2/24/20

"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Hosea - God's Redeeming Love (1:1-3:5) by Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                 Hosea - God's Redeeming Love (1:1-3:5)

INTRODUCTION

1. About the time that Amos (the "country prophet") was prophesying to
   the northern kingdom of Israel, another prophet came on to the scene
   a. His name was Hosea
   b. Whose name means "salvation" (Joshua and Jesus are derived from
      the same word)

2. While the audience was the same, there were some differences...
   a. Amos was from Judah (Tekoa); Hosea appears to have been from Israel
   b. While Amos showed little patience with his northern relatives,
      Hosea displayed a large degree of sympathetic understanding
      toward his own people
   c. Just as Amos is reminiscent of John the Baptist in his approach,
      so Hosea is reminiscent of how Jesus approached people

[In this lesson, the first of several on Hosea, we will see why Hosea
was so sympathetic, even as he condemned his own people for their sins.
Let's start with some...]

I. BACKGROUND MATERIAL

   A. THE MAN...
      1. His father was named Beeri (Hos 1:1), but nothing more is 
         known of his ancestors
      2. Some think he may have been a priest, in view of his high 
         regard for the duties and responsibilities of the priesthood
      3. We read of his wife (Gomer, Hos 1:3) and his children...
         a. Jezreel, a son - Hos 1:4
         b. Lo-Ruhamah, a daughter - Hos 1:6
         c. Lo-Ammi, another son - Hos 1:8-9
         -- Through his family, the basic message of Hosea will be 
            illustrated (see below)

   B. THE DATE...
      1. Hosea prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, 
         and Hezekiah, kings of Judah; Jeroboam II also reigned during
         this time in Israel - Hos 1:1
      2. Most place the time of his work at 750-725 B.C.
      3. Hosea was possibly a young man when Amos was almost through
         with his ministry
      4. His work in relation to other prophets during this period of time:
         a. Amos and Hosea prophesied to Israel
         b. Isaiah and Micah were prophesying in Judah

   C. BACKGROUND OF THE TIMES...
      1. For a good background of this period of Bible history, cf. 
         2Ki 14-17; 2Ch 26-29
      2. The northern kingdom of Israel was on its last legs...
         a. Sin was even more rampant than seen in the book of Amos
         b. Religious, moral, and political corruption was rampant
      3. One word sums the condition of the nation of Israel:  harlotry
         (whoredom, KJV), used thirteen times throughout the book

   D. KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE BOOK...
      1. An analogy is made between Hosea's experience with Gomer, and
         the Lord's experience with Israel
      2. This analogy is described in chs. 1-3, and serves as the backdrop to chs. 4-14

[With this brief introduction to the book of Hosea, let's now survey
the first three chapters...]

II. HOSEA'S FAMILY, AND THE ANALOGY WITH ISRAEL (1:1-3:5)

   A. ISRAEL'S REJECTION SYMBOLIZED... (1:2-9)
      1. Hosea commanded to marry "a wife of harlotry" - Hos 1:2-3
         a. Her name was Gomer
         b. If the parallel between Gomer and Israel is exact, then she
            was not a harlot at the time of the marriage; but her 
            background would prompt her to become one
         c. She certainly would come to symbolize what Israel had become
      2. Gomer bears three children - Hos 1:4-9
         a. The first son is named "Jezreel"
            1) Which means "God scatters", or "God sows"
            2) His name prefigured God's judgment on the ruling house of Israel - Hos 1:4-5
         b. The daughter is named "Lo-Ruhamah"
            1) Which means "no mercy"
            2) Her name describes God's attitude toward Israel, though
               Judah still found grace in God's sight - Hos 1:6-7
            3) Some suggest that the daughter (and the son to follow) were not Hosea's
               a) Note it does not say she bore "him" (Hosea) a daughter, as before
               b) I.e., Gomer had become a harlot - cf. Hos 2:4
         c. The second son is named "Lo-Ammi"
            1) His name means "not my people"
            2) Thus God declares his rejection of Israel - Hos 1:8-9

   B. ISRAEL'S RESTORATION FORETOLD... (1:10-2:1)
      1. Though cast off, God promises a restoration
      2. There might be a reference to the restoration from Assyrian 
         and Babylonian captivity
      3. However, both Paul and Peter apply this promise to believing
         Jews and Gentile in the church - Ro 9:25-26; 1Pe 2:10

   C. ISRAEL'S UNFAITHFULNESS... (2:2-13)
      1. Condemnation for her sinful conduct - Hos 2:2-5
         a. Charges of harlotry and adultery
         b. No mercy on her children, as the children of harlotry
         -- God's rage for Israel's unfaithfulness described in terms
            of an enraged husband who learns not only of his wife's 
            adultery, but that the children are not his
      2. Punishment for her sinful conduct - Hos 2:6-13
         a. God will prevent Israel from finding her lovers
         b. God will take away the blessings and the feasts that Israel enjoyed
         c. God will destroy what Israel has used to commit spiritual harlotry
         -- Israel's sin was foremost her idolatry (cf. references to
            "Baal"); God viewed such idolatry as a form of "harlotry"!

   D. ISRAEL'S RESTORATION DESCRIBED... (2:14-23)
      1. Using a "wilderness", God will win her back, just as He did in
         the days of Moses and Joshua - Hos 2:14-15
      2. God will cure her of using the language of Baal worship- Hos 2:16-17
      3. God will establish a covenant of peace and safety, and betroth
         Israel to Him once again - Hos 2:18-20
      4. God will once again bless them, and be merciful to them as His people - Hos 2:21-23
      -- While there may be references to the restoration from 
         captivity, it also foreshadows the age of the Messiah and His
         spiritual blessings - cf. Ro 9:25-26; 1Pe 2:10

   E. ISRAEL'S RESTORATION SYMBOLIZED... (3:1-5)
      1. Hosea is charged to love an adulterous woman - Hos 3:1-3
         a. Most take this to be Gomer, who had gone into harlotry
         b. Hosea takes her back, though with a period of probation
      2. Symbolizing God's willingness to take Israel back - Hos 3:4-5
         a. Also with a probationary period, in which there be no king, sacrifices, etc.
         b. But Israel would return, and seek the Lord and David their king (the Messiah?)

CONCLUSION

1. In these first three chapters, it appears God used Hosea to teach Israel an object lesson...
   a. Through Hosea's experience with Gomer, God provided Israel a 
      concrete illustration of what His relationship with Israel had been like
   b. Israel had played the harlot; but God would take her back, 
      following a period of punishment and probation
   -- Keeping this analogy in mind will assist our understanding of the remaining chapters

2. A lesson to be learned from this analogy is how God views apostasy:spiritual harlotry!
   a. Christians, we are "betrothed to Christ - cf. 2Co 11:2
   b. But we too can become spiritual harlots" if we are not careful! - 2Co 11:3

Are we being true to our betrothal?  May the words of the Lord in Hosea
encourage us to remain ever faithful:

   "I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me
   in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will
   betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD."
                                         
                                             (Hosea 2:19-20)
 
 


Be Fair When Interpreting the Bible by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2123

Be Fair When Interpreting the Bible

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Twenty-first-century Americans think very little about how contradictory our communication sounds to those unfamiliar with modern American English. Driving on parkways and parking on driveways seems very illogical given the definitions of parking and driving. Receiving shipment from trucks and cargo from ships sounds equally bizarre, though not to Americans. We have feet that smell and noses that run. We eat hamburgers made of beef and hotdogs made of pigs. What’s more, we drive on interstate highways that never cross into other states (e.g., Hawaii’s interstate H1), and we are programmed to read speed “limit” signs as speed “minimum” signs.
One of the most awkward questions Americans ask is, “You didn’t do that, did you?” How are we supposed to answer such a question? We generally say “No,” but mean “Yes,” and if we mean “No,” we say “Yes.” Recently I asked my two young sons a similar question. One said “No” and the other said “Yes,” but they meant the same thing. They simply were confused as to how to answer such a question. When one pauses to consider the many figures of speech Americans use in communication, he is overwhelmed with the number of paradoxes we regularly invoke.
It is essential for students of the Bible to recognize that the inspired writers also used many figures of speech. If we fail to identify these idioms, we may ignorantly draw the same conclusion that so many Bible critics have drawn—that the Bible writers made mistakes. In actuality, the “mistakes” are on the interpreter’s part, not God’s or His penmen’s. When skeptics allege that Jesus lied when He stated He would rise from the grave “after three days” (Mark 8:31), because on other occasions He indicated that He would rise “the third day” (Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; cf. Acts 10:40), they fail to recognize a common figure of speech in ancient times. “After three days” and “on the third day” frequently meant the same thing (cf. 2 Chronicles 10:5,12; Genesis 42:17-18; Esther 4:16-5:1). Even Jesus’ first-century enemies used these expressions synonymously (Matthew 27:63-64). [NOTE: For a full explanation, see http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/570).]
Some critics of Christ condemn Jesus for calling His mother “woman” in John 2:4. Allegedly, the Son of God would not use such an impersonal noun in such a disrespectful way. In truth, however, though this expression may sound rude in the 21st century, 2,000 years ago it was used in a most respectful manner (cf. Matthew 15:28; John 19:26; 20:15).
If Bible critics would pause to think of the plethora of figures of speech we use everyday (which to some sound perplexing at best, and contradictory at worst), likely far fewer alleged discrepancies would be leveled against the Bible. A fair approach to Scripture is one that takes into account its many figures of speech, rather than simply assuming the worst of its writers.

Baptism for the Dead? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=439

Baptism for the Dead?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

“Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?”
The most notorious interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:29 is the one advocated by Mormonism—that people who are alive on the Earth can be baptized, and the efficacy of that baptism then is offered to those who already have died and are in the spirit realm. But this verse cannot be teaching proxy baptism as practiced by the Mormons. Many other passages eliminate that possibility by stressing the singular necessity of responding obediently to God in this life (e.g., Proverbs 11:7; John 8:24; Luke 16:26; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27). The Mormon view is in direct contradiction to what the Bible teaches from beginning to end. We have only this life in which to make our decisions, and when we leave this life, we have no further opportunities to repent (Luke 16:25-31; Hebrews 9:27).
At least four adequate explanations exist that avoid contradicting the rest of the Bible. First, “dead” refers to the “old man of sin” (Romans 6:6). We are baptized for the dead in the sense that we are baptized in water to eliminate the dead man of sin. Hence Paul was asking why one would be baptized to eliminate the old man of sin in anticipation of eternal acceptance if the resurrection will not be forthcoming.
Second, “dead” refers to the world of lost souls—those who are spiritually dead. “They” refers to the apostles and “baptism” refers to the baptism of suffering that the apostles endured in order to make known the Gospel to the world (alluded to in passages like Mark 10:38-39, Luke 12:50, Acts 9:16, and 1 Corinthians 4:9). Thus Paul was asking why the apostles would subject themselves to the baptism of suffering, in behalf of the spiritually dead people of the world if, in fact, no one has hope of the resurrection.
Third, “they” refers to those who are baptized in water on the basis of the preaching and teaching done by those who had since died. In other words, why would a person obey the command to be baptized, and thereby have hope of life beyond the grave, if the one who taught the person to be baptized has since died and will not be raised from the dead?
Fourth, Paul was using the logical argument form known as argumentum ad hominem—an argument based upon what men were doing at that time and with which the readers would be familiar. The Corinthians were familiar with people who practiced an immersion for the benefit of the dead. He used the third person pronoun “they” as opposed to “you” or “we.” New Testament baptism would have been referred to in the first or second person. This tactic of referring to what outsiders were doing (without implying endorsement) to make a valid spiritual point was used by Paul on other occasions (e.g., Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12).
These four possible interpretations each have contextual evidence to support them. None of the four contradicts any other Bible doctrine. What is critically important is that we not miss Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 15. He brought up the subject of baptism for the dead for one reason: to reaffirm the reality of the resurrection. Christians were being drawn into the destructive heresy that the general resurrection is fictitious. In a setting where he ardently defended the actuality and centricity of the resurrection, he advanced two questions. If the resurrection and end-time events are not to occur, then “why are they baptized for the dead?” and “why do the apostles stand in jeopardy every hour?” (vss. 29-30). He wanted the Corinthians to face the fact that many things Christians do have meaning only if resurrection is an anticipated and ultimate objective. If when we die, that’s it—no future conscious existence—why take risks living the Christian life as the apostles frequently did? If this life is all there is, forget Christianity and live it up (vs. 32)! But resurrection is coming! So do not live this life indulging the flesh and mingling with those who will influence you to do so (vs. 33). Live righteously, and get your mind straight in view of your knowledge of the coming resurrection (vs. 34).

Baptism and the Philippian Jailer by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1429

Baptism and the Philippian Jailer

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Most of Christendom has decided that water baptism is neither a prerequisite, nor necessary, to salvation. Influenced largely by the Protestant Reformation, people have become convinced that forgiveness of sin by the blood of Christ is achieved at the very moment a person “believes”—by which they mean when a person, in his or her own mind, “accepts” Christ as Lord and Savior. To them, the external act of water baptism is considered to be simply an after-the-fact outward “symbol” or “badge” that “declares” the Christian’s already-secured salvation. One passage used to support this thinking is the account of the conversion of the Roman jailer in Philippi (Acts 16). However, a careful study of the entire episode yields quite a different conclusion.
When an earthquake rocked the prison where Paul and Silas were fastened in stocks, the jailer assumed his prisoners had escaped. In view of the fact that Roman law would have required the jailer’s life as the penalty for losing the prisoners who had been placed in his charge (see Ramsay, 1897, p. 222; cf. Acts 12:19), he drew his sword and was about to take his own life. But Paul called out loudly, encouraging the jailer to refrain from harming himself, reassuring him that no prisoner had escaped. Calling for a light, he ran into the prison and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then, bringing them out of the prison, the jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).
What did the jailer mean by this statement? As a heathen Roman (cf. Alford, 1980, 2:184), he no doubt had been exposed to Greek/Roman mythology his entire life. Christianity had been introduced into Macedonia only days earlier when Paul arrived in Philippi (16:12; cf. Ramsay, p. 215). So it is unlikely that he possessed more than a cursory understanding of the Christian notion of salvation from sin. But events occurred in those days leading up to his conversion that may account for the jailer’s question.
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days (Acts 16:16-18, emp. added).
Observe that the demon within the girl announced to the citizens of Philippi over a period of “many days” the fact that Paul and Silas were representatives of the one true God, and that they possessed the information that would show people the way to salvation. In all likelihood, the jailer would have heard this declaration either firsthand or through the reports of friends, neighbors, relatives, or other townspeople.
When Paul finally expelled the demon from the girl, her irate masters assaulted him and Silas, dragged them before the magistrates of the city, and subjected them to the legal proceedings that ultimately landed them in the prison where they encountered the jailer. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the jailer was privy to these proceedings, which surely would have included reference to their alleged identity as “servants of the Most High God” who had information pertaining to “the way of salvation.”
A third means by which the jailer could have come into possession of sufficient information that would account for the phrasing of his question can be seen in verse 25: “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” The jailer may well have heard the hymns that Paul and Silas sang—songs that would have included references to God, Christ, and salvation.
These three circumstances may account for the jailer’s request to be informed about salvation—albeit, even then, his understanding must have been very piecemeal. Paul’s response to the jailer’s question was: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (vs. 31). What did Paul mean by this statement? If he meant what many within Christendom think he meant, that is, if the jailer already knew who Jesus was, and if Paul was urging him simply to believe (i.e., simply to “accept Christ into his heart as his personal savior”), then we should next expect the text to provide the jailer’s response—something to the effect that the jailer accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, or that he believed on Jesus right then and there and was saved.
However, to the contrary, the text says: “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him” (vs. 32). Why? Didn’t Paul just do that by telling the jailer to believe? Apparently not! Paul later wrote that “faith comes by hearing...the word of God” (Romans 10:17). So the jailer needed to hear additional information that would enable him to know what it means to believe in Jesus. It follows, then, that the instruction, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” was simply a broad, sweeping statement intended to redirect the jailer’s then-present religious attachment to the pagan gods of Greek/Roman mythology toward the true object of belief—Christ. It was a way to reorient the jailer’s thinking in the direction of Jesus, as contrasted with his own pagan notions. But simply telling the jailer (or anyone today) to “believe on Jesus” does not provide sufficient information on how to believe. In other words, there is more to “believing on Jesus” than simply affirming in one’s mind that Jesus is Lord and Savior (a fact readily conceded even by Satan and the demons—Genesis 3:15; Matthew 4:3,6; Luke 22:31; Hebrews 2:14; James 2:19; Revelation 12:4ff.).
It was only in speaking the word of the Lord to the jailer that he could understand who Christ is, what Christianity is about, and the proper response to the preached Word—i.e., what it means to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Since the jailer could not be saved before Paul spoke the Word of the Lord to him, observe the sequence of events that the text reports immediately after the Word was spoken to him.
(1) The jailer took Paul and Silas “the same hour of the night and washed their stripes” (Acts 16:33). Here is evidence of repentance (e.g., Matthew 3:8). Here is evidence that the jailer was convinced by the information that had been given to him, to the extent that he wanted to make things right. That is repentance—a change of mind resulting in appropriate outward actions (Matthew 21:29; 2 Corinthians 7:10).
(2) The text then states: “And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” Three aspects of this sentence are noteworthy. First, if baptism is unnecessary to salvation, why even mention it with regard to the conversion of the jailer? Why not simply proceed in the narrative to the outcome of conversion—i.e., some indication that he was now saved? If baptism is nonessential, instead of reading, “And immediately he and all his family were baptized,” one would expect the text to read, “And immediately he and all his family accepted Jesus as their personal Savior.” Second, where did the jailer get the idea that he needed to be baptized? It had to have been included in Paul’s “speaking the word of the Lord” to him. But if the jailer could not be saved until Paul “spoke the word of the Lord” to him, and if Paul included in that “word of the Lord” the doctrine of baptism, then it follows that the jailer’s salvation depended in part on baptism. Third, why “immediately”? Many within Christendom wait a week, a month, or longer before baptizing believers. Why was the jailer baptized immediately in the middle of the night? The implication is that baptism is more crucial and more urgent than many today think.
(3) At this point in Luke’s narrative, we are informed that the jailer brought Paul and Silas into his home, and then he set food before them. Next, we are informed that the jailer “rejoiced” (vs. 34). When does the text indicate that the jailer manifested signs of joy and happiness (that naturally follow conversion)—before or after baptism? After baptism! In fact, every time rejoicing is explicitly alluded to in the conversion accounts of Acts, it is always after baptism (e.g., 2:46—“gladness”; 8:39—“rejoicing”).
(4) Everything up to this point leads one to the conclusion that baptism was part and parcel of the jailer’s conversion, and preceded his salvation as the culminating act. But here is the clincher. Look carefully at the phrase in verse 34: “having believed in God.” Here is a clear, explicit indication that the jailer was now a saved believer. In the Greek, the expression “having believed” (pepisteukos) is in the perfect tense. There is no English tense corresponding to the Greek perfect. Consider the following brief explanation by Greek grammarians Dana and Mantey.
The perfect is the tense of complete action. Its basal significance is the progress of an act or state to a point of culmination and the existence of its finished results. That is, it views action as a finished product…. It implies a process, but views that process as having reached its consummation and existing in a finished state (1927, p. 200, emp. added).
Greek scholar Ray Summers offered another helpful explanation of the Greek perfect tense:
[I]t indicates a completed action with a resulting state of being. The primary emphasis is on the resulting state of being. Involved in the Greek perfect are three ideas: an action in progress, its coming to a point of culmination, its existing as a completed result. Thus it implies a process but looks upon the process as having reached a consummation and existing as a completed state (1950, p. 103, italics in orig., emp. added).
In light of the thrust of the Greek perfect tense, Luke was making the point that the jailer went through a process of several actions before it could be stated that he was in possession of a saving faith in God. His initial belief that came as a result of hearing the Word of the Lord preached to him, led to his repentance (as evinced by his attending Paul and Silas’ wounds), and then culminated in his baptism in water—bringing his faith to a completed result. Only at this point could the Greek perfect tense be used to indicate that the jailer now stood in a completed state of having believed. Luke was careful to refrain from labeling the jailer as a “believer” until all of the prerequisites to salvation had been completed, thereby bringing his faith to its finished state. This observation was acknowledged by R.J. Knowling while professor of New Testament Exegesis at King’s College in London: “[T]he word pepisteukos, perfect participle, shows that this fullness of joy was caused by his full profession of belief; it was the joy of the Holy Ghost which followed his baptism” (n.d., 2:353, italics in orig., emp. added).
This understanding of the conversion account of the Philippian jailer is in perfect concord with the other conversion accounts given in Acts (e.g., Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:12-13,36-39; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15; 18:8; 19:5). The New Testament designates water immersion as the point in time at which God cleanses the sin-stained spirit of the penitent believer by the blood of Christ (cf. Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4).

REFERENCES

Dana, H.E. and Julius Mantey (1927), A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Toronto, Canada: Macmillan, 1957 reprint).
Knowling, R.J. (no date), The Expositor’s Greek Testament: The Acts of the Apostles, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Ramsay, William (1897), St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1962 reprint).
Summers, Ray (1950), Essentials of New Testament Greek (Nashville, TN: Broadman).

BROKEN PLAYTHINGS ON THE FLOOR by Jim McGuiggan

http://theabidingword.com/logos/index.html

BROKEN PLAYTHINGS ON THE FLOOR

I really like Longfellow’s poem Nature. It doesn’t say enough about death; death is so much more than a “natural” thing, but what a thankless wretch I’d be if I didn’t thank God for this fine way of looking at one of death’s facets—especially in light of the resurrection of Jesus.
It’d be poisonous to demand of every speaker/writer or thinker that he/she should give a full Christian perspective on anything when they open their hearts. Do we ever do anything but tell part truths? I’m sure I remember someone saying, “We know in part…now we see in a glass darkly…”
Whether it’s life or death, God or ourselves there is so much more unknown to us than what we know and even what we know we don’t know very well. Don’t you think that’s so? In any case, the truly hungry won’t complain if in kindness they’ve been offered something substantial; they won’t peevishly complain it wasn’t all they would have wanted.
No, with grateful hearts they’ll please the giver by wolfing it down with a smile and then licking their lips and wishing for more. Longfellow gives me something substantial here and, once more, because of the Lord Jesus, the risen Lord and Savior who is Lord of Death and giver of eternal life; because in the coming New Creation that will be consummated in a rising to fullness of Life, LIFE that is missing nothing that we long for in our better, wisest and most hopeful moments–because of Him we don’t need to see the approach of Death with nothing but unrelieved sorrow or fear. How about this?
As a fond mother, when the day is o’er,
Leads by the hand the little child to bed,
And leaves his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
Not wholly reassured and comforted
By promises of others in their stead,
Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us and takes away
Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
Leads us to rest so gently, that we go,
Scarce knowing if we wished to go or stay,
Being too full of sleep to understand
How far the unknown transcends what we know.
I’ve no wish to suggest that the sight and smell and sound of death is a pleasing experience for I take no pleasure in the thought of my own death though I have no particular fear of it. (When I once seriously thought of Ethel leaving I trembled.) Just the same, to have lived and by God’s grace to have had an honest shot at it; making no great waves, no name in lights, no footprints in celebrity cement, no household name—just an honest simple go at it—to have done that and then for “Nature” to take you by the hand to a well earned grave with God’s assurance of better things, that’s living and that’s a fine death. What more should we expect who are blessed with that?

BEING LIKE THE DENOMINATIONS by steve finnell

http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/04/being-like-denominations-by-steve.html

BEING LIKE THE DENOMINATIONS by steve finnell


What do so many Christians want to be in a denominational church? Why? Because.....

1. The denominations are in the majority.

2. The denominations are fun. They have lots of great activities.

3. The denominations give an alternative to the New Testament church that is found in the Bible.

4. Denominational doctrine is written to please men.

Is the majority always right? If that is your criterion for truth, then all believers in Jesus should be Roman Catholics. They have a 1.2 billion membership.

Actually, if you believe the majority is always right, then you should reject Jesus as the Savior, and the Son of God. Over 7 billion people in the world and 5 billion reject Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

QUESTION? Does your denomination teach the same terms of pardon the apostles taught? Does your denomination look to the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone for church doctrine? Why not? Because denominational doctrines are in conflict with the church of Christ of the first century.

THE BIBLE AND THE BIBLE IS THE SOURCE OF ABSOLUTE TRUTH!

So You Want To Marry A Preacher? by B Johnson





http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Johnson/Edna/Elizabeth/1939/marryapreacher.html


So You Want To Marry A Preacher?
 
Laurie wanted to marry a preacher! What did she think she was getting involved in? What was her real goal? Was it rational?
Many a young girl has said she would like to marry someone who will be her spiritual leader, and preachers are usually perceived as such. She imagines she will not have the normal troubles and temptations in life that other ladies her age have. She imagines she will be protected from temptation and sin, but this concept of a preacher’s life is unrealistic. Just because a husband is a strong spiritual leader does not mean there will be no temptations for the wife. If anything, Satan will seek her out (1 Pet 5:8).
Perhaps the young lady is unsure of her own faith, or she may have failed a few of life’s tests and knows she needs a “guardian angel” to watch over her. Whatever the underlying reasons, she needs to do some deep soul-searching before she takes the big step. Otherwise, when the pressures of the life she has chosen come to her marriage, she may cause the family structure to crumble. Not only will her family and friends be affected, but the whole church will be suffering.
First of all, the reason for marrying a preacher should not be to shore up her own weaknesses. She should think about what she herself can bring into the marriage. Can she truly be a helpmeet for him and support him in his work? Can she be depended upon to take up slack where he may be weak? Can she endure when other ladies either approach her husband romantically or reject him as their teacher? Both kinds of people will be in every congregation. How will she respond?
Other times Laurie may have thought that being married to a preacher would bring her respect and honor. Little does she know how few preachers are honored for their work, and even fewer wives are remembered at all. In fact, if a preacher is teaching truth and standing for Biblical principles, he may even be rejected by congregation after congregation. That rejection of the man most definitely includes the wife. Can Laurie endure such treatment? Will she be willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel of Christ (2 Tim 3:12-13)?
The life of the apostle Paul is a great example of what Christians and outsiders can do to a preacher. “But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings” (2 Cor 6:4-5).
Can you endure such treatment as the spouse of a preacher? Why do you suppose Paul did not take a wife with him everywhere he went? On another occasion he says, “By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor 6:6-10). Can Laurie (or you) endure such extremes? Is she willing to admit these situations may well come to her?
If Laurie’s goal is noble, if her repentance is genuine, if her desire to live godly is true, then she must acknowledge that having the extra burden of living in a glass house could cause her to falter in her resolve. Is she prepared for the extra burdens that living in the limelight will bring? “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). If that is true of every Christian, then how much more is it relevant to a preacher and his wife!

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 February 24 & 25 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading February 24 & 25

World  English  Bible


Feb. 24
Exodus 5

Exo 5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said to Pharaoh, "This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.' "
Exo 5:2 Pharaoh said, "Who is Yahweh, that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go? I don't know Yahweh, and moreover I will not let Israel go."
Exo 5:3 They said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh, our God, lest he fall on us with pestilence, or with the sword."
Exo 5:4 The king of Egypt said to them, "Why do you, Moses and Aaron, take the people from their work? Get back to your burdens!"
Exo 5:5 Pharaoh said, "Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens."
Exo 5:6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying,
Exo 5:7 "You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves.
Exo 5:8 The number of the bricks, which they made before, you require from them. You shall not diminish anything of it, for they are idle; therefore they cry, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'
Exo 5:9 Let heavier work be laid on the men, that they may labor therein; and don't let them pay any attention to lying words."
Exo 5:10 The taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, This is what Pharaoh says: "I will not give you straw.
Exo 5:11 Go yourselves, get straw where you can find it, for nothing of your work shall be diminished."
Exo 5:12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.
Exo 5:13 The taskmasters were urgent saying, "Fulfill your work quota daily, as when there was straw!"
Exo 5:14 The officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, "Why haven't you fulfilled your quota both yesterday and today, in making brick as before?"
Exo 5:15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, "Why do you deal this way with your servants?
Exo 5:16 No straw is given to your servants, and they tell us, 'Make brick!' and behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people."
Exo 5:17 But he said, "You are idle! You are idle! Therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to Yahweh.'
Exo 5:18 Go therefore now, and work, for no straw shall be given to you, yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks!"
Exo 5:19 The officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble, when it was said, "You shall not diminish anything from your daily quota of bricks!"
Exo 5:20 They met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh:
Exo 5:21 and they said to them, "May Yahweh look at you, and judge, because you have made us a stench to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us."
Exo 5:22 Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, "Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it that you have sent me?
Exo 5:23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people; neither have you delivered your people at all."

Feb. 25
Exodus 6

Exo 6:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh, for by a strong hand he shall let them go, and by a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land."
Exo 6:2 God spoke to Moses, and said to him, "I am Yahweh;
Exo 6:3 and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them.
Exo 6:4 I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their travels, in which they lived as aliens.
Exo 6:5 Moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered my covenant.
Exo 6:6 Therefore tell the children of Israel, 'I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments:
Exo 6:7 and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Exo 6:8 I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am Yahweh.' "
Exo 6:9 Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they didn't listen to Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
Exo 6:10 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 6:11 "Go in, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land."
Exo 6:12 Moses spoke before Yahweh, saying, "Behold, the children of Israel haven't listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, who am of uncircumcised lips?"
Exo 6:13 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a command to the children of Israel, and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
Exo 6:14 These are the heads of their fathers' houses. The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben.
Exo 6:15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon.
Exo 6:16 These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were one hundred thirty-seven years.
Exo 6:17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families.
Exo 6:18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred thirty-three years.
Exo 6:19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations.
Exo 6:20 Amram took Jochebed his father's sister to himself as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty-seven years.
Exo 6:21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.
Exo 6:22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Sithri.
Exo 6:23 Aaron took Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, as his wife; and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
Exo 6:24 The sons of Korah: Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites.
Exo 6:25 Eleazar Aaron's son took one of the daughters of Putiel as his wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites according to their families.
Exo 6:26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom Yahweh said, "Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies."
Exo 6:27 These are those who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are that Moses and Aaron.
Exo 6:28 It happened on the day when Yahweh spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,
Exo 6:29 that Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "I am Yahweh. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you."
Exo 6:30 Moses said before Yahweh, "Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh listen to me?"
 
Feb. 24, 25
Matthew 28

Mat 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
Mat 28:2 Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it.
Mat 28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
Mat 28:4 For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men.
Mat 28:5 The angel answered the women, "Don't be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified.
Mat 28:6 He is not here, for he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying.
Mat 28:7 Go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.' Behold, I have told you."
Mat 28:8 They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word.
Mat 28:9 As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" They came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.
Mat 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid. Go tell my brothers that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me."
Mat 28:11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had happened.
Mat 28:12 When they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers,
Mat 28:13 saying, "Say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
Mat 28:14 If this comes to the governor's ears, we will persuade him and make you free of worry."
Mat 28:15 So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until this day.
Mat 28:16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them.
Mat 28:17 When they saw him, they bowed down to him, but some doubted.
Mat 28:18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.
Mat 28:19 Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

What you can and cannot know by Gary Rose



First, let me say: I didn’t invent this saying, my Mother-in-Law has never even entered a Starbucks, nor have I ever seen a drunk gorilla. Second, I have tried and tried and tried to understand this (I am fascinated by problems) but I just cannot. Lastly, this comparison is absurd and a little insulting to women in general, but it does make a point: She had problems ordering at Starbucks (who wouldn’t, with all those choices?).

In this world there are things we all will never fully understand and those things are different for each individual. Some people have difficulties with Math or Science, others hate Mechanical things and would not be able to fix a car if their life depended on it. Still others, have inter-personal problems; for instance, has there ever been a man who TRULY understood EVERYTHING about a woman? And, if any man says that he does- He is lying through his teeth.

I wonder, has anyone truly understood everything about God? The Bible says in the book of Isaiah:

Isaiah 55 ( WEB )
[8] “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says Yahweh.
  [9] “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

OK, God’s thoughts and ways are beyond me. But, what about the essence of his being, that is, HIS TRUE LIKENESS? The prophet Ezekiel gives this “description”...?

Ezekiel 1 ( World English Bible )
[4] I looked, and behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with flashing lightning, and a brightness around it, and out of its midst as it were glowing metal, out of the midst of the fire.  [5] Out of its midst came the likeness of four living creatures. This was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man.  [6] Everyone had four faces, and each one of them had four wings.  [7] Their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished brass.  [8] They had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and the four of them had their faces and their wings thus:  [9] their wings were joined one to another; they didn’t turn when they went; each one went straight forward.  [10] As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and the four of them had the face of a lion on the right side; and the four of them had the face of an ox on the left side; the four of them also had the face of an eagle.  [11] Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above. Two wings of each one touched another, and two covered their bodies.  [12] Each one went straight forward: where the spirit was to go, they went; they didn’t turn when they went.  [13] As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches: the fire went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and lightning went out of the fire.  [14] The living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.  [15] Now as I saw the living creatures, behold, one wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, for each of the four faces of it.  [16] The appearance of the wheels and their work was like a beryl: and the four of them had one likeness; and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel within a wheel.  [17] When they went, they went in their four directions: they didn’t turn when they went.  [18] As for their rims, they were high and dreadful; and the four of them had their rims full of eyes all around.  [19] When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.  [20] Wherever the spirit was to go, they went; there was the spirit to go: and the wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.  [21] When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up beside them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. [22] Over the head of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse, like the awesome crystal to look on, stretched out over their heads above.  [23] Under the expanse were their wings straight, the one toward the other: each one had two which covered on this side, and every one had two which covered on that side, their bodies. [24] When they went, I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of an army: when they stood, they let down their wings.  [25] There was a voice above the expanse that was over their heads: when they stood, they let down their wings.  [26] Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and on the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above.  [27] I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it all around, from the appearance of his waist and upward; and from the appearance of his waist and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him.  [28] As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of Yahweh’s glory. When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.


Confused yet? You should be! Only that emboldened verse really makes sense (well, sort of). Question: How do you describe one who has the power to create everything, to know everything and be everywhere? The answer is that you can only describe it in terms that can be understood by the hearer (in this case, you and me). Well, how do you describe the incomprehensible? With visions and figures of speech that convey a very general meaning, that’s how. Having said this, we can really only hope to understand what God really wants us to know (for our own good). Moses says (in the book of Deuteronomy)..

Deuteronomy 29 ( WEB )
 [29]  The secret things belong to Yahweh our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. 

And Jeremiah says…

Jeremiah 29 ( WEB )
 [31] Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:  [32] not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh.  [33] But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:  [34] and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh; for they shall all know me, from their least to their greatest, says Yahweh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

Jeremiah is referring to the NEW Covenant given through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, but the question remains: How do we know God?

The apostle John says…

John 1 ( WEB )
 [10]  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him.  [11] He came to his own, and those who were his own didn’t receive him.  [12] But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name:  [13] who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  [14] The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.  [15] John testified about him. He cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me, for he was before me.’” [16] From his fullness we all received grace upon grace.  [17] For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.  [18] No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him

Want to know God- look to Jesus; listen to him and live. Matt. 7:21-27, Matt. 17:1-5. Not interested; well, there is always that mental image of a drunk Gorilla try to start a car with a French Fry….