From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Twenty

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                             Chapter Twenty

Continuing His reply to Peter’s question ("what shall we have?"), Jesus
told the parable of the laborers (1-16), then predicted His death and
resurrection a third time as they headed toward Jerusalem (17-19).  When
the mother of James and John requested a special place for her sons in
the kingdom, Jesus said it was not His to give.  He used the occasion to
teach all His apostles the principle of greatness through service
(20-28).  Leaving Jericho, Jesus gave sight to two blind men who would
not let the crowds deter them (29-34).


   *  Should one delay in their obedience to the gospel?

   *  The danger of a mercenary spirit

   *  The importance of humble service


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The parable of the laborers - Mt 20:1-16
   - Jesus predicts His death and resurrection a third time 
      - Mt 20:17-19
   - Greatness and serving in the kingdom - Mt 20:20-28
   - Jesus heals two blind men - Mt 20:29-34

2) Whose question had prompted the telling of the parable of the
   laborers? (1)
   - Peter’s, cf. Mt 19:27

3) What should not be deduced from this parable?  Why? (1-10)
   - That it is alright to put off obeying the invitation to obeying the
   - Those who started later responded as soon as they were given
     opportunity, Mt 20:6-7

4) What is the main point of the parable of the laborers? (11-16)
   - One should not begrudge others for receiving the same reward for
     less service

6) List the three passages in which Jesus foretold His death and
   - Mt 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:19-20

7) Who asked Jesus for a privileged position in His kingdom? (20-21)
   - The mother of Zebedee’s sons (James and John) in their behalf

8) What quality is considered great in the kingdom? (25-28)
   - Serving others, even as Jesus came to this earth to serve

9) What commendable spirit did the two blind men manifest? (30-31)
   - Persistence in their request for mercy

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Nineteen

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                            Chapter Nineteen

In response to another test by the Pharisees, Jesus spoke on the issues
of marriage, divorce and celibacy (1-12).  Little children were brought
to Him, whom He blessed (13-15).  When a rich young ruler questioned Him
concerning eternal life (16-22), Jesus used the occasion to teach His
disciples about possessions in relation to the kingdom of God (23-30).


   *  Jesus’ teachings related to marriage, divorce, and celibacy

   *  Possessions and rewards in reference to the kingdom of God


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Marriage, divorce and celibacy - Mt 19:1-12
   - Jesus blesses the little children - Mt 19:13-15
   - The rich young ruler - Mt 19:16-22
   - Possessions and the kingdom - Mt 19:23-30

2) Who is it that joins a man and woman in marriage? (6)
   - God, not the state (government)

3) What exception does Jesus allow for divorce? Otherwise, what occurs?
   - Sexual immorality; adultery, cf. Mt 5:32

4) What price might be necessary for some to enter the kingdom of
   heaven? (12)
   - To make themselves eunuchs (i.e., to remain in an unmarried state)

5) What did Jesus say about little children? (14)
   - "Let the little children come to Me . . .for of such is the kingdom
     of heaven."

6) What did Jesus counsel the rich young ruler? (17,21)
   - For eternal life, to keep the commandments (of Moses, still in
     force at that time)
   - To be perfect, sell all and give to the poor, and follow Him

7) What did Jesus say about being rich and the kingdom of heaven?
   - It is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom
   - It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle

8) What did Jesus promise to His apostles who left all to follow Him?
   - To sit on thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel in the

9) What did Jesus promise to all willing to leave much to follow Him
   - A hundredfold blessings in this life; in the life to come eternal
     life, cf. Mk 10:29-30

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Eighteen

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                            Chapter Eighteen

Answering a question by His disciples, Jesus taught the need for
child-like humility and the danger of offenses to others and to self
(1-9), followed with the parable of the lost sheep (10-14).  Further
instructions included how to deal with a sinning brother (15-20) and the
need for a forgiving heart illustrated by the parable of the unforgiving
servant (21-35).


   *  The need for humility, and concern for others in the kingdom

   *  Dealing with a sinning brother, and the importance of forgiveness


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Kingdom greatness and the danger of offenses - Mt 18:1-9
   - The parable of the lost sheep - Mt 18:10-14
   - Discipline and prayer - Mt 18:15-20
   - The parable of the unforgiving servant - Mt 18:21-35

2) Who will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven? (1-5)
   - Those who are converted and humble themselves like a little child

3) How old was the little child that Jesus used as an example? (6)
   - Old enough to believe, old enough to sin

4) What types of offenses does Jesus warn against? (6-9)
   - Being an offense to believing children, and letting personal
     weakness cause you to sin

5) What parable illustrates the Father’s concern for the lost? (12-14)
   - The parable of the lost sheep

6) In dealing with a sinning brother, what steps should be taken?
   - Go and tell the brother his fault between you and him alone
   - If that doesn’t work, take one or two more with you to serve as
   - If that doesn’t work, tell it to the church
   - If that doesn’t work, then no longer associate with him

7) What increases the likelihood that God will answer prayer? (19-20)
   - When two or three pray together

8) How many times should we be willing to forgive a brother? (21-22)
   - Up to seventy times seven (490); cf. seven times in one day, 
     Lk 17:3-4

9) What grave warning is in the parable of the unforgiving servant? (33)
   - "So My heavenly Father also will do to you..."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Seventeen

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                           Chapter Seventeen

The events recorded in this chapter begin with Jesus transfigured on the
mountain (1-13), referenced to later by Peter in his epistle (2Pe
1:16-18).  Afterward Jesus healed a demon-possessed boy when His
disciples were unable due to a lack of faith and prayer (14-21).  Back
in Galilee, Jesus once again predicted His death and resurrection
(22-23).  Upon arriving in Capernaum, Jesus expounded on the payment of
the temple tax (24-27).


   *  The significance of the transfiguration

   *  The reason for the failure of a miracle


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The transfiguration of Jesus Christ - Mt 17:1-13
   - Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy - Mt 17:14-21
   - Jesus again predicts His death and resurrection - Mt 17:22-23
   - The payment of taxes - Mt 17:24-27

2) When was Jesus transfigured on the mount? (1)
   - After six days of saying some would not die before seeing Him
     coming in His kingdom (cf. Mt 16:28; Mk 9:1-2; Lk 9:27-28)

3) Who appeared when Jesus was transfigured?  What might they represent?
   - Moses and Elijah; the Law and the Prophets

4) What did the voice from the cloud say about Jesus?  What might it
   indicate? (5)
   - "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  Hear Him!"
   - That Jesus would have priority over the Law and the Prophets

5) When were the disciples to tell others what they had seen? (9)
   - Not until Jesus had risen from the dead

6) Who did Jesus say had come?  Who had fulfilled that prophecy? (10-13)
   - Elijah (cf. Mal 4:5); John the Baptist

7) Why were the disciples unable to heal the demon-possessed boy? (19-21)
   - Because of their lack of faith and prayer

8) What did Jesus predict for the second time to His disciples? (22-23)
   - His betrayal, death, and resurrection from the dead

9) Did Jesus teach His disciples to pay taxes?  How did He pay the tax?
   - Yes (cf. Mt 22:15-22); by having Peter catch a fish with a coin in
     its mouth

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Sixteen

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                            Chapter Sixteen

Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus for a sign.  Exposing their
hypocrisy, Jesus once again offered the sign of Jonah (cf. Mt 12:38-40).
He then warned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees
and Sadducees (1-12). At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples
who people were saying that He was.  When asked who they thought He was,
Peter confessed Him to be the Christ.  Jesus commended Peter and spoke
of his role in His church, but then told the disciples to tell no one He
was the Christ (13-20).  Jesus then spoke of His death and resurrection,
the cost of discipleship, and coming in His kingdom (21-28).


   *  The confession of Peter and Jesus’ response

   *  The cost of discipleship


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The hypocrisy and leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees 
      - Mt 16:1-12
   - Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ - Mt 16:13-20
   - Jesus predicts His death and resurrection, and the cost of
     discipleship - Mt 16:21-28

2) When asked for a sign, what sign did Jesus say would be given? (1-4)
   - The sign of the prophet Jonah (i.e., His death and resurrection)

3) When Jesus warned of leaven, what did He mean? (5-12)
   - The doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees

4) Who did Peter confess Jesus to be? (16)
   - "The Christ, the Son of the living God"

5) What did Jesus say He would build?  Upon what would it be built? (18)
   - "I will build My church"
   - "this rock" (possibly Peter as an apostle, cf. Ep 2:20, or the
     truth of Peter’s confession)

6) What did Jesus promise Peter?  Was it limited to him? 
   (19; cf. Mt 18:18)
   - The keys of the kingdom, to bind and loose; it was also granted to
     the other apostles

7) What did Jesus begin to predict at that time? (21)
   - His suffering in Jerusalem, death, and resurrection on the third

8) What did Jesus demand of His disciples?  How valuable is one’s soul?
   - To deny self, take up one’s cross and follow Him; more than the
     whole world

9) What promise did Jesus make regarding His kingdom? (28)
   - Some would not die before seeing the Son of Man coming in His

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Fifteen

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                            Chapter Fifteen

Religious leaders from Jerusalem took issue with Jesus’ disciples’
failure to observe certain traditions, which led Jesus to warn against
the danger of traditions and that which causes true moral defilement
(1-20).  After a quick trip to the region of Tyre and Sidon where He
healed a Canaanite woman’s daughter (21-28), Jesus made His way to a
mountain near the Sea of Galilee where He healed many and fed 4000 with
seven loaves and a few fish.  He then sailed to the region of Magdala,
located on the west coast of the Sea Of Galilee (29-39).


   *  The danger of traditions and vain worship

   *  That which causes true moral defilement


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Debate over tradition and moral defilement - Mt 15:1-20
   - Jesus heals the Canaanite woman’s daughter - Mt 15:21-28
   - Jesus heals many and feeds the 4000 - Mt 15:29-39

2) What tradition of the elders had the disciples of Jesus transgressed?
   - To wash hands before eating bread

3) According to Jesus, when do traditions of men become wrong? (3-9)
   - When one keeps a tradition of man instead of a commandment of God
   - When one teaches as doctrine (that which is binding) a commandment
     of man

4) When does worship become vain? (9)
   - When such worship is based on the teachings of men rather than of

5) What constitutes true moral defilement? (11,16-20)
   - That which comes out of the mouth, i.e., evil thoughts and deeds
     from man’s heart

6) What will happen to plants (religions, doctrines) not started by God?
   - They will be uprooted

7) How did Jesus describe the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem? (14)
   - As blind leaders of the blind

8) What moved Jesus to grant the Canaanite woman’s request? (28)
   - Her great faith

9) With what did Jesus feed more than 4000 people? (34-38)
   - Seven loaves and a few little fish

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen
Word of Jesus’ ministry came to Herod the tetrarch, and Matthew tells how Herod killed John the Baptist (1-12). Hearing of John’s death, Jesus sought privacy but was followed by the multitudes and fed over 5000 with five loaves and two fish (13-21). Sending His disciples away by boat, Jesus dispersed the crowd and went to the mountain to pray. He later joined His disciples by walking on the sea (22-33). In the land of Gennesaret, Jesus healed all who came to Him by simply letting them touch the hem of His garment (34-36). POINTS TO PONDER * The unlawful marriage of Herod that led to John’s death * Two miracles that demonstrate Jesus’ power over nature * The inverse relationship between fear and faith REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The death of John the Baptist - Mt 14:1-12 - Jesus feeds the five thousand - Mt 14:13-21 - Jesus walks on the sea - Mt 14:22-33 - Jesus heals many in Gennesaret - Mt 14:34-36 2) Who did Herod think Jesus was when he heard about Him? (1-2) - John the Baptist, risen from the dead 3) What led to Herod’s arrest of John the Baptist? (3-4) - John’s rebuke of Herod’s unlawful marriage to Herodias 
     (cf. Mk 6:17-18)

4) How was Herod tricked to have John beheaded? (6-10)
   - By Salome’s dance, Herod’s foolish oath, and Herodias’ prompting

5) When Jesus heard of John’s death, what did He try to do? What
   happened? (13)
   - Go to a deserted place; the multitudes followed Him

6) What prompted Jesus to heal the sick and feed the hungry? (14-15)
   - His compassion for them

7) How many were fed, and with what?  (16-21)
   - 5000 men, besides women and children; five loaves and two fish

8) As Jesus walked on the sea, what led to Peter sinking? (25-31)
   - Fear, which Jesus attributed to little faith

9) How were the sick in the land of Gennesaret healed? (34-36)
   - As many as touched the hem of Jesus’ garment

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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Fort Hood and the Quran by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Fort Hood and the Quran

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan “cleaned out his apartment, gave leftover frozen broccoli to one neighbor and called another to thank him for his friendship—common courtesies and routines of the departing soldier” (Baker and Blackledge, 2009). Shortly thereafter, he opened up on his fellow Fort Hood soldiers, killing 14 (a pregnant mother was among those killed) and wounding many others. Mainstream media outlets, and even some Muslim groups, were quick to assure Americans that the incident had nothing to do with Hasan’s religious views (“U.S. Muslims...,” 2009; “Military Experts...,” 2009; Brown, 2009).
This almost irrational refusal to link terrorism with Islam is apparently widespread even among mainstream Muslims (“U.S. Muslims...,” 2009). Nevertheless, some Muslims appear a little more willing to entertain the possibility that perhaps Islam and the Quran are responsible for the terrorists’ behavior: “For too long, we Muslims have been sticking fingers in our ears and chanting ‘Islam means peace’ to drown out the negative noise from our holy book. Far better to own up to it” (Manji, p. 78).
Own up to it, indeed. It may well be true that the vast majority of Muslims disapprove of the wanton acts of violence by Islamic terrorists happening around the globe. But the Quran—the holy book of Islam that 1.3 billion Muslims believe to be the word of God—is replete with explicit and implicit sanction and promotion of armed conflict, violence, and bloodshed by Muslims. Difficult to believe? Then read for yourself the following sections of the Quran from the celebrated translation by Muslim scholar Mohammed Pickthall:
Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens. That (is the ordinance). And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but (thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain (Surah 47:4, emp. added).
Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers. The forbidden month for the forbidden month, and forbidden things inretaliation. And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is with those who ward off (evil) (Surah2:190-194, emp. added).
Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not. They question thee (O Muhammad) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great (transgression), but to turn (men) from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel his people thence, is a greater with Allah; for persecution is worse that killing. And they will not cease from fighting against you till they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can (Surah 2:216-217, emp. added).
Muhammad was informed that warfare was prescribed for him! Though he may have hated warfare, it was actually good for him, and what he loved, i.e., non-warfare, was actually bad for him! And though under normal circumstances, fighting is not appropriate during sacred months, killing was warranted against those who sought to prevent Muslims from practicing their religion. Killing is better than being persecuted! A similar injunction states: “Sanction is given unto those who fightbecause they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory” (Surah 22:39, emp. added). In fact, “Allah loveth those who battle for His cause in ranks, as if they were a solid structure” (Surah 61:4, emp. added).
In a surah titled “Repentance” that issues stern measures to be taken against idolaters, the requirement to engage in carnal warfare is apparent:
Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty: Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His guidance). And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve. Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfill their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him). Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (Surah 9:1-5, emp. added).
The ancient Muslim histories elaborate on the occasion of these admonitions: “[T]he idolaters were given four months’ respite to come and go as they pleased in safety, but after that God and His Messenger would be free from any obligation towards them. War was declared upon them, and they were to be slain or taken captive wherever they were found” (Lings, 1983, p. 323).
Later in the same surah, “Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low” (Surah 9:29, emp. added). “Those who have been given the Scripture” is a reference to Jews and Christians. The surah advocates coercion against Jews and Christians in order to physically force them to pay the jizyah—a special religious tax imposed on religious minorities (see Nasr, 2002, p. 166). Muslim translator Mohammed Pickthall explained the historical setting of this quranic utterance: “It signified the end of idolatry in Arabia. The Christian Byzantine Empire had begun to move against the growing Muslim power, and this Surah contains mention of a greater war to come, and instructions with regard to it” (p. 145). Indeed, the final verse of Surah 2 calls upon Allah to give Muslims “victory over the disbelieving folk” (vs. 286), rendered by Rodwell: “give us victory therefore over the infidel nations.” That this stance by the Quran was to be expected is evident from the formulation of the Second Pledge of Aqabah, in which the men pledged their loyalty and their commitment to protecting Muhammad from all opponents. This pledge included duties of war, and was taken only by the males. Consequently, the First Aqabah pact, which contained no mention of war, became known as the “pledge of the women” (Lings, p. 112).
Additional allusions to warfare in the Quran are seen in the surah, “The Spoils,” dated in the second year of the Hijrah (A.D. 623), within a month after the Battle of Badr:
And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah.... If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them.... And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s purpose). Lo! theycannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horsestethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others beside them whom ye know not.... O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty stedfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred stedfast they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence.... It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise. Had it not been for an ordinance of Allah which had gone before, an awful doom had come upon you on account of what ye took. Now enjoy what ye have won, as lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (Surah 8:39,57,59-60,65,67-69, emp. added; cf. 33:26).
Muslim scholar Pickthall readily concedes the context of these verses:
vv. 67-69 were revealed when the Prophet had decided to spare the lives of the prisoners taken at Badr and hold them to ransom, against the wish of Omar, who would have executed them for their past crimes. The Prophet took the verses as a reproof, and they are generally understood to mean that no quarter ought to have been given in that first battle (p. 144, emp. added).
So the Quran indicates that at the Battle of Badr, no captives should have been taken. The enemy should have been completely slaughtered, with no quarter given. This very fate awaited the Jewish Bani Qurayzah, when some 700 men were beheaded by the Muslims with Muhammad’s approval (Lings, p. 232). Likewise, members of a clan of the Bani Nadir were executed in Khaybar for concealing their treasure rather than forfeiting it to the Muslims (Lings, p. 267).
Another surah describes how allowances respecting the daily prayers were to be made for Muhammad’s Muslim warriors when engaged in military action:
And when ye go forth in the land, it is no sin for you to curtail (your) worship if ye fear that those who disbelieve may attack you. In truth the disbelievers are an open enemy to you. And when thou (O Muhammad) art among them and arrangest (their) worship for them, let only a party of them stand with thee (to worship) and let them take their arms. Then when they have performed their prostrations let them fall to the rear and let another party come that hath not worshipped and let them worship with thee, and let them take their precaution and their arms. Those who disbelieve long for you to neglect your arms and your baggage that they may attack you once for all. It is no sin for you to lay aside your arms, if rain impedeth you or ye are sick. But take your precaution. Lo! Allah prepareth for the disbelievers shameful punishment. When ye have performed the act of worship, remember Allah, standing, sitting and reclining. And when ye are in safety, observe proper worship. Worship at fixed hours hath been enjoined on the believers. Relent not in pursuit of the enemy (Surah 4:101-104, emp. added; cf. 73:20).
These verses show that the Quran implicitly endorses armed conflict and war to advance Islam.
Muslim historical sources themselves report the background details of those armed conflicts that have characterized Islam from its inception—including Muhammad’s own warring tendencies involving personal participation in and endorsement of military campaigns (cf. Lings, pp. 86,111). Muslim scholar Pickthall’s own summary of Muhammad’s war record is an eye-opener: “The number of the campaigns which he led in person during the last ten years of his life is twenty-seven, in nine of which there was hard fighting. The number of the expeditions which he planned and sent out under other leaders is thirty-eight” (n.d., p. xxvi).
What a contrast with Jesus—Who never once took up the sword or encouraged anyone else to do so! The one time that one of His close followers took it upon himself to do so, the disciple was soundly reprimanded and ordered to put the sword away, with the added warning: “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Indeed, when Pilate quizzed Jesus regarding His intentions, He responded: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36)—the very opposite of the Aqabah pact. And whereas the Quran boldly declares, “And one who attacks you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you” (Surah 2:194; cf. 22:60), Jesus counters, “But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” and “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:39,44). The New Testament record presents a far higher, more noble and godly ethic on the matter of violence and armed conflict. In fact, the following verses demonstrate how irrevocably deep the chasm is between the Quran and the New Testament on this point:
[L]ove your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? (Matthew 5:44-46).
But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:27-36).
What an amazing contrast! The New Testament says to love, bless, do good to, and pray for those who persecute you. The Quran says that “persecution is worse than killing” (Surah 2:217)—i.e., it is better to kill your persecutors than to endure their persecutions!
The standard Muslim attempt to justify the Quran’s endorsement of violence is that such violence was undertaken in self-defense (e.g., Surah 42:41). Consider the following Muslim explanation:
At the time when this surah (Surah 2—DM) was revealed at Al-Madinah, the Prophet’s own tribe, the pagan Qureysh at Mecca, were preparing to attack the Muslims in their place of refuge. Cruel persecution was the lot of Muslims who had stayed in Meccan territory or who journeyed thither, and Muslims were being prevented from performing the pilgrimage. The possible necessity of fighting had been foreseen in the terms of the oath, taken at Al-Aqabah by the Muslims of Yathrib before the Flight, to defend the Prophet as they would their own wives and children, and the first commandment to fight was revealed to the Prophet before his flight from Mecca; but there was no actual fighting by the Muslims until the battle of Badr. Many of them were reluctant, having before been subject to a rule of strict non-violence. It was with difficulty that they could accept the idea of fighting even inself-defence [sic].... (Pickthall, p. 33, emp. added).
Apart from the fact that the claim that Muhammad’s advocacy of fighting was justifiable on the ground of self-defense is contrary to the historical facts (since the wars waged by Muhammad and the territorial expansion of Islam achieved by his subsequent followers cannot all be dismissed as defensive), this explanation fails to come to grips with the propriety of shedding of blood and inflicting violence—regardless of the reason. Muslim scholar Seyyed Nasr seems unconscious of the inherent self-contradiction apparent in his own remark:
The spread of Islam occurred in waves. In less than a century after the establishment of the first Islamic society in Medina by the Prophet, Arab armies had conquered a land stretching from the Indus River to France and brought with them Islam, which, contrary to popular Western conceptions, was not, however, forced on the people by the sword(2003, p. 17, emp. added).
In other words, Muslim armies physically conquered—by military force and bloodshed—various nations, forcing the population to submit to Muslim rule, but did not require them to become Muslims! One suspects that, at the time, the distinction escaped the citizens of those conquered countries, even as it surely does the reader.
True Christianity (i.e., that which is based strictly on the New Testament) dictates peace and non-retaliatory promotion of itself. The “absolute imperative” (Rahman, 1979, p. 22) of Islam is thesubmission/conversion of the whole world. In stark contrast, the absolute imperative of New Testament Christianity is the evangelism of the whole world, i.e., the dissemination of the message of salvation—whether people embrace it or not (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47). Absolutely no coercion is admissible from the Christian (i.e., New Testament) viewpoint. The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and all other violent activities undertaken in the name of Christ and Christianity have been in complete conflict with the teaching of the New Testament. The perpetrators acted without the authority and sanction of Christ.
Islam seeks to bring the entire world into submission to Allah and the Quran—even using jihad, coercion, and force; Christianity seeks to go into the entire world and to announce the “good news” that God loves every individual, that Jesus Christ died for the sins of everyone, and that He offers salvation, forgiveness, and reconciliation. But, each person has free choice to accept or reject without any retaliation by Christians against those who choose to reject. Jesus taught His disciples, when faced with opposition and resistance, simply to walk away: “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet” (Matthew 10:14). In fact, on one occasion when a Samaritan village was particularly nonreceptive, some of Jesus’ disciples wished to command fire to come down from heaven to consume them! But Jesus rebuked them and said, “‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village” (Luke 9:55). Muhammad and the Quran stand in diametrical opposition to Jesus and the New Testament.
If the majority of Muslims were violent, that would not prove that Islam is a religion of violence. The vast majority of those who claim to be “Christian” are practicing a corrupted form of the Christian faith. So the validity of any religion is determined ultimately not by the imperfect, inaccurate practice of the religion by even a majority of its adherents, but by the official authority or standard upon which it is based, i.e., its Scriptures. The present discussion in the world regarding whether or not jihad includes physical force in the advancement of Islam is ultimately irrelevant (cf. Nasr, 2002, pp. 256-266). The Quran unquestionably endorses violence, war, and armed conflict. No wonder the Muslims who perpetrated suicide bombings, America’s 9/11, and yes, the Fort Hood massacre, manifest a maniacal, reckless abandon in their willingness to die by sacrificing their lives in order to kill as many “infidels” (especially Israelis, Brits, and Americans) as possible. They have read the following:
Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks.... Andthose who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain. He will guide them and improve their state, and bring them in unto the Garden [Paradise—DM] which He hath made known to them (Surah 47:4-6, emp. added).
O ye who believe! Be not as those who disbelieved and said of their brethren who went abroad in the land or were fighting in the field: If they had been (here) with us they would not have died or been killed.... And what though ye be slain in Allah’s way or die therein? Surely pardon from Allah and mercy are better than all that they amass. Whatthough ye be slain or die, when unto Allah ye are gathered?.... So those who...fought and were slain, verily I shall remit their evil deeds from them and verily I shall bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow—a reward from Allah (Surah 3:156-158,195, emp. added).
Even if the vast majority of Muslims in the world reject violence and refrain from terrorist activity (which is, seemingly, the case), it is still a fact that the Quran (as well as the example of Muhammad himself!) endorses the advancement of Islam through physical force. While Muslim apologist Seyyed Hossein Nasr insists that “the traditional norms based on peace and openness to others” characterize true Islam and the majority of Muslims, in contradistinction, he freely admits that at times Islam “has been forced to take recourse to physical action in the form of defense” (Nasr, 2002, pp. 112,110). This concession cannot be successfully denied in view of the Quran’s own declarations. Hence, the Muslim is forced to maintain the self-contradictory position that, yes, there have been times that Islam has been properly violent and, yes, the Quran does endorse violence, but, no, most Muslims are not violent, and then only in self-defense. As reprehensible and cowardly as Islamic terrorists have shown themselves to be in recent years, an honest reading of the Quran leads one to believe that they, at least, are more consistent with, and true to, their own Scriptures—as revolting an idea as that may be.


Baker, Mike and Brett J. Blackledge (2009), “Fort Hood Suspect Said His Goodbyes Before Rampage,” The Associated Press, November 6, [On-line], URL:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091106/ap_on_re_us/us_fort_hood_shooting.
Brown, Matthew (2009), “Muslim Organizations Condemn Fort Hood Attack,” The Baltimore Sun, November 6, [On-line], URL:http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/faith/2009/11/nidal_malik_hassan_allahu_akba.html.
Lings, Martin (1983), Muhammad (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International).
Manji, Irshad (2005), “When Denial Can Kill,” Time, 166[4]:78, July 25.
“Military Experts Discuss the Attack at Fort Hood” (2009), New York Post, November 8, [On-line],URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/06/AR2009110602072.html.
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2002), The Heart of Islam (New York: HarperCollins).
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2003), Islam (New York: HarperCollins).
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (no date), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
Rahman, Fazlur (1979), Islam (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition.
Rodwell, J.M., trans. (1950 reprint), The Koran (London: J.M. Dent and Sons).
U.S. Muslims Condemn Attack at Fort Hood” (2009), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), November 5, [On-line], URL: http://www.cair.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?ArticleID=26126&&name=n&&currPage=1.

Babylon the Great Has Fallen by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Babylon the Great Has Fallen

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Babylon was one of the richest cities in the world during the years 740 B.C. to 680 B.C. During these “glory days,” the city prospered like it had the Midas touch; everything it touched seemed to turn to gold. It was located between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers—a strip of land so agriculturally productive that today it is known as the “fertile crescent.”
But its agriculture and well-watered plains were not the reason it was famous. Babylon gained its reputation because of its high, massive walls and its strong defensive battlements. In fact, ancient writers described walls that were 14 miles long on all four sides of the city and that reached heights of over 300 feet—taller than most building today. Not only were the walls long and high, but in some places they also were 75-feet thick. But the wall was not the only form of defense. The Euphrates River surrounded the city, making a perfect moat that ranged anywhere from 65 to 250 feet across. This wall/moat combination appeared to make the city unconquerable.
Yet in spite of the strong military and defensive strength of the city, God’s prophets foretold its destruction. In Jeremiah 50:9, the prophet declared that God would “raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country.” This prediction probably seemed unfounded at the time it was made, because none of the countries in the north came close to having enough strength to defeat Babylon. But years after the prophecy, Cyrus, king of the Medo-Persian Empire, mounted a huge force of many different nations and marched southward against Babylon.
The details of the fulfillment are amazing. Jeremiah recorded that God had declared: “I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry” (51:36). Again the prophet foretold: “A drought is against her waters, and they will be dried up. For it is a land of carved images” (50:38). Also, the prophet promised that the Lord had spoken: “I will prepare their feasts; I will make them drunk, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep and not awake” (51:39).
Now listen to the story as history unfolds. The Euphrates River ran underneath the great walls of Babylon. After a siege of two full years, Cyrus was able to divert the river to make it flow into a huge marsh on the western side of the city. By doing this, he “dried up the rivers” of Babylon and provided an easy way for his soldiers to enter under the city walls where the water used to flow. But the Babylonians inside the city had no idea what was taking place. They could have defended the city, but instead they were feasting and getting drunk. Cyrus ordered his men to act like drunken revilers, and by the time the Babylonians knew what had hit them, the city was filled with enemy troops and who ultimately conquered it.
Even though the above circumstances would be enough to prove the accuracy of the prophecy of Jeremiah (and thus the Bible), the prophet’s predictions do not stop there. Chapters 50-51 of Jeremiah’s book are filled with more futuristic condemnations of Babylon, all of which were fulfilled in the smallest detail. Truly, the words spoken by the prophet did come to pass.
Time after time, the Bible has been “dead on” when it has predicted the future. Secular records document the facts about Babylon. So what does this prove? It proves one simple thing—that God Himself inspired the words written between the covers of the Bible. And because that is the case, every human being should welcome the Bible “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

All Clocks Have a Clockmaker by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


All Clocks Have a Clockmaker

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In 1802, William Paley published his famous book Natural Theology, in which he presented the watchmaker analogy. He explained that if a person were to stumble across a well-designed watch in the middle of the woods, the complexity of the watch would be evidence that an intelligent designer made the machine. His analogy is an extension of the more formal teleological argument, which simply states that if there is design in nature, that design demands the existence of a designer. The Hebrews writer used the same line of reasoning when he wrote: “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (3:4).
Cutting-edge biological research has added some fresh insight to this ancient wisdom. Malcolm Ritter recently reported on work done by Akhilesh Reddy of Cambridge University and Joseph Bass of Northwestern University (2011). Their research, published in Nature centers on the built-in clocks that are housed in the cells of the human body. Ritter wrote, “even the cells throughout our body have their own 24-hour clocks to coordinate activities at the cellular level. Now new research suggests these internal timepieces may be more complicated than scientists thought” (2011).
How interesting! Our body is filled with trillions of cells that contain complicated clocks. Man-made clocks are complex and effective. If a person found such a device in the middle of the forest, he would be forced to conclude it was intelligently designed. The same is true of the biological clocks found in the body.


Ritter, Malcom (2011), “Study of Cell ‘Clocks’ Looks at What Makes Us Tick,” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110126/ap_on_sc/us_sci_body_clocks/print.

Afterlife and the Bible by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Afterlife and the Bible
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

We human beings find it very easy to live life as if we will be here forever. On occasion, we come face to face with death when a loved one or friend passes away. But the essence of daily living is such that it is easy to ignore the reality of death and the certainty of existence beyond the grave. Numerous ideas exist in the world regarding life after death—from annihilation to reincarnation. Islam speaks of “paradise” while Catholicism speaks of “purgatory.” While it does not answer all of our questions, the Bible nevertheless speaks definitively and decisively regarding afterlife.
The Bible teaches that human beings are composite creatures. Humans possess a fleshly body that is composed of physical elements made from “the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7). Unlike animals, humans also possess a spiritual dimension—made in God’s own image—that transcends the body and physical life on Earth (Genesis 1:26-27). God places within each prenatal person at conception a spirit that makes each individual a unique personality that will survive physical death, living on immortally throughout eternity (Zechariah 12:1). At death, the spirit separates from the body and exists in a conscious condition in the spirit realm (Genesis 35:18; 1 Kings 17:21-22). Thus the Bible defines “death” as “separation”—not “extinction” or “annihilation” (Thayer, 1901, p. 282; Vine, 1940, p. 276). Since “the body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26), the separation of one’s spirit from one’s body results in the physical death of the body. But what about the spirit?
The clearest depiction of existence beyond physical death is seen in Luke 16:19-31. In this account, both men are said to have died. Wherever Lazarus went, angels transported him there. The rich man’s body was buried—but his person was in Hades where he was tormented in flames. The rich man could see and recognize Lazarus and Abraham. Abraham referred to the rich man’s former existence as “your lifetime.” Abraham made clear that their respective locations were irreversible. The rich man’s brothers still occupied their father’s house on Earth. The rich man’s plea to send Lazarus to his living relatives would require Lazarus to “rise from the dead” (vs. 31).
The term translated “hell” in verse 23 (KJV) is the Greek word hades, and is not to be confused with the term gehenna. “Gehenna” (found twelve times in the New Testament) refers to the place of eternal, everlasting punishment—the “lake of fire” where Satan, his angels, and all wicked people will be consigned after the Second Coming of Jesus and the Judgment. Gehenna is hell. On the other hand, “hades” (occurring ten times in the New Testament and paralleling the Hebrew Old Testament term sheol) always refers to the unseen realm of the dead—the receptacle of disembodied spirits where dead people await the return of the Lord (Revelation 1:18). Hades is not hell.
Observe further that Luke 16 depicts Hades as including two regions: one for the deceased righteous, and a second for the deceased wicked. The former is referred to as the “bosom of Abraham” (meaning “near” or “in the presence of ” Abraham—cf. John 1:18). Jesus referred to this location as “paradise” (Luke 23:43; cf. Acts 2:25-34). The term “paradise” is of Persian derivation, and referred to “a grand enclosure or preserve, hunting-ground, park, shady and well-watered” (Thayer, 1901, p. 480). The Jews used the term as “a garden, pleasure-ground, grove, park,” and came to apply it to that portion of Hades that was thought “to be the abode of the souls of the pious until the resurrection” (p. 480). The word is used in three senses in the Bible: (1) In the Septuagint (Genesis 2:8,9,10,15,16; 3:2,3,4,9,11,24,25), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, it refers to the literal Garden of Eden on Earth where Adam and Eve lived (Septuagint, 1970, pp. 3-5). It normally is translated “garden” in English versions; (2) It is used one time, in a highly figurative New Testament book, to refer to the final abode of the saved, i.e., heaven (Revelation 2:7); and (3) It is used in connection with the Hadean realm.
While Jesus, the thief, and Lazarus went to the paradise portion of Hades, the rich man went to the unpleasant area that entailed torment and flame—tartarosas, or Tartarus (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). The occupants there await “the judgment of the great day.” Thus, Hades is a temporary realm that will be terminated at the Judgment (Revelation 20:13-14).
God gives people only their earthly life to prepare their spirits for their eternal abode (Hebrews 9:27). When a person dies, his or her body goes into the grave, while the spirit enters the Hadean realm to await the final Judgment. At the Second Coming of Christ, all spirits will come forth from Hades and be resurrected in immortal bodies (John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:35-54). All will then face God in judgment, receive the pronouncement of eternal sentence, and be consigned to heaven or hell for eternity.
[NOTE: For an audio sermon on this topic, click here.]


Septuagint Version of the Old Testament (1970 reprint), (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Thayer, J.H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
Vine, W.E. (1966 reprint), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).

Did Jesus Go to Hell? Did He Preach to Spirits in Prison? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Did Jesus Go to Hell? Did He Preach to Spirits in Prison?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

A significant misconception that has prevailed through the centuries within Christendom has been the idea that Jesus went to hell after His crucifixion, prior to His resurrection. The creedal statements of historic Christianity are largely responsible for generating this notion. For example, the Apostles’ Creed affirmed belief in Jesus on the following terms: “Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried; He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead” (emp. added). The Athanasian Creed states: “He suffered death for our salvation. Hedescended into hell and rose again from the dead” (emp. added). “Church Fathers” and Reformers toyed with this viewpoint. John Calvin, in his voluminous Institutes of the Christian Religion, treated the subject at length (1599, II.16.8-12). Calvin cited earlier theologians who agreed with him, including Hilary in his On the Trinity (IV.xlii; III.xv). The renowned medieval Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas, held a similar view (Summa Theol. III. 52. 5). The apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, which dates from the fifth century A.D., claims that Jesus descended into hell and retrieved all the Old Testament saints, including Adam, David, Habakkuk, and Isaiah (see James, 1924, pp. 125ff.).
Further impetus for confusion was generated by the English translations of the 16th and 17thcenturies, due to translator confusion regarding the technical distinctions that exist between the pertinent Greek terms. Specifically, the Greek term hades generally was equated with gehenna.Hades refers to the intermediate state of the dead (disembodied spirits) who are awaiting the Judgment. Gehenna, on the other hand, refers to the location of the final state of the wicked after the Judgment. This confusion culminated in the King James Version’s rendering of hades as “hell” in all ten of its occurrences in the New Testament (Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13,14). Rendering hades as “hell” in Acts 2:27,31 leaves the reader with the impression that when Jesus exited His physical body on the cross, He went to hell. The first English translation to maintain the distinction between hades and gehenna was the English Revised Version and its subsequent American counterpart, the American Standard Version of 1901 (Lewis, 1981, p. 64).
In 1 Peter 3:18-20, a most curious reference appears on the surface to be an affirmation that Jesus descended into the spirit realm and preached to deceased people. However, a close consideration of the grammar will clarify the passage. First, the preaching referred to was not done by Jesus in His own person. The text says Jesus did the preaching through the Holy Spirit: “…the Spirit, by whom…” (v. 18-19). [“My Spirit” (Genesis 6:3) = the Spirit of God = the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 2:17).] Other passages confirm that Jesus was said to do things that He actually did through the instrumentality of others (John 4:1-2; Ephesians 2:17). Nathan charged King David: “You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword” (2 Samuel 12:9), when, in fact, David had ordered it done by another. Elijah accused Ahab of killing Naboth, using the words, “Have you murdered and also taken possession?” (1 Kings 21:19), even though his wife, Jezebel, arranged for two other men to accomplish the evil action. Paul said Jesus preached peace to the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:17), when, in fact, Jesus did so through others, since He, Himself, already had returned to heaven when the first Gentiles heard the Gospel (Acts 15:7). So the Bible frequently refers to someone doing something that he, in fact, did through the agency of another person.
In fact, within the book of 1 Peter itself, Peter already had made reference to the fact that the Spirit “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:11). But it was the prophets who did the actual speaking (vs. 10). Then, again in chapter 4, Peter stated that “the gospel was preached also to those who are dead” (1 Peter 4:6). Here were individuals who had the Gospel preached to them while they were alive (“in the flesh”), and who responded favorably by becoming Christians. But then they were “judged according to men in the flesh,” i.e., they were treated harshly and condemned to martyrdom by their contemporaries. At the time Peter was writing, they were “dead,” i.e., deceased and departed from the Earth. But Peter said they “live according to God in the spirit,” i.e., they were alive and well in spirit form in the hadean realm in God’s good graces.
Second, when did Jesus do this preaching through the Holy Spirit? Notice in verse 20, the words “formerly” (NKJV) and “when”—“when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” So the preaching was done in the days of Noah by Jesus through the Holy Spirit Who, in turn, inspired Noah’s preaching (2 Peter 2:5).
Third, why are these people to whom Noah preached said to be “spirits in prison”? Because at the time Peter was writing the words, that is where those people were situated. Those who were drowned in the Flood of Noah’s day descended into the hadean realm, where they continued to reside in Peter’s day. This realm is the same location where the rich man was placed (Luke 16:23), as were the sinning angels (“Tartarus”—2 Peter 2:4). However, Jesus did not go to “prison” or “Tartarus.” He said He went to “Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Fourth, why would Jesus go to hades and preach only to Noah’s contemporaries? Why would He exclude those who died prior to the Flood? What about those who have died since? Since God is no “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11), Jesus would not have singled out Noah’s generation to be the recipients of preaching in the spirit realm.
Fifth, what would have been the content of such preaching? Jesus could not have preached the whole Gospel in its entirety. That Gospel includes the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:4). However, at the time the alleged preaching was supposed to have occurred, Jesus had not yet been raised!
The notion of people being given a second opportunity to hear the Gospel in the afterlife is an extremely dangerous doctrine that is counterproductive to the cause of Christ. Why? It potentially could make people think they can postpone their obedience to the Gospel in this life. Yet the Bible consistently teaches that no one will be permitted a second chance. This earthly life has been provided by God for all human beings to determine where they wish to spend eternity. That decision is made by each individual based upon personal conduct. Once a person dies, his eternal destiny has been cinched. He is “reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4; cf. vss. 9,17). His condition will not and cannot be altered—even by God Himself (Luke 16:25-26; Hebrews 9:27).


Calvin, John (1599), Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (London: Arnold Hatfield).
James, M.R., trans. (1924), The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Lewis, Jack (1981), The English Bible From KJV to NIV (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).