3/9/18

Does Hell Exist and Is it Eternal? by Trevor Bowen


 http://insearchoftruth.org/articles/hell.html

Does Hell Exist and Is it Eternal?

Introduction

"If God is a kind, loving, and merciful god, how is it possible that He could possibly allow man to suffer eternal condemnation in hell? How could He allow man to be separated from Him for eternity?" This question concerning the eternal condemnation of the wicked is best answered by doing a word search on the word "hell" and other related words and then drawing conclusions based on the sum of these verses. Of course, each verse must be interpreted consistently in its context. Therefore, the goal of this article will be to collect and study some of the more conclusive and relevant passages regarding hell, specifically the ones which relate to the question of hell's existence and duration.

What Is "Hell"?

Most people are familiar with the idea of hell being a place of eternal punishment, reserved for the wicked. However, it is essential that we turn to the Bible to refine this idea, because the Bible truth is the ultimate reality.
Jesus spoke of the danger of "hell fire" (Matthew 5:22; Mark 9:43-48), which condemnation is depicted in the symbolic account of Judgment Day:
"And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:12-15
One of the many points that can be gleaned from these passages is that hell, vividly illustrated as a "lake of fire", is an undesirable, tortuous place to spend eternity. A second observation is that the basis for this judgment was how they lived their lives - "his works". However, this passage does not speak of the duration of this punishment. Is it possible that this judgment is temporary? Is the condemnation eternal?

The Duration of Hell

Once again, we should turn to the pages of God's message for us to learn the answers to our questions.
"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" . . . And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:41, 46
" ... in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" II Thessalonians 1:8-9
Also, the account in Revelation speaks of the "lake of fire and brimstone" as being a place of eternal torment (Revelation 20:10). Although some of these verses speak of the fire being eternal or everlasting, other verses, such as Matthew 25:46, clearly speak of the punishment itself being eternal. Therefore, it seems that if condemned to hell, one's judgment would be forever. A natural question would be to wonder if a kind and loving God could sentence any man to eternity in hell. Would God actually do this? Would He issue an eternal condemnation to hell and everlasting separation from Him?

The Possibility of Eternity in Hell

Although it seems clear that God has constructed a place of eternal torment and punishment, the question may yet arise, "Is it possible that God would actually condemn someone to hell?" The answer is provided in the verses that we have already observed. Jesus warned of the danger of "hell fire" (Matthew 5:22; Mark 9:43-48). One necessary inference is that there must be a real possibility that each of us could be condemned to hell, else there is no real danger. Would God make empty threats? Would a divine and loving Father warn of things that pose no danger? Clearly, No! The danger is real, unless we are willing to second-guess everything that Jesus said, including the promise of heaven (John 14:2-3).
Sadly, not only does the Bible outline the possibility of condemnation in hell, but it further states that the majority of people will end up there!
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14
Once we reach the unseen realm of the dead, there is no way to "cross sides". In fact, the Bible symbolically speaks of a "great gulf" that separates the two realms of the dead, who are awaiting the final judgment day (Luke 16:19-31). After we die, the next fate-determining event is judgment day (Hebrews 9:27), and as we have previously seen, that judgment is final and the majority of people will find themselves condemned.
Yet someone may ask, "But, how can God let this happen? How can He be a kind and loving god and let any member of His creation spend eternity in hell?"

A Kind and Loving God

God certainly does not want anyone of his creation to be lost because of their sins:
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." II Peter 3:9
Elsewhere, we are told that the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering is leading us to repentance (Romans 2:4) . Therefore, God is kind, loving, and does not want anyone to be perish. Consequently, He is diligently seeking the repentance of all of mankind over all time. Sadly, as we have already seen (Matthew 7:13-14), many have and will reject His gracious opportunity to repent and be forgiven.
"And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy." II Chronicles 36:15-16
Despite our desires and the will of society that such a judgment scene not occur, we cannot change, nor should we ignore that a "separation" will occur upon Judgment Day (Matthew 25:31-46). This division of all people will be based upon our actions (II Corinthians 5:10). On that day, the Lord will bless many with eternal life in heaven with God, but He will reward many more with eternity in hell (Matthew 25:31-46).
As a kind and loving God, He has desperately tried to help mankind repent, but as a just God, He cannot allow willfully, disobedient, and unrepentant people to populate His holy abode. Eventually, His mercy reaches a limit, until there is no longer a remedy - by man's choice.

Conclusion

The idea of hell is a powerful motivating force that encourages us to obey God. It is not the most noble motivation, but it reaches the most selfish heart and makes it receptive to the high and transcendent motivations of love and gratitude. We should never deceive ourselves into believing the common notion that we are in no danger of "hell fire". As we have seen, hell is a real danger and an eternal punishment that awaits the disobedient. Sadly, many people will find themselves there. Dear reader, please do not let this fate befall you. Continue your quest for truth and learn God's will for you, so that you may be saved from hell.
For further study: Please read more passages regarding the danger and duration of hell:
Trevor Bowen

"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS" Rejoice In The Lord Always! (4:4) by Mark Copeland

                    "THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"

                    Rejoice In The Lord Always! (4:4)

INTRODUCTION

1. In the final chapter of Philippians, we find Paul giving exhortations
   that are both specific and general in nature...
   a. We saw in verses 1-3 where Paul gave specific exhortations to
      individuals there at Philippi
   b. Now in verse 4, we find the first of several exhortations which
      are certainly needful for all Christians:
      
        "Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!"

2. You may recall that "joy" is the keynote of this epistle
   a. No less than sixteen times in this epistle, Paul uses the word or
      a derivation of it!
   b. Cf. Php 1:4,18(twice),25; 2:2,17(twice),18(twice),28,29; 3:1;
      4:1,4(twice),10

3. In this study, I will share a few observations about how we are to
   "Rejoice In The Lord Always!"

[First, notice that...]

I. THIS JOY IS TO BE EXPERIENCED "ALWAYS"

   A. NOT JUST AN OCCASIONAL EXPERIENCE, FOR EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE...
      1. But in darkness as well as in light; in trials as well as in
         triumphs - cf. Jm 1:2-3; Ro 5:3-4
      2. Not just for apostles, but for all Christians - cf. Jm 1:2-3;
         1Pe 4:12-13

   B. CONSIDER THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL, WHO FOUND JOY "ALWAYS"...
      1. In his prayers - Php 1:4
      2. In the proclamation of the gospel under adverse circumstances 
         - Php 1:18
      3. In the unity of the saints - Php 2:2
      4. In the prospect of being a martyr for Christ - Php 2:17 
      5. In the love of the brethren - Php 4:10

[Truly Paul rejoiced "always"!  But what was his secret?  What was the
source of this abiding joy?]

II. THIS ABIDING JOY IS FOUND "IN THE LORD"

   A. THERE MAY BE "TEMPORARY" JOY...
      1. In drugs (including alcohol and tobacco)
      2. In sexual pleasures (whether lawful or unlawful)
      3. In material acquisitions
      -- But these are at best like riches, which "make themselves wings;
         they fly away like an eagle toward heaven" (Pr 23:5); and at
         worst, are "the passing pleasures of sin" (He 11:25)

   B. BUT THE JOY THAT "ABIDES" IS ONLY "IN THE LORD"...
      1. I.e., that which comes from a personal, living and fruitful
         relationship with the Lord
      2. For "in the Lord" we enjoy:
         a. Peace with God - Ro 5:2
         b. Help in temptations - 1Co 10:13; Php 4:13
         c. Assurance of God's companionship in time of trial - He 13:5-6
      3. These are the sort of things which provide a true and lasting joy

[Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to experience this "abiding joy"?  
Well, why don't we?  Why do many of those who have a personal 
relationship with the Lord often find themselves lacking joy in all 
circumstances?

Perhaps it is because...]

III. THERE ARE OFTEN HINDRANCES TO "ABIDING JOY"

   A. MEMORIES OF PAST FAILURES; AWARENESS OF PRESENT FAULTS...
      1. Such often leaves people in a state of discouragement or
         depression
      2. Paul, however, provides the solution in Php 3:12-14
         a. Realize your imperfection, yet press on to better things!
         b. Forget your past failures, reach forward to future successes!

   B. NATURAL TEMPERAMENT OR DISPOSITION...
      1. Many people are naturally "melancholy"
         a. Through genetic predisposition toward such an attitude
         b. Or through environmental influences as we were growing up
      2. Yet in Christ, we can be transformed (Ro 12:1-2) and produce
         the "fruit of the Spirit" which includes "joy" - Ga 5:22

   C. DEPRESSING CIRCUMSTANCES...
      1. It is easy to be joyful when everything is going well, but when
         things wrong, well...
      2. However, we see from the Scriptures that even those times can
         be a time for rejoicing if we have the right "perspective" 
         - Jm 1:2-4

   D. SYMPATHY WITH OTHERS...
      1. Certainly, a compassionate heart cannot be untouched by the
         hardships of others - cf. Ro 12:15
      2. And yet, properly spoken words of comfort and counsel can
         provide a joyful reprieve from the hardships others bear - cf.
         Pr 16:24

CONCLUSION

1. "Rejoice in the Lord always"...
   a. Does not mean one is to be insensitive to the harsh realities of
      life
   b. But it does mean that one does not let the dark realities of life
      blind him to the radiance of joy that is found in the Lord!

2. Have you found yourself going through life without the "abiding joy"
   discussed in our text, that joy which Peter himself defines as
   "inexpressible" (1Pe 1:8)?

3. If so, then make your relationship with the Lord what it ought to
   be...
   a. First by rendering complete obedience to His Will
   b. And then by letting the counsel of His Spirit-given Word give you
      the perspectives necessary to "Rejoice In The Lord Always!"

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Are There Degrees of Punishment and Reward? by Kyle Butt, M.Div. Alden Bass Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=212

Are There Degrees of Punishment and Reward?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.
Alden Bass
Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

Q.
Will there be degrees of reward in heaven? Similarly, will there be degrees of punishment in hell?

A.

Any topic relating to the specific nature of man’s ultimate, eternal abode should be of great interest to all accountable people, since every human eventually will inhabit eternity (see Thompson, 2000a, pp. 33-39; 2000b, pp. 41-47; 2000c, pp. 49-55). It is not surprising, then, that questions of what conditions will be like in the afterlife often occupy our thoughts. Whenever questions of spiritual import are under consideration—as they are when discussing the destiny of the soul—the only reliable source of information must by necessity be the One Who is the Originator and Sustainer of the soul. God, as Creator of all things physical and spiritual (Genesis 1:1ff.; Exodus 20:11), and Himself a Spirit Being (John 4:24), is the ultimate wellspring of the soul (Ecclesiastes 12:7). The Bible, then, as God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), must be the preeminent authority on this subject. It therefore is to Holy Writ that we must turn to answer any question about eternity.

DEGREES OF ETERNAL REWARD

First, it is important to note that every faithful follower of God eventually will receive an eternal reward. Writing in the book of Revelation, the apostle John described in striking language the destiny of the righteous when this world finally comes to an end: “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them.... He that overcometh shall inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (21:3,7, RSV). Earlier, John had encouraged his readers with these words: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). John’s coworker, the apostle Paul, referred to those who had served Jesus faithfully as “heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). The writer of the book of Hebrews spoke of Christ as having become “unto all them that obey him, the author of eternal salvation” (5:9).
Second, it is equally important to realize that every saint will be rewarded “according to his deeds.” Matthew wrote: “For the son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he render unto every man according to his deeds” (16:27). Paul used practically identical words in Romans 2:5-7: “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works.” Such a concept was taught even in Old Testament times. Solomon wrote: “If thou sayest, ‘We knew not this,’ doth not he that weigheth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth he not know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:12).
Parables from the mouth of the Lord similarly demonstrate that every person will be judged according to his or her deeds. The parable of the pounds, recorded in Luke 19:11-27, is a perfect example.
A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called ten servants of his, and gave them each ten pounds, and said unto them, “Trade ye herewith till I come.” But his citizens hated him, and sent an ambassage after him, saying, “We will not that this man reign over us.” And it came to pass, when he was come back again, having received the kingdom, that he commanded these servants, unto whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. And the first came before him, saying, “Lord, thy pound hath made ten pounds more.” And he said unto him, “Well done, thou good servant: because thou wast found faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” And the second came, saying, “Thy pound, Lord, hath made five pounds.” And he said unto him also, “Be thou also over five cities.” And another came, saying, “Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I kept laid up in a napkin: for I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that which thou layedst not down, and reapest that which thou didst not sow.” He saith unto him, “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I am an austere man, taking up that which I laid not down, and reaping that which I did not sow; then wherefore gavest thou not my money into the bank, and I at my coming should have required it with interest?” And he said unto them that stood by, “Take from him the pound, and give it unto him that hath the ten pounds.” And they said unto him, “Lord, he hath ten pounds.” I say unto you, that unto every one that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him.
After reading this parable (and the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30), it is clear that certain individuals receive—and thus are responsible for—more pounds/talents than some others. The faithful servant who soundly invested ten pounds was awarded authority over ten cities. The second servant also was recompensed in proportion to the degree with which he fulfilled his responsibility to the master. He wisely invested five pounds, and in return was given authority over five cities. There is no reason to disbelieve, then, that had the third servant been equally faithful, he, too, would have been rewarded commensurate with his investment (which likely would have been authority over one city). This parable, then, teaches the following: (1) all of God’s servants are blessed with varied abilities; (2) all who are faithful stewards of the ability with which they have been endowed will obtain a reward; and (3) God’s stewards will be rewarded based on what they accomplished with the abilities that were entrusted to them. [This is not to say, of course, that heaven is “earned” by any human works (see Thompson, 1999, pp. 47-49). Ephesians 2:8-9 states unequivocally that salvation is a free gift of God, not something bestowed because of any human merit. Rather, the works done in the here and now provide for the Christian an eternal weight of glory—a weight that differs from person to person (2 Corinthians 4:17).]
If believers are to be judged according to their works (Matthew 16:27; 25:31-46; Revelation 20:12), it logically follows that those with the greatest responsibility can expect the strictest judgment. Indeed, the Good Book teaches exactly such a principle. Jehovah charged the prophet Ezekiel:
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, “Thou shalt surely die,” and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and thou hast delivered thy soul (Ezekiel 3:17-21).
What an awesome and terrifying responsibility that ancient preacher and prophet was given. Millennia later, James offered this warning: “Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment” (James 3:1).
Those who suggest that God will reward every saint equally often appeal to the parable that Christ presented in Matthew 20:1-15 for support of their position. There, the Lord told of a certain landowner who was in need of workers to assist him in his vineyard. The man went to the marketplace to find laborers and, when he had located some men, agreed to pay them a denarius each. About the third hour, he went to the market again in order to seek additional laborers. He went out twice more and then, at the eleventh hour, he found still more men to help. This last group worked only one hour, and yet when the end of the day arrived and all the men lined up to be paid, those “eleventh-hour” workers received their wages first—a full denarius. The rest of the men were given equal dues. When the master finally got to the laborers he had hired first thing that morning, he gave them the same amount he had given everyone else. Those “first-hour” workers were outraged! The very idea that they—who had been hired first and worked longest—should receive the same recompense as those who worked only one hour, was more than they could handle. The text in Matthew says that “they murmured against the householder” (vs. 11). But the man who had hired them responded simply: “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?” (vss. 13-15).
Those who teach that God will reward each of His faithful followers equally suggest that the denarius in this parable represents eternal life (see, for example: Wright, 1980, 122:531; Coffman, 1974, p. 307), and since every worker received a denarius, the implication is that there can be no “degrees” of reward. This, however, cannot be what the parable is teaching. In his commentary on the book of Matthew, renowned biblical scholar R.C.H. Lenski explained why.
Those who think that the denarius is eternal life, of course, regard the evening as the final judgment or the hour of death. Even in this verse this cannot be the sense, for eternal life is never earned by any man’s work. The combination of a)po/ with do/j (di/dwmi) means “give what is due.” Eternal life is never due anyone either at the time of its first bestowal in conversion or at the time of its full enjoyment when the believer enters heaven (1943, pp. 772-773, emp. added).
If this parable were speaking about final judgment, it would indeed provide a cogent argument for the equality of each person’s eternal reward. But is the parable addressing final judgment and eternal rewards? No, it is not. In Matthew 20:11 the text clearly indicates that the ones who worked all day “murmured against the householder.” In regard to those who did so, H. Leo Boles commented that “they were envious; their eyes were evil” (1952, p. 400). But the Scriptures make it clear that there will be no envy in heaven (Revelation 21:27). Lenski correctly observed: “Here, it ought to be plain, the possibility of making the denarius equal to eternal life is removed. The thought that a saint in heaven may murmur against God is appalling” (p. 775).
In addition, the master of the vineyard commanded the workers who labored in the field all day: “Take up that which is thine and go thy way” (vs. 14, emp. added). Lenski rendered the phrase, “Take up thine own and be gone,” and then observed:
This lord is done with him. And this is the climax of the parable. This u(/page [be gone] cannot mean, “Go and be content with thy wages!” It is exactly like the imperative found in 4:10, and always means to leave, cf., 8:13; 19:21.... This is a man who works in the church for what he can get out of the church. He has what he worked for—and nothing more. He is treated exactly as the hypocrites are who are mentioned in 6:2,5: “Verily, I say unto you, They have received their reward!” i.e., are paid in full.... Those who will learn nothing about divine grace even when they are working in the church will finally be left without this grace; those who are set on justice and refuse to go beyond it shall finally have justice (p. 777).
If we interpret the parable to mean that the master of the vineyard represents God, and the denarius represents eternal reward, how, then, are we to interpret the fact that those who worked all day received a denarius, but were sent away from the master of the vineyard? Can such a view be squared with Paul’s word in 1 Thessalonians 4:17—“And so shall we ever be with the Lord”?
If this parable is not discussing final judgment (and it is not), and if the denarius does not represent eternal life (and it does not), what, then, is the point of the parable? It appears that Christ was instructing His Jewish listeners about the Gentiles’ place in the Kingdom—a topic that, as we learn from later New Testament writings, became somewhat controversial among first-century Christians. The late Guy N. Woods, former editor of the Gospel Advocate, wrote concerning Christ’s discussion:
It is possible, indeed probable, in the minds of many scholars that it was delivered to show that the Gentiles, who came in at “the eleventh hour,” would enjoy in the kingdom (soon to be established when these words were uttered) the same privileges as the Jews who had been the favored and chosen people of the Lord for many centuries. Though last in point of invitation, they were to become first through their acceptance of, and dedication to, the gospel; whereas, the Jews, through their rebellion and disbelief, would be cut off (1976, p. 231, parenthetical comment in orig.).
Numerous conservative biblical commentators have suggested exactly such a view, including Adam Clarke (n.d. 5:194-197) and H. Leo Boles (1952, pp. 400-401). One writer by the name of Watts put it like this:
It is not the design of this parable to represent the final rewards of the saints at the day of judgment, but to show that the nation of the Jews, who had been called to be the people of God above a thousand years before, and had borne the burden and heat of the day, i.e., the toil and bondage of many ceremonies, should have no preference in the esteem of God above the Gentiles, who were called at the last hour, or at the end of the Jewish dispensation (as quoted in Woods, 1980, 122:532).
While the parable of the laborers established that all who are deserving (Jew or Gentile) would inherit a reward, it also emphasized God’s grace. As Lenski remarked:
The warning represented in this parable suggests our responsibility. If we close eye and heart against grace, no matter how high we stand in the church or how much we work, we shall lose life eternal (1943, p. 781).
But what of the denarius? What does it represent, if not eternal life? Lenski concluded—correctly, we believe—that the denarius represents the blessings one receives here on Earth by being a member of the Lord’s church.
The denarius paid at evening constitutes the temporal blessings connected with our Christian profession and work, and these blessings are made ours already during the entire time that we work. Every one of us gets his denarius; every one enjoys the same temporal benefits that are connected with life in the church. They come to the new convert exactly as they do to the old, to the preacher as well as to the [member], to the child as well as to the octogenarian (p. 772).

REASONS FOR UNEQUAL REWARDS

Lending credence to the idea that Jesus’ parable in Matthew 20 is not discussing equality of eternal rewards is the fact that the Bible plainly depicts certain people being awarded a unique and distinguished position in heaven. Revelation 15:3 notes that in heaven “they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” Surely none of us would be so bold as to suggest that the hosts of heaven will sing a song about us as they do about Moses. Furthermore, in Revelation 21:14 John wrote that “the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” While we recognize the somewhat figurative nature of certain terms employed by John, the principle nevertheless remains: the apostles ultimately will occupy a place of greater preeminence in the heavenly abode. Also, Luke 16 portrays Abraham as having more prominence and authority in the afterlife than Lazarus. Consider also Mark 10:40, wherein James and John asked the Lord to allow them to sit next to Him in glory—one on His right side and one on His left. Jesus replied: “To sit on my right hand or on my left hand is not mine to give; but it is for them for whom it hath been prepared.” Some glorified beings (whether angelic or human) will occupy a place of distinction beside the Savior—a unique and special place reserved solely for them.
Some have argued against the idea of differing rewards by claiming that heaven will be perfect, and that something perfect can be neither improved nor diminished. However, Jesus observed that “even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more [joy] than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7, emp. added). In at least some sense, then, joy in heaven can differ in degrees. The principle of degrees of heavenly reward—which is taught quite plainly in Scripture—should motivate every Christian to “work while it is yet day, for the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4).

DEGREES OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

But if there are degrees of reward in heaven, will there likewise be degrees of punishment in hell? Yes indeed. On several occasions, when speaking of eternal torment, the Bible mentions those who will suffer to a lesser or greater degree. And each time such a reference occurs, the punishment is proportionate to the opportunities missed. Those who are blessed with numerous opportunities to obey the gospel and still reject it will receive greater condemnation than those who have little or no occasion to accept Christ. Jesus echoed this sentiment in His rebuke to the inhabitants of the cities of Bethsaida and Chorazin.
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted unto heaven? thou shalt go down unto Hades: for if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in thee, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee (Matthew 11:21-24, emp. added).
Jesus offered this censure to those Jewish cities where He had done much of His preaching, and where, on occasion, He even had performed miracles. The citizens of those towns had more opportunity to accept the Messiah than many others living around them, yet they persisted in their rejection of Him. On the other hand, the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon—renowned for their wickedness—would receive a lesser punishment at the Day of Judgment for the simple reason that they had been deprived of direct exposure to Christ’s message and miracles. All were to endure punishment, for all had rejected God’s law. But it would not be equal punishment. The writer of Hebrews further emphasized this point when he addressed the “sorer punishment” that was to befall those who had “trodden underfoot the Son of God” (10:29). Notice also Peter’s stinging statement regarding the terrible fate that awaits unfaithful, backsliding Christians:
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first (2 Peter 2:20-21, emp. added).
If Peter’s statement teaches anything, it teaches degrees of punishment.
But perhaps the most convincing argument for the concept of degrees of punishment derives from Jesus’ parable of the wicked servant, as recorded in Luke 12:42-48.
And the Lord said, “Who, then, is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall set over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath. But if that servant shall say in his heart, ‘My lord delayeth his coming,’ and shall begin to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the unfaithful. And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more” (emp. added).
The meaning of the last section of this parable is inescapable. All the wicked will be punished; however, those limited in their opportunities to learn about Christ will be punished “with fewer stripes” than those who knew the truth and obeyed it not.
Does the Bible teach degrees of reward in heaven? Yes, it does. Does it also teach degrees of punishment in hell? Yes, it does. The good news, of course, is that heaven’s offer of salvation is open to everyone (John 3:16; Romans 6:23). No one has to go to hell. When Christ was ransomed on our behalf (1 Timothy 2:4), He paid a debt He did not owe, and a debt we could not pay—so that we could live forever in the presence of our Creator (Matthew 25:46). God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11). Nor should we. As one writer put it: “No one who has been snatched from the burning himself can feel anything but compassion and concern for the lost” (Woodson, 1973, p. 32). As we discover the hideous nature of our sin, we not only should desire to save ourselves “from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:40), but we also should be passionate about warning the wicked of their impending doom (Ezekiel 3:17-19).

REFERENCES

Boles, H. Leo (1952), A Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Clarke, Adam (no date), Clarke’s Commentary (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury).
Coffman, Burton (1974), Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Abilene, Texas: ACU Press).
Kurfees, M.C., ed. (1921), Questions and Answers by Lipscomb and Sewell (Nashville, TN: McQuiddy).
Lenski, R.C.H. (1943), The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Thompson, Bert (1999), My Sovereign, My Sin, My Salvation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Thompson, Bert (2000a), “The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul—Part III,” Reason and Revelation, 20:33-39, May.
Thompson, Bert (2000b), “The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul—Part IV,” Reason and Revelation, 20:41-47, June.
Thompson, Bert (2000c), “The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul—Part V,” Reason and Revelation, 20:49-55, July.
Woods, Guy N. (1976), Questions and Answers (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University).
Woods, Guy N. (1980), “Editorial Note” accompanying an article by Cecil N. Wright, “Are There Degrees of Reward and Punishment in Eternity,” Gospel Advocate, 122:531-532, August 21.
Woodson, Leslie (1973), Hell and Salvation (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).
Wright, Cecil N. (1980), “Are There Degrees of Reward and Punishment in Eternity,” Gospel Advocate, 122:531-532, August 21.

America’s Famine by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=3766

America’s Famine

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Unlike many nations in human history, America has never really known want. Even the Great Depression of the 1930s does not begin to compare with the famines of antiquity that devastated entire civilizations and resulted in the starvation of millions of people. With such extreme prosperity dominating the United States, the average American cannot even begin to imagine the kind of hunger that has characterized large segments of humanity throughout history. Who can even conceptualize eating one’s own children? Yet such has not been uncommon in world history (cf. 2 Kings 6:28-29). In an article that appeared in National Geographic magazine in 1917, Ralph Graves surveyed historical occurrences of famine all the way back to the Egyptian pharaohs. The portrait is horrifying. For example, Graves observed:
Probably in no other country in the world has a people been brought to such a low ebb of morality or become so completely lost to all semblance of rational humanity as in the series of famines which swept over Egypt during the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries, under Mohammedan rule (p. 75).
Cats, dogs, and horses were extremely expensive, women abandoned their jewels as worthless, and desperate people resorted to cannibalism—even selling human flesh in the market place. Babies were kidnapped for food, if not eaten by their own parents. Even the graves were ransacked for food (p. 79). Savagery and moral degradation were the order of the day. A famine in 1069 in England was so severe that peasants, no longer able to find dogs and horses to eat, sold themselves into slavery in hopes of being fed by the master (p. 81). In 1314, a famine in England brought such misery and suffering that bodies lined the roadsides, everything imaginable was eaten (including dogs, cats, horses, and babies), and when new felons were cast into prison, starving inmates would tear them to pieces for food (p. 82). France was plagued with devastating famines from the Middle Ages to the Revolution resulting in the death of millions. Staple fare included grass, roots, white clay, and exhumed bodies. The potato famines of Ireland in 1822 and again in 1845 resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands.

“The pages of India’s history are black with the blotches of famine” (p. 86). From 1770 to 1900, 22 famines resulted in the death of 15 million. Likewise, China has been particularly susceptible to famine, with 45 million dying during four famines from 1810 to 1849. Russian peasants died by the thousands in famines of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (p. 89). During the 20th century, some 70 million people died from famines worldwide, including 30 million dying in China in the 1958 famine. Several famines afflicted the Soviet Union, including the Holodomor, a famine inflicted on Ukraine in 1932–33 by Stalin. Famine disaster struck both China and Bengal during World War II, while more recent famines include the Biafran famine in the 1960s, the disaster in Cambodia in the 1970s, the Ethiopian famine of 1984, and the North Korean famine of the 1990s.

Americans can hardly even contemplate the possibility that America could ever be subjected to such circumstances. Yet, the Bible teaches that when people reject God and His Word, they set themselves up for disaster. In contrast to these shocking accounts of a lack of minimal sustenance to maintain human life, consider the far more catastrophic effect of a famine of spiritual sustenance: the Word of God. When any civilization lacks access and attachment to God’s thinking and God’s directives, a truly severe famine will ensue. This dearth will, in turn, merit a corresponding physical famine. As God declared to the population of Amos’ day:
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12, emp. added).
This description bears a striking similarity to the conditions now plaguing America. While Americans wallow in their plenty, a vast plague of spiritual starvation has swept across the land. Hear the words of God through Jeremiah warning another nation 2,700 years ago:
The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it…. “Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good’” (Jeremiah 18:7-12, emp. added).
And hear the words of God through Moses to another nation 3,500 years ago: “I will heap disasters on them; I will spend My arrows upon them. They shall be wasted with hunger, devoured by pestilence and bitter destruction” (Deuteronomy 32:23-24). We must ask this sobering question: Will America’s spiritual famine facilitate national disaster?

REFERENCES

“Famine,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famine#cite_note-44.

Graves, Ralph (1917), “Fearful Famines of the Past,” National Geographic, 32[1]:69-90, July, http://books.google.com/books?id= dqt-AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA69&dq=fearful+famines+of+the+past&hl= en&ei=1oqTTJmPAcaAlAfM9YCrCg&sa=X&oi= book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved= 0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=fearful%20famines%20of% 20the%20past&f=false.

Peaceful Sleep by Ben Fronczek




http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?p=382

Peaceful Sleep

Acts 12 Peaceful Sleep   
How does a really, really stressful situation affect you? Some people eat more. Some people can’t eat at all. Some people get gittery they ramble and pace. Some cry. Some people get sick. In most cases if a situation is real bad we have a hard time sleeping. Some need to be medicated or even hospitalized.
If this afternoon you got a pain in your chest and you went to the emergency room and they told you have a problem with your heart and they have to perform emergency surgery tomorrow, but your chance for survival is poor, how well do you think you’d sleep tonight. Probably not very well if at all. Yet some people have no fear at all. I’m not talking about being macho, but rather some can sleep like a baby even in times of trouble because they are at peace and feel secure no matter what.
That is what our story is about today. Over the past two weeks we’ve looked at some lessons  in Acts chapter 12. First of all we read that James, the brother of John, had been killed by Herod. James was one of Jesus’ closest friends along with Peter and John. They were labeled ‘the inner circle’ because we see them together with Jesus so much. He was Jesus’ friend. And then Peter was arrested next.
The villain’s name was Herod. He was a ruthless leader who wanted nothing more than to win popularity. It seems as though he tried to buddy up with those who could give him more power and he was willing to exterminate all of his enemies just to gain a few more votes.
Herod came from a long line of ruthless leaders. His grandfather, Herod the Great was so barbarous history tells us that he executed one of his wives, her mother, and three of his sons. Shortly before his death, he lured prominent Jewish leaders to Jericho where he had them put into prison. He knew the people were not going to shed many tears when he died, so he ordered that when he died these Jewish leaders were to be killed as well. As a demonstration of their lack of respect for this cruel king, no one followed through with his order. Probably his most heinous crimes was the killing of all the male children near Bethlehem (as seen in Matthew 2:16) in order to try to get rid of the baby Jesus.
The Herod we are looking at this morning is the grandson of Herod the Great. Herod Agrippa I, reigned from 37 A.D. to 44 A.D. and he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and also brought terror into the hearts of the people. He was a powerful man, but he knew in his heart that he wasn’t trusted or admired by the Romans or Jews. One way he tried to get in the good graces of the Jewish people was to persecute the Christians whom the Jews hated.
As we come back to this portion of Scripture today, we find that Herod Agrippa had already had James the brother of John put to death by the sword. He then ordered the arrest of Simon Peter to try and gain further approval of the Jewish leaders. There was a very good reason why Herod Agrippa chose the week of celebration following the Passover — there were lots of Jewish people present to see his act of defiance towards the Christians. It was an act of alliance with the Jews!
There is little doubt that Herod planned on having Peter executed as soon as the celebration ended. Herod wanted to make sure that Peter did not escape so he had Peter guarded by four squads of soldiers. The four squads of guards consisted of four guards each and they would rotate on their watch around the clock. I’m sure that Herod though that there was no possible way for Peter to escape.
At any given time there were two men chained to Peter as he sat in his locked cell. And there were two other guards stationed outside the cell just in case he got by the two guards chained to him.
I think we could say that it seem like a pretty hopeless situation for Peter. James had been killed and the guards would assure that Herod’s bloodthirsty appetite would be quenched again with Peter’s blood.
But what we actually find happening in this story is I think is quite interesting:   Acts 12:4-7 “After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.”
The very night before Peter was to be tried and more than likely killed, what do we find Peter doing? We read here that he was sound asleep; sleeping like a baby! I don’t know about you but if that was me I would have probably been a nervous wreck. Sleep would have been the last thing I would have been doing. I would have been sick with anxiety.  Yet Luke notes that Peter is just sawing wood.
I believe this is the sleep of complete confidence, even peace. This is a blessed peace that comes from a knowledge and trust in one’s Lord.
There are a number of reasons why Peter may have been so calm and able to sleep that night. Maybe Peter slept like this because the Church was diligently praying for him.
Or maybe he simply knew he wasn’t going to die the next day. The Lord Jesus Himself had plainly told him (in John 21:18) that he would die a martyr’s death, but not until he was an old man, John 12:18-19 says         Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress
you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” “
The phrase “stretch out your hands” (v. 18) was a euphemistic reference to crucifixion in the Roman world. Since Peter wasn’t old yet maybe he believed he wasn’t going to die yet. Maybe Peter slept so peacefully because he was resting confidently on the precious promises of Jesus. Maybe he remember what Jesus told him and turned the whole situation over to his Lord
He didn’t know how or when God would deliver him, but maybe he believed that deliverance was coming. And besides, this wasn’t the first time he was imprisoned. In Acts 5 we read that Jews had already arrested the Apostles once before and an angel had opened the door of the jail and brought them out.   Peter was not DOUBTING IN THE DARK WHAT GOD HAS PROMISED HIM THE LIGHT.
And even if Peter did not remember what Jesus had promised him that day, that he would live to be an old man, I truly believe that Peter faith in God gave him some peace of mind.
Through the ages there is an amazing blessing that faithful Christians have been able to lay hold of:  In the worst of times, even when believers were about to be persecuted or martyred for their beliefs, men and women found peace, and courage, and a sense of security and confidence in Jesus.
If you hold Jesus close to you, when the darkest times comes, He promise to hold on to you and set your mind at ease, and give you peace.
In John 14:27 Jesus told his closest disciples, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Paul wrote to this to the Philippian church, while in prison Phil 4:4-7  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
And Paul wrote this to the Thessalonian church, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”     2 Thess. 3:16
Our Lord is the Lord of peace. He is the prince of peace.
Peter is not anxious, nor alarmed. He was completely resting in, and trusting in his Lord.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “He Himself is our peace(Ephesians 2:14). Once you really understand this you too can have kind of peace no matter what storms sweep over the horizon.
Jesus said,  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)
So how can we get to that point where our relationship is that good with our Lord whereby we can have that confidence, that sense of peace even when everything around us starts to fall apart?
Like any other trusting relationship it’s a relationship that one needs to work at, and develop, and nurture. Just because you may be saved by the blood of Jesus and you are a Christian, it doesn’t mean that you will automatically experience the degree of peace that Peter did that night. By this point in life, Peter had learned how to give himself fully to the Lord. I believe he trusted Jesus more than anything and more than anyone else on the planet including himself.    Can you say the same?
Even after Jesus left the disciples I believe Peter continued to nurture and work on his relationship with Him.  How? By continuing to trust in Him no matter what. By talking to Him in Prayer. By serving Him faithfully and by loving and helping the other disciples in His name.   And so too, we need to realize that this is a formula for us learn from and follow.
Christianity is not just about religion and following a set of rules, rather it about developing a loving relationship with our Lord and God, and with one another. In doing so, a by-product of that, is you will find a peace and confidence that surpasses everyone else’s understanding;  even when things seem like they are at their worst. So practice His presence, talk to Him, fill yourself with positive spiritual things like good spiritual music, good sermons & lessons, good spiritual literature. Practice His presence..
I challenge you to work on your relationship with our Lord……. And you to will find some peaceful sleep.

When In The Presence of God, Obey God by Alfred Shannon Jr.


When In The Presence of God, Obey God

When in Rome, do as the Romans, so the saying goes. We are always in the presence of Almighty God. Heaven is His throne, and the earth is His footstool. No matter where we are, God is there. So, when in God’s presence, do as He would have you to do, obey Him.
Lk 20:25; Mt 5:34,35; Ps 10:11; Ps 139:7-13; Jer 23:23,24; Jn 14:15; 1 Jn 5:3; 2 Jn 9; 1 Sam 15:22

YOU COMIN’? by Jim McGuiggan

YOU COMIN’?

Jesus is to blame. The Christ of the cross is to blame. If it weren’t for him I might be able to find some peace but he and his cross disturb me and won’t let me be content with what I see when I look within and around me. If your loved one is quadriplegic you know that in many ways he or she isn’t physically able to help you care for them and in some sense you adjust to the situation—you expect nothing and in that respect you aren’t disappointed. If you truly believe there’s nothing better to be hoped for in this world I suppose you might rage in your hopelessness or eat, drink (or starve) and die tomorrow; but if hope was dead, would there not be some kind of resignation, a reluctant, numbed acceptance of things as they are?
Maybe, but would that not be better than vainly hoping? Is that not what the old Greek story means to say in the story of Pandora’s “box”—when she opened the forbidden box everything in it escaped except…hope. And it became the source of torment to all because they could never be content with things as they are.
In an early essay the young Bertrand Russell said that because we know the truth of human existence—that it’s a pointless accident—we must face it and build a future on “unyielding despair.” Well, it’s into this world, with all its pain, loss, disappointment, loneliness, cruelty, entrenched evils and invincible selfishness that Jesus came and he came making claims and promising much.
In the first century he offended the Romans and their view of power and empire. He offended the Greeks and their view of God and wisdom. He offended the Jews and their view of God’s faithfulness and their place in his purposes. And he continues to scandalize us all to this day. Don’t you know I’m talking about the real Christ and not the one we hear about in so much preaching. Or the real one we don’t hear about in so much preaching. The one who’s hidden under ceaseless explanations of what this or that verse means, who’s hidden behind the patter of the wise who handle all the “difficult questions” people ask, the one who’s buried under the same unending calls for us all to be morally better—as if we hadn’t heard this call ten-thousand times. Christless moralizing with the usual Bible verses thrown in to prove we’re different from the secularists who preach the same Christless moralizing—and who now and then use Bible verses.
There are people who care nothing for him—and never did—they’re not affected by him. The crass hedonists who think life’s a one way ticket so, to the degree that they can manage it, they party the nights away. The world can’t be made better—certainly not in their lifetimes—so why worry about it? Get what you can as quick as you can, throw a handful of coins in the direction of the world’s needy during a big public musical concert and get back to the usual partying.
They ignore the churches with their inner squabbles. [That might be a smart thing!] Or, they listen for a while to their squabbles and discover how pathetic they are in the face of the world’s great needs and wrongs—before they go back to the partying. Not a bad philosophy that; a happy life and an endless sleep at the end.
It’s the people who hear him, I mean really hear him, that the Jesus of the cross disturbs. Look around you at the state of the world and the church and our own personal situations.
If you hear him at all, Jesus is too stubbornly real and we can’t get away from him. Not that we’re trying to, don’t you know. We neither try to nor want to get away from him but being in his presence and listening to his kingly promises that are written in blood can make us impatient with the chaotic, oppressive, confused, rebellious and cruel world. Why hasn’t he in his sovereignty transformed the world already? Matthew Arnold in his sad poem said that in the beginning, the tide of faith was fully in and covered the earth like a garment. But now, he said, all we hear is the faint sound of its “melancholy long withdrawing roar” as it retreats and leaves bare the naked shingled shores of the world. Sometimes we sorely want the present King of Kings to show himself more powerfully—more powerfully, that is, in the more common understanding of power. We’d like him to obliterate all the oppressive structures of the world—structures that we have neither the desire to destroy nor the  strength or wisdom to do it, even supposing we had the desire. And why would we desire it, aren’t we the ones that build them? The state of the world seems to “prove” that the Christian’s claim that Jesus is Lord of Lords is sheer nonsense.
And when we muse about the church as a whole don’t we at times lament how pathetic and weak it can be and often is, how self-serving, as it fine-tunes its theology and gorges on rich truth and wants more to gorge on while a world of Lazaruses starves. Not content to draw lines of fellowship in places where the heart of the gospel is attacked and perverted, many church leaders insist on keeping us all in separate pens based on the flimsiest differences and they call it “defending the faith.” We pay our ministers to “stand for the truth” if they’re willing to stand for the truth that we pay them to stand for. In a world of tortured and tormented, sick and oppressed, humiliated, blind and despairing fellow-humans in their thousands of millions and our latest inner-church crusade is what? IS WHAT?
It’s much easier to believe the too-rich-to-be-fully-grasped doctrines of the person and work of Jesus Christ in and as whom God revealed and reveals himself than it is to believe in the Church as it church-shops its way from one assembly to another. And as we shop our first question is not, “What’s your gospel here?” it’s, “What programs do you have to suit me here?” “What are my rights here?” “Does this church know we’re living in the 21st century?” At one end of the spectrum we have these prime-time hucksters that ceaselessly beg for money to fund their programs (or other hidden things) and on the other there are churches that are offended if there’s talk about sharing our wealth. Time and money is spent on leadership agendas that usually have to do with “making our church grow.” Then there’s the “preaching” [?]. Ceaseless support for the religion of the healthy mind that is said to be gospeling. And in more recent decades, isn’t there reason to wonder if the Church will take a stand against anything?  Arrrrgh!
And then there’s the personal, bitter disappointment with oneself. There are times when you think you see real progress and then like a bolt of lightning and a thunderclap events expose your heart—it’s seems as shriveled as ever it was even after years of longing for better. Just when you think you’ve experienced significant growth you’re brought face to face with outrageous meanness or corruption or bitterness that pours out of you. Those who know nothing of such experiences often find themselves with a smug smile of self-congratulation at their moral maturity and consistency and out of that smugness stems isolation from society–we wouldn’t want to attract into our congregations “the wrong sort” so our “outreach” (where it exists at all) is carefully tailored. When our eyes focus on all this and more Jesus seems more and more distant and beyond us. And in our worst moments disillusionment sets in—weariness comes with it and, Pack it in—walk away, comes to mind. It’s then you understand what Dorothy Sayers was getting at when she wrote:
I am battered and broken and weary and out of heart,
I will not listen to talk of heroic things,
But be content to play some simple part,
Freed from preposterous, wild imaginings…
Men were not made to walk as priests and kings.
Thou liest, Christ, Thou liest; take it hence,
That mirror of strange glories; I am I;
What wouldst Thou make of me? O cruel pretense,
Drive me not mad so with the mockery
Of that most lovely, unattainable lie!
And for a while, a day, a week, a month, a year we sulk and snarl and prowl and criticize and, God help us, we sneer, at the Church we were once thrilled to be part of. Then we see him! He’s always been there; we just didn’t notice during that wretched period. We see him looking at us with those big eyes of his, calm and compelling, and as he moves away he looks back and motions with his head, “You comin’?”
Ahhhhhhhh!

When will these things be? by Roy Davison





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


When will these things be?


What do the predictions mean in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21?
“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’ Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” (Matthew 24:1-3 // Mark 13:1-4; Luke 21:5-7).

Herod’s temple had been under construction for forty-six years (John 2:20). The Jews were proud of its grandeur. It was made of white limestone and large sections were overlaid with gold.

When Jesus said the temple would be destroyed, His disciples wondered when that would happen.

Much confusion has been caused by strange interpretations of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Let us carefully examine these predictions in the light of other passages on the same topics.

First we must notice that the disciples ask two separate questions. (1) When will the temple be destroyed? (2) What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?

To avoid misunderstanding we must notice which question is being discussed in different parts of the passage. Sometimes there is confusion and people think, for example, that something about Jerusalem applies to the second coming.

When will the temple be destroyed?

Jesus warns His followers: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations” (Luke 21:20-24 // Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20).

In 66 AD, Cestius surrounded Jerusalem to put down a rebellion, but suddenly he discontinued the siege and left (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 2, Chapter 19, Section 7). When that occurred, the Christians left Jerusalem because of the warning of Jesus. In 70 AD Jerusalem was surrounded by Titus. After a long siege in which many people died of starvation, the city was taken and the temple was set on fire by the soldiers, although Titus had instructed them to spare the temple. After the fire, the temple was torn apart stone by stone to get the gold that had melted and run between the cracks. It is estimated that there were 50 tons of gold on the temple walls. During the siege, the dead bodies of those who died of starvation were thrown over the walls, and when the city was taken, blood flowed like rainwater in the streets.

Eusebius, who wrote his church history about 300 AD, states that all Christians had left Jerusalem before the siege (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Chapter 5, Section 3).

When will heaven and earth pass away?

Although Jesus gave clear signs about the destruction of the temple, He did not know when the end of the age would be: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:29-32 // Matthew 24:34-36).

The temple would be destroyed in that generation, but only the Father knows when the earth will pass away.

When Christ returns, heaven and earth will be destroyed.

Jesus continues: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:35-39).

Thus, at “the coming of the Son of Man” “heaven and earth will pass away”.

Only the Father knows when the end will be. He has put this “in His own authority” (Acts 1:7). It will be “in His own time” (1 Timothy 6:15).

Thus Christ’s followers must always be ready. “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming -- in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning -- lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33-37). “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:40-44).

Many false teachers claim to know when Christ is coming. But Jesus says His followers do not know the time of His coming.

There are also false teachers who want to separate the coming of Christ from the destruction of the world. But the two will occur at the same time according to this passage.

Peter also writes that heaven and earth will be destroyed when Christ returns. “Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:3-7).

Peter relates the “promise of His coming” to the destruction of the heavens and the earth. Since we do not know when Christ will come, the time might be short or long. In the meantime, sinners have an opportunity to repent: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8, 9).

But whether the time be short or long, the end will come: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

Jesus says certain things are not signs of His coming.

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:6, 7). Amazingly, some false teachers even claim that the various things Jesus says are not signs of his coming, are signs of His coming! I once heard a radio speaker quote this verse to that effect, but as he read, he skipped over the part: “but the end is not yet”! Beware of false teachers! They twist the Scriptures.

Someone who claims to know when Jesus is coming, is a false teacher.

Jesus warns: “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). In every generation there are people who claim to know that the time has drawn near. And, as Jesus predicted, they deceive many. Why? Because many do not listen to what Jesus says: “Do not follow them.”

With John we can say: “It is the last hour” (1 John 2:18) and with Peter: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7) because since Pentecost we are in “the last days” (Acts 2:17) and Jesus can come at any moment. But anyone who claims to know more than that by saying: “The time has drawn near” (Luke 21:8) is a false teacher.

Only the Father knows when the end will be. We must always be ready.

Everyone will see Jesus when He comes.

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:23-27).

“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him” (Revelation 1:7).

Thus someone who claims that Jesus came in 70 AD is a false teacher, as are Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim that He came invisibly in 1914.

When Jesus comes, everyone will see Him. Do not be deceived.

The signs of Jesus’ return occur as He is coming.

When those signs appear, it will be too late. The time for repentance is passed. “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30, 31).

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:25-28).

Thus, when the sign of the Son of Man appears, the lost will tremble and the saved will rejoice. Jesus will come as a thief in the night. We must be ready. Once the sign of the Son of Man appears, it will be too late.

What then is the reply to the two questions? (1) The temple would be destroyed in that generation. His followers recognized the signs and left Jerusalem. (2) No one knows when Jesus will return, thus we must be ready at all times. Maybe there will still be thousands of years, or He may come right now! The end of all things is at hand. Are we ready?
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 9-11 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading March 9-11
(World English Bible)


Mar. 9
Exodus 19

Exo 19:1 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone forth out of the land of Egypt, on that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.
Exo 19:2 When they had departed from Rephidim, and had come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain.
Exo 19:3 Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, "This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:
Exo 19:4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself.
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine;
Exo 19:6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
Exo 19:7 Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahweh commanded him.
Exo 19:8 All the people answered together, and said, "All that Yahweh has spoken we will do." Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh.
Exo 19:9 Yahweh said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever." Moses told the words of the people to Yahweh.
Exo 19:10 Yahweh said to Moses, "Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments,
Exo 19:11 and be ready against the third day; for on the third day Yahweh will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai.
Exo 19:12 You shall set bounds to the people all around, saying, 'Be careful that you don't go up onto the mountain, or touch its border. Whoever touches the mountain shall be surely put to death.
Exo 19:13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether it is animal or man, he shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mountain."
Exo 19:14 Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
Exo 19:15 He said to the people, "Be ready by the third day. Don't have sexual relations with a woman."
Exo 19:16 It happened on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the sound of an exceedingly loud trumpet; and all the people who were in the camp trembled.
Exo 19:17 Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain.
Exo 19:18 Mount Sinai, all it, smoked, because Yahweh descended on it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.
Exo 19:19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice.
Exo 19:20 Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
Exo 19:21 Yahweh said to Moses, "Go down, warn the people, lest they break through to Yahweh to gaze, and many of them perish.
Exo 19:22 Let the priests also, who come near to Yahweh, sanctify themselves, lest Yahweh break forth on them."
Exo 19:23 Moses said to Yahweh, "The people can't come up to Mount Sinai, for you warned us, saying, 'Set bounds around the mountain, and sanctify it.' "
Exo 19:24 Yahweh said to him, "Go down and you shall bring Aaron up with you, but don't let the priests and the people break through to come up to Yahweh, lest he break forth on them."
Exo 19:25 So Moses went down to the people, and told them.

Mar. 10
Exodus 20

Exo 20:1 God spoke all these words, saying,
Exo 20:2 "I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exo 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4 "You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Exo 20:5 you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Exo 20:6 and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exo 20:7 "You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Exo 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 You shall labor six days, and do all your work,
Exo 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates;
Exo 20:11 for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.
Exo 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.
Exo 20:13 "You shall not murder.
Exo 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 "You shall not steal.
Exo 20:16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Exo 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."
Exo 20:18 All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance.
Exo 20:19 They said to Moses, "Speak with us yourself, and we will listen; but don't let God speak with us, lest we die."
Exo 20:20 Moses said to the people, "Don't be afraid, for God has come to test you, and that his fear may be before you, that you won't sin."
Exo 20:21 The people stayed at a distance, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
Exo 20:22 Yahweh said to Moses, "This is what you shall tell the children of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
Exo 20:23 You shall most certainly not make alongside of me gods of silver, or gods of gold for yourselves.
Exo 20:24 You shall make an altar of earth for me, and shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. In every place where I record my name I will come to you and I will bless you.
Exo 20:25 If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of cut stones; for if you lift up your tool on it, you have polluted it.
Exo 20:26 Neither shall you go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed to it.'

Mar. 11
Exodus 21

Exo 21:1 "Now these are the ordinances which you shall set before them.
Exo 21:2 "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free without paying anything.
Exo 21:3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself. If he is married, then his wife shall go out with him.
Exo 21:4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
Exo 21:5 But if the servant shall plainly say, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free;'
Exo 21:6 then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.
Exo 21:7 "If a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go out as the male servants do.
Exo 21:8 If she doesn't please her master, who has married her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, seeing he has dealt deceitfully with her.
Exo 21:9 If he marries her to his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
Exo 21:10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marital rights.
Exo 21:11 If he doesn't do these three things for her, she may go free without paying any money.
Exo 21:12 "One who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death,
Exo 21:13 but not if it is unintentional, but God allows it to happen: then I will appoint you a place where he shall flee.
Exo 21:14 If a man schemes and comes presumptuously on his neighbor to kill him, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.
Exo 21:15 "Anyone who attacks his father or his mother shall be surely put to death.
Exo 21:16 "Anyone who kidnaps someone and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
Exo 21:17 "Anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
Exo 21:18 "If men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone, or with his fist, and he doesn't die, but is confined to bed;
Exo 21:19 if he rises again and walks around with his staff, then he who struck him shall be cleared: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall provide for his healing until he is thoroughly healed.
Exo 21:20 "If a man strikes his servant or his maid with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished.
Exo 21:21 Notwithstanding, if he gets up after a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his property.
Exo 21:22 "If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman's husband demands and the judges allow.
Exo 21:23 But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life,
Exo 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Exo 21:25 burning for burning, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.
Exo 21:26 "If a man strikes his servant's eye, or his maid's eye, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for his eye's sake.
Exo 21:27 If he strikes out his male servant's tooth, or his female servant's tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake.
Exo 21:28 "If a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the bull shall not be held responsible.
Exo 21:29 But if the bull had a habit of goring in the past, and it has been testified to its owner, and he has not kept it in, but it has killed a man or a woman, the bull shall be stoned, and its owner shall also be put to death.
Exo 21:30 If a ransom is laid on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is laid on him.
Exo 21:31 Whether it has gored a son or has gored a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him.
Exo 21:32 If the bull gores a male servant or a female servant, thirty shekels of silver shall be given to their master, and the ox shall be stoned.
Exo 21:33 "If a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and doesn't cover it, and a bull or a donkey falls into it,
Exo 21:34 the owner of the pit shall make it good. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall be his.
Exo 21:35 "If one man's bull injures another's, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live bull, and divide its price; and they shall also divide the dead animal.
Exo 21:36 Or if it is known that the bull was in the habit of goring in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall surely pay bull for bull, and the dead animal shall be his own. 

Mar. 9, 10
Mark 7

Mar 7:1 Then the Pharisees, and some of the scribes gathered together to him, having come from Jerusalem.
Mar 7:2 Now when they saw some of his disciples eating bread with defiled, that is, unwashed, hands, they found fault.
Mar 7:3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, don't eat unless they wash their hands and forearms, holding to the tradition of the elders.
Mar 7:4 They don't eat when they come from the marketplace, unless they bathe themselves, and there are many other things, which they have received to hold to: washings of cups, pitchers, bronze vessels, and couches.)
Mar 7:5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why don't your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?"
Mar 7:6 He answered them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Mar 7:7 But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
Mar 7:8 "For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men-the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things."
Mar 7:9 He said to them, "Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Mar 7:10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother;' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'
Mar 7:11 But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban, that is to say, given to God;" '
Mar 7:12 then you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother,
Mar 7:13 making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this."
Mar 7:14 He called all the multitude to himself, and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Mar 7:15 There is nothing from outside of the man, that going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are those that defile the man.
Mar 7:16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Mar 7:17 When he had entered into a house away from the multitude, his disciples asked him about the parable.
Mar 7:18 He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Don't you perceive that whatever goes into the man from outside can't defile him,
Mar 7:19 because it doesn't go into his heart, but into his stomach, then into the latrine, thus making all foods clean?"
Mar 7:20 He said, "That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man.
Mar 7:21 For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts,
Mar 7:22 covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
Mar 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
Mar 7:24 From there he arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He entered into a house, and didn't want anyone to know it, but he couldn't escape notice.
Mar 7:25 For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet.
Mar 7:26 Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race. She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter.
Mar 7:27 But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
Mar 7:28 But she answered him, "Yes, Lord. Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
Mar 7:29 He said to her, "For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter."
Mar 7:30 She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out.
Mar 7:31 Again he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the region of Decapolis.
Mar 7:32 They brought to him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They begged him to lay his hand on him.
Mar 7:33 He took him aside from the multitude, privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue.
Mar 7:34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!"
Mar 7:35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was released, and he spoke clearly.
Mar 7:36 He commanded them that they should tell no one, but the more he commanded them, so much the more widely they proclaimed it.
Mar 7:37 They were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear, and the mute speak!"

Mar. 11, 12
Mark 8

Mar 8:1 In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them,
Mar 8:2 "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.
Mar 8:3 If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way."
Mar 8:4 His disciples answered him, "From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?"
Mar 8:5 He asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven."
Mar 8:6 He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude.
Mar 8:7 They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also.
Mar 8:8 They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over.
Mar 8:9 Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.
Mar 8:10 Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha.
Mar 8:11 The Pharisees came out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing him.
Mar 8:12 He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation."
Mar 8:13 He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side.
Mar 8:14 They forgot to take bread; and they didn't have more than one loaf in the boat with them.
Mar 8:15 He warned them, saying, "Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod."
Mar 8:16 They reasoned with one another, saying, "It's because we have no bread."
Mar 8:17 Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, "Why do you reason that it's because you have no bread? Don't you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened?
Mar 8:18 Having eyes, don't you see? Having ears, don't you hear? Don't you remember?
Mar 8:19 When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Twelve."
Mar 8:20 "When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Seven."
Mar 8:21 He asked them, "Don't you understand, yet?"
Mar 8:22 He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him.
Mar 8:23 He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.
Mar 8:24 He looked up, and said, "I see men; for I see them like trees walking."
Mar 8:25 Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly.
Mar 8:26 He sent him away to his house, saying, "Don't enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village."
Mar 8:27 Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?"
Mar 8:28 They told him, "John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets."
Mar 8:29 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."
Mar 8:30 He commanded them that they should tell no one about him.
Mar 8:31 He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mar 8:32 He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
Mar 8:33 But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men."
Mar 8:34 He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, "Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mar 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it.
Mar 8:36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?
Mar 8:37 For what will a man give in exchange for his life?
Mar 8:38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."