1/25/17

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Source Of True Defilement (7:14-23) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                The Source Of True Defilement (7:14-23)

INTRODUCTION

1. When confronted by the Pharisees and scribes regarding eating with
   unclean hands...
   a. Jesus described the danger of traditions - Mk 7:1-13
   b. How they can make our worship vain and the commands of God void
      - ibid.

2. Jesus then used the occasion to teach concerning true defilement...
   a. First to the multitude - Mk 7:14-16
   b. Then privately to His disciples - Mk 7:17-23

[Having the benefit of both His public and private teaching in Mark's
gospel, we can learn "The Source Of True Defilement."  From Jesus
remarks to both the multitude and His disciples we learn that it is...]

I. NOT THE FOOD

   A. DIETARY RESTRICTIONS IN THE PAST...
      1. From the Creation, man (and animals) may have been vegetarian
         - Gen 1:29-30
      2. After the Flood, God gave animals as food, but not their blood
         - Gen 9:3-4
      3. With the Law of Moses, Israelites were restricted in their diet
         - Lev 11:1-47
      -- In Old Testament times, God did have some stringent dietary
         guidelines

   B. DIETARY FREEDOMS IN THE PRESENT...
      1. Jesus has declared all foods clean - Mk 7:14-19
         a. To the multitude, Jesus hints at the source of true
            defilement - Mk 7:14-16
         b. To His disciples, He explains His parable - Mk 7:17-19
         c. "...purifying all foods" is likely a parenthetical statement
            - Mk 7:19
         d. For while the Law of Moses was in force, Jesus observed it
            in full - cf. Mt 5:17-18
         e. Thus Mark's parenthetical statement was intended for
            disciples living after the cross
      2. Paul later taught that all food is acceptable
         a. Teaching to abstain from foods would be a sign of apostasy
            - 1Ti 4:1-3
         b. Nothing is to be refused when received with thanksgiving and
            prayer - 1Ti 4:4-5
      3. There are a few exceptions...
         a. Things offered to idols, blood, and things strangled 
            - Ac 15:28-29; 21:25
         b. Especially when connected to idolatry 
            - 1Co 10:19-23; Re 2:14,20
         c. When certain foods becomes a stumbling block to the weak
            - Ro 14:14-21; 1Co 8:8-13
      -- From the New Testament, we learn of the dietary freedom we have
         in Christ

[From what Jesus taught His disciples, true defilement comes not from
food...]

II. BUT THE HEART

   A. MAN HAS A HEART PROBLEM...
      1. The heart (mind) is a fountain out of which much that impacts
         life flows - Pr 4:23
      2. Affected by sin, it becomes deceitful and wicked 
         - Ec 9:3; Jer 17:9
      3. Thus the heart is a source of much evil that defiles man 
         - Mk 7:20-23
      -- The heart (or mind) of man is the real source of defilement

   B. EVIL THOUGHTS LEAD TO TRUE DEFILEMENT...
      1. Evil thoughts
         a. The general term translated 'evil thoughts' precedes the
            verb in the Greek text and is viewed as the root of various
            evils which follow - Bible Knowledge Commentary
         b. Evil thoughts generated in a heart unite with one's will to
            produce evil words and actions - ibid.
      2. Adulteries
         a. Illicit sexual relations by a married person
         b. Which Jesus said could occur in the heart - Mt 5:27-28
      3. Fornications
         a. Illicit sexual activities of various kinds, prompted by lust
            - cf. 1Th 4:3-5
         b. Including pre-marital sex, homosexuality, etc.
      4. Murders
         a. Taking life intentionally
         b. Which is connected to hate in the heart - 1Jn 3:15
      5. Thefts
         a. Stealing
         b. Including shoplifting, pilfering, etc.
      6. Covetousness
         a. Greediness
         b. Which makes one an idolater - Ep 5:5; Col 3:5
      7. Wickedness
         a. Evil acts
         b. Done with malice
      8. Deceit - acting with guile and intent to defraud
      9. Lewdness
         a. Unrestrained and unconcealed immoral behavior
         b. Closely related to lust - cf. Ro 13:13
     10. An evil eye - a Hebrew idiom for stinginess - cf. Pr 28:22
     11. Blasphemy - slander, verbal abuse against God or man
     12. Pride - arrogance, boastful opinion of one's self, often with
         disdain toward others
     13. Foolishness - lack of common sense, with moral and spiritual
         insensitivity
      -- Such sins prompted by evil thoughts are what truly defile us!

CONCLUSION

1. Today, many people choose to restrict their diet...
   a. Some for health reasons (allowed by the liberty we have in Christ)
   b. Others for religious reasons (not bound by the liberty we have in
      Christ)

2. From Christ and His apostles, we learn that all foods have been
   declared clean...
   a. When received with thanksgiving
   b. When sanctified by prayer

Thus we learn where our true focus should be:  removing that defilement
which springs from sinful hearts (Ep 4:17-24; 1Pe 4:1-3).  It begins
with obedience to the gospel of Christ... - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Danger Of Traditions (7:1-13) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   The Danger Of Traditions (7:1-13)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Jesus went about teaching, He often ran afoul of religious leaders
   over keeping traditions...
   a. E.g., plucking heads of grain on the Sabbath - Mk 2:23-28
   b. E.g., eating with unwashed hands - Mk 7:1-13

2. In Mk 7:1-13, Jesus describes the danger of traditions at length...
   a. How keeping them can make void the very commands of God
   b. How keeping them can make our worship vain before God

3. Traditions are very important in some religions...
   a. In Roman Catholicism, tradition is placed on par with God's Word
      1) "It is an article of faith from a decree of the Vatican Council
         that Tradition is a source of theological teaching distinct
         from Scripture, and that it is infallible.  It is therefore to
         be received with the same internal assent of Scripture, for it
         is the word of God." - Catholic Dictionary, p. 41-42
      2) "Do you have to believe in Tradition?  Yes, because it is the
         Word of God and has equal authority with the Bible." - Catholic
         Catechism For Adults, p. 11
   b. Protestant churches have their own traditions
      1) It is often their traditions that distinguish between the
         denominations
      2) To be a member of a particular denomination, one must accept
         its traditions

4. In this study, with Mk 7:1-13 as our basic text, we will address the
   following questions...
   a. What are traditions?
   b. Are traditions always wrong?
   c. If not, when does a tradition become sinful?

[Let's begin with...]

I. THE MEANING OF TRADITION

   A. THE WORD ITSELF...
      1. The Greek word is paradosis, which means "giving over" or
         "handing down"
      2. It refers to teaching that is handed down either by word
         (orally) or in writing

   B. AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE JEWS...
      1. It applied to the oral teachings of the elders (distinguished
         elders from Moses on down)
      2. These traditions were often divided into three classes...
         a. Oral laws supposedly given by Moses in addition to the
            written laws
         b. Decisions of various judges which became precedents in
            judicial matters
         c. Interpretations of highly respected rabbis held in reverence
            along with the OT scriptures
         -- Article on "Tradition", ISBE
      3. Prior to his conversion, Paul was a staunch supporter of Jewish
         tradition - Ga 1:13-14

   C. AS UNDERSTOOD BY ROMAN AND GREEK CATHOLICS...
      1. Their views appear to be parallel to that of the Jews
      2. What they consider "Tradition" is what they believe to be the
         teachings:
         a. Of Jesus or the apostles, persevered orally rather than
            through writing
         b. Of various councils which have left various decrees
         c. Of various church leaders (such as the pope) considered to
            be inspired with later revelations from God
      3. Of course, one is expected to take their word for it that these
         "traditions" were truly from God and have been faithfully
         transmitted

   D. AS FOUND IN THE SCRIPTURES...
      1. The word "tradition" as such is not found in the Old Testament
      2. It is found thirteen (13) times in New Testament
         a. Three (3) times it refers to "apostolic teaching"
            1) That which had been delivered by the apostles - 1Co 11:2
            2) Whether by word (in person) or epistle - 2Th 2:15
            3) Which Christians were expected to keep - 2Th 3:6
         b. Ten (10) times it refers to "the tradition of the elders" or
            "the traditions of men"
            1) As in our text and parallel passages 
               - Mk 7:3-13; Mt 15:2-6
            2) Of which Paul warned the Colossians - Col 2:8
            3) From which Jewish Christians had been delivered 
                - 1Pe 1:18; Ga 1:14
      3. Jesus did not feel bound to abide by "the traditions of the
         elders"
         a. Some traditions He had no problem with keeping
            1) Such as going to a wedding feast - Jn 2:1-2
            2) Or attending the Feast Of Dedication - Jn 10:22-23
         b. But He just as easily had no problem with violating other
            traditions
            1) Plucking grain on the Sabbath - Mk 2:23-28
            2) Eating with unwashed hands - Mk 7:1-5
      4. Evidently Jesus did not subscribe to the view of "traditions"
         handed down orally
         a. He never appealed to the traditions of the elders
         b. He either appealed to the authority of the written Word (the
            Law of Moses), or to His own authority as the Son of God

[Not all "traditions" are wrong.  If they are teachings of God, "handed
down" by inspired men, they are to be heeded (2Th 2:15).  But if they
are doctrines or interpretations handed down by uninspired men, like the
traditions of the Jews they are suspect.  As we return to our text (Mk
7:1-13), Jesus points out...]

II. THE DANGER OF TRADITIONS OF MEN

   A. THEY CAN LEAD TO HYPOCRITICAL WORSHIP...
      1. Traditions of men tend toward ritualism (just look at the
         rituals found in many religions that have no scriptural basis)
      2. Such ritualism is often done repeatedly, with little thought as
         to its origin and purpose
      3. It is easy to go through such rituals, with the heart and mind
         on other things
      4. Worship without the heart (or mind) of man is hypocritical
         worship! - Mk 7:6

   B. THEY CAN LEAD TO VAIN WORSHIP...
      1. When traditions of men are taught on the same level as the
         commands of God, it leads to vain worship - Mk 7:7
      2. Such worship may appear to be impressive, but it in actually
         "empty, worthless"
         a. First, because God did not command it
         b. Second, because it does not accomplish the good we really
            need - cf. Col 2:18-23

   C. THEY CAN MAKE THE WORD OF GOD VOID...
      1. Jesus gave the example of honoring one's parents - Mk 7:10-12
         a. The elders' tradition taught giving to the temple freed one
            from giving to one's parents
         b. Thus rendering the command of God of no effect
      2. There are traditions of men today with similar affect
         a. Such as the practice of sprinkling for baptism, a tradition
            of man
         b. When one keeps the tradition of sprinkling, they make the
            command of God to be baptized (immersed) of no effect!
      3. Through such traditions, one is actually rejecting the command
         of God! - Mk 7:8-9,13

CONCLUSION

1. What are traditions...?
   a. They are simply teachings that have been handed down
   b. In the case of inspired men (like the apostles) given in person or
      through their writings, such traditions are good and to be
      followed

2. Oral traditions, given through a succession of uninspired men, are at
   best suspect...
   a. Jesus did not hold traditions orally transmitted through the Jews
      on par with God's written word
   b. Nor should we hold traditions orally transmitted through men on
      par with God's written word

3. At worst, traditions of men can be vain and deadly...
   a. When their observance leads one to not keep a command of God
   b. When they are taught as doctrine, on par with God's word
   c. When they lead to ritualism, done without engaging the heart and
      mind of man

From the words of Jesus, let us beware of "The Danger Of Traditions",
and make sure that our faith and practice is based upon the written Word
of God, not the interpretations and teachings of uninspired men...!
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016


Questions and Answers: Was Job a Real Person? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=618

Questions and Answers: Was Job a Real Person?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Q.

Was Job a real person?

A.

In a single day, the patriarch Job lost all ten of his children, all of his livestock, and many of his servants. And if all this was not enough, Job’s body then became diseased from head to toe, his wife urged him to “curse God and die,” and the comforting counsel of three of his “friends” quickly gave way to judgmental accusations.
Based upon the extent of the suffering mentioned above, and the time frame in which it all occurred, some critics tend to doubt that Job was a real person. Rather, they think he simply was fabricated to teach a lesson about human suffering. Perhaps, they say, he is to be valued like such parabolic figures as the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), or the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21).
If Job were not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible apart from for the book that bears his name, those who claim he was not a real person might be able to argue their position more confidently. But the fact is, Job is mentioned in three different verses in Scripture (outside the book of Job), and in all three passages he is considered a real, historical figure.
The first two places in which his name can be found are Ezekiel 14, verses 14 and 20. In verse 14, the prophet stated: “Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.” Verse 20 records: “[E]ven though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”
Ezekiel’s point in both verses was that the ungodly conditions in the land were such that even if Noah, Daniel, and Job lived in that city, no one else would be saved. Ezekiel spoke of all three of these men as being real, historical people, not legendary characters.
Job also is mentioned in the latter part of the book of James. In 5:11 we read: “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord.” Obviously, James was not writing through inspiration about an imaginary person. Although, admittedly much about Job remains a mystery, we can know that he was a real person who suffered in every way like you and me, and yet remained faithful to his God.

Jesus Used Logic by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3755

Jesus Used Logic

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Jesus was undoubtedly the Master Logician. He demonstrated unsurpassed logical prowess on every occasion. One such incident occurred when He was preaching to a group that had gathered in a house. So many people were crammed into the house that four men were unable to bring a paralytic into contact with Him, so they carried him onto the roof, punched a hole through the ceiling, and lowered him down through the hole into the presence of Jesus. The text then reads:
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:5-12).
Observe that in their private thoughts the scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy, since He claimed to forgive the man of his sins on the spot—an act that only Deity could rightly perform. By asking the question, “Which is easier…?,” Jesus was urging them to reason correctly and think through what was taking place. If Jesus had the power to cause a bedfast paralytic to stand up and walk, instantaneously healing him of his affliction, then He either had divine backing or He, Himself, was God. Anyone can verbally say, “Your sins are forgiven” (cf. Catholic priests). That is what Jesus meant when he used the word “easier.” For a mere human to pronounce forgiveness upon a fellow human does not make it so. How, then, can one determine whether sin is actually forgiven, i.e., that God forgave the individual? Answer: The one making the claim would either have to be God in the flesh, or he would have to have divine authority for his action, and that divine authority would have to be verified, i.e., proven and shown to be authentic.
The purpose of miracles throughout the Bible was to authenticate God’s spokesmen. To verify that his words and claims were authored by God, the speaker would perform a miracle (see Miller, 2003; cf. Hebrews 2:3-4). When an observer saw a bona fide miracle performed before his very eyes, he could know, i.e., have complete certainty, that the speaker was a genuine representative of God. Jesus, therefore, prodded the scribes to face up to the fact that if Jesus could merely speak to the paralytic and cause him to be healed, then Jesus possessed divine credentials and had every right to also forgive the man of his sins. Follow the logic:
  1. If Jesus can perform miraculous feats, then His claim to be the Son of God Who can forgive sin is true.
  2. Jesus can perform miraculous feats (He healed the paralytic on this occasion).
  3. Therefore, Jesus is the Son of God Who can forgive sin.
Having pressed this remarkably logical handling of the situation, all that remained was for Jesus to perform a miraculous feat, thereby validating His power to forgive the paralytic man of sin. So Jesus healed the man, prefaced with this logical conclusion: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” (vs. 10). Jesus’ logic was impeccable, powerful, and perfectly consistent with Deity.

REFERENCES

Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation—EXTENDED VERSION,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1399.

Hell and the Omnipresence of God by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2690

Hell and the Omnipresence of God

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Q:

Since God is omnipresent, does that mean that He will be present in hell?

A:

The Bible certainly indicates that God is all-knowing and ever-present. “[A]ll things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Through the prophet Jeremiah, God asked: “Am I a God near at hand...and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?... Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Indeed, God does “fill heaven and earth.” Solomon said: “Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You [God]” (1 Kings 8:27). No one can flee from God’s presence (Psalm 139:7). He is omniscient and omnipresent.
The Bible does, however, speak of God’s presence in different senses. God is present on His throne in heaven (Hebrews 8:1; 12:2; Revelation 21:5). Solomon referred to “heaven” as God’s “dwelling place” from which He hears the prayers of His people (1 Kings 8:30). God is present in and among His church (1 Corinthians 3:16). Though God has hidden His face from sinners who have separated themselves spiritually from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), God still fills the Earth with His presence, knowing and seeing everything (Hebrews 4:13; Jeremiah 23:23-24). What’s more, though God is with Christians (Hebrews 13:5), and is ever-present on Earth, God also has made more direct, periodic appearances in spirit or fleshly forms (Genesis 18:1; Acts 9:5,17; Acts 23:11).
The Bible reveals that God is even present in Sheol (“the abode of the dead.... [T]he Hebrew equivalent of the Greek Hades...to which both the righteous and unrighteous go at death”—see “Sheol,” 1986). The psalmist asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:7-8, NASB, emp. added). Job declared that “Sheol is naked before Him [God], and Destruction has no covering” (Job 26:6; cf. Proverbs 15:11). Whether one enters into the afterlife on the side of Paradise (Luke 23:43; 16:22) or torments (Luke 16:23), God is there in some sense. He knows all and sees all.
In addressing his desire to leave this present life and be with Jesus, Paul wrote: “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, emp. added; cf. Philippians 1:23). In one sense, Christ was “with Paul” as a Christian and an apostle (Matthew 28:20; Acts 18:10), in another sense, while here on Earth Paul was “absent from the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6). Once again, Scripture refers to the presence of God in different senses.
In the end, the saved will “meet the Lord in the air” and “always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We are going to the place that He has prepared for us and be where He says, “I [God] am” (John 14:2-3). But what about the inhabitants of hell and the omnipresence of God? It would appear that, since God created hell for the devil, his angels, and all of the wicked (Matthew 25:41), and since the Bible makes clear that prior to the Judgment God has some kind of presence in sheol/hades, even though there is a great gulf separating Paradise and torments (Luke 16:26), God’s presence is in hell in some sense. Though on one hand the wicked will be separated from God forever (Matthew 7:23; 25:41), they will never escape His ever-present and everlasting judgment.

REFERENCE

“Sheol” (1996), Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

Did the Ancients Base Their Dinosaur Drawings on Fossils? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2444

Did the Ancients Base Their Dinosaur Drawings on Fossils?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The presence of antiquated dinosaur carvings, figurines, paintings, etc. around the world leaves no doubt that the ancients knew what dinosaurs looked like long before man began excavating dinosaur bones and reconstructing their skeletons in modern times. Creationists believe that the ancients’ illustrations of dinosaurs serve as one of the proofs (along with the Bible and history; see Lyons, 2001; Lyons, 2007a; Lyons, 2007b) that dinosaurs and humans previously cohabited Earth. Some have suggested, however, that people living hundreds or thousands of years ago may have simply drawn pictures of dinosaurs based upon fossils they found in rocks. Similar to how modern man creates illustrations, recreations, and CGI movies of dinosaurs based upon the fossil record, ancient man supposedly did the same thing. Is this conclusion reasonable in light of the available evidence?
There actually are several lines of reasoning against interpreting the worldwide, antiquated dinosaur carvings as artwork made only from dinosaur fossils. First, unlike dinosaur drawings made in the 21st century, the dinosaur petroglyphs (carvings), pictographs (paintings), and figurines of antiquity are deeply embedded in a historical context of men living with dinosaur-like reptilian creatures often called dragons (see Lyons, 2007a). If there were no stories or references from history of men living and interacting with dinosaurs, the ancient dinosaur artwork would be less impressive testimony for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans. If the setting of the world thousands of years ago was like today (where men excavate dinosaur bones, reconstruct them, and attempt to draw what they believe the creatures once looked like), then certainly the ancient artwork would be interpreted very differently. However, the historical context of hundreds and thousands of years ago was exactly the opposite of what it is today in reference to dinosaurs. History records how people all over the world told stories of living with “dragons” (i.e., dinosaurs; see Lyons, 2007a).
The evidence [for dragons/dinosaurs—EL] is not confined to works of natural history and literature but appears in everyday chronicles of events.... And such eyewitness accounts are not derived from hearsay or anonymous rumor; they were set down by people of some standing, by kings and knights, monks and archbishops, scholars and saints (Hogarth and Clery, 1979, pp. 13-14).
If this world continues for another 1,000 years, historians in A.D. 3000 should be able to distinguish between humans drawing pictures (or making movies) of dinosaurs in A.D. 2000 (which history would clearly indicate were based on fossil reconstructions and not cohabitation with dinosaurs), and those who made dinosaur art in A.D. 500 (and professed to live with dinosaurs).
Second, we know according to the Bible that only a few thousand years ago, man lived with one animal that had bones “like beams of bronze,” “ribs like bars of iron” (Job 40:18), and that moved its tail “like a cedar” (40:17). Another real dinosaur/dragon-like animal on Earth in Job’s day had “terrible teeth” (41:14), a powerful neck (41:22), and could breathe fire and smoke (41:18-21). What’s more, if God made “the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” during the six days of Creation (Exodus 20:11), man obviously lived with dinosaurs, as well as every other animal that has since become extinct. Thus, ancient dinosaur artwork based on living dinosaurs agrees with both history and the Bible.
Third, locating, excavating, reassembling, and illustrating dinosaur fossils is an extremely painstaking, complex, time-consuming process. We know of no evidence of the ancient people around the world excavating dinosaur fossils, reconstructing their skeletons, and then drawing them accurately, as scientists carefully attempt to do in the 21st century. Modern-day illustrations of dinosaurs are not done simply by illustrators going to a fossil bed and drawing what they think the dinosaur looked like. Most of the dinosaur bones discovered around the world are not even articulated (aligned in the same arrangement as in real life). According to James Powell, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, “in spite of the intense popular and scientific interest in the dinosaurs and the well-publicized efforts of generations of dinosaur hunters, only about 2,100 articulated dinosaur bones” exist in museums around the world (1998, p. xv, emp. added; see also Dodson, 1990, 87:7608; Lewin, 1990). Scientists have spent billions of dollars over the past 150 years persistently locating and excavating dinosaur fossils, and yet relatively few have been found aligned as they were in life. Furthermore, considering that almost half (45.3%) of all dinosaur genera are based on a single specimen, and 74% are represented by five specimens or less (Dodson, 87:7608), the suggestion that the ancients merely saw dinosaur fossils and drew accurate pictures of these animals seems very unreasonable. Furthermore, as previously stated, the historical context of ancient times is not of men digging up dinosaur bones, imagining what they looked like, and then carving them onto rock; it simply is of men carving what they saw in real life.
Fourth, ancient dinosaur artwork repeatedly is found surrounded by real-life, extant animals. In the Ta Prohm temple near Siem Reap, Cambodia, the Stegosaurus carving is surrounded by animals still alive today, including monkeys, parrots, swans, and water buffalo. At Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah the Apatosaurus-like dinosaur is near a depiction of a human and a wild goat. At the Havasupai Canyon in northern Arizona, the dinosaur-like artwork is on the same wall with an elephant, a human, and an ibex. On Bishop Bell’s tomb in Carlisle, England, long-neck dinosaurs are engraved next to a bird, a pig, a fish, and a dog. The Ica stones of Peru have many other animals besides dinosaurs on them. Contrast these contexts with how modern dinosaur illustrations depict evolutionary, “scientifically accurate” settings: they show so-called “pre-historic” creatures, and not with humans, monkeys, giraffes, bears, or other large mammals, which supposedly evolved millions of years after dinosaurs became extinct. Once again, ancient dinosaur artwork is repeatedly found in a context of coexistence with humans and extant animals.
Fifth, though scientists since the early to mid-1800s have been excavating dinosaur fossils and attempting to reassemble what they think the dinosaurs looked like, so often they have been wrong in their recreations of these animals (see Potter, 2007). For example, Don Patton noted:
When the bones of Iguanodon were discovered in the early 1800’s, scientists had a very poor idea of their appearance in life. By the late 1800’s [nearly 70 years later—EL] the conception had improved considerably. Now we know much more. For example, ossified tendons in the tail indicate that the tail did not droop but stood out straight (n.d., emp. added).
Impressively, this scientifically accurate position is how the Iguanodon-like dinosaur in the Acambaro figurine collection is positioned. Consider also how scientifically accurate the sauropods with dermal spines were depicted in the Ica stone collection. Modern man was unaware that some (many?) sauropod dinosaurs possessed dermal spines, even though scientists had been studying the dinosaur fossils around the world for more than 150 years. This characteristic of sauropods was not learned from the fossil record until 1992. The ancient Peruvians had it right long before 1992: are we to believe they carefully examined, excavated, and reconstructed fossilized sauropod bones and skin—intricate scientific recreations that history simply does not record the ancients performing? Is it not more reasonable to conclude that man once lived with the animals that they illustrated? Modern-day paleontologists have the luxury of researching dinosaur data from all over the world and as far back as the 1820s. Our present knowledge and illustrations of dinosaurs come from their composite research. The ancients had no such comparable science, yet they still depicted dinosaurs accurately. The only logical conclusion is that the ancients actually saw living dinosaurs.
Sixth, although some have supposed that the ancients may have based their illustrations of dinosaurs on the fossil record, even various skeptics have alluded to the improbability of dinosaur art from countries like Peru, Mexico, and England being based on fossils. Evolutionist Adrienne Mayor addressed the figurines from Acambaro, and asked: “Could the reptile figures from Acambaro be amazingly accurate ancient restorations based on observations of dinosaur fossils?” Her answer: “Unlikely: the fossils in the state of Guanajuato belong to Pleistocene mastodons and horses, and not to Mesozoic dinosaurs of 250-65 million years ago” (2005, p. 337). And what about the dinosaurs engraved on the stones from Ica? Could they be based on fossils from around that area? Mayor concluded: “No: the fossil remains of that area are of Oligocene to Pleistocene mammals, with no Cretaceous dinosaur remains” (p. 339). What about the long-neck dinosaur engraved on Bishop Bell’s tomb around A.D. 1500, that even some critics admit looks “more like a quadrupedal dinosaur than any other sort of animal, past or present” (“Bishop Bell’s...,” 2007)? Do skeptics believe Englishmen excavated a long-neck, long-tail dinosaur in the 15th century, without leaving behind any trace or record of their paleontological work, and then had an artist engrave the animal onto Bishop Bell’s tomb? Although skeptics have noted that “[t]his hypothesis...is at least possible,” they admit that it is “whimsical” (“Bishop Bell’s...,” 2007). Whimsical indeed! Statements like these really just show that more people, even evolutionists, are conceding that the ancients knew what dinosaurs looked like.
Seventh, although history does not record the ancients meticulously excavating and reconstructing dinosaur bones, and then accurately drawing how these creatures looked in real life, there are hints throughout history of how prior to modern times people misinterpreted fossils. For example, Dr. Donald DeYoung noted that “in 1677 a large bone was found in England. It was initially attributed to the giant humans described in Genesis 6:4. However, surviving drawings of this bone look similar to a dinosaur femur” (2000, p. 39). Moreover, it has long been thought that the Cyclops legend originated from the Greeks’ discovery of a young, dwarf mammoth skull, which has a nasal cavity in the middle of the skull that the ancients may have mistaken for the creature’s eye socket (cf. “Meet the Original...,” n.d.). No one argues about the ancients’ misinterpretation of various bones and fossils. We simply are curious: where are all of the examples of them accurately finding, identifying, excavating, and reconstructing dinosaur fossils?
Finally, unlike today, when scientists and scientific illustrators often recreate the skeletons of dinosaurs based on the fossil record, the ancients depicted the actual bodies of these creatures. If the ancients’ knowledge of dinosaurs came from the fossil record, we would expect that they, at least occasionally, would have drawn dinosaur skeletons. Instead, we find example after example of dinosaurs as they would be seen in real life—exactly what one would expect to find if the ancients really lived with dinosaurs.

CONCLUSION

The case for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans is cumulative. As creationists, we admittedly and unashamedly believe that the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans is based upon what God’s Word teaches about the creation of man and animals (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11). However, the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans is also supported by history (in the form of ubiquitous, antiquated dinosaur stories; see Lyons, 2007a) and physical evidence (in the form of dinosaur artwork that ancients in various countries around the world produced centuries ago). Truly, if man once lived with dinosaurs, such artwork, stories, and biblical testimony would be expected.

REFERENCES

“Bishop Bell’s Dinosaurs” (2007), Skepticwiki, June, [On-line], URL: http://skepticwiki.org/index.php/Bishop_Bell’s_Dinosaurs.
DeYoung, Donald (2000), Dinosaurs and Creation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Dodson, Peter (1990), “Counting Dinosaurs: How Many Kinds Were There?” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 87:7608-7612, October.
Hogarth, Peter and Val Clery (1979), Dragons (New York: Viking Press).
Lewin, Roger (1990), “Science: Dinosaur Count Reveals Surprisingly Few Species,” New Scientist Archive, 128[1745], December, [On-line], URL: http://archive.newscientist.com/secure/article/article.jsp?rp=1&id=mg 12817452.700.
Lyons, Eric (2001), “Behemoth and Leviathan—Creatures of Controversy,” Reason & Revelation, 21[1]:1-7, January.
Lyons, Eric (2007a), “Historical Support for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans—Part I & II,” Reason & Revelation, 27[9-10]:65-71,73-79, September-October.
Lyons, Eric (2007b), “Why Are Dinosaurs Not Mentioned in the Bible?” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3350.
Mayor, Adrienne (2005), Fossil Legends of the First Americans (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
“Meet the Original Cyclops” (no date), The Classics Pages: Homer’s Odyssey, [On-line], URL: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~loxias/cyclops02.htm.
Patton, Don (no date), “The Photogallery of the Dinosaur Figurines of Acambaro, Mexico,” [On-line], URL: http://www.bible.ca/tracks/tracks-acambaro-dinos.htm.
Potter, Ned (2007), “Rediscovering the Dinosaurs,” [On-line], URL: http://www.abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=3027863&page=1.
Powell, James (1998), Night Comes to the Cretaceous (New York: Harcourt Brace).

Is Christianity Still Needed In America? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=4831

Is Christianity Still Needed In America?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We receive many questions at A.P. from inquirers all over the world. We are devoting this issue of R&R to a few of these questions that we think may be of interest to a wider audience.]

Q:

“I agree that the historical proof is there that Christianity was the religion of the vast majority of the Founders and Americans ever since. But in the last half-century, America has changed drastically with the influx of many other worldviews and religious sentiments, and we seem to be doing just fine. So why would you say Christianity is still needed in America?”

A:

For the same reason it was needed at the beginning: it is the only way to sustain the kind of Republic we enjoy. The practice of Christian principles by the majority of the citizens is not necessary in a dictatorship, monarchy, communist or socialist state, atheistic country, Islamic country, etc. In all such ideological settings, the government is coercive and regulates everybody and everything. But to have the kind of freedom we have enjoyed in this country, where everyone is free to pursue moral happiness and exercise freedom of choice with regard to profession, travel, etc., the people must embrace Christian morality. The less of Christianity in the hearts and behavior of the population, the more need for government regulation. The more the people are self-controlled by Christian principles, the fewer laws are needed. Consider these quotes by Founders who articulated this principle plainly:

Patrick Henry:

I am not so much alarmed as at the apprehension of [France] destroying the great pillars of all government and of social life; I mean virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed (as quoted in Henry, 1891, 2:591-592, emp. added).

James McHenry (signer of the Constitution andSecretary of War):

The Holy Scriptures...can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses (as quoted in Steiner, 1921, p. 14, emp. added).

John Adams (signer of Declaration of Independence, Vice-President under George Washington, and second President of the United States):

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.... Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other (1854, 9:229).
Statesmen my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.... The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a greater Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies (1976-2000, emp. added).

Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence):

I have been alternately called an aristocrat and a democrat. I am neither. I am a Christocrat. I believe all power...will always fail of producing order and happiness in the hands of man. He alone who created and redeemed man is qualified to govern him (as quoted in Ramsay, 1813, p. 103).

John Witherspoon (signer of the Declaration of Independence):

It is the prerogative of God to do what he will with his own; but he often displays his justice itself, by throwing into the furnace those, who, though they may not be visibly worse than others, may yet have more to answer for, as having been favoured with more distinguished privileges, both civil and sacred…. Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners makes a people ripe for destruction.... [W]hen the manners of a nation are pure, when true religion and internal principles maintain their vigour, the attempts of the most powerful enemies to oppress them are commonly baffled and disappointed…. [H]e is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion [Christianity—James 1:27], and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind (1777, pp. 16,33, emp. added).

Noah Webster (Father of American Scholarship and Education):

[T]hose who destroy the influence and authority of the Christian religion, sap the foundations of public order, of liberty, and of republican government (1832, pp. 310-311).

Jedidiah Morse (Father of American Geography):

To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism. All efforts to destroy the foundations of our holy religion, ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them (1799, p. 11, emp. added).

Elias Boudinot (President of the Continental Congress):

[O]ur country should be preserved from the dreadful evil of becoming enemies to the religion of the Gospel, which I have no doubt, but would be introductive of the dissolution of government and the bonds of civil society (1801, p. xxii, emp. added).

George Washington (Father of our Country, first President of the United States):

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric? (1796, pp. 22-23, emp. added).
Washington also said only God can protect our nation:
I am sure there never was a people who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that Agency which was so often manifested during our revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them (1792, “Letter to…”).
Observe that these Founders (and many more—see Miller, 2009) insisted that Christianity is necessary to provide the people with proper moral behavior so that the Republic they established might be perpetuated. No other religion—Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or even Atheism—can provide the proper moral framework necessary to perpetuate the civil institutions and way of life created by the Founders and Framers.

The Bible teaches the same thing:

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan. The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it (Proverbs 29:2-4). No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy (Psalm 33:16-18).
Further, consider this: If there is a God, and if He is the God of the Bible, and if His Word is expressed in the Bible alone, then according to that Word, (1) He is active in the affairs of nations (Daniel 4:17); (2) He blesses those who look to Him (Psalm 33:12); and (3) He will abandon and even punish the nation that spurns His will and chooses to live sinfully—which is precisely the direction our nation/citizens are swiftly headed. Hence, we should well expect national calamity to come in some form (economic collapse, infiltration by enemies, increase in diseases, natural calamity, etc. [Deuteronomy 28:15ff., et al.]).
To repeat: Systematically banning Christianity from our schools, our government, and the public square will have two results: (1) a massive increase in immorality, crime, and social anarchy, and (2) God’s disfavor and wrath will eventually be unleashed against the nation.

REFERENCES

Adams, John (1854), The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, ed. Charles Adams (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company).
Adams, John (1976-2000), Letters of delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, ed. Paul Smith (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress), Volume 4, http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(dg004210)).
Boudinot, Elias (1801), The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia, PA: Asbury Dickins), http://www.google.com/books?id=XpcPAAAAIAAJ.
Henry, William (1891), Patrick Henry; Life, Correspondence and Speeches (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons), http://www.archive.org/details/pathenrylife01henrrich. See also George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General Correspondence. 1697-1799, Image 1071, “Patrick Henry to Archibald Blair,” January 8, 1799, http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mgw4&fileName=gwpage113.db&recNum=1070.
Miller, Dave (2009), Christ & the Continental Congress (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Morse, Jedidiah (1799), A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America (Charlestown, MS: Samuel Etheridge), http://www.archive.org/details/sermonexhibiting00morsrich.
Ramsay, David (1813), An Eulogium Upon Benjamin Rush, M.D. (Philadelphia, PA: Bradford & Inskeep).
Steiner, Bernard (1921), One Hundred and Ten Years of Bible Society Work in Maryland, 1810-1920 (Baltimore, MD: The Maryland Bible Society).
Washington, George (1792), “Letter to John Armstrong, March 11, 1792,” Letterbook 18
Image 110 of 359, George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 2 Letterbooks, http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mgw2&fileName=gwpage018.db&recNum=109.
Washington, George (1796), Address of George Washington, President of the United States...Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore, MD: George & Henry Keating).
Webster, Noah (1832), History of the United States (New Haven, CT: Durrie & Peck).
Witherspoon, John (1777), The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men (Philadelphia, PA: Town & Country), http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Dominion_of_Providence_Over_the_Pass.html?id=HpRIAAAAYAAJ.

Does God Dwell in Light or Darkness? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=2659&b=1%20Timothy

Does God Dwell in Light or Darkness?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the February 12, 2009 Butt/Barker Debate on the existence of the God of the Bible, atheist Dan Barker spent nearly two-thirds of his opening 15-minute speech alleging that the Bible’s portrayal of God is contradictory. Barker alleged several discrepancies (most all of which we have answered elsewhere on our Web site), including that God cannot logically dwell in light and darkness. Twelve minutes and five seconds into his first speech, Dan Barker asserted:
Does God live in light or does God live in darkness? First Timothy 6: “The King of kings, Lord of Lords dwelling in the light which no man can approach.” James 1:17: He’s “the Father of lights” and on and on we see God is light. There’s no darkness in him at all. However, in 1 Kings 8: “Then spake Solomon: “The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.” First Samuel 22: “He made darkness pavilions round about Him, dark waters and thick clouds of the sky.” Psalm 18:11: “He made darkness his secret place.” So, God lives in light. God lives in darkness.
Do these verses paint a contradictory picture of God? Not at all.
First, the Bible uses the terms “light” and “darkness” in several ways and in a variety of contexts. God’s dwelling place in the spiritual realm of the heaven of heavens is filled with “unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16), because His unrestrained glory illuminates it (Revelation 21:23). God made light in the physical Universe during the six-day Creation and “called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night” (Genesis 1:5). He made the Sun, Moon, and stars on day four of Creation, thus making Him the “Father of lights” (James 1:17). Jesus was miraculously transfigured before three of His apostles and “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2). The psalmist referred to light in the sense of divine instruction: “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (119:130). Conversely, the psalmist referred to those who “do not know, nor...understand,” as those who “walk about in darkness” (82:5). While addressing the subjects of sin and righteousness, the apostle John used the terms light and darkness symbolically: “God is light (i.e., holy) and in Him is no darkness (i.e., sin)” (1 John 1:5). This same apostle referred to Jesus as “the Light” throughout his gospel account (1:4-9; 8:12; 9:5; 12:34-36,46), and Matthew recorded that Jesus spoke of His disciples as “the light of the world” (5:14-16), reflectors of His righteousness.
Notice that Barker never hinted at the different ways in which the word “light” and “darkness” are used in Scripture. He simply positioned a phrase like that found in James 1:17 regarding God being the Creator (“Father”) of lights against the poetic statement found in Psalm 18:11 (“He made darkness his secret place”) and expected his listeners to believe they are contradictory. But the fact is, God being the Father of the Sun, Moon, and stars made on day four, has no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether God dwells in darkness or light. What God has created and where God dwells are two different things. One cannot fault Scripture when a critic compares apples and oranges. For there to be a legitimate contradiction, the same thing must be under consideration.
Second, the passage in 1 Kings 8:12 that Barker noted (“The Lord said that he would dwell in thick darkness”—KJV) is not discussing God’s dwelling place in the heaven of heavens. First Kings 8:12-13, along with 2 Chronicles 5:13-14, discuss God’s presence in the physical temple of God in Jerusalem. Just as “the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” in the days of Moses (Exodus 40:34), so “the house of the Lord [the temple], was filled with a cloud” (2 Chronicles 5:13). Similarly, the highly poetic wording in Psalm 18 and 1 Samuel 22 (a quotation of Psalm 18) pictures God, not on His majestic, glorious throne in heaven, but as One Who “came down” from heaven (Psalm 18:9), “flew upon the wings of the wind” (18:10), and delivered his servant David from his enemies while making “darkness His secret place” and “His canopy...dark waters” (18:11). As H.C. Leupold commented:
The picture is that of a violent storm—a figure so frequently used in the Scriptures to furnish the accompaniment of God’s approach, He Himself being as it were housed in the storm. From the time of Sinai onward these figures become standard (cf. Exod. 19:16-18; Judg. 5:4,5; Ps. 68:7;77:16-18; Is. 29:6; 30:27ff.; etc.). As the storm sweeps near, He is in it. The thick storm clouds are the material upon which He rides (1959, pp. 166-167).
Once again, when a person takes the time to carefully inspect Dan Barker’s allegation that the Bible paints a contradictory picture of God, the sincere truth seeker will discover the vacuousness of his charges. Time and again, both in his debate with Kyle Butt on the existence of the God of the Bible and in his writings, Barker has disregarded the fact that for a legitimate contradiction to exist, one must be referring to the same person, place, or thing, at the same time, in the same sense (for more information, see Lyons, 2003 and 2005).
REFERENCES
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), The Butt/Barker Debate (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Leupold, H.C. (1959), Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Lyons, Eric (2003), The Anvil Rings: Volume 1 (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Lyons, Eric (2005), The Anvil Rings: Volume 2 (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Pray For Our National Leaders by Beth Johnson


http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Johnson/Edna/Elizabeth/1939/prayforleaders.html


Pray For Our National Leaders
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:1-4).
Reading from verse one, we learn that we should pray for all men. And in verse 4, we learn why it is good in God's sight to do this. It is God's will for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. God loves the souls of all men and by His grace He gave Christ for all (Ezek 18:4, Ezek 18:23, Ezek 18:32; Ezek 33:11; Jonah 4:10-11; John 3:16; 2 Cor 5:14; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet 3:9; 1 John 2:2).
God wants us to be like Him and love and pray for all men, including the wicked (even ones like Hymenaeus and Alexander as the context of 1 Tim 2 demonstrates), that they may be saved. This would naturally lead us to pray for our enemies too (Mat 5:44).
Also, take note of the specific reason we are told to pray for all those in authority. We should pray for all those in authority "that we (Christians) may lead quiet, peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty" (1 Tim 2:2).
What better prayer request than to plead with the Lord to give us a quiet and peaceable life so that we can serve Him in all godliness and purity.
This was also Paul's desire for the brethren at Thessalonica. He was most concerned that they remain faithful to the new life they had learned in Christ and that they walk in holiness (1 Thes 4:1-8).
Sometimes when Christians have a mind to walk in holiness, we may be restricted in that decision if our leaders and officials do not have that same mind also. We must pray daily for all those in authority to guide the community and the nation in ways that would allow us to serve God without hindrance. If God gives us what we ask, we surely should use that opportunity to teach the lost and to walk in holiness ourselves.
Beth Johnson

 
All Scripture is taken from the NKJ Version.  Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson,Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading January 25 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading January 25 (World English Bible)


Jan. 25
Genesis 25

Gen 25:1 Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah.
Gen 25:2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
Gen 25:3 Jokshan became the father of Sheba, and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim.
Gen 25:4 The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
Gen 25:5 Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac,
Gen 25:6 but to the sons of Abraham's concubines, Abraham gave gifts. He sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, to the east country.
Gen 25:7 These are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived: one hundred seventy-five years.
Gen 25:8 Abraham gave up the spirit, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people.
Gen 25:9 Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre,
Gen 25:10 the field which Abraham purchased of the children of Heth. Abraham was buried there with Sarah, his wife.
Gen 25:11 It happened after the death of Abraham that God blessed Isaac, his son. Isaac lived by Beer Lahai Roi.
Gen 25:12 Now this is the history of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bore to Abraham.
Gen 25:13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to the order of their birth: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth, then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,
Gen 25:14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa,
Gen 25:15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.
Gen 25:16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their encampments: twelve princes, according to their nations.
Gen 25:17 These are the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred thirty-seven years. He gave up the spirit and died, and was gathered to his people.
Gen 25:18 They lived from Havilah to Shur that is before Egypt, as you go toward Assyria. He lived opposite all his relatives.
Gen 25:19 This is the history of the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son. Abraham became the father of Isaac.
Gen 25:20 Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Paddan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian, to be his wife.
Gen 25:21 Isaac entreated Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren. Yahweh was entreated by him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
Gen 25:22 The children struggled together within her. She said, "If it be so, why do I live?" She went to inquire of Yahweh.
Gen 25:23 Yahweh said to her, Two nations are in your womb. Two peoples will be separated from your body. The one people will be stronger than the other people. The elder will serve the younger.
Gen 25:24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
Gen 25:25 The first came out red all over, like a hairy garment. They named him Esau.
Gen 25:26 After that, his brother came out, and his hand had hold on Esau's heel. He was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
Gen 25:27 The boys grew. Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field. Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents.
Gen 25:28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he ate his venison. Rebekah loved Jacob.
Gen 25:29 Jacob boiled stew. Esau came in from the field, and he was famished.
Gen 25:30 Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom.
Gen 25:31 Jacob said, "First, sell me your birthright."
Gen 25:32 Esau said, "Behold, I am about to die. What good is the birthright to me?"
Gen 25:33 Jacob said, "Swear to me first." He swore to him. He sold his birthright to Jacob.
Gen 25:34 Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils. He ate and drank, rose up, and went his way. So Esau despised his birthright.


Jan. 25, 26
Matthew 13

Mat 13:1 On that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside.
Mat 13:2 Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach.
Mat 13:3 He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, "Behold, a farmer went out to sow.
Mat 13:4 As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them.
Mat 13:5 Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn't have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth.
Mat 13:6 When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away.
Mat 13:7 Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them.
Mat 13:8 Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.
Mat 13:9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Mat 13:10 The disciples came, and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
Mat 13:11 He answered them, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.
Mat 13:12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.
Mat 13:13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don't see, and hearing, they don't hear, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, 'By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive:
Mat 13:15 for this people's heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, they have closed their eyes; or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and should turn again; and I would heal them.'
Mat 13:16 "But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.
Mat 13:17 For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn't see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn't hear them.
Mat 13:18 "Hear, then, the parable of the farmer.
Mat 13:19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn't understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside.
Mat 13:20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it;
Mat 13:21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
Mat 13:22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
Mat 13:23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and brings forth, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty."
Mat 13:24 He set another parable before them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field,
Mat 13:25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel weeds also among the wheat, and went away.
Mat 13:26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the darnel weeds appeared also.
Mat 13:27 The servants of the householder came and said to him, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where did this darnel come from?'
Mat 13:28 "He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and gather them up?'
Mat 13:29 "But he said, 'No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel weeds, you root up the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, "First, gather up the darnel weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn." ' "
Mat 13:31 He set another parable before them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field;
Mat 13:32 which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches."
Mat 13:33 He spoke another parable to them. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, until it was all leavened."
Mat 13:34 Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the multitudes; and without a parable, he didn't speak to them,
Mat 13:35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, "I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world."
Mat 13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house. His disciples came to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the darnel weeds of the field."
Mat 13:37 He answered them, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,
Mat 13:38 the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom; and the darnel weeds are the children of the evil one.
Mat 13:39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
Mat 13:40 As therefore the darnel weeds are gathered up and burned with fire; so will it be at the end of this age.
Mat 13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and those who do iniquity,
Mat 13:42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
Mat 13:43 Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:44 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
Mat 13:45 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls,
Mat 13:46 who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Mat 13:47 "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet, that was cast into the sea, and gathered some fish of every kind,
Mat 13:48 which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach. They sat down, and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw away.
Mat 13:49 So will it be in the end of the world. The angels will come forth, and separate the wicked from among the righteous,
Mat 13:50 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth."
Mat 13:51 Jesus said to them, "Have you understood all these things?" They answered him, "Yes, Lord."
Mat 13:52 He said to them, "Therefore, every scribe who has been made a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings out of his treasure new and old things."
Mat 13:53 It happened that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed from there.
Mat 13:54 Coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom, and these mighty works?
Mat 13:55 Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother called Mary, and his brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?
Mat 13:56 Aren't all of his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all of these things?"
Mat 13:57 They were offended by him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and in his own house."
Mat 13:58 He didn't do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.