3/11/20

"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Zephaniah - Through Judgment To Blessing (1:1-3:20) by Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

          Zephaniah - Through Judgment To Blessing (1:1-3:20)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets" we now come to the first of
   three prophets who preached to Judah alone, following the downfall
   of the northern kingdom of Israel

2. The prophet is Zephaniah, whose name means "Jehovah Hides"
   a. Concerning the MAN
      1) King Hezekiah was his great-great-grandfather - Zeph 1:1
      2) This has prompted some to call him "the royal prophet"
      3) He was contemporary with Jeremiah, as were Nahum and Habakkuk
   b. Concerning his MESSAGE
      1) Zephaniah prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah
         a) Josiah ruled from 640-609 B.C.
         b) He was a good king, a great reformer - 2Ch 34:1-3,29-33;35:1-19
         c) Josiah's reforms were short-lived, however, and the nation
            soon apostasized after his death
      2) Zephaniah proclaimed the coming "day of the Lord" - cf. Zeph1:7,14-16 
 a) So vivid are his descriptions that George Adam Smith wrote:
            "No hotter book lies in all the Old Testament."
         b) And yet it ends on an encouraging note concerning the
            future
         -- Therefore its overall message is: "Through Judgment To
            Blessing"

[As we get into the book, we note that it can be divided into three
sections.  The first section encouraged the people to "look within"...]

I. GOD'S WRATH COMING UPON JUDAH

   A. THE LORD IS BRINGING JUDGMENT!
      1. The prophet announces a universal and all-consuming judgment
         - Zeph 1:1-3
      2. With special mention and attention given Judah - Zeph 1:4-6

   B. THE "DAY OF THE LORD" IS AT HAND!
      1. This "day" as it will affect Judah and Jerusalem - Zeph 1:7-13
         a. Punishment upon the princes and king's children (note, the
            king himself is not mentioned), and upon those who are fullof violence and deceit
         b. There will wailing and mourning in the city of Jerusalem
         c. The Lord will search out and punish the complacent
      2. This great "day" described - Zeph 1:14-18
         a. A day that is near and hastens quickly
         b. A day of devastation, desolation, darkness, and distress
         c. A day in which silver and gold cannot deliver one from the Lord's wrath

   C. AND SO - A CALL FOR THE NATION TO REPENT!
      1. Before the day of the Lord's anger comes upon them - Zeph 2:1-2
      2. To seek the Lord, to seek righteousness, to seek humility - Zeph 2:3

[Having encouraged the people to "look within" and see the need for
their own repentance, Zephaniah now prompts the people to "look around"to see...]

II. GOD'S WRATH COMING UPON SURROUNDING NATIONS

   A. GOD'S JUDGMENT ON NATIONS EAST AND WEST...
      1. Philistia - Zeph 2:4-7
         a. It's cities will be made desolate, the inhabitants destroyed
         b. The land will be for the remnant of Judah, whose captivity God will restore
      2. Moab & Ammon - Zeph 2:8-11
         a. They shall be like Sodom and Gomorrah
         b. Because of their pride, and for their mocking reproach of God's people
         c. And God will one day be worshipped by people from all nations

   B. GOD'S JUDGMENT ON NATIONS SOUTH AND NORTH...
      1. Ethiopia will by slain by the sword - Zeph 2:12
      2. Assyria with its capital Nineveh will become desolate - Zeph2:13-15

   C. AND SO - WOE TO JERUSALEM...
      1. She has rebelled against the Lord - Zeph 3:1-5
         a. She has not obeyed His voice nor drawn near to Him
         b. Her civil and religious leaders are like lions and wolves, insolent and doing violence to the Law
         c. The unjust knows no shame; the Lord, however, is righteous and never fails in His justice
      2. She has ignored God's judgment upon other nations - Zeph 3:6-7
         a. Which should have prompted her to receive God's instruction
         b. But instead the people corrupted all their deeds

[Finally, lest the faithful remnant despair, Zephaniah ends his message
with a "look beyond"...]

III. THROUGH JUDGMENT TO BLESSING

   A. WAIT UPON THE LORD...
      1. The faithful are told to wait for Lord to carry out His judgment - Zeph 3:8
      2. Even as Micah said he would do - cf. Mic 7:7-9

   B. GOD WILL RESTORE HIS PEOPLE...
      1. After His judgment, God will restore to the peoples
         (Gentiles?) a "pure language" to worship and serve Him in one accord - Zeph 3:9
      2. His dispersed ones (Israel?) shall bring offerings from afar - Zeph 3:10
      3. God will remove the proud from His "holy mountain", leaving a
         meek and humble people who will trust and rest in the Lord- Zeph 3:11-13

   C. AND SO - THERE WILL BE JOY IN JERUSALEM...
      1. For the Lord will remove their judgments and their enemies- Zeph 3:14-15
      2. For the Lord will be in their midst, providing them with gladness, love and singing - Zeph 3:16-17
      3. For the Lord has given them great assurance - Zeph 3:18-20
         a. God will gather those who sorrow over the reproach of His people
         b. God will deal with those who afflicted His people
         c. God will gather those who have been driven out, and give them fame and praise

CONCLUSION

1. The message of Zephaniah is a simple one:  Judgment is coming, but
   blessings will follow for those who heed the warning to repent
   a. It was a message that would later comfort the remnant taken away into Babylonian captivity
   b. It was a message that perhaps had an initial fulfillment
      following their restoration under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah
   c. But I believe the ultimate fulfillment pertains to the age of the Messiah
      1) Which began with the establishment of His spiritual kingdom, the church
         a) Into which God is "gathering" His people - cf. 1Th 2:12
         b) In which we enjoy the presence of God and His blessings- cf. He 12:22-24
      2) Which will be culminated when Jesus comes again - Re 21:1-22:5

2. The message of the apostles is not really much different today...
   a. The "day of the Lord" (of which Zephaniah's "day" was a type) is coming - 2Pe 3:7-10
   b. God's people (i.e., the church) are admonished to remain faithful- 2Pe 3:11-14

Are we heeding that message?  For those willing to listen, here is what else Peter had to say...

   "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted
   out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of
   the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to
   you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of
   restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of
   all His holy prophets since the world began. (Ac 3:19-21)

Be converted through your obedience to the gospel of Christ (cf. Mk 16:
15-16; Ac 2:38), and you too can "look beyond" the coming judgment for
the blessings to follow!
 
 
 
 

Cut Violent Passages Out of the Scriptures? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=792

Cut Violent Passages Out of the Scriptures?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Rarely does the magazine Nature write articles about the Bible. Heidi Ledford’s article titled “Scriptural Violence Can Foster Aggression” is an exception. In the article, Ledford cites studies that suggest that the violent passages in the Bible could lead readers to act more aggressively if the readers believe that God sanctioned the violence exhibited in the passages. Ledford quotes from various theologians, sociologists, and psychologists in an attempt to confirm the idea that “when scriptural violence is used to promote hostility, it is extremely effective” (2007, 446:115).
In the concluding paragraphs of the article, Ledford quotes from Hector Avalos, a theologian from Iowa State University in Ames. Avalos’ solution to the problem is simple—“cut the violent passages out of the scripture” (Ledford, 446:115). Avalos admits that such is a wildly controversial suggestion, but he says it ought not to be. Practically speaking, religious leaders generally avoid reading the passages that contain violence such as genocide anyway. So, according to Avalos, these passages should simply be removed from the text.
Several points need to be made concerning Ledford’s article. First, Nature is infamous for its support of Darwinian evolution. According to evolution, the sole purpose of an organism is to pass on its genes to the next generation. Who cares if it does this in a violent or passive way? Even the most cursory look into the natural verifies the fact that many animals are extremely violent. Furthermore, since humans are nothing more than higher forms of animals, and their purpose is to pass on their genes as well, why would aggression or violence be a negative characteristic? Why not glorify the violence as an adaptive trait that helps the fittest humans survive?
Second, even though some leaders might attempt to use the Bible to support modern-day violent acts of genocide or murder, such would be a heinous misinterpretation of the biblical message. This type of loose and improper handling of the Scripture fails to acknowledge that the crucial message of the Bible which is applicable today is summed up in such passages as Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Any person can misinterpret any literary text and misapply their self-imposed message.
Finally, attempts to destroy the Word of God by removing those parts that contradict a person’s chosen worldview have been legion throughout human history. During the life of Jeremiah the prophet, Jehoiakim reigned as king in Judah. Due to Jehoiakim’s sinful activities, the Lord instructed Jeremiah to produce a scroll containing the judgment that would come upon Judah and her wicked king. One of the king’s servants read the scroll and its divine judgments in the presence of Jehoiakim. Upon hearing the message, the evil king took a scribe’s knife, slashed the scroll to pieces, and tossed it into the fire burning in the hearth (Jeremiah 36:11-26). In a literal or figurative sense, humans have consistently attempted to do away with parts of God’s Word that they reject.
Instead of attempting to destroy the parts of God’s Word, we should be trying our best to rightly divide the Word of truth, since God’s Word will judge all people on the Day of Judgment (John 12:48). We should take heed to the inspired principle spoken by John pertaining to the book of Revelation:
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:18-19, emp. added).

REFERENCES

Ledford, Heidi (2007), “Scriptural Violence Can Foster Aggression,” Nature,446:114-115, March 8.

Cultural Effects on Religion in America by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2916

Cultural Effects on Religion in America

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Q.

What effect is culture having on religion in America?

A.

In the midst of heated discussion and hot debate, the Episcopalian Church met in Columbus, Ohio to consider, among other things, whether the organization should ban gays and lesbians from being bishops. In the media attention surrounding the Episcopal General Convention, Katharine Schori, the first female presiding Bishop in the denomination’s history, had much to say about her beliefs regarding homosexuality. She stated: “I am fully committed to the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in this church” (Clark, 2006). Ironically, Asian and African Anglican bishops are so appalled at the stance of their American counterparts that they have cried out: “Don’t you believe the Bible you gave us?”
With such sentiments expressed by the prominent leader of the group, it is no surprise that the denomination did not pass the measure to ban homosexuals from being bishops. They did, however, institute a quasi-reversal of the non-ban and suggested that churches should “‘exercise restraint’ in selecting openly gay bishops” (Clark, 2006). Such a policy would make it more difficult for homosexuals to be bishops, but not impossible.
The troubling thing about such news is the way in which decisions are being made by those who profess to be Christians. The Bible explains that Christ is the head of the church, His body (Ephesians 1:22-23). Scriptures further explain that anything done by His Church should be done in accordance with His revealed will, by His authority (Colossians 3:17,23-24). It has never been the prerogative of any group that supposedly follows Christ to vote on whether an action is a sin or not. Furthermore, if someone is openly committing sin, it certainly is not the prerogative of “the body” to overrule “the head” and appoint such sinful individuals to leadership positions.
Inspired Scripture explains that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. In the litany of activities that would be considered unrighteous, homosexuality is conspicuously and repeatedly included (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:26-28). Not only should openly homosexual individuals be banned from becoming bishops, they should be publicly marked and withdrawn from (along with adulterers, fornicators, thieves, etc.) until they repent of their sins and stop committing homosexual acts (1 Corinthians 5). Any group that presumes to vote on such issues and thinks that such a vote alters the way Heaven views sin is sadly mistaken. The church that Jesus died to save has no earthly headquarters, finds unity only through obedience to the New Testament, and is to function as an obedient body of Christ. All religious organizations that refuse to recognize the authority of Christ as revealed in the New Testament (Matthew 28:18) will hear these sad words spoken by Christ on the Day of Judgment: “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).

REFERENCE

Clark, Stephen (2006), “Episcopalians Curb Policy on Gays,” LA Times, [On-line], URL: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-episcopal22jun22, 1,1257035.story?coll=la-headlines-nation.

Could There Have Been Any Death Before the Fall? by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5321

Could There Have Been Any Death Before the Fall?

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

If the Bible is from God (and it is1), then we can know that it is accurate when discussing historical science. In order to interpret properly the natural evidence, then, one must know what the Bible teaches about the history of the Earth. There certainly are differing views about some of the particulars of the biblical Creation model, based on how one interprets certain passages. Some Scriptures are not explicit about precisely what happened at various times in Earth history (e.g., during the Creation week or during and immediately after the Flood). But the Creation scientist understands the importance of not contradicting Scripture when attempting to develop a comprehensive scientific model or framework within which all scientific disciplines must fit.
That said, the question of when death on the Earth began can have implications that affect our understanding of various questions in Creation science. It is clear, biblically, that humans would not have died had they not sinned (Genesis 3:22), but what of the rest of the Creation? If animal death could occur before the Fall (i.e., before Adam and Eve’s first sin), for example, then we would have to assume that death was a design feature of the planet from the beginning, rather than being a part of the Curse placed upon the Earth as a result of the Fall (Genesis 3:17-19). And if that is the case, one cannot argue against theistic evolution by claiming that there was no pre-Fall animal death. Pre-Fall animal death could also affect creationists’ attempts to understand cases of so called “natural evil,” where, for example, various living things seem to have been designed to kill (e.g., parasitoids, pathogens, and phages). If all death was solely a result of the Fall, then we would assume that such cases of “natural evil” were not part of God’s original design, but were part of the Curse. If death could, in fact, occur prior to the Fall, then a different response to some forms of “natural evil” might be more relevant (e.g., microevolution and/or diversification, displacement from intended habitat, or degeneration), although some forms of “natural evil” still might have been directly due to the Curse.
Also, if death could occur before the Fall, there might be implications of that fact when we examine the fossil record. Creationists generally interpret the bulk of the fossils that are found at the base of the fossil record to be a result of the Flood, since it is thought to be the first major catastrophic event in Earth history. It is thought that only local catastrophes happened in the 16 centuries up to the Flood. If death could occur prior to the Fall, however, then there may be another catastrophic event of global proportions that could be relevant when studying the fossil record as well: day three.
According to Genesis chapter one, prior to day three of the Creation week, the Earth was covered with water. On day three, God created the dry land and then created grass, seed-bearing herbs, fruit trees—the plants. Swimming and flying creatures were created on day five, and finally, land life on day six. It is easy for us to read through this simplified narrative of what God did on those four days without stopping to consider the possible geologic implications of His activity. On day three, God said, “‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear’; and it was so” (Genesis 1:9). This passage may be saying that God, in essence, scraped the surface of the ocean floor, piling up a massive amount of Earth to cause some of it to be exposed from the water, forming land.2 If so, it seems likely that mudslides would have occurred over the next several hours and possibly days, due to the wet material from the ocean floor being raised in elevation and water rapidly running off the continental surface. This activity could have begun the fossilization process of some of the plants and aquatic creatures created on days three and five, respectively. There are other options that would not have caused such mudslides,3 but the point is that the Creation scientist must at least consider the possibility that the earliest fossils in the record were a result of day-three activity.
So could there have been death prior to the Fall? And if so, are there theological implications? First, we know that plants were certainly able to die before the Fall, because they were to serve as food for humans and animals throughout the Earth (Genesis 1:30). Nobody seems to dispute that truth. It is argued, however, that plants are not thought to be “alive” in the same sense as animals. Unlike animals and humans, plants are never described as being “living creatures” (nephesh chayyah).4 God seemed to be making a distinction between kinds of life in Genesis 1:30 when He said, “Also, to every beast of the Earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the Earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food” (emp. added). While that is true, it is also true that plants can die in some sense (Job 14:7-12; John 12:24),5 which tells us that not all death must necessarily be regarded in a negative light.
It is true that Adam, Eve, the flying creatures, and the land animals were told by God originally to be herbivores (Genesis 1:29-30).6 So it is clear that it was not part of God’s original design plan for there to be bloodshed by the hand of another, at least among humans, birds, creeping things, and the “beast of the Earth” (apparently the land animals created on day six, Genesis 1:24-25,29-30). But that does not mean that catastrophic activity, natural disasters, or natural death could not have still killed animals. Some argue that God’s creation could not have been “very good” (Genesis 1:31) if animals could suffer and die, since the creation was perfect.7 But this assumes (1) that animals, which are soul-less beings,8 can truly suffer in the same way humans can; and (2) that the creation could not still be “very good” and there be death. We have already seen that due to the occurrence of pre-Fall plant death, the creation could still be deemed as “very good” by God, even with death occurring simultaneously. So the question then becomes, what did God mean by calling the creation “very good,” and what kind of death, if any, would not have been considered “very good” to God? It seems logical to infer that a “very good” creation simply meant that the created order was exactly as God intended for it to be, whatever that might be—death or no death. As one Creation scientist acknowledged concerning the pre-Fall world, “Although the pre-Fall world was ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31), it was not ‘perfect’ (i.e., it did not exhibit every meaning of ‘perfect’).”9 What kind of death was a part of that “very good” creation must be gleaned, if possible, from the text.
It is argued that “Death is ‘the last enemy’ (1 Corinthians 15:26) which Jesus Christ came and died to defeat. And this would include animal death.”10 In the context of 1 Corinthians 15, however, Paul is not including animals in referencing the defeat of death, but rather, humans—those capable of sin (vs. 17).
Isaiah 11:6 is sometimes quoted as evidence that there was no animal death prior to the Fall.11 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” The claim is that in the end, God will restore on Earth the conditions that were in effect in the Garden, where animals were not violent towards one another. Once again, however, in context we see that Isaiah 11 is a Messianic prophecy (cf. vss. 1-5), discussing the coming of Jesus and His kingdom in the first century using highly figurative, not literal, terminology. As evidence, consider that in Romans 15:12, Paul quotes from Isaiah 11 and applies Isaiah’s prophecy to the first century, noting that the prophecy had already been fulfilled at that time.12 Isaiah may have simply been referring to the peace and harmony that would exist in the coming Church. In Christianity, for instance, those once viewed as predators—ferocious wolves, leopards, and young lions—are often found dwelling peaceably with those who would have once been their prey. If we understand Isaiah 11 to refer to the coming of Christ and the Christian dispensation, therefore, we could reasonably conclude that Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled when the Kingdom (i.e., the Church13) was established in Acts 2.14
It is also argued that God’s Curse after the Fall included the animals according to Genesis 3, and by implication, humanity’s death curse would have applied to the animals at that point as well.15 But that assertion is an assumption—the text does not say that was the case. Second, the serpent was, indeed, “cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field” (Genesis 3:14), implying that the animals were all cursed, though not as much as the serpent. But it is also true that the plants were included in the Curse as well (vss. 17-18), and we have already seen that they were capable of death prior to the Fall.
Arguments have been made from various passages that tell us death was a result of sin (Romans 5:12-21), that shedding blood is necessary for the remission of sin, but would not have been necessary, by implication, without sin (Hebrews 9:22), and that Christ’s physical death and resurrection made it possible for physical death, initiated by Adam and Eve, to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:21,22,26).16 Such passages, however, contextually, are talking about mankind, not animals, which are not imputed with sin. It is argued that Romans 8:19-22 indicates that the “whole creation”—which is thought to include the animals—suffers, groans, labors, and is under a bondage of corruption (vss. 21-22) due to man’s sin, and therefore, that the whole creation would not have so suffered prior to man’s sin—i.e., animals would not have suffered death.17 In the end, however, “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (vs. 21, ESV), apparently returning to a pre-Fall state. Understand that there is considerable argument over the meaning of the word “creation” in Romans 8—whether or not it is referring to all of the created order, or merely humans. To base an entire argument on such a disputed passage would be unwise, to say the least. It could be argued from the context, that “creation” is referring to humans—the only ones who can “eagerly wait for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). More specifically, the “whole creation” (vs. 22) could be referring to mankind in general (which “labors with birth pangs,” referring back to the punishment which female humans would have due to Eve’s sin), while “creation” (vss. 19,20,21) could be referring to Christians—i.e., the “sons of God” whom Paul has been discussing in the preceding verses. After all, “whole creation” is used in precisely that way—to mean mankind in general—elsewhere in Scripture. In Mark 16:15 (ESV), for example, Jesus tells the apostles to go preach the gospel to the “whole creation,” which is another way of saying to “all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and does not include animals. Regardless, Romans 8 cannot be used as conclusive evidence that animals did not die prior to the Fall.
The hallmark passage that seems to be used to try to sustain the idea that death did not occur prior to Adam and Eve is Romans 5:12-19:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses…). Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (emp. added).
Notice that, contextually, while this passage does discuss death as being a result of sin, it is clearly referring to humans and the effect of sin with regard to mankind, not animals. It was humans, not animals, that were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), giving them the capacity to sin.
A passage that provides weight to the viewpoint that animals could die prior to the Fall is Genesis 3:22-24. After Adam and Eve sinned and God confronted them, pronouncing their punishments and making modest clothes for them, the text says:
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever”—therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden…and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the Tree of Life (emp. added).
Notice from this text that man’s ability to live forever was not a direct miraculous act by God, or something inherent in the physical body of mankind (i.e., part of God’s  original design of the human body), but rather, was coupled with his eating from the Tree of Life, which apparently possessed miraculous healing qualities (cf. Revelation 22:2). The implication is that Adam and Eve could have still lived forever, even after sinning, if they were able to access the Tree of Life and eat from it. That is the very reason why God used cherubim and a flaming sword to guard Eden and the tree. A further implication is that physical death was always possible from the beginning for anyone (and apparently, anything) that did not eat of the Tree of Life—i.e., entropy or the Second Law of Thermodynamics was in place from the beginning, governing the Earth. Adam and Eve were able to eat from the anti-entropy tree and not be subject to the effects of the Second Law; but without it, the effects of God’s natural laws would have taken their course.
With that understanding in mind, what are the implications for the rest of the living beings on the planet? A straightforward reading of the text in Genesis 2:9 and 3:22,24 leads us to believe that God made and placed in the Garden a single fruit tree that, unlike the other fruit trees throughout the Garden that humans and living creatures could eat from, had physical life-giving qualities tied to it. Any living being that did not eat from that Tree would apparently eventually suffer physical death—hence, the name given to it: “the Tree of Life.”18 If so, could the animals which were created throughout the Earth, which could not reach the Tree of Life to eat it, live forever? Could the swimming creatures that God had created on day five eat from the tree? If not, then how could they live forever? What about all of the animals that God created, surely spread out over the Earth, playing the crucial roles for the Earth for which God designed them? Were they able to access the Tree of Life and live forever? Surely not. If we suppose that perhaps animals could live forever apart from the Tree of Life prior to the Fall, we would be going beyond the clear message of the text regarding the nature of the Tree. God seemed to want to emphasize in Scripture the fact that He tied eternal life to the Tree of Life.19 One would need more biblical evidence before arguing that the animals received eternal life apart from the Tree. If humans needed the Tree to live forever and were denied access to it after the Fall, it seems logical to conclude that the animals were affected in the same way.

Summary

The implication of the text seems clear on the matter: animals throughout the Earth, not made in the image of God, were never intended to live forever. They always had the ability to die, from the beginning. They were designed to die. Like plants, they were not made in the image of God. Their deaths are not in the same category of importance as that of humans. No wonder God, Himself, killed animals in order to clothe Adam and Eve properly (Genesis 3:21), even though there is no indication that those animals did anything to deserve death. It seems that animal death, like the “death” of a plant, is not a moral evil, but rather is part of God’s plan for animals. Notice God’s words to Noah and his sons after the Flood. After sanctioning the killing of animals as food for humans, God highlighted an important distinction: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for [i.e., because] in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6, emp. added). Human death is said to be significant, because we, unlike animals, are like God.
With this understanding about life and death in place, it becomes important to consider various implications. Arguing that theistic evolution is not biblical on the grounds that it would require billions of animal deaths prior to the Fall is not a valid argument. Theistic evolution (and related old Earth options) are false for several biblical and scientific reasons, but not that one.20 Creation geologists must also consider the possibility that some of the fossils in the record could have been from day-three activity. We can also see that some cases of “natural evil” among the animals may have been in place from the beginning. Calling such cases “natural evil” is, therefore, not appropriate. It cannot be said to be “evil” at all, if it was part of God’s design for those creatures all along.
The world was designed to serve as a “vale of soul-making”21 for humans. It was intended to prepare them for the afterlife, giving them an opportunity to make their choice about where they will spend eternity. A fundamental component of that design for the Universe is life and death. As part of our studies on Earth, while preparing for the afterlife, God seems to want us to understand life and death and their ramifications. We simply cannot escape death. Everywhere we look, whether by the naked eye or when studying bacteria under a microscope, we are reminded of mortality. It is clearly important to God for humans to acknowledge the reality of death. It appears that even before their first sin, Adam and Eve were capable of observing the evidence around them that death was a real thing—that God knew what He was talking about. They could know, by His mercy, they were not being subjected to death. They could understand the concept about which God was warning them: “in the day that you eat of it, you [also—JM] shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). When they sat on an ant, it could die. When a sauropod dinosaur stepped on a snake, the snake was not protected from death by a force field. Rather, the dinosaur’s weight would most certainly crush it, in harmony with God’s natural laws.
A wise man certainly “regards the life of his animal” (Proverbs 12:10), but he also understands that humans are different from animals. According to Jesus, we are “of more value” than them (Matthew 6:26; 10:31; 12:12; Luke 12:24). Those who submit to the will of God in faith will be able to live forever, spiritually (John 3:16); but not the animals. They were never intended to live forever. They serve as a reminder that we should seek life (John 10:10).

Endnotes

1 Kyle Butt (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
2 NOTE: This is, no doubt, an oversimplification of what could have actually occurred on day three if God created land from sea floor material. God could have used basaltic rock from the base of the ocean to form the granitic rock that comprises much of the land continents today. Granitic rock is less dense, causing it to float higher in the mantle (exposing land), while the basaltic rock of the ocean floor tends to float lower in the mantle, lowering the sea level.
3 It is possible that the Earth was completely made of water to this point, and God created the infrastructure of the Earth on day three, including the core, mantle, and crust, from that water (2 Peter 3:5), rather than raising material from the sea floor. There would likely be no mudslides if He chose to create land in this way.
4 Ken Ham (2014), “Was There Death Before Adam Sinned?” Answers in Genesis On-line, April 25, https://answersingenesis.org/death-before-sin/was-there-death-before-adam-sinned/.
5 Jeff Miller (2012), “Did Jesus Contradict the Law of Biogenesis in John 12:24?” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=106&article=1590.
6 Kenneth Ham (1991), “Adam and Ants,” Acts & Facts, 20[9].
7 Avery Foley (2015), “Did Adam Step on an Ant Before the Fall?” Answers in Genesis On-line, December 4, https://answersingenesis.org/death-before-sin/did-adam-step-on-an-ant-before-fall/.
8 Bert Thompson (2001), The Origin, Nature, & Destiny of the Soul (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/onds.pdf.
9 K.P. Wise (2014), “Spectra of Perfection: A Case for Biological Imperfection before the Fall,” Journal of Creation Theology and Science Series B: Life Sciences, 4:28, emp. added.
10 Foley.
11 Ibid.
12 Bible scholar Homer Hailey highlighted that Isaiah 1l:10 is quoted by Paul “and applied to the present time under Christ in which the Gentiles hope in Him (Rom. 15:12). If the prophecy is not now fulfilled, the Gentiles have no hope. But they abound in hope at this present time (Rom. 15:13); therefore, the passage is now fulfilled.” (2006), Prayer and Providence (Las Vegas, NV: Nevada Publications), pp. 177-178.
13 Matthew 16:18-19; Daniel 2:31-44.
14 Mark 9:1; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9; Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7.
15 Foley.
16 Ibid.; Ham (1991).
17 Foley.
18 Why would God give it that name if its purpose was not to sustain life? Further, if living beings could live forever without the Tree of Life, what would be the point of the Tree?
19 Genesis 2:9; 3:22,24; Revelation 2:7; 22:2,14.
20 cf. Jeff Miller (2017), Science vs. Evolution (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), 2nd edition.
21 John Keats (1895), The Letters of John Keats, ed. H. Buxton Forman (London: Reeves & Turner), p. 326.

IT’S SIMPLY TOO LATE NOW TO… by Jim McGuiggan

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

IT’S SIMPLY TOO LATE NOW TO…

Christ comes from afar, comes to redeem and deliver us from Death and all that that means (John 3:17). He spends His entire life doing that in a life of teaching, giving, forgiving, helping and healing and then consummating it by sharing death with us—He hangs there streaked with sweat, spit and blood and speaks to us from there:
“I know you hear otherwise, but do I LOOK like I want you to grovel and crawl for forgiveness of sins? Have I EVER said a word that suggests that? Trust me, I don’t want that at all. You don’t feel that way toward those you love dearly. Neither do I. Rejoice in Me and that will make it easier to speak of Me when the opportunity is there. Lovers seek to please each other and to be good for each other. I believe in you as I believed in Isaiah and Peter and Paul and Moses and David—sinners every one. I DO believe in you! I DO. Believe in Me.”
When we reflect on His life, death, resurrection and His continued faithfulness now, it’s simply too late to doubt Him. It’s just too late now to do that.

GOD IS A LEGALIST by steve finnell

http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/04/god-is-legalist-by-steve-finnell.html

GOD IS A LEGALIST by steve finnell


Religious leaders who want to hinder God's truth from being believed, cry legalism when an unpopular truth is mentioned.

Following God's commandments is legalism. God does not want follower of Jesus Christ to be, illegal.

Those who teach God's terms for salvation are called Pharisees. They say, teaching that God's  commands should be followed to the letter, in order to be saved is legalism.

 The Pharisees were only legal when keeping their man-made traditions.

Mark 7:5-13 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him. "Why do Your disciples not walk according to tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" 6....hypocrites....7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.......9 And He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition........13 "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down, And many such things you do."(NKJV)

When is came to God's commandments, the Pharisees were not legalists. The Pharisees were illegalists. The Pharisees kept man-made traditions to the letter, but failed to keep God's commands.

Today denominations like to keep the laws of their man-made catechisms, creed books, and their extra-Biblical reference books. They brand, as a Pharisee, anyone who would dare imply that God's word is in the Bible and the Bible alone.

Jesus was a legalist. He said, you must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5) The illegal doctrine of some today, IS, WATER BAPTISM IS NOT ESSENTIAL IN ORDER TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

Jesus was a legalist. He said, no one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6) The illegal view of some, is, Jesus is simply one of many ways to heaven.

The apostle Paul went from teaching the traditions of men as a Pharisee, to teaching God's tradition as an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Paul was a Christian legalist. (Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you  than we have preached to you let him be accursed. (NKJV)

Many in the denominational world would claim that only a legalistic Pharisee would say, "Is baptized shall be saved."

Jesus said, Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (NKJV)

God expects Christians to be legal. Illegists do qualify as Christians. Illegists make God's word of no effect.

What did the first Christians believe? by Roy Davison





http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/029-firstchristiansbeliefs.html


What did the first Christians believe?
Some two thousand years have passed since a Carpenter in Galilee began proclaiming a message that would change the world. He said He would form a fellowship that would last forever (Matthew 16:18). Shortly after His death the church of Christ was established. His teachings were scattered as with the wind to all parts of the world.

But that was long ago. Much has happened since then. Many false teachers have arisen as Jesus predicted. In our time people are confronted with such an array of conflicting doctrines and practices that many do not know what to believe.

Why not go to the source and ask: “What did the first Christians believe? What was the church like in the beginning?”

In the Bible, in the New Testament, the first century church is described.

It is regrettable that in our time many who call themselves Christians do not really believe much of anything! The first Christians had a faith that conquered the world.


What is faith?

By accepting reliable testimony we can know things we did not experience personally. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Have you heard someone say, “I'll only believe that when I see it”? This is not reasonable, because if you see something, faith is not required.

Faith is the acceptance of testimony. For example, how do you know that Socrates was a Greek philosopher? You know this by faith. You believe what Plato and others wrote about him, although Socrates himself did not leave any writings.

Faith in God is based on evidence and testimony. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). The creation proves God's existence. We accept the proof.

If you saw the words, “God is good,” formed with sea shells on the sand by the sea, what would you conclude? Could anyone make you believe that the waves had accidently washed the shells into such a form? No, you would know that someone had been there before you, who formed the words on the sand.

When we observe the intricate systems of life on earth, we know Someone made these things: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20).

John says that Christian faith rests on testimony: “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son” (1 John 5:9, 10).

We accept many things by faith in the testimony of men. God's testimony is greater. There is no excuse for not accepting the truths to which He testifies. If we reject God's testimony we are calling Him a liar.

Faith is a valid method of gaining knowledge. Some say, “You do not know God exists, you just believe He exists.” They are mistaken. I know God exists. My knowledge is based on faith, that is true. But the testimony is reliable and the evidence is conclusive, irrefutable.

Do you know that Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo? Yes, you know this, but not because you participated in the battle, but by faith in written testimony.

In the same way, we know that Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Christian faith is based on the testimony of eyewitnesses. Their testimony is recorded in the New Testament.

John testifies: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life - the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us - that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us” (1 John 1:1-3).

Peter testifies: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).


The first Christians believed God.

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

The first Christians not only believed that God exists, they also believed His testimony, the word of God.

“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).


The first Christians believed the Scriptures.

Jesus taught that the Scriptures are trustworthy. He said. “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

Jesus confirmed events in the Old Testament. He referred to the creation of Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4). He mentions the murder of Abel (Matthew 23:35). He speaks about Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:37, 38). He mentions the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15; 11:23, 24). He refers to Lot's flight from Sodom and to his wife who became a pillar of salt (Luke 17:28, 29, 32). Jesus refers to the time when it did not rain for three years and six months because of Elijah's prayer (Luke 4:25). He mentions the healing of Naaman the leper (Luke 4:27). He said that “Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish” (Matthew 12:40).

People who deny the truth of these happenings in the Old Testament have no right to call themselves Christians because they do not believe Christ. He taught that these things happened. As He told the Jews: “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46, 47).

The first Christians considered the New Testament writings to be Scripture. Peter refers to the letters of Paul as Scripture (2 Peter 3:14-16). Paul quotes from the gospel of Luke (Luke 10:7) as Scripture (1 Timothy 5:18).

The first Christians believed that the Scriptures were inspired by God: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17), “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20, 21). The words used came from God: “These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Corinthians 2:13). Through “prophetic Scriptures” the gospel would be “made known to all nations” (Romans 16:26).


The first Christians believed Jesus.

They believed that He is “the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 16:16). They believed that He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-6). They believed that He has “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). They believed that He is “the head of the body, the church” (Ephesians 1:22, 23). They believed that He is coming again (Revelation 1:7). They believed that He will “be Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:39-43).


The first Christians believed there is one faith.

Paul speaks of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). He warns, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Jude writes that Christians must “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).


The first Christians believed that Jesus is the Savior of the world.

This message they called 'the gospel', 'the good news'.

They believed that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, 24) and that salvation is only through Christ, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24), “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). He is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

They viewed faith and confession as essential: “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).

They believed that a spiritual rebirth is required. “Unless one is born again ... Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5).

The first Christians believed that this spiritual rebirth takes place at baptism from which one rises “to walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-5).

Paul explained that “according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

Peter commanded, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). They believed that sins are washed away at baptism: “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16) and that baptism “now saves us ... through the resurrection of Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). Jesus declared, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).


What did the first Christians believe?

Based on conclusive evidence and divine testimony, they believed in God, and that He makes His will known through Scriptures. They believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. They believed that there is one faith and that Christians must maintain that faith. They taught that faith, repentance, confession and baptism are essential for salvation.

To be saved we must believe what the first Christians believed. Only if we have their faith can we have the salvation and hope they had. Amen.

Roy Davison


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 March 11 and 12 by Gary Rose






Bible Reading for March 11 and 12

World  English  Bible



Mar. 11
Exodus 21

Exo 21:1 "Now these are the ordinances which you shall set before them.
Exo 21:2 "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free without paying anything.
Exo 21:3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself. If he is married, then his wife shall go out with him.
Exo 21:4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
Exo 21:5 But if the servant shall plainly say, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free;'
Exo 21:6 then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.
Exo 21:7 "If a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go out as the male servants do.
Exo 21:8 If she doesn't please her master, who has married her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, seeing he has dealt deceitfully with her.
Exo 21:9 If he marries her to his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
Exo 21:10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marital rights.
Exo 21:11 If he doesn't do these three things for her, she may go free without paying any money.
Exo 21:12 "One who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death,
Exo 21:13 but not if it is unintentional, but God allows it to happen: then I will appoint you a place where he shall flee.
Exo 21:14 If a man schemes and comes presumptuously on his neighbor to kill him, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.
Exo 21:15 "Anyone who attacks his father or his mother shall be surely put to death.
Exo 21:16 "Anyone who kidnaps someone and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
Exo 21:17 "Anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
Exo 21:18 "If men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone, or with his fist, and he doesn't die, but is confined to bed;
Exo 21:19 if he rises again and walks around with his staff, then he who struck him shall be cleared: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall provide for his healing until he is thoroughly healed.
Exo 21:20 "If a man strikes his servant or his maid with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished.
Exo 21:21 Notwithstanding, if he gets up after a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his property.
Exo 21:22 "If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman's husband demands and the judges allow.
Exo 21:23 But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life,
Exo 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Exo 21:25 burning for burning, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.
Exo 21:26 "If a man strikes his servant's eye, or his maid's eye, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for his eye's sake.
Exo 21:27 If he strikes out his male servant's tooth, or his female servant's tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake.
Exo 21:28 "If a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the bull shall not be held responsible.
Exo 21:29 But if the bull had a habit of goring in the past, and it has been testified to its owner, and he has not kept it in, but it has killed a man or a woman, the bull shall be stoned, and its owner shall also be put to death.
Exo 21:30 If a ransom is laid on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is laid on him.
Exo 21:31 Whether it has gored a son or has gored a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him.
Exo 21:32 If the bull gores a male servant or a female servant, thirty shekels of silver shall be given to their master, and the ox shall be stoned.
Exo 21:33 "If a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and doesn't cover it, and a bull or a donkey falls into it,
Exo 21:34 the owner of the pit shall make it good. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall be his.
Exo 21:35 "If one man's bull injures another's, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live bull, and divide its price; and they shall also divide the dead animal.
Exo 21:36 Or if it is known that the bull was in the habit of goring in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall surely pay bull for bull, and the dead animal shall be his own.

Mar. 12
Exodus 22

Exo 22:1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it, or sells it; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
Exo 22:2 If the thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt of bloodshed for him.
Exo 22:3 If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt of bloodshed for him; he shall make restitution. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Exo 22:4 If the stolen property is found in his hand alive, whether it is ox, donkey, or sheep, he shall pay double.
Exo 22:5 "If a man causes a field or vineyard to be eaten, and lets his animal loose, and it grazes in another man's field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field, and from the best of his own vineyard.
Exo 22:6 "If fire breaks out, and catches in thorns so that the shocks of grain, or the standing grain, or the field are consumed; he who kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.
Exo 22:7 "If a man delivers to his neighbor money or stuff to keep, and it is stolen out of the man's house; if the thief is found, he shall pay double.
Exo 22:8 If the thief isn't found, then the master of the house shall come near to God, to find out if he hasn't put his hand to his neighbor's goods.
Exo 22:9 For every matter of trespass, whether it be for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any kind of lost thing, about which one says, 'This is mine,' the cause of both parties shall come before God. He whom God condemns shall pay double to his neighbor.
Exo 22:10 "If a man delivers to his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep, and it dies or is injured, or driven away, no man seeing it;
Exo 22:11 the oath of Yahweh shall be between them both, whether he hasn't put his hand to his neighbor's goods; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution.
Exo 22:12 But if it is stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner.
Exo 22:13 If it is torn in pieces, let him bring it for evidence. He shall not make good that which was torn.
Exo 22:14 "If a man borrows anything of his neighbor's, and it is injured, or dies, its owner not being with it, he shall surely make restitution.
Exo 22:15 If its owner is with it, he shall not make it good. If it is a leased thing, it came for its lease.
Exo 22:16 "If a man entices a virgin who isn't pledged to be married, and lies with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife.
Exo 22:17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
Exo 22:18 "You shall not allow a sorceress to live.
Exo 22:19 "Whoever has sex with an animal shall surely be put to death.
Exo 22:20 "He who sacrifices to any god, except to Yahweh only, shall be utterly destroyed.
Exo 22:21 "You shall not wrong an alien, neither shall you oppress him, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Exo 22:22 "You shall not take advantage of any widow or fatherless child.
Exo 22:23 If you take advantage of them at all, and they cry at all to me, I will surely hear their cry;
Exo 22:24 and my wrath will grow hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.
Exo 22:25 "If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor; neither shall you charge him interest.
Exo 22:26 If you take your neighbor's garment as collateral, you shall restore it to him before the sun goes down,
Exo 22:27 for that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What would he sleep in? It will happen, when he cries to me, that I will hear, for I am gracious.
Exo 22:28 "You shall not blaspheme God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
Exo 22:29 "You shall not delay to offer from your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. "You shall give the firstborn of your sons to me.
Exo 22:30 You shall do likewise with your cattle and with your sheep. Seven days it shall be with its mother, then on the eighth day you shall give it to me.
Exo 22:31 "You shall be holy men to me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh that is torn by animals in the field. You shall cast it to the dogs. 

Mar. 11, 12
Mark 8

Mar 8:1 In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them,
Mar 8:2 "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.
Mar 8:3 If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way."
Mar 8:4 His disciples answered him, "From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?"
Mar 8:5 He asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven."
Mar 8:6 He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude.
Mar 8:7 They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also.
Mar 8:8 They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over.
Mar 8:9 Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.
Mar 8:10 Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha.
Mar 8:11 The Pharisees came out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing him.
Mar 8:12 He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation."
Mar 8:13 He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side.
Mar 8:14 They forgot to take bread; and they didn't have more than one loaf in the boat with them.
Mar 8:15 He warned them, saying, "Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod."
Mar 8:16 They reasoned with one another, saying, "It's because we have no bread."
Mar 8:17 Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, "Why do you reason that it's because you have no bread? Don't you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened?
Mar 8:18 Having eyes, don't you see? Having ears, don't you hear? Don't you remember?
Mar 8:19 When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Twelve."
Mar 8:20 "When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Seven."
Mar 8:21 He asked them, "Don't you understand, yet?"
Mar 8:22 He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him.
Mar 8:23 He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.
Mar 8:24 He looked up, and said, "I see men; for I see them like trees walking."
Mar 8:25 Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly.
Mar 8:26 He sent him away to his house, saying, "Don't enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village."
Mar 8:27 Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?"
Mar 8:28 They told him, "John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets."
Mar 8:29 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."
Mar 8:30 He commanded them that they should tell no one about him.
Mar 8:31 He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mar 8:32 He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
Mar 8:33 But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men."
Mar 8:34 He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, "Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mar 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it.
Mar 8:36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?
Mar 8:37 For what will a man give in exchange for his life?
Mar 8:38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."