History, Religion, Time, And The "Que Sera, Sera Syndrome" by Allan Turner


History, Religion, Time, And The "Que Sera, Sera Syndrome"

Time and history are inseparable. Historical events are always identified with time: that's just the way we finite creatures do things; it's just natural, we say. But wait a second, are you aware that time is actually a religious concept? You may think I'm kidding, but I assure you I'm not. And even though you may not normally think of time this way, it's true nevertheless.
Whether time is important or unimportant, cyclical or linear, are actually metaphysical and theological convictions. Now hang on for just a few paragraphs and I'll demonstrate what I'm talking about. The concept is an important one and must be understood if we are to throw off the fetters of humanistic thinking.
In our Western culture, time has traditionally been understood as that which comes between Creation and Judgment. As such, time is considered to be linear, that is, a continuum with a beginning and an end. However, in Eastern culture, time is very often thought to be cyclical, that is, a continuum having no beginning or end. To the Eastern mind, history (or events in time) are "particularities" of no real importance. Consequently, the Easter mystic prefers to contemplate the "unity" or "oneness" from which the particularities derive their meaning. Buddha, for example, is always depicted with his eyes closed because, as we have just said, to the Eastern mind there is nothing of any importance to see in events of history, except as they relate to the unity of "the whole." So, there you have it, and whether you have thought about it or not, time is, in fact, a religious concept.
Traditionally, in Western civilization, with its Biblical underpinnings, history (or events in time), contrary to the teaching of Eastern religions, has always been highly valued. It is only recently, as Western civilization continues to move further away from those truths taught in the Bible, that the value of time has been perverted. Modern evolutionary thought (viz., The General Theory of Evolution) is partly to blame for such a perversion. To many evolutionists, time, like matter, is eternal. Such is clearly an Eastern religious viewpoint. Rather than being seen as an arena in which God and His judgments meet the obedience or rebellion of man, history (or time) is seen, by those with this point of view, as the vehicle of salvation. In other words, Evolutionists, like Humanists, Marxists, and others of similar ilk, view history as "the whole show."
Such relativistic views of time always define history as a "closed system." Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd expressed it like so:

History has no windows looking out into eternity. Man is completely enclosed in it and cannot elevate himself to a supra-historical level of contemplation. History is the be-all and end-all of man's existence and of his faculty of experience. And it is ruled by destiny, the inescapable fate.

History, then, has become an absolute in the mind of humanistic man. Values, according to this way of thinking, are nothing more than "historical facts" that chart the course of the development of human reason. This is what Woodrow Wilson meant when he said: "Laws [i.e. codified values] have never altered the facts; laws have always necessarily expressed the facts." In other words, whatever the human sentiments are at any given time become the laws which govern that situation. In accepting the tenents of Humanism, Western man has rejected the "Law above the law" concept. Rejecting the supernatural, Western man has learned to bow himself in devotion to the natural, which includes history. History as the only true absolute has been enthroned as Lord of the universe. Accordingly, Oswald Spengler, in his monumental interpretation of Western civilization, The Decline Of The West, closed his two volume book of doom with this statement:
"We have not the freedom to reach to this or that, but the freedom to do the necessary or to do nothing. And a task that historic necessity has set will be accomplished with the individual or against him."
It is this philosophy, or worldview, that is currently causing our Constitution to be interpreted by jurists who believe law to be nothing more than the sentiments of the moment. For example, back in June 1972, one hundred and eighty-one years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, in Furman vs. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court "discovered" that capital punishment, at least at that time, was perhaps unconstitutional. According to the majority thinking of the court, capital punishment was a violation of the "cruel and unusual punishment" prohibition of the Eighth Amendment. That such an interpretation was clearly erroneous can be seen when one considers that the Sixth Amendment, which was adopted at the same time as the Eighth, mentions "capital, or otherwise infamous crime." Additionally, the same kind of jurists have discovered a "right" to abortion in that same Constitution. But even so, both liberal and conservative constitutional scholars agree that such a right, although it is now the law of the land, is really nothing more than the sentiments of the judges who "discovered" it. The truth is that abortion is no more a constitutional right than was the unthinkable thought among the Founding Fathers that a mother should be allowed to abort her unborn child.
In reality, the Constitution has not changed, only the sentiments of those who interpret it. Just withnin the past few days, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is alleged by some to be one of the "conservative" members of the Supreme Court, has continued to bolster her reputation among knowlegable observers as nothing much more that a fairly accurate mirror of public sentiment. Her rulings on abortion, the recent Michigan affirmative action case, and now the overturning of a 1986 ruling that endorsed the legality of anti-sodomy laws has turned legal logic on its head. Justice O'Connor, who ruled in the affirmative in that 1986 case, has now reversed herself and agreed that the Court's backing of anti-sodomy laws 17 years ago "was not correct when it was decided, and that it is not correct today." Is this true, or simply O'Connor's—and the other justices who voted with her—reflection of evolving public sentiment? Obviously, the June 26, 2003 "Ban on gay sex struck down" ruling, as it was called in the front page headline of The Cincinnati Enquirer on June 27, reflects nothing much more than the evolving public sentiment that has now signed on to the homosexual agenda. (For some thoughts on this agenda, see "Homophobia" And The Homosexual Agenda.) According to Roger Pilon, who is vice president for legal affairs at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC, liberals see "The Constitution [as] largely an empty vessel to be filled by transient majorities in the legislature or by socially enlightened justices on the Supreme Court," He says, "Liberals see the court in large measure as one more political body [and] they judge the court according to whether it's carrying out their political agenda" (quoted in the cover article in World On The Web, June 5, 2003, Volume 18, Number 26, click here to read).
Homosexuality, traditionally thought to be a perversity in Western society, is now being touted as a "viable alternate lifestyle." The growing sentiment in favor of the homosexual is currently being translated into law. Regardless of what state laws say, homosexual activity is a "right" protected by the Constitution. Time has evolved public sentiment into acceptance of homosexuality. Therefore, history, the Lord of the universe, now demands that the highest law of the land reflect that sentiment. Each day our society enforces some new sentiment. Even the family, the very backbone of our society, is currently being redefined. The traditional family, we are being told by the social engineers, is a relic of the past and must be eliminated in favor of something more modern. Reflecting on this very thing, Justice Scalia, writing for Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the case mentioned above, predicted the ruling will mark the "end of all morals legislation" and will leave traditional marriage laws on "pretty shaky grounds." In other words, as a country, we stand on the verge of legalizing homosexual marriages.
It's disturbing isn't it? Yes, it is. And you may be asking yourself, can we really do any thing about it? My friend, listen to me, and listen closely! When we start asking this question, our enemy is very close to winning the battle. He's about to win because he has cunningly seduced us. For instance, when we mention traditional values or speak of the way things used to be, we frequently hear someone say, "You can't turn back the clock," or "You're just going to have to learn to adapt to the times." People who think this way view history as a closed system that's moving in an inevitable direction. To them, the values of the past represent archaic, out-dated thinking, while current trends are identified as modern (inevitable) thinking. To these who bow at the totem of history, historical trends must not be challenged. This "Que Sera, Sera Syndrome" (i.e. "what will be, will be") uses time as a very seductive metaphor, and if we are not careful, those of us who wouldn't think of bowing to history as the Lord of the universe can be trapped into believing a shrewdly devised deception.
Let me explain what I mean. When we speak of the destruction of traditional values and declining morality, instead of allowing the enemy to trick us into using a time metaphor, we should be insisting on the use of a space metaphor. For instance, if one were attempting to follow a road to a desired destination and came to a detour in the road, and upon taking that detour found himself up to his neck in muck and mire, but because he believed "One can't turn back the clock," he continued on until he disappeared under the ooze and slime, we would certainly think that person a fool.
So, what's my point? By now, I think you know what it is. America has taken a detour and has become bogged down in the muck and mire of Hedonism, Materialism, and Humanism. America doesn't need to be trying to return to some past that never really existed. What America needs to be doing is getting on the right road again. We must understand, therefore, the spiritual and religious aspects of the current problem. Americans must once again learn to think of time (history) as the arena in which God and His judgments meet the obedience or rebellion of man. Let us all examine ourselves, making sure we are, indeed, thinking biblically.

“Homophobia” And The Homosexual Agenda by Allan Turner


“Homophobia” And The Homosexual Agenda

By Allan Turner

This article was written while preaching in Louisville, KY more than a few years ago. It documents the gay rights activists (GRA)that has become so prevalent today, showing the process of how we got to where we are today. The warning sign shown above represents the GRA's effort to mark "homophobia," as they call it, a dangerous thing.
Over the past one hundred years, homosexuality has traveled the road from criminality, immorality, illness, and, finally, to an “alternate life-style.” The real breakthrough for homosexuals in this century can be traced back thirty or so years to Great Britain's legalization of private consensual homosexuality. Although homosexuals would have to admit that this was certainly a triumph for tolerance, mere tolerance is not enough for them. Tolerance still implies deviance; therefore, the aim of homosexuals in recent years has been to go beyond tolerance to legitimacy. Our current situation, of course, testifies to just how successful they have been.
Political militancy on behalf of homosexuals in this country can be traced to three days of confrontation in June of 1969 between the police and homosexuals in New York's Greenwich Village. The confrontation started when the police raided a “gay bar” called the Stonewall Inn. Now the so-called Stonewall Riots are commemorated each year by what has come to be identified as “Gay Pride Week” or “Gay Pride Month,” raucously celebrated in most of our major cities with parades and demonstrations.
To the politically militant homosexuals, and their supporters in the liberal media, homosexual behavior is not a perversion; it is, instead, a constitutional issue, i.e., a matter of basic human and civil rights. They have been encouraged and supported in their brashness by America's Intelligentsia, who have said: “In areas of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. While we do not approve of exploitative, denigrating froms of sexual expression, neither do we wish to prohibit, by law or social sanction, sexual behavior between consenting adults. The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered `evil.' Short of harming others or compelling them to do likewise, individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their life-styles as they desire” (Humanist Manifesto II).
Furthermore, both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association have championed the cause of homosexuality by passing resolutions favorable to homosexuals. Back in 1975, the American Psychological Association released a statement which said: “The governing body of the American Psychological Association today voted to oppose discrimination against homosexuals and to support the recent action by the American Psychiatric Association, which moved homosexuality from the Association's official list of mental disorders.” It went on to say: “Homosexuality per se implies no impairment of judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities. Further, the American Psychological Association urges all mental health professionals to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientations” (News release of the American Psychological Association, January 24, 1975). This, of course, is not a scientific statement; it is, instead, a political statement that is totally speculative and opinionated.
Politically militant homosexuals (they call themselves “gay rights activists” [GRA]) are highly mobilized in our society. According to the current GRA's propaganda machine, anyone with an aversion to homosexuality is “abnormal.” We ought not to be surprised that back in the 1970s, the first item on the research agenda of the Task Force on the Status of Lesbian and Gay Male Psychologists of the American Psychological Association was the “Nature and Meaning of Homophobia” (“Removing the Stigma,” Final Report of the Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology's Task Force on the Status of Lesbian and Gay Male Psychologists, American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., 1979). This newly coined word, always used in a negative sense, constitutes the counterpart of “gay.” All that has been said positively about “gay” is repeated in a negative way about “homophobia.” If being “gay” is the condition of accepting and affirming joyfully the fact that one is a homosexual, “homophobia” means rejecting such a condition. To those who promote the value of homosexuality, “homophobia” is a most loathsome malady which must be cured. Incidentally, when they speak of “homophobia” in social terms as a form of discrimination, it is something to be eliminated from society; and when they speak of it in religious terms as a sin, it is something that must be repented of.
According to the GRA propaganda machine, a symptom of the illness, social disorder, or sin of “homophobia” is a strong revulsion to homosexual activities as they are being displayed in public areas and parks, where citizens complain of acts of sodomy being performed by naked men both at night and in broad-open daylight. You know you have this disorder when you go into a public rest room and are repelled to see homosexual acts being engaged in while others watch. You know you are a “homophobe” if you are afraid for your small boy to use the public rest rooms because the urinals and toilets are frequented by loitering homosexuals. That these kinds of activities actually occur is substantiated by the Dallas Police Department's Vice Control Division, which has reported fifteen to twenty arrests in just a one hour period on numerous occasions at the city's Northpark. In cities where the police still try to enforce the law against sodomy, the Dallas Police statistics are not unusual. Much to our dismay, a couple of years ago here in Louisville one of these homosexual toilet loiterers was discovered to be none other than a gospel preacher. If such disgusts you, then you can be sure that you are a “homophobe,” who, according to the defenders of homosexuality, needs to get cured, be socialized, or repent, as the case may be.
The GRA and those who support them are making an all-out bid to completely reverse the moral and religious considerations that have made homosexuality the ugly sin it really is. According to the GRA propaganda machine, all moral and religious considerations in the gay rights issue must be “discredited,” and must be identified as “perpetrating social injustices against homosexuals” (Homosexuality and Social Justice," SIECUS Report, Vol. XI, No. 3 [January 1983], pp. 1-4).
One of the most absurd efforts ever made to “discredit” the religious considerations concerning homosexuality was expounded by John Boswell in his much extolledChristianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality. In addressing himself to the obvious Biblical condemnation of homosexuality found in Romans, Chapter One, Boswell unashamedly wrote: “...The persons whom Paul condemns are manifestly not homosexual: what he derogates are homosexual acts committed by apparently heterosexual persons. The whole point of Romans 1, in fact, is to stigmatize persons who have rejected their calling, and gotten off the true path they were once on. It would completely undermine the thrust of the argument if the persons in question were not “naturally” inclined to the opposite sex in the same way they were naturally inclined to monotheism... It is not clear that Paul distinguished in his thoughts or writings between gay persons (in the sense of permanent sexual preference) and heterosexuals who simply engaged in periodic homosexual behavior... Paul did not discuss gay persons but only homosexual acts committed by heterosexual persons” (p. 109).
According to the homosexual agenda, Christianity, “by its moral teaching on the intrinsic evil of homosexuality,...is a conspirator in the violence perpetrated against gay men and lesbian women who are senselessly discriminated against within the public sector” (Report of the Task Force on Gay/Lesbian Issues, Commission of Social Justice, Archdiocese of San Francisco, October 24, 1979). Currently, every effort is being made by the GRA to destroy not just the morals we have traditionally believed in, but the very religion we practice.

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Twenty by Mark Copeland

                        "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 - Mt20:17-19
   - 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

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Nineteen by Mark Copeland

                        "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

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Eighteen by Mark Copeland

                        "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, Lk17:3-4

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

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Seventeen by Mark Copeland

                        "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

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Sixteen by Mark Copeland

                        "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 - Mt16:1-12
   - 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. Mt18:18)
   - 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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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Fifteen by Mark Copeland

                        "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

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"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Chapter Fourteen by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                            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).


   *  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


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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What is the Jewish Talmud? by Alden Bass


What is the Jewish Talmud?

by Alden Bass

“Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”—’then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me, teaching as doctrine the traditions of men’ ” (Matthew 15:3-9).
In interpreting the Law of Moses, the Pharisees overstepped their bounds by inserting the traditions of their fathers in place of God’s holy law, and were summarily condemned by the Lord for their actions. Though Jesus preached against this Pharisaical traditionalism throughout His earthly ministry, the Judaism practiced today is based almost exclusively upon it. What Jesus called the “traditions of men” is now known as “rabbinicalism,” and is grounded firmly in the extrabiblical writings of the Talmud.
The Jews believe that two laws were given to Moses—the written and the oral. Both were given to Moses by God at Sinai: the written was engraved on stone tablets, and penned by Moses shortly before his death (Deuteronomy 31:9-13), while the oral was revealed in the conversation between God and the great Lawgiver on the mountain. This second body of law was passed from Moses to Joshua, from Joshua to the Israelite elders, and then from generation to generation as the ages passed. Each generation of teachers “expanded” on this law, which eventually became quite extensive, and added much unnecessary legislation to God’s already adequate laws. It was this orally transmitted law that was advanced and defended by many of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day (Matthew 15:1-2), and then used in their attempts to restrict Him from certain activities on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6). The Jews found justification for the oral law in Exodus 20:1 (“And Godspoke all these words…”), although this interpretation of the passage is contrived at best.
After the destruction of Jerusalem and the Bar-Kokhba rebellion in the first century A.D., the rabbis who were familiar with the oral law were few in number, and it was feared that there would not be enough Jews left to pass on the great traditions. To remedy this potential problem, Rabbi Judah the Prince set out to organize and record the oral law into a formal body of written law in A.D. 166 (Telushkin, 1991). The oral law, now called the Mishna, was methodically organized. Formerly, if a question arose about the Sabbath, a search would be made in all five books of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), and scattered references would be collected. This was time-consuming and impractical during the time when books were rare, and so Rabbi Judah organized and grouped all related passages into topical sections, along with the interpretations, opinions, and precedents that characterized the oral traditions. Thus the Mishnah, the codified oral law, consists of 63 “tractates” relating to every aspect of Jewish life.
To illustrate the differences in the two types of law, contrast these passages from the Torah and the Mishna. The Torah declares: “Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day.” This was practiced in a literal fashion for centuries (with the Jews probably sitting around in the cold and dark from Friday night until Saturday evening), until the scribes and Pharisees came along with their new interpretation. These learned men declared that it was acceptable to have lights on the Sabbath, so long as they were kindled before the Sabbath began, and not touched until after the Sabbath ended. This interpretation led to all sorts of little regulations to guard people from accidentally touching the lamp on the Sabbath. One of these was the Mishna regulation “one shall not read by the lamplight”—the reason being, if one were reading by the lamp, one might be tempted to adjust the light, and thereby violate the original commandment (see Browne, 1933, pp. 181ff.).
As the Jewish teachers continued to study and debate the fine points of the Mishna, a body of scholarly commentary grew, which subsequently was called the Gemara. This commentary was combined with the Mishna, and referred to as the Talmud. There are two works that fall under this appellation, labeled by their place of origin: the Babylonian Talmud, and the Jerusalem Talmud. The latter is less intact, and was completed c. A.D. 350, while the former and more respected of the two was completed c. A.D. 550. Today, only one manuscript survives: the Munish manuscript of 1342. These books are of tremendous size, comprising about 6,000 pages in today’s modern print. Alfred Edersheim, noted Jewish scholar, defined the Talmud in this way:
If we imagine something combining law reports, a Rabbinical “Hansard,” and notes of a theological debating club—all thoroughly Oriental, full of digressions, anecdotes, quaint sayings, fancies, legends, and too often of what, from its profanity, superstition, and even obscenity, could scarcely be quoted, we may form some general idea of what the Talmud is (1972, p. 103).
The Talmud is intended to do more than simply restate the law; the material is meant to connect the laws to everyday life, and to give practical instruction. The Talmud presents the opinions of the scholars, and presents their debates over each topic, no matter how mundane or inane. Its purpose was to complement the Torah, but it came to supplement (if not displace) it. Note the tediousness and absurdity of the following rabbinic debate:
Rabbah [a Babylonian scholar] said [that one should not read by the lamplight] even if it be placed [far out of reach, say] the height from the ground of two men, or two stories, or even on top of ten houses, one above the other.
[That is] “one may not read.” But it does not say two may not read together, [for then one can guard the other against snuffing the wick]. Against this supposition, however, there is a tradition that “neither one nor two together” [may read].
Said Rabbi Elazar: “There is no contradiction here. The Mishna allows [two people to read together] so long as they read the same subject. But the tradition [forbids it only if] they are reading different subjects…” (Browne, 1933, pp. 182-183, emp. in orig.).
And so it goes, on and on…
Such Socratic, rambling dialogue is common in the Talmud, and many examples could be cited. Strong and McClintock remarked:
Abounding, moreover, in fantastic trifles and Rabbinical reveries, it must appear almost incredible that any sane man could exhibit such acumen and such ardor in the invention of those unintelligible comments, in those nice scrupulosities, and those ludicrous chimeras which the rabbins have solemnly published to the world… (1970, 10:168).
Underlying the Talmud is the assumption of the perfection of the Mishna, giving this book of human origin a sanctity almost equal to that of the Bible (Douglas, 1991, p. 808). This became necessary for the survival of Judaism after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, since much of the Old Law revolved around the Temple. After the House of God was destroyed and the Jews scattered, Judaism essentially had to be rewritten. Observe in this excerpt the great respect given to the traditions, compared to the law in the Talmud:
The spirit of the Talmudic process is expressed in a tale in tractate Baba Meziah. Rabbi Eliezer, a proponent of unchanging tradition—“a well-lined cistern that doesnt lose a drop,” as his teacher characterized him—was engaged in a legal disputation with his colleagues. “He brought all the reasons in the world,” but the majority would not accept his view. Said Rabbi Eliezer, “If the law is as I hold it to be, let this tree prove it,” and the tree uprooted itself a hundred amma, but they said, “Proof cannot be brought from a tree.” Rabbi Eliezer persisted, saying, “Let these waters determine it,” and the waters began to flow backwards, but his colleagues responded that waters cannot determine the law. Once again Rabbi Eliezer tried, asking the walls of the study house to support him. They began to totter, whereupon the spokesman for the majority, Rabbi Joshua, admonished them, “when rabbis are engaged in legal discussion what right have ye to interfere!” So the walls did not fall in respect for Rabbi Joshua, nor did they return to their upright position, in respect for Rabbi Eliezer-and “they remain thus to this day!” But Rabbi Eliezer would not surrender and cried out: “Let Heaven decide.” A voice was heard from Heaven saying: “Why do ye dispute with Rabbi Eliezer; the law is always as he says it to be.” Whereupon Rabbi Joshua arose and proclaimed, quoting Scripture, “It is not in Heaven!” Rabbi Jeremiah explained, “The Law was given at Sinai and we no longer give heed to heavenly voices, for in that Law it is stated: ‘One follows the majority.’ ” God’s truth, divine law, is not determined by miracles or heavenly voices, but by the collegium of rabbis, men learned in the law, committed to the law and expert in its application to the life of the pious community (“The Talmud,” 2003).
Despite the tedious legalese illustrated above, the Talmud does offer pieces of wisdom and learning. “Be thou the cursed, not he who curses.” “The soldiers fight, and the kings are called the heroes.” “The passions are not all evil, for were it not for them, no one would build a house, marry a wife, beget children, or do any work.” One third of the book consists of “clever fables and quaint legends and amusing proverbs” like those mentioned above, and is the essential source for all Jewish culture.
Today, Jews accept the Talmud in many different ways. An old joke says that if you put ten Jews in a room together you’ll get eleven different opinions on it. The Orthodox Jews basically accept the Talmud as authoritative, while the more liberal Reformed Jews reject most of the legislation. Conservatives fall somewhere in between. Nonetheless, it is accepted by all Jews as an important body of tradition and lore.
The Christian can learn a great lesson from this discussion about the dangers of adding to God’s Word. In the case of the Jews, what began as small footnotes to the Word became a body of literature all its own—a body that now possess as much authority in some minds as the written law of God. While there is always a place for scholarly examination and reference in personal Bible study, we must be careful never to accept “as doctrine the commandments of men.”
[The Talmud can be found on-line at http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm]


Edersheim, Alfred (1972), The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).
Browne, Lewis (1933), Stranger than Fiction (New York: Macmillan).
Douglas, J.D., ed. (1991), New 20th-Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Grand Rapids: Baker).
“The Talmud” (2003), Jewish Virtual Library [On-line], URL: http://jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/loc/Talmud.html.
Telushkin, Joseph (1991), Talmud/Mishna/Gemara [Reprinted at Jewish Virtual Library], [On-line], URL: http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Judaism/talmud_&_mishna.html.
M’Clintock, John and James Strong (1970), Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids: Baker).

Why Didn't Adam Die Immediately? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Why Didn't Adam Die Immediately?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the Garden of Eden, the Lord delivered a single, solemn prohibition to man. God commanded Adam saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17, emp. added). The tree of the knowledge of good and evil that stood in the midst of the Garden was off limits to Adam and Eve. God prophesied that disobedience on their part would bring death “in the day” it was eaten. However, the Genesis text does not reveal an instantaneous physical death on the part of the first sinners. Adam lived a total of 930 years (Genesis 5:5), and the text indicates that most of those occurred after the transgression in the Garden of Eden (see Thompson, 2002, pp. 44-46). Is such consistent with Genesis 2:16-17? Was God mistaken in saying, “in the day that you eat of it [the fruit—EL] you shall surely die”? Why is it that Adam did not drop dead the very day he ate the forbidden fruit?
For Genesis 2:17 to represent a legitimate contradiction, one first would have to assume that the phrase “in the day…you shall surely die” must refer to an immediate death occurring on the very day a certain transgression has taken place. The available evidence shows, however, that the Hebrew idiom bªyôm (“in the day”) means the certainty of death, and not the immediacy of it. For example, King Solomon once warned a subversive Shimei: “For it shall be, on the day (bªyôm) you go out and cross the Brook Kidron, know for certain you shall surely die; your blood shall be on your own head” (1 Kings 2:37, emp. added). As the next few verses indicate, Shimei could not have been executed on the exact day he crossed the Brook Kidron. Solomon did not call for him until after Shimei had saddled his donkey, went to king Achish at Gath, sought and retrieved his slaves, and returned home (approximately a 50-60 mile round trip). It is logical to conclude that this would have taken more than just one day (especially considering a donkey’s average journey was only about 20 miles a day—Cansdale, 1996, p. 38). It was only after Shimei’s return from Gath that King Solomon reminded him of his promise saying, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord, and warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and travel anywhere, you shall surely die?’ ” (1 Kings 2:42, emp. added). Solomon understood that even though he executed Shimei sometime after the day he crossed Brook Kidron, it still was proper to refer to it as occurring “on the day.” As Hebrew scholar Victor Hamilton noted, this phrase (in Genesis 2:17, 1 Kings 2:37,42, and Exodus 10:28ff.) “is underscoring the certainty of death, not its chronology” (1990, p. 172). Thus, it is logical to conclude that when God said, “in the day…you shall surely die,” He did not mean Adam would die on the exact day of his transgression, but that his death would be certain if he ate of the forbidden fruit.
A second problem with the skeptic’s assertion that Genesis 2:17 contradicts 5:5 is that it assumes the “death” mentioned in 2:17 is a physical death. The Bible, however, describes three different kinds of “deaths”: (1) a physical death which ends our life on earth (Genesis 35:18); (2) a spiritual death which is separation from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Ephesians 2:1); and (3) an eternal death in hell (Revelation 21:8). The fact is, one cannot know for sure which death is indicated by the phrase, “for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.” Realizing that Adam sinned against the Almighty in the Garden and became “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1; cf. 1 Timothy 5:6), it is possible that the death spoken of in Genesis 2:17 is a spiritual death. If this is the case, the reason Adam did not physically drop dead on the very day of his transgression was because God’s prophecy was referring to a spiritual death, not a physical one.
When Adam chose to follow his own desires instead of God’s will, he cut himself off from God. Without a doubt, man perished spiritually on that day. But, equally certain is the fact that God’s punishment for that sin was a physical death—a death that would occur centuries later. Exactly which death God meant in his prophecy is uncertain. (Perhaps He was referring to both.) Whichever is the case, we can be sure that no contradiction exists.


Cansdale, G.S. (1996), “Animals of the Bible,” New Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Douglas (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), third edition.
Hamilton, Victor, (1990), The Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Thompson, Bert (2002), “Questions and Answers—A Matter of Time,” Reason & Revelation, 22:41-48, June.

Wrong is Always Wrong by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Wrong is Always Wrong

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Sinful human beings are ever attempting to blur the distinction between “right” and “wrong.” This inclination reaches far back into antiquity. The book of Proverbs declares: “He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination unto Jehovah” (17:15). Later, the prophet Isaiah affirmed: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Amos spoke of those who “turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth” (Amos 5:7).
“Right” and “wrong” do exist. They are not merely “evolved inclinations” that have been humanly contrived in order to introduce a sense of order and security into society. Nor are “right” and “wrong” subjectively determined so that, practically speaking, each person functions as his own law-maker. Rather, morality is to be measured by the laws and principles of divine revelation, as made known in the inspired writings of the Bible. Ultimately, morality is grounded in the very nature of God Himself. “[A]s he who calls you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy” (1 Peter 1:15). Though such a concept is almost wholly rejected by modern society, there is ample evidence to support it.
Let us contemplate briefly some of the principles contained in Scripture that assist us in putting “right” and “wrong” things into proper focus.
1. “Wrong” is not determined by the perpetrator’s moral sensitivity to an act. A wrong act is still wrong whether or not the violator is aware of it, or whether or not he feels comfortable with the situation. Saul of Tarsus did not know that he was doing wrong when he persecuted Christianity (see Acts 23:1; 26:9; 1 Timothy 1:13), but he was violating the will of God nonetheless. Ignorance is no excuse (Acts 17:30). In modern society, for example, many have entangled themselves in adulterous “marital” relationships. Frequently it is argued that such liaisons may be sustained because the parties “did not know” the intricacies of God’s marriage law when the unions were made. The logic is fallacious. Will a similar argument eventually be offered to defend the concept of same-sex “marriages”?
2. “Right” is not established merely by what man is able to accomplish by means of his geniusand/or ability. Pragmatism does not provide the criteria for ethics. One human being presumptively can take another’s life, but that does not make the act moral. Two unmarried youngsters are able to conceive a child apart from the sacred vows of matrimony, but the act is illegitimate nonetheless. “Might” does not make “right,” and autocratic decisions relating to moral matters are condemned in Scripture (see Habakkuk 1:11). Radical attempts at human genetic engineering, or cloning, may be accomplished eventually through the manipulation of genetic laws, but the achievement, in and of itself, does not license the practice as ethical. The issue must ever be: Is a procedure consistent with the principles of God’s inspired revelation?
3. “Right” and “wrong” are not determined by what is legal. In the Roman world of the Caesars, infanticide was legal, but it was not moral. In some ancient cultures, a woman was not a person; she was mere property to be abused, or disposed of, at the whim of her husband. There are few who would defend the ethics of this custom. Homosexuality is legal, but it is moral perversion (Romans 1:26-27). The destruction of human life by means of abortion has the sanction of civil law, but the practice is abominable before the eyes of the Creator (Proverbs 6:17).
4. “Right” and “wrong” are not grounded in what a majority of the population “feels” is ethical. Jesus Christ is a King; He has not implemented a democracy to determine, by majority vote, how human beings ought to live. In the first place, man never can be his own guide. “O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Second, fallible opinion, multiplied a thousand times, does not change wrong into right. Moses solemnly warned: “Thou shall not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2). It hardly is necessary to remind ourselves that the path of the majority is the way of destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).
5. “Wrong” is wrong, whether or not one is ever caught. In the isolated environment of ancient Egypt, separated from his kinsmen, Joseph might well have rationalized an illicit relationship with Potiphar’s wife on the ground that his indiscretion never would be known by his family. His reasoning, however, was: “[H]ow then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). There will be a time when the “skeletons come out of the closet” and “the chickens come home to roost.” Many things that have been perpetrated in darkness will be revealed in light, and secret evils will be proclaimed from the rooftops (see Luke 12:3). Secrecy does not sanctify!
6. “Wrong” does not become right by virtue of passing time. It is certainly the case that the public’s conscience sometimes becomes dull with the passing of years, so that what once was horrifying eventually becomes commonplace. But wrong still is wrong, though a millennium passes. Eventually, there will be accountability (2 Corinthians 5:10).
May God help us to examine our practices by the illumination of His glorious Word (Psalm 119:105), and to determine “right” and “wrong” issued upon that reliable basis.

Will There be an Armageddon? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Will There be an Armageddon?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Many religionists insist that world history will culminate in a cataclysmic global holocaust known as “Armageddon,” followed by the “Millennium”—a 1000-year reign of Christ on Earth. They say that current events in the Middle East are arranging themselves in such a fashion that the Second Coming of Christ is imminent. Of course, this claim has been made repeatedly for many, many years—with no fulfillment forthcoming.
What does the Bible actually say about “Armageddon”? The term “armageddon” occurs only once in the New Testament: Revelation 16:16. In keeping with the literary genre of the book (i.e., apocalyptic), the term is used with figurative connotations. Revelation is literally packed with allusions to the Old Testament. In fact, “no book in the New Testament is so thoroughly steeped in the thought and imagery of the Hebrew Scriptures” (Swete, 1911, p. liii). But the writer does not use direct quotes from the Old Testament. Rather, he adapted, modified, and combined ideas from the Old Testament in order to apply them to the setting to which he addressed himself. He drew freely from Old Testament imagery, but placed a New Testament spin on them with a first century application.
For those who would be familiar with the Old Testament (as Asia Minor Christians would have been), the Holy Spirit capitalized on the meaning that this location possessed. In Hebrew, the term “Harmageddon” means “mountain (or hill) of Megiddo.” Was there a hill of Megiddo? Yes. In fact, Jews and students of Hebrew history were only too familiar with this prominent battlefield and vicinity. Many bloody encounters stained the soil of this region—scenes of military disaster. It was here that Deborah and Barak defeated the Canaanites (Judges 5:19). Gideon was victorious over the Midianites in this region (Judges 7). These positive accomplishments were etched into the Israelite consciousness. But there were other images evoked by Megiddo, for it also served as a place where national tragedy had occurred. Ahaziah died there after being pierced by Jehu’s arrow (2 Kings 9:27). And good King Josiah perished tragically at the hands of Pharaoh Necho (2 Kings 23:29). This last incident was especially poignant to the minds of the Jewish people, who mourned the loss of this great king, enshrining the event in the collective consciousness as an instance of national grief (Zechariah 12:11).
With this long historical background, Megiddo came to occupy a place in the minds of believers similar to places which immediately bring to the American mind definite and strong impressions: the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, etc. This significance was then utilized by the Holy Spirit to convey to struggling, persecuted Christians of Asia Minor near the end of the first century the sure outcome of the conflict then being waged between the forces of evil (Satan and imperial Rome) and the forces of righteousness (God, Christ, and faithful saints who were enduring persecution). These Christians were certainly in no need of assurance that some future global holocaust would occur which Christ would bring to an end 2,000 years removed from their suffering! These Christians were in dire need of assurance that Christ would come to their aid soon (see “shortly”—Revelation 1:1; 22:6). They needed encouragement to hang on, and to remain steadfast in the face of inhuman mistreatment. The symbol of Megiddo fitly symbolized the impending overthrow of an enemy empire, and engendered much needed assurance. Christians were given the solace that soon the outcome of the battle would be realized. The enemies of God and His People would be punished, while suffering saints would be comforted. Thus “armageddon” is purely symbolic, and in no way relates to dispensational dreams of a future world war. There will be no “Armageddon.”


Swete, Henry (1911), Commentary on Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1977 reprint).