"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Baptism Of Jesus (3:13-17) INTRODUCTION 1. The baptism of Jesus by John served a significant role in both of their ministries... a. It came at the height of John's ministry, after which his began to decline b. It served as the beginning of Jesus' ministry, which soon overtook the ministry of John 2. The baptism of Jesus naturally raises some questions... a. Why was He baptized? b. Does it suggest an explanation of the purpose for Christian baptism? [In this study we shall endeavor to answer these questions, first by reviewing the historical record concerning Jesus' baptism...] I. THE BAPTISM OF JESUS A. JESUS COMES TO JOHN... 1. From Galilee to the Jordan River - Mt 3:13a a. Jesus had been living in Nazareth, a city of Galilee - Mt 2:23 b. John had been baptizing in the Jordan River, where there was much water - Mt 3:5-6; Jn 3:23 2. To be baptized by John - Mt 3:13b B. JOHN SEEKS TO PREVENT JESUS... 1. John tried to prevent Jesus from being baptized - Mt 3:14a 2. He explains why: "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to Me?" - Mt 3:14b a. There is a sense of shock in John's words b. While John did not fully comprehend who Jesus was until later (cf. Jn 1:29-33), he evidently knew enough that he was perplexed C. JESUS PERSUADES JOHN... 1. Jesus convinces John to permit His baptism - Mt 3:15a 2. As Jesus explains why: "It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." 3. And so Jesus is baptized by John - Mt 3:15b D. THE SPIRIT AND THE FATHER ADD THEIR TESTIMONY... 1. The heavens open, and the Spirit of God descends like a dove (in bodily form, Lk 3:22) and lights upon Jesus - Mt 3:16 2. A voice from heaven proclaims: a. "This is My beloved Son" b. "In whom I am well pleased" [Without question, the baptism of Jesus was a significant event! It naturally raises several questions which I will try to answer...] II. QUESTIONS RELATED TO THE BAPTISM OF JESUS A. WHY WAS JESUS BAPTIZED? 1. Clearly not for the same reason other people were being baptized by John a. Theirs was a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins - cf. Mk 1:4 b. They were confessing their sins - cf. Mk 1:5; Mt 3:6 -- Jesus was without sin - He 4:15 2. Jesus said it was "to fulfill all righteousness" - Mt 3:15 a. It was God's counsel that people be baptized of John - cf. Lk 7:29-30 b. Jesus was willing to set the right example by doing the Father's will, something He delighted to do - Ps 40:7-8; Jn 4:34; 8:29 3. It also served to introduce Him to John and Israel a. John had been proclaiming that He was coming - Mt 3:11 b. John had been told that the Spirit coming upon Jesus would be a sign - Jn 1:29-34 B. DOES JESUS' BAPTISM EXPLAIN THE PURPOSE OF CHRISTIAN BAPTISM? 1. Many refer to Jesus' baptism to explain the purpose of Christian baptism a. That our baptism has nothing to do with the remission of sins b. That our baptism is but a public profession of one's faith c. That our baptism is to publicly identify our relation to Christ, just as His baptism publicly introduced Him to Israel 2. However, there is no Biblical connection made between Jesus' baptism and our own a. Christian baptism is for the remission of sins - Ac 2:38; 22:16 b. Christian baptism is a union with Christ in His death - Ro 6:3-7 c. Christian baptism was often administered in relative privacy - Ac 8:35-38; 16:25-34 -- No Biblical writer suggests that we are baptized for the same reason Jesus was! C. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SPIRIT DESCENDING AND THE FATHER'S VOICE? 1. They certainly bear testimony as to who Jesus is a. As the Spirit would do later, via the works Jesus did - Mt 12:28 b. As the Father would do later, on another occasion - Mt 17:5 2. They also bear testimony to the nature of the Godhead a. I.e., three distinct persons in One God b. Though One in substance, there is a distinction to be made between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - cf. Mt 28:19 CONCLUSION 1. With the baptism of Jesus... a. He was formally introduced to John, and by him to Israel - Jn 1: 29-34 b. The Father and the Spirit audibly and visually confirmed Him as the Son c. Jesus demonstrated His desire to "fulfill all righteousness" 2. The baptism of Jesus is certainly significant to Christians... a. Not we were baptized for the same reason as He b. But certainly in confirming that He was the Messiah c. And displaying the attitude that should be true of all His disciples ("I have come to do my Father's will...") Jesus did not "need" baptism because He was without sin, but was baptized anyway because it was the Father's will for man at that time. Should we who are sinners dare hesitate to do the Father's will regarding baptism today? - Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38
Hezekiah Bulla: More Evidence for Bible Inspiration
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Outspoken unbelievers have attacked the Bible for years. They accuse it of being filled with errors and contradictions. For those who have listened to their accusations, it may come as a surprise to find out that the Bible is the most historically accurate book in the world. There has never been a single legitimate mistake found in its pages. To those who are familiar with the field of archaeology, the Bible’s accuracy comes as no surprise. In fact, over the centuries, thousands of discoveries have come to light that corroborate biblical stories and statements.
An exciting new discovery adds further weight to the case for the Bible’s accuracy and inspiration. In the Old Testament, we read about a king named Hezekiah. Second Kings 18:1 says that Hezekiah was “the son of Ahaz, king of Judah.” On December 2, 2015, a press release from Hebrew University in Jerusalem explained that a small clay seal was discovered near the Temple mount. The text on the seal reads, “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah” (Smith, 2015). This seal is called a bulla (bullae is the plural form). Clay bullae like this were used to seal documents. There are other such seals, but this one is the first of an Israelite or Judean king that has been discovered by professional archaeologists in situ (in the location where it was left) (Smith). Dr. Eilat Mazer and her team unearthed the bulla in a garbage heap, along with more than 30 other bullae.
The fact that the Bible is the inspired Word of God has long been a settled question (Butt, 2007). Finds like this one, however, add increasing weight to the ever growing mound of evidence that confirms the divine origin of the glorious book we call the Bible.
ReferencesButt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Behold%20the%20Word%20of%20God.pdf.
Smith, Dov (2015), “First Seal Impression of an Israelite or Judean King Ever Exposed in Situ in a Scientific Archaeological Excavation,” PhysOrg, http://phys.org/news/2015-12-israelite-judean-king-exposed-situ.html.
Do Christians Need “Additional Scripture”?
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
For many people who claim to be Christians, the Bible is not enough. Supposedly, it is not sufficient revelation. It does not give us enough information. These individuals seek additional works of inspiration. Either they want direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, or they want some kind of additional inspired work from God. In a recent Bible study with two gentlemen who claimed to believe in the divine inspiration of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, one of the men made the statement: “God wanted us to have…additional Scripture.” That is, allegedly God wanted us to have more than just the Bible. This gentleman then followed up this assertion by saying that it is “unfair to just choose one.”
Is it really “unfair” to believe only the Bible is inspired? Is it inappropriate to tell individuals who advocate additional Scripture that the Bible is the only inspired, written revelation for man? Does God really want us to have “additional Scripture”?
Almighty God has the power and authority to communicate with man in whatever way and however often He chooses. But these questions must be answered in light of what God said He did, and not what man might surmise God could do. A thorough study of the New Testament reveals that what God said He did (through His inspired writers—2 Peter 1:20-21) was give mankind (some 1,900 years ago) all the revelation he needed to live a faithful Christian life.
The Bible indicates that all truth necessary for salvation was revealed during the lifetime of the apostles. The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He promised His apostles that after His departure from them, the Spirit would come and guide them “into all truth” (John 16:13, emp. added), teaching them “all things,” and bringing to their remembrance “all things” that Jesus taught them (John 14:26, emp. added). After His crucifixion and resurrection (but before He ascended into heaven), Jesus then commanded these same disciples to “make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20, emp. added). The fact is, “the faith…was once for all delivered to the saints” in the first century (Jude 3, emp. added), so that since that time Christians have had “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3, emp. added). Since then, “the man of God” has been “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, emp. added).
Indeed, hearing God’s will in the 21st century is as easy as picking up the providentially preserved Bible and reading what Jesus’ apostles and prophets recorded for our benefit (cf. Ephesians 3:1-5). No modern-day messages, dreams, visions, or “additional Scripture” are needed. Christians should be content with the powerful “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12) and be warned to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9).
Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance--Proof of Evolution?
|by||Bert Thompson, Ph.D.|
On November 24, 1859, Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species, was published. As a result, the concept of organic evolution was popularized. The science of genetics, of course, was completely unknown at that time, and would not come into its own until approximately forty-one years later. Since around 1900, evolutionists have advocated “neo-Darwinism,” as opposed to “classical Darwinism.” In classical Darwinian thought, natural selection alone served as the mechanism of evolution. In neo-Darwinian thought, natural selection and genetic mutations work together as evolution’s mechanism.
Genetics has played an increasingly important role in evolution, especially in regard to mutations that alter the genetic code within each organism. That code is expressed biochemically in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Mutations are “errors” in DNA replication (Ayala, 1978, pp. 56-69). It is those errors that cause the genetic change necessary for evolution to occur. In 1957, George Gaylord Simpson wrote: “Mutations are the ultimate raw materials for evolution” (1957, p. 430). Twenty-six years later, nothing had changed when Douglas J. Futuyma remarked:
By far the most important way in which chance influences evolution is the process of mutation. Mutation is, ultimately, the source of new genetic variations, and without genetic variation there cannot be genetic change. Mutation is therefore necessary for evolution (1983, p. 136).
Mutations can occur in several different ways, and can affect individual genes or entire chromosomes (see Futuyma, 1983, p. 136). Further, mutations can be placed, theoretically, into at least three categories: (a) bad; (b) neutral; and (c) good.
Some mutations, therefore, can have profound effects. They can alter the structure of a critical protein so much that the organism becomes severely distorted and may not survive. Other mutations may cause changes in the protein that do not affect its function at all. Such mutations are adaptively neutral—they are neither better nor worse than the original form of the gene. Still other mutations are decidedly advantageous (Futuyma, 1983, p. 136).
Neither bad nor neutral mutations aid evolution, since the bad ones produce effects that are deleterious (and often lethal), and the neutral ones neither help nor hurt an organism. Neo-Darwinian evolution relies entirely on good mutations, since they not only alter the genetic material, but are, to use Futuyma’s words, “decidedly advantageous.” Evolutionary progress, then, is dependent upon nature “selecting” the good mutations, resulting in genetic change that ultimately produces new organisms.
BACTERIA AND RESISTANCE TO ANTIBIOTICS
Today, however, there is compelling evidence that we are in danger of losing our battle against certain pathogens. Bacteria sometimes develop resistance to even powerful antibiotics. As a result, the number of antibiotics that can be used against certain diseases is dwindling rapidly. Both scientific and popular publications have addressed the seriousness of this issue. The cover story of the March 28, 1994 issue of Newsweek was titled, “Antibiotics: The End of Miracle Drugs?” (Begley, 1994). Articles in Scientific American (Beardsley, 1994), Science (Travis, 1994; Davies, 1994), Discover (Caldwell, 1994), and Natural History (Smith, 1994), have all called attention to the impact on our lives that bacterial resistance to antibiotics is causing.
The phenomenon of bacterial drug resistance was first documented around 1952 (see Lederberg and Lederberg, 1952). Interest in the phenomenon has increased as fewer antibiotics are effective against pathogens, and as deaths from bacterial infections increase. Scientific interest in this problem is both pragmatic and academic. In the pragmatic sense, those working in medical fields (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, researchers, etc.) are interested because lives are at stake. In an academic sense, this issue is of importance to evolutionists because they believe the mutations in bacteria responsible for drug resistance are, from the standpoint of the bacterial population, “good,” and thus offer significant proof of evolution. Their point is that the bacteria have adapted so as to “live to fight another day”—an example of “decidedly advantageous” mutations. Evolutionist Colin Patterson of Great Britain has commented: “The development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, and also of insects resistant to DDT and a host of other recently discovered insecticides, are genuine evolutionary changes (1978, p. 85, emp. added). But are these mutations sufficient to explain long-term, large-scale evolution (macroevolution)?
AN ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATION
|GERM WARFARE: During conjugation, one bacterial cell (A) can transfer any tiny DNA circle (plasmid) to another cell (B). This act can occur even between cells of different species. The transfer gives bacterium B a resistance to a drug that formerly was not present in its own DNA. In this example, the plasmid contains a gene (shown in red) to manufacture an enzyme that destroys the drug’s ability to interfere with bacterial cell division (as in the case of penicillin).|
Transformation and transduction occur extremely infrequently, but this rarity can be offset somewhat by the enormous population sizes that bacteria can achieve, especially under laboratory conditions. By those three methods bacteria can acquire DNA that alters their survival.... For example, DNA transposition can result in reduced permeability of the cell wall to certain substances, sometimes providing an increased resistance to antibiotics (1993, p. 404).The issue is not whether bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics through alterations in their genetic material. They do. The issue is whether or not such resistance helps the evolutionists’ case. We suggest that it does not, for the following reasons.
First, the mutations responsible for antibiotic resistance in bacteria do not arise as a result of the “need” of the organisms. Futumya has noted: “...the adaptive ‘needs’ of the species do not increase the likelihood that an adaptive mutation will occur; mutations are not directed toward the adaptive needs of the moment.... Mutations have causes, but the species’ need to adapt isn’t one of them” (1983, pp. 137,138). What does this mean? Simply put, bacteria did not “mutate” after being exposed to antibiotics; the mutations conferring the resistance were present in the bacterial population even prior to the discovery or use of the antibiotics. The Lederbergs’ experiments in 1952 on streptomycin-resistant bacteria showed that bacteria which had never been exposed to the antibiotic already possessed the mutations responsible for the resistance. Malcolm Bowden has observed: “What is interesting is that bacterial cultures from bodies frozen 140 years ago were found to be resistant to antibiotics that were developed 100 years later. Thus the specific chemical needed for resistance was inherent in the bacteria” (1991, p. 56). These bacteria did not mutate to become resistant to antibiotics. Furthermore, the non-resistant varieties did not become resistant due to mutations.
Second, while pre-existing mutations may confer antibiotic resistance, such mutations may also decrease an organism’s viability. For example, “the surviving strains are usually less virulent, and have a reduced metabolism and so grow more slowly. This is hardly a recommendation for ‘improving the species by competition’ (i.e., survival of the fittest)” (Bowden, 1991, p. 56). Just because a mutation provides an organism with a certain trait does not mean that the organism as a whole has been helped. For example, in the disease known as sickle-cell anemia (caused by a mutation), people who are “carriers” of the disease do not die from it and are resistant to malaria, which at first would seem to be an excellent example of a good mutation. However, that is not the entire story. While resistant to malaria, these people do not possess the stamina of, and do not live as long as, their non-carrier counterparts. Bacteria may be resistant to a certain antibiotic, but that resistance comes at a price. Thus, in the grand scheme of things, acquiring resistance does not lead necessarily to new species or types of organisms.
Third, regardless of how bacteria acquired their antibiotic resistance (i.e., by mutation, conjugation, or by transposition), they are still exactly the same bacteria after receiving that trait as they were before receiving it. The “evolution” is not vertical macroevolution but horizontal microevolution (i.e., adaptation). In other words, these bacteria “...are still the same bacteria and of the same type, being only a variety that differs from the normal in its resistance to the antibiotic. No new ‘species’ have been produced” (Bowden, 1991, p. 56). In commenting on the changing, or sharing, of genetic material, ReMine has suggested: “It has not allowed bacteria to arbitrarily swap major innovations such as the use of chlorophyll or flagella. The major features of microorganisms fall into well-defined groups that seem to have a nested pattern like the rest of life” (1993, p. 404).
Microbiologists have studied extensively two genera of bacteria in their attempts to understand antibiotic resistance: Escherichia and Salmonella. In speaking about Escherichia in an evolutionary context, France’s renowned zoologist, Pierre-Paul Grassé, observed:
...bacteria, despite their great production of intraspecific varieties, exhibit a great fidelity to their species. The bacillus Escherichia coli, whose mutants have been studied very carefully, is the best example. The reader will agree that it is surprising, to say the least, to want to prove evolution and to discover its mechanisms and then to choose as a material for this study a being which practically stabilized a billion years ago (1977, p. 87).Although E. coli allegedly has undergone a billion years’ worth of mutations, it still has remained “stabilized” in its “nested pattern.” While mutations and DNA transposition have caused change within the bacterial population, those changes have occurred within narrow limits. No long-term, large-scale evolution has occurred.
Beardsley, Tim (1994), “La Ronde,” Scientific American, 270:26,29, June.
Begley, Sharon (1994), “The End of Antibiotics,” Newsweek, 123:47-51, March 28.
Bowden, M. (1991), Science vs. Evolution (Bromley, Kent, England: Sovereign Publications).
Caldwell, Mark (1994), “Prokaryotes at the Gate,” Discover, 15:45-50, August.
Davies, Julian (1994), “Inactivation of Antibiotics and the Dissemination of Resistance Genes,” Science, 264:375-382, April 15.
Futuyma, Douglas J. (1983), Science on Trial (New York: Pantheon Books).
Grass‚, Pierre-Paul (1977), The Evolution of Living Organisms (New York: Academic Press).
Lederberg, J. and E.M. Lederberg (1952), Journal of Bacteriology, 63:399.
Patterson, Colin (1978), Evolution (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).
ReMine, Walter J. (1993), The Biotic Message (St. Paul, MN: St. Paul Science).
Simpson, George Gaylord, C.S. Pittendrigh, and L.H. Tiffany (1957), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World).
Smith, John Maynard (1994), “Breaking the Antibiotic Bank,” Natural History, 103:39-40, June.
Travis, John (1994), “Reviving the Antibiotic Miracle?,” Science, 264:360-362, April 15.
Destruction of Marriage Equals Destruction of America
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Since the God of the Bible exists (a fact that can be proven—see Flew and Warren, 1977), then the foundational building block of human civilization is the family as God designed it. He created one man for one woman for life (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1ff.). All deviations from that fundamental norm (e.g., polygamy, bigamy, and homosexuality) contribute to the breakdown of the ethical fabric of society. On the Day of Judgment, homosexuality and same-sex marriage surely will be pinpointed as one of the foremost culprits responsible for the dissolution of moral cohesion at this moment in American history. The militancy, arrogance, and unmitigated defiance that homosexual activists continue to manifest is astounding—and only underscores the absolute essentiality of those who embrace traditional American (i.e., Christian) values to rise up and oppose their efforts.
Instances of the insane and suicidal determination to destroy society’s moral underpinnings are occurring with increasing frequency. One recent example involves a lesbian couple from Rhode Island. Though the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, a law remains on the books there that prevents issuance of a license to out-of-state couples if their home state would refuse to recognize their marriage. The Rhode Island couple filed suit in Massachusetts in an effort to gain recognition of their “marriage” in Massachusetts which, in turn, they hope will enable them to gain recognition in their home state. The superior court has now ruled in favor of the couple (Cote-Whitacre v..., 2006).
Similar pressure to conform to the politically correct agenda is seen in the widespread capitulation of America’s corporate community to threats, coercion, and intimidation by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender activists. Though corporations have been targeted for many years, homosexual forces are stepping up their efforts to force corporations to include “sexual orientation” in their non-discrimination policies. To be “gay friendly” is defined as supporting transgender workers, offering “inclusive” health insurance and other benefits, requiring diversity training for employees, and spending advertising money with GLBT organizations (Unruh, 2006). In other words, force everyone to endorse (not merely tolerate) the homosexual lifestyle. Bully employees into silence by stifling all free speech that questions the morality of homosexuality.
The success of the gay rights community along this line is alarming and heart-breaking. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest national homosexual political organization, reports an unprecedented 138 major U.S. corporations as having earned a top rating of 100% in their accommodation of alternative sexual lifestyles (“America’s Pro-Homosexual Giants...,” 2006). Some corporations quietly acquiesce. Others seem to jump on board the homosexual bandwagon with vigorous militancy. For example, Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, has asserted its enthusiastic support of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender movement by initiating permission to join the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, as well as sponsoring the LGBT Diversity Week at a state university (“Wal-Mart Asks for...,” 2006; “Boise State...,” 2006). Likewise, Ford Motor Company is pursuing the same flagrant conduct (“Boycott...,” 2006). So are Walgreens (Sharp, 2005), Starbucks (Kleppinger, 2005), and many others. With the intense pressure to submit to political correctness, it is surprising that some major corporations are thus far resisting the intimidation by remaining unwilling to sign onto the homosexual agenda, including Reebok, Northwest Airlines, The Men’s Wearhouse, J.C. Penney, Nissan, Gallup, Kroger, Cooper Tire, Circuit City, Radio Shack, and Toys “R” Us (Unruh, 2006).
What is the ultimate outcome of this surrealistic inundation of America by outright paganism and moral depravity? What inevitably must happen to any country or society that enshrines morally deviant behavior by undermining the biblical definition of marriage? The social stability of that nation is placed in dire jeopardy. Its demise is inevitable (see Miller, 2005). Indeed, in 1848, the Supreme Court of South Carolina articulated the sentiment of the Founders and early Americans regarding what would happen to America if a sizeable portion of its citizenry ever abandoned Christian morality:
What constitutes the standard of good morals? Is it not Christianity? There certainly is none other. Say that cannot be appealed to and...what would be good morals? The day of moral virtue in which we live would, in an instant, if that standard were abolished, lapse into the dark and murky night of pagan immorality (City Council of Charleston..., emp. added).The nation is headed swiftly in that direction. The destruction of marriage will inevitably result in the destruction of the nation.
“Boise State University Recognizes LGBT Diversity Week with Series of Events” (2006), Boise State Office of Communications and Marketing News Release, September 25, [On-line], URL: http://news.boisestate.edu/newsrelease/092006/0925gaydiversity.shtml.
“BoycottFord.com” (2006), American Family Association, [On-line], URL: http://www.boycottford.com/.
City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin (1848), 2 Strob. L. 508 (S. C. 1848).
Cote-Whitacre v. Department of Public Health (2006), Commonwealth of Massachusetts Superior Court, 446 Mass. 350,352, No. 04-2656, [On-line], URL: http://www.glad.org/marriage/Cote-Whitacre/9_29_06.pdf.
Flew, Antony G.N. and Thomas B. Warren (1977), Warren-Flew Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).
Kleppinger, Meghan (2005), Starbucks: A Habit Easily Broken,” WorldNetDaily, August 25, [On-line], URL: http://states.cwfa.org/articledisplay.asp?id=8788&department=FIELD&categoryid= nation.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Is America’s Iniquity Full?” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/305.
Sharp, Randy (2005), “Walgreens’ Wayward Wisdom—Supporting Gay Games,” Agape Press, October 21, [On-line], URL: http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/10/afa/212005gst.asp.
Unruh, Bob (2006), “Corporate America Gets ‘Gay’-Friendlier,” WorldNetDaily, September 20, [On-line], URL: http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52060.
“Wal-Mart Asks for, and Receives, Permission to Join Homosexual Marriage Group” (2006), American Family Association, [On-line], URL: http://www.afa.net/Petitions/IssueDetail.asp?id=210.
Two “Contradictions” Solved By Remembering Two Simple Rulesby Eric Lyons, M.Min.
On a regular basis, atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and Bible critics write our offices at Apologetics Press. Some of the feedback we receive is simply to inform us how naïve Christians are for believing in God, Jesus, and the Bible, or how ignorant creationists are for disbelieving in macro-evolution. We also receive numerous questions from these non-believers. (Unfortunately, due to the volume of inquiries we receive, we are unable to answer all of them.) Recently, one Bible critic sent the following note:
You say the Bible does not contradict itself but I have found several contradictions in the Bible. For example, in John 10:30 Jesus says that he and his father are one then in John 14:28 he says his father is greater than he. Did he change his mind?Consider how easily these questions can be answered simply by remembering two basic rules of interpretation.
So what were Jesus’ last words? Well Matthew, Luke and John seem to have all heard something different. In Matthew 27:46,50 Jesus said my god my god why has thou forsaken me then died but in Luke 23:46 he claims Jesus said father unto thy hands I commit thy spirit then died and finally in John 19:30 he claims that Jesus said it is finished then died. Well which one is it? These are just a few of many. Why would someone say the Bible doesn’t contradict itself when if you have read the words in its pages it does not take a genius to see all the falsities within.
First, supplementation is not equivalent to a contradiction. For example, suppose you tell a friend about your trip to Disney World. You mention that you went to Magic Kingdom on Monday. Later, you state that you went to Hollywood Studios on Monday. Have you lied? Are these two contradictory statements? Not necessarily. It could be that you visited both Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on the same day. Similarly, the seven statements the gospel writers recorded that Jesus made from the cross (including the three aforementioned statements—Matthew 27:46; Luke 23:46; John 19:30) all supplement one another. Nothing is said about Jesus making only one of these statements. What’s more, silence does not negate supplementation. Simply because John wrote that our suffering Savior said, “‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30), does not mean that Jesus could not also have said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” after He had cried out, “It is finished,” and before His death (Luke 23:46). Nothing in John 19:30, Luke 23:46, or Matthew 27:46,50 is contradictory. We simply have three different statements that Jesus made at three different moments during His crucifixion.
Second, when comparing two or more Bible passages, one must also remember to consider the sense in which a word or phrase is used. Scripture repeatedly testifies that Jesus was more than a mere man—He was God in the flesh (John 1:1,14,17; 9:38; 10:30,33; 20:28). But how could Jesus truthfully say, “My Father is greater than I,” if Jesus was really deity? Though Jesus was and is God, while on Earth Jesus willingly humbled Himself, taking the form of a suffering servant in order to save mankind from the consequences of sin. Jesus was not denying His deity in John 14:28; He was professing His submission to the Father while in human form. John 14:28 must be understood in light of what Paul wrote to the church at Philippi concerning Jesus’ self-limitation during His time on Earth. 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).While on Earth in the form of a man, 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 attempted 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. Jesus’ earthly limitations (cf. Mark 13:32), however, “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” (Jackson, 1995, emp. added). While on Earth, Jesus assumed a position of complete subjection to the Father, and exercised His divine attributes only at the Father’s bidding (Wycliffe, 1985; cf. John 8:26,28-29). 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).
The aforementioned Bible critic who recently wrote our offices alleged that she had found “several contradictions in the Bible” (including the two discussed in this article), and then concluded “it does not take a genius to see all the falsities within.” The truth is, however, it does not take a genius to see these “contradictions” for what they really are: unproven accusations. If a person merely gave the Bible writers the same measure of respect and benefit of the doubt he shows others with whom he communicates on a daily basis, he would quickly find that the only “falsities” are within the baseless and biased accusations made against Scripture, and not Scripture itself.
Strong, A.H. (1907), Systematic Theology (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).
Wycliffe Bible Commentary (1985), Electronic Database: Biblesoft.
Father to the Poor
“I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out” (Job 29:16).What was wrong with the religion of most Jews under the Old Testament Law? They observed their own traditions and forgot to consider the more important things like judgment, mercy, and faith. They surely ought to have followed such things as tithing, washing of pots and vessels and the offering of sacrifices, but not left the other undone (Matt. 23:23).
When the scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus' disciples eating without washing their hands, they were indignant. After all, the law said that a man was unclean after coming from the market and he should wash himself before eating (Mark 7:1-13). So what is so bad about being a strict adherent of the law? Shouldn't we obey all that we have been told to do? They claimed to do many good works such as giving large amounts to the temple, but they would not support their own parents in their old age. Even today members of the church should support family and extended family members (1 Tim. 5:4-16). Keep in mind that verse 8 says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
But Job went beyond just what was expected of him. He sought out the cause of the fatherless and was father to the poor. When we see helpless children today who are neglected by selfish, ungodly parents, do we seek out their cause? Do we offer to be 'father' (or mother) to those needy children or to the poor? Do we see to it that they have nourishment and sufficient clothing, or do we just talk about how pitiful they are? Sometimes we are deterred from doing good to these children because we know the parents are actually taking advantage of us. But can the child be held responsible? Even if we cannot take them into our homes, we can at least find time to be with them and teach them the things about God that they need to learn. Feeding their souls as well as their bodies and searching out their needs should be our priority. Remember: it isn't just children who need a father. Many poor need someone to love and care for them and to protect them like a father would.
By inspiration, King David tells why Solomon was to be great. It was because he would judge the poor in righteousness (stand up for them). Read slowly and carefully Psa. 72:4-17. “He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor” (Psa. 72:4). Then after all the blessings are given in verses 5-11, the reason for his greatness is given again in verses 12-14. Finally verse 17 says it again, “His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.”
“He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor” (Prov. 28:8).
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.
The King James Version.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
Bible Reading November 15 (World English Bible)
Jer 10:1 Hear the word which Yahweh speaks to you, house of Israel!
Jer 10:2 Thus says Yahweh, "Don't learn the way of the nations, and don't be dismayed at the signs of the sky; for the nations are dismayed at them.
Jer 10:3 For the customs of the peoples are vanity; for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe.
Jer 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it not move.
Jer 10:5 They are like a palm tree, of turned work, and don't speak: they must be carried, because they can't go. Don't be afraid of them; for they can't do evil, neither is it in them to do good."
Jer 10:6 There is none like you, Yahweh; you are great, and your name is great in might.
Jer 10:7 Who should not fear you, King of the nations? for to you does it appertain; because among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their royal estate, there is none like you.
Jer 10:8 But they are together brutish and foolish: the instruction of idols! it is but a stock.
Jer 10:9 There is silver beaten into plates, which is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the artificer and of the hands of the goldsmith; blue and purple for their clothing; they are all the work of skillful men.
Jer 10:10 But Yahweh is the true God; he is the living God, and an everlasting King: at his wrath the earth trembles, and the nations are not able to abide his indignation.
Jer 10:11 You shall say this to them: The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens.
Jer 10:12 He has made the earth by his power, he has established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding has he stretched out the heavens:
Jer 10:13 when he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightnings for the rain, and brings forth the wind out of his treasuries.
Jer 10:14 Every man is become brutish and is without knowledge; every goldsmith is disappointed by his engraved image; for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
Jer 10:15 They are vanity, a work of delusion: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
Jer 10:16 The portion of Jacob is not like these; for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance: Yahweh of Armies is his name.
Jer 10:17 Gather up your wares out of the land, you who abide in the siege.
Jer 10:18 For thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this time, and will distress them, that they may feel it.
Jer 10:19 Woe is me because of my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is my grief, and I must bear it.
Jer 10:20 My tent is destroyed, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth from me, and they are no more: there is none to spread my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.
Jer 10:21 For the shepherds are become brutish, and have not inquired of Yahweh: therefore they have not prospered, and all their flocks are scattered.
Jer 10:22 The voice of news, behold, it comes, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah a desolation, a dwelling place of jackals.
Jer 10:23 Yahweh, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Jer 10:24 Yahweh, correct me, but in measure: not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.
Jer 10:25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that don't know you, and on the families that don't call on your name: for they have devoured Jacob, yes, they have devoured him and consumed him, and have laid waste his habitation.
Jer 11:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying,
Jer 11:2 Hear you the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
Jer 11:3 and say you to them, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: Cursed be the man who doesn't hear the words of this covenant,
Jer 11:4 which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so you shall be my people, and I will be your God;
Jer 11:5 that I may establish the oath which I swore to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day. Then answered I, and said, Amen, Yahweh.
Jer 11:6 Yahweh said to me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear you the words of this covenant, and do them.
Jer 11:7 For I earnestly protested to your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even to this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice.
Jer 11:8 Yet they didn't obey, nor turn their ear, but walked everyone in the stubbornness of their evil heart: therefore I brought on them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they didn't do them.
Jer 11:9 Yahweh said to me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Jer 11:10 They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words; and they are gone after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.
Jer 11:11 Therefore thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will bring evil on them, which they shall not be able to escape; and they shall cry to me, but I will not listen to them.
Jer 11:12 Then shall the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem go and cry to the gods to which they offer incense: but they will not save them at all in the time of their trouble.
Jer 11:13 For according to the number of your cities are your gods, Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have you set up altars to the shameful thing, even altars to burn incense to Baal.
Jer 11:14 Therefore don't you pray for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry to me because of their trouble.
Jer 11:15 What has my beloved to do in my house, seeing she has worked lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from you? when you do evil, then you rejoice.
Jer 11:16 Yahweh called your name, A green olive tree, beautiful with goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he has kindled fire on it, and its branches are broken.
Jer 11:17 For Yahweh of Armies, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you, because of the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have worked for themselves in provoking me to anger by offering incense to Baal.
Jer 11:18 Yahweh gave me knowledge of it, and I knew it: then you showed me their doings.
Jer 11:19 But I was like a gentle lamb that is led to the slaughter; and I didn't know that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.
Jer 11:20 But, Yahweh of Armies, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, I shall see your vengeance on them; for to you have I revealed my cause.
Jer 11:21 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, You shall not prophesy in the name of Yahweh, that you not die by our hand;
Jer 11:22 therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine;
Jer 11:23 and there shall be no remnant to them: for I will bring evil on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.
Jer 12:1 Righteous are you, Yahweh, when I contend with you; yet would I reason the cause with you: why does the way of the wicked prosper? why are all they at ease who deal very treacherously?
Jer 12:2 You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; they grow, yes, they bring forth fruit: you are near in their mouth, and far from their heart.
Jer 12:3 But you, Yahweh, know me; you see me, and try my heart toward you: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.
Jer 12:4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of the whole country wither? for the wickedness of those who dwell therein, the animals are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our latter end.
Jer 12:5 If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? and though in a land of peace you are secure, yet how will you do in the pride of the Jordan?
Jer 12:6 For even your brothers, and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; even they have cried aloud after you: don't believe them, though they speak beautiful words to you.
Jer 12:7 I have forsaken my house, I have cast off my heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies.
Jer 12:8 My heritage is become to me as a lion in the forest: she has uttered her voice against me; therefore I have hated her.
Jer 12:9 Is my heritage to me as a speckled bird of prey? are the birds of prey against her all around? go you, assemble all the animals of the field, bring them to devour.
Jer 12:10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
Jer 12:11 They have made it a desolation; it mourns to me, being desolate; the whole land is made desolate, because no man lays it to heart.
Jer 12:12 Destroyers are come on all the bare heights in the wilderness; for the sword of Yahweh devours from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh has peace.
Jer 12:13 They have sown wheat, and have reaped thorns; they have put themselves to pain, and profit nothing: and you shall be ashamed of your fruits, because of the fierce anger of Yahweh.
Jer 12:14 Thus says Yahweh against all my evil neighbors, who touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit: behold, I will pluck them up from off their land, and will pluck up the house of Judah from among them.
Jer 12:15 It shall happen, after that I have plucked them up, I will return and have compassion on them; and I will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land.
Jer 12:16 It shall happen, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, As Yahweh lives; even as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built up in the midst of my people.
Jer 12:17 But if they will not hear, then will I pluck up that nation, plucking up and destroying it, says Yahweh.
Jer 13:1 Thus says Yahweh to me, Go, and buy you a linen belt, and put it on your waist, and don't put it in water.
Jer 13:2 So I bought a belt according to the word of Yahweh, and put it on my waist.
Jer 13:3 The word of Yahweh came to me the second time, saying,
Jer 13:4 Take the belt that you have bought, which is on your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.
Jer 13:5 So I went, and hid it by the Euphrates, as Yahweh commanded me.
Jer 13:6 It happened after many days, that Yahweh said to me, Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take the belt from there, which I commanded you to hide there.
Jer 13:7 Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and took the belt from the place where I had hid it; and behold, the belt was marred, it was profitable for nothing.
Jer 13:8 Then the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Jer 13:9 Thus says Yahweh, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.
Jer 13:10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and are gone after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this belt, which is profitable for nothing.
Jer 13:11 For as the belt cleaves to the waist of a man, so have I caused to cleave to me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, says Yahweh; that they may be to me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.
Jer 13:12 Therefore you shall speak to them this word: Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall tell you, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?
Jer 13:13 Then you shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings who sit on David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.
Jer 13:14 I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, says Yahweh: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have compassion, that I should not destroy them.
Jer 13:15 Hear you, and give ear; don't be proud; for Yahweh has spoken.
Jer 13:16 Give glory to Yahweh your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.
Jer 13:17 But if you will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride; and my eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because Yahweh's flock is taken captive.
Jer 13:18 Say you to the king and to the queen mother, Humble yourselves, sit down; for your headdresses are come down, even the crown of your glory.
Jer 13:19 The cities of the South are shut up, and there is none to open them: Judah is carried away captive, all of it; it is wholly carried away captive.
Jer 13:20 Lift up your eyes, and see those who come from the north: where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock?
Jer 13:21 What will you say, when he shall set over you as head those whom you have yourself taught to be friends to you? shall not sorrows take hold of you, as of a woman in travail?
Jer 13:22 If you say in your heart, Why are these things come on me? for the greatness of your iniquity are your skirts uncovered, and your heels suffer violence.
Jer 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.
Jer 13:24 Therefore will I scatter them, as the stubble that passes away, by the wind of the wilderness.
Jer 13:25 This is your lot, the portion measured to you from me, says Yahweh; because you have forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.
Jer 13:26 Therefore will I also uncover your skirts on your face, and your shame shall appear.
Jer 13:27 I have seen your abominations, even your adulteries, and your neighing, the lewdness of your prostitution, on the hills in the field. Woe to you, Jerusalem! you will not be made clean; how long shall it yet be?
Heb 1:1 God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
Heb 1:2 has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.
Heb 1:3 His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Heb 1:4 having become so much better than the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than they have.
Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did he say at any time, "You are my Son. Today have I become your father?" and again, "I will be to him a Father, and he will be to me a Son?"
Heb 1:6 Again, when he brings in the firstborn into the world he says, "Let all the angels of God worship him."
Heb 1:7 Of the angels he says, "Who makes his angels winds, and his servants a flame of fire."
Heb 1:8 But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your Kingdom.
Heb 1:9 You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows."
Heb 1:10 And, "You, Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth. The heavens are the works of your hands.
Heb 1:11 They will perish, but you continue. They all will grow old like a garment does.
Heb 1:12 As a mantle, you will roll them up, and they will be changed; but you are the same. Your years will not fail."
Heb 1:13 But which of the angels has he told at any time, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet?"
Heb 1:14 Aren't they all serving spirits, sent out to do service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?