8/12/19

"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN" Having Confidence At Christ's Coming (2:28-29) by Mark Copeland


"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN"

Having Confidence At Christ's Coming (2:28-29)

INTRODUCTION

1. The time is coming when we shall have to stand before the judgment 
   seat of Christ
   a. God has ordained Christ to be the judge of the world - 
      Jn 5:22,26-27; Ac 17;30-31
   b. Therefore we must all appear before Christ - 2Co 5:10

2. Many people, if they think of the Day of Judgment at all, do so with
   great apprehension
   a. For some, it is probably for good reason they fear that Day, for 
      they know their lives are not right with God
   b. But there are some who fear the coming of that Day, who really 
      shouldn't, but can look forward to that day knowing they will 
      stand before Him with great boldness!
      
3. Indeed, John wrote his first epistle with the desire to help his 
   readers understand that they can have confidence before the Lord 
   when He comes...
   
   "And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, 
   we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His 
   coming."  (1Jn 2:28)

4. In this study, I would like for us to take a close look at...
   a. John's goal for his "little children"
   b. John's solution for obtaining this goal

[We begin, then, by determining...]

I. JOHN'S GOAL FOR HIS "LITTLE CHILDREN"

   A. TO HAVE "CONFIDENCE" WHEN CHRIST APPEARS...
      1. The word for "confidence" is parrhesia, {par-rhay-see'-ah}
         a. It means "all out-spokenness, i.e. frankness, bluntness, 
            publicity; by impl. assurance:--bold, confidence"
         b. It is used elsewhere to describe:
            1) The boldness of Peter and John before the council - Ac 4:13
            2) The boldness of Paul's preaching - Ac 9:27
      2. Even now, in Christ we can have...
         a. "...boldness and access with confidence" to God - Ep 3:12
         b. Bold access to the throne of God for mercy and grace to 
            help - He 4:14-16
      3. Therefore it is John's goal that we have the same sort of 
         "boldness" and "confidence" at Christ's appearing that we have now!
         a. Just as we can now boldly approach God's throne of grace...
         b. ...so we can then stand with confidence before Christ's 
            throne of judgment!

   B. TO NOT BE "ASHAMED" WHEN HE COMES...
      1. The word here is aischunomai {ahee-skhoo'-nom-ahee}
         a. Which is from aischos (disfigurement, i.e. disgrace); to 
            feel shame (for oneself):--be ashamed
         b. It is used to describe the unjust steward's attitude toward
            begging - Lk 16:3
      2. To be "ashamed", then, is the opposite of having "boldness" 
         and "confidence"
      3. John does not want us to be ashamed of ourselves when Christ 
         comes again!

[To stand before Jesus at His coming, with confidence and no shame, 
that is John's goal for his "little children"!  Is that not the goal 
for ourselves as well?

How can we be sure that will be true of us?  Consider...]

II. JOHN'S SOLUTION FOR OBTAINING THIS GOAL

   A. "ABIDE IN HIM"
      1. Here is the key to having "confidence" at Christ's appearing
      2. This is the answer if we do not want to be "ashamed" at His coming
      -- But how does one "abide in Christ"?

   B. ABIDING IN CHRIST...
      1. Involves letting His Word abide in us
         a. As John stated earlier - 1Jn 2:24
         b. And as explained by Jesus Himself - Jn 14:21,23; 15:10
      2. Letting His Word abide in us therefore involves two important concepts:
         a. That we "know" His Word
         b. That we "keep" His Word
      3. I am persuaded that the lack of confidence many Christians 
         have is the result of not "knowing" the words of Jesus...
         a. It is akin to the apprehension many feel before taking a test
            1) Not having properly studied the material, naturally they
               don't know it very well
            2) Whereas one who has mastered the material has confidence
               going into the test
         b. When brethren do not read and study God's word, the Bible, 
            it is understandable why they would be apprehensive about 
            being judged by it!
         c. But the solution to not knowing God's Word, and those of 
            His Son, is a simple one:  READ!
      4. It is not enough, though, to "know", we must also "keep" His Word...
         a. We must be "doers" of the Word - cf. Mt 7:21, 24-27
         b. Only the one who "practices righteousness" is truly born of
            God and abiding in Jesus - cf. 1Jn 2:29
         c. But if you know what Jesus has actually taught, it is not 
            that "hard" to do what He says! - cf. 1Jn 5:3
         d. Add to this the promise of the cleansing power of Jesus' 
            blood when we sin (1Jn 1:9), we have every reason to 
            have "confidence"!

CONCLUSION

1. The story is told about a conversation between two little boys...
   
   One of the boys noticed that the other's grandmother spent a lot of
   time reading her Bible.  "Why does she read the Bible so much?" the
   boy asked his friend.  The other boy replied, "She is cramming for 
   her final exam!"

2. The more we "know", and the more we "keep" the words of our Lord, 
   the greater our confidence that we shall stand before our Lord on 
   that great Day of Judgment with all boldness!

3. As John says, "Abide in Him," which we have seen occurs when we 
   follow his earlier admonition:

   "Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the 
   beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you,
   you also will abide in the Son and in the Father."  (1Jn 2:24)

Are you letting the Word of God abide in you, so that you are truly 
abiding in the Son and in the Father?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Zero Energy Balance and Universes Popping Into Existence by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4587


Zero Energy Balance and Universes Popping Into Existence

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


Perhaps it seems like common sense to you that universes do not create themselves—popping into existence all over the place, but many naturalistic scientists are latching on to such bizarre ideas due to their lack of a naturalistic explanation for the origin of the Universe. Famous atheist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, said, “Bodies such as stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole universe can…. Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing” (2010, p. 180, emp. added). Is there any empirical evidence suggesting that universes can pop into existence? Absolutely not. Is there evidence that anything can pop into existence from nothing? Nope. We have a law of science that prohibits it—the First Law of Thermodynamics (cf. Miller, 2013). Does the idea that something could pop into existence from nothing remind you of a magician’s trick? Probably. But to many in the scientific community today, naturalism must be true. They will not consider God.  He is not allowed in the discussion. “Creation is unacceptable, but witchcraft? Now that…we’ll consider.”

THE PROBLEM FOR THE NATURALIST

According to the First Law of Thermodynamics, “energy can be neither created nor destroyed; it can only change forms” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 166). This poses a problem for the atheist, since the energy and matter of the Universe had to come from somewhere. Hawking said:
The idea of inflation could also explain why there is so much matter in the universe. There are something like ten million million million million million million million million million million million million million million (1 with eighty zeros after it) particles in the region of the universe that we can observe. Where did they all come from? The answer is that, in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where the energy came from (1988, p. 129, emp. added, parenthetical item in orig.).
Evolutionary physicist Victor Stenger, in his book, God: The Failed Hypothesis, said:
[W]here does the energy come from? The law of conservation of energy, also known as the first law of thermodynamicsrequires that energy come from somewhere. In principle, the creation hypothesis could be confirmed by the direct observation or theoretical requirement that conservation of energy was violated 13.7 billion years ago at the start of the big bang (2007, p. 116, ital. in orig., emp. added).

THE NATURALIST’S RESPONSE

Hawking believes he has an answer to this problem for the naturalist—one that is in keeping with the First Law:
The answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. The matter in the universe is made out of positive energy. However, the matter is all attracting itself by gravity…. Thus, in a sense, the gravitational field has negative energy. In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero (1988, p. 129).
Stenger concurs:
The first law allows energy to convert from one type to another as long as the total for a closed system remains fixed. Remarkably, the total energy of the universe appears to be zero (2007, p. 116).
So, in essence, these physicists assert that there would have been zero energy in the Universe before the alleged big bang (a theory which we do not support, cf. Thompson, et al., 2003), and then there would have been zero energy in the Universe after the big bang, since “matter energy” can be considered to be positive and “gravitational energy” can be considered to be negative. According to Hawking and Stenger, these two amounts cancel each other out, leaving zero energy in the Universe—zero energy before the bang, and zero energy after. Sound reasonable to you?

THE EVIDENCE FROM SCIENCE AND SENSE

First of all, notice that Hawking boldly proclaims two significant assumptions that cannot even remotely be verified. (1) The Universe must be “approximately uniform in space”; and (2) The “negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero” (1988, p. 129, emp. added). How, pray tell, could Hawking know such things about this vast and infinitely complex Universe without being omniscient? Not only can he not know such things, but he cannot even claim such things with the meager evidence about the entirety of the Universe he has at his disposal. It is quite a leap to hold to such unverified assumptions. It is a blind faith in a proposition that cannot be established scientifically. The rational man’s beliefs are based on the evidence—not baseless speculation.
Second, notice that he says, “in a sense, the gravitational field has negative energy” (1988, p. 129, emp. added). The words, “in a sense,” are significant, because they highlight the fact that gravitational energy is not really inherently “negative.” We call it “negative” from a certain viewpoint when we have such a thing as a directional axis to compare its effect with; but, in actuality, gravitational energy is simply energy—regardless of its sign. Hawking, himself, used the term “energy” to describe gravity. Whether or not it is considered “negative” is not the question. The question in light of the First Law is, where did it come from?
Third, this line of reasoning implies that things could and should be popping into existence all around us all the time, as long as those items have enough negative gravitational energy to offset them. Particles, rocks, and infinitely complex Universes should be popping into existence, since such occurrences—according to these physicists—would not violate a natural law. But wait. That does not happen. It has never been observed to occur even once. And our common sense verifies that it will not happen. Science does not support such a hypothesis. The hypothesis is unscientific.
Fourth, consider: is there energy in the Universe today that would not have been in existence before the supposed big bang? Yes. If I were to ask Hawking and Stenger if energy exists in the Universe today, what do you suppose they would say? To ask is to answer. But the First Law prohibits the creation of energy. So, the question is not whether the energy balance before and after the big bang is still zero. The important question in light of the First Law is whether or not there is energy in the Universe today that was not there before the big bang. The answer would have to be, “yes.” In fact, there are, by Hawking’s own admission, “negative” and “positive” energies in existence. According to the First Law of Thermodynamics, they could not have created themselves. Therefore, God must exist.
In essence, Hawking and those who hold to his position are playing word games with “zero.” It is like the man who holds out an empty fist and asks a child, “What am I holding in my hand?” The child responds, “Nothing.” The man continues, “What is stronger than God?” The child responds, “Nothing.” The man then concludes, “So, what I’m holding in my hand is stronger than God.” In logic, this is known as a “fallacy of equivocation,” which the Collins English Dictionary defines as “a fallacy based on the use of the same term in different senses, esp. as the middle term of a syllogism, as the badger lives in the bank, and the bank is in the High Street, so the badger lives in the High Street” (2003, ital. in orig.; cf. Baum, 1975, pp. 477-478). While there is a Universal energy balance of zero in Hawking’s model, it does not mean that there is actually zero energy in the Universe. On the contrary, the exorbitant amount of energy in the Universe calls for an explanation that can only be given by the Creation model.

CONCLUSION

In the words of Stenger:
Conservation of energy [i.e., the First Law of Thermodynamics—JM] and other basic laws hold true in the most distant observed galaxy and in the cosmic microwave background, implying that these laws have been valid for over thirteen billion years [NOTE: we do not hold to this deep time supposition—JM]. Surely any observation of their violation during the puny human life span would be reasonably termed a miracle…. In principle, the creation hypothesis could be confirmed by the direct observation or theoretical requirement that conservation of energy was violated 13.7 billion years ago at the start of the big bang (pp. 115-116, emp. added).
It is truly ironic that Stenger, himself, while attempting to dismiss the necessity of the supernatural in explaining the origin of the Universe, “confirmed” the existence of God through the “theoretical requirement that conservation of energy was violated” in the beginning of time. It is sad that Stenger’s admission on this point illustrates that, prior to Hawking’s development of this argument, Stenger recognized the need for the supernatural in explaining the origin of energy, since no “scientific” argument was available. Why, sir, did you not accept God before that point? And why, sir, do you not accept Him now, since He alone can account for the existence of the awesome Universe in which we reside?

REFERENCES

Baum, Robert (1975), Logic(New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston).
Cengel, Yunus A. and Michael A. Boles (2002), Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill), fourth edition.
Collins English Dictionary (2003), (New York: HarperCollins Publishers), http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Logical+fallacy%2FEquivocation.
Hawking, Stephen (1988), A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam).
Hawking, Stephen (2010), The Grand Design (New York, NY: Bantam Books).
Miller, Jeff (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article= 2786.
Stenger, Victor J. (2007), God: The Failed Hypothesis (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books).
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 23[5]:32-34,36-47.

Wrong is Always Wrong by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=234


Wrong is Always Wrong

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Sinful human beings are ever attempting to blur the distinction between “right” and “wrong.” This inclination reaches far back into antiquity. The book of Proverbs declares: “He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination unto Jehovah” (17:15). Later, the prophet Isaiah affirmed: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Amos spoke of those who “turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth” (Amos 5:7).
“Right” and “wrong” do exist. They are not merely “evolved inclinations” that have been humanly contrived in order to introduce a sense of order and security into society. Nor are “right” and “wrong” subjectively determined so that, practically speaking, each person functions as his own law-maker. Rather, morality is to be measured by the laws and principles of divine revelation, as made known in the inspired writings of the Bible. Ultimately, morality is grounded in the very nature of God Himself. “[A]s he who calls you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy” (1 Peter 1:15). Though such a concept is almost wholly rejected by modern society, there is ample evidence to support it.
Let us contemplate briefly some of the principles contained in Scripture that assist us in putting “right” and “wrong” things into proper focus.
1. “Wrong” is not determined by the perpetrator’s moral sensitivity to an act. A wrong act is still wrong whether or not the violator is aware of it, or whether or not he feels comfortable with the situation. Saul of Tarsus did not know that he was doing wrong when he persecuted Christianity (see Acts 23:1; 26:9; 1 Timothy 1:13), but he was violating the will of God nonetheless. Ignorance is no excuse (Acts 17:30). In modern society, for example, many have entangled themselves in adulterous “marital” relationships. Frequently it is argued that such liaisons may be sustained because the parties “did not know” the intricacies of God’s marriage law when the unions were made. The logic is fallacious. Will a similar argument eventually be offered to defend the concept of same-sex “marriages”?
2. “Right” is not established merely by what man is able to accomplish by means of his genius and/or ability. Pragmatism does not provide the criteria for ethics. One human being presumptively can take another’s life, but that does not make the act moral. Two unmarried youngsters are able to conceive a child apart from the sacred vows of matrimony, but the act is illegitimate nonetheless. “Might” does not make “right,” and autocratic decisions relating to moral matters are condemned in Scripture (see Habakkuk 1:11). Radical attempts at human genetic engineering, or cloning, may be accomplished eventually through the manipulation of genetic laws, but the achievement, in and of itself, does not license the practice as ethical. The issue must ever be: Is a procedure consistent with the principles of God’s inspired revelation?
3. “Right” and “wrong” are not determined by what is legal. In the Roman world of the Caesars, infanticide was legal, but it was not moral. In some ancient cultures, a woman was not a person; she was mere property to be abused, or disposed of, at the whim of her husband. There are few who would defend the ethics of this custom. Homosexuality is legal, but it is moral perversion (Romans 1:26-27). The destruction of human life by means of abortion has the sanction of civil law, but the practice is abominable before the eyes of the Creator (Proverbs 6:17).
4. “Right” and “wrong” are not grounded in what a majority of the population “feels” is ethical. Jesus Christ is a King; He has not implemented a democracy to determine, by majority vote, how human beings ought to live. In the first place, man never can be his own guide. “O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Second, fallible opinion, multiplied a thousand times, does not change wrong into right. Moses solemnly warned: “Thou shall not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2). It hardly is necessary to remind ourselves that the path of the majority is the way of destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).
5. “Wrong” is wrong, whether or not one is ever caught. In the isolated environment of ancient Egypt, separated from his kinsmen, Joseph might well have rationalized an illicit relationship with Potiphar’s wife on the ground that his indiscretion never would be known by his family. His reasoning, however, was: “[H]ow then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). There will be a time when the “skeletons come out of the closet” and “the chickens come home to roost.” Many things that have been perpetrated in darkness will be revealed in light, and secret evils will be proclaimed from the rooftops (see Luke 12:3). Secrecy does not sanctify!
6. “Wrong” does not become right by virtue of passing time. It is certainly the case that the public’s conscience sometimes becomes dull with the passing of years, so that what once was horrifying eventually becomes commonplace. But wrong still is wrong, though a millennium passes. Eventually, there will be accountability (2 Corinthians 5:10).
May God help us to examine our practices by the illumination of His glorious Word (Psalm 119:105), and to determine “right” and “wrong” issued upon that reliable basis.

Woe to You When All Men Speak Well of You by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2815


Woe to You When All Men Speak Well of You

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


It is true that you can tell a great deal about people or groups by who their friends are, but it is also the case that you can sometimes tell just as much by who their enemies are. In fact, Jesus warned that if His disciples were living such unaffecting lives that all men, regardless of their relationship to God, were speaking well of them, then His disciples would not be faithfully carrying out His mission (Luke 6:26).
We at Apologetics Press can safely say that we do not have the problem of “all men speaking well of us.” In fact, with the advent of new mass media outlets for our materials, we have been faced with several vitriolic rebukes.
For instance, when we posted the video of the complete debate between Dan Barker and myself on YouTube.com, we left the comment section open for viewers to express their opinions about the debate. Here are a few that have come from those in the atheistic community and other detractors from our work:
“Kyle Butt is an ­­­---, no pun intended....”
“I can forgive the name Kyle but his parents should have given him some brains or honesty....”
“What a ­­­­­­­---- preacher....”
“Unbelievable...Kyle Butt is clearly insane.”
“Kyle Butts is an absolute moron.”
In an e-mail regarding an article on our Web site titled, “Does Picking Up Sticks on the Sabbath Deserve the Death Penalty?” Danny wrote:
Thanks Kyle!
I’ve never been more proud and confident in being an Ex-Christian than after reading your warped little justification for outright murder. Also, congratulations for providing me with a wealth of information when I need to counter the notion that your particular social culture tribe is morally superior to other social culture tribes. I’ve saved your post as a pdf for future usage. I expect that it will see a lot of mileage.
Respectfully,
Former Bible Believing Conservative Evangelical Pre-Millennial KJV-Only Used To Pass Out Tracts and go to Wednesday services
Danny.
Regarding our Web site in general, Jack e-mailed us and said:
While your website has been around for ten years, you are thousands of years behind on many of your answers. It’s not so much that you haven’t caught up to modern science, but in many instances you are dead wrong on your answers. Your website is absolutely horrible.
It would be lovely if you could catch up to the 21st century.
One writer posted this statement on his site: “Apologetics Press is so intellectually anorexic, it’s frightening to imagine the base level of research involved in its preparation of creationist material.”
Of course, these are just a few of the many insulting barbs hurled at our work on a regular basis. We could continue with numerous pages of similar quotes and comments. Needless to say, not everyone likes our work. When we see the sources of these comments, however, we are encouraged by the teachings of Christ who stated: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). Because of the world’s sinful mentality, we should expect just such attacks against the truth. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (Matthew 5:11). Needless to say, in many, many ways, we at Apologetics Press are blessed.

Teachings of Christ (Part 26) Are Only A Few Going To be Saved by Ben Fronczek

http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?p=1873

Teachings of Christ (Part 26) Are Only A Few Going To be Saved

Polio is a disease caused by tiny virus particles which attacks the brain and spinal cord. Sixty years ago polio was a kind of AIDS in American society. Why is polio not feared as it once was? Because Dr. Jonas Edward Salk, an American research scientist, announced in 1953 that he had developed a trial vaccine for polio. By 1955, his discovery was being used across the world.
No one asked why was there only one vaccine? No one asked that question for the simple reason only one vaccine was needed. Across the world, millions of people made sure they were vaccinated. Today polio is virtually no threat to world health.
Unfortunately, there is another disease which still exists today, and is far worse than polio and AIDS. This disease has infected every person who has ever lived, and is always fatal. Fortunately, there is a cure which will work for every person on earth, and it is free of charge. The disease, of course, is sin, and it has destroyed our relationship with God. There is only one cure, and one alone. And that is salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son.
Someone once asked Jesus an important question. In Luke 13:22-30 says, “Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
The question was: “Are only a few going to be saved (v. 23)?” The assumption here is that some are not. But that’s not what people in our culture today think. Whether pop-culture or post-modern culture, the prevailing theology denies a hell and judgment. Some believe we just cease to exist at death. Some who are optimistic believe that since God is Love, there can be no judgment and all go to heaven. Others even think hell won’t be so bad; all their friends are going to be there and they think that there is going to be some kind of party there with them
When surveyed only 20 % of Adult Americans who call themselves a Christian said that living a life according to God’s will is the single most important thing in their lives. So, the flip side is that 80% of the American Christians have implied that God, and their walk with Him is not a priority. And I say that this is a dangerous way to live. I believe Jesus was letting hearers know over and over that even many who seemed religious in His day and went to church were in danger of hell.
It doesn’t seem like people fear the prospect of hell very much. Some have created a false picture of hell. Often it resembles a cavern with rocks and flames. There is a satanic figure with a tail and horns, armed with a pitchfork.
Some joke about hell, and some even dress their children up as devils on Halloween. They don’t seem to take it too serious.
I want you to push these scenes out of your mind this morning. Instead I want you to hear how the Bible describes hell.
The word “Hell” shows up 54 times in the Bible, and it is spoken of many other times in other terms. It does not always mean a place of eternal torment. Usually it only refers to “the place of the dead,” where good and evil alike go until the judgment. This is also known as Hades. It is an intermediate state for the dead.
But then there is Gehenna. Gehenna is the place of eternal damnation. There is no escape or parole from this terrible place. It gets its name from the Valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem. II Kings 16 and 21 tell us of a time that the children of Israel allowed their culture to take precedence over the word of God. They began to do what their neighboring cultures did – they sacrificed their children, and other human beings, to foreign gods. They would then take the bodies and throw them into the Valley of Hinom and burn them. You can imagine the sight, and the smells of the burning flesh, the rotting corpses, the valley of bones. So fearful and terrible was the valley that it become a symbol used by the Old Testament prophets to warn of eternal judgment. Once in Gehenna, you never return.
Beyond Gehenna, Sheol, and Hades, the Scriptures goes on to describe Hell like this: Here in Luke 13 Jesus indicates it is a…
1. a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Luke 13:28)
2. In Matthew 3:12 it’s a place of unquenchable fire
3. Matthew 23:33 it’s a place of damnation & condemnation 4. In Matthew 13:42, & 50 it’s described as a furnace of fire
5. In Jude 13 it’s a place of blackness and darkness. Think about that – no color.
6. In Rev. 21:8 it’s a lake which burns with fire and brimstone
7. In Matthew 25:41 it’s a place prepared for the devil and his angels
It sounds like a pretty scary place to me. But those who died in Christ are with Him a kind of paradise, though their bodies remain in the grave, for now.
But those who died without Christ are not in Gehenna yet, but rather in Hades, the abode of the dead. From there one day they will be brought to what the Bible calls the great white throne of judgment. They will be judges and then they will then be thrown (yes, thrown) into Gehenna, also known in Revelation 20:11-15 as the lake of fire. But it is not God’s desire to see any of us end up in that place. It was a place prepared for the devil and his angels. Yet we read that Jesus said it will also be the final destiny of many people as well. That place was never meant for any of us.
Popular culture today says, “There is no Hell.” But that simply contradicts what the Bible has to say on the subject.
The question, ‘Are only a few going to be saved?’ assumes some are not saved and only a few will be saved and escape this hell and go to heaven. I don’t need to know how good heaven is to want to go there. It is sufficient to see how bad hell is to motivate us to avoid it. Regarding this question, how does Jesus respond?
When asked “are only a few people going to be saves,” He doesn’t say “yes.” Instead, He turns the question into a great lesson. In verse 24 He says “Make every effort (or Strive) to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”
I believe that the first phrase or word in His answer is paramount: “Make every effort,” or as some versions say, “Strive.” Oh, how lazy so many of us have become! So satisfied that we are “saved by grace”, so content that it is the “free gift of God” that we have neglected and ultimately forgotten our duty to “strive” in our salvation.
Many have mastered doing church but fail at living a holy life of love God and neighbor. Are you striving to enter in? Are you making every effort to enter in?
In Philippians 2:12 the apostle Paul wrote, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  He wrote that to Christians.
Why, is it necessary to strive? Because if we are “to enter” thru that narrow gate, Jesus indicates that we need to move from where you are to where you need to be. You must make every effort to do so!
This whole lesson reveals that not everyone will be saved! It debunks the pop-cultural myth that everyone goes to heaven. And Jesus lets us know that this narrow gate is difficult to enter.
Why is it so difficult? I thought salvation was free? I thought I was saved by grace? I thought all I had to do was receive Christ confess Him before others and then get baptized and that was it?
Simply put, that was just the beginning of your salvation; that was just your new birth or your born again experience. You simply took the first step in a lifelong journey of “making an effort” or “striving” to enter in. The Christian life can be a great adventure, but we also need to beware of becoming complacent.
You may say, “I don’t understand. Am I to strive to earn my salvation?” No. Jesus earned it for you. But I think we need to get better at living a holy life, or the kind of life that Father God would have us live.
It’s sad thing to see hateful and unholy behavior among Christians in God’s Church. We must “strive” and “Make every effort” to love and forgive one another. I also believe that we need to make every effort to become more generous as God would have us. We should make every effort and strive to complain and grumble less and be more thankful for what we have. We also should strive to become kinder and strive not to argue so much. In other word we need to strive to become more Christ like in every aspect of our life.
As Jesus answered the question, “Are only a few going to be saved?” He also said, “Many will seek to enter in, and but shall not be able.” 
Seeking simply is not enough!
Do you know what the difference is between “seeking” and “striving”? It’s like someone who plays the lottery, they “seek” to win money, but don’t really do anything to get it. But someone who works hard is “striving” or making every effort to get ahead and, he will be the one that makes the money.
Are you just seeking the kingdom of God, or are you striving and making every effort to enter in? Too many in churches today are like those seeking to win the lottery; they passively act religious and do church and hope for the best. But they don’t make every effort or strive to change their life or do what God wants, nor do they serve Him in any way. Outside of church they look or act like everyone else. They don’t let that light shine and they are like the salt that loses its saltiness which Jesus talked about on the sermon on the mount.
Jesus told them and I believe us, to “strive or make every effort to enter in”
Can you do that? If you don’t try one day He may simply say to you, “I don’t know you, where do you come from. Away from Me.” And you may say, “But Lord, I went to church almost every Sunday. I sang those songs and put money in the collection plate and went to Bible study on occasion.”
But He will answer you by saying,” I don’t know you. Away from Me.”
Conclusion: This is a powerful lesson for all of us about not being a Christian in name only or for show. I believe that the Lord wants genuine disciples and wants to see some growth and effort on our part. I believe He wants to see us make some positive changes in our life; changes that will benefit others, Glorify Him, and improve who we are.
Can you do that? You can if you love the Lord with all your heart. I challenge you strive and make every effort to effort to become what He wants you to be.
(Excepts from Are you seeking, or striving? by Clark Sneed)

For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566

All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

“Flee from the midst of Babylon!” by Roy Davison

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/062-flee.html

“Flee from the midst of Babylon!”

In the symbolic language of Revelation, Christians are commanded to distance themselves from false religions just like the Israelites were commanded to leave Babylon and restore true worship at Jerusalem.
“Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
When this was written, literal Babylon had lost its power two hundred years earlier, as predicted by Isaiah and Jeremiah. Thus, in Revelation, Babylon obviously refers to something other than the literal city.
Considering the seriousness of this warning, it is vital that we know what it means to come out of Babylon, so we can avoid her sins and her punishment.
To understand the imagery, we must examine Old Testament passages about Babylon and compare them with the warning in Revelation.

What is the historical basis for Babylon’s symbolism?


Babylon had a long history of rebellion against God.

Babel, the forerunner of Babylon, was one of the first cities built. Nimrod, who “began to be a mighty one on the earth” (1 Chronicles 1:10) founded Babel (Genesis 10:10).
The name “Babel” means “confusion” and originates from the confusion of languages, which halted the building of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:9).

Babylon used political force to promote false religion.

“All the people, nations and languages” were commanded to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s gold image (Daniel 3:1-7). 
Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted the ruin of Babylon as punishment for idolatry.
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods He has broken to the ground” (Isaiah 21:9).
“Declare among the nations, proclaim, and set up a standard; proclaim, and do not conceal it - Say, ‘Babylon is taken, Bel is shamed. Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are humiliated, her images are broken in pieces’” (Jeremiah 50:2).
Bel and Merodach were Babylonian idols. Merodach was the patron deity of Babylon, a sun god, often pictured with a dragon. 
Israel went into Babylonian exile as punishment for her own unfaithfulness and idolatry. God allowed the temple to be destroyed because He was disgusted by the hypocritical worship being conducted there (Isaiah 1:13-15).
Because the temple was indispensable for Old Covenant worship, the Israelites could not worship God according to His word in Babylon. When their captors asked them to sing a song of Zion, they replied: “How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4).

The Israelites were commanded to flee from Babylon.

To flee is to quickly get away from impending danger.
God used Babylonian captivity to bring Israel to repentance.
After 70 years of exile, the Israelites were allowed to return to Jerusalem, rebuild the temple, and restore Old Covenant worship.
Considering the many warnings, some must have preferred to stay in Babylon!
A messianic undertone is discernable in passages where Israel is commanded to flee from Babylon.
“Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldees! With a voice of singing, declare, proclaim ‘The LORD has redeemed His servant Jacob!’” (Isaiah 48:20). [See verses 12-22.]
“Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the LORD” (Isaiah 52:11). [See verses 7-12.]
“‘In those days and in that time,’ says the LORD, ‘The children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; with continual weeping they shall come, and seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it, saying, “Come and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that will not be forgotten”’” (Jeremiah 50:4, 5). [For additional insight read chapters 50 and 51.]
“Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance; He shall recompense her” (Jeremiah 51:6).
“We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed. Forsake her, and let us go everyone to his own country; for her judgment reaches to heaven and is lifted up to the skies. The LORD has revealed our righteousness. Come and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God” (Jeremiah 51:9, 10).
“My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the LORD” (Jeremiah 51:45).
“Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon” (Zechariah 2:7). 
Observe that although God’s people in Babylon did not serve idols themselves, they were unclean and shared in her sins if they remained and did not go to Jerusalem to worship God according to His word.

What does Babylon represent in Revelation?

Babylon is first mentioned in chapter fourteen: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8).
To know the meaning of Babylon, we must understand various symbols in Revelation. The dragon is the devil (Revelation 12:9). As in Daniel, beasts represent governments. To the first beast the devil gives “his power, his throne and great authority” (Revelation 13:2). A second beast, who resembles a lamb but speaks like a dragon, exercises all the authority of the first beast, and causes everyone on earth to worship the first beast (Revelation 13:11-14).
Under the influence of these two beasts, all the world worships the devil except those whose names are in the Book of Life: “All the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; ... All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:3, 4, 8).
There are only two classes: the saints of God and those who worship the devil. Only by the blood of Christ can one be conveyed from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13, 14).
The second beast is “the false prophet” (Revelation 19:20). This beast is religious (religious authority) and is supported by the first beast (political authority).
Babylon is a symbolic representation of the false prophet, pictured as a harlot riding on a beast: “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:4, 5).
The mystery is disclosed: “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18).
When this was written, any reader would think of the Roman Empire. Thus Babylon (Rome) is a depiction of the false prophet. All religious and political rebellion against God is symbolized by the harlot and the beast she rides! 
The harlot is not the literal city of Rome, but Rome as a symbol. Paul was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:27, 28). In his letter to the Romans, he did not tell them to leave the city.
Like ancient Babylon, Rome spread false religion by political force. After Augustus (27-14 BC) everyone was commanded to worship the emperor. Thus, like Babylon, Rome is a fitting symbol of all political and religious rebellion against God.
Babylon and Rome are the first and last of four kingdoms in Daniel that would be vanquished by God’s Kingdom (Daniel 2:31-45; 7:17-27).

How has Rome evolved in history?

The harlot on the beast was “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6).
Because they refused to worship the emperor, Christians were persecuted by pagan Rome, especially under Nero, Domitian and Trajan.
Pagan Rome mutated into “The Holy Roman Empire” (“holy” is a gross misnomer) with emperors appointed by the pope. Otto I was appointed by Pope John XII in 962.
Through the centuries this unholy Roman empire murdered non- Catholics with the blessing of the popes. Among the thousands killed was William Tyndale, the English Bible translator. He was burned at the stake in Vilvoorde, Belgium on 6 October 1536.
The “Holy Roman Empire” was dissolved by Napoleon in 1806.
After a period of conflicting claims to jurisdiction, the Vatican City State was recognized as a sovereign state in 1929. This ended Rome’s direct political power over kings. Even so, most European and many South American countries have Catholic political parties, and via its hierarchy, the Vatican exercises authority throughout the world.
The Roman Catholic Church is a world-wide, politically organized, pagan religion whose adherents worship images, dead people (“saints”) and a living, speaking idol, blasphemously called “the Holy Father”. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest body that claims to be Christian.

Why is Babylon called a harlot?

In prophetic symbolism, harlotry and fornication represent unfaithfulness to God: “They played the harlot with other gods” (Judges 2:17). [See also Exodus 34:15, 16; Leviticus 20:5; Deuteronomy 31:16; Psalm 73:27; Judges 8:33; Jeremiah 2:20; 3:1; Ezekiel 16:15-17.] Babylon’s fornication represents spiritual corruption. Babylon corrupts the world religiously.

Why is Babylon called the mother of harlots?

Remember that these symbols include everyone on earth who is not in the Book of Life (Revelation 13:3, 4, 8).
The researcher, David B. Barrett, identified 19 major world religions subdivided into about 10,000 distinct religions, and 34,000 denominations in Christendom. Now that is real Babel! 
The devil has created this Babylonian “confusion” so people will worship him rather than God. The devil’s shopping mall offers something appealing for everyone. Denominationalism, which views divergent forms of Christianity as tolerable, is a tool of the devil. He encourages you to join the church of your choice rather than God’s choice
Babylon in Revelation cannot refer to the Roman Catholic Church exclusively, as is sometimes claimed, since everyone in the world, except those in the Book of Life, worships the devil via these two beasts.
But the Roman Catholic Church is definitely the major embodiment (daughter) of prophetic Babylon as successor of the Holy Roman Empire and as the largest, most influential, false form of Christianity.
But she is not alone. Various Protestant denominations are merely spin-offs of the Catholic church, retaining many of her false doctrines and practices. All man-made denominations are daughters of the harlot because, like her, they do not submit to Christ. All false religions in the world are daughters of the harlot for the same reason. Islam, which is spread by political and physical force, is certainly a “daughter” of Babylon.

God will punish Babylon because of her sins.

As God punished ancient Babylon, He will punish prophetic Babylon.
“And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath” (Revelation 16:19). Religious and political opposition to God earn His wrath.
“Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her” (Revelation 18:2b, 3a).
Babylon’s ruin results from God’s defeat of the false prophet and the beast, representing all false religions and godless authorities. “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet. ... These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20). 
Their patron, the devil, is also defeated: “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).
The unredeemed share the devil’s punishment: “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:41).

We too must flee from Babylon!

“Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4, 5).
How do we flee from Babylon to escape her punishment?
Various passages in the New Testament clarify this warning. “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). We may not participate in false religions or other forms of worldliness because that is spiritual fornication, uncleanness, unfaithfulness to God.
How can God’s people be in Babylon? Potential Christians and Christians associated with false religions must leave Babylon.
Among those called out of Babylon are people who will obey the gospel when they hear it.
Jesus told Paul: “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; ... for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9, 10). God had people in Corinth who would accept the gospel when they heard it. Paul’s preaching enabled them to escape from Babylon.
Among those called out of Babylon are also Christians who have compromised with “the lawless one” by being in denominations and religious organizations established by men rather than by Christ. The doctrine of such groups is always different from the doctrine of Christ, otherwise they would simply be a church of Christ rather than a human denomination.
Christians who associate with false forms of Christianity are trying to serve Christ in the camp of the antichrist! They think they can serve God although they worship with a denomination that deviates from the doctrine of Christ.
This is not possible because doctrinal soundness is essential to serving God. “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11).
Anyone who preaches a gospel that differs from the original gospel is accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
When we fellowship those who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ (even if we do not agree with them), we share in their evil deeds. “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
“Belial” means “the worthless one” or “the lawless one”. The lawless one includes many who say, “Lord, Lord,” but do not obey Christ. Jesus tells them, “depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23). They have allowed themselves to be deceived by the lawless one because they lack love for the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).
The forces of religious evil called the “false prophet” and “Babylon” in Revelation, are called the “lawless one” by Paul and the “antichrist” by John. [See 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7.]
Since Israel returned from captivity, virtually no images have been worshiped by Jews. Yet, in describing the Jews of His day, Jesus said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8, 9).
Here Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 which describes Israel in the run- up to Babylonian captivity! Although the Jews had restored the temple service, their spiritual condition was the same as before the captivity!
The disciples were concerned that this harsh statement had offended the Pharisees, the strictest denomination of the Jews, but Jesus replied, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:13, 14).
“There is one body” (Ephesians 4:4), which is “the church” (Colossians 1:18). Thus, all religions and all denominations, which are not the church of Christ established by Him, constitute Babylon, are inspired by the devil, and will be uprooted by God.
If we are in a religious group of human origin, we must get out of it or we will be uprooted with it! We must serve God according to the faith “once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), we must serve God according to the gospel that went forth from Jerusalem in the first century! We must “ask the way to Zion” and “declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God.”

God’s warning is abundantly clear. 

“Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity” (Jeremiah 51:6).
“Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). Amen.

Roy Davison


The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

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

Bible Reading August 12, 13 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading August 12, 13

World  English  Bible


Aug. 12
Nehemiah 12, 13

Neh 12:1 Now these are the priests and the Levites who went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,
Neh 12:2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush,
Neh 12:3 Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,
Neh 12:4 Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah,
Neh 12:5 Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,
Neh 12:6 Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah.
Neh 12:7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chiefs of the priests and of their brothers in the days of Jeshua.
Neh 12:8 Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who was over the thanksgiving, he and his brothers.
Neh 12:9 Also Bakbukiah and Unno, their brothers, were over against them according to their offices.
Neh 12:10 Jeshua became the father of Joiakim, and Joiakim became the father of Eliashib, and Eliashib became the father of Joiada,
Neh 12:11 and Joiada became the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan became the father of Jaddua.
Neh 12:12 In the days of Joiakim were priests, heads of fathers' houses: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah;
Neh 12:13 of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan;
Neh 12:14 of Malluchi, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph;
Neh 12:15 of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai;
Neh 12:16 of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam;
Neh 12:17 of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Piltai;
Neh 12:18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan;
Neh 12:19 and of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi;
Neh 12:20 of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber;
Neh 12:21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.
Neh 12:22 As for the Levites, in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, there were recorded the heads of fathers' houses; also the priests, in the reign of Darius the Persian.
Neh 12:23 The sons of Levi, heads of fathers' houses, were written in the book of the chronicles, even until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.
Neh 12:24 The chiefs of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers over against them, to praise and give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, watch next to watch.
Neh 12:25 Mattaniah, and Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, Akkub, were porters keeping the watch at the storehouses of the gates.
Neh 12:26 These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest the scribe.
Neh 12:27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with giving thanks, and with singing, with cymbals, stringed instruments, and with harps.
Neh 12:28 The sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain around Jerusalem, and from the villages of the Netophathites;
Neh 12:29 also from Beth Gilgal, and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth: for the singers had built them villages around Jerusalem.
Neh 12:30 The priests and the Levites purified themselves; and they purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.
Neh 12:31 Then I brought up the princes of Judah on the wall, and appointed two great companies who gave thanks and went in procession. One went on the right hand on the wall toward the dung gate;
Neh 12:32 and after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah,
Neh 12:33 and Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam,
Neh 12:34 Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah,
Neh 12:35 and certain of the priests' sons with trumpets: Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph;
Neh 12:36 and his brothers, Shemaiah, and Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, and Judah, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God; and Ezra the scribe was before them.
Neh 12:37 By the spring gate, and straight before them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the ascent of the wall, above the house of David, even to the water gate eastward.
Neh 12:38 The other company of those who gave thanks went to meet them, and I after them, with the half of the people, on the wall, above the tower of the furnaces, even to the broad wall,
Neh 12:39 and above the gate of Ephraim, and by the old gate, and by the fish gate, and the tower of Hananel, and the tower of Hammeah, even to the sheep gate: and they stood still in the gate of the guard.
Neh 12:40 So stood the two companies of those who gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers with me;
Neh 12:41 and the priests, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets;
Neh 12:42 and Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. The singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer.
Neh 12:43 They offered great sacrifices that day, and rejoiced; for God had made them rejoice with great joy; and the women also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.
Neh 12:44 On that day were men appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the wave offerings, for the first fruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them, according to the fields of the cities, the portions appointed by the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites who waited.
Neh 12:45 They performed the duty of their God, and the duty of the purification, and so did the singers and the porters, according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his son.
Neh 12:46 For in the days of David and Asaph of old there was a chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Neh 12:47 All Israel in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah, gave the portions of the singers and the porters, as every day required: and they set apart that which was for the Levites; and the Levites set apart that which was for the sons of Aaron.

Neh 13:1 On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that an Ammonite and a Moabite should not enter into the assembly of God forever,
Neh 13:2 because they didn't meet the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, to curse them: however our God turned the curse into a blessing.
Neh 13:3 It came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.
Neh 13:4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, being allied to Tobiah,
Neh 13:5 had prepared for him a great chamber, where before they laid the meal offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the wave offerings for the priests.
Neh 13:6 But in all this time I was not at Jerusalem; for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king: and after certain days asked I leave of the king,
Neh 13:7 and I came to Jerusalem, and understood the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
Neh 13:8 It grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber.
Neh 13:9 Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and there brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meal offerings and the frankincense.
Neh 13:10 I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them; so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled everyone to his field.
Neh 13:11 Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
Neh 13:12 Then brought all Judah the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the treasuries.
Neh 13:13 I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were counted faithful, and their business was to distribute to their brothers.
Neh 13:14 Remember me, my God, concerning this, and don't wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for its observances.
Neh 13:15 In those days saw I in Judah some men treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys therewith; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day in which they sold food.
Neh 13:16 There lived men of Tyre also therein, who brought in fish, and all manner of wares, and sold on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
Neh 13:17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the Sabbath day?
Neh 13:18 Didn't your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this evil on us, and on this city? yet you bring more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.
Neh 13:19 It came to pass that, when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut, and commanded that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. I set some of my servants over the gates, that no burden should be brought in on the Sabbath day.
Neh 13:20 So the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside of Jerusalem once or twice.
Neh 13:21 Then I testified against them, and said to them, Why do you stay around the wall? if you do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the Sabbath.
Neh 13:22 I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember to me, my God, this also, and spare me according to the greatness of your loving kindness.
Neh 13:23 In those days also saw I the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
Neh 13:24 and their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people.
Neh 13:25 I contended with them, and cursed them, and struck certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons, or for yourselves.
Neh 13:26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, and he was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did foreign women cause to sin.
Neh 13:27 Shall we then listen to you to do all this great evil, to trespass against our God in marrying foreign women?
Neh 13:28 One of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.
Neh 13:29 Remember them, my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.
Neh 13:30 Thus cleansed I them from all foreigners, and appointed duties for the priests and for the Levites, everyone in his work;
Neh 13:31 and for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the first fruits. Remember me, my God, for good.

Aug. 13
Esther 1-3

Est 1:1 Now it happened in the days of Ahasuerus (this is Ahasuerus who reigned from India even to Ethiopia, over one hundred twenty-seven provinces),
Est 1:2 that in those days, when the King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
Est 1:3 in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him.
Est 1:4 He displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty many days, even one hundred eighty days.
Est 1:5 When these days were fulfilled, the king made a seven day feast for all the people who were present in Shushan the palace, both great and small, in the court of the garden of the king's palace.
Est 1:6 There were hangings of white, green, and blue material, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and marble pillars. The couches were of gold and silver, on a pavement of red, white, yellow, and black marble.
Est 1:7 They gave them drinks in golden vessels of various kinds, including royal wine in abundance, according to the bounty of the king.
Est 1:8 In accordance with the law, the drinking was not compulsory; for so the king had instructed all the officials of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.
Est 1:9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to King Ahasuerus.
Est 1:10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcass, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
Est 1:11 to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the royal crown, to show the people and the princes her beauty; for she was beautiful.
Est 1:12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by the eunuchs. Therefore the king was very angry, and his anger burned in him.
Est 1:13 Then the king said to the wise men, who knew the times, (for it was the king's custom to consult those who knew law and judgment;
Est 1:14 and the next to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king's face, and sat first in the kingdom),
Est 1:15 "What shall we do to the queen Vashti according to law, because she has not done the bidding of the King Ahasuerus by the eunuchs?"
Est 1:16 Memucan answered before the king and the princes, "Vashti the queen has not done wrong to just the king, but also to all the princes, and to all the people who are in all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus.
Est 1:17 For this deed of the queen will become known to all women, causing them to show contempt for their husbands, when it is reported, 'King Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she didn't come.'
Est 1:18 Today, the princesses of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's deed will tell all the king's princes. This will cause much contempt and wrath.
Est 1:19 If it please the king, let a royal commandment go from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it cannot be altered, that Vashti may never again come before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate to another who is better than she.
Est 1:20 When the king's decree which he shall make is published throughout all his kingdom (for it is great), all the wives will give their husbands honor, both great and small."
Est 1:21 This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan:
Est 1:22 for he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to its writing, and to every people in their language, that every man should rule his own house, speaking in the language of his own people.

Est 2:1 After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was pacified, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.
Est 2:2 Then the king's servants who served him said, "Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king.
Est 2:3 Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Susa, to the women's house, to the custody of Hegai the king's eunuch, keeper of the women. Let cosmetics be given them;
Est 2:4 and let the maiden who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti." The thing pleased the king, and he did so.
Est 2:5 There was a certain Jew in the citadel of Susa, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite,
Est 2:6 who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
Est 2:7 He brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter; for she had neither father nor mother. The maiden was fair and beautiful; and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter.
Est 2:8 So it happened, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together to the citadel of Susa, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken into the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
Est 2:9 The maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness from him. He quickly gave her cosmetics and her portions of food, and the seven choice maidens who were to be given her out of the king's house. He moved her and her maidens to the best place in the women's house.
Est 2:10 Esther had not made known her people nor her relatives, because Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make it known.
Est 2:11 Mordecai walked every day in front of the court of the women's house, to find out how Esther did, and what would become of her.
Est 2:12 Each young woman's turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after her purification for twelve months (for so were the days of their purification accomplished, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet fragrances and with preparations for beautifying women).
Est 2:13 The young woman then came to the king like this: whatever she desired was given her to go with her out of the women's house to the king's house.
Est 2:14 In the evening she went, and on the next day she returned into the second women's house, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch, who kept the concubines. She came in to the king no more, unless the king delighted in her, and she was called by name.
Est 2:15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, came to go in to the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's eunuch, the keeper of the women, advised. Esther obtained favor in the sight of all those who looked at her.
Est 2:16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal house in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
Est 2:17 The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown on her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Est 2:18 Then the king made a great feast for all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces, and gave gifts according to the king's bounty.
Est 2:19 When the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting in the king's gate.
Est 2:20 Esther had not yet made known her relatives nor her people, as Mordecai had commanded her; for Esther obeyed Mordecai, like she did when she was brought up by him.
Est 2:21 In those days, while Mordecai was sitting in the king's gate, two of the king's eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, who were doorkeepers, were angry, and sought to lay hands on the King Ahasuerus.
Est 2:22 This thing became known to Mordecai, who informed Esther the queen; and Esther informed the king in Mordecai's name.
Est 2:23 When this matter was investigated, and it was found to be so, they were both hanged on a tree; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the king's presence.

Est 3:1 After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.
Est 3:2 All the king's servants who were in the king's gate bowed down, and paid homage to Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai didn't bow down or pay him homage.
Est 3:3 Then the king's servants, who were in the king's gate, said to Mordecai, "Why do you disobey the king's commandment?"
Est 3:4 Now it came to pass, when they spoke daily to him, and he didn't listen to them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.
Est 3:5 When Haman saw that Mordecai didn't bow down, nor pay him homage, Haman was full of wrath.
Est 3:6 But he scorned the thought of laying hands on Mordecai alone, for they had made known to him Mordecai's people. Therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the Mordecai's people.
Est 3:7 In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, and chose the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.
Est 3:8 Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws are different than other people's. They don't keep the king's laws. Therefore it is not for the king's profit to allow them to remain.
Est 3:9 If it pleases the king, let it be written that they be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who are in charge of the king's business, to bring it into the king's treasuries."
Est 3:10 The king took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy.
Est 3:11 The king said to Haman, "The silver is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you."
Est 3:12 Then the king's scribes were called in on the first month, on the thirteenth day of the month; and all that Haman commanded was written to the king's satraps, and to the governors who were over every province, and to the princes of every people, to every province according its writing, and to every people in their language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus, and it was sealed with the king's ring.
Est 3:13 Letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to plunder their possessions.
Est 3:14 A copy of the letter, that the decree should be given out in every province, was published to all the peoples, that they should be ready against that day.
Est 3:15 The couriers went forth in haste by the king's commandment, and the decree was given out in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Shushan was perplexed.

Aug. 12

Acts 24

Act 24:1 After five days, the high priest, Ananias, came down with certain elders and an orator, one Tertullus. They informed the governor against Paul.
Act 24:2 When he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, "Seeing that by you we enjoy much peace, and that excellent measures are coming to this nation,
Act 24:3 we accept it in all ways and in all places, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness.
Act 24:4 But, that I don't delay you, I entreat you to bear with us and hear a few words.
Act 24:5 For we have found this man to be a plague, an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
Act 24:6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we arrested him.
Act 24:7 but the commanding officer, Lysias, came by and with great violence took him out of our hands,
Act 24:8 commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him."
Act 24:9 The Jews also joined in the attack, affirming that these things were so.
Act 24:10 When the governor had beckoned to him to speak, Paul answered, "Because I know that you have been a judge of this nation for many years, I cheerfully make my defense,
Act 24:11 seeing that you can recognize that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem.
Act 24:12 In the temple they didn't find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the synagogues, or in the city.
Act 24:13 Nor can they prove to you the things of which they now accuse me.
Act 24:14 But this I confess to you, that after the Way, which they call a sect, so I serve the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets;
Act 24:15 having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Act 24:16 Herein I also practice always having a conscience void of offense toward God and men.
Act 24:17 Now after some years, I came to bring gifts for the needy to my nation, and offerings;
Act 24:18 amid which certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, not with a mob, nor with turmoil.
Act 24:19 They ought to have been here before you, and to make accusation, if they had anything against me.
Act 24:20 Or else let these men themselves say what injustice they found in me when I stood before the council,
Act 24:21 unless it is for this one thing that I cried standing among them, 'Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged before you today!' "
Act 24:22 But Felix, having more exact knowledge concerning the Way, deferred them, saying, "When Lysias, the commanding officer, comes down, I will decide your case."
Act 24:23 He ordered the centurion that Paul should be kept in custody, and should have some privileges, and not to forbid any of his friends to serve him or to visit him.
Act 24:24 But after some days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus.
Act 24:25 As he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, "Go your way for this time, and when it is convenient for me, I will summon you."
Act 24:26 Meanwhile, he also hoped that money would be given to him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore also he sent for him more often, and talked with him.
Act 24:27 But when two years were fulfilled, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and desiring to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in bonds.

Aug. 13
Acts 25

Act 25:1 Festus therefore, having come into the province, after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
Act 25:2 Then the high priest and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul, and they begged him,
Act 25:3 asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem; plotting to kill him on the way.
Act 25:4 However Festus answered that Paul should be kept in custody at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to depart shortly.
Act 25:5 "Let them therefore," said he, "that are in power among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong in the man, let them accuse him."
Act 25:6 When he had stayed among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he sat on the judgment seat, and commanded Paul to be brought.
Act 25:7 When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many and grievous charges which they could not prove,
Act 25:8 while he said in his defense, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I sinned at all."
Act 25:9 But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, answered Paul and said, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem, and be judged by me there concerning these things?"
Act 25:10 But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also know very well.
Act 25:11 For if I have done wrong, and have committed anything worthy of death, I don't refuse to die; but if none of those things is true that they accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!"
Act 25:12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, "You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you shall go."
Act 25:13 Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the King and Bernice arrived at Caesarea, and greeted Festus.
Act 25:14 As he stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, "There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix;
Act 25:15 about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, asking for a sentence against him.
Act 25:16 To whom I answered that it is not the custom of the Romans to give up any man to destruction, before the accused has met the accusers face to face, and has had opportunity to make his defense concerning the matter laid against him.
Act 25:17 When therefore they had come together here, I didn't delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought.
Act 25:18 Concerning whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no charge of such things as I supposed;
Act 25:19 but had certain questions against him about their own religion, and about one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
Act 25:20 Being perplexed how to inquire concerning these things, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters.
Act 25:21 But when Paul had appealed to be kept for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be kept until I could send him to Caesar."
Act 25:22 Agrippa said to Festus, "I also would like to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," he said, "you shall hear him."
Act 25:23 So on the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and they had entered into the place of hearing with the commanding officers and principal men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.
Act 25:24 Festus said, "King Agrippa, and all men who are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
Act 25:25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and as he himself appealed to the emperor I determined to send him.
Act 25:26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write to my lord. Therefore I have brought him forth before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after examination, I may have something to write.
Act 25:27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to also specify the charges against him."