of blood vessels, and 19,000 sensory cells? The answer: in one square inch of human skin! The human skin is considered the largest organ in the body (about 16% of your body weight), and covers an area of 20 square feet. Your skin, or integument, has many different protective and metabolic functions that help keep your body stabilized.


You have two skin layers. The outer layer, the epidermis, consists of rows of cells about 12 to 15 deep, and is between 0.07 and 0.12 millimeters thick (about as thick as a piece of paper). This top layer is composed mainly of dead cells that are being replaced constantly by newer cells. Isaac Asimov explained the process in his book, The Human Body:
The cells at the base of the epidermis are alive, and are constantly growing and multiplying so that cell after cell is pushed upward and away from the dermis. Without a blood supply, the cell dies and much of it, aside from the inert keratin, atrophies. The vicissitudes of existence are constantly rubbing away some of this dead material from the surface of our body, but this is constantly being replaced from below, and we retain our epidermis ever fresh (1963, pp. 258-259).
Sometimes, when areas of the skin are subjected to constant friction, the epidermis responds by thickening itself in that area, creating a callus. These patches of hard skin usually are found on the soles of feet of people who walk barefoot, and on the hands of farmers. It is as though the dermis had traded in its thin plastic gloves for a pair made of leather.
The inner layer, or dermis, is a spongy, leathery area that is about one to two millimeters thick, consisting mainly of collagen (a fibrous protein found in the skin) connective tissue. The dermis is joined to the epidermis by a grooved surface that contains nerves, blood vessels, hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and sweat glands, all of which have important functions. Each hair follicle, for example, contains one hair that transmits the reception of touch to sensory nerves around the follicle. Sebaceous glands produce a waxy secretion called sebum, which helps to waterproof the skin. Sweat glands help to cool the skin and keep the body temperature constant.


One of the most important functions of the skin is to provide us with a sense of touch. Werner Gitt explained it best:
The most important property of the skin is that it contains our sense of touch… The sense of touch is difficult to investigate. All other senses have a definite key organ which can be studied, but the skin is spread over the entire body and cannot easily be delimited or “switched off.” In the case of vision, scientists can observe blind persons to learn more about seeing, and they can study deaf people to learn more about hearing. But this is impossible for the sense of touch (1999, p. 41).
Receptors (from the Latin word receptor, meaning “recorder”) located at the ends of nerve fibers are used to detect stimuli and convert them into neural impulses to be sent to the brain through the peripheral and central nervous systems. Receptors also are located in the internal organs, muscles, and skeletal joints, and can detect information such as the temperature of a cup of coffee or the roughness of sand paper. Although we “touch” with our epidermis, the sense of touch actually is recorded in the dermis and passed on to the central nervous system.
Layers of Skin
Another important function of the skin is that it helps the body keep a constant temperature. Gillen, et al., wrote: “The word homeostasis comes from two Greek terms, homeo (alike or the same) andstasis (standing or remaining). Thus the word means remaining the same” (1999, italics, parenthetical items, and emp. in orig.). A person’s average body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but if it increases by 7 or 8 degrees, and remains there for any of length of time, a person will almost certainly die. So how does the body keep a generally constant temperature? It does so via a method of cooling known as perspiration. The main sources of body heat are the internal organs that work all the time, such as the heart and kidneys. The heat created by these organs is carried off by the blood and distributed evenly throughout the body. This is an efficient way to diffuse the heat at a slow pace, but what happens when the body must get rid of heat quickly? Asimov explained:
We are equipped with tiny glands distributed all over our skin, about two million of them all together, the purpose of which is to bring water to the surface of the skin. On the surface this water is vaporized and heat is in this manner withdrawn from the body. The glands aresweat glands and the liquid produced is sweat or perspiration. A sweat gland consists of a tiny coiled tube, the main body of which situated deep in the dermis. The tube straightens out finally and extends up through the epidermis. The tiny opening on the surface is a pore and is just barley visible to the naked eye. When you are working or playing hard, and heat production is increased, the sweat glands accelerate their production of perspiration. This is also true when the temperature is unusually high. The rate of production may then outstrip the rate of evaporation, particularly if humidity is high, since the rate of evaporation declines with the rise in humidity. Perspiration will then collect on the body in visible drops and we are conscious of sweating (p. 265, italics in orig.).
The temperature determines how many sweat glands a person has, in the same way that the amount of sunlight determines how much melanin is in the skin. People who live in hot, humid climates tend to have more sweat glands, and produce perspiration with a smaller concentration of salt, than people living in colder, drier climates.
The skin also acts like a chemical-processing plant for the entire body. When you are outside, the skin absorbs ultraviolet rays from the Sun, and then uses them to convert chemicals into vitamin D. This vitamin is very important to our body because it helps stimulate the absorption of calcium. Without calcium, our bones grow thin and brittle, eventually leading to diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia (skeletal diseases that weaken bones). In addition, the epidermis contains a special pigment called melanin, which is responsible for the variety of color in our skin. It also acts as a protection against ultraviolet light. The melanin absorbs ultraviolet light without harming itself, and acts as a protective covering over the area beneath it. Like vitamin D, melanin is formed by the exposure to sunlight, so people in tropical regions have more melanin to protect them from the harmful ultraviolet rays, while people in northern regions have little traces of melanin because the Sun is rarely out for long periods of time. But not all people are able to produce melanin in their bodies. Occasionally, individuals are born who are incapable of forming any melanin at all. Their skin and hair are pinkish-white and their eyes are pinkish-red, because the tiny blood vessels are visible in the iris of their eyes (where there are typically colors such as blue, green, hazel, and brown). A person with this condition is referred to as an albino, indicating that they lack pigmentation in their skin. Albinism is not limited just to humans, but also is found in other species of animals as well (e.g., the white rat, the white elephant, the white tiger, etc.).
Furthermore, the skin also helps protect the inside of the body. If you have ever been to an amusement park, you probably have seen the bumper cars that you can drive to bump into other cars. Collisions in those cars are perfectly safe because of the rubber rings that surround the cars. The skin is like those rubber rings in that it acts like a shock absorber when you fall, protecting all of your internal organs. If we didn’t have this “shock absorber,” it would be practically impossible to do physical activities without damaging internal organs or bruising easily.
It is impossible that evolution could have produced such an important and complex organ as the human skin. The many intricacies of its functions are evidence of a Creator. One writer remarked: “The skin is a miracle of evolutionary engineering: it waterproofs the body, blocks out and destroys harmful bacteria, regulates temperature, and continuously communicates with the brain” (McCutcheon, 1989, p. 113). Yes, the skin is a “miracle” all right—but not a miracle of evolution. And yes, the skin was “engineered”—but the engineer was God!


Asimov, Isaac (1963), The Human Body (New York: New American Library).
Gillen, Alan L., Frank J. Sherwin III, and Alan C. Knowles (1999), The Human Body: An Intelligent Design (St. Joseph, MO: Creation Research Society).
Gitt, Werner (1999), The Wonder of Man (Bielefeld, Germany: Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung E.V.).
McCutcheon, Marc (1989), The Compass in Your Nose (Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher).

Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Evolutionists are notorious for speaking authoritatively, decisively, and vehemently on the alleged “proof” of evolution. Yet, time and time again, through the years, evidence has forced evolutionists to recant their assertions, correct their premature conclusions, and alter the very claims that they formerly insisted proved their case and disproved God and the Bible account of creation. The arguments for evolution advanced during the infamous Scopes trial have been repudiated by evolutionists themselves. Indeed, from Darwin forward, evolutionary theory has manifested a precarious, century-plus-long history of modification, alteration, abandonment, correction, and endless speculation. From so-called “vestigial organs,” peppered moths, and Haeckel’s alleged embryonic recapitulation to Neanderthal, Java, Nebraska, and Piltdown man—all debunked decades ago. About the time their half-baked conjuring filters down to the school textbooks where their ideas are implanted into young minds as fact, the evolutionists already have changed their minds and are advocating alternate conclusions with the same certainty and fervor with which they advanced their now discredited views. And this process has been repeating itself for over a century!
There’s an old saying: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” An honest person with reasonable intelligence cannot be fooled forever. Sooner or later he will shake his head and conclude that what is touted as “science” is, in fact, superstition. What is asserted as “certain” is, in reality, merely speculation. And what is promoted as “fact” is actually simple bias and personal opinion. If, after 150 years of ongoing efforts by the scientific intelligentsia to validate the theory of evolution, the proof continues to go wanting, hasn’t the time come to abandon the notion as hopelessly, inherently, and irrevocably flawed? Hasn’t the time come to return to the only sane, plausible, scientifically harmonious explanation for the existence of the Universe and everything within it? “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 53:1). The fact remains that “[t]he heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1, NASB). “For He commanded and they were created” (Psalm 148:5). “Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3). “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Question & Answer: Homosexuality and Racism by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Question & Answer: Homosexuality and Racism

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Is it racist to oppose homosexuality?


One favorite ploy by those who wish to advance the homosexual agenda in America is to compare opposition to homosexuality with the discrimination of African Americans that has characterized some portions of the American population. If you oppose the legalization of homosexuality and favor a ban on same-sex marriage, you are “just like racists who oppressed blacks in the South.”
The Bible certainly teaches very clearly that the mistreatment of one’s fellow human beings is sinful, and that God makes no distinction between humans on the basis of skin color, ethnicity, or nationality (e.g., Acts 17:26; Romans 2:11,28-29; James 2:1ff.; 1 Peter 1:17). However, behavior is a different matter. Homosexuality, by definition, entails acts that a person performs as the result of the exercise of human choice.
Notice that one’s ethnicity has nothing to do with behavior or choice. If a person’s skin is light or dark, the decisions that he or she makes is not the inevitable result of that genetic factor. Behavior is determined by non-genetic factors—including past experiences, parental and peer influence, education, and culture. A Hispanic is not more or less likely to behave in a certain way simply because of his or her genetic makeup. One whose gene pool is Hispanic is not more or less likely to prefer, say, a tamale, than one whose genetic makeup is Caucasian. Such persons will possess preferences that have arisen from sources and circumstances other than their genetic background.
In stark contrast, however, sexual appetites/ preferences have nothing to do with genetic makeup. They are the result of environment, experience, culture, and other factors that can mold and shape individuals in their personal decision-making processes. The sexual inclinations and tendencies that a homosexual insists that he inherently “feels” are no different from the feelings and inclinations that a pedophile possesses in his sexual attraction to children, or that a murderer feels with regard to his violent tendencies. The “feelings” for all three are quite obviously real; but it is a mistake to assign those feelings to any underlying genetic cause. And it is biblically and morally unacceptable for the individual to act on such feelings. Here is the essential difference between ethnicity andhomosexuality. An African American cannot alter his skin color. But he can alter his behavior. And so can homosexuals.

Philistines in the Time of Abraham—Fallacy or Fact? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Philistines in the Time of Abraham—Fallacy or Fact?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Bible declares that long before King David fought the Philistine giant named Goliath in the valley of Elah (1 Samuel 17), Abraham and Isaac had occasional contact with a people known as the Philistines. In fact, seven of the eight times that the Philistines are mentioned in Genesis, they are discussed in connection with either Abraham’s visit with Abimelech, king of the Philistines (21:32,34), or with Isaac’s visit to the same city (Gerar) a few years later (26:1,8,14-15,18). For some time now, critics of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch have considered the mention of the Philistines—so early in human history—to be anachronistic (i.e., details from a later age inappropriately inserted into the patriarchal account). Supposedly, “Philistines…did not come into Palestine until after the time of Moses” (Gottwald, 1959, p. 104), and any mention of them before that time represents “an historical inaccuracy” (Frank, 1964, p. 323). Thus, as Millar Burrows concluded, the mention of Philistines in Genesis may be considered “a convenient and harmless anachronism,” which “is undoubtedly a mistake” (1941, p. 277).
As with most allegations brought against the Scriptures, those who claim that the Philistine nation was not around in Abraham’s day are basing their conclusion on at least one unprovable assumption—namely, that the Philistines living in the days of the patriarchs were a great nation, similar to the one living during the time of the United Kingdom. The evidence suggests, however, that this assumption simply is wrong. The Bible does not present the Philistines of Abraham’s day as the same mighty Philistine nation that would arise hundreds of years later. Abimelech, the king of Gerar, is portrayed as being intimidated by Abraham (cf. Genesis 21:25). Surely, had the Philistine people been a great nation in the time of the patriarchs, they would not have been afraid of one man (Abraham) and a few hundred servants (cf. Genesis 14:14). Furthermore, of the five great Philistine city-states that were so prominent throughout the period of the Judges and the United Kingdom (Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza—Joshua 13:3; 1 Samuel 6:17), none was mentioned. Rather, only a small village known as Gerar was named. To assume that the Bible presents the entire civilization of the Philistines as being present during Abraham’s day is to err. In reality, one only reads of a small Philistine kingdom.
The word “Philistine” was a rather generic term meaning “sea people.” No doubt, some of the Aegean Sea people made their way to Palestine long before a later migration took place—a migration that was considerably larger. In commenting on these Philistines, Larry Richards observed:
While there is general agreement that massive settlement of the coast of Canaan by sea peoples from Crete took place around 1200 B.C., there is no reason to suppose Philistine settlements did not exist long before this time. In Abram’s time as in the time of Moses a variety of peoples had settled in Canaan, including Hittites from the far north. Certainly the seagoing peoples who traded the Mediterranean had established colonies along the shores of the entire basin for centuries prior to Abraham’s time. There is no reason to suppose that Philistines, whose forefathers came from Crete, were not among them (1993, p. 40).
No archaeological evidence exists that denies various groups of “sea people” were in Canaan long before the arrival of the main body in the early twelfth century B.C. (see Unger, 1954, p. 91; Archer, 1964, p. 266; Harrison, 1963, p. 32). To assume that not a single group of Philistines lived in Palestine during the time of Abraham because archaeology has not documented them until about 1190 B.C. is to argue from negative evidence and is without substantial weight. In response to those who would deny the Philistines’ existence based upon their silence in the archeological world before this time, professor Kitchen stated: “Inscriptionally, we know so little about the Aegean peoples as compared with those of the rest of the Ancient Near East in the second millenniumB.C., that it is premature to deny outright the possible existence of Philistines in the Aegean area before 1200 B.C.” (1966, p. 80n). Likely, successive waves of sea peoples from the Aegean Sea migrated to Canaan, even as early as Abraham’s time, and continued coming until the massive movement in the twelfth century B.C. (Archer, 1970, p. 18).
Based on past experiences, it would seem that critics of the Bible’s inerrancy would refrain from making accusations when arguing from silence. For years, modernists and skeptics taught that the Hittite kingdom, which is mentioned over forty times in Scripture (Exodus 23:28; Joshua 1:4; et al.), was a figment of the Bible writers’ imaginations, since no evidence of their existence had been located. But those utterances vanished into thin air when, in 1906, the Hittite capital was discovered along with more than 10,000 clay tablets that contained the Hittites’ law system. Critics of the Bible’s claim of divine inspiration at one time also accused Luke of gross inaccuracy because he used the title politarchas to denote the city officials of Thessalonica (Acts 17:6,8), rather than the more common terms strateegoi (magistrates) and exousiais (authorities). To support their accusations, they simply pointed out that the term politarch was found nowhere else in all of Greek literature as an official title. Once again, these charges eventually were dropped, based on the fact that term politarchas has now been found in 32 inscriptions from the second century B.C. to the third century A.D. (Bruce, 1988, p. 324n), with at least five of these inscriptions being from Thessalonica—the very city about which Luke wrote in Acts 17 (Robertson, 1997).
Although critics accuse biblical writers of revealing erroneous information, their claims continue to evaporate with the passing of time and the compilation of evidence.
Archer, Gleason (1964), A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Archer, Gleason L. (1970), “Old Testament History and Recent Archaeology from Abraham to Moses,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 127:3-25, January.
Bruce, F.F. (1988), The Book of Acts (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), revised edition.
Burrows, Millar (1941), What Mean These Stones? (New Haven, CT: American Schools of Oriental Research).
Frank, H.T. (1964), An Archaeological Companion to the Bible (London: SCM Press).
Gottwald, Norman (1959), A Light to the Nations (New York: Harper and Row).
Harrison, R.K. (1963), The Archaeology of the Old Testament (New York: Harper & Row).
Kitchen, Kenneth (1966), Ancient Orient and Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Inter-Varsity Press).
Richards, Larry (1993), 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell).
Robertson, A.T. (1997), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Unger, Merrill (1954), Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

From Jim McGuiggan... Butcher boys with untidy noses

Butcher boys with untidy noses

The atheist, Friedrich Nietzsche, had little love for people—real people I mean, actual persons. He had a vision of the ideal man but the ideal man didn’t exist so what he was passionate about was an abstraction, nothing real.

The short story writer, O’Henry introduced us to Joe and Dabster, fervent admirers of Daisy. Joe owned a tiny shop and begged Daisy to marry him; Dabster was brilliant, knew a jillion facts, ranging from the shortest verse in the Bible to how many pounds of shingle nails you’d need to secure 256 shingles to the square yard on a split level roof and from there, he could move on to the intricacies of the philosopher Hegel when he was writing while suffering a heartburn attack. To impress her, Dabster took Daisy to the roof of the skyscraper—a new experience for her—and showed her the “bipeds” below, moving like little black ants, and the cars, like toys on a living room floor.

That’s how it started and it’s how Dabster continued, letting her see how tiny and inconsequential humans are.
But Daisy took one look down from such a height and didn’t like the universal view of things. It made people look like fleas, she said, and—what mattered most of all— “One of them we saw might have been Joe.” The philosopher smiled indulgently and went on to fill her mind with facts about distances, sizes, how long it takes light from XYZ-14 galaxy to reach us, the unbearable heat and light of those nightly stars and why it is that humans are so much fungus clinging to the planetary crust. On and on he went, until poor ignorant Daisy cried out in anger, “You’re lyin’. You’re trying to scare me. And you have; I want to go down!”

The intellectual giant was filled with book-learned information but he was out for lunch when they were giving out wisdom and sensitivity. In all his use of truth, in all his talk about the facts of nature and its vastness he was brainy but heartless and (theologically ignorant to boot).

When they got down, the philosopher lost her at the skyscraper’s revolving door and Joe, trapped in his tiny shop, between his chewing gum, packs of cigarettes and piles of newspapers, was startled when his little door burst open, and Daisy, laughing and crying sent stuff flying as she bundled into his arms. “Oh, Joe, I’ve been up on the skyscraper. Ain’t it cozy and warm and homelike in here! I’m ready for you, Joe, whenever you want me.” Ain’t love grand?

Dabster was neither the first nor the last to make humans look small and insignificant. American historian of some years ago, Harry Elmer Barnes, is credited with saying: “Astronomically speaking, man is almost totally negligible.” Philosopher George Albert Coe responded: “Astronomically speaking, man—is the astronomer!”

Drama critic James Agate probably speaks for most of us when he says, “Without man…there can be no beauty, and the Milky Way becomes less than a tenantless back-yard. For myself, I place the Himalayas beneath the feet of the little janitor who sweeps my room, and rate the Pacific Ocean less than my butcher boy with the untidy nose.”

All the “stuff” in creation means nothing if there’s no one to share it with. As the song Islands in the Stream would have it, “everything is nothin’ when you’ve got no one.” Plato discussed living forever only in the context of Socrates’ death. Who’d want to live forever without there being someone to love and be loved by?

In the end, it’s people that matter and it’s people that give “stuff” their value. So while people have the capacity to irritate each other (and more) they contribute to the “worthwhileness” of living. And even the grubbiest of street urchins is more wondrous than the blazing sun.

Which leads me to say that passing around pictures and facts and figures about the immensity of the universe to show that humans are a mere speck, hardly worth talking about, misses not only the point of life and scripture, it burdens the hearts of many who already feel like plastic knives and forks.
There’s nothing to this “logic of size” (WH Fitchett’s nice phrase). Try telling parents that their tiny newborn baby is nothing compared with the Rockies or the Milky Way because its tiny and they're big.

[Just recently I was sent (again) a series of illustrations of the comparative size of the earth to the sun and the sun to the galaxy and the galaxy to...you get the picture. The conclusion drawn was that humans are pathetically miniscule and their troubles are "small stuff" that they aren't to sweat. Imagine doing that with, say, Mount Everest, a massive skyscraper, a giant bulldozer and a tiny baby. Now, make the argument "from size". Pathetic!]

The scriptures never compare humans with the size of the immense universe. David was surely gobsmacked by the immensity of the heavens but what amazed him (as he alluded to Genesis 1) was that God made humans lord of it all (see Psalm 8 for yourself). Isaiah 40 speaks of the vastness of the universe but it doesn’t compare humans with the size of the universe—it aims to describe God and set him over against the gods that are nothing and do nothing and to show why Israel shouldn't worry about the nations that oppose him.

You want to know what God thinks of sinful humans (even his enemies)? Look at Jesus, the cross and the glory to which he is bringing humans in and through Jesus.

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

From Roy Davison... “They did not receive the love of the truth”


“They did not receive the love of the truth”

This is said of those who perish: “They did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). How sad! They could have been saved if they had chosen to love the truth!
Someone who does not like the truth, cannot love the Source of truth.
God is the God of truth.
“The truth of the LORD endures for ever!” (Psalm 117:2). “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (Psalm 31:5). How can someone who does not like the truth, love the God of truth?
Jesus is the truth.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). How can someone who does not like the truth, love the Son of God? “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed” (1 Corinthians 16:22).
When Pilate stood before Christ and asked about His kingdom, Jesus explained: “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate responded, “What is truth?” (John 18:37, 38).
They who are “of the truth” listen to the truth because they love the truth.
God’s word is the truth.
“The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160).
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
“The word of truth” is the gospel of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13). “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18). How can someone who does not like the truth, value the word of God?
Someone who does not like the truth, prefers something false.
The unrighteous suppress the truth.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). “Men of corrupt minds” “resist the truth” (2 Timothy 3:8).
Some pretend that truth does not exist.
In our schizophrenic ‘post-modern’ age, many deny that truth can be known or even that truth exists. (Schizophrenic, because they are absolutely sure that they cannot be sure about anything!)
Jesus said something different: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
People deny the truth because they want to escape from the truth. They will be lost unless they repent. Paul tells us to correct “those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25). God wants everyone “to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
Some want to “adapt” the gospel to the “post-modern age.” The gospel does not need to be adapted, it just needs to be preached. Post-modernists are dead wrong. They need to repent and accept the truth.
All who do not love the truth will be lost.
Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, explains that people perish when they do not love the truth.
At Thessalonica Christians were being persecuted. Paul assures them that it is “a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).
Paul affirms that God’s eternal punishment of “those who do not know God” and of “those who do not obey the gospel” “is a righteous thing.”
Paul then discusses “the mystery of lawlessness” and why many are deceived by “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “the lawless one” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8).
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10).
“Love of the truth” is essential. All who reject the truth will be lost.
Truth is exclusive. The sum of two plus two is four. No other answer is correct. The number of incorrect answers is unlimited. When someone rejects the truth, the only alternative is to accept something false.
Because they do not love the truth, “God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12 ESV). Love “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).
People refuse to believe the truth because they enjoy unrighteousness. They reject the truth because they prefer falsehood. “A strong delusion” sent by God enables them to believe a lie that leads to condemnation.
Sometimes people who do not love God like to listen to God’s word with no intention of obeying it. God told Ezekiel: “So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them” (Ezekiel 33:31, 32).
They listened to Ezekiel for entertainment. It helped them pretend that they loved God.
False teaching tests our love for the truth.
Satan empowers the lawless one to work “signs, and lying wonders” to deceive those who do not love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10).
God allows this as a test to reveal who really loves Him. "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ - which you have not known - ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
Someone who loves the truth, relies on God’s word for instruction: “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:19, 20). Peter gives the same charge: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).
Someone who loves God does not listen to false teachers. He knows they are false, he knows “there is no light in them” because their words contradict the word of God: they do not “speak according to this word,” they do not “speak as the oracles of God.”
Jesus, comparing Himself to a shepherd, explains: “the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:4, 5).
Paul warns: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
Love for the truth leads to salvation.
The saved believe and obey the truth.
We are chosen for salvation “through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). “In obeying the truth” our souls are purified (1 Peter 1:22).
The church of Christ is the pillar of the truth.
I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
They who love the truth, proclaim the truth.
Some religious leaders try to please men rather than God. They are entertainers rather than sound preachers of the truth.
Paul warned: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3, 4).
Timothy was given a solemn charge: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
I once heard Marshall Keeble explain: “‘In season and out of season’ means you preach it if they like it, and you preach it if they don’t!”
A preacher’s job is to tell people what God says, to “preach the word.” God told Ezekiel: “I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD’” (Ezekiel 3:4); “You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse” (Ezekiel 2:7).
The truth is powerful!
“The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The power is in the word, not in the eloquence of man. God’s word convicts men of sin, and changes lives when heard by people who love God and the truth.
Many years ago I reprimanded a former classmate because in a recorded sermon he had not quoted or alluded to a single scripture! He explained that he was speaking to unbelievers so did not think they would be interested in what the Bible said!
Paul said something different: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Once when visiting relatives in Abilene, Texas, they invited us to a special service on the ACU campus. Many congregations had dismissed Sunday-evening service so members could attend. Some 10,000 were assembled to hear a popular speaker.
He confided that on a Dallas golf course the day before, when a friend asked what he was going to speak about in Abilene, he told him that he did not know yet.
During his 45-minute discourse, he quoted a total of eight words of Scripture, which he misapplied. What was his theme? He told us how great the congregation was for which he preached.
What a wasted opportunity! If someone like Marshall Keeble had spoken, someone who preached the gospel powerfully and without compromise, “if they like it or if they don’t.” No doubt among 10,000, some would not have liked it. But lovers of truth would have been moved by the power of the gospel to give or rededicate their lives to God.
Do we love the truth?
Much depends upon it: our eternal destiny in heaven or hell. Let us love the truth, learn the truth, believe the truth and obey the truth so we can be saved by the God of truth through His Son who is the way, the truth and the life. 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

From Gary.... Bible Reading January 6

Bible Reading   

January 6

The World English Bible

Jan. 6
Genesis 6

Gen 6:1 It happened, when men began to multiply on the surface of the ground, and daughters were born to them,
Gen 6:2 that God's sons saw that men's daughters were beautiful, and they took for themselves wives of all that they chose.
Gen 6:3 Yahweh said, "My Spirit will not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; yet will his days be one hundred twenty years."
Gen 6:4 The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when God's sons came in to men's daughters. They bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Gen 6:5 Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Gen 6:6 Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart.
Gen 6:7 Yahweh said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them."
Gen 6:8 But Noah found favor in Yahweh's eyes.
Gen 6:9 This is the history of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. Noah walked with God.
Gen 6:10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Gen 6:11 The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
Gen 6:12 God saw the earth, and saw that it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
Gen 6:13 God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Gen 6:14 Make a ship of gopher wood. You shall make rooms in the ship, and shall seal it inside and outside with pitch.
Gen 6:15 This is how you shall make it. The length of the ship will be three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.
Gen 6:16 You shall make a roof in the ship, and you shall finish it to a cubit upward. You shall set the door of the ship in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third levels.
Gen 6:17 I, even I, do bring the flood of waters on this earth, to destroy all flesh having the breath of life from under the sky. Everything that is in the earth will die.
Gen 6:18 But I will establish my covenant with you. You shall come into the ship, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.
Gen 6:19 Of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ship, to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female.
Gen 6:20 Of the birds after their kind, of the livestock after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come to you, to keep them alive.
Gen 6:21 Take with you of all food that is eaten, and gather it to yourself; and it will be for food for you, and for them."

Gen 6:22 Thus Noah did. According to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Jan. 5,6
Matthew 3

Mat 3:1 In those days, John the Baptizer came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
Mat 3:2 "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"
Mat 3:3 For this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight."
Mat 3:4 Now John himself wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
Mat 3:5 Then people from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him.
Mat 3:6 They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, "You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Mat 3:8 Therefore bring forth fruit worthy of repentance!
Mat 3:9 Don't think to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Mat 3:10 "Even now the axe lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn't bring forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
Mat 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire."
Mat 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.
Mat 3:14 But John would have hindered him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?"
Mat 3:15 But Jesus, answering, said to him, "Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed him.
Mat 3:16 Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him.
Mat 3:17 Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."