1/30/17

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Blind Man At Bethsaida (8:22-26) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                  The Blind Man At Bethsaida (8:22-26)

INTRODUCTION

1. Among the many people Jesus healed included the blind...
   a. As foretold by Isaiah - cf. Lk 4:18
   b. Offered as evidence to John the Baptist - cf. Lk 7:20-22

2. The healing of a blind man in our text is unique in two ways...
   a. It is found only in Mark's gospel
   b. It is the only miracle by that occurs in two stages

[Opening our Bibles to our text (Mk 8:22-26), let's first examine...]

I. THE NARRATIVE

   A. JESUS ARRIVES IN BETHSAIDA...
      1. Bethsaida Julias, near where the 5000 had been fed - Mk 8:22;
         cf. Lk 9:10
      2. On the NE side of the Sea of Galilee, near the entrance of the
         Jordan

   B. A BLIND MAN IS BROUGHT TO HIM...
      1. By those who begged Jesus to touch him - Mk 8:22
      2. By concerned friends, similar to those who brought the
         paralytic - cf. Mk 2:3

   C. JESUS TAKES HIM OUT OF THE TOWN...
      1. Leading the blind man by the hand - Mk 8:23
      2. Similar to what He did with the deaf mute - cf. Mk 7:33

   D. JESUS HEALS HIM IN TWO STAGES...
      1. Stage one - Mk 8:23-24
         a. Jesus spat on his eyes and then touched him
            1) Similar to what He did with the deaf mute - cf. Mk 7:33
            2) Perhaps to convey to the blind man His intentions
            3) The spit - His intention was to heal, saliva was thought
               to have medicinal properties
            4) The touch - "Something will be done for your eyes...and I
               will do it."
         b. When asked if he saw anything, he looked up and said, "I see
            men like trees, walking"
      2. Stage two - Mk 8:25
         a. Jesus put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up
         b. His sight was completely restored and saw everyone clearly

   E. JESUS SENDS HIM AWAY WITH AN ADMONITION...
      1. To his house, not into town, not to tell anyone - Mk 8:26
      2. Similar to earlier admonitions following His healings 
         - cf. Mk 1:44; 5:43; 7:36
      3. Undue attention would hinder His ability to travel and do His
         work
      4. Especially by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians - cf.
         Mk 8:11

[With the account of this unusual miracle fresh on our minds, allow me
to share...]

II. SOME OBSERVATIONS

   A. WE DO NOT KNOW WHY JESUS DID IT THIS WAY...
      1. Why take the blind man out of the town of Bethsaida?
         a. To avoid publicity?
         b. To establish a one-to-one relationship with the man?
         c. Because Bethsaida had been judged already? - cf. Mt 11:21-22
      2. Why didn't the man receive perfect sight immediately?
         a. Was it the spiritual condition of the man himself?
         b. Was it to illustrate the slow progress of the disciples'
            faith? - cf. Mk 8:18
      -- Any explanation is speculation at best

   B. THE LORD DOES NOT ALWAYS DO THINGS THE SAME WAY...
      1. Jesus healed at least eight blind men, using a variety of
         approaches
         a. Two men were healed by a simple touch of their eyes- Mt9:27-31
         b. A blind and mute man was simply healed - Mt 12:22
         c. Two more blind men were healed by a simple touch of the eyes
            - Mt 20:30-34
         d. In our text, the blind man was healed with touch and
            spittle, in two stages - Mk 8:22-26
         e. Blind Bartimaeus was healed with but a simple word - Mk10:46-52
         f. A blind man was healed with the anointment of the eyes with
            clay and spittle, followed by washing in the pool of Siloam
            - Jn 9:1-7
      2. Similarly, prayer is not always answered the same way
         a. God may say "yes" and the prayer answer immediately
         b. God may say "yes, but wait awhile"
         c. God may say "yes, but not in the way you expect"
      -- Faith is content to receive God's working, however He deems
         proper

   C. SPIRITUAL GROWTH OCCURS IN STAGES...
      1. Similar to how this particular miracle occurred
      2. Such was the case with Jesus' disciples - cf. Mk 8:18
      3. So we should expect our spiritual growth to take time 
         - cf. 1Co 3:1-2; 2Pe 3:18
      -- Faith is patient, understanding that important things often
         take time

CONCLUSION

1. Many commentators have noted our similarity with "The Blind Man At
   Bethsaida"...
   a. We are spiritually blinded by sin, in need of "healing" - Ro 3:23
   b. We need the special attention of Jesus to be "healed" 
       Mt 11:28-30; Mk 16:15-16; Col 2:11-13
   c. When Jesus "heals" us of spiritual blindness, it may take awhile
      to see clearly - He 5:12-14

2. Are you still in sin...?
   a. Blinded by sin, and alienated from the life of God? 
       - cf. Ep 4:17-19
   b. Then you need Jesus to be renewed in righteousness and holiness
      - cf. Ep 4:20-24

Begin by coming to Jesus through obedience to His gospel, and continue
by walking with Him, seeing more clearly day by day...!
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Beware Of Leaven (8:14-21) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                       Beware Of Leaven (8:14-21)

INTRODUCTION

1. Following the disputation with the Pharisees, Jesus warned His
   disciples...
   a. As they sailed the Sea of Galilee from Dalmanutha to Bethsaida
      - Mk 8:10,13,22
   b. Charging them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of
      Herod - Mk 8:15
   c. Matthew's gospel mentions the Sadducees (often aligned with Herod)
      - Mt 16:6,11-12

2. The disciples at first misunderstood...
   a. They thought it was because they had forgotten to take bread 
      - Mk 8:14-16
   b. Jesus corrected their misunderstanding, reminding them of His
      miracles - Mk 8:17-21
   c. Then they understood that "leaven" referred to "doctrine" 
       - cf. Mt 16:11-12

3. Leaven is a good metaphor for doctrine...
   a. Both operate with subtlety
   b. Both are very potent
   c. Both gradually spread their influence

[What doctrines or characteristics of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and
Herodians might Jesus have been warning about?  Are there parallels
today that we would should beware today? Let's start with...]

I. THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES

   A. THE PHARISEES THEN WERE...
      1. A religious and political group noted for its conservatism
         a. They were strict observers of the Law of Moses
         b. They also adopted "the traditions of the elders",
            interpretations of the Law that had been handed down  - cf.
            Mk 7:1-5
      2. Jesus described them as "blind leaders of the blind" - Mt15:12-14
         a. They made the commandments of God of no effect by their
            traditions - Mt 15:3-6
         b. They were often hypocrites, teaching one thing and
            practicing another - Mt 15:7-8; 16:3; 23:1-4,27-28; cf. Lk 12:1
         c. They did their works to be seen of men - Mt 23:5
         d. They loved the attention and special treatment by others
            - Mt 23:6-7
         d. They wore religious titles - Mt 23:8-10
         e. They prevented others from finding the way to the kingdom of
            heaven - Mt 23:13
         f. They used their religion to make money and impress others
            - Mt 23:14
         g. They didn't make people better, they made them worse! 
             - Mt 23:15
         h. They made distinctions where God did not - Mt 23:16-22
         i. Though sticklers for some commandments, they ignored others
            - Mt 23:23-24
         j. They honored men of God who went before them, but were more
            like those who persecuted the people of God - Mt 23:29-31
      -- They were the more conservative religious group in Jesus' day

   B. THE PHARISEES TODAY ARE THOSE WHO...
      1. Teach and practice traditions of men, instead of the commands
         of God
      2. Teach one thing, while practicing another
      3. Do things to be seen of men, wearing special garments, and
         using religious titles
      4. Do not truly show people the way to the kingdom of heaven
      5. Use religion to make money and impress others
      6. Make distinctions where God has made none
      7. Stress some commands, but neglect others as unnecessary
      -- Religious conservatives are susceptible to being like the
         Pharisees today

[Now let's consider...]

II. THE LEAVEN OF THE SADDUCEES

   A. THE SADDUCEES THEN WERE...
      1. A religious and political group noted for its liberalism
         a. Included many powerful members of the priesthood - Ac 5:17
         b. They insisted only the laws found in the Pentateuch were
            binding
         c. They rejected "the traditions of the elders"
         d. They did not believe in the resurrection, spirits, angels
            - Ac 23:8; Mt 22:23
         e. They did not believe in rewards or punishment after death,
            nor in heaven or hell
      2. Jesus charged them with two faults - Mt 22:23-29
         a. They did not know the Scriptures
            1) Even those scriptures they held to be true!
            2) For Jesus used the Pentateuch to show their error 
               - Mt 22:31-32; Exo 3:6
         b. They did not know the power of God
            1) Like many liberals, they were influenced by rationalism
            2) They assumed that if they could not comprehend something,
               it could not be true
            3) They failed to believe what Gabriel and Jesus both knew:
               that with God, nothing is impossible! - Lk 1:37; Mt 19:26
      -- They were the more liberal religious group in Jesus' day

   B. THE SADDUCEES TODAY ARE THOSE WHO...
      1. Take portions of God's word, but reject the rest; such as those
         who:
         a. Accept the words of Jesus, but not His apostles 
            - contra Jn 13:10; Ac 2:42; 1Co 14:37
         b. Accept the words of His apostles, but hold that ALL of
            Jesus' teachings in the gospels are Old Covenant teaching
            - contra Mt 28:20; Ac 20:35; 1Ti 5:18b; Lk 10:7
      2. Accept human reason over divine revelation
         a. Who will not accept a Biblical doctrine unless it makes
            sense to them
         b. A dangerous position to hold, since God has chosen to
            confound the wise and arrogant with the foolishness of the
            gospel message - cf. 1Co 1:18-31
         c. Some doctrines revealed may contain elements beyond man's
            ability to fully comprehend (such as the mystery of
            godliness:  God manifested in the flesh - 1Ti 3:16; or the
            nature of the Godhead itself)
         d. A child-like trust is more becoming of a Christian 
            - cf. Mt 18:3; Ps 131:1-3
      3. Rule out the power of God
         a. Rejecting any doctrine, any promise, of the Scriptures if
            conceived as not being possible
         b. Such as the creation, the virgin birth, the miracles of
            Jesus, the resurrection of the dead
         c. But once we accept the premise that with God all things are
            possible, we cannot reject Biblical testimony just because
            it does not fit our preconceived ideas of what is possible
      -- Religious liberals are susceptible to being like the Sadducees
         today

[Finally, let's consider...]

III. THE LEAVEN OF THE HERODIANS

   A. THE HERODIANS THEN WERE...
      1. Jews who supported the dynasty of Herod, though it was mostly a
         puppet of Rome
      2. Not a religious sect, but a political party; secular minded
         rather than spiritually minded
      3. They would align themselves with the Pharisees when convenient
         - Mk 3:6; 12:13
      4. They were often interchangeable with the Sadducees 
         - cf. Mk 8:15 with Mt 16:6
      -- They were politicos first, who used religion to promote their
         cause

   B. THE HERODIANS TODAY ARE THOSE WHO...
      1. Believe the solution lies in politics, not the gospel
      2. Are more interested in worldly matters than the kingdom of God
         a. When the kingdom of God should come first - Mt 6:33; Php 3:20
         b. When we are to be pilgrims and sojourners - 1Pe 2:11-12
         c. Where we are to avoid worldly attachments - 2Co 6:14-7:1
      3. Use religion when convenient to get the support of the masses
      -- Political activists are susceptible to being like the Herodians
         today

CONCLUSION

1. The parallels between then and now are striking...
   a. Pharisees - religious fundamentalists
   b. Sadducees - religious liberals
   c. Herodians - political activists

2. Jesus' warning is sorely needed today...
   a. "Take heed, beware of the leaven..."
   b. For it is so easy to become like those who opposed our Lord

How can we ensure that we do not become like the Pharisees, Sadducees,
or the Herodians?  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
with Jesus and His apostles as our spiritual guides and mentors...
 

Respect the Variety! by Brad Bromling, D.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=366

Respect the Variety!

by  Brad Bromling, D.Min.

When those of us who believe in verbal inspiration make the claim that “the Bible is right,” we are often misunderstood. Unfortunately, many people—believers and unbelievers alike—assume we are affirming that every line of the Bible is to be taken literally. There is wide-spread confusion over the import of the words “literal” and “true.” To illustrate this confusion, consider the three options offered by Gallup pollsters to ascertain America’s view of the Bible. Those responding to the 1993 poll were asked which of the following statements best reflects their understanding:
  1. The Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word [35% chose this option].
  2. The Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally [48% chose this option].
  3. The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts written by man [14% chose this option] (Newport, 1993, p. A22).
So, almost half of those polled who believe the Bible is from God believe it must be taken literally, word for word. For many people, to suggest otherwise is an attack on the Bible’s reliability and truthfulness.
The problem is, the terms “literal” and “true” are not equivalent. In fact, they make different claims about a statement or literary product. To say a writing is “literal” is to say that it is to be understood as speaking plainly, directly, and without the use of figurative language (see McArthur, 1992, p. 615). But to say a writing is “true,” is to say that it is correct in what it claims—that it is in accord with reality. A writing or statement can be both literal and true, but literalness is no guarantee of truth. For example, imagine a man who says, “I flew from Alabama to California on my own power—I simply flapped my arms and flew.” He clearly intends for his words to be taken literally, though you know from experience that he cannot possibly be making a truthful claim. By the same token, a writing or statement may be both non-literal, and truthful. When John pointed people to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), he was not being literal; but certainly he was being truthful!
This is a crucial distinction to keep in mind when reading the Bible, since Scripture comes to us through a variety of literary forms. Accurate exegesis (ascertaining the intended meaning of a biblical text) requires that we understand what type/form of literature we are reading. Elizabeth Achtemeier has explained why this is important:
We bring different expectations to different kinds of texts. If a story begins, “Once upon a time,” we know it is a fairy tale, and we expect to read it as such. If a letter begins, “My dearest,” we expect from it affection and intimacy. Expectation makes a lot of difference in the way we read a text, and so it is with the Bible (1989, p. 44).
The Bible is all true—it is not all literal. Some of it is poetry, some historical narrative, some proverbial wisdom, and some of it is written in apocalyptic language that challenges our modern minds. All these literary forms (and there are many others in the Bible; see Fee and Stuart, 1982) are capable of carrying and conveying truth; they just do so in different ways. If we ignore this variety and literalize everything we read, we risk abusing the Bible by making it affirm things that its Author never intended.
If we literalize poems, for instance, we ruin them and often miss their truth-claims. Take Psalm 22:6 as an example. David wrote, “I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by people.” Have we been wrong about David all these years? Have we simply assumed he was a human being when in fact he was an annelid? (No wonder Goliath laughed when David met him on the battlefield—who could keep a straight face in the presence of a worm carrying a slingshot?) Was David literally a worm? Of course not; he was describing the deep despair of feeling apart from God. Was he speaking the truth? Yes, but he conveyed that truth through memorable, figurative language.
Sometimes in otherwise good creationist writings there are instances where the writer has literalized some phrase or line of a psalm (or other equally poetic passages) to argue a factual point in the creation/evolution controversy. This is lamentable. To illustrate this concern, consider the intriguing book, Starlight and Time by D. Russell Humphreys. In this book, Dr. Humphreys presents a fascinating theory from physics to explain why we are able to see stars that are billions of light-years away, even though creation took place less than 10,000 years ago. According to his proposal, space is a material substance that can be “stretched.” To show biblical support for his view, Dr. Humphreys turns to poetic passages like Psalm 102:26, 104:2, Isaiah 13:13, 40:22, and 64:1 that speak of the stretching, tearing, wearing out, and shaking of the heavens. He literalizes these phrases and suggests that God actually stretched the “material” of space until the sixth day, when the creation was completed (1995, pp. 66-67). Although Dr. Humphreys has the highest regard for Scripture, such arbitrary literalizing of isolated words from songs and poems to support a theory about the physics of Creation is inappropriate. The real truth-claim of these passages has to do with the Majesty of God Who, as Creator, is over even the vast hosts of heaven. The beauty and power of these poetic expressions is lost in literalizing, and the intended truth-claim is obscured.
The message of Scripture comes to humanity through virtually every form of literature imaginable. This points us heavenward toward a God Who understands the broad spectrum of human expression, and Who is willing to do whatever it takes to communicate understandably to His Creation. This variety must be respected if we are to Hear the Living God speak through His ever-living Word.

REFERENCES

Achtemeier, Elizabeth (1989), Preaching from the Old Testament (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox).
Fee, Gordon D. and Douglas Stuart (1982), How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books).
Humphreys, D. Russell (1994), Starlight and Time (Colorado Springs, CO: Master Books).
McArthur, Tom (1992), The Oxford Companion to the English Language (New York: Oxford University Press).
Newport, Frank (1993), “God Created Humankind, Most Believe” The Sunday Oklahoman, p. A-22, September 12.

Life on Mars? by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=280

Life on Mars?

by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

A group of scientists believes it has found evidence for life on Mars (McKay, et al., 1996). NASA was ecstatic, and quick to point out that its personnel and funds were behind the project. This could not have come at a better time for the struggling Space Agency. The organization’s multi-billion dollar budget for the proposed orbiting space station—which NASA thinks is essential for manned explorations to Mars—has been the target of deep cost-cutting measures. July 1996 marked the twentieth anniversary of the first Viking landing and, in late 1996, NASA launched the first of two new Mars-bound probes.
However, NASA’s vested interests explain only part of the hype. Most important, we have the first serious claim of life beyond our own planet. For some observers, the ramifications reach even farther. According to NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin, the new finding “gets to the foundations of beliefs of the human species.” Supposedly, this speculation about Mars will only trouble “creationists and Christian fundamentalists who adhere to a literal interpretation of Genesis” (Monmaney, 1996). But should Bible believers be disturbed by these findings? Let us take a look at the evidence.
In 1984, a geologist picked up a 4½ pound rock from the icy wastes of Antarctica. The sample, ALH84001, was very unusual, but it had all the physical and chemical signs of being a meteorite. Ten years later, a scientist identified this rock as belonging to a rare group of meteorites, apparently blasted in our direction by impacts on the Martian surface. [Eleven other meteorites have a similar composition to ALH84001. One of these meteorites, EET79001, has crystallized “bubbles” containing gas matching the atmosphere of Mars as measured by the Viking landers. The inference, therefore, is that all these meteorites have a common origin, i.e., Mars.] Also, researchers suggest that ALH84001 came from a rock formed in the planet’s earliest geologic era.
In their paper, David S. McKay and his colleagues offered several clues that, they believe, add up to evidence for life on ancient Mars:
  • ALH84001 contains relatively high concentrations of polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Converting organic matter into coal, or grilling a hamburger, are just two ways of creating PAHs on Earth. The authors suggest that the meteorite’s PAHs resulted from the chemical alteration of organic matter in the original rock.
  • The sample contains carbonate globules with magnetite crystals and iron-sulfide minerals, both of which are produced by, or contained in, certain bacteria on Earth.
  • The globules show tiny egg- and tubular-shaped features that may be the fossilized remains of bacteria. The authors speculate that the bacteria grew in calcium-rich waters that had penetrated the cracks of the rock, and were preserved as the fluid hardened into carbonate.
However, each of these clues, taken individually, is not unique to life. For example:
  • Completely inorganic processes can form PAHs. Astronomers have detected these compounds in interstellar space, and in the atmospheres of cool stars.
  • Magnetite, iron sulfides, and carbonates commonly form by inorganic processes.
  • Several researchers believe that the globules in ALH84001 formed at high temperatures inhospitable to life (Harvey and McSween, 1996).
  • Apart from their external appearance, the bacterium-like shapes on the globules show no cell walls or other features unique to living organisms, and are hundreds of times smaller than any such fossils found on Earth.
  • The proportion of sulfur isotopes in another Martian meteorite suggests the absence of organic activity.
Obviously, the claims are very tenuous. William Schopf, who was present at the NASA conference, voiced many of the objections listed above (see Grady et al., 1996). “The biological explanation,” he said, “was unlikely.” Another critic was John F. Kerridge—lead author on a paper advising NASA on a strategy for finding life on Mars. Although impressed with the science in the paper, Kerridge concluded that it “fell far short of establishing the case for evidence of biological activity.” Even McKay, as the project’s team leader, denied having found the “smoking gun” of life, let alone “absolute proof ” of life, either past or present. “We’re just saying we have found a lot of pointers in that direction” (as reported by Kerr, 1996). With regard to more complex organisms, Goldin insisted that there is “no evidence or suggestion that any higher life-form ever existed on Mars.”
This is not the last we will hear of such research; scientists will continue to offer less ambiguous evidence for extraterrestrial life. Of course, Bible believers have every right to be as skeptical of the Martian-rock claims as anybody else. Ken Ham offered the following response in light of Scripture:
The Bible does not say whether or not life is found elsewhere in the universe. However, because the Earth was created first and the Sun, Moon, and stars were made on the fourth day, it seems likely that because the Earth was center stage in the Creation, everything else was created for the Earth. We can’t be dogmatic about this, but it is most likely that only Earth has life (1996, 3[9]:3; for a slightly different viewpoint, see Jackson, 1996).
Given the current evidence, there is no reason to conclude that intelligent life exists anywhere except on Earth (Thompson, 1991). Ham, and others, also point out that if there ever was life (or at least, the remains of life) on Mars, then perhaps it was carried there by the solar wind from Earth’s outer atmosphere. Life, wherever we may find it, owes its ultimate existence to the Creator-God (Exodus 20:11).
Evolutionists believe that this latest discovery might help them understand how life can come from nonliving chemicals. Certainly, from their perspective, if life can arise by purely natural means once, then it can arise many times. This would suggest that there are universal principles at work. Surely these should be so obvious, and so pervasive, that we would have some experience of life’s appearing from nonlife. But this is not the case, and there is no reason to think that life on Mars will solve this most intractable problem of materialistic evolution.

REFERENCES

Grady, Monica, Ian Wright, and Colin Pillinger (1996), “Opening a Martian Can of Worms?,” Nature, 382:575-576, August 15.
Ham, Ken (1996), “Life in the Rock?,” Answers in Genesis Newsletter, 3[9]:1-3,7-8.
Harvey, Ralph P. and Harry Y. McSween (1996), “A Possible High-Temperature Origin for the Carbonates in the Martian Meteorite ALH84001,” Nature, 382:49-51, Nuly 4.
Jackson, Wayne (1996), "Has Evidence of Primitive Life Been Found on Mars?," Christian Courier, 32[6]:21-23, October.
Kerr, Richard A. (1996), “Ancient Life on Mars?,” Science, 273:864-866, August 16.
Kerridge, John F. (1996), “Mars Media Mayhem,” Science, 274:161, October 11.
McKay, David S. (1996), “Search for Past Life on Mars: Possible Relic Biogenic Activity in Martian Meteorite ALH84001,” Science, 272:924-930, May 17.
Monmaney, Terence (1996), “Launch Pad for Flights of Wonder,” L.A. Times, Saturday, August 31.
Thompson, Bert (1991), “Is There Intelligent Life In Outer Space?,” Reason & Revelation, 11:37-40, October.
[See related article: “Mars Rock Update”]

How Could Jesus be God if He was Seen by Man? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1404

How Could Jesus be God if He was Seen by Man?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, one of the reasons Jesus could not (and cannot) be God is because Jesus was seen by humankind. The official Web site of Jehovah’s Witnesses (www.watchtower.org) indicates that “[a]s the Son of God, he [Jesus—EL] could not be God himself, for John 1:18 says: ‘No one has ever seen God’ ” (“What Does the Bible Say...,” 2000). The problem with such reasoning is two-fold.
First, it ignores the fact that man only saw Jesus (“the Word”—John 1:1) after “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He came in a veiled form. No human has ever seen Jesus in His true image (i.e., as a spirit Being—John 4:24—in all His glory and splendor). In his letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul mentioned that Christ—Who had existed in heaven “in the form of God”—“made Himself of no reputation,” and took on the “likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7). Men saw an embodiment of God as Jesus dwelt here in a fleshly form. Men saw “the Word” that “became flesh.” But no one has ever seen God’s true, complete image (as a spirit Being).
The second problem with Jehovah’s Witnesses’ denial of Jesus’ deity (based on the fact that “no one has ever seen God”) is that their argument crumbles when Jehovah God’s appearances to man are considered. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jehovah is God and “is the name of the true God only” (“Identifying...,” 2002). According to their doctrine, Jehovah, not Christ, is God Almighty. Yet, man has seen Jehovah. Genesis chapter 18 records an occasion when “Jehovah appeared” to Abraham near Mamre (vs. 1). Jehovah spoke directly to Abraham (vs. 13), and the faithful servant of God “stood before the Lord” (vs. 22). The final verse of Genesis 18 states: “And Jehovah went his way, as soon as he had left off communing with Abraham. And Abraham returned unto his place” (vs. 33). If Jehovah’s Witnesses were consistent with their argument, Jehovah could not be Almighty God because man has seen Jehovah. If John 1:18 somehow disqualifies Jesus from being God, it must also prohibit “Jehovah” from being God, because they both were seen. What Bible students must understand is that man has only seen manifestations of God (i.e, in human flesh, or in the midst of a burning bush—Exodus 3:2, etc.); he has never seen God (the Father or the Son) in His true spirit image.
[NOTE: If you would like to read further on the subject “Has Man Seen God?” and examine the alleged contradiction between such passages as John 1:18 and Exodus 33:11, click on the following link: http://www.apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=2682.]

REFERENCES

“Identifying the True God Only,” (2002), [On-line], URL: http://www.watchtower.org/library/g/1999/2/8/article_04.htm, originally appeared in Awake!, February 8, 1999.
“What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus?” (2002), [On-line], URL: http://www.watchtower.org/library/ti/index.htm.

Dinosaur Art and Imaginary Creatures by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=605

Dinosaur Art and Imaginary Creatures

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Numerous artifacts from ancient civilizations depict creatures that perfectly match our modern-day descriptions of dinosaurs (see Butt and Lyons, 2008). Those who insist that dinosaurs and humans did not live together, however, claim that the animals illustrated in ancient art that look like dinosaurs are imaginary creatures that have no basis in reality. These people suggest that since we know carvings of imaginary gods, minotaurs, mermaids, and aliens have no basis in reality, neither should we think that dinosaur-like creatures do—regardless of how much they look like dinosaurs. John Clayton wrote:
Finding an ancient picture of a dragon, minotaur, or alien-looking creature and assuming it is in reality what people saw is an incredibly ignorant thing to do. This applies to creationists who try to maintain people of 4,000 years cavorted with dinosaurs, but also to atheists who attempt to explain the origin of life by claiming aliens seeded the planet with DNA packets. There is no evidence for either of these proposals, and neither of them has any historical support” (2007, 34[4]:4. emp. added).
A major problem arises, however, when those such as Clayton attempt to lump “dragons” in with other creatures such as minotaurs or aliens. No physical evidence is available to verify the existence of minotaurs. Furthermore, the laws of biology preclude even the possibility of such. We do not believe the ancients saw minotaurs because we do not believe there ever were minotaurs.
The situation with creatures that look like dinosaurs is much different. Everyone involved in the discussion believes that huge reptiles once roamed the Earth. The question is not, “Did huge reptilian creatures, that match the ancient carvings, exist?” The question is, “Did they exist with humans?” Dinosaurs are not imaginary creatures dismissed by reputable sources. Their bones have been found, fossilized nests uncovered, and their skin impressions studied. Millions of dollars every year pour into dinosaur research. If thousands of minotaur fossils had been found, some of them very close to the carvings that depict creatures that looked just like minotaurs, then minotaurs could not be dismissed as imaginary creatures, and the carvings and drawings could not be dismissed as depictions of imaginary creatures. The difference between art depicting minotaurs and art showing dinosaur-like creatures is that everyone knows dinosaurs existed—that is not up for debate.

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2008), “Physical Evidence for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 28[3]:17-23, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3626.
Clayton, John (2007), “What is Reliable History and What is Not,” Does God Exist?, 34[4]:3-7, July/August.

Is It Murder? Depends on Who Does It by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2660

Is It Murder? Depends on Who Does It

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Each day in the United States of America doctors kill approximately 2,500 unborn babies. These range in age from just a few days after conception to eight to nine months after conception. Many of the procedures by which these little lives are taken sound more like Holocaust torture methods than medical practices. To justify this mass murder, the claim is made that the “fetus” is not really a person and can be disposed of like so much unwanted biologic tissue.
Our society, however, cannot consistently maintain the idea that fetuses are not human persons. For example, in April, a 38-year-old pregnant woman in the state of Massachusetts intentionally stabbed herself in the abdomen, killing her seven-month-old child (Lavoie, 2009). If she had gone to a clinic, and allowed a doctor to kill the child with forceps, saline solution, or a high-powered vacuum device, the “procedure” would be a routine “medical” occurrence resulting in the legal death of a “fetus.” Since she did the job herself, however, authorities are waiting for the results of an autopsy to determine whether the child could have survived outside the womb. If the child was “viable” outside the womb, then the authorities will be deciding “whether to...charge Chi-Xue with murder in the death of her unborn baby” (Lavoie, 2009). The tragic irony of the situation is that doctors routinely murder children who are viable outside the womb, but authorities never consider charging them with murder. So why would the case be different with Chi-Xue?
Apparently, our society thinks that “sanitizing” murder by calling it abortion, performing it in a hospital or clinic, and allowing “licensed practitioners” to perform the macabre act, justifies the resulting death of the innocent child. Yet when such distractions are absent, and the brutality of a mother stabbing her 7½ month-old unborn child comes before us, it seems clear to the most calloused, pro-choice advocate that a gruesome crime has been committed. How long, fellow citizens, will God allow a nation full of the blood of innocent children to continue? As it was in Israel in the Old Testament under the reign of Manasseh, so it is true today, we have filled the United States with innocent blood, which the Lord will not pardon (2 Kings 24:4).

REFERENCE

Lavoie, Denise (2009), “Mom Suspected of Killing Daughter, Stabbing Fetus,” [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090417/ap_on_re_us/mother_stabbings.

Biblical Consistency and the Believer’s Treatment of False Teachers by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=482&b=2%20Timothy

Biblical Consistency and the Believer’s Treatment of False Teachers

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

If Christians are to be kind and loving to everyone (Luke 10:29-37), some question why 2 John 10-11 teaches, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine (‘the doctrine of Christ’—vs. 9), do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (emp. added; cf. Wells, 2015). Also, why did Paul instruct Timothy to “shun profane and idle babblings” (2 Timothy 2:16; 1 Timothy 6:20-21)? Are Christians to shun those with whom we disagree, and even go so far as not to greet them or allow them into our homes?
First, Scripture, indeed, repeatedly calls for Christians to love everyone—whether family, friends, fellow Christians, or enemies (Matthew 5:43-48; 22:36-40; Romans 12:9-21). We are to “[r]epay no one evil for evil” (Romans 12:17, emp. added), but strive to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave” us (Ephesians 4:32). But Christian kindness and love is not antithetical to such things as, for example, punishing rule breakers. A father who loves his son, and would even die for him, will promptly discipline him for unruly conduct (Proverbs 13:24; Ephesians 6:4). A school principal may genuinely love and care for every student under his oversight, but he may occasionally have to expel a disorderly child from the school for at least two reasons: (1) so that the hundreds of other students who want to get an education can safely and successfully do so, and (2) in hopes that such drastic measures will cause the unruly child to awaken to his senses before it is too late (and he does something far worse as a teenager or as an adult). An uninformed outsider, who sees a father disciplining his son or a school principal punishing a student, may initially think less of these adults and wonder how they could call themselves Christians. The logical, more informed bystander, however, will quickly size up the situation and easily see the consistency in the loving, disciplinary actions.
In the epistle of 2 John, the apostle expressed his concern for the eternal destiny of Christians, saying, “Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (vs. 8, NASB). John was alarmed because deceptive false teachers who denied the incarnation of Jesus were a serious threat to the salvation of Christians. “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (2 John 7). These false teachers (known as Gnostics) alleged that Christ could not have been incarnated because the flesh is inherently sinful. And, since the flesh is supposedly intrinsically evil, Gnostics taught that Christians did not need to resist fleshly temptations. Just “do whatever feels good” and know that such wicked actions are only physical and not spiritual. Allegedly, the soul could still be pure, even if the individuals themselves participated in wicked activity. (For more information, see “Gnosticism,” 1982, 2:484-490.)
The apostle John (who had “seen” and “handled” the actual body of Christ—1 John 1:1-4; i.e., Jesus did come in the flesh) repeatedly condemned the central teachings of certain Gnostics who were confusing and misleading first-century Christians.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world (1 John 4:1-3, emp. added).
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil…. Whoever has been born of God does not sin (1 John 3:4-9).
False doctrine was a real and present danger in the first-century church, just as it is today. Christians were (and are) to be on “guard” because “some have strayed concerning the faith”—profane and idle babblers and teachers of contradictory doctrines of “what is falsely called knowledge” (Greek gnosis; 1 Timothy 6:20-21; cf. 2 Timothy 2:15-26). Denying the physical life, death, burial, and resurrection of the body of Christ was heresy, and thus John and others warned the early church of such deception. What’s more, claiming that “all unrighteousness is not sin,” was to directly contradict the Law of Christ. In truth, “the works of the flesh are evident,” and “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19,21, emp. added). John wrote: “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God,” because “all unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 3:10; 5:17, emp. added).
Christians are commanded to withdraw fellowship (lovingly, faithfully, and sorrowfully) from brethren who rebel against the teachings of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15). Such actions by Christians and churches are taken for at least two reasons: (1) to keep the church and the Christian families that comprise her from being harmed spiritually by the defiantly unfaithful (whose very tolerated presence would have even more damaging affects than an incessantly disruptive student in a school room; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:6-7), and (2) in hopes of causing the wayward child of God to come to his senses (being “ashamed” of his sinful conduct; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 5:5)—repenting of sin and being restored to the family of God.
Similarly, in 2 John 10-11, the apostle of the Lord instructed hospitable Christians to recognize the seriousness of greeting and housing deceptive false teachers. [NOTE: “The greeting was ‘Chairo!’ literally, goodspeed or God speed. This greeting was more than mere formality; it was an approval of the course being pursued by the one thus greeting, and included a desire for success in the effort attempted” (Woods, 1979, p. 349, italics in orig.).] First-century roaming teachers and preachers “depended on the generosity of the members of the church” for their housing and hospitality (Marshall, 1978, p. 74, emp. added). John the apostle, however, wanted the church to understand the serious threat that these dangerous false teachers posed to the precious bride of Christ. Doctrinal error is not something to “play with,” especially when such error involves the foundation of the Church (the life of Christ—2 John 7) and the denial of sin (the very thing that results in eternal death for the impenitent—Romans 6:23; Luke 13:3,5). By refusing to house and bid God-speed to deceptive teachers, the ungodly efforts of these misleading “messengers” would be greatly diminished. In time, they might choose to (or have to) stop their sowing of error altogether because of lack of opportunities, assistance, and encouragement. Such a result combined with genuine repentance would be the very thing for which Christians hope and pray.
Anyone who can see the reasonable and loving consistency of parents telling their children to “be nice to everyone,” but “don’t listen to these dangerous people” (showing them pictures of known child molesters), should be able to see the consistency of God’s message concerning Christian love and hospitality, and the way Christians react to false teachers who espouse damnable error. Children who shun dangerous sexual predators are protecting their own innocence, as well as keeping themselves and their families from a moment (or a lifetime) of grief. What’s more, the avoided, dangerous strangers are not given the opportunity to continue in their sins. Thus, the children’s obedient avoidance of them could be of great help to the sinful strangers in the highest way possible—if they awaken to their spiritual senses.
Christians are actually fulfilling the Law of Christ to “do good to all” (Galatians 6:2,10) even as we identify and refuse to embrace and fellowship false teachers. We are “doing good” to the “household of faith” by helping keep her pure and unaffected by cancer-spreading deceptive teachers (2 Timothy 2:17-18). Allowing error to spread would be tantamount to “rejoicing in iniquity,” which is unloving (1 Corinthians 13:6). What’s more, the false teachers themselves are in no way encouraged to continue down the road of deceit. Rather, it is the hope and prayer of Christians that false teachers would become convicted of the error of their ways and repent before the Master Teacher (Luke 2:47; John 7:46) returns and judges them eternally for their doctrinal deceit (2 Peter 2).
[NOTE: Near the conclusion of his excellent commentary on 2 John, Guy N. Woods made an appropriate observation that both Christians and critics of 2 John 10-11 should consider: “John does not here forbid hospitality to strangers, or, for that matter, to false teachers when, in so doing, false teaching is neither encouraged nor done. Were we to find a teacher known to be an advocate of false doctrine suffering, it would be our duty to minister to his need, provided that in so doing we did not abet or encourage him in the propagation of false doctrine…. What is forbidden is the reception of such teachers in such fashion as to supply them with an opportunity to teach their tenets, to maintain an association with them when such would involve us in the danger of accepting their doctrines…. The test is, Does one become a partaker by the action contemplated? If yes, our duty is clear; we must neither receive them nor give them greeting; if No, the principle here taught is not applicable” (pp. 349-350, emp. added).]

REFERENCES

“Gnosticism” (1982), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Marshall, I. Howard (1978), The Epistles of John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Wells, Steve (2015), “Should Believers Discuss Their Faith with Nonbelievers?” http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/discuss.html.
Woods, Guy N. (1979), New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

Who is the Antichrist? by Roy Davison


http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/antichr.html

Who is the Antichrist?


Through the centuries thousands of different individuals have been designated as 'the antichrist'. In each generation we are confronted with sensationalists who label some contemporary as 'the antichrist'.
Is the antichrist one specific person or a class of people portrayed as one person?
The word 'antichrist' appears five times in Scripture: twice in 1 John 2:18, and also in 1 John 2:22; 4:3 and 2 John 7. The prefix 'anti' means 'against'. The word refers to someone who is against Christ, the opponent of Christ or the opposite of Christ.
The identity of the antichrist is described in these and related passages.
"Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18).
Although this is the first time that the word 'antichrist' appears in the New Testament, readers are expected to be familiar with the concept. They knew he would coming.
Jesus had warned: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4, 5); "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold" (Matthew 24:11, 12); "For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand" (Matthew 24:24,25); "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them" (Luke 21:8).
We are warned about "false christs and false prophets" and Jesus says their coming will be accompanied by lawlessness.
Peter gave a similar warning: "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words" (2 Peter 2:1-3).
From these warnings of Christ and Peter, which were written down many years earlier than John's letters, Christians knew there would be an apostasy. There would be many false teachers and many would follow them. Lawlessness would be prevalent among those who claimed to be Christians!
In 1 John 2:18 we also notice that John was able to draw a conclusion: "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour."
This prevalence of false teachers was proof that the last hour had come.
We can better understand John's conclusion by comparing this statement (written about 90 AD) with what Paul wrote some 40 years earlier. In his letter to the Thessalonians in about 53 AD he says: "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
In 53 AD there were certain predictions that still had to be fulfilled before the return of Christ. The "falling away" had to occur and "the man of sin" would be revealed, the "son of perdition, who opposes." Paul speaks of the "mystery of lawlessness". Christ had foretold that lawlessness would abound (Matthew 24:12). Paul also calls this "man of sin" the "lawless one" and alludes to a Messianic prophesy in Isaiah 11:4. Some at Thessalonica thought Christ was returning immediately. Paul explains that a large-scale apostasy among Christians would occur first.
Forty years later, when John wrote, the situation had changed. John's readers knew about the prophecy of an apostasy (Matthew 24:4,5,11,23-26; Mark 13:6,21- 23; Luke 21:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). In the meantime, this prophecy had been fulfilled: the antichrist had come (1 John 2:18; 4:3; 2 John 7), apostasy had occurred (1 John 2:19), and Christ could come at any moment. It was the last hour.
Since then, Christ can come any time. Whoever denies this is a false teacher.
John continues: "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22). One can deny with his mouth, but also through false doctrines and unauthorized practices, as indicated in 2 John 9: "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son."
John also mentions the spirit of the antichrist. "By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world" (1 John 4:2, 3). Notice the movement from the plural to the singular. Every spirit who does not confess Christ, is the spirit of antichrist. In other words, the antichrist spirit represents all spirits who are against Christ.
We find the same movement from plural to singular in 2 John 7. "For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist" (ASV). Some translators change "the" to "a" in this last sentence. In the original Greek text, however, it is literally, word for word: "This is the deceiver and the antichrist." In other words, the many deceivers are the deceiver and the antichrist.
Who is the antichrist? According to John, "the antichrist" represents the many false christs and false prophets whom Jesus said would arise and deceive many. The antichrist stands for all the false teachers in the world, people who are opponents of Christ or who put themselves in the place of Christ.
Let us beware of the antichrist spirit, the spirit of lawlessness, the spirit that contradicts the word of God.
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading January 30 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading January 30 (World English Bible)

Jan. 30
Genesis 30

Gen 30:1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I will die."
Gen 30:2 Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in God's place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"
Gen 30:3 She said, "Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her."
Gen 30:4 She gave him Bilhah her handmaid as wife, and Jacob went in to her.
Gen 30:5 Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son.
Gen 30:6 Rachel said, "God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son." Therefore called she his name Dan.
Gen 30:7 Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:8 Rachel said, "With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed." She named him Naphtali.
Gen 30:9 When Leah saw that she had finished bearing, she took Zilpah, her handmaid, and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
Gen 30:10 Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, bore Jacob a son.
Gen 30:11 Leah said, "How fortunate!" She named him Gad.
Gen 30:12 Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, bore Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:13 Leah said, "Happy am I, for the daughters will call me happy." She named him Asher.
Gen 30:14 Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother, Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."
Gen 30:15 She said to her, "Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son's mandrakes, also?" Rachel said, "Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son's mandrakes."
Gen 30:16 Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, "You must come in to me; for I have surely hired you with my son's mandrakes." He lay with her that night.
Gen 30:17 God listened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son.
Gen 30:18 Leah said, "God has given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband." She named him Issachar.
Gen 30:19 Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob.
Gen 30:20 Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good dowry. Now my husband will live with me, because I have borne him six sons." She named him Zebulun.
Gen 30:21 Afterwards, she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.
Gen 30:22 God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb.
Gen 30:23 She conceived, bore a son, and said, "God has taken away my reproach."
Gen 30:24 She named him Joseph, saying, "May Yahweh add another son to me."
Gen 30:25 It happened, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, "Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country.
Gen 30:26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you."
Gen 30:27 Laban said to him, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that Yahweh has blessed me for your sake."
Gen 30:28 He said, "Appoint me your wages, and I will give it."
Gen 30:29 He said to him, "You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me.
Gen 30:30 For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. Yahweh has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also?"
Gen 30:31 He said, "What shall I give you?" Jacob said, "You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it.
Gen 30:32 I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. This will be my hire.
Gen 30:33 So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that might be with me, will be counted stolen."
Gen 30:34 Laban said, "Behold, I desire it to be according to your word."
Gen 30:35 That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
Gen 30:36 He set three days' journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
Gen 30:37 Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
Gen 30:38 He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink.
Gen 30:39 The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.
Gen 30:40 Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the black in the flock of Laban: and he put his own droves apart, and didn't put them into Laban's flock.
Gen 30:41 It happened, whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods;
Gen 30:42 but when the flock were feeble, he didn't put them in. So the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
Gen 30:43 The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.

Jan. 29, 30
Matthew 15

Mat 15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying,
Mat 15:2 "Why do your disciples disobey the tradition of the elders? For they don't wash their hands when they eat bread."
Mat 15:3 He answered them, "Why do you also disobey the commandment of God because of your tradition?
Mat 15:4 For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'
Mat 15:5 But you say, 'Whoever may tell his father or his mother, "Whatever help you might otherwise have gotten from me is a gift devoted to God,"
Mat 15:6 he shall not honor his father or mother.' You have made the commandment of God void because of your tradition.
Mat 15:7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,
Mat 15:8 'These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Mat 15:9 And in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrine rules made by men.' "
Mat 15:10 He summoned the multitude, and said to them, "Hear, and understand.
Mat 15:11 That which enters into the mouth doesn't defile the man; but that which proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man."
Mat 15:12 Then the disciples came, and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended, when they heard this saying?"
Mat 15:13 But he answered, "Every plant which my heavenly Father didn't plant will be uprooted.
Mat 15:14 Leave them alone. They are blind guides of the blind. If the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit."
Mat 15:15 Peter answered him, "Explain the parable to us."
Mat 15:16 So Jesus said, "Do you also still not understand?
Mat 15:17 Don't you understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the belly, and then out of the body?
Mat 15:18 But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile the man.
Mat 15:19 For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies.
Mat 15:20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands doesn't defile the man."
Mat 15:21 Jesus went out from there, and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon.
Mat 15:22 Behold, a Canaanite woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, "Have mercy on me, Lord, you son of David! My daughter is severely demonized!"
Mat 15:23 But he answered her not a word. His disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away; for she cries after us."
Mat 15:24 But he answered, "I wasn't sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Mat 15:25 But she came and worshiped him, saying, "Lord, help me."
Mat 15:26 But he answered, "It is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
Mat 15:27 But she said, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Be it done to you even as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that hour.
Mat 15:29 Jesus departed there, and came near to the sea of Galilee; and he went up into the mountain, and sat there.
Mat 15:30 Great multitudes came to him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others, and they put them down at his feet. He healed them,
Mat 15:31 so that the multitude wondered when they saw the mute speaking, injured whole, lame walking, and blind seeing-and they glorified the God of Israel.
Mat 15:32 Jesus summoned his disciples and said, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat. I don't want to send them away fasting, or they might faint on the way."
Mat 15:33 The disciples said to him, "Where should we get so many loaves in a deserted place as to satisfy so great a multitude?"
Mat 15:34 Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven, and a few small fish."
Mat 15:35 He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground;
Mat 15:36 and he took the seven loaves and the fish. He gave thanks and broke them, and gave to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes.
Mat 15:37 They all ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces that were left over.
Mat 15:38 Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.
Mat 15:39 Then he sent away the multitudes, got into the boat, and came into the borders of Magdala.