2/3/20

"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Introduction To The Minor Prophets by Mark Copeland


"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

Introduction To The Minor Prophets
INTRODUCTION

1. While Christians are not under the Old Testament as a system of 
   justification, the OT is of great value for us today...
   a. Written for our learning, it is a source of comfort and hope - Ro 15:4
   b. Written for our admonition, we learn what mistakes to avoid - 1Co 10:11
   c. As with all scripture inspired of God, it is profitable "for 
      doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in 
      righteousness" - cf. 2Ti 3:14-17

2. This is especially true with regard to "The Minor Prophets"...
   a. A collection of twelve books that make up the last part of the 
      Old Testament
   b. Beginning with Hosea, and ending with Malachi

3. Those willing to study these books will find their lives enriched as
   they increase...
   a. Their knowledge of God's holiness, righteousness, justice and mercy
   b. Their understanding of God's dealings in the nations of men
   c. Their appreciation of the Bible as a literary masterpiece

[With this lesson, we begin a series of studies in which we will survey
"The Minor Prophets". Before we examine our first book, some 
introductory material may prove helpful...]

I. WHO WERE THE PROPHETS?

   A. THE OLD COVENANT HAD DIFFERENT KINDS OF INSTRUCTORS...
      1. There was Moses, the lawgiver - Neh 8:1,14; 9:13-14; Jn 1:17; 7:19
      2. There were the priests, administrators of the law 
          - Lev 10: 8-11; Hos 4:6; Eze 22:26; Mal 2:7
      3. There were the wise men, who gave counsel - 2Sa 14:1-24; 20:16-22
      4. There were the psalmists, poets who were the "sweet singers" 
         of Israel - cf. 2Sa 23:1; 1Ch 6:33
      5. There were the prophets, communicators of the Word of God

   B. A "PROPHET" WAS A SPOKESMAN FOR ANOTHER...
      1. Like Aaron was for his brother Moses - Exo 4:16; 7:1
      2. The word literally means "to boil up like a fountain"
      3. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, a prophet...
         a. Was a spokesman for God - 2Pe 1:21
         b. Was given something to say, and had to say it! - Jer 20:7-9
      4. A prophet was primarily a "forth-teller", though sometimes a "fore-teller"
         a. God's word often pertained to future events
         b. The fulfilled prophecies of these prophets are therefore a
            strong proof of inspiration
         -- But much of their word concerned not the future, but current events

   C. OTHER DESIGNATIONS HELP TO DEFINE THE ROLE OF A PROPHET...
      1. Early in Israel's history they were called "seers" - 1Sa 9:9
      2. Another appellation was "man of God" - 1Sa 9:6; 1Ki 17:18
      3. Also known as a "servant of God" - 1Ki 18:36; 1Ch 6:49
      4. They served as God's "messenger" - Isa 42:19
      5. They were also assigned the role of "watchman" - Eze 3:17; 33:7

[The prophets were therefore servants of God, divinely appointed and 
inspired to proclaim His Word. At times, they were messengers of God's 
word as it applied to the present, serving as watchmen of the people of
God; other times, God's message pertained to the future, and as such 
they were "seers" of things to come.]

II. HOW ARE THE PROPHETS CLASSIFIED?

   A. IT IS COMMON TO SPEAK OF "ORAL" AND "LITERARY" PROPHETS...
      1. The "oral" prophets are those who left no writings bearing their names
         a. Such as Elijah and Elisha - cf. 1Ki 17; 2Ki 2
         b. Many others, including Nathan (2Sa 12), Gad (2 Sam 24:11),
             Ahijah (1Ki 11:29)
      2. Those who left books bearing their names are called the
          "literary" prophets

   B. THE LITERARY PROPHETS ARE CATEGORIZED AS "MAJOR" AND "MINOR"
      PROPHETS...
      1. Augustine is credited with being the first to classify them in this way
      2. The distinction pertains only to the length of the books
         a. The "major prophets" include the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah,
            Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
         b. The "minor prophets" are those twelve books from Hosea to Malachi

[As we consider the works of the "literary" prophets, we should note 
that the order of the books in our Bibles is not chronological.  
Therefore it may serve useful to review...]

III. THE LITERARY PROPHETS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

Please note:  Dating the prophets is not without controversy, and with
some it can be very difficult. What I provide below are the estimates 
among many conservative scholars...

   A. NINTH CENTURY (EARLY ASSYRIAN PERIOD)
      1. Obadiah (ca. 845 B.C)
      2. Joel (ca 830 B.C.)
      3. Jonah (790-750 B.C.)
      -- This is during the period of "The Divided Kingdom" in Israel's
         history; to the north and east the empire of Assyria was 
         beginning to make its presence known in Israel

   B. EIGHTH CENTURY (ASSYRIAN PERIOD)
      1. Amos (755 B.C.)
      2. Hosea (750-725 B.C.)
      3. Isaiah (740-700 B.C.)
      4. Micah (735-700 B.C.)
      -- In 722 B.C., the northern kingdom of Israel was taken into 
         Assyrian captivity; these prophets were proclaiming God's 
         message as the nation was being threatened from the north

   C. SEVENTH CENTURY (CHALDEAN PERIOD)
      1. Jeremiah (626-586 B.C.)
      2. Zephaniah (630-625 B.C.)
      3. Nahum (625-612 B.C.)
      4. Habakkuk (625-605 B.C.)
      -- Assyria was eventually defeated by Babylon; these prophets 
         served as God's messengers when the Babylonian empire 
         threatened the kingdom of Judah

   D. SIXTH CENTURY (THE EXILE)
      1. Ezekiel (593-570 B.C.)
      2. Daniel (605-536 B.C.)
      -- Like many of their countrymen, these prophets were taken into
         Babylonian captivity; from Babylon they served as God's 
         messengers to both captives and kings

   E. SIXTH AND FIFTH CENTURIES (POST-EXILIC PERIOD)
      1. Haggai (520 B.C.)
      2. Zechariah (520-518 B.C.)
      3. Malachi (ca. 440 B.C.)
      -- After the Jews were allowed to return home from Babylonian 
         captivity, God used Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the 
         people to rebuild the temple; later, Malachi was used to 
         reform the priesthood during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah

[Finally, here are some thoughts on...]

IV. UNDERSTANDING THE MESSAGE OF THE PROPHETS

   A. THREE THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND AS YOU STUDY THE PROPHETS...
      1. Seek to understand the political, social and religious 
         conditions of the times
         a. Any interpretation must consider how the message was 
            relevant for the people to whom the prophet spoke
         b. Secondary fulfillment of prophecy is often found in the NT,
            but this can be understood only when applied by inspired 
            writers of the NT
         c. Guard against making interpretations that are purely  speculative
         d. Any application to modern events must be carefully 
            harmonized in light of the NT
      2. Consider God's relation to the heathen nations (i.e., other 
         than Israel and Judah)
         a. The prophets often revealed how God directed their destiny 
            and judged them
         b. This may provide insight as to how Christ rules the nations
            today! - cf. Mt 28:18; Re 1:5; 2:26;27
      3. Note any teaching regarding the Messiah and His coming kingdom
         - Ac 26:6-7; 28:20
         a. The immediate mission of most prophets was to save God's 
            people from idolatry and wickedness
         b. Failing that, they were sent to announce God's judgment and
            the coming destruction of the nation
         c. But many prophets left a message of hope for the future, 
            regarding the Messiah who would come and establish a 
            kingdom that could never be destroyed!
         
   B. SOME OF THE GREAT THEMES DEVELOPED BY THE PROPHETS...
      1. The holiness of God - He is absolutely pure, righteous, just,
         merciful, tender, loving, and longsuffering
      2. The sovereignty of God - He rules the universe and is above all
      3. The immutability of God's word
         a. He carries out His promises
         b. One can depend upon Him to act consistently with His Word
      4. The terribleness of sin
         a. God abhors iniquity, and will not tolerate, overlook, nor excuse it
         b. But He is willing to forgive those who humbly repent
      5. Repentance and righteousness
         a. This is the clarion call of the prophets
         b. Though severe is God's punishment of the wicked, yet God's
            mercy is great in loving kindness upon the righteous who 
            are of broken spirit and contrite heart
      6. The worship due God - The proper reverence, awe, and respect
         for God will cause one to praise Him and give thanks for His 
         wonderful grace and mercy!

CONCLUSION

1. Why study "The Minor Prophets"?
   a. This question was asked by a dear sister in Christ, when I 
      preached this series before
   b. She did not see the value of Christians studying this portion of
      the Old Testament
   c. Yet, she later remarked how much she got out of our study

2. Why study "The Minor Prophets"? Because in them we learn about...
   a. The nature of God, His holiness, justice, righteousness and mercy
   b. The workings of God, as He dealt with nations, bringing judgment
      upon the guilty
   ...which can help us in our relationship with God today, giving us 
      comfort and hope to face the future, knowing that God is in 
      ultimate control!
   
I hope this brief introduction has whetted your appetite to study "The 
Minor Prophets". Our next lesson will begin the study in earnest with
a look at the book of Obadiah...


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“The Man Upstairs” by Kyle Butt, M.Div.



“The Man Upstairs”

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Maybe you have been in a conversation when a person used the phrase “the Man upstairs.” In fact, it might be the case that you have used it yourself. Most people understand that this phrase is supposed to refer to God. The famous country singer Garth Brooks performed a song, titled “Unanswered Prayers,” in which he referred to God as “the Man upstairs.” Let’s consider some possible implications that this idea may contain.
There seems to be a human tendency to view God as “the Big Man,” or “the Man upstairs,” and attribute to Him human qualities. Most of the time, when a person uses such phrases, that person attributes to God more power than other men, and places God higher (upstairs) than other men, but still views God as some kind of giant, powerful Man. In fact, the Greek and Roman religions took the “Man upstairs” idea to its logical conclusion and attributed to their gods personalities and character flaws that were seen in mere men. The pagan deities lied, cheated, stole, consorted, and murdered like “little” humans, only their dastardly deeds were perceived to be on a cosmic scale.
In truth, the Bible paints a very different picture of God than is contained in the thought of “the Man upstairs.” The Bible repeatedly insists that God is not a man. In Numbers 23:19, in an inspired oracle, Balak stated: “God is not a man, that He should lie.” The prophet Isaiah wrote: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (55:8-9). The true God of heaven is nothing like the ancient pagan deities with their lies and hypocrisy. The God of heaven “cannot lie” (Titus 1: 2), nor can He even be tempted with evil (James 1:13). In fact, God is perfect in every way, “a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
While it is true that the Bible sometimes describes God with human traits (called anthropomorphisms), like having hands or eyes, it is not true that God is just a bigger, higher Man. He is altogether perfect, “Whose judgments are unsearchable and Whose ways are past finding out” (Romans 11:33). Let us always bear in mind as we approach our God in worship and prayer, that we are approaching the Perfect God of Heaven “to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).
[NOTE: Of course we understand that Jesus was called the Son of Man, and became a Man. Unlike other men, however, Jesus lived a perfect life and never sinned. This brief article is solely intended to encourage us not to view God as having the same character flaws, failings, and limitations as men and to refer to him in an accurate, reverent way.]

“The First Day of the Week” by Eric Lyons, M.Min.





“The First Day of the Week”

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


All four gospel accounts reveal how Jesus rose (and His tomb was found empty) “on the first day of the week” (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2,9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; cf. 20:19). Years later, Paul wrote to the Corinthian church commanding them to make regular contributions “on the first day of the week” (1 Corinthians 16:2; or “on the first day of every week”—NASB, NIV, RSV). Luke recorded in the book of Acts how Paul, while on his third missionary journey, assembled with the Christians in Troas “on the first day of the week” (20:7). The phrase “the first day of the week” appears eight times in the most widely used English translations of the New Testament. Based on this reading of the text, along with various supplemental passages (e.g., Revelation 1:10), Christians assemble to worship God on Sunday. Upon looking at the Greek text, however, some have questioned the integrity of the translation “the first day of the week,” wondering if a better wording would be “the Sabbath day.”
Admittedly, a form of the Greek word for sabbath (sabbaton or sabbatou) does appear in each of the eight passages translated “first day of the week.” For example, in Acts 20:7 this phrase is translated from the Greek mia ton sabbaton. However, sabbaton (or sabbatou) is never translated as “the Sabbath day” in these passages. Why? Because the word is used in these contexts (as Greek scholars overwhelmingly agree) to denote a “week” (Perschbacher, 1990, p. 364), “a period of seven days” (Danker, et al., 2000, p. 910; cf. Thayer, 1962, p. 566). Jesus once used the term “Sabbath” in this sense while teaching about the sinfulness of self-righteousness (Luke 18:9). He told a parable of the sanctimonious Pharisee who prayed: “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (18:11-12, emp. added). The phrase “twice a week” comes from the Greek dis tou sabbatou. Obviously Jesus was not saying that the Pharisee boasted of fasting twice on the Sabbath day, but twice (disa week (tou sabbatou).
According to R.C.H. Lenski, since “[t]he Jews had no names for the weekdays,” they “designated them with reference to their Sabbath” (1943, p. 1148). Thus, mia ton sabbaton means “the first (day) with reference to the Sabbath,” i.e., the first (day) following the Sabbath (Lenski, p. 1148), or, as we would say in 21st century English, “the first day of the week.”
After spending years examining Jewish writings in the Babylonian Talmud, Hebraist John Lightfoot wrote A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, in which he expounded upon the Hebrew method of counting the days of the week. He noted: “The Jews reckon the days of the week thus; One day (or the first dayof the sabbathtwo (or the second dayof the sabbath;” etc. (1859, 2:375, emp. in orig.). Lightfoot then quoted from two different Talmud tractates. Maccoth alludes to those who testify on “the first of the sabbath” about an individual who stole an ox. Judgment was then passed the following day—“on the second day of the sabbath” (Lightfoot, 2:375, emp. in orig.; Maccoth, Chapter 1). Bava Kama describes ten enactments ordained by a man named Ezra, including the public reading of the law “on the second and fifth days of the sabbath,” and the washing of clothes “on the fifth day of the sabbath” (Lightfoot, 2:375; Bava Kama, Chapter 7). In Michael Rodkinson’s 1918 translation of Maccoth and Bava Kama, he accurately translated “the second day of the sabbath” as Monday, “the fifth day of the sabbath” as Thursday, and “the first of the sabbath” as Sunday.
If the word sabbaton in passages such as Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, and Acts 20:7 actually denoted “the Sabbath day,” rather than “a period of seven days,” one would expect some of the foremost Bible translations to translate it thusly. Every major English translation of the Bible, however, translates mia ton sabbaton as “the first day of the week.” Why? Because scholars are aware of the Jewish method of counting the days of the week by using the Sabbath as a reference point.
Finally, consider the difficulty that would arise with Jesus’ resurrection story if sabbaton was translated Sabbath. “Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first Sabbath (sabbaton), they came to the tomb when the sun had risen” (emp. added). Such a rending of sabbaton in Mark 16:2 would be nonsensical. The Sabbath was over, and the mia ton sabbaton (“first day of the week”) had begun. The passage is understood properly only when one recognizes the Jewish method of reckoning weekdays.
Just as second century apologists Justin Martyr (ca. A.D. 150) spoke of Jesus as rising from the dead “on the first day after the Sabbath” (Dialogue..., 41), and equated this day with “Sunday” (“First Apology,” 67), so should 21st century Christians. That Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week” (Mark 16:9), and that Christians gathered to worship on this day (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; cf. Justin Martyr, “First Apology,” 67), is an established fact. Sunday is the first day after the Jewish Sabbath—the “first day of the week.”

REFERENCES

Danker, Frederick William, William Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Justin Martyr, (1973 reprint), Dialogue with Trypho, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Justin Martyr (1973 reprint), First Apology, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Lenski, R.C.H. (1943), The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Lightfoot, John (1979 reprint), A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Perschbacher, Wesley J., ed. (1990), The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Rodkinson, Michael, trans. (1918), The Babylonian Talmud, [On-line], URL: http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm#t06.
Thayer, Joseph (1962 reprint), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

“Our God is a Consuming Fire” by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


“Our God is a Consuming Fire”

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


In an effort to bolster the idea that the punishment of the wicked in the afterlife will be annihilation, proponents of annihilationism frequently have focused on the biblical terms “consume” and “consuming.” Since the Bible does indeed say that “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29), and since the words “consume” and “consuming” can, and sometimes do, refer to the annihilation of physical matter, then many annihilationists have asserted that God will annihilate the souls of wicked humans. Homer Hailey, in his posthumously published book, God’s Judgements and Punishments, has an entire chapter titled “Our God—A Consuming Fire.” In that chapter, he deals almost entirely with the Old Testament usage of the terms “consume” and “consuming.” Concerning these terms, he remarked:
The word needing a clear definition is “consume” or “consuming.” The English word is translated from so many Hebrew words, and the Hebrew words are translated by so many English words, that it is difficult to find a precise definition for “consume.” It is best therefore to learn its meaning from usage and examples (2003, p. 136).
Hailey then proceeded to the burning bush passage, in which Moses approached the bush that “burned with fire” but “was not consumed” (Exodus 3:2). Hailey concluded: “In this instance, ‘consumed’ meant ‘burned up’ ” (p. 136). He then cited an example of a burnt offering being “consumed” on the altar (Leviticus 9:23-24) as evidence to suggest that “consumed” means to burn up.
After listing these non-human subjects of consumption, Hailey listed several Old Testament examples in which sinful humans are said to have been “consumed”: “Let sinners be consumed out of the earth. And let the wicked be no more” (Psalm 104:35); “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of Jehovah shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; in smoke shall they consume away” (Psalm 37: 20). Hailey also listed the rebellion of Korah, where God told Moses and Aaron to get away from the rebels “that I may consume them in a moment” (Numbers 16:21). And later in the same context, God sent a plague among the people in which God made the same comment about consuming them as He did concerning the rebels in verse 21.
When it came time to summarize his chapter, Hailey placed two columns at the top of the final page, one titled “What is Said,” and the other titled “What is Not Said.” In the “What is Said” column, he listed Hebrews 12:29, Numbers 16 and Deuteronomy 4:24. Then he listed the “means of consuming,” and recorded the Earth swallowing the rebels with Korah, the plague, and fire arriving from heaven. In the “What is Not Said” column, the entire text under the column is one line that reads: “That they all burn forever” (p. 139). He obviously was attempting to lead the reader to conclude that consume and consuming must mean annihilation.
Is it correct to understand that the biblical use of the words “consume” and “consuming” must entail that the souls of the wicked will be annihilated? Simply put, no. First, in order to conclude that the words imply annihilation, Hailey provided examples like the burning bush and the burning of an offering that do refer to the item being consumed—burned up completely. Conspicuously missing, however, are those examples in which the item that is consumed is not burned up completely. The Hebrew words translated “to consume” can mean any number of things, including: “to eat, devour, slay, to be wasted, to be destroyed, to feed, exterminate, to cause to cease, be accomplished, and exhaust, among others” (see “Akal,” 1999; “Kalah,” 1999). Are there examples in which the terms “consume” and “consuming” do not insinuate total incineration? Certainly. For instance, in Jeremiah 14, the Lord commented that He by no means would accept the idolatrous Israelites, and then stated: “But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence” (14:12). Would their being consumed necessitate that their bodies would be completely burned into nonexistence? The text answered that question when it stated that the bodies of those consumed would “be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; they will have no one to bury them” (14:12). The consuming taking place in Jeremiah obviously did not entail a complete burning up, but instead a punishment of physical death in which the bodies of those who were consumed would still remain for some time to decay in the open streets.
Again, in Genesis 31:15, Rachel and Leah, in their discussion of their father’s behavior, commented: “Are we not considered strangers by him? For he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money.” Did they mean to say that their money had been burned and annihilated into nonexistence? No. Rather, it had been spent or wasted, and thus no longer was of use to them.
Genesis 31:40 serves as a final example of the various ways the word “consumed” can be used. In this text, Jacob describes the hardships he endured during his tenure with Laban.
In that discussion, Jacob stated: “There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes.” Was Jacob completely burned up or annihilated during the day? Not in any sense. Interestingly, the same Hebrew word is used in Genesis 31:40 that is used in Deuteronomy 4:24—which was cited by Hailey, and from which his Hebrews 12:29 quote is taken. It is evident, then, that the words “consume” and “consuming” do not necessarily connote complete annihilation, but can, and often do, make reference to a state of waste and ruin, or, as in Jacob’s case, pain, suffering and hardship.
It also is interesting to note that, among the examples given by Hailey that supposedly imply the annihilation of those things (or people) which were consumed, are the individuals who were consumed in the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16. Yet in the New Testament, Jude offered divinely inspired commentary on certain sinful individuals, stating: “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah” (vs. 11). Jude further commented that these sinners were “raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (vs. 13). Therefore, these sinners had “perished in the rebellion of Korah,” and yet their souls were not completely consumed or annihilated, but had a reservation in a place where there was “blackness of darkness forever.” From the New Testament commentary offered by Jude, it is evident that those consumed in the rebellion of Korah did not go out of existence altogether, but that their physical lives were ended and their souls awaited a punishment in darkness forever.
Once again, an appeal to incomplete word studies in an attempt to force the idea of annihilationism on the biblical text is speculative and unfounded, to say the least. The overwhelming evidence of Scripture explicitly states and implicitly teaches that the souls of the wicked will be punished in the fires of hell forever—without respite.

REFERENCES

Akal: 398” (1999), Logos Library System: Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Logos Research Systems: Bellingham, WA).
Hailey, Homer (2003), God’s Judgements & Punishments (Las Vegas, NV: Nevada Publications).
Kalahl: 3615” (1999), Logos Library System: Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Logos Research Systems: Bellingham, WA).

THE SUFFERING OF A CHILD by Jim McGuiggan



THE SUFFERING OF A CHILD

I’m Sean’s dad, Do you remember me?
“I do,” the man said. “Have been wondering how you were getting on.”
“I told you at the hospital that I thought Sean’s life was pointless.” There was a catch in his voice. “But I didn’t feel that. I only meant…I was only saying since there’s no God then this whole existence was unplanned. Sean meant everything to us and whether anyone planned him to be here or not he made our lives richer, and our hearts are broken. I needed you to know that.”
“I knew it,” said the man that had talked to the parents at the hospital. “Nobody with a grain of sense would have thought you were making little of Sean. In any case, those were awful days and maybe not the best time for a discussion of world-views. I say ‘maybe’ because I’m not sure. In any case, here you are and I want to tell you I’m genuinely saddened by your loss.”
The grieving father said, “You said things I didn’t understand, things I wasn’t in the mood to wrestle with. But I knew you were saying that our son’s life and death had some profound meaning. It didn’t matter to me at the time for all I could think of was that he was suffering and going to die. I think I’m grasping at straws simply because I want to believe that there’s more to his life than a few happy years and a hard death. I’d like you to tell me what you meant, unless you were only saying stuff in an attempt to make us feel a bit better.”
They arranged to meet, met, sat a while, walked a while and then sat some more. And all the while they talked.
“I wanted to talk now,” said Danny, “because I think I’m more open now to being persuaded. I want to believe. As the months go by and the pain eases and I become adjusted to his being gone I’ll not feel the need as I feel it now. I know I’m vulnerable but I think I’ll recognize religious nonsense when I hear it.”
“All that makes sense,” the man said. “And I think you’re right in talking further about this while you feel this way. I hear a lot of talk about ‘rational argument’ and the fact that we shouldn’t discuss things while we’re emotional. Cool logic and rationality’s critically important but there are areas of life that don’t fit neatly into the realm of logic and rationality. Computers are marvelous things but they have their limitations; people are more than breathing computers. To battle injustice in society with nothing but rationality isn’t possible and there are things that human icicles can’t see. There are truths we can’t grasp until we experience love or driving passion. Not everything’s settled by the law of the excluded middle.”
“You said something about Sean and kids like him suffering for the world. If you meant that a child’s suffering might move some people to be more compassionate, I can see that. But it’s suspiciously like one of those empty pious remarks. It can equally make people bitter. Is that what you meant?”
“No, that’s not what I meant; and you’re right, a child’s suffering can work either way. We see that nearly every day, don’t we? Look, I told you that what I believe has nothing to support it if we can’t give Jesus Christ and the Judeo-Christian scriptures a fair hearing. And I do know that that is sometimes very difficult.”
“Do you mean I have to believe everything I read in the Bible before I can see Sean in a right way? If that’s it, we’re wasting our time here.”
“I don’t believe that at all, but the Bible does have a grand drift that comes to a climax in Jesus Christ. I’m one of those that believe God is the ultimate author of the Bible. I’m not interested here in theories of inspiration or exactly how He got that done, but I believe that in the final analysis we have the Bible we have because God wanted it that way. It’s like an historical drama that’s moving toward a finale of cosmic renewal, where all wrongs are righted and there’s a happy ending. Yes, I know, I know—. But it isn’t always wrong to want something to be true. The atheist H.J Blackham said the most powerful argument against atheism is that it’s too bad to be true.”
“So what is it you say we have to do, believe it before we can believe it?”
“I’m saying that to the degree that you’re able, give the Story a fair hearing. Do what you would do in so many other areas when someone is proposing something you don’t go along with—give it a good hearing. Nothing’s gained if we continue to reject it without really hearing it.”
“What if it’s stupid at every point? Should we pretend to be listening?”
“No, I think life’s too short to throw that much time away; but I’d hope that you wouldn’t think that the Christian faith is that far out of whack. I know you know people that are devoted Christians, people intellectually capable, maybe even brilliant, and practical too, so there must be something credible in it.
“Well, can we cut to the chase? I’ll just have to do my best and if I feel I’ve heard enough we’ll leave it at that. That okay with you?”
“Sure. But I need you to understand that ‘cutting to the chase’ doesn’t mean there’s a ten-minute presentation coming up. And you need to understand that to give it a fair hearing means you have to judge the Story within its own parameters. The blacksmith that proved iron ships couldn’t float by throwing a horseshoe into a barrel of water helped nobody.” And listen, Danny, what if it’s true? If the Story Jesus offers is true it changes the world, it changes our view of your beloved Sean; it changes things for you and Denise!
The biblical Story says that God created us out of love and joy. That He created us in His own image—that is, He created us to live in creative, joyful and holy reflection of Himself. So we didn’t arrive here by chance and our lives weren’t meant to be misery, a ceaseless brawl with disease and death.”
Sean’s dad stirred but said nothing.
“But the human family—our parents at that point—rebelled and ‘Sin’ entered. From there it spread throughout the human family, polluting and hurting everyone it touched. Sin enters people and it’s there it must be dealt with. God moved to deal with Sin and the curse that affected both the earth and the life on it. Death was part of that curse.”
“Spiteful, isn’t he!”
“I can see how you could view it that way, but that’s not the only option. The biblical claim is that God didn’t bring alienation from fullness of life—we did and He moved to redeem humanity from sin and mend the relationship—life was the end aim. He was and is the only source of fullness of life and we chose alienation and so chose abuse and hatred, hunger and illness and death. But God refused to dehumanize humans; He doesn’t work magic and He works within a world that has suffered from a moral collapse; He works with a human family that abuses its own and generates disease and deprivation. It’s humans He wants to redeem and He will not turn us into puppets or dolls—He simply won’t obliterate humanness.”
“The final goal is life, so he brings death? Even to innocent children? If you’re saying that God put the guilty to death I’d even have some reservations about that, but when you talk about his punishing children…I think that’s obscene.”
“God doesn’t punish the innocent! To punish those you know are innocent is obscene! But yes, the Bible says that He has chosen to allow even children and good people to endure pain and loss—He doesn’t turn such people into bionic beings. He has chosen to allow children to suffer! But, again, motive matters supremely, doesn’t it? You watched doctors do things to Sean that were physically appalling. No, you didn’t just watch it; you asked for it and even paid to have it done. You couldn’t have done that unless you loved the boy supremely. This was no easy decision for you and Denise and it was nothing but your love and compassion for the child that drove you to say yes to it. The aim was life! If you can even begin to credit a God with love for the human family—the kind of love you and Denise felt and feel for Sean—you are on your way to the possibility of seeing Sean’s life and suffering in a different light—on your way to seeing them as having something truly in common with Jesus’ suffering.
“I can see some point to that. But we did that only because Sean was desperately ill. We wouldn’t have done it to him if he’d been well. If you’re saying that God brought this on him that means God thought he was ill—I suppose you’d say with sin.”
“I’m making no suggestion that your child was a sinner! None! Nor do I say God was punishing him. GOD DOES NOT PUNISH THE INNOCENT! No, the point I want to make about paramedics and surgeons is that their motive is not spite, and it’s not to inflict pain. It’s to save life! Motive makes a difference to actions. And the more desperate the situation the more radical our loving response will be. Surgeons don’t amputate limbs to cure a cold.
To save your beloved from a killing bone cancer you subjected him to terrible trauma. If you’re able, give God the credit for wanting to bring life to a whole human family by dealing with the thing that devours it—Sin and its consequences and effects. I’m saying that your motive relative to Sean is God’s motive relative to His entire human family.”
“But how does Sean fit into this? I can make sense of my putting him to this because he was desperately ill, but are you saying God thought he was desperately ill and gave him bone cancer?”
“No, Sean was a member of a family that’s desperately ill and he suffered from the curse that was inevitable when God, the source of fullness of life, was rejected. GOD so created the human family that if it rejected Him curse would follow even though His response would be work to bring it back to life.”
“But why should an innocent child be punished for the crimes of the family? That stinks!”
“Listen, and listen to this carefully, God doesn’t punish the innocent! Punishment is only for the guilty. Sean’s suffering was not punishment for wrong that he did! He’s a sweet child but he’s a human child and because he is a human he shares in the suffering triggered by a God-rejecting human family. The biblical Story says that Jesus became a boy like your boy and that he suffered on behalf of the human family. Jesus and Sean have some things in common. God wouldn’t exempt His unique Son who was part of the human family—a family under God’s redeeming judgment—and He wouldn’t dehumanize Sean. I’m not suggesting that Sean and Jesus are altogether alike—Christ alone is the world’s Redeemer! The way in which God has moved to redeem the world comes to its highest point in Jesus Christ—a place no other can share. But the truth of vicarious suffering is at the heart of that process and it didn’t begin with Jesus on the cross and it didn’t end there.”
“But why should Sean suffer for anyone? Why him? How does his pain affect anything? Why should God pick on him? His suffering is so senseless!”
“It would be if atheism is true! It would all come down to ‘bad luck’. All life and death would turn out to be sheer chance. At some point you came to believe that, and it brings you no comfort. There’s a choice to make. Believe that death is another pointless inevitability in a pointless universe or believe that it’s an inevitable part of alienation from God. God made the choice to create humans to be humans and to be utterly dependent on Him for complete and unending well-being. God’s Son suffered and died as your son did. Christ rose from the dead and lives immortal now. His claim is that death is not the final word about Sean.”
“So, I’m to find comfort in the fact that Sean will live again?”
“Yes! That’s part of it. It’s the claim of the living Lord Jesus Christ over against the theory that the only future is the vast death of the universe, eternal darkness and unimaginable cold. All heat and light exhausted, all life extinguished and no possibility of it ever returning.”
“If that’s the truth, it’s the truth and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“Of course! I’m just pointing out that facing a future of unyielding despair should make anyone want something better. I’m saying that Jesus Christ says we don’t have to believe that about Sean or anyone else like him. He isn’t gone forever and the life he lived here was not without significance. The Christ’s life, suffering and death give meaning to Sean’s. In the light of Jesus Christ we can’t look at suffering and death and simply damn it as pointless in a pointless universe. In the light of Jesus Christ we can’t look at Sean’s suffering and death and reduce it to nothing more than something to weep about thought it’s that. The glory of God was seen here! Mary mourned at the cross of her Son as you and Denise mourn at the death of yours—that makes perfect sense. But there’s more there than something to mourn! I don’t want to suppress your grief. I say that innocent children suffer because humanity turned to moral insanity and God is using them to bring it back to sanity and life.
“Using them sounds like they expendable—used paper plates and plastic forks.”
“No! No! God loves Sean even more than you do. Your son will live again. The entire story about your son will be told, along with the stories of millions of other innocents that have borne the burden of humanity’s guilt. Atheism might offer the view that we’re organisms that just happened to grow like fungus on the face of a tiny planet in the middle of nowhere. Christ knows Sean personally and they have shared some things in common.”
They agreed to meet again.

JESUS-ORIGINAL SIN-SIN NATURE- AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY? BY STEVE FINNELL



JESUS-ORIGINAL SIN-SIN NATURE- AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY?BY STEVE FINNELL


The false doctrine of original sin is believed by a billion + believers in Jesus Christ. The doctrine of original sin is that all mankind, since Adam and Eve, are born guilty of Adam's sin and are born with a sin nature. The truth is all mankind have been born sinless and are born with the free-will to do good or evil.    


Jesus was not born guilty of Adam's sin. Jesus was not born with a sinful nature. Yes, Jesus had an age of accountability. Jesus had free will. Just as do all men.

Isaiah 7:14-16 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16 For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.(NASB)

Yes, Jesus had an age of accountability. He was not born a sinner nor born with a sin nature. Jesus was born with a free-will.

What was the age of accountability? I do not know, however, Jesus was teaching in the temple at age 12. (Luke 2:39-52)

Hebrews 2:9-17.....17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.(NASB)

Jesus was made like all men. He was not guilty of Adam's sin. He was not born with a sinful nature. He was born with an age of accountability.

No person has been born with the guilt of Adam's sin. Men are not born with a sin nature. All men have an age of accountability. Jesus was made like all men.

The difference is Jesus lived a sinless life. (1 John 3:5) All men are guilty of sin, however, they are only guilty of the sins they themselves commit. ( Romans 3:23) Men have free-will. They can chose to do good or evil. They can chose to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior or they can reject Him.

An Elder’s Children by B. Johnson


An Elder’s Children

Who or what are the elders? Consider how the qualifications and work of an elder would be one of the best influences a child could enjoy. Elders were associated with James in Jerusalem in the local church’s government (Acts 11:29-30; Acts 16:4-5; Acts 20:28-32; Acts 21:18) and, with the apostles, in the decisions of the early church (Acts 15:1-35). Elders were also appointed in the churches established during the Apostle Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 14:23). Paul addressed the elders at Ephesus (Acts 20:17-35). Elders played an important role in church life through their ministry to the sick-both physical and spiritual (James 5:14-15). They also were teachers in a local congregation (1 Peter 5:1-5). In addition to ministering to the sick, their duties consisted of explaining the Scriptures and teaching doctrine (1 Tim 5:17-20). The elder’s child would have the benefit, not only of his own father’s influence in the home but also the influence of the entire eldership to train him.
We know that John was an elder (2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1) and as such had faithful children. Timothy was told to count those elders who ruled well worthy of double honor and not to receive an accusation against an elder except at the mouth of two or three witnesses (1 Tim 5:17-19). Titus was also told to ordain elders in every city (Titus 1:5). The qualifications specified for becoming an elder follow in the next three verses (Titus 1:6-9).
An elder should be “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity” (1 Timothy 3:4-5).
A very important qualification of an elder or bishop is that he rules his own house well. With a view to be qualified as an elder, a man would make a special effort to be sure his children were well trained in all the ways of God. Therefore the elder would learn how to preside over and govern his own family. He must be a man who has the command of his own house, not by tyranny, but with all gravity; governing his household by principle with everyone knowing his own place, and each doing his own work.
“For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (1 Tim 3:5).
Method is a matter of great importance in all the affairs of life. Look at a man’s domestic affairs, and if it is discovered that they are not good, he cannot be trusted with any form of government in the church.
“If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly” (Titus 1:6). It is an either or situation: either his children enjoy the proper training in the way they should go, or he is not acceptable to rule God’s children.
Beth Johnson
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

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

Bible Reading for February 3 & 4 by Gary Rose



Feb. 3
Genesis 34

Gen 34:1 Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
Gen 34:2 Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her. He took her, lay with her, and humbled her.
Gen 34:3 His soul joined to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young lady, and spoke kindly to the young lady.
Gen 34:4 Shechem spoke to his father, Hamor, saying, "Get me this young lady as a wife."
Gen 34:5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah, his daughter; and his sons were with his livestock in the field. Jacob held his peace until they came.
Gen 34:6 Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to talk with him.
Gen 34:7 The sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it. The men were grieved, and they were very angry, because he had done folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; a which thing ought not to be done.
Gen 34:8 Hamor talked with them, saying, "The soul of my son, Shechem, longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife.
Gen 34:9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.
Gen 34:10 You shall dwell with us, and the land will be before you. Live and trade in it, and get possessions in it."
Gen 34:11 Shechem said to her father and to her brothers, "Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you will tell me I will give.
Gen 34:12 Ask me a great amount for a dowry, and I will give whatever you ask of me, but give me the young lady as a wife."
Gen 34:13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father with deceit, and spoke, because he had defiled Dinah their sister,
Gen 34:14 and said to them, "We can't do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised; for that is a reproach to us.
Gen 34:15 Only on this condition will we consent to you. If you will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised;
Gen 34:16 then will we give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
Gen 34:17 But if you will not listen to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our sister, and we will be gone."
Gen 34:18 Their words pleased Hamor and Shechem, Hamor's son.
Gen 34:19 The young man didn't wait to do this thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter, and he was honored above all the house of his father.
Gen 34:20 Hamor and Shechem, his son, came to the gate of their city, and talked with the men of their city, saying,
Gen 34:21 "These men are peaceful with us. Therefore let them live in the land and trade in it. For behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
Gen 34:22 Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people, if every male among us is circumcised, as they are circumcised.
Gen 34:23 Won't their livestock and their possessions and all their animals be ours? Only let us give our consent to them, and they will dwell with us."
Gen 34:24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor, and to Shechem his son; and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
Gen 34:25 It happened on the third day, when they were sore, that two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword, came upon the unsuspecting city, and killed all the males.
Gen 34:26 They killed Hamor and Shechem, his son, with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went away.
Gen 34:27 Jacob's sons came on the dead, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister.
Gen 34:28 They took their flocks, their herds, their donkeys, that which was in the city, that which was in the field,
Gen 34:29 and all their wealth. They took captive all their little ones and their wives, and took as plunder everything that was in the house.
Gen 34:30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have troubled me, to make me odious to the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I am few in number. They will gather themselves together against me and strike me, and I will be destroyed, I and my house."
Gen 34:31 They said, "Should he deal with our sister as with a prostitute?"

Feb. 4
Genesis 35

Gen 35:1 God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there. Make there an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother."
Gen 35:2 Then Jacob said to his household, and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, change your garments.
Gen 35:3 Let us arise, and go up to Bethel. I will make there an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went."
Gen 35:4 They gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
Gen 35:5 They traveled, and a terror of God was on the cities that were around them, and they didn't pursue the sons of Jacob.
Gen 35:6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him.
Gen 35:7 He built an altar there, and called the place El Beth El; because there God was revealed to him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
Gen 35:8 Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; and its name was called Allon Bacuth.
Gen 35:9 God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan Aram, and blessed him.
Gen 35:10 God said to him, "Your name is Jacob. Your name shall not be Jacob any more, but your name will be Israel." He named him Israel.
Gen 35:11 God said to him, "I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations will be from you, and kings will come out of your body.
Gen 35:12 The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and to your seed after you will I give the land."
Gen 35:13 God went up from him in the place where he spoke with him.
Gen 35:14 Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he spoke with him, a pillar of stone. He poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it.
Gen 35:15 Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him "Bethel."
Gen 35:16 They traveled from Bethel. There was still some distance to come to Ephrath, and Rachel travailed. She had hard labor.
Gen 35:17 When she was in hard labor, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid, for now you will have another son."
Gen 35:18 It happened, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Benoni, but his father named him Benjamin.
Gen 35:19 Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is Bethlehem).
Gen 35:20 Jacob set up a pillar on her grave. The same is the Pillar of Rachel's grave to this day.
Gen 35:21 Israel traveled, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Eder.
Gen 35:22 It happened, while Israel lived in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father's concubine, and Israel heard of it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.
Gen 35:23 The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob's firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
Gen 35:24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
Gen 35:25 The sons of Bilhah (Rachel's handmaid): Dan and Naphtali.
Gen 35:26 The sons of Zilpah (Leah's handmaid): Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.
Gen 35:27 Jacob came to Isaac his father, to Mamre, to Kiriath Arba (which is Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac lived as foreigners.
Gen 35:28 The days of Isaac were one hundred eighty years.
Gen 35:29 Isaac gave up the spirit, and died, and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. Esau and Jacob, his sons, buried him.

Feb. 3

Matthew 17

Mat 17:1 After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves.
Mat 17:2 He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.
Mat 17:3 Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him.
Mat 17:4 Peter answered, and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let's make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
Mat 17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."
Mat 17:6 When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid.
Mat 17:7 Jesus came and touched them and said, "Get up, and don't be afraid."
Mat 17:8 Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.
Mat 17:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Don't tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead."
Mat 17:10 His disciples asked him, saying, "Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
Mat 17:11 Jesus answered them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and will restore all things,
Mat 17:12 but I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they didn't recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted to. Even so the Son of Man will also suffer by them."
Mat 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptizer.
Mat 17:14 When they came to the multitude, a man came to him, kneeling down to him, saying,
Mat 17:15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is epileptic, and suffers grievously; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water.
Mat 17:16 So I brought him to your disciples, and they could not cure him."
Mat 17:17 Jesus answered, "Faithless and perverse generation! How long will I be with you? How long will I bear with you? Bring him here to me."
Mat 17:18 Jesus rebuked him, the demon went out of him, and the boy was cured from that hour.
Mat 17:19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, "Why weren't we able to cast it out?"
Mat 17:20 He said to them, "Because of your unbelief. For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Mat 17:21 But this kind doesn't go out except by prayer and fasting."
Mat 17:22 While they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered up into the hands of men,
Mat 17:23 and they will kill him, and the third day he will be raised up." They were exceedingly sorry.
Mat 17:24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the didrachma coins came to Peter, and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the didrachma?"
Mat 17:25 He said, "Yes." When he came into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive toll or tribute? From their children, or from strangers?"
Mat 17:26 Peter said to him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Therefore the children are exempt.
Mat 17:27 But, lest we cause them to stumble, go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you have opened its mouth, you will find a stater coin. Take that, and give it to them for me and you."

Feb. 4
Matthew 18

Mat 18:1 In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?"
Mat 18:2 Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the midst of them,
Mat 18:3 and said, "Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Mat 18:4 Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Mat 18:5 Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me,
Mat 18:6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him that a huge millstone should be hung around his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea.
Mat 18:7 "Woe to the world because of occasions of stumbling! For it must be that the occasions come, but woe to that person through whom the occasion comes!
Mat 18:8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire.
Mat 18:9 If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire.
Mat 18:10 See that you don't despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 18:11 For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.
Mat 18:12 "What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray?
Mat 18:13 If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.
Mat 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Mat 18:15 "If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother.
Mat 18:16 But if he doesn't listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector.
Mat 18:18 Most certainly I tell you, whatever things you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever things you release on earth will have been released in heaven.
Mat 18:19 Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."
Mat 18:21 Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?"
Mat 18:22 Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.
Mat 18:23 Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants.
Mat 18:24 When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
Mat 18:25 But because he couldn't pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Mat 18:26 The servant therefore fell down and kneeled before him, saying, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!'
Mat 18:27 The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
Mat 18:28 "But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii, and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!'
Mat 18:29 "So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay you!'
Mat 18:30 He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due.
Mat 18:31 So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their lord all that was done.
Mat 18:32 Then his lord called him in, and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me.
Mat 18:33 Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?'
Mat 18:34 His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him.
Mat 18:35 So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don't each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds."