1/13/20

"THE BOOK OF DANIEL" The Hand Writing On The Wall (5:1-31) by Mark Copeland


"THE BOOK OF DANIEL"

The Hand Writing On The Wall (5:1-31)

INTRODUCTION

1. So far in our study of the book of Daniel, we have seen...
   a. The faith of young Daniel, who made the commitment not to defile
      himself - Dan 1
   b. The first dream of Nebuchadnezzar, interpreted by Daniel - Dan 2
      1) Prophesying the rise and fall of four world empires
      2) Foretelling the establishment of the kingdom of Christ
   c. The faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the face of fire- Dan 3
   d. The second dream of Nebuchadnezzar and it is fulfillment, 
      confirming that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men - Dan 4

2. We now come to the Dan 5, where we find an incident familiar to many...
   a. The event is often called:  "The Hand Writing On The Wall"
   b. As with any Old Testament account, it was written for our
      admonition - cf. 1Co 10:11

[As we begin with the text, we first read of...]

I. BOOZE AND IDOLATRY IN A KING'S COURT (1-4)

   A. BELSHAZZAR, THE KING...
      1. The time is now about 539 B.C.
         a. Nebuchadnezzar had died in 562 B.C.
         b. He was succeeded by his son, Evil-Merodach - cf. 2Ki 25:27
            1) After two years he was assassinated by Nergilissar, his
               brother-in-law
            2) Who in turn died four years later (556 B.C.), leaving
               the throne to his infant son, Labashi-Marduk
            3) Labashi-Marduk was soon deposed by a priestly revolution
         c. Nabonidus, a former priest under Nebuchadnezzar, was made
            king in 556 B.C.
            1) Who was more interested in scholarly and religious pursuits
            2) So he appointed his son Belshazzar as ruler of Babylon in his place
         d. Belshazzar therefore became co-regent in 550 B.C.
            1) He was "second" in command
            2) Which explains why he offered Daniel only the "third"
               position in the kingdom - cf. Dan 5:16,29
            3) Nebuchadnezzar is called his "father" - Dan 5:2,11,13, 18,22
               a) Nabodonius (Belshazzar's father) may have been
                  Nebuchadnezzar's son-in-law, and it was common to
                  refer to one's ancestor as "father"
               b) Or "father" may be used figuratively
      2. Belshazzar throws a big feast - Dan 5:1-3
         a. Nebuchadnezzar had taken gold and silver vessels from the
            temple in Jerusalem - cf. 2Ch 36:10
         b. Belshazzar adds insult to injury by using them in the feast

   B. THEY PRAISED THE GODS OF GOLD AND SILVER...
      1. The king and guests foolishly praised the creation rather than
         the Creator
      2. Would we ever stoop so low?  
         a. Worship the gods of silver and gold?   
         b. Become guilty of idolatry?
      3. We do if we succumb to the sin of covetousness! - Ep 5:5; Co 3:5
         a. When we make mammon (material riches) our god - cf. Mt 6:24
         b. When we make created things the prime focus of our time and
            interest

[As we continue in Dan 5, notice how quickly things change as we read of...]

II. PANIC AND HUMILIATION IN A KING'S COURT (5-9)

   A. THE HAND WRITING ON THE WALL...
      1. The fingers of a man's hands appear - Dan 5:5a
      2. They write on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace - Dan 5:5b
      3. Belshazzar sees the part of the hand that wrote - Dan 5:5c

   B. THE QUAKING KING...
      1. In the case of King Belshazzar...
         a. One moment his heart is puffed up with pride
         b. The next moment, his knees are knocking together - Dan 5:6
         -- A vivid illustration of:  "Pride goes before destruction,
            And a haughty spirit before a fall." - Pr 16:18
      3. All he saw was a man's hand...
         a. What if he had seen the face of God?
         b. If just a tiny manifestation of God's power had that
            effect, then what would be the effect of coming face to face with God?
      4. What about the coming Judgment?   Will we be able to stand?
         a. Not if we are wicked - cf. Ps 1:5
         b. But we can if we have pure hearts and holy hands - cf. Psa 24:3-5

   C. THE HELPLESS ADVISORS...
      1. Once again, a king appeals first to those unable to help - Dan 5:7-9
      2. Just as Nebuchadnezzar did in Dan 2,4
      3. People often do the same thing today in times of crisis
         a. They go to the wrong place for help
            1) Looking to their own strength or wisdom
            2) Or that of other people
         b. When they need to trust in God first - cf. Pr 3:5-10; Mt 6:33

[As we continue with the Biblical account, we read of...]

III. THE ARRIVAL OF GOD'S MAN (10-16)

   A. THE ADVICE OF THE QUEEN...
      1. The queen was likely the "queen mother", for the wives were
         already present - Dan 5:10-12; cf. 5:2
      2. Note that the queen was not present at the banquet...
         a. Could the one who knew where to turn in time of trouble,
            have also known the banquet was no place for her to be?
         b. Those who like to party and "live it up" are usually those
            who are lost in despair when trouble strikes!

   B. DANIEL BEFORE THE OFFENDER...
      1. Twice the king says "I have heard of you" - Dan 5:13-16
         a. It sounds as though the king knew him only by reputation
         b. He evidently had not made much effort to know Daniel prior
            to this event
      2. People in the world are not much different
         a. They make little effort to get to know the people of God
         b. But in times of sickness, trials, and death, where do they
            turn?  To the church, of course
         -- The time to get to know God's people is before, not after!

[Next comes...]

IV. THE INDICTMENT (17-24)

   A. DANIEL REJECTS THE KING'S REWARD...
      1. At this point the character of Daniel really shines - Dan 5:17
      2. Unlike many, who teach only if given gifts (or "love offerings")
      3. Daniel willingly tells the truth for free

   B. DANIEL RECOUNTS A LESSON FROM HISTORY...
      1. The lesson from Nebuchadnezzar's second dream is recounted 
         - Dan 5:18-21
      2. We would do well to learn from history
         a. Those who ignore history, are doomed to repeat it
         b. This is especially true with inspired history!

   C. DANIEL REBUKES THE KING...
      1. Belshazzar did not learn from his father's experience - Dan 5:22-24
         a. He exalted himself, when he should have glorified God
         b. This handwriting on the wall was sent
      2. When will people learn from history?
         a. Should we not learn from the pride of Pharaoh in the book
            of Exodus?
         b. Should we not learn from the murmuring of the Israelites in
            the wilderness?
         -- Indeed, inspired history was written for our learning! 
             - Ro 15:4; 1Co 10:11

[Belshazzar failed to benefit from his knowledge of God's dealings with
mankind, and so upon him was to come...]

V. THE SENTENCE AND EXECUTION (25-31)

   A. THE HAND WRITING ON THE WALL EXPLAINED...
      1. The meaning of:  "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin" - Dan 5:25-28
         a. Mene - God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it
         b. Tekel - You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting
         c. Peres (Upharsin) - Your kingdom has been divided, and given
            to the Medes and Persians.
      2. From the Believer's Study Bible:
         a. The term mene (Aram.) could be the monetary "mina," or a
            participle meaning "numbered." Its repetition produces the
            sense "thoroughly numbered." God had set limits on 
            Belshazzar's kingdom.
         b. The term tekel (Aram.) could be a monetary unit 
            corresponding to the Hebrew shekel, or a participle meaning"weighed."
         c. The final word upharsin (Aram.) could also be a monetary
            unit, a half-mina or half-shekel, or a plural participle
            from the verb paras, "divide," meaning "and divided."
         d. The message of Daniel's interpretation is that Belshazzar's
            kingdom had been numbered for destruction. The king himself
            is weighed and found wanting. The kingdom was to be taken
            away and given to the Medes and the Persians.

   B. A THIRD OF NOTHING...
      1. Belshazzar is true to his promise - Dan 5:29
      2. But as we will soon see, what he gave Daniel was a "third of nothing"

   C. "THIS NIGHT YOUR SOUL WILL BE REQUIRED OF YOU..."
      1. How quickly the proud and boastful can fall, despite power and
         wealth - Dan 5:30-31
         a. Herodotus indicates that Babylon fell as a consequence of
            the diverting of the waters of the Euphrates, allowing the
            enemy to enter under the city walls
         b. Other sources explain it as the result of treason and
            subterfuge from within, resulting in the opening of the
            gates to the conquering armies
      2. This is reminiscent of Jesus' story of the rich fool - Lk 12:15-21
         a. Boasting one day
         b. Dead the next

CONCLUSION

1. The announcement of doom in this story was provoked in part because...
   a. The king misused and abused some pieces of metal
   b. These pieces of metal were God's pieces of metal
   -- For such disregard of what belonged to God, a kingdom would be buried!

2. Remember that we are the temple of God today - 1Co 3:16-17
   a. If God did not view lightly the misuse of His vessels then...
   b. Will He be casual about the impenitent abuse of His church today?
   -- Just as He destroyed the one who defiled His temple of old, so He
      will destroy those who defile His temple (the church) today!

Let's not wait for "The Hand Writing On The Wall" to tell us it is too
late, that judgment has been passed and the sentence is final.

Let's instead heed "The Hand That Wrote On The Ground" (i.e., Jesus,
Jn 8:6,8), while there is still time for mercy and forgiveness...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Was the Darkness of the Crucifixion Merely an Eclipse? by Branyon May, Ph.D.





Was the Darkness of the Crucifixion Merely an Eclipse?

by Branyon May, Ph.D.


For those who have experienced a total solar eclipse, the event is awe inspiring. Solar eclipses are incredible because they are a multi-sensory experience, from the amazing environmental changes of temperature and weather, to the sounds of nocturnal animal life, to the visual changes of the slowly dimming daylight and the brief darkness of totality. Lunar eclipses are similarly compelling as the Moon gradually changes from its usual bright white appearance to a more dim reddish hue. Yet, when we compare these physical events that have happened throughout history with the history changing event of Jesus’ crucifixion, can we understand the element of darkness on that day as an eclipse event?
While this question has been posed by many people from many different contexts, we want to confront the reasoning of some who deny any supernatural descriptions for biblical events. This type of blatant denial of any supernatural elements is a ploy toward an ultimate denial of God. Rather, when we consider the historical reality and the blending of both God’s supernatural power with God’s establishment of physical laws, we find a full account that has both investigative and descriptive power to understand the unique events depicted in Scripture.

A MATTER OF TIMING

As we discuss the timing of the crucifixion, we need to note the particulars necessary for solar and lunar eclipses to occur. First, a solar eclipse involves the Moon passing between Earth and the Sun, casting its shadow on Earth. This means that the Moon’s phase is always a New Moon during solar eclipses. In contrast, a lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon, casting its shadow across the Moon. During a lunar eclipse the Moon’s phase is always a Full Moon.
As an overview, here is the timeline for the relevant events of the crucifixion. According to Mark 15:25, Jesus was crucified at the third hour of the Jewish day or 9 a.m. which, from the context, we can understand as the initial placement of Jesus on the cross. Then at the sixth hour (12 p.m. noon) there came darkness over all the land for a duration of three hours until the ninth hour or 3 p.m. (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). At this point, Jesus cried out three of His recorded sayings on the cross: “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34); “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” (Luke 23:46); and “It is finished” (John 19:30). At the point of Jesus’ death, the darkness appears to have ended, as each account describes the darkness lasting for three hours, then Jesus giving His life.
With the particulars of both the crucifixion timeline and the necessary timings of eclipses established, we can address whether a solar or lunar eclipse could be a possible explanation for the darkness that occurred. We can quickly rule out a lunar eclipse as the cause, since lunar eclipses do not affect the appearance of the Sun and would not have any impact during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When we consider solar eclipses, there is a definite affect on the Sun and the daylight levels as they occur. Solar eclipses, especially in the narrow path of total solar eclipses, have dramatic periods of darkness. However, we can confidently say that the darkness during Jesus’ crucifixion was not the result of a solar eclipse event. This statement can be made based on the timing particulars that the Bible defines: first, the time of the month that the Jewish Passover occurs and, second, the duration of darkness outlined by the text.
Jesus’ trial and crucifixion happened near the feast of the Passover, which occurs every year in the same month and the same day of the month. According to Leviticus 23:5, the Passover began on the evening of the 14th day of the first month. Important is the fact that the accounting of Jewish time is based on a lunar calendar, where each month follows the lunar cycle beginning on the New Moon. This connection can be seen by the Hebrew word often translated as month, chodesh, which originates from a root meaning “new.” In context, this word is either translated as “month” in regards to time, or as “New Moon” in regards to a physical description. We can see a use of the physical “New Moon” translation in the account found in 1 Samuel 20 involving David and Jonathan: “And David said to Jonathan, ‘Indeed tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king to eat. But let me go, that I may hide in the field until the third day at evening’” (20:5). Here we have the New Moon (chodesh) used in conjunction with a time period of waiting till the “third day” of the month. Thus since Jesus’ crucifixion happened near the middle of the month at Passover, the phase of the Moon was near a Full Moon instead of a New Moon, which is the complete opposite for a solar eclipse in apparent and physical orientation.
While the time of month for the crucifixion completely dispels the possibility of a solar eclipse, reasoning based on the darkness duration provides additional evidence for a supernatural origination. The Bible describes a three hour timeframe for the darkness (Mark 15:33). As we consider a solar eclipse, it is true that the entire event can be approximately three hours. However, this period includes the entire process from the point when the Moon begins to cover the Sun until the Moon finally completes its recession off the Sun. The partial eclipse phase of a total solar eclipse is a gradual process of slowly dimming to a point of maximum eclipse, then slowly brightening after maximum. This gradual variation does not match the succinct description of darkness over all the land that the Bible defines. Those who have witnessed a total solar eclipse would agree that “darkness” does not characterize the Earth until the brief maximum darkness phase of the eclipse. The duration for the maximum darkness of a total eclipse, however, is only a matter of minutes, not hours. The 2017 total solar eclipse that crossed the United States only had a maximum duration of two minutes and 40.2 seconds.1 In fact, the maximum duration possible for any total solar eclipse is less than seven minutes.2

CONCLUSION

When we reach the climax of God’s plan at the cross, we see God using all elements of the event to highlight the incredible uniqueness of Jesus’ innocence, sacrifice, and love. One of these elements was God causing a great, supernatural darkness to cover the land and extend to the point of Jesus’ death. This darkness was not a simple coincidence, nor was it simply some usual event. Rather, it played a part in showing those at the cross then, and those who come to the cross today, the crucial message of salvation that Jesus brought to the world.

ENDNOTES

1 https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html
2 Jean Meeus(2003), "The Maximum Possible Duration of a Total Solar Eclipse," Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 113[6]:343–348, December.

Was the Ark Large Enough for All of the Animals? by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.




Was the Ark Large Enough for All of the Animals?

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


If there are around 11,000,000 species on the planet today,1 and there were at least two representatives of every species on the Ark (and in some cases seven or 142), how could the Ark be large enough to house its passengers for an entire year—some of which were dinosaurs? Here are four relevant points that clear up this seeming impossibility.
(1) It is true that dinosaurs would have been on the Ark. Since the commencement of the Flood in the geologic column and fossil record is clear—the “Great Unconformity” and the Cambrian Explosion, respectively—and the dinosaurs are found well above those worldwide geologic features, the dinosaurs were alive when the Flood began. As land-living creatures, therefore, they would have been represented on the Ark. Further, archaeological evidence verifies the existence of dinosaurs after the Flood.3
That said, it is virtually certain that God did not send to Noah adult representatives of the species He wanted on the Ark. Adult species require more space, food, and water, and produce more waste. Further, they would not survive as long after the Flood as would juvenile species and, therefore, would not be as well-suited for repopulating the Earth as would juvenile species. Juvenile species, obviously, would take very little space on the Ark. Even the enormous sauropod dinosaurs were likely less than seven inches in size when hatched.4
(2) It is not certain that there are 11,000,000 species on the planet. The actual catalogued number of species as of 2018 was roughly 1.8 million.5 Biologists are projecting they will eventually catalogue 11,000,000 species. Even that number, however, includes many species that would not have been on the Ark (since the text does not list them among the animals Noah brought), including the entire kingdoms Plantae, Fungi, Protozoa, Chromista, Archaea, and Bacteria. Further, many creatures found within Animalia would not have been represented on the Ark, including marine creatures and many amphibians that could survive outside the Ark, as well as many of the insects (which make up the bulk of Animalia), since they do not have the “breath of life” (Genesis 7:15) and many would not be classified as “creeping things” (7:14) according to Scripture. The number of species represented on the Ark, therefore, would have been significantly lower than 11,000,000.
(3) Moses used the “cubit” as the measurement standard for the dimensions of the Ark, which is often estimated to be roughly 18 inches—from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow.6 Some scholars estimate a longer cubit, however. The fossil record reveals that reptiles (dinosaurs), plants, insects, and marine creatures grew much larger than do most animals today. If humans also were larger in the pre-Flood era, as Homo heidelbergensis fossils may imply, the cubit could have been larger as well. A 25-inch cubit would more than double the volume of space within the Ark (1,518,750 cubic feet vs. 4,062,500 cubic feet).
(4) The text of Genesis indicates that “kinds” of creatures—not species—were brought on the Ark. As discussed elsewhere,7 the two terms are not equivalent. The designation “species” was developed relatively recently—thousands of years after Moses wrote. “Kind” is likely more closely related to the modern taxonomic terms “family” or “genus.” Much of the diversity we see within those categories—the many species of the planet—may have come about after the Flood due to the inheritable variation within the genomes of the proto-species on the Ark. Representatives of the canines, for example, were on the Ark, from which likely came foxes, wolves, jackals, coyotes, dingoes, and domesticated dogs.
Creation geologist and biologist John Woodmorappe conducted a thorough study of the feasibility of housing 16,000 animals (representatives from each of the genus taxonomic rank; i.e., even more than would be represented if the family rank was used instead) in the Ark, taking into account the spatial requirements for food, water, waste disposal, heating, ventilation, and lighting, and found that the Ark was more than adequate in size to house the animals.8
The Ark was well equipped to meet the challenge of housing thousands of animals with room to spare. Obviously, it would be expected that the Ark would be large enough for its passengers considering God knew how many species He would be sending to Noah and therefore how large the Ark needed to be—both variables that God, Himself, controlled (Genesis 6:14-16,20). As is always the case: there is no rational reason to distrust what the Bible says.

ENDNOTES

1 Camilo Mora, Derek P. Tittensor, Sina Adl, Alastair G.B. Simpson, and Boris Worm (2011), “How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?” PLoS Biology, 9[8]:e1001127, https://apologeticspress.page.link/HowManySpecies.
2 Eric Lyons (2004), “How Many Animals of Each Kind did Noah Take into the Ark?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=656.
3 Eric Lyons and Kyle Butt (2008), The Dinosaur Delusion (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
4 Simon Jackson (1997), “Dinosaur Eggs: Sauropod Eggs,” University of Bristol: Earth Sciences, http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/palaeofiles/eggs/Types/sauropods.html.
5 “About the Catalogue of Life” (2018), Catalogue of Life: 2018 Annual Checklisthttp://www.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist/2018/info/about.
6 Walter A. Elwell, ed. (1988), Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), p. 2136.
7 Jeff Miller (2017), Science vs. Evolution (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), 2nd edition, p. 132.
8 John Woodmorappe (1996), Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study (Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research).
Suggested Resources

Was Moses on Drugs? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.





Was Moses on Drugs?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Benny Shanon, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has recently introduced a novel approach to interpreting the biblical narratives regarding Moses’ experience with the burning bush and reception of the Ten Commandments. Shanon claims Moses was high on some type of mind-altering drug that caused him to hallucinate and have “visions.” Shanon puts forth this idea because he says that he does not think Moses was involved in “a supernatural cosmic event,” nor does he believe that the story was simply a “legend” (“Moses Was...”, 2008), so he believes the events must have some natural explanation.
Shanon attempts to add credence to his claim by admitting to using mind-altering drugs himself. In fact, he explained that he used a “powerful psychotropic plant” known as ayahuasca “during a religious ceremony in Brazil’s Amazon forest” that caused him to “experience visions that had spiritual-religious connotations” (“Moses Was...”, 2008).
Such an outlandish claim as Shanon’s can be shown to be egregiously false for several reasons. First, the books penned by Moses, with the Ten Commandments as the focal point, are the most ingenious books of codified law that the ancient world had ever seen. They are filled with scientific foreknowledge and medical practices that were light years ahead of the knowledge of surrounding nations (see Butt, 2007). The depth of ethical understanding and legal justice presented in Moses’ writings have been the bedrock of legal philosophy and practical legislation upon which Western society is based. To attribute the Ten Commandments, which are among the most concise, cogent summary statements of law ever penned, to a drug-induced psychotic stupor is an untenable, irrational conclusion.
Furthermore, in order to attribute Moses’ Mt. Sinai experience to drug use, Shanon would be forced to dismiss the fact that the entire nation of Israel experienced the presence of God at Sinai. The Bible states: “Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.... Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off” (Exodus 19:18; 20:18). There is no possible way that some two to three million Israelites could all have been smoking some “psychotropic” plant that would have caused them all to see the exact same hallucination. In Shanon’s attempt to dismiss God’s supernatural encounter with Moses, the professor has arrived at false conclusions that cannot be defended logically.
In addition, the Old Testament, especially the first five books of Moses, gives extensive and very detailed instructions as to how the Israelites were supposed to worship God. Conspicuously absent from these writings are any instructions pertaining to psychotic drugs to be used in their religious ceremonies. In fact, Aaron and the priests were specifically instructed not to drink wine or intoxicating drink when they performed religious ceremonies (Leviticus 10:9). It would be unreasonable to conclude that they could not drink alcohol, but they could smoke a plant that would send them into a state of hallucination.
In truth, there is no historical, logical, or rational evidence that would remotely suggest that Moses was on drugs. The historical truth is that God supernaturally appeared to Moses and delivered to him the Ten Commandments. In the scenario that Professor Shanon has presented, there is only one person that used powerful, mind-altering drugs—and it is not Moses.

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Moses Was High On Drugs: Israeli Researcher” (2008), [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080304/od_afp/israelreligionoffbeat;_ylt =AkpuHg_GDQDWrvVQZxWJKeoZ.3QA.

GOD MAKING HIMSELF PRESENT by Jim McGuiggan



GOD MAKING HIMSELF PRESENT

I’ve watched this happening repeatedly in the last couple of months and it reminded me again of the bankrupt nature of religious lecturing that’s so often offered as a substitute for constant gospeling. “Gospely” words spoken in subdued and pious tones close to the end are themselves a judgment on our month after month and year after year lecturing fashion. That judgment remains sharp even when the “gospely”words are sincere.
No one lists the towns of Paul’s missionary journeys under the above conditions. No one wants to explain “the qualifications of deacons” at such a place. And how pathetic and tragic is it when those who ceaselessly offer some version of the “health & wealth now” story whisper their parting words to the sufferer rather than the public “religion of the healthy mind” they peddle.
The throbbing center of the Christian faith, the heart of the Gospel is God Himself. He makes Himself present via the foundational truth of the Bible’s message and the embodiment of that divine presence in lives lived before us. GOD is the Gospel and it is the Gospel that is “able to build us up and give us an inheritance among all those that are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). It isn’t a Bible God gives us! He gives Himself in giving us the truth He tells about Himself! That’s how He makes himself present in us and to us. It isn’t information He wishes to give us—it’s Himself via the transformative information (truth) He gives us. Bible texts are no substitute for an absent God, they are the way GOD makes Himself present.
It’s long past time when we try to “prepare the dear sufferer for his/her death” with some pious words about “the more important matters.” The business of those who are called to minister for GOD is to help prepare us for life and if they purpose to be faithful to that calling and have the wisdom enough to know the difference between “gospel” and the rehearsal of interesting material that we can live and die well without knowing, they will constantly gospel to us from behind pulpits or lecterns.
I don’t say they can do it flawlessly! I don’t expect that they would! But it’s GOD people like me need—not just any old God; the God of the Bible, the God of historical reality, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God who entered, actually and historically, into the human situation as Jesus of Nazareth. We need teachers to take us seriously and speak constantly to us the world creating word of Truth in and through which GOD makes Himself present.
(Holy One, come to our aid that we might come to the aid of others that life might become life, here and now and that then we will understand that those who believe on your Holy Son do not die. John 6:50; 11:26, your truth-filled claim. This prayer in Jesus our Savior.)

IS PRAYING TO DEAD PEOPLE A SIN? BY STEVE FINNELL



IS PRAYING TO DEAD PEOPLE A SIN?   BY STEVE FINNELL


Is it a sin to pray to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints?

Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Go Satan! For it is written,' "You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.' "

Praying to any person or anything is worship.

WORSHIP DEFINED: To revere, stressing the feeling of awe or devotion.  Adoring reverence or regard.

Any worship of anyone or anything other than God is sin.

The Virgin Mary is not God nor does she have the power to grant petitions of prayer. If men could pray to dead saints and get them answered, then why not pray to saint Moses, saint John The Baptist, saint Abraham, saint Job, saint Enoch, saint The Thief on The Cross or any other dead saint?

Dead people cannot hear your prayers and if they could they would not have the power to answer them.

Prayer is worship and only God deserves our worship.

God knows our every thought. God is aware of every sin we commit. God knows our every move. 

God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Those are the attributes of God and what you would need in order to answer prayer.

Neither the Virgin Mary, Moses, John The Baptist nor any other dead saint has the attributes of God. They cannot hear you nor can they answer YOUR PRAYERS.

YES, TO PRAY TO ANYONE OTHER THAN GOD IS A SIN!   

Pure Religion: Bridling the Tongue by B. Johnson



Pure Religion: Bridling the Tongue

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:26-27).
Pure Religion requires bridling the tongue as well as helping the needy. We see in the verse above that, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26).
There should be no time when our speech is not controlled with grace and salt. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col 4:6). This kind of speech will not necessarily please the world, but God is pleased with such speech.
Our speech should never include anything that would bring shame to Christ. “Sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:8).
It takes a heavy bridle to stop speech that the world loves. “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks” (Eph 5:4).
What we say should be upbuilding to those who hear. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph 4:29).
We should never scorn or blaspheme any man. “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3:2).
We should never speak so as to damage any brother. “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge” (James 4:11).
We are instructed to lay certain things aside: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings” (1 Pet 2:1).
The fear of the Lord restrains (bridles) the tongue so that it speaks no evil. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (1 Pet 3:10).
The Lord knows how to punish those who speak evil of dignities: “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities: Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (2 Pet 2:10-12).
Twice the Lord reminds us to bridle our tongues when it comes to his officials. “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves” (Jude 1:8-10).
Without a doubt we need to consider the admonition of Solomon when he says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Pro 18:21).
Beth Johnson
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.

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

Bible Reading for January 13 & 14 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading for January 13 & 14

World  English  Bible


Jan. 13
Genesis 13

Gen 13:1 Abram went up out of Egypt: he, his wife, all that he had, and Lot with him, into the South.
Gen 13:2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.
Gen 13:3 He went on his journeys from the South even to Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
Gen 13:4 to the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first. There Abram called on the name of Yahweh.
Gen 13:5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
Gen 13:6 The land was not able to bear them, that they might live together: for their substance was great, so that they could not live together.
Gen 13:7 There was a strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite lived in the land at that time.
Gen 13:8 Abram said to Lot, "Please, let there be no strife between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are relatives.
Gen 13:9 Isn't the whole land before you? Please separate yourself from me. If you go to the left hand, then I will go to the right. Or if you go to the right hand, then I will go to the left."
Gen 13:10 Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw all the plain of the Jordan, that it was well-watered everywhere, before Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Yahweh, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar.
Gen 13:11 So Lot chose the Plain of the Jordan for himself. Lot traveled east, and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Gen 13:12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, and Lot lived in the cities of the plain, and moved his tent as far as Sodom.
Gen 13:13 Now the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinners against Yahweh.
Gen 13:14 Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, "Now, lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward,
Gen 13:15 for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever.
Gen 13:16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then your seed may also be numbered.
Gen 13:17 Arise, walk through the land in its length and in its breadth; for I will give it to you."
Gen 13:18 Abram moved his tent, and came and lived by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to Yahweh.

Jan. 14
Genesis 14


Gen 14:1 It happened in the days of Amraphel, king of Shinar, Arioch, king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Tidal, king of Goiim,
Gen 14:2 that they made war with Bera, king of Sodom, and with Birsha, king of Gomorrah, Shinab, king of Admah, and Shemeber, king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar).
Gen 14:3 All these joined together in the valley of Siddim (the same is the Salt Sea).
Gen 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year, they rebelled.
Gen 14:5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer came, and the kings who were with him, and struck the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
Gen 14:6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, to Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
Gen 14:7 They returned, and came to En Mishpat (the same is Kadesh), and struck all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that lived in Hazazon Tamar.
Gen 14:8 The king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar) went out; and they set the battle in array against them in the valley of Siddim;
Gen 14:9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings against the five.
Gen 14:10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell there, and those who remained fled to the hills.
Gen 14:11 They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their food, and went their way.
Gen 14:12 They took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who lived in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
Gen 14:13 One who had escaped came and told Abram, the Hebrew. Now he lived by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were allies of Abram.
Gen 14:14 When Abram heard that his relative was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.
Gen 14:15 He divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and struck them, and pursued them to Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
Gen 14:16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative, Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
Gen 14:17 The king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley).
Gen 14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High.
Gen 14:19 He blessed him, and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth:
Gen 14:20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand." Abram gave him a tenth of all.
Gen 14:21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people, and take the goods to yourself."
Gen 14:22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted up my hand to Yahweh, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth,
Gen 14:23 that I will not take a thread nor a sandal strap nor anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.'
Gen 14:24 I will accept nothing from you except that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their portion."

Jan. 13,14

Matthew 7

Mat 7:1 "Don't judge, so that you won't be judged.
Mat 7:2 For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.
Mat 7:3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but don't consider the beam that is in your own eye?
Mat 7:4 Or how will you tell your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye;' and behold, the beam is in your own eye?
Mat 7:5 You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye.
Mat 7:6 "Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Mat 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you.
Mat 7:8 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.
Mat 7:9 Or who is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
Mat 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent?
Mat 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Mat 7:12 Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Mat 7:13 "Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.
Mat 7:14 How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it.
Mat 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.
Mat 7:16 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?
Mat 7:17 Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit.
Mat 7:18 A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.
Mat 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will tell me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?'
Mat 7:23 Then I will tell them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.'
Mat 7:24 "Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock.
Mat 7:25 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn't fall, for it was founded on the rock.
Mat 7:26 Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn't do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.
Mat 7:27 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell-and great was its fall."
Mat 7:28 It happened, when Jesus had finished saying these things, that the multitudes were astonished at his teaching,
Mat 7:29 for he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes.