3/13/17

"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" The Light Of The World (8:12) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                     The Light Of The World (8:12)

INTRODUCTION

1. The gospel of John records at least seven remarkable claims by Jesus...
   a. "I am the bread of life" - Jn 6:48
   b. "I am the light of the world" - Jn 8:12
   c. "I am the door" - Jn 10:9
   d. "I am the good shepherd" - Jn 10:11
   e. "I am the resurrection and the life" - Jn 11:25
   f. "I am the way, the truth, and the life" - Jn 14:6
   g. "I am the vine" - Jn 15:5

2. In making such statements, Jesus reveals much...
   a. About the world around us, and the lives we live
   b. About Himself, and what He has to offer to us

3. In this study, we will focus our attention on His claim to be  
      "The Light Of The World"...
   a. As recorded in Jn 8:12... "I am the light of the world. He who
      follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
   b. Made by Jesus in the treasury of the temple (part of the Court of Women) 
        - cf. Jn 8:20
   c. In which there were "two colossal golden lamp stands, on which
      hung a multitude of lamps, lighted after the evening sacrifice
      (probably every evening during the feast of tabernacles),
      diffusing their brilliancy, it is said, over all the city"
      - Jameison, Fausset, and Brown

[As we examine the words of Jesus, we notice what is implied about the
world in which we live...]

I. THERE IS DARKNESS IN THE WORLD

   A. THE SYMBOLISM OF DARKNESS...
      1. Used metaphorically to symbolize distress, mourning,
         perplexity, ignorance and death - Isa 9:1-2; Job 5:14; 12:24-25; 10:21; 17:13
      2. Used figuratively of moral depravity - cf. Jn 3:19; Ro 13:12-13; Ep 5:11

   B. THE REALITY OF DARKNESS...
      1. Seen in the news (terrorism, war, oppression, sexual abuse, greed)
      2. Viewed in the media (pornography, filthy language)
      3. Experienced in life (adultery, physical and verbal abuse, false religions)
      4. As described by the apostle Paul, many walk in darkness... - cf. Ep 4:17-19
         a. In the futility of their minds
         b. Darkened in their understanding
         c. Alienated from the life of God
         d. Ignorant because of the blindness of their heart
         e. Past feeling, given over to lewdness
         f. Working all uncleanness with greediness

[While there may be varying degrees of darkness in which people find
themselves, if they live in the world they must contend with darkness.
To those in darkness, Jesus offers hope...]

II. JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

   A. HE IS THE LIGHT...
      1. A claim made elsewhere in the gospel
         a. In the prologue - Jn 1:4-9
         b. By Jesus on other occasions - Jn 9:5; 12:35,46
      2. He is the light, not a light
         a. Indicating that He alone provides the true light
         b. Even as He alone provides the true and living way - cf. Jn 14:6
      3. As the light, Jesus is the source of life - Jn 8:12c
         a. The abundant life (with peace, joy, love) - Jn 10:10; cf. Jn 14:27; 15:10,11
         b. The eternal life (including the resurrection) - Jn 11:25; 17:2
      4. We must be wary of those who proclaim to offer "light"
         a. Some may be servants of Satan - cf. 2Co 11:13-15
         b. At best, one can only reflect what light Jesus has already bestowed

   B. OF THE WORLD...
      1. Not for the Jews only, but for Gentiles (the nations) as well
         a. As foretold by the prophets - cf. Isa 49:6; 60:1-3
         b. As commanded of His apostles - cf. Ac 26:15-18
      2. Available to all who believe, not an elect few
         a. To everyone who believes in Jesus - Jn 12:46
         b. To those who follow Jesus - Jn 8:12b

[How wonderful to know that in a world of darkness, we can have the
light of life through Jesus Christ, the light of the world!  Yet we
should reiterate that He is truly the light...]

III. FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIM

   A. BY BECOMING HIS DISCIPLE...
      1. Note the connection between following Jesus and being a disciple
         a. The word "disciple" means a follower, a learner
         b. Only those who follow Him will have the light of life
         c. Therefore only those who become His disciples will walk in His light
      2. How one becomes a disciple (or follower) of Jesus
         a. It begins with faith - Jn 12:46
         b. It includes baptism - cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:16

   B. BY ABIDING IN HIS WORD...
      1. Only by abiding in His Word...
         a. Are we truly His disciples (followers) - Jn 8:31
         b. Do we truly have Christ - cf. 2Jn 9
      2. As we abide in His words, we not only walk in light, we become light!
         a. Reflecting the light of Christ - cf. Php 2:15-16
         b. Proving what is acceptable, exposing that which is not - cf. Ep 5:8-14
         c. The light of the world, bringing glory to our Father in heaven - cf. Mt 5:14-16

CONCLUSION

1. Are you confused, stumbling in a morass of darkness, making a mess of your life...?
   a. Come to Jesus, the light of the world
   b. Follow Him, who will give you the light of life

2. You can become a light to others walking in darkness...
   a. As you reflect the light of Christ in your own life
   b. As you abide in His teachings, and follow His doctrine

In a world of darkness, let us walk in the light of Him who leads us to
both the abundant life and eternal life...!
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" The Promise Of The Spirit (7:37-39) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                  The Promise Of The Spirit (7:37-39)

INTRODUCTION

1. During the Feast Of Tabernacles, there was a daily ceremony involving water...
   a. Each day, the priests and the people would joyfully make their way to the pool 
       of Siloam
   b. Using a golden pitcher, water was drawn, taken back to the temple,
      and poured on the altar of burnt offering
   c. The words of Isa 12:3 were then sung:  "Therefore with joy you
      will draw water from the wells of salvation."

2. On such an occasion Jesus used the opportunity to extend a wonderful  promise...
   a. Inviting those who thirst to come to Him and drink - Jn 7:37
   b. Those who believe in Him will have "rivers of living water" flow
      from their hearts - Jn 7:38

3. The apostle John explains that this promise concerns the Holy Spirit... - Jn 7:39
   a. Whom those who believe would receive
   b. Who had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified

[What else might we glean from the Scriptures concerning this promise of
the Spirit?  Let's first take a closer look at...]

I. THE NATURE OF THE PROMISE

   A. FROM THE TEXT...
      1. A promise foretold by the Scriptures - Jn 7:38; cf. Isa 44:3; 58:11
         a. "The reference is not to any single passage, but to the
            spirit of the Scripture, notably such passages as Isa 55:1;
            58:11; Ps 36:8-9." - B. W. Johnson
         b. "...referring not to any particular passage, but to such as
            Isa 58:11; Joel 3:18; Zec 14:8; Ezek 47:1-12; in most of
            which the idea is that of waters issuing from beneath the
            temple, to which our Lord compares Himself and those who
            believe in Him." - Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
      2. A promise that makes one a blessing to others - Jn 7:38
         a. "out of his heart will flow rivers of living water"
         b. "When a man turns himself to the Lord, he shall be as a
            fountain filled with living water, and his streams shall
            flow to all the nations and tribes of men" - Kuinoel
         c. "...those who are Christians shall diffuse large, and
            liberal, and constant blessings on their fellowmen" - Barnes
      3. A promise offered to believers - Jn 7:39
         a. Not to those who have yet to believe
         b. Which is why I do not believe it refers to the ministry of
            the Spirit through the Word alone, for such occurs even on
            those who do not believe - e.g., Jn 16:8
         c. Note this observation by Robert Milligan:
            1) "He manifestly refers in this passage to something which
               had hitherto been enjoyed by no one, and which could be
               enjoyed by none until after that he himself was
               glorified." - Robert Milligan, Scheme of Redemption, p.283
            2) "This, it would seem, could not have reference to the
               mediate agency of the Spirit, through the written word
               and the ordinary workings of God's providence; for
               through these media the Spirit had always operated on the
               minds of both Jews and Patriarchs." - ibid.
            3) "Christ is speaking here of what is peculiar to his own
               personal reign and administration." - ibid.
      4. A promise extended to all believers - Jn 7:39
         a. Not just to select disciples with special tasks, such as apostles and prophets
         b. Which is why I do not believe it refers to miraculous
            manifestations of the Spirit, such as the gifts of the
            Spirit, for not all Christians had such; note also:
            1) This promise of the Spirit had not yet been given
            2) Yet miraculous manifestations of the Spirit had been
               experienced prior to the glorification of Jesus - e.g., Lk 1:41,67
      5. A promise given after Jesus was "glorified" - Jn 7:39
         a. I.e., after His resurrection and ascension to heaven
         b. "The first and second chapters of the Book of Acts is the
            best comment upon this passage. When Jesus ascended to the
            right hand of the Father and was glorified, he sent forth
            the Spirit upon his apostles on the day of Pentecost, and
            the apostles in turn promised the gift of the Spirit to all
            who would believe, repent, and be baptized." 
             - J. W. McGarvey (Fourfold Gospel)

   B. FROM OTHER TEXTS...
      1. We conclude that it refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit
         a. Promised to all who repent and are baptized - cf. Ac 2:38-39
         b. Given to all who obey - cf. Ac 5:32
         c. Imbibed by all who are baptized - cf. 1Co 12:13
         d. Sent into our hearts because we are God's children - cf. Ga 4:6
      2. We conclude that it refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
         a. Who indwells all that belong to Christ - cf. Ro 8:9-10
         b. Making their bodies a temple of the Spirit - cf. 1Co 6:19

[That this promise refers to the gift or indwelling of the Spirit given
to all Christians becomes more apparent as we now focus our attention on...]

II. THE BLESSINGS OF THE PROMISE

   A. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT...
      1. Remember what Jesus said of those who receive the Spirit - Jn 7:38
         a. "out of his heart will flow rivers of living water"
         b. I.e., they will become a blessing to others; note again:
            1) "When a man turns himself to the Lord, he shall be as a
               fountain filled with living water, and his streams shall
               flow to all the nations and tribes of men" - Kuinoel
            2) "...those who are Christians shall diffuse large, and
               liberal, and constant blessings on their fellowmen" - Barnes
      2. Especially when they bear the fruit of the Spirit in their lives- Ga 5:22-23
         a. Such as love, joy, peace
         b. Such as longsuffering, kindness, goodness
         c. Such as gentleness, faithfulness, self-control
      -- Bearing such fruit of the Spirit, they bless the lives of others!

   B. THE AID OF THE SPIRIT...
      1. The fruit of the Spirit becomes possible with the aid of the Spirit
         a. Who helps us to put to death the deeds of the body - Ro 8:12-13; cf. Col 3:5-8
         b. Who enables us to be filled with joy and peace, abounding in hope - Ro 15:13
      2. For the Spirit is God's instrumental agent to strengthen the Christian
         a. Strengthening with might through the Spirit in the inner man - Ep 3:16
         b. With a power working in us - Ep 3:20
   -- We are able to be a blessing to others, with the aid of the Spirit
      working in us!

[Jesus therefore offers us the opportunity to be blessed by the Spirit's
indwelling, so we can be useful in blessing the lives of those around
us.  But to ensure that we receive this blessing of the Spirit, let's be careful to consider...]

III. THE RECEPTION OF THE PROMISE

   A. GIVEN TO THOSE WHO OBEY...
      1. By believing in Jesus Christ
         a. The need to believe emphasized twice in our text - Jn 7: 38-39
         b. For faith is necessary to receive "life in His name" - cf.Jn 20:31
      2. By repenting of our sins
         a. The gift of the Spirit promised to those who repent - Ac 2:38-39
         b. Those who repent will experience "times of refreshing" (what
            could be more refreshing than "rivers of living water"?) - cf. Ac 3:19
      3. By being baptized for the remission of our sins
         a. Those baptized are promised the gift of the Spirit - Ac 2: 38-39
         b. They are made to drink into one Spirit - cf. 1Co 12:13
      -- As Peter put it, God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him - Ac 5:32

   B. EXPERIENCED BY THOSE WHO GROW...
      1. By singing psalms, hymns, spiritual songs
         a. We are to be filled with the Spirit - Ep 5:18
         b. Which we can do by singing - Ep 5:19
      2. By studying the Word of God
         a. Which is the sword of the Spirit - Ep 6:17
         b. The means by which the Spirit teaches and instructs the
            Christian, for it contains the revelation of God given by
            the Spirit to inspired men who wrote it for our benefit- cf.1Co 2:9-13; Ep 3:5-7
      3. By praying, making requests regarding the Spirit
         a. That God would fill one with all joy and peace in believing,
            abounding in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit - Ro 15:13
         b. That God would strengthen one with might through His Spirit
            in the inner man - Ep 3:16
      4. By turning away from sin
         a. Lest they grieve the Spirit - cf. Ep 4:29-31
         b. Lest they quench the Spirit - cf. 1Th 5:19

CONCLUSION

1. What a wonderful promise Jesus offers in our text...
   a. The Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him
   b. A refreshing drink that can become rivers of living water
      1) First refreshing our souls
      2) Then refreshing the souls around us by His impact on our lives

2. How sad if we quench the Spirit Who is intended to quench our thirst...
   a. By failing to obey the Lord
   b. By failing to grow in the Lord

May our attitude and heart's felt desire be similar to that of the
Samaritan woman, when Jesus spoke to her at Jacob's well...

   "Jesus answered and said to her, 'Whoever drinks of this water
   will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall
   give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him
   will become in him a fountain of water springing up into
   everlasting life.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, give me this
   water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.'" (Jn 4:13-15)

Are you willing to say to Jesus, "Sir, give me this water, that I may
not thirst" by coming to Him in faithful obedience...?
 

Christians Should Examine Islam by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=8&article=3588

Christians Should Examine Islam

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

With the advent of 9/11, our world, and the way we view it, has been forever altered. As you well know, Islam has not only captured international attention, it is expanding its influence and making extensive encroachments into American culture. Almost on a daily basis, the average American is stunned, even shocked, to hear of the concessions being made to Islam in America. From permitting the construction of a mosque near ground zero, to building taxpayer-funded prayer rooms for Muslims on college campuses, Islam’s encroachments are steadily increasing. Over 1,200 mosques dot the American landscape—most built within the last two decades—and more being built every day. Influential American authorities—from politicians to public school educators—are promulgating the equal acceptance and promotion of Islam in public life.

Now is the time for Christians to be informed. Now is the time for Christians to prepare themselves to help Muslims to see the truth. Five years ago, Apologetics Press released The Quran Unveiled, a volume intended to provide readers with an analysis of the fountain head of Islam: the Quran. Indeed, the authenticity of Islam rests on the credibility of the Quran. If the Quran is from God, it must possess the self-authenticating attributes and characteristics of divine inspiration. If it is not from God, though it may possess certain positive, even valuable, qualities, it must be rejected as disqualified to legislate human behavior in an absolute and ultimate sense. The primary purpose of The Quran Unveiled is to examine Islam’s holy book with a view toward ascertaining whether it is, in fact, of supernatural origin.

Apologetics Press continues to surge forward to maintain its cutting edge articulation of New Testament truth to current culture. Responding to the upsurge of Muslims into America is a part of this effort to teach the truth for Christ. We dare not ignore what is happening to the country. We must prepare ourselves to “make a defense” (1 Peter 3:15). In this month’s edition of Resources (inside R&R), you’ll find an advertisement with order information regarding how to purchase a copy of the book. Additionally, a DVD set of the live Islam Seminar is available. We urge you to take advantage of these tools in your evangelistic efforts to point people to Jesus Christ.

The Five Manifestations of Natural Phenomena by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=751

The Five Manifestations of Natural Phenomena

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

For over a century, scientists have recognized that all natural phenomena in the Universe can ultimately be divided into interactions between five basic, fundamental “manifestations.” In 1882, staunch evolutionist Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher, biologist, and sociologist who was a prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era, recognized “likenesses and unlikenesses among phenomena…, which are segregated into manifestations…, and then into space and time, matter and motion and force…” (Soylent Communications, 2011, emp. added). In First Principles, under the chapter heading, “Space, Time, Matter, Motion, and Force,” he wrote, “These modes of cohesion under which manifestations are invariably presented, and therefore invariably represented, we call…Space and Time,…Matter and Motion [action—JM]” (1882, 1:171, emp. added). “Though Space, Time, Matter, and Motion, are apparently all necessary data of intelligence, yet a psychological analysis…shows us that these are either built up of, or abstracted from, experiences of Force” (p. 169). So, time, force, action, space, and matter are the five manifestations of all scientific phenomena.
This truth—fundamental to understanding science—was articulated by an agnostic in the 19th century, and yet these fundamental principles were articulated in the very first verse of the Bible millennia ago. “In the beginning [time], God [force] created [action] the heavens [space] and the Earth [matter].” It is truly amazing that a renowned apostle of agnosticism would be the one to verbally articulate this discovery from science—a discovery which gives significant weight to the contention that one can know there is a God and that the Bible is His inspired Word. And further, it is notably ironic that the very man from whom Charles Darwin took the phrase, “survival of the fittest” (Spencer, 1864, 2:444), would be the man that unknowingly found evidence specifically supporting the inspiration of Genesis chapter one—the very chapter of the Bible that relates the truth about man’s origin. Acts 14:17 rightly says, “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good…” (emp. added).

REFERENCES

Soylent Communications (2011), “Herbert Spencer,” NNDB: Tracking the Entire World, http://www.nndb.com/people/013/000094728/.
Spencer, Herbert (1882), First Principles: A System of Synthetic Philosophy (New York: D. Appleton and Company), fourth edition.
Spencer, Herbert (1864), Principles of Biology: A System of Synthetic Philosophy (London: Williams and Norgate).

Struggling Leads to Strength by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=844

Struggling Leads to Strength

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Much truth is contained in the statement, “a smooth sea never made a skillful mariner.” One who does not undergo the intensity of physical training hardly can expect to become an outstanding athlete. For example, if a man desires to participate in weight training, but at the same time refuses to endure the resistance that comes with adding weight day after day, his chances of becoming stronger are very slim indeed. After all, the whole concept behind lifting weights is resistance. A person struggles with the weight in order to build muscle mass and become stronger physically. Similarly, one who seeks intelligence must struggle through the learning process. He must work at reading, writing, and figuring out problems. The same is true of faith. In order to grow and become stronger, Christians must face some resistance. That is to say, on occasion we must struggle in order to strengthen our spiritual bodies. Jesus told His apostles the night of His betrayal: “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Paul told Timothy: “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Sometimes people wonder why God allows trials and tribulations in this world. Why did He not create us so that everything we experience is painless? One of the answers to this oft’-asked question is that sometimes we can benefit greatly from experiencing mental and/or physical pain. We witness this same principle at work in the animal world. The emperor moth must struggle from its cocoon in order to properly develop its body and wings. If it does not struggle, the result is a flightless moth. In Hebrews 11, one reads of Abraham being tested (17), Moses suffering affliction (24-25), and others being mocked, scourged, and imprisoned (36). Did these trials benefit them in any way? James wrote: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4, emp. added). In writing to the Corinthian brethren Paul said, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). The struggles Paul endured while on the Earth were a momentary trifle compared with the eternal glory before him.
You will struggle in this life. When you do, look to the Lord and trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Realize that different forms of suffering can make us stronger if we permit them to do so. We can be confident that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This does not mean that everything that happens to us is good. But it does mean that if we are living godly lives, whatever does happen will work out for the best in the long run.

Is Sprinkling an Appropriate Mode of Baptism? by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1181

Is Sprinkling an Appropriate Mode of Baptism?

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

In their definitions of “baptism,” most modern dictionaries include the sprinkling (and pouring) of water. Similarly, many in the religious world teach that “baptism” by sprinkling is acceptable and sufficient, while others disagree. Because of these conflicting messages, questions on the issue of sprinkling inevitably arise. What does the word “baptism” really mean? Does it, by definition, include sprinkling? The answers to these questions have a bearing on the meaning of Jesus’ command, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19, emp. added).
The English word “baptism” is transliterated from the Greek word baptisma, which signifies dipping or immersion (Thayer, 1958, p. 94; Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker, 1979, p. 132). Immersion and sprinkling are two very different things, and the Greek language bears that out (Jackson, 2002a, p. 31). Forms of the word baptisma appear in various extrabiblical Greek writings, where it consistently carries with it the meaning of immersion. Aristotle, Polybius, Plutarch, Strabo, Diodorus, and Josephus all wrote of things that were “immersed” in water, and they all used forms of baptizo (Martin, 1991, pp. 208-210). In the Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, there is a passage that plainly shows the clear distinction between the concepts of sprinkling and baptism. Leviticus 4:17 reads: “Then the priest shall dip [baptizo] his finger in the blood and sprinkle [rhantizo] it several times before the Lord, in front of the veil.” In this verse, the word translated “baptize” (or “dip”) is mentioned in the same sentence with the word rightly translated “sprinkle,” so it is clear that in the Old Testament, sprinkling is not baptism. The same holds true in the New Testament. In John 13:16, Jesus “dipped” (Greek bapto) a bread morsel and passed it to Judas. Every time “baptism” is mentioned in the New Testament, it means immersion, never sprinkling. In fact, the practice of substituting sprinkling for baptism was unheard of until A.D. 253 (Thompson and Jackson, 1984, p. 11).
Despite the fact that the word “baptism” has nothing to do with sprinkling, there are several passages of Scripture that frequently are used by advocates of sprinkling to justify their position.

LEVITICUS 14:15-16

Sometimes those who defend the practice of sprinkling claim that three of the most common modern “modes” of baptism (immersion in water, pouring of water, and sprinkling) are all authorized in Leviticus 14:15-16: “And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand. Then the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle some of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord” (emp. added).
Observe that Leviticus 14:15-16 was written about the process of purification of lepers after they recovered from their disease. This process of purification was the way by which the recovered leper could re-enter Hebrew society (Keil and Delitzsch, 1976, 1: 385). Leviticus 14:15-16 is part of the discussion of the second act of leper purification. This process is similar to one described in Leviticus 8:23, when Moses consecrated Aaron and his sons as priests. Both Leviticus 14:15-16 and Leviticus 8:23 are totally unrelated to New Testament baptism (both passages are addressing guidelines of Mosaic law, not Christian law—see Hebrews 7:22-28; Galatians 3:21-29), and thus cannot be used to justify sprinkling as an appropriate mode of baptism.

ISAIAH 52:15

Some contend that because this passage mentions the word “sprinkle,” the act of sprinkling must be a scriptural substitution for New Testament baptism. We must evaluate the validity of that contention by examining the context of Isaiah 52:15: “So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider” (emp. added). This verse is couched in a portion of Scripture that discusses the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world, so it is clear that the One Who shall “sprinkle many nations” is the Lord Himself.
The word “sprinkle” in Isaiah 52:15 is translated from the Hebrew word nazah. Every time nazah appears in the Old Testament, it is translated “sprinkle” (in the King James Version—see Exodus 29:21; Leviticus 5:9; Numbers 8:7), but some scholars believe that a more accurate translation of nazah here is “startle” (e.g., Hailey, 1992, p. 435; Keil and Delitzsch, 1976, 7: 308). Albert Barnes (1950, 2: 258) observed that the usage of “sprinkle” in this context is either an allusion to the sprinkling of blood in the Old Testament (and figuratively a link between that sprinkling and the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross), or to the ceremonial sprinkling of water to symbolize cleansing and purity (see Leviticus 14:51; Hebrews 9:19). However, if nazah were translated “startle,” the emphasis of the verse would change completely. The verse would then tell us that Christ’s suffering was going to “startle” the nations. Many accept that interpretation because of the statement in verse 15, “Kings shall shut their mouths.” This interpretation indicates that many were going to be shocked or even speechless when the Word became flesh, died as a sacrifice for sin, and was resurrected from the dead (Hailey, 1992, p. 436; Jackson, 1991, p. 105). No matter which translation of nazah is correct in this context, there is nothing contained in Isaiah 52:15 that has any connection to New Testament baptism, so it cannot be used to justify the modern practice of sprinkling.

EZEKIEL 36:25

Those who suggest that sprinkling is a legitimate substitution for baptism sometimes appeal to Ezekiel 36:25 as a “proof text.” “And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols” (emp. added). This verse, however, is not in a context concerning baptism. A study of Ezekiel 35 reveals that the language about “washing” is obviously metaphoric. It would have been a fitting metaphor for Ezekiel to use in relating to his audience, because of the Mosaic system of cleansing. Old Testament passages that use language like that used here about “washing” are numerous. For example, Moses recorded in Exodus 30:20: “When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die.” Exodus 29:4 reads: “And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water.” Numbers 19:18 declares: “A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave.” The concept of sprinkling and washing is prevalent in Old Testament passages, but in such passages (like Ezekiel 36), baptism for salvation is not under consideration. What is under consideration in Ezekiel 36 is, literally, the destruction of one of Israel’s enemies, the nation of Edom, and figuratively, the future destruction of all the Lord’s enemies (Jackson, 2002a, p. 31).
Notice Ezekiel 36:24: “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.” Then, immediately following the verse that mentions the sprinkling of clean water, God said: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). These two verses present the immediate context from which many modern religious people remove Ezekiel 36:25 in order to justify sprinkling. If we are to believe that Ezekiel was writing about a literal sprinkling of water in this verse, then we would also be forced to understand Ezekiel’s usage of “heart of stone” in verse 26 as being literal. New Testament baptism is simply not under consideration in Ezekiel 36:25. Wayne Jackson noted that many denominational scholars who defend the practice of sprinkling as an authentic form of baptism do not appeal to Ezekiel 36:25, because it does not aid their cause (2002a, p. 31). The substitution of sprinkling for true baptism cannot be defended, based on Ezekiel 36:25.

ACTS 2:41

At times, those who accept sprinkling appeal to Acts 2 in an attempt to justify their position. Some suggest that the twelve apostles could not have immersed as many as 3,000 people in one day (Acts 2:41 records that “about three thousand souls” were baptized on Pentecost), so the apostles must have sprinkled water on the 3,000. However, if each baptism took approximately a minute, the apostles could have done the job in just over four hours (Jackson, 2002b, p. 32). Also, nothing in the New Testament demands that the apostles had to do all the baptizing themselves.
Still others claim that ample water was not available in Jerusalem to accommodate all the immersions. However, there were many pools in Jerusalem, some of which were large. The Virgin’s pool was about 132 feet square and three feet deep. The pool of Siloam occupied approximately 800 square feet, and was more than three feet deep. Lower Gihon covers more than three acres, and can hold a depth of twenty feet of water; plus, there were other pools (McGarvey, 1881, p. 201). Without a doubt, on the day of Pentecost, the believers were immersed.

1 CORINTHIANS 10:2

Those who support the substitution of sprinkling for baptism sometimes appeal to 1 Corinthians 10:2 to justify their position. The passage states that “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea”—a direct reference to Exodus 14:22. Baptism into Moses is entirely different from baptism into Christ, but some who defend sprinkling assert that, because Paul called the crossing of the Red Sea a “baptism,” the Israelites must have been sprinkled as they crossed the Red Sea. [Israel certainly was not immersed in water—the people walked on dry ground (Hebrews 11:29).] What did Paul mean when he wrote that our fathers were “baptized into Moses”?
The meaning of baptism in 1 Corinthians 10:2 is both literal and figurative. The Israelites were baptized—in the sense that they were literally surrounded by water, though the water did not touch them. This is a legitimate use of the word “baptism.” When a body is buried in a cemetery, for example, the body is “immersed” in the ground (surrounded by dirt), though a casket prevents any dirt from actually touching the body. In that sense, the children of Israel were immersed in the Red Sea. Paul also wrote of baptism in a figurative sense: the children of Israel were “baptized” into Moses in that they devoted themselves to his leadership and, through him, God’s leadership. G.G. Findlay explained:
The cloud, shading and guiding the Israelites from above, and the “the sea” making a path for them through its midst and drowning their enemies behind them, were glorious signs to “our fathers” of God’s salvation; together they formed a washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5), inaugurating the national covenant life; as it trode the miraculous path between upper and nether waters, Israel was born into its Divine estate. Thus “they all received their baptism unto Moses, entering through him into acknowledged fellowship with God; even so the Corinthians in the use of the same symbolic element had been baptized unto Christ (cf. Romans 6:3f., Galatians 3:27; n.d., p. 857).
Baptism into Christ is not mandated by Exodus 14:22, though the example of the Red Sea crossing metaphorically foreshadows baptism into Christ, as does Noah’s ark (1 Peter 3:20-21; see Lenski, 1937, p. 391). In Exodus 14, though, the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea in order to save their physical lives, not to save their eternal souls, and the “baptism” of Exodus 14 was instituted by Moses thousands of years before the baptism of Christ came into effect. There is no identification of the proper “mode” of baptism in either 1 Corinthians 10:2 or Exodus 14:22, so the substitution of sprinkling for baptism cannot be justified based on either passage.

HEBREWS 10:22

This verse often is cited as proof that people should be sprinkled in order to be saved, but a brief examination of the text reveals another meaning. Hebrews 10:22 reads: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (emp. added). This verse seems to draw its spiritual meaning from God’s old covenant with Israel. During that period of Mosaic law, the high priests had to wash themselves before they entered the Most Holy Place (see Leviticus 16:3-4). Notice Hebrews 10:19-21: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God….” These verses, and verse 22, both deal with how people “draw near” to God, and the message in verse 22 is clear: our hearts must be true. What apparently makes our hearts true is the “sprinkling” of our hearts. If the hearts of Christians are “sprinkled,” the “evil conscience” is removed and they no longer bear the guilt of sin. The evil conscience is one that does not object to evil (cf. 1 Timothy 4:2). Robert Milligan explained this:
Every act that we perform contrary to the known will of God defiles our conscience and also our consciousness; we have them both an evil conscience and an evil self-consciousness. And this, so long as it continues, must seriously interrupt our union, communion, and fellowship with God. The child that is suffering from an evil consciousness on account of its having transgressed the known will of its father can not, so long as the feeling lasts, approach Him with perfect confidence. But when it repents of the evil, confesses the wrong, and feels fully assured that the fault is forgiven, then what a change comes over it (1950, p. 281).
The Hebrews writer did make reference to baptism, but notice how he did it. Verse 22 says our hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience, but that our bodies are washed with pure water. Sprinkling is indeed under consideration in Hebrews 10:22, but the reader must take care to observe what, exactly, is being “sprinkled.” In this passage, the Hebrew writer illustrates the need to have our hearts sprinkled, so obviously the meaning is not literal, but must be understood as figurative or metaphorical. The only portion of the verse that potentially deals with literal water is the part that mentions a “washing.” What is this washing? It is the same “washing of regeneration” that is mentioned in Titus 3:5—baptism (Milligan, 1950, p. 282). However, the portion of the verse that deals with sprinkling does not apply to the portion of the verse that deals with baptism. The hearts of Christians are figuratively sprinkled with the blood of Christ, but their bodies are washed (they are buried in water for the forgiveness of their sins; see Acts 22:16; Mark 16:16). The modern practice of sprinkling for baptism is not authorized by Hebrews 10:22.

TRUE BAPTISM

If the “proof texts” for sprinkling as a substitution for baptism do not prove that sprinkling is a form of baptism, then what is the authentic, scriptural form of baptism? The baptism Jesus authorized and commanded is precisely what is indicated by the Greek word baptizo: immersion. The book of Acts contains multiple accounts of baptism, and in every instance, the candidate for baptism was immersed. In every instance, that immersion was sufficient (see Acts 10:48; Acts 16:31-33; Acts 22:16).

REFERENCES

Arndt, William, F.W. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition revised.
Barnes, Albert (1950), Notes on the Old Testament: Isaiah (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Findlay, G.G. (no date), The Expositor’s Greek Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Hailey, Homer (1992), A Commentary on Isaiah (Louisville, KY: Religious Supply).
Jackson, Wayne (1991), Isaiah: God’s Prophet of Doom and Deliverance (Abilene, TX: Quality).
Jackson, Wayne (2002a), “Did The Prophet Ezekiel Preview ‘Sprinkling’ As A Form of New Testament ‘Baptism’?,” Christian Courier, 38:31, January.
Jackson, Wayne (2002b), “Notes from the Margin of My Bible,” Christian Courier, 38:31, January.
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1976a reprint), Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Lenski, Robert C.H. (1937), The Interpretation of I and II Corinthians (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Martin, Luther W. (1991) “Translating Baptizo,” Firm Foundation, 106:208-210, July.
McGarvey, J.W. (1881), Lands of the Bible (Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott).
Milligan, Robert (1950), The New Testament Commentary: Epistle to the Hebrews (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Thayer, J.H. (1958 reprint), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark).
Thompson, Bert and Wayne Jackson (1984), “That ‘Loaded’ Questionnaire,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1181.

Did God Seduce Mary? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=4663

Did God Seduce Mary?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Recently we received an e-mail at Apologetics Press from a skeptic who accused God of breaking one of His own commandments. The skeptic cited Exodus 20:17, which is the final commandment in the list of the Ten Commandments, that states: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” The skeptic then stated that “God most certainly wronged Joseph when He seduced Mary, the betrothed of Joseph.” Did God violate His own laws of morality when the Holy Spirit came upon Mary so that she conceived Jesus? Not in any way.
First, it must be stated emphatically that there was no sexual seduction of any kind involved in the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. In fact, that is just the point of the miraculous, virgin birth of Christ. Hundreds of years before Christ was conceived in the flesh, the prophet Isaiah had stated: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear and Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The New Testament writers stressed the fact that Mary was a virgin when Christ was conceived (Matthew 1:23). When the angel announced to Mary that she would conceive a child, she said: “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” Mary’s response makes it clear that there was no seduction involved. Instead, it was a miraculous conception that had nothing to do with sexual intercourse. Mary remained a virgin until after giving birth to Jesus, at which time Mary and her husband Joseph came together in marital relations and conceived several other children (Pinedo, 2009).
Notice the skeptic attempts to lump Jehovah God in with the grotesquely immoral pagan gods whose seductions and sexual perversions fill the pages of ancient mythology. Zeus, the “father of the gods” was a mythological deity whose sexual appetite and rapine seductions were all too well known. During some of his more infamous escapades he seduced Europa by turning himself into a white bull, running off with her on his back, and ravishing her on the isle of Crete. He had an affair with Io and then turned her into a heifer. He seduced Semele and eventually killed her by showing her his full, godly glory. These are but a few of Zeus’ “conquests” (Hunt, n.d).
Only the most prejudiced reader would attempt to relate the conception of Jesus to the seductions perpetrated by the pagans gods. In the historical account of Jesus’ conception there is no contact by God in any type of physical form with Mary. Mary was completely aware of how babies are normally conceived, yet she stressed the fact that she had been involved in no physical, sexual activity that would bring about pregnancy. The biblical text emphatically states that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to Jesus. Mary was not seduced, violated, ravished, or involved in any sexual way with Jehovah. In a miraculous event that had nothing to do with sexual seduction, the Holy Spirit “came upon her” (Luke 1:35), and brought about the conception of the Messiah. The skeptic has no legitimate grounds to accuse Jehovah God of immorality in His interaction with Mary. Such an accusation truly reveals more about what is in the sinful heart of the skeptic than it does about God’s character.

REFERENCES

Hunt, J.M, (No date), “Zeus Lovers,” http://edweb.sdsu.edu/people/bdodge/scaffold/gg/zeuslover.html.
Pinedo, Moisés (2009), “Was Mary a Virgin Her Whole Life?,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=105&article=2665.

Evolutionary Theory Changes Its Tune...Again by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=3484

Evolutionary Theory Changes Its Tune...Again

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The song has been playing like a broken record for decades: “Evolution is true. Evolution is a fact. Evolution is true. Evolution is a fact....” As long as this mantra is repeated by enough intellectuals, it seems many will become and/or remain enamored with evolutionary theory—even when the underlying evidence is shown continually to be inadequate and at odds with reality. Many evolutionary-laden science textbooks declare that natural selection (e.g., English peppered moths), mutations, embryology, homology, the fossil record (e.g., the horse “family tree”), etc. all prove the General Theory of Evolution. In actuality, none of these proves what evolutionists claim. Creationists recognize the fossil record, similarities among living things, natural selection, and mutations, but we have observed nothing that proves humans descended from amphibious creatures that crawled out of the water hundreds of millions of years ago. The fact is, evolutionists’ “proofs” are simply assertions. Their theory is merely a twisted interpretation of the physical world. What’s more, their “story” changes from one year to the next—and sometimes one day to the next.
Consider evolutionists’ assertions regarding the origin of birds. A 1989 Earth Science high school textbook declared: “The fossil record clearly shows that the immediate ancestor of this bird [Archaeopteryx—EL] was a dinosaur” (Namowitz and Spaulding, p. 565, emp. added). In 1994, Prentice Hall published a widely used middle school textbook titled Evolution: Change Over Time. Adjacent to a chart showing how long ago birds supposedly evolved from dinosaurs, the editors placed these words: “[B]iologists think that birds are actually modern-day dinosaurs. Current theory indicates that birds evolved from the most famous of the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex” (p. 67). Only last year, evolutionary scientists in China confidently affirmed that “birds evolved from dinosaurs” (“Feathered Fossils...,” 2009), and just last month we reported how evolutionary scientists writing in Nature magazine allegedly “confirmed” (yet once again) that birds evolved from dinosaurs (Butt, 2010).
Shortly after this most recent dinosaur-to-bird article was published in Nature this past January (Zhang, et al., 2010), an article by Oregon State zoologist John Ruben appeared in the pro-evolutionary journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. What’s different about this story? For starters, Ruben acknowledged in the first line of the article that “new fossils, and reinterpretations of well-known fossils, sharply at odds with conventional wisdom never seem to cease popping up” (2010). Furthermore, he admitted to the “vagaries of the fossil record,” declaring what creationists have been affirming for years: “current notions of near resolution of many of the most basic questions about long-extinct forms should probably be regarded with caution” (2010, emp. added). “Even major aspects of paleobiology of intensely studied, recently extinct taxa (<10 added="" emp.="" p="" remain="" uben="" unresolved="" yrs.=""> One “major” unresolved aspect of paleobiology that Ruben addressed was the origin of birds. Although “many scientific and lay communities,” including countless public school textbook editors, have been championing for decades that birds are “living dinosaurs,” Ruben urged readers to put the brake on this bandwagon. First of all, “very recent data suggest that many clearly cursorial theropods [ground dwelling dinosaurs—EL] previously thought to have been feathered may not have been” (Ruben; cf. Lingham-Soliar, et al., 2007, 274:1823-1829; see also Butt, 2010). What’s more, “the group that birds are assumed to have been derived from, may not even have been dinosaurs” (Ruben, emp. added)! Even though for many years, innumerable impressionable minds have been taught the “factuality” of dinosaur-to-bird evolution, evolutionary zoologist John Ruben says this was only an assumption. Scientists have never proven that dinosaurs evolved into birds. In fact, based upon recent model glide tests done by several scientists around the country (see Alexander, et al., 2010), a growing number of evolutionists appear to be “broadly at odds with one another” (Ruben).
Evolutionary theories regarding bird-origins are contradictory, plain and simple. Some contend, “The evidence shows that birds evolved from dinosaurs,” yet others are drawing “totally different” conclusions (“Challenge to Dino-Bird...,” 2010)—based upon the same evidence. Although dinosaur-to-bird theorists have “insisted...that the debate is all over and done with,” Ruben has stated that “this issue isn’t resolved at all. There are just too many inconsistencies with the idea that birds had dinosaur ancestors” (Viegas, 2010). Instead, Ruben believes that “the evidence is finally showing that these [raptors] which are usually considered dinosaurs were actually descended from birds, not the other way around” (as quoted in “Challenge to Dino-Bird...,” 2010, emp. added, bracketed item in orig.).
Ruben is correct about one thing: the often-parroted claim that dinosaurs evolved into birds is merely an assumption (and a wrong one at that!). Yet, Ruben and others are sadly mistaken that birds evolved into dinosaurs. Both of these conclusions are simply unjustified, unproven interpretations of the fossil record. The fossil record in no way proves evolution. Dinosaurs never evolved into birds and birds never evolved into dinosaurs. God created these animals on days five and six of Creation...and no fossil has ever contradicted this fact.

REFERENCES

Alexander, David, Enpu Gong, Larry Martin, David Burnham, and Amanda Falk (2010), “Model Tests of Gliding with Different Hindwing Configurations in the Four-Winged Dromaeosaurid Microraptor Gui,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(7):2972-2976, February 9, [On-line], URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/107/7/2972.abstract?ijkey=6634b3c679eee990cb37865665b5a06956ee476e&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha.
Butt, Kyle (2010), “Were Dinosaur ‘Feathers’ Colored?” Resources, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240350.
“Challenge to Dino-Bird Evolution Theory Not Dead Yet” (2010), [On-line], URL: http://www.world-science.net/othernews/100210_bird.htm.
Evolution: Change Over Time (1994), (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).
“Feathered Fossils Prove Birds Evolved from Dinosaurs, Say Chinese Scientists” (2009), Mail Online, September 25, [On-line], URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1215998/Feathered-fossils-prove-birds-evolved-dinosaurs-say-Chinese-scientists.html.
Lingham-Soliar, Theagarten., Alan Feduccia, and Xiaolin Wang (2007), “A New Chinese Specimen Indicates that ‘ProtoFeathers’ in the Early Cretaceous Theropod Dinosaur Sinosauropteryx are Degraded Collagen Fibers,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, August 7, 274:1823-1829.
Namowitz, Samuel and Nancy Spaulding (1989), Earth Science (Lexington, MA: Heath).
Ruben, John (2010), “Paleobiology and the Origins of Avian Flight,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(7):2733-2734, February 9, [On-line], URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/107/7/2733.extract?sid=aae35bc0-203d-4460-b1c2-cadd08fd1665.
Viegas, Jennifer (2010), “Some ‘Dinosaurs’ Evolved from Birds?” DiscoveryNews, February 17, [On-line], URL: http://news.discovery.com/dinosaurs/some-dinosaurs-evolved-from-birds.html.
Zhang, Fucheng, Stuart Kearns, Patrick Orr, et al. (2010), “Fossilized Melanosomes and the Color of Cretaceous Dinosaurs and Birds,” Nature, January 27, [On-line], URL: etahttp://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature08740.html.

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


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1495

Question & Answer: Homosexuality and Racism

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Q.

Is it racist to oppose homosexuality?

A.

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

Does God Need to Rest? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=785&b=Genesis

Does God Need to Rest?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In many verses of the Bible, God is described as omnipotent or all-powerful. In Genesis 17:1, God describes Himself to Abraham by saying, “I am Almighty God.” Abraham’s son, Isaac, in blessing his son Jacob, said: “May God Almighty bless you….” The omnipotent nature of God can be seen throughout the Bible. The psalmist wrote: “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5). From such verses, we get the idea that God can do anything that can be accomplished with power. We also get the idea that God’s power never runs out, and He does not get tired. As Isaiah wrote: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary” (40:28).
But, if God does not get tired, why does the Genesis account of Creation say that “on the seventh day God ended His work, which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:2, emp. added)? What does the Bible mean when it says that God rested? Were the rigors of creating the Universe so difficult for God that He needed a break? Did His creative power need to be rejuvenated? And, does this “resting” not militate against the idea that God does not “faint nor is weary?” The answers to these questions are really very simple.
When we hear the English verb “rest” most of us immediately think of being tired or needing to recuperate drained energy, but the Hebrew translated “rest” in Genesis 2:2 does not always carry that same idea. In fact, the first two definitions given for the Hebrew word translated “rest” (shābat or shābath) are to “cease, desist.” The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon documents that, of the 71 times it is used, 47 of those times it is simply translated “cease,” and only 11 of those times is it translated “rest” (“Shabath,” 1995). The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament states: “The translation ‘to cease, desist’ can be illustrated in the following verses: ‘Day and night shall not cease’ (Genesis 8:22)….” (Harris, et al., p. 902).
A brief look at the original word translated “rest” or “rested” shows that God did not get tired, nor did He need a day to convalesce or build up His strength. He simply stopped creating the Universe. He finished in six days and stopped on the seventh day to set a pattern for a seven-day week. God does not need to rest or relax, because He “neither faints nor is weary.” In dealing with questions like this, sometimes a brief look at the original language can go a long way.

REFERENCES
Harris, R. Laird, Gleason Archer Jr. and Bruce Waltke, eds. (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).
“Shābath” (1995), Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Electronic Database: Logos).

Be holy in all your conduct by Roy Davison


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

Be holy in all your conduct
This is a command of God. "But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy' " (1 Peter 1:15,16).
What does it mean to be holy and how is this possible?
The word 'holy' can mean: (1) set apart to the service of God, sacred; (2) spiritually pure, godly; (3) completely good, pure and righteous and therefore commanding absolute adoration and reverence.
God is the standard of holiness. Only He is completely good, pure and righteous. Only He is worthy of worship.
When 'holy' relates to people in Scripture, it means that they are dedicated to God, and that they participate to a certain extent in the characteristics of God, that they are spiritually pure and godly.
What a challenge, that God calls us to be holy! God created us in His own image. We ought to resemble Him.
Apostate churches often make a distinction between what they call 'clergy' and 'laity', a distinction not found in the Bible. The clergy (the ecclesiastical leaders) are presumed to be holy, but not much is expected of the laity (the common people).
According to the word of God, all Christians are to be holy. "You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5). "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9). Christians are a holy priesthood, a holy nation.
But there is a problem. Something unclean cannot be holy. Since we all have sinned, how can we be holy?
This is only possible with the help of God. We can be holy only if God cleanses us and makes us holy. This is called sanctification.
God wants to sanctify us. He is the only one who can do it. But we must co-operate. We must experience our sanctification, which includes avoiding evil and doing good, with God's help, of course.
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).
We can be sanctified only by the blood of Christ: "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:13,14). By the will of God "we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10).
The blood of Christ cleanses our conscience. Our sins are wiped out. We are sanctified. We are made holy. Thus purified, we may serve the living God.
Christ sanctifies His church so she can be His pure bride: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).
This occurs when our sins are washed away at baptism (Acts 22:16). Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom, of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
This also means that after our cleansing we may not continue in such practices. We must dedicate our lives to God in holiness. "But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:20-24).
We are sanctified by the truth through the word of God. Jesus prayed for His followers: "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Paul told the Ephesian elders: "And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32).
Through the knowledge of Christ, God provides us with all we need: "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:2-4).
"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1).
"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:23,24). Amen.
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 March 13 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading March 13 (World English Bible)


Mar. 13
Exodus 23

Exo 23:1 "You shall not spread a false report. Don't join your hand with the wicked to be a malicious witness.
Exo 23:2 You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; neither shall you testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice;
Exo 23:3 neither shall you favor a poor man in his cause.
Exo 23:4 "If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.
Exo 23:5 If you see the donkey of him who hates you fallen down under his burden, don't leave him, you shall surely help him with it.
Exo 23:6 "You shall not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.
Exo 23:7 "Keep far from a false charge, and don't kill the innocent and righteous: for I will not justify the wicked.
Exo 23:8 "You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds those who have sight and perverts the words of the righteous.
Exo 23:9 "You shall not oppress an alien, for you know the heart of an alien, seeing you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Exo 23:10 "For six years you shall sow your land, and shall gather in its increase,
Exo 23:11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the animal of the field shall eat. In like manner you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive grove.
Exo 23:12 "Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the alien may be refreshed.
Exo 23:13 "Be careful to do all things that I have said to you; and don't invoke the name of other gods, neither let them be heard out of your mouth.
Exo 23:14 "You shall observe a feast to me three times a year.
Exo 23:15 You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib (for in it you came out from Egypt), and no one shall appear before me empty.
Exo 23:16 And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you sow in the field: and the feast of harvest, at the end of the year, when you gather in your labors out of the field.
Exo 23:17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahweh.
Exo 23:18 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, neither shall the fat of my feast remain all night until the morning.
Exo 23:19 The first of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of Yahweh your God. "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk.
Exo 23:20 "Behold, I send an angel before you, to keep you by the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.
Exo 23:21 Pay attention to him, and listen to his voice. Don't provoke him, for he will not pardon your disobedience, for my name is in him.
Exo 23:22 But if you indeed listen to his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries.
Exo 23:23 For my angel shall go before you, and bring you in to the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I will cut them off.
Exo 23:24 You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor follow their practices, but you shall utterly overthrow them and demolish their pillars.
Exo 23:25 You shall serve Yahweh your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from your midst.
Exo 23:26 No one will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days.
Exo 23:27 I will send my terror before you, and will confuse all the people to whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
Exo 23:28 I will send the hornet before you, which will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before you.
Exo 23:29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate, and the animals of the field multiply against you.
Exo 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and inherit the land.
Exo 23:31 I will set your border from the Red Sea even to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.
Exo 23:32 You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me, for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you."


Mar. 13, 14
Mark 9

Mar 9:1 He said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death until they see the Kingdom of God come with power."
Mar 9:2 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves, and he was changed into another form in front of them.
Mar 9:3 His clothing became glistening, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
Mar 9:4 Elijah and Moses appeared to them, and they were talking with Jesus.
Mar 9:5 Peter answered Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let's make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
Mar 9:6 For he didn't know what to say, for they were very afraid.
Mar 9:7 A cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Mar 9:8 Suddenly looking around, they saw no one with them any more, except Jesus only.
Mar 9:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, he commanded them that they should tell no one what things they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Mar 9:10 They kept this saying to themselves, questioning what the "rising from the dead" meant.
Mar 9:11 They asked him, saying, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
Mar 9:12 He said to them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and restores all things. How is it written about the Son of Man, that he should suffer many things and be despised?
Mar 9:13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they have also done to him whatever they wanted to, even as it is written about him."
Mar 9:14 Coming to the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and scribes questioning them.
Mar 9:15 Immediately all the multitude, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and running to him greeted him.
Mar 9:16 He asked the scribes, "What are you asking them?"
Mar 9:17 One of the multitude answered, "Teacher, I brought to you my son, who has a mute spirit;
Mar 9:18 and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and wastes away. I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they weren't able."
Mar 9:19 He answered him, "Unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me."
Mar 9:20 They brought him to him, and when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth.
Mar 9:21 He asked his father, "How long has it been since this has come to him?" He said, "From childhood.
Mar 9:22 Often it has cast him both into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us."
Mar 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
Mar 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, "I believe. Help my unbelief!"
Mar 9:25 When Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!"
Mar 9:26 Having cried out, and convulsed greatly, it came out of him. The boy became like one dead; so much that most of them said, "He is dead."
Mar 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose.
Mar 9:28 When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we cast it out?"
Mar 9:29 He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting."
Mar 9:30 They went out from there, and passed through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know it.
Mar 9:31 For he was teaching his disciples, and said to them, "The Son of Man is being handed over to the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, on the third day he will rise again."
Mar 9:32 But they didn't understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Mar 9:33 He came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you arguing among yourselves on the way?"
Mar 9:34 But they were silent, for they had disputed one with another on the way about who was the greatest.
Mar 9:35 He sat down, and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any man wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all."
Mar 9:36 He took a little child, and set him in the midst of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,
Mar 9:37 "Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, doesn't receive me, but him who sent me."
Mar 9:38 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone who doesn't follow us casting out demons in your name; and we forbade him, because he doesn't follow us."
Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, "Don't forbid him, for there is no one who will do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me.
Mar 9:40 For whoever is not against us is on our side.
Mar 9:41 For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ's, most certainly I tell you, he will in no way lose his reward.
Mar 9:42 Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he was thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck.
Mar 9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire,
Mar 9:44 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'
Mar 9:45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame, rather than having your two feet to be cast into Gehenna, into the fire that will never be quenched-
Mar 9:46 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'
Mar 9:47 If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out. It is better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire,
Mar 9:48 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'
Mar 9:49 For everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.
Mar 9:50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."