4/11/18

A Prayer for Unity by Trevor Bowen


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

A Prayer for Unity

Although we concern ourselves with unity of those we fellowship as members of the body of Christ, many people exist outside our fellowship, who call themselves Christians. Some of these may find confrontational and challenging Bible study a waste of time, because "We are all Christians already!", as they might say. Temporarily laying aside the necessary implications of our division upon our personal relationship with God, let us consider another undeniable reason for Bible study that questions our differences - unity. Unity was very important to Jesus. Let us consider, "Why?".

The Need for Unity

One of the dreadful consequences of division is lack of successful evangelism. Division depletes and diminishes our ability to reach the lost. In Jesus' prayer for unity, he asks:
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:20-21)
Unity enhances and extends our influence to the lost, which creates more opportunities to teach and possibly convert sinners to Jesus. If we care about reaching the lost, then we will also care about being unified with others who call themselves Christians. One who does not so care for the lost neither hopes nor loves as God hoped and loved (Romans 5:6-8; I Corinthians 13:7; I John 4:7-11; Romans 8:20).

Agree to Disagree?

In addition to describing the benefit of unity, the above prayer also provides us a qualifying imperative: It must be a true unity, which exists only in Jesus Christ and the Father. Some have adopted the notion of "unity in diversity" as a means of solving our differences. The philosophy is "Let us agree to disagree". Although division is certainly evil, unity should not be obtained at the price of compromising truth:
"This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (James 3:15-17)
Division originates and is maintained wherever carnal desires reign. This occurs wherever man's will and wisdom are followed. However, if we submit our will to the "wisdom from above", then we will find peace. Yet, peace is not the most important goal of this divine wisdom. It is "first pure, then peaceable". Therefore, unity must never be achieved by sacrificing purity. Truth should not be sacrificed for a compromising peace accord (Jude 1:3; II Thessalonians 2:9-12; John 17:17).
What good is unity in error? Such unity only accelerates our rush into error, away from God, and into its consequential destruction. Only by seeking to unify on a pure, solid foundation may we find true peace (Philippians 4:13).

The Power of Prayer

How much power does Jesus' prayer hold? James said that the prayer of a righteous man "avails much" (James 5:16-18). It is difficult to find a prayer uttered by a man more righteous than Christ; therefore, to those who esteem Him a righteous man, this prayer will hold great sway as it outlines Christ's will for us. Never mind its influence on the mind of the Father as He provides for His children. The question for us is, "Do we feel any need to do our part to recognize the fulfillment of the Lord's prayer?"
See also: When Jesus Prayed, The Gospel Guardian, vol. 6, num. 43, p. 5. March 10, 1955.
Trevor Bowen

"THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS" Believer, Beware! (2:9-23)

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS"

                       Believer, Beware! (2:9-23)

INTRODUCTION

1. It was Paul's desire that his brethren be "perfect (complete) in
   Christ" - Col 1:28; 2:1-3

2. But there were influences at Colosse which endangered their 
   salvation, against which Paul warns in Col 2:8-23

3. As we consider what those threats were, we see similar threats today
   as well!

4. In other words, subtle (and some not so subtle) influences which may
   promise us much, but can easily lead us away from Christ!

[For example, we notice from verses 8-10 that at Colosse there was the
danger of...]

I. PHILOSOPHIES AND TRADITIONS OF MEN (8-10)

   A. THE DANGER OF MAN-MADE PHILOSOPHY AND TRADITION...
      1. They "cheat" you
         a. They don't deliver what they may promise
         b. They can even cheat you of your salvation!
            1) By rendering our worship and service to God as "vain"
            2) As Jesus warned in Mt 15:9
      2. This they do through "empty deceit"
         a. It is not evident (otherwise, none would accept it)
         b. But like many of the workings of Satan, it is through
            "deception"

   B. WE ARE FACED WITH SIMILAR INFLUENCES TODAY...
      1. The "philosophies" of:
         a. Atheism
         b. Evolution
         c. Humanism
      2. The "traditions of men," found rampant in:
         a. Protestant denominations
         b. Catholicism (both "Roman" and "Orthodox")
         c. Various cults
      3. Though these "philosophies" and "traditions of men" may possess
         a lot of truth, it is the error in them that can lead one away
         from the pure and simple doctrine of Jesus Christ!

   C. WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND...
      1. In "Jesus Christ" are found ALL the treasures of wisdom and
         knowledge - Col 2:3
      2. In "Jesus Christ" is to be found the FULLNESS of the Godhead
         bodily - Col 2:9
      3. In "Jesus Christ" we are COMPLETE - Col 2:10
      4. As Peter wrote in his second epistle:  "Grace and peace be
         multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our
         Lord, as His divine power has given to us ALL things that
         pertain to life and godliness , through the knowledge of Him
         who called us by glory and virtue," - 2Pe 1:2-3

[So "Believer, Beware!" when anyone suggests that we need the
philosophies or traditions of men in addition to or instead of Jesus
Christ!

In verses 11-17, Paul deals with what was a real problem in the first
century church...]

II. JUDAISTIC CEREMONIALISM (11-17)

   A. THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH...
      1. Many Jewish Christians felt it necessary for Gentile Christians
         to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses in ADDITION to
         following Christ - cf. Ac 15:1-5
      2. The early church had to constantly deal with this problem
         a. Which they did at Jerusalem (where the problem originated) 
            - Ac 15:6-27
         b. Which Paul did in writing Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and
            Colossians
      3. Here in Col 2:11-17, Paul deals with the problem by pointing
         out:
         a. Through baptism into Christ, we experience the "true
            circumcision", which is a cutting away of the sins of the
            flesh - Col 2:11-13
         b. By His death on the cross, Jesus has taken the Old Law out
            of the way - Col 2:14-15 (cf. Ep 2:14-16)
         c. Therefore, we are to let no one try to judge (condemn) us
            in matters of the Old Law - Col 2:16-17

   B. TODAY, THERE ARE MANY WHO STILL TRY TO BIND THE OLD LAW UPON 
       CHRISTIANS...
      1. Various denominations with their Sabbaths and food regulations
      2. Other religions with their separate priesthood and many other
         practices, based upon the Old Testament, and not the New!

   C. AS THOSE IN CHRIST...
      1. We have died to the Law and Jewish ceremonialism (this 
         especially pertains to Jewish Christians) - Ro 7:1-6
      2. We have been set free, and need to beware of becoming 
         "entangled again with a yoke of bondage." - Ga 5:1
      3. If we seek justification by our observance of things found in
         the Old Law, we are fallen from grace! - Ga 5:2-4

[So "Believer, Beware!" when people try to impose things upon you which
are based upon the Law of Moses.  Remember, "you are complete in HIM."

In verses 18-19, we see there was still another danger at Colosse...]

III. THE WORSHIP OF ANGELS (18-19)

   A. WHY WOULD PEOPLE WORSHIP ANGELS?
      1. Perhaps because they felt angels were needed as "intercessors"
      2. Perhaps with "a sense of humility", they felt they could not go
         to God (or even Jesus) directly

   B. THE PROBLEM WITH ANGEL WORSHIP...
      1. It is actually the result of a "false humility" and based upon
         one's "vain imagination"   - Col 2:18 (cf. He 4:14-16, where
         we learn we can "come boldly to the throne of grace")
      2. It actually diverts one away from Christ, the rightful "Head of
         the body" - Col 2:19
         a. For this reason, angels refused any semblance of worship -
            Re 22:8-9
         b. And so did the apostle Peter - Ac 10:25-26

   C. TODAY, SOME RELIGIONS HAVE DEVELOPED A COUNTERPART TO THE WORSHIP
      OF ANGELS...
      1. E.g., Catholicism with its veneration of Mary and the "saints"
      2. The reasoning is similar:  "humility" ("We need them to 
         intercede for us")
      3. Though an attempt is made to distinguish between "veneration"
         and "worship", in practice the distinction is lost among the
         average person
      4. And the result is still the same:  "not holding fast to the
         Head," venerating other beings rather than Christ!

[Finally, from verses 20-23 we can glean that there was the problem
of...]

IV. ASCETICISM (20-23)

   A. ASCETICISM HAS OFTEN BEEN OFFERED AS A KEY TO "SELF-CONTROL"
      1. Such as fasting and other forms of abstinence
      2. Or self-flagellation (beating one's self with whips)

   B. BUT ASCETICISM IS OF NO REAL VALUE AGAINST THE "INDULGENCE OF THE
      FLESH"
      1. As Paul points out in Col 2:23
      2. Indeed, transformation comes through "renewing the MIND", not
         afflicting the BODY
         a. As Paul wrote in Ro 12:1-2
         b. Yes, those who "set their minds on the things of the Spirit"
            are the ones "who live according to the Spirit" - Ro 8:5
            1) They are the ones who by the Spirit will be able to "put
               to death the deeds of the body" - Ro 8:13
            2) For the "fruit of the Spirit" includes self-control - Ga 5:22-23

   C. TODAY, WE MUST BEWARE OF THE FALSE CLAIMS OF ASCETICISM!
      1. Fasting may have a place in the lives of Christians - cf. Ac
         13:2-3; 14:23; 1Co 7:5; 2Co 11:27
         a. But not for the purpose of developing self-control!
         b. Rather as a means of humbling oneself before God as we pray,
            that God might hear our prayer - cf. Ezr 8:21; Mt 6:17-18
      2. Those religions that would teach various forms of "asceticism"
         as a means of developing spiritual maturity would have us
         believe that "the secret" is in such "neglect of the body" 
      3. But Christ is "the secret", and by holding fast to Him we find
         the ability to "crucify the flesh with its passions and 
         desires." - Ga 5:24

CONCLUSION

1. As we live the Christian life, attempting to mature spiritually,
   beware of any doctrine or teaching of man that suggests we need more
   than Jesus Christ!

2. Remember, He is "THE" way (not "A" way) - Jn 14:6

3. And we are COMPLETE in Him!

Are you IN Him?  - cf. Ga 3:26-27...
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

Can Humans Become Gods? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1221

Can Humans Become Gods?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One of the more eye-opening beliefs of Mormonism is the polytheistic notion that humans can become gods. Standard Mormon theology maintains that even God (the Father) and Jesus Christ were once human. They were preceded by other humans who themselves progressed to the status of gods.
Of course, this doctrine was not presented initially by Joseph Smith, but was developed after the production of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon actually contradicts later Mormon revelation, in that it affirmed in 1830 the biblical doctrine of the oneness of God in three persons, i.e., the historic Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Observe the conversation between Ammon and King Lamoni:
And then Ammon said: “Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit?” And he said, “Yea.” And Ammon said: “This is God.” And Ammon said unto him again: “Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth?” And he said: “Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens.” And Ammon said unto him: “The heavens is a place where God dwells and all his holy angels.… I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people” (Alma 18:26-30).
Nephi declared: “And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end” (2 Nephi 31:21, emp. added). Amulek contended with the diabolical Zeezrom: “And Zeezrom said unto him: ‘Thou sayest there is a true and living God?’ And Amulek said: ‘Yea, there is a true and living God.’ Now Zeezrom said: ‘Is there more than one God?’ And he answered, ‘No’ ” (Alma 11:26-29, emp. added).
The Book of Mormon also affirmed that Jesus was God in the flesh:
And now Abinadi said unto them: “I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—the Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth” (Mosiah 15:1-4, emp. added).
Even the “three witnesses” to the Book of Mormon, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, affirmed monotheism and the oneness of God: “And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God” (“The Testimony,” 1981, emp. added). Joseph Smith affirmed the same thing in the Articles of Faith: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (Pearl, 1981, p. 60).
These teachings certainly are in harmony with the Bible. The Bible repeatedly and frequently affirms the doctrine of monotheism and the unity of God: Deuteronomy 4:35,39; 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6,8; 45:5; 46:9; Mark 12:29; Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:4,6; 1 Timothy 2:5. These and many other passages indicate “there is but one infinite Spirit Being, and that within that one Spirit essence there are three personal distinctions, each of which may be, and is, called God” (Lanier, 1974, p. 46). There is only one divine essence (ousia) or nature (phusis)—a solidaric unity—one divine substance in (not and) three persons (prosopa or persona), with each “person” being the subsistence (hupostaseis) of the divine Essence [NOTE: for discussions of the concept of Trinity and its treatment in church history, see Archer, 1982, pp. 357-361; Bickersteth, n.d.; Boles, 1942, pp. 19ff.; Chadwick, 1967, pp. 84ff.; Schaff, 1910, 3:670ff.; Walker, 1970, pp. 106ff.; Warfield, 1939a, 5:3012-3022].
But by 1844, Joseph Smith had begun to advocate a very different understanding of deity—in direct contradiction to the Book of Mormon. He began to promulgate the idea that God had, in fact, previously been a man Himself Who had become exalted, and that all men were capable of the same progression (see Tanner, 1972, p. 163). This shift was expressed formally in the Pearl of Great Price where, in the Book of Moses, God is spoken of in the singular throughout. For example: “I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven and the earth upon which thou standest” (2:1). In stark contrast, however, in the Book of Abraham, in a section discussing the same creation event, God is spoken of as “Gods.” For example:
And then the Lord said: “Let us go down.” And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.... And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night....And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.... And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness....And the Gods planted a garden, eastward in Eden, and there they put the man, whose spirit they had put into the body which they had formed (4:1,5,18; 5:8, emp. added).
Anyone who is familiar with the King James Version cannot help but be struck with the fact that the author of the Book of Abraham had before him a copy of a KJV and merely paraphrased the text. It is equally apparent that the author “had an axe to grind” in adjusting the text to foist upon the reader the notion of multiple “gods.” In fact, in the thirty-one verses of chapter four, the term “Gods” is used thirty-two times! It is used sixteen times in chapter five! Polytheism now so thoroughly permeates Mormonism that one Mormon apostle asserted that humans are the offspring of the union between an Eternal Father and an Eternal Mother (McConkie, 1979, p. 516)!

“LET US MAKE MAN”

Separate and apart from the issue of the inspiration of the Book of Mormon (see Miller, 2003), the question must be asked: Does the Bible give credence to the notion of multiple gods? Certainly not! However, various verses have been marshaled in an effort to defend the Mormon viewpoint. For example, on the sixth day of Creation, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). It is alleged by Mormons that the use of the plural in this verse implies a multiplicity of “gods.” However, an examination of the context reveals that the doctrine of the Trinity is being conveyed (see Leupold, 1942, 1:86ff.).
The Holy Spirit was active at the Creation, “hovering over the face of the waters” (1:2). “Hovering” refers to attentive participation (cf. Deuteronomy 32:11). Elsewhere, the Bible makes clear that Jesus also was present at the Creation, in active participation with Deity’s creative activity (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; 2:10). Hence, when God spoke of “Us,” He was referring to Himself and the other two members of the divine Essence [cf. “Godhead” (theotes) in Colossians 2:9, “divine” nature (theios) in Acts 17:29 and 2 Peter 1:3-4, and “divinity” (theioteis) in Romans 1:20. The first term (theotes) differs from the third term (theioteis) “as essence differs from quality or attribute” (Thayer, 1901, p. 288; cf. Vine, 1966, pp. 328-329; Warfield, 1939b, 2:1268-1270)]. Some (e.g., Archer, 1982, p. 74) have suggested that God was including the angels in the “us,” since “sons of God” sometimes can refer to the angels (e.g., Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; cf. Psalms 29:1; 89:6), and “sons of God” can be shortened to “God” while still referring to angels (e.g., compare Psalm 97:7 with Hebrews 1:6, and Psalm 8:5 with Hebrews 2:7,9). In either case, the fact remains that the Bible presents a consistent picture that there is only one God, and that this divine essence includes three—and only three—persons.

“YE SHALL BE AS GODS”

Another verse that has been brought forward to substantiate Mormon polytheism is the comment made on the occasion of Adam and Eve being tempted to eat the forbidden fruit: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5—NKJV). The King James Version says, “ye shall be as gods.” Four points of clarification are in order on this verse. In the first place, Satan made this statement—not God. Satan’s declarations are never to be trusted, since he is “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
In the second place, the uncertainty conveyed by the various English translations in their differing treatment of the verse (i.e., whether “God” or “gods”) is the result of the underlying Hebrew term elohim. This word is not to be confused with Yahweh, the formal name for God throughout the Old Testament. Elohim is a generic term used some 2,570 times in Scripture, and generally refers to the one true God, but also is used to refer to pagan gods, and even can refer to judges or rulers and, as noted previously, to angels (Harris, et al., 1980, 1:44-45). Though the word is plural in form, it is used in both the plural and singular sense [cf. “face” (panim)—Genesis 50:1; Exodus 34:35 and “image” (teraphim)—1 Samuel 19:13]. English shares a similar phenomenon with its plural nouns like “deer,” “seed,” “sheep,” and “moose.” The same form is used, whether referring to one or to many. Hebrew, like most other languages, matched the number (whether singular or plural) of verbs and adjectives with the noun. In the case of elohim, with only rare exception, the verbs and adjectives used with it are either singular or plural in conformity with the intended meaning (Ringgren, 1974, p. 272). Fretheim noted that its use in the Old Testament for Israel’s God is “always with singular verbs” (1997, 1:405; cf. Archer, 1982, p. 74).
Some Hebrew scholars maintain that the plural form used to designate the one true God is the pluralis majestatis or excellentiae—the plural of majesty—or the plural of intensification, absolutization, or exclusivity (e.g., Fretheim, 1:405; Gesenius, 1847, p. 49; Harris, et al., p. 44; Mack, 1939, 2:1265; Reeve, 1939, 2:1270), although others question this usage (e.g., Grudem, 1994, p. 227; Jenni and Westermann, 1997, p. 116). In the case at hand, Satan was tempting Eve with the prospect of being like God—Whom she knew, and from Whom she (or at least her husband) had received previous communication (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:3). She knew nothing of other “gods”—pagan or otherwise. Since the term elohim occurs 58 times in the first three chapters of Genesis and is consistently rendered “God,” and since Satan himself used the term earlier in the same verse as well as four verses earlier (vs. 1) to refer to the one God, no contextual, grammatical, or lexical reason exists for rendering it “gods” in verse five. In fact, most of the major English translations properly render it “God” (e.g., NKJV, ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV). [See also the discussion in Clarke, n.d., 1:50, who noted that the ancient Syriac version rendered the term correctly].
Third, elohim in this verse has an attached prefix (Biblia Hebraica, 1967/77, p. 4)—what Hebrew scholars call an “inseparable preposition” (Weingreen, 1959, p. 26). In this case, the prepositional prefix is the eleventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the kaph, and means “like” or “as.” Satan was not saying that Eve would become God or a god; He was saying she would become like God. This realization brings us to a fourth point: the context stipulates in what way Eve would become like God. In the very verse under consideration, an explanatory phrase clarifies what Satan meant: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” (emp. added). This meaning is evident from subsequent references in the same chapter. When they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew…” (verse 7, emp. added). God commented: “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil” (verse 22, emp. added). In other words, Adam and Eve became like God in the sense that they now were privy to a greater breadth of awareness, understanding, and insight: “They now had a sufficient discovery of their sin and folly in disobeying the command of God; they could discern between good and evil; and what was the consequence? Confusion and shame were engendered, because innocence was lost and guilt contracted” (Clarke, p. 51). As Keil and Delitzsch summarized: “By eating the fruit, man did obtain the knowledge of good and evil, and in this respect became like God” (1976, 1:95, emp. added).

GOD OF GODS

A third attempt to substantiate the Mormon doctrine of plural gods is the use of various verses from the Bible that speak of God being a “God of gods.” For example, on the occasion of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, the “Song of Moses” declared: “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods” (Exodus 15:11, emp. added). Forty years later, in his stirring challenge to the Israelites to be firm in their future commitment to God, he reminded them: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome” (Deuteronomy 10:17, emp. added). During the days of Joshua, some of the Israelites exclaimed: “The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, He knows” (Joshua 22:22, emp. added). These verses, and many more in the Bible, speak of “gods” in such a way that a cursory reading might leave one with the impression that the Bible teaches that “gods” actually existed. However, one cannot really study the Bible and come away with that conclusion. The Bible presents a thoroughgoing monotheistic view of reality. It repeatedly conveys the fact that “gods” are merely the figment of human imagination, invented by humans to provide themselves with exemption from following the one true God by living up to the higher standard of deity. Humans throughout history have conjured up their own imaginary gods to justify freedom from restriction and to excuse relaxed moral behavior.
Consequently, all verses in the Bible that use the term “gods” to refer to deity (with the exception of the one God) are referring to nonexistent deities that humans have invented. When God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, the very first one said: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Liberal higher critics of the Bible (like Wellhausen) have alleged that this dictum advocated only monolatry (exclusive worship of Yahweh) rather than actually denying the existence of other gods. Distinguished professor of Old Testament languages, Gleason Archer, has maintained, however, that “this construction of the words is quite unwarranted” (1974, p. 235). Many additional passages clarify the point. For example, the psalmist declared: “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96:4, emp. added). One might get the impression from this verse by itself that the psalmist thought that “gods” actually existed. However, the next verse sets the record straight: “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens” (vs. 5, emp. added). The Hebrew word for “idols” (elilim) means “of nothing, of nought, empty, vain” (Gesenius, p. 51). Notice carefully the contrast the psalmist was making. The people made their gods; but the one true God made the heavens (i.e., the Universe). The genuineness, reality, and greatness of God are placed in contrast to the people’s fake, nonexistent gods who could not make anything. Archer concluded: “This passage alone…demonstrates conclusively that the mention of ‘gods’ in the plural implied no admission of the actual existence of heathen gods in the first commandment” (1974, p. 236). As God Himself announced: “They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God” (Deuteronomy 32:21, emp. added).
The denunciation of the Israelites for conjuring up false gods—pretending that such actually existed, rather than devoting themselves exclusively to the one and only God—reached its zenith in the eloquent preaching pronouncements of the Old Testament prophets. Elijah treated the notion of the existence of gods in addition to the one God with sarcasm and forthright ridicule (1 Kings 18:27-29). The idea of multiple gods would have been laughable, if it were not so spiritually serious (cf. Psalm 115:2-8). The people on that occasion finally got the point, for they shouted: “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (vs. 39).
Likewise, the reality of monotheism was pure, well defined, and single minded for Jeremiah. He frequently chastised the people by accusing them of following gods that were, in fact, “not gods” (2:11; 5:7; 16:20). Isaiah was equally adamant and explicit:
You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; therefore you are My witnesses, says the Lord, that I am God. Indeed, before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it? (43:10-13, emp. added; cf. 37: 19; 40:18-20; 41; 44:8-24).
Over and over, Isaiah recorded the exclusivity of the one true God: “I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me” (45:5, emp. added); “There is no other God” (45:14, emp. added); “I am the Lord, and there is no other” (45:18, emp. added).
The New Testament continues the same recognition of the nonexistence of deities beyond the one God Who exists in three persons. Paul reminded the Galatian Christians of their pre-Christian foolish belief in other deities: “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods” (4:8, emp. added). By definition, the “gods” that people claim actually exist are not gods! In his lengthy discussion of whether Christians were permitted to eat foods that had been sacrificed to pagan deities, Paul clarified succinctly the Bible position on the existence of so-called gods:
Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live (1 Corinthians 8:4-6, emp. added).
In this passage, Paul declared very forthrightly that idols, and the gods they represent, are, in fact, nonentities. The RSV renders the meaning even more clearly: “We know that an idol has no real existence, and that there is no God but one” (emp. added).
Of course, Paul recognized and acknowledged that humans have worshipped imaginary, nonexistent gods in heaven (like Greek mythology advocated) and on Earth (in the form of idols). He used the figure of speech known as “metonymy of the adjunct,” where “things are spoken of according to appearance, opinions formed respecting them, or the claims made for them” (Bullinger, 1898, p. 597; Dungan, 1888, p. 295; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). He spoke of “gods” as if they existed, simply because many people of his day had that opinion. But Paul knew “there is no God but one.” As Allen observed: “The gods (i.e., the so-called divine beings contemplated by the pagans) represented by the images did not exist. …[T]hey were nothing as far as representing the deities envisioned by the heathen” (1975, p. 98, emp. added; cf. Kelcy, 1967, p. 38; Thomas, 1984, p. 30).
Paul continued his discussion of idols two chapters later, and again affirmed the nonexistence of any deities besides God: “What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?” (1 Corinthians 10:19). For Paul, it was technically permissible for a Christian to eat food that had previously been used in a pagan ceremony as an offering to a “god.” Why? Because such “gods” did not, and do not, actually exist—except in the mind of the worshipper (cf. 8:7-8)! Thus, the food used in such ceremonies was unaffected. However, the person who really thinks there are “gods,” and who then worships these imaginary “gods,” is, in actuality, worshipping demons (10:20)! Paul said there are only two possibilities: “But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons” (10:20-21). Paul envisioned no class of beings known as “gods.” There is only the one true God, and then there are the demons and forces of Satan (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:15-16). This bifurcation of the spiritual realm (i.e., God versus Satan and his forces) is the consistent portrait presented throughout the Bible. The Bible simply admits no knowledge or possibility of “gods.”

YE ARE GODS

A final passage that is alleged to support the notion of “gods” is the statement made by Jesus when the Jews wanted to stone Him because He claimed divinity for Himself:
The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”?’ If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came…do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said, “I am the Son of God”? (John 10:33-36).
Mormons allege that Jesus here endorsed the notion that men can become “gods.” But, of course, Jesus did no such thing. On this occasion, He appealed to an Old Testament context to deflect the barb of His critics. Psalm 82 is a passage that issued a scathing indictment of the unjust judges who had been assigned the responsibility of executing God’s justice among the people (cf. Deuteronomy 1:16; 19:17-18; Psalm 58). Such a magistrate was “God’s minister” (Romans 13:4) who acted in the place of God, wielding His authority, and who was responsible for mediating God’s help and justice (cf. Exodus 7:1). In this sense, they were “gods” (elohim)—acting as God to men (Barclay, 1956, 2:89). Hebrew parallelism clarifies this sense: “I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High’” (Psalm 82:6, emp. added). They did not share divinity with God—but merely delegated jurisdiction. They still were mere humans—although invested with divine authority, and permitted to act in God’s behalf.
This point is apparent throughout the Torah, where the term translated “judges” or “ruler” is often elohim (e.g., Exodus 21:6; 22:9,28). Take Moses as an example. Moses was not a “god.” Yet God told Moses that when he went to Egypt to achieve the release of the Israelites, he would be “God” to his brother Aaron and to Pharaoh (Exodus 4:16; 7:1). He meant that Moses would supply both his brother and Pharaoh with the words that came from God. Though admittedly a rather rare use of elohim, nevertheless “it shows that the word translated ‘god’ in that place might be applied to man” (Barnes, 1949, p. 294, emp. in orig.). Clarke summarized this point: “Ye are my representatives, and are clothed with my power and authority to dispense judgment and justice, therefore all of them are said to be children of the Most High” (3:479, emp. in orig.). But because they had shirked their awesome responsibility to represent God’s will fairly and accurately, and because they had betrayed the sacred trust bestowed upon them by God Himself, He decreed death upon them (vs. 7). Obviously, they were not “gods,” since God could and would execute them!
Jesus marshaled this Old Testament psalm to thwart His opponents’ attack, while simultaneously reaffirming His deity (which is the central feature of the book of John—20:30-31). He made shrewd use of syllogistic argumentation by reasoning a minori ad majus (see Lenski, 1943, pp. 765-770; cf. Fishbane, 1985, p. 420). “Jesus is here arguing like a rabbi from a lesser position to a greater position, a ‘how much more’ argument very popular among the rabbis” (Pack, 1975, 1:178). In fact, “it is an argument which to a Jewish Rabbi would have been entirely convincing. It was just the kind of argument, an argument founded on a word of scripture, which the Rabbis loved to use and found most unanswerable” (Barclay, 1956, p. 90).
Jesus identified the unjust judges of Israel as persons “to whom the word of God came” (John 10:35). That is, they had been “appointed judges by Divine commission” (Butler, 1961, p. 127)—by “the command of God; his commission to them to do justice” (Barnes, 1949, p. 294, emp. in orig.; cf. Jeremiah 1:2; Ezekiel 1:3; Luke 3:2). McGarvey summarized the ensuing argument of Jesus: “If it was not blasphemy to call those gods who so remotely represented the Deity, how much less did Christ blaspheme in taking unto himself a title to which he had a better right than they, even in the subordinate sense of being a mere messenger” (n.d., p. 487). Charles Erdman observed:
By his defense Jesus does not renounce his claim to deity; but he argues that if the judges, who represented Jehovah in their appointed office, could be called “gods,” in the Hebrew scriptures, it could not be blasphemy for him, who was the final and complete revelation of God, to call himself “the Son of God (1922, pp. 95-96; cf. Morris, 1971, pp. 527-528).
This verse teaches the exact opposite of what Mormons would like for it to teach! It brings into stark contrast the deity—the Godhood—of Christ (and His Father Who “sanctified and sent” Him—vs. 36) with the absence of deity for all others! There are no other “gods” in the sense of deity, i.e., eternality and infinitude in all attributes. Jesus verified this very conclusion by directing the attention of His accusers to the “works” that He performed (vs. 37-38). These “works” (i.e., miraculous signs) proved the divine identity of Jesus to the exclusion of all other alleged deities. Archer concluded: “By no means, then, does our Lord imply here that we are sons of God just as He is—except for a lower level of holiness and virtue. No misunderstanding could be more wrongheaded than that” (1982, p. 374). Indeed, the Mormon notion of a plurality of gods is “wrongheaded,” as is the accompanying claim that humans can become gods.

CONCLUSION

It is unthinkable that the consistent prohibition of polytheism and idolatry throughout the Bible would or could give way to the completely contrary notion that, as a matter of fact, many gods do exist, and that these gods are merely exalted humans who now rule over their own worlds even as God and Christ rule over theirs. It is likewise outlandish—and contradictory—that humans would be required to worship God and Christ—while being banned from worshipping these other gods. The fact of the matter is that “historic Hebrew is unquestionably and uniformly monotheistic” (Mack, 1939, 2:1265). The same may be said of historic Christianity. To think otherwise is pure pagan hocus-pocus—“a mere creation of the imagination, a mere matter of superstition” (Erdman, 1928, p. 78, emp. added).

REFERENCES

Allen, Jimmy (1975), Survey of 1 Corinthians (Searcy, AR: Privately published by author).
Archer, Gleason L. (1974), A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL: Moody), revised edition.
Archer, Gleason L. (1982), An Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Barclay, William (1956), The Gospel of John (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press), second edition.
Barnes, Albert (1949 reprint), Notes on the New Testament: Luke and John (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Bickersteth, Edward (no date), The Trinity (MacDill AFB, FL: MacDonald Publishing).
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1967/77), (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung).
Boles, H. Leo (1942), The Holy Spirit: His Personality, Nature, Works (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate, 1971 reprint).
Book of Mormon (1981 reprint), (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Bullinger, E.W. (1898), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968 reprint).
Butler, Paul (1961), The Gospel of John (Joplin, MO: College Press).
Chadwick, Henry (1967), The Early Church (New York: Penguin Books).
Clarke, Adam (no date), Clarke’s Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury).
Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Erdman, Charles (1922), The Gospel of John (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster).
Erdman, Charles (1928), The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster).
Fishbane, Michael (1985), Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Fretheim, Terence (1997), “elohim,” The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, ed. Willem VanGemeren (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1979 reprint.
Grudem, Wayne (1994), Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Harris, R. Laird, Gleason Archer, Jr. and Bruce Waltke, eds. (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Jenni, Ernst and Claus Westermann (1997), Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (Peabody, MS: Hendrickson).
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1976 reprint), Commentary on the Old Testament: The Pentateuch (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Kelcy, Raymond C. (1967), First Corinthians (Austin, TX: Sweet).
Lanier, Roy H., Sr. (1974), The Timeless Trinity for the Ceaseless Centuries (Denver, CO: Roy H. Lanier, Sr.).
Lenski, R.C.H. (1943), The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Leupold, Herbert C. (1942), Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1950 reprint).
Mack, Edward (1939), “Names of God,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974 reprint).
McConkie, Bruce (1979), Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft).
McGarvey, J.W. (n.d.), The Fourfold Gospel (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Is the Book of Mormon From God?” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2243
Morris, Leon (1971), The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Pack, Frank (1975), The Gospel According to John (Austin, TX: Sweet).
Pearl of Great Price (1981 reprint), (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Reeve, J.J. (1939), “Gods,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 1974 reprint.
Ringgren, Helmer (1974), “elohim,” Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Schaff, Philip (1910), History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979 reprint).
Tanner, Jerald and Sandra (1972), Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? (Salt Lake City, UT: Modern Microfilm).
Thayer, Joseph H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
“The Testimony of Three Witnesses” (1981 reprint), Introduction to the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Thomas, J.D. (1984), The Message of the New Testament: First Corinthians (Abilene, TX: Biblical Research Press).
Vine, W.E. (1966 reprint), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).
Walker, Williston (1970), A History of the Christian Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons).
Warfield, Benjamin (1939a), “Trinity,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974 reprint).
Warfield, Benjamin (1939b), “Godhead,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974 reprint).
Weingreen, J. (1959), A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew (Oxford: Oxford University Press), second edition.

Calling Abortion “Good”—Really? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=5195

Calling Abortion “Good”—Really?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

What do Americans call it when a doctor uses a knife-like device and suction from a powerful hose and pump (“29 times more powerful than a household vacuum cleaner”) to chop and suck a human being out of the mother’s womb (“Abortion Methods,” 2010)? What is it called when a doctor uses plier-like devices to twist and tear a four-month-old unborn baby into pieces? (Usually this procedure requires crushing the baby’s skull and snapping the child’s spine in order to extract him/her.) How do Americans feel about a procedure where a doctor injects a strong salt solution through a mother’s abdomen, which acts as a corrosive and burns an unborn child inside and out, normally causing the child to suffer for an hour or more before dying (“Abortion Methods”)? What do Americans think about such actions?
Just a few miles from our offices at Apologetics Press, doctors perform such appalling procedures on living, unborn human beings on a weekly basis. According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly 10,000 innocent unborn children were slaughtered in Alabama in 2011 (“State Facts About Abortion: Alabama,” 2015). Many of these abortions were performed at the Reproductive Health Services of Montgomery, which “has provided abortion services and other health care for women for more than 30 years” (2015). Consider some of the feedback from various patients that this abortion clinic highlights on its Web site:
  • Thank you for your hard work and for changing people’s lives with your compassion and dignity.”
  • “Keep up the good work. As my very religious friend told me, I was against abortion until my own fifteen year old daughter became pregnant.”
  • “To all who work to allow me to keep that right to choose: What you do is important, empowering and fine. I chose to have an abortion because it was theright decision for me at the time….”
  • I am saying prayers for your safety and success.”
  • “Keep up the good work….”
  • “Thank you for your brave work for justice and freedom for women.”
  • “Every woman I know who has exercised her right to abortion made that decision with thoughtfulness, tortured consideration and integrity. All the recent talk of heroes comes into focus for me when I think of people like you who’ve been on the front line for so long. Please know you are supported not only with good thoughts and thanks but with resources, will and active determination.”
  • I thank God I was given a choice in September 1973. Abortion was just legalized a few weeks earlier” (emp. added).
Compassion. Dignity. Integrity. Justice. Fine, heroic, and good work. Prayers for success. Even thankfulness to God! These are the thoughts that various ones in our community have toward those who shed the blood of the most innocent among us?! Even President Barack Obama, in support of Planned Parenthood, the organization that murders more unborn children than anyone else in the United States, has stated:
No matter how great the challenge, no matter how fierce the opposition, there’s one thing the past few years have shown—it’s that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It’s not going anywhere today. It’s not going anywhere tomorrow. As long as we’ve got a fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way. Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. (“President Obama...,” 2013).
God bless you?! The Obama administration has proudly published the video from which these comments were made on the White House YouTube Channel.
What’s more, so committed are some elected officials to the murderous cause of Planned Parenthood that when evidence recently surfaced that the organization was not only killing hundreds of thousands of unborn children every year, but also attempting to sell their body parts, some Democrats in Congress petitioned the Department of Justice to investigate, not Planned Parenthood, but the whistleblowers (Ludden, 2015). And, apparently, the DOJ “agreed to look into…the group” (Mershon and Ehley, 2015). Did you catch that? There are some who are more up in arms about exactly how an undercover video was procured, rather than “whether Planned Parenthood illegally trafficked baby body parts” (“Obama DOJ…”). Why? It seems, at least in part, because some have vowed to fight to ensure that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere today…or tomorrow.
These are sad and absurd times in which we live. Rather than “abhor what is evil” and “cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9), millions in the U.S. (including many so-called Christians) reject the Creator’s standard of right and wrong, choosing rather to do what is right in their own eyes (cf. Judges 21:25). As in Isaiah’s day, they “call evil good, and good evil” and put “darkness for light, and light for darkness” (5:20). Though God is the giver of life (Acts 17:25) and “hates…hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16-17), many actually proceed as if they can pray to Him for the “success” of abominable abortion clinics and thank Him for the legality of willfully destroying innocent human life. God said to the degenerate city of Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day, “When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:15, emp. added). The once-“faithful city…full of justice” and “righteousness,” had become a city “full of…murderers” (1:21).
What is the message to America, to the world, to those who are wandering in darkness, and to those hypocrites who claim to be Christians, yet act nothing like the Christ? Repent (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 2:38). Stop calling evil good and good evil. Stop glorying in sin and shame—such “are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction” (Philippians 3:18-19). “Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17). Stop provoking Almighty God to anger and submit to His Son and His Will. He can (and will!) save a sinner—but not before the sinner comes to grips with the reality that God hates sin and can have no fellowship with it (Isaiah 59:1-2; 1 John 1:5-6).
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword;” for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

REFERENCES

“Abortion Methods” (2010), http://www.lifesitenews.com/abortiontypes/.
Ludden, Jennifer (2015), “Sting Videos Part of Longtime Campaign Against Planned Parenthood,” NPR, July 22, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/22/425314909/sting-videos-part-of-longtime-campaign-against-planned-parenthood.
Mershon, Erin and Brianna Ehley (2015), “IPAB’s on the Horizon—House Republicans Vow to Subpoena Planned Parenthood Official—Casey Takes on Foster Children’s Health Insurance,” Politico, July 23, http://www.politico.com/politicopulse/0715/politicopulse19266.html.
“Obama DOJ Plans to Investigate…The Group That Busted Planned Parenthood” (2015), The Federalist, July 23, http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/23/doj-investigate-planned-parenthood-video/.
“President Obama Speaks at the Planned Parenthood Gala” (2013), The White House YouTube Channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laYQ2DDFmCg, April 26.
Reproductive Health Services (2015), http://www.rhs4choice.com/index.html.
“State Facts About Abortion: Alabama” (2015), Guttmacher Institute, https://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/alabama.html.

The Measure of a Man by Ben Fronczek

http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?p=120

The Measure of a Man

The Measure of A Man
Read Acts 21: 17-40
As I look at this passage, I thought more about what kind of man Paul was rather than seeing that it was just about his arrest. It is the arrest of Paul, but it is also the measure of the man who is seen in the midst of the circumstance that interests me.
I may never get arrested. I may never have to face what Paul did, but I need to learn the lessons of humility that he exemplified here.
From Acts 21:27 on, Paul becomes a prisoner. His days as a free man are over, and from here on he’s a prisoner in various places.
What intrigued me was the question, ‘How can one continue to give a positive testimony in such a negative situation?’
Now, I suppose that every Christian is faced at times with the dilemma of how to come across with a positive attitude in a negative situation.
So how can you keep a positive frame of mind, in a negative situation?
I think a good way to learn how is to watch a man who did it. When we come to the Apostle Paul, we see a man who knew how to take a negative situation and turn it into something positive.
As we move toward verse 27 of Acts 21, we are reminded that Paul arrived in Jerusalem on a positive note after completing three missionary journeys. After meeting with his brother in Christ and making a report and goes through some purification rites, he goes to the Temple to worship. But he encounters a mob, who in a frenzy want to murder him. Let’s look at this story a little closer.
I. Based on v 27 The culprits in the attack were some Jews who were from Asia.
When they saw Paul in the temple, they saw their opportunity.
When they saw him in the temple, they stirred up all the people.
Most of the time lies can move people to action quicker than truth.
Someone once said, “IT IS ALWAYS EASIER TO ROUSE MEN TO FIGHT FOR THEIR RELIGION THAN TO GET THEM TO LIVE BY IT.”
– So what did they accuse him of?
They said that he was going around teaching “against our people, and our law, and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.”
So the first accusation was that he is anti-Semitic, someone who hates Jews. Now, that’s a little difficult to accuse an individual of being anti-Semitic when he’s a Jew himself.
Then they said he was against the “the Law.” In other words he’s anti-Moses. He’s anti-biblical. And then they sum it up by saying he’s against, “this place.” (the Temple).
Now those accusations were a bit general and they really couldn’t do much to the guy who believed those things even if they were true. So they came up with something specific in verse 28. They say, ‘he brought Greeks into the temple and polluted the holy place.’ Now that’s a very strong accusation.
Because They had previously seen him with Trophimus the Ephesian in the city they just assumed that he was with Paul. But they had no evidence.
For a Gentile to enter the Temple was taboo. The Gentiles were restricted to an outer court. It was the part of the Temple known as the Court of the Gentiles. And in between that area and the inner court, was an area for Jewish women to worship. And then the inner courtyard was only for Jewish men. And then of course only the priest and the high priest could enter the Temple itself.
But Gentiles were only allowed in the outer court. There was even a sign posted on the wall that no foreigner could enter. Anyone doing so would have no one but himself to blame for his death.
Now what’s interesting in this: even if Paul had taken Trophimus in there, it should not have been Paul who was apprehended, it would’ve been Trophimus. So this shows us that something was out of whack here.
Verse 30, “The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut.,”
It goes on and said that they wanted to kill him, but fortunately in the great providence of God, the life of Paul was not to end quite yet.

II. Then we see him ARRESTED (Romans)

The one thing that the Roman Government wanted in its colonies was civil order. They didn’t tolerate riotous mobs or civil disorder. And any commander who allowed it was in real trouble. As a result, they had observation towers to watch over somewhat concealed areas. Because most of what went on in terms of people congregating went on in the temple courtyard, there was a garrison of soldiers in the northwest corner of the Temple area.
Well, the soldiers saw what was going on. In verse vss 31-32 it tells us that Immediately solders came bursting in through the crowd and the Jews then stopped beating Paul.
B. Verse 33 say that they “The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done.”
They assumed that Paul is guilty of something. They assumes the crown wouldn’t have gone crazy like this unless Paul was guilty of some crime.
I think it’s interesting that this is the fulfillment of prophecy. I can imagine Paul thinking, “Yep, what Agabus told me in Caesarea has come to pass.” The Jews captured him, and he is delivered to the Gentiles, who have now chain him. I’m bound just like Agabus bound himself with my belt.
C. Romans were pretty good at trying to bring about justice. As a result, they wanted to find out what this man had done, what he was accused of, who he was, and what was going on. Verse 34 says, “Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks.”.
Nobody had the faintest idea what was going on. They were just hollering, and screaming all kind of stuff.
III. But here in this story I want you to notice -The ATTIUDE of a Paul
In this whole story from the very beginning, the Paul hasn’t struggled or said anything. Paul is humble. I see his humility in three ways in these passages.
#1. In the beginning of this text we see his humility even as he attributes all his success to God. When he first came back to Jerusalem we read in verses 19 and 20, that he gave a report about what God had done on his missionary journeys. After hearing this they all praised God. But one thing he didn’t say was, “Look what I did. Look what I did.” Rather it was always what God had done. Here we see Paul’s humble and submissive nature as he spoke of God. All he wanted to do was glorify God, not himself.
#2. He also submitted to God’s servants on earth.
In verse 22 the leaders tell Paul, this is what we want you to do, do what we tell you. Now Paul was a great Apostle of Jesus Christ, personally commissioned by the Lord Himself, yet he is humble enough to listen to the wisdom and suggestion of these men.
#3. He also submitted to God despite potential suffering
In the beginning of this chapter we read that he was warned that something bad may happen if he went to Jerusalem, but he had to go anyway. He just had to obey God’s will no matter what, even if it meant more suffering.
As a prisoner from here on out, I think we can get an idea of how Paul viewed his imprisonment. As a point of reference, I would call your attention to how he began Ephesians 3:1. Where from jail Paul writes, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles.”
The point is, Paul never viewed his situation as anything other than God authored. He never viewed his imprisonment as an imprisonment of men. He doesn’t say, “I write unto you, Paul, a prisoner of Rome.” He’s always a prisoner of Christ Jesus. He recognized that it was Christ who brought him into such predicaments.
And so consequently, his imprisonment represented nothing more a new ministry. To him, it didn’t mean the end of anything; that all was lost. It meant the beginning of something new. He saw it as a means to a greater end. Somehow it was part of God’s plan.
What a humble attitude to take. To be able to view a situation that may seem horrible to everyone else as something quite different, that God may want me in a certain situation to glorify Him in a new or unique way.
And that’s just what happened here. Before Paul is carried off into the Roman barracks Paul is given a opportunity to address the crowd in Chapter 22. And what does he do?
– He tells the crowd what happen to him on the road to Damascus as he tried to persecute those who were Christians.
– He told them how he met Jesus on the road, how we was lead blind to Damascus, how when Ananias can to him,
– how his sight was restored, and how God chose him to see the Messiah and become a witness on His behalf.
– He told them how Ananias instructed him to be baptized in order to wash his sins away.
He would have never had that opportunity to preach Jesus the them that day if there was no uproar, if he hadn’t been arrested. He would never have had the chance to preach to the Roman officials and later go to Rome if he hadn’t been falsely accused, beaten and then arrested there that day.
Paul humbly learned that God can use even the darkest of times to bring about a greater good and propel an individual into amazing works of service.
Likewise I want to tell you here today that God can and will use your trial, your dark days to bring about some unexpected or even unseen good. And we can either sit around whining or boohooing, or we can humbly trust God and look for the opportunity to serve Him in some way even while in that trial.
I’ve titled this sermon, The Measure of A Man. What kind of attitude you have in these hard times, in trials will show what you are made of, whether you are a man or woman of faith, or all fluff.
Invitation
(This sermon is slightly based on a sermon by Jimmy Chapman)

Christians Belong on the Most Endangered Species List by Alfred Shannon Jr.

https://biblicalproof.wordpress.com/2011/03/page/2/

Christians Belong on the Most Endangered Species List


Christians truly belong on the Most Endangered Species list. They’re few and far between, and in some places are already extinct. If you think you have found one, be sure to know their characteristics. They are obedient to the gospel of Christ, they attend church services regularly, and they are constantly reading, studying and learning the Word of God. They are definitely not ashamed of the gospel, for they bodaciously teach it everywhere they go, and suffer for it greatly. To meet a Christian, is to meet one of life’s most precious, and rare gems.
Deut 7:7; Mt 7:14; Rom 9:27; Acts 20:7; Acts 17:11; 1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 2:15; Mt 11:29; Rom 1:16; 1 Pet 4:16; Ps 72:14; Ps 116:15; 1 Pet 2:9;

ROUGH JUSTICE UNTIL THAT GLORIOUS DAY by Jim McGuiggan




https://jimmcguiggan.wordpress.com/2017/02/

ROUGH JUSTICE UNTIL THAT GLORIOUS DAY

 Here’s Harriet, she’s a single mother and a cocaine addict and she abuses her children severely and often. Here’s Henry, he’s ill and mentally challenged. He carries an iron bar and has taken to beating people with it.
What are we to do with them? We may not be sure but we are sure that we should do something to protect the defenseless and innocent and it doesn’t matter that Henry and Harriet are not in (complete) control of their actions. Harriet’s horrific background and Henry’s mental disability matter—of course—but these things have to be put aside until we deal with the very real danger these two people are to others.
“The standards of the law are standards of general application. The law takes no account of the infinite varieties of temperament, intellect, and education, which make the internal character of a given act so different in different men. It does not attempt to see men (humans) as God sees them, for more than one sufficient reason. In the first place, the impossibility of nicely measuring a man’s powers and limitations is far clearer than that of ascertaining his knowledge of law…When men live in society, a certain average of conduct, a sacrifice of individual peculiarities going beyond a certain point, is necessary to the general welfare. If, for instance, a man is born hasty and awkward, is always having accidents and hurting himself or his neighbors, no doubt his congenital defects will be allowed for in the courts of Heaven, but his slips are no less troublesome to his neighbors than if they sprang from guilty neglect. His neighbors accordingly require him, at his proper peril, to come up to their standard, and the courts which they establish decline to take his personal equation into account.” Supreme Court Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes said that.
There must come a point when we render judgment because however disabled a transgressor is we simply can’t allow him/her to hurt their neighbor at will. At one level our response against sin/crime must ignore what motivates or what shaped the sinner/criminal. We have to develop, as Walter Moberly would put it, “a certain myopia” and get on with dealing with the case. He who knows all and knows how to judge all does not hold us responsible because we are not Him and He expects us to judge within our limitations.
Explain it how we will, or for as long as we might, there are in fact those who are predators that hunt the defenseless. What the predator might have been or what he might be under other circumstances who can say? The man/woman before us is the one we have to deal with and not the one who might have been or might later be. When we deal severely (as we sometimes must) with transgressors we recognize our limits but we can do no other than to think that dispensing a rough sort of justice is better than dispensing no justice at all. And if we’re sensitive to the fact that we too are under the Holy Father who judges all persons and takes into account all the factors that conspire to make a life then we’ll bear Matthew 7:1-5 in mind.
Aren’t we pleased that Christ is a great Savior?! The more complex and convoluted the entire human situation becomes to our eyes the more wondrous He has to be in order to save any of us. “For such a high priest is suited to our needs,” the Hebrew writer said. Pascal had good reason to say, ”It is equally dangerous for man to know God without knowing his own wretchedness as it is to know his own wretchedness without knowing the Redeemer who can free him from it.”
But in saying Jesus Christ has to be great to save “any” of us I’m not suggesting we’re all equally bogged down in sins (plural) for manifestly we’re not. Or that we were all equally bogged down in sins (plural) because I know my record is in every way more littered with failures and positive trespasses than many people I know. But whatever our individual differences are they came to us because we are part of a single human family.
Neither sin nor righteousness began with me though they continue with me and whatever differences there are in the number of our sins or the grossness of our particular sins we’ve all been involved in the same uprising against God at some point and we bear the sign of rebel on our forehead.
But I suspect if we had a richer biblical anthropology and a richer sense of human solidarity and if we were more enlightened about our limits as judges we could live more contentedly with “rough justice” and think we were being treated as well as is possible. Maybe resentment would be less of a hazard and we’d “do our time” with a freer heart.
I’m certain that if our human judges do their needed duty without arrogance and with some residue of good will toward us that we’d “take what’s coming to us” in a better spirit. Then, again, even our judges have been shaped by that universal uprising against the Holy Father. Knowing what it was going to lead to in 70 AD, from the cross Jesus looked at His nation and said to His Holy Father, “They don’t know what they’re doing.” Luke 23:14.
Only a God can judge well and perfectly—only a God like Jesus Christ can judge well and perfectly. Until the day He does that and rights all wrongs [Acts 17:31] in this life we’ll have to bear with rough justice or none at all. We’ll also have to recognize that even at our best we only hand out rough justice. I’m taking it that this is part of the reason Jesus uttered Matthew 7:1-2. Is it not?
(Holy Father, we’re glad that on that coming Day he entire human family will be judged in righteousness by the Son of Man because He is a Son of Man as well as the Son of Man. We’re happy to believe that exultant tyranny and heartless cruelty will be dealt with and that you will know how to deal with all those we cannot or fo do not want to help with be gloriously and lovingly dealt with. We who have been blessed to come to know Jesus Christ cannot believe otherwise since He taught us, “If you know Me you know the One who sent Me.” How happy we are to know that any hope the plundered and abused have rests in you and not even the best of us.)

Concerns About Baptism by Eugene Perry





http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Perry/Eugene/Charles/1922/Articles/baptism.html
 
Concerns About Baptism
Many years ago a listener came to me expressing concern. I had just preached and concluded an entire sermon without even mentioning baptism or its relationship to salvation. Such was expected to be a part of or in the conclusion of every sermon. After all, were we not in the Salvation business with Jesus.
There have been changes since that long-ago episode. Now, we sometimes hear expressions of concern if baptism is mentioned "too" frequently. In many churches, members cannot even remember when it was mentioned and would be surprised if it was mentioned, let alone emphasized. When we see people transferring to denominational groups or community churches we should not be surprised. We have made the transition too easy. The difference may not even be noticed and, if it is, it will not likely be consider of much importance.
In this matter, one thing that has been a marvel to me is what must be a deliberate exclusion, by many, of baptism from the things leading to salvation. There are tracts and other printed items that, although entitled, "God's Plan of Salvation" or something similar, manage to make no mention of baptism. These can only be the product of those who have chosen to leave out what the scriptures repeatedly include.
The reader is challenged to go through the New Testament and make two lists. A list of the scripture references where baptism is stated to be related to salvation, forgiveness, cleansing and church membership (i.e. becoming a part of the body of Christ). And a list of the references where baptism is mentioned but not related to the above. The results will be interesting and should be convincing. Accept this challenge!
Another marvel to me has been the manner in which proponents of salvation prior to and without baptism are quick to call it a work of man and therefore not required because "Jesus did it all" and there is nothing that man must contribute. It is not of works. We must recognize that, although baptism is a re-enactment of the death, burial and resurrection of our Saviour and involves an act of submission on man's part, it is only truly baptism because of God's work in our hearts when we are baptized. On man's part believing, repenting and confessing faith, all of which are usually included, involve more work than is involved in submitting to being immersed in obedience to God's will.
Again, I marvel to hear well-read Bible scholars when discussing the question of what makes one a Christian declare without hesitation and dogmatically, "It's not baptism." Does this come from man's reasoning or God's teaching? Certainly, salvation does not result from dipping one in water. Yet that it is a vital part of the "Plan of Salvation" cannot honestly be denied by one who reads without prejudice.
Another marvel is that men have been so bold as to change the mode of baptism. What the scriptures frequently call a burial, what is understood to have been the meaning of the word itself, what is admitted to have been the practise of the church for many centuries and what was evidently meant to be a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ has been changed to an act of sprinkling or pouring water. This neither fits the meaning of the word, conforms to the original practise nor presents the intended picture. How dare men do such a thing.
Lastly, these changes and interpretations become even more daring when one considers that baptism's part in salvation, which men have tended to deemphasize or deny, was a dominant feature of the parting statement/instruction that Jesus made to his closest disciples. His parting wish was that the "good news" of salvation be preached to all the world so that those who believed and submitted in baptism would be saved. (Mk 16:15,16; Mt.28:19)
If anyone doubts this or perhaps thinks it is being misinterpreted or misunderstood by us, the matter is easily clarified by an observance of the apostles as they went about carrying out Jesus' parting wishes. What did they understand?
Their first efforts are recorded in the second chapter of Acts. Note Peter's statement, "Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins . . ." (v.38). Surely these people who actually heard Jesus statement and who were led by the Holy Spirit had a better perception of the Lord's intent than any "scholar" or "interpreter" lacking these benefits and part of a different culture.
The wishes of a departing loved one are usually consider significant and are carefully and respectfully carried out. To ignore them or alter them is to practise shameful disrespect. We are also careful to recognize the intent of the departed. The beneficiary often receives the inheritance upon compliance with conditions. The inheritance that Jesus willed to us is "salvation" and the conditions are faith, repentance, confession and baptism.
Remember that Jesus came to bring salvation. He died, was buried and was resurrected to make this possible. Baptism is a re-enactment of this (Rom.6:3-7, 17, 18). Jesus' departing words linked baptism with salvation. The apostles, in compliance with these parting words preached and practiced baptism in relation to salvation.
Don't throw it out. Rather check it out and then carry it out.
Eugene Perry


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

Bible Reading April 11-12 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading April 11-12
World English Bible
Apr. 11
Numbers 13, 14

Num 13:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 13:2 "Send men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel. Of every tribe of their fathers, you shall send a man, every one a prince among them."
Num 13:3 Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran according to the commandment of Yahweh: all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.
Num 13:4 These were their names: Of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur.
Num 13:5 Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori.
Num 13:6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
Num 13:7 Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.
Num 13:8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun.
Num 13:9 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu.
Num 13:10 Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi.
Num 13:11 Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.
Num 13:12 Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli.
Num 13:13 Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael.
Num 13:14 Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi.
Num 13:15 Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.
Num 13:16 These are the names of the men who Moses sent to spy out the land. Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua.
Num 13:17 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, Go up this way by the South, and go up into the hill country:
Num 13:18 and see the land, what it is; and the people who dwell therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many;
Num 13:19 and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds;
Num 13:20 and what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood therein, or not. Be of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes.
Num 13:21 So they went up, and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, to the entrance of Hamath.
Num 13:22 They went up by the South, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)
Num 13:23 They came to the valley of Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bore it on a staff between two; they brought also of the pomegranates, and of the figs.
Num 13:24 That place was called the valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the children of Israel cut down from there.
Num 13:25 They returned from spying out the land at the end of forty days.
Num 13:26 They went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, to the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word to them, and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.
Num 13:27 They told him, and said, We came to the land where you sent us; and surely it flows with milk and honey; and this is its fruit.
Num 13:28 However the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
Num 13:29 Amalek dwells in the land of the South: and the Hittite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, dwell in the hill country; and the Canaanite dwells by the sea, and along by the side of the Jordan.
Num 13:30 Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
Num 13:31 But the men who went up with him said, We aren't able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
Num 13:32 They brought up an evil report of the land which they had spied out to the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that eats up its inhabitants; and all the people who we saw in it are men of great stature.
Num 13:33 There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Num 14:1 All the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
Num 14:2 All the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said to them, Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would that we had died in this wilderness!
Num 14:3 Why does Yahweh bring us to this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be a prey: wouldn't it be better for us to return into Egypt?
Num 14:4 They said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
Num 14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
Num 14:6 Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were of those who spied out the land, tore their clothes:
Num 14:7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceeding good land.
Num 14:8 If Yahweh delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it to us; a land which flows with milk and honey.
Num 14:9 Only don't rebel against Yahweh, neither fear the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is removed from over them, and Yahweh is with us: don't fear them.
Num 14:10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. The glory of Yahweh appeared in the Tent of Meeting to all the children of Israel.
Num 14:11 Yahweh said to Moses, How long will this people despise me? and how long will they not believe in me, for all the signs which I have worked among them?
Num 14:12 I will strike them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.
Num 14:13 Moses said to Yahweh, Then the Egyptians will hear it; for you brought up this people in your might from among them;
Num 14:14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you Yahweh are in the midst of this people; for you Yahweh are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them, and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night.
Num 14:15 Now if you shall kill this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of you will speak, saying,
Num 14:16 Because Yahweh was not able to bring this people into the land which he swore to them, therefore he has slain them in the wilderness.
Num 14:17 Now please let the power of the Lord be great, according as you have spoken, saying,
Num 14:18 Yahweh is slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, forgiving iniquity and disobedience; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation.
Num 14:19 Pardon, Please, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your loving kindness, and according as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
Num 14:20 Yahweh said, I have pardoned according to your word:
Num 14:21 but in very deed, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Yahweh;
Num 14:22 because all those men who have seen my glory, and my signs, which I worked in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have tempted me these ten times, and have not listened to my voice;
Num 14:23 surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers, neither shall any of those who despised me see it:
Num 14:24 but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and has followed me fully, him will I bring into the land into which he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Num 14:25 Now the Amalekite and the Canaanite dwell in the valley: tomorrow turn, and go into the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.
Num 14:26 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
Num 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, that murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
Num 14:28 Tell them, As I live, says Yahweh, surely as you have spoken in my ears, so will I do to you:
Num 14:29 your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness; and all who were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me,
Num 14:30 surely you shall not come into the land, concerning which I swore that I would make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
Num 14:31 But your little ones, that you said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which you have rejected.
Num 14:32 But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness.
Num 14:33 Your children shall be wanderers in the wilderness forty years, and shall bear your prostitution, until your dead bodies be consumed in the wilderness.
Num 14:34 After the number of the days in which you spied out the land, even forty days, for every day a year, you will bear your iniquities, even forty years, and you will know my alienation.
Num 14:35 I, Yahweh, have spoken, surely this will I do to all this evil congregation, who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
Num 14:36 The men, whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up an evil report against the land,
Num 14:37 even those men who did bring up an evil report of the land, died by the plague before Yahweh.
Num 14:38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, remained alive of those men who went to spy out the land.
Num 14:39 Moses told these words to all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.
Num 14:40 They rose up early in the morning, and got them up to the top of the mountain, saying, Behold, we are here, and will go up to the place which Yahweh has promised: for we have sinned.
Num 14:41 Moses said, Why now do you disobey the commandment of Yahweh, seeing it shall not prosper?
Num 14:42 Don't go up, for Yahweh isn't among you; that you not be struck down before your enemies.
Num 14:43 For there the Amalekite and the Canaanite are before you, and you shall fall by the sword: because you are turned back from following Yahweh, therefore Yahweh will not be with you.
Num 14:44 But they presumed to go up to the top of the mountain: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and Moses, didn't depart out of the camp.
Num 14:45 Then the Amalekite came down, and the Canaanite who lived in that mountain, and struck them and beat them down, even to Hormah.

Apr. 12
Numbers 15, 16

Num 15:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 15:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, When you have come into the land of your habitations, which I give to you,
Num 15:3 and will make an offering by fire to Yahweh, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or as a freewill offering, or in your set feasts, to make a pleasant aroma to Yahweh, of the herd, or of the flock;
Num 15:4 then he who offers his offering shall offer to Yahweh a meal offering of a tenth part of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the fourth part of a hin of oil:
Num 15:5 and wine for the drink offering, the fourth part of a hin, you shall prepare with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, for each lamb.
Num 15:6 Or for a ram, you shall prepare for a meal offering two tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the third part of a hin of oil:
Num 15:7 and for the drink offering you shall offer the third part of a hin of wine, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Num 15:8 When you prepare a bull for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or for peace offerings to Yahweh;
Num 15:9 then shall he offer with the bull a meal offering of three tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil:
Num 15:10 and you shall offer for the drink offering half a hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Num 15:11 Thus shall it be done for each bull, or for each ram, or for each of the male lambs, or of the young goats.
Num 15:12 According to the number that you shall prepare, so you shall do to everyone according to their number.
Num 15:13 All who are native-born shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Num 15:14 If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you, or whoever may be among you throughout your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh; as you do, so he shall do.
Num 15:15 For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner with you, a statute forever throughout your generations: as you are, so shall the foreigner be before Yahweh.
Num 15:16 One law and one ordinance shall be for you, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner with you.
Num 15:17 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 15:18 Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, When you come into the land where I bring you,
Num 15:19 then it shall be that when you eat of the bread of the land, you shall offer up a wave offering to Yahweh.
Num 15:20 Of the first of your dough you shall offer up a cake for a wave offering: as the wave offering of the threshing floor, so you shall heave it.
Num 15:21 Of the first of your dough you shall give to Yahweh a wave offering throughout your generations.
Num 15:22 When you shall err, and not observe all these commandments, which Yahweh has spoken to Moses,
Num 15:23 even all that Yahweh has commanded you by Moses, from the day that Yahweh gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations;
Num 15:24 then it shall be, if it be done unwittingly, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bull for a burnt offering, for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh, with the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering.
Num 15:25 The priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and they shall be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering made by fire to Yahweh, and their sin offering before Yahweh, for their error:
Num 15:26 and all the congregation of the children of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them; for in respect of all the people it was done unwittingly.
Num 15:27 If one person sins unwittingly, then he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering.
Num 15:28 The priest shall make atonement for the soul who errs, when he sins unwittingly, before Yahweh, to make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven.
Num 15:29 You shall have one law for him who does anything unwittingly, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them.
Num 15:30 But the soul who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native-born or a foreigner, the same blasphemes Yahweh; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Num 15:31 Because he has despised the word of Yahweh, and has broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.
Num 15:32 While the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.
Num 15:33 Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation.
Num 15:34 They put him in custody, because it had not been declared what should be done to him.
Num 15:35 Yahweh said to Moses, The man shall surely be put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside of the camp.
Num 15:36 All the congregation brought him outside of the camp, and stoned him to death with stones; as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Num 15:37 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 15:38 Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them that they should make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put on the fringe of each border a cord of blue:
Num 15:39 and it shall be to you for a fringe, that you may look on it, and remember all the commandments of Yahweh, and do them; and that you not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to play the prostitute;
Num 15:40 that you may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.
Num 15:41 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am Yahweh your God.

Num 16:1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
Num 16:2 and they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred fifty princes of the congregation, called to the assembly, men of renown;
Num 16:3 and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, You take too much on you, seeing all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and Yahweh is among them: why then lift yourselves up above the assembly of Yahweh?
Num 16:4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face:
Num 16:5 and he spoke to Korah and to all his company, saying, In the morning Yahweh will show who are his, and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to him: even him whom he shall choose he will cause to come near to him.
Num 16:6 Do this: take censers, Korah, and all his company;
Num 16:7 and put fire in them, and put incense on them before Yahweh tomorrow: and it shall be that the man whom Yahweh does choose, he shall be holy: you take too much on yourselves, you sons of Levi.
Num 16:8 Moses said to Korah, Hear now, you sons of Levi:
Num 16:9 seems it but a small thing to you, that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of Yahweh, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them;
Num 16:10 and that he has brought you near, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? and do you seek the priesthood also?
Num 16:11 Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against Yahweh: and Aaron, what is he that you murmur against him?
Num 16:12 Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; and they said, We won't come up:
Num 16:13 is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, but you must also make yourself a prince over us?
Num 16:14 Moreover you haven't brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: will you put out the eyes of these men? we won't come up.
Num 16:15 Moses was very angry, and said to Yahweh, "Don't respect their offering: I have not taken one donkey from them, neither have I hurt one of them."
Num 16:16 Moses said to Korah, You and all your company go before Yahweh, you, and they, and Aaron, tomorrow:
Num 16:17 and each man take his censer, and put incense on them, and each man bring before Yahweh his censer, two hundred fifty censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.
Num 16:18 They each took his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood at the door of the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron.
Num 16:19 Korah assembled all the congregation against them to the door of the Tent of Meeting: and the glory of Yahweh appeared to all the congregation.
Num 16:20 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
Num 16:21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
Num 16:22 They fell on their faces, and said, God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?
Num 16:23 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 16:24 Speak to the congregation, saying, Get away from around the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
Num 16:25 Moses rose up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
Num 16:26 He spoke to the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.
Num 16:27 So they got them up from the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood at the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little ones.
Num 16:28 Moses said, Hereby you shall know that Yahweh has sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of my own mind.
Num 16:29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then Yahweh hasn't sent me.
Num 16:30 But if Yahweh make a new thing, and the ground open its mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain to them, and they go down alive into Sheol; then you shall understand that these men have despised Yahweh.
Num 16:31 It happened, as he made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground split apart that was under them;
Num 16:32 and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who appertained to Korah, and all their goods.
Num 16:33 So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into Sheol: and the earth closed on them, and they perished from among the assembly.
Num 16:34 All Israel that were around them fled at the cry of them; for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up.
Num 16:35 Fire came forth from Yahweh, and devoured the two hundred fifty men who offered the incense.
Num 16:36 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 16:37 Speak to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter the fire yonder; for they are holy,
Num 16:38 even the censers of these sinners against their own lives; and let them be made beaten plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before Yahweh; therefore they are holy; and they shall be a sign to the children of Israel.
Num 16:39 Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers, which those who were burnt had offered; and they beat them out for a covering of the altar,
Num 16:40 to be a memorial to the children of Israel, to the end that no stranger, who isn't of the seed of Aaron, comes near to burn incense before Yahweh; that he not be as Korah, and as his company: as Yahweh spoke to him by Moses.
Num 16:41 But on the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, You have killed the people of Yahweh.
Num 16:42 It happened, when the congregation was assembled against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the Tent of Meeting: and behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of Yahweh appeared.
Num 16:43 Moses and Aaron came to the front of the Tent of Meeting.
Num 16:44 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 16:45 Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. They fell on their faces.
Num 16:46 Moses said to Aaron, Take your censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and lay incense thereon, and carry it quickly to the congregation, and make atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from Yahweh; the plague is begun.
Num 16:47 Aaron took as Moses spoke, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on the incense, and made atonement for the people.
Num 16:48 He stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
Num 16:49 Now those who died by the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, besides those who died about the matter of Korah.
Num 16:50 Aaron returned to Moses to the door of the Tent of Meeting: and the plague was stayed.

Apr. 10, 11
Luke 7

Luk 7:1 After he had finished speaking in the hearing of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
Luk 7:2 A certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and at the point of death.
Luk 7:3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and save his servant.
Luk 7:4 When they came to Jesus, they begged him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy for you to do this for him,
Luk 7:5 for he loves our nation, and he built our synagogue for us."
Luk 7:6 Jesus went with them. When he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I am not worthy for you to come under my roof.
Luk 7:7 Therefore I didn't even think myself worthy to come to you; but say the word, and my servant will be healed.
Luk 7:8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, 'Go!' and he goes; and to another, 'Come!' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
Luk 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude who followed him, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel."
Luk 7:10 Those who were sent, returning to the house, found that the servant who had been sick was well.
Luk 7:11 It happened soon afterwards, that he went to a city called Nain. Many of his disciples, along with a great multitude, went with him.
Luk 7:12 Now when he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, one who was dead was carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. Many people of the city were with her.
Luk 7:13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said to her, "Don't cry."
Luk 7:14 He came near and touched the coffin, and the bearers stood still. He said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!"
Luk 7:15 He who was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother.
Luk 7:16 Fear took hold of all, and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and, "God has visited his people!"
Luk 7:17 This report went out concerning him in the whole of Judea, and in all the surrounding region.
Luk 7:18 The disciples of John told him about all these things.
Luk 7:19 John, calling to himself two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, saying, "Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for another?"
Luk 7:20 When the men had come to him, they said, "John the Baptizer has sent us to you, saying, 'Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?' "
Luk 7:21 In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits; and to many who were blind he gave sight.
Luk 7:22 Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John the things which you have seen and heard: that the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
Luk 7:23 Blessed is he who is not offended by me."
Luk 7:24 When John's messengers had departed, he began to tell the multitudes about John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
Luk 7:25 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are gorgeously dressed, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.
Luk 7:26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet.
Luk 7:27 This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'
Luk 7:28 "For I tell you, among those who are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptizer, yet he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he."
Luk 7:29 When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they declared God to be just, having been baptized with John's baptism.
Luk 7:30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God, not being baptized by him themselves.
Luk 7:31 "To what then will I liken the people of this generation? What are they like?
Luk 7:32 They are like children who sit in the marketplace, and call one to another, saying, 'We piped to you, and you didn't dance. We mourned, and you didn't weep.'
Luk 7:33 For John the Baptizer came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.'
Luk 7:34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard; a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'
Luk 7:35 Wisdom is justified by all her children."
Luk 7:36 One of the Pharisees invited him to eat with him. He entered into the Pharisee's house, and sat at the table.
Luk 7:37 Behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that he was reclining in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of ointment.
Luk 7:38 Standing behind at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and she wiped them with the hair of her head, kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Luk 7:39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "This man, if he were a prophet, would have perceived who and what kind of woman this is who touches him, that she is a sinner."
Luk 7:40 Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." He said, "Teacher, say on."
Luk 7:41 "A certain lender had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
Luk 7:42 When they couldn't pay, he forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him most?"
Luk 7:43 Simon answered, "He, I suppose, to whom he forgave the most." He said to him, "You have judged correctly."
Luk 7:44 Turning to the woman, he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head.
Luk 7:45 You gave me no kiss, but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet.
Luk 7:46 You didn't anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.
Luk 7:47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little."
Luk 7:48 He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
Luk 7:49 Those who sat at the table with him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
Luk 7:50 He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."


Apr. 12, 13
Luke 8

Luk 8:1 It happened soon afterwards, that he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the Kingdom of God. With him were the twelve,
Luk 8:2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out;
Luk 8:3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuzas, Herod's steward; Susanna; and many others; who served them from their possessions.
Luk 8:4 When a great multitude came together, and people from every city were coming to him, he spoke by a parable.
Luk 8:5 "The farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it.
Luk 8:6 Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
Luk 8:7 Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.
Luk 8:8 Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit one hundred times." As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Luk 8:9 Then his disciples asked him, "What does this parable mean?"
Luk 8:10 He said, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables; that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'
Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Luk 8:12 Those along the road are those who hear, then the devil comes, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.
Luk 8:13 Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation.
Luk 8:14 That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
Luk 8:15 That in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it tightly, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Luk 8:16 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a container, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, that those who enter in may see the light.
Luk 8:17 For nothing is hidden, that will not be revealed; nor anything secret, that will not be known and come to light.
Luk 8:18 Be careful therefore how you hear. For whoever has, to him will be given; and whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he thinks he has."
Luk 8:19 His mother and brothers came to him, and they could not come near him for the crowd.
Luk 8:20 It was told him by some saying, "Your mother and your brothers stand outside, desiring to see you."
Luk 8:21 But he answered them, "My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God, and do it."
Luk 8:22 Now it happened on one of those days, that he entered into a boat, himself and his disciples, and he said to them, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out.
Luk 8:23 But as they sailed, he fell asleep. A wind storm came down on the lake, and they were taking on dangerous amounts of water.
Luk 8:24 They came to him, and awoke him, saying, "Master, master, we are dying!" He awoke, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water, and they ceased, and it was calm.
Luk 8:25 He said to them, "Where is your faith?" Being afraid they marveled, saying one to another, "Who is this, then, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?"
Luk 8:26 They arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee.
Luk 8:27 When Jesus stepped ashore, a certain man out of the city who had demons for a long time met him. He wore no clothes, and didn't live in a house, but in the tombs.
Luk 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, "What do I have to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torment me!"
Luk 8:29 For Jesus was commanding the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For the unclean spirit had often seized the man. He was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters. Breaking the bands apart, he was driven by the demon into the desert.
Luk 8:30 Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He said, "Legion," for many demons had entered into him.
Luk 8:31 They begged him that he would not command them to go into the abyss.
Luk 8:32 Now there was there a herd of many pigs feeding on the mountain, and they begged him that he would allow them to enter into those. He allowed them.
Luk 8:33 The demons came out from the man, and entered into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned.
Luk 8:34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country.
Luk 8:35 People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
Luk 8:36 Those who saw it told them how he who had been possessed by demons was healed.
Luk 8:37 All the people of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes asked him to depart from them, for they were very much afraid. He entered into the boat, and returned.
Luk 8:38 But the man from whom the demons had gone out begged him that he might go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying,
Luk 8:39 "Return to your house, and declare what great things God has done for you." He went his way, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
Luk 8:40 It happened, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.
Luk 8:41 Behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. He fell down at Jesus' feet, and begged him to come into his house,
Luk 8:42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as he went, the multitudes pressed against him.
Luk 8:43 A woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her living on physicians, and could not be healed by any,
Luk 8:44 came behind him, and touched the fringe of his cloak, and immediately the flow of her blood stopped.
Luk 8:45 Jesus said, "Who touched me?" When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, "Master, the multitudes press and jostle you, and you say, 'Who touched me?' "
Luk 8:46 But Jesus said, "Someone did touch me, for I perceived that power has gone out of me."
Luk 8:47 When the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared to him in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
Luk 8:48 He said to her, "Daughter, cheer up. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace."
Luk 8:49 While he still spoke, one from the ruler of the synagogue's house came, saying to him, "Your daughter is dead. Don't trouble the Teacher."
Luk 8:50 But Jesus hearing it, answered him, "Don't be afraid. Only believe, and she will be healed."
Luk 8:51 When he came to the house, he didn't allow anyone to enter in, except Peter, John, James, the father of the child, and her mother.
Luk 8:52 All were weeping and mourning her, but he said, "Don't weep. She isn't dead, but sleeping."
Luk 8:53 They were ridiculing him, knowing that she was dead.
Luk 8:54 But he put them all outside, and taking her by the hand, he called, saying, "Child, arise!"
Luk 8:55 Her spirit returned, and she rose up immediately. He commanded that something be given to her to eat.
Luk 8:56 Her parents were amazed, but he commanded them to tell no one what had been done.