Real Men Don't... Allan Turner


Real Men Don't...

Allan Turner

(This article was written back before Bill Clinton became president. Contrary to what many thought then, character does matter. Unfortunately, the chickens have come home to roost. Now, the integrity of a nation is being defined by Bill Clinton's character. Consequently, these are both sad and perilous times for America.)
The story is told about four military recruiters who were permitted to speak to an assembly of high school seniors. Each was to take fifteen minuets to explain the advantages of his particular branch of the service. All three of the Army, Navy, and Air Force recruiters took more than their allotted time. There was hardly any time left when the Marine Corps recruiter smartly walked to the microphone. He paused before speaking and purposefully eyed the audience of young men. Finally, he said, “Looking over this audience I have serious doubts whether there are more than three of you who could actually cut it as Marines. After this assembly, I would like to speak to you three men about the opportunities of being a Marine.” He then did a very snappy about face, returned to his seat, and sat down. Needless to say, after the assembly the largest crowd of young men gathered around this Marine Corps recruiter. The Marine Corps makes it very plain that they are not trying to appeal to everyone. Instead, they are only looking for “a few good men” who are semper fidelis, that is “always faithful.”
Thousands of years before the Marines were looking for a few good men who could always be counted on, Diogenes, the 4th century B.C., Greek philosopher, is alleged to have lighted a lamp in the daytime and gone about the streets of Athens in search of an honest man—that is to say, a man of integrity. Two hundred years before this, God had instructed the prophet Jeremiah to search the city of Jerusalem for just one man who was really interested in truth and justice: “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; see now and know; and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her” (Jeremiah 5:1). Add to this the truth recorded in II Peter 1:5, that in order to be the kind of person God wants one to be in Christ, one must add virtue (i.e., moral courage and integrity) to his faith, and one understands just how important being a real man really is. Only real men, men with intestinal fortitude, will have enough integrity to “earnestly contend for” (Jude 3) and “stand fast in the faith” (I Corinthians 16:13). Only real men, men with moral courage, will apply the knowledge they gain from the word of God to their individual lives and, as a result, do those “good works” which God prepared beforehand that soldiers of the cross would do (Ephesians 2:10).
In this connection, it is interesting to note that General Norman Schwarzkopf, the hero of Operation Desert Storm, when asked about the main problem in America, replied: “Ethics. People talk about a leadership crisis... It's never a competence problem. It's an ethical, moral crisis. It's a problem of character” (Associated Press, November 7, 1991, via theGospel Anchor). In other words, the general is saying that the problem is not knowing what to do, but doing it!
Jesus said that of those born of woman no greater man ever lived than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11). The people who heard him speak got much more than they bargained for. He was not a weak, flimsy reed shaking in the wind (Matthew 11:7); he was not a permissive, wishy-washy, spineless wonder (verse 8)—he was, instead, a man, a real man! He addressed the false and dishonest religionists of his day with: “Brood of vipers! Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7). He stood before Herod, a king who had the authority to take his life and would later exercise that authority to cause his head to be severed from his body, he looked him right in the eyes, and he told him in no uncertain terms, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife” (Mark 6:18). There were many things John could have said to Herod that would have no doubt softened him up somewhat, but His zeal for the truth demanded that he speak the words this sinner needed to hear, even if it meant that he would have to forfeit his earthly existence. According to the word of God, adultery is wrong, and it doesn't matter who commits it, even a king, it is still wrong.
Two of the most prevalent sins in our wicked age are fornication and adultery. These sins are causing more jealousies, breaking up more homes, causing more heartaches, spreading more loathsome diseases, causing more insanity, getting more people murdered, causing more family quarrels, bankrupting more family budgets, destroying civilization, and hurting the church more than any other sins.
Fornication and adultery are crimes against God and society. God ordained the family as the fabric of society and protected its sanctity with the death penalty. In Leviticus 20:10, God says, “The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.” In Corinthians 10:8, we learn that God killed 23,000 Israelites in one day because they were committing fornication and adultery with Moabite and Midianite women (cf. Numbers 25:1-9).
The wisdom of God is manifested in the institution of marriage and the home. In fact, the family is the oldest institution on earth. Fornication and adultery attack the family and is a cancerous growth, eating at the very vitals of our society. Ignoring the principles taught in the Bible, many modern males have given themselves over to the secular, humanistic, materialistic, and hedonistic concepts taught in Playboy Magazine. Such men brag of their conquests of women. Wilt Chamberlain, who we suspect is as big a liar as he is fornicator and adulterer, unashamedly tells us in his recent book that he has committed fornication and adultery with 20,000 different women. Magic Johnson, who contracted AIDS from his philandering, and put his new bride and unborn child in danger of contracting the disease, received a standing ovation on the Arsenio Hall Show. Magic Johnson is no hero when it comes to moral courage, and it is only a shameful reflection of just how degraded our society has become that so many think he is.
As I write this article, it seems that Gov. Bill Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for President. He has been accused of adultery. In response to the question of whether he has committed adultery, he says his marriage has not been perfect and that he has caused his wife great pain. It's too bad he can't just answer the question by saying “no.” In this connection, it is interesting to note that 26 percent of Americans say that they will not knowingly vote for a man who has committed adultery. The thing that makes this interesting, according to the news media, is that “so many” (26 percent) said they would not vote for an adulterer. Of course, what is interesting, and certainly disappointing, to those who read this bulletin is that 74 percent think that the adultery issue has nothing to do with a man's character, or, if it does, that a man's private character has nothing to do with his public service.
Please don't misunderstand me. I think Gov. Clinton is extremely talented and very competent. In fact, he has the best education money can't buy (he was a Rhodes Scholar). But remember what General Schwarzkopf said when he was asked to comment on America's main problem: “People talk about a leadership crisis... It's never a competence problem. It's an ethical, moral crisis. It's a problem of character.”
What America needs to understand is that adultery is treason against the family, and that a man who betrays his wife and family is just the kind of man who might very well betray his country. In fact, although he probably doesn't realize it, a man who has betrayed his wife and family has already betrayed his country. Why? Because, as we have already said, the family is the very fabric of our society, and as goes the family, so goes the country.
Do you remember that cute little book of several years ago, entitled Real Men Don't Eat Quiche? According to this book, real men don't floss, buy flight insurance, play frisbee, use zip codes, etc. Friends, neighbors, and fellow Christians, let me tell you what real men don't do: Real men don't commit fornication and adultery! Real men honor womanhood (I Peter 3:7), and they love and cherish their wives (Ephesians 5:25ff). Real men are semper fidelis, i.e., “always faithful.”

"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Six by Mark Copeland

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To note how the church in Jerusalem handled their internal problems 2) To examine the process of selecting and appointing those who serve in the Lord's church 3) To evaluate the charges that were brought against Stephen SUMMARY As the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied in number, it is not surprising to read of problems increasing as well. This chapter describes problems from within and without the congregation. Hellenists (Jewish Christians who adopted Grecian culture) complained that the Hebrews (Jewish Christians who sought to preserve Jewish culture) neglected their widows in the daily distribution (cf. 2:44-45; 4:34-35). The apostles, desiring not to be distracted from their own work, summon the disciples and charge them to select seven men whom the apostles might appoint to take care of this responsibility. Seven are selected by the people and appointed by the apostles through prayer and the laying on of hands. With the problem solved, the word of God spread and the number of disciples multiplied greatly, including the obedience of many priests (1-6). Stephen, one of the seven, began doing many wonders and signs. Opposition arose from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen who disputed with Stephen. Unable to resist the Spirit and the wisdom of which he spoke, they resorted to false witnesses to stir up the people, elders, and scribes. Brought before the council, Stephen was charged with blasphemy against the temple and the law of Moses. The chapter ends with the council looking at Stephen, seeing his face as the face of an angel (7-15). OUTLINE I. THE SELECTION OF THE SEVEN (1-7) A. THE PROBLEM (1) 1. As the church grew, there arose a complaint 2. The Hellenists were complaining against the Hebrews 3. The Hellenistic widows were being neglected during the daily distribution B. THE SOLUTION (3-6) 1. The twelve apostles summon the multitude of disciples a. It was not good that the apostles leave the word of God to serve tables b. The congregation should select seven men that the apostles might appoint 1) Of good reputation 2) Full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom c. So the apostles might give themselves to prayer and the word of God 2. The multitude is pleased, and select seven men a. Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit b. Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch 3. The seven men are appointed by the apostles a. Having prayed b. Laying hands on them C. THE RESULT (7) 1. The word of God spread, the number of the disciples multiplied 2. Many of the priests were obedient to the faith II. THE CHARGES AGAINST STEPHEN (8-15) A. HIS MINISTRY (8-10) 1. Full of faith and power, he did great wonders and signs among the people 2. Disputed with some from the Synagogue of the Freedmen a. Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia b. Who were unable to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke B. THE ACCUSATIONS (11-14) 1. They secretly induced men to charge him with blasphemy against Moses and God 2. They stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes a. To come and seize him b. To bring him to the (Sanhedrin) council 3. They set up false witnesses who charged Stephen with blasphemy against: a. The holy place (temple): "We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place" b. Against the law (of Moses) "...and change the customs which Moses delivered to us" C. HIS COMPOSURE (15) 1. All who sat in the council looked steadfastly at him 2. They saw his face as the face of an angel REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The selection of the seven (1-7) - The charges against Stephen (8-15) 2) As the church in Jerusalem grew in number, who raised a complaint? Why? (1) - The Hellenists against the Hebrews - The Hellenistic widows were being neglected in the daily distribution 3) When the apostles summoned the disciples, what did they first say to them? (2) - "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables" 4) What proposal did the apostles offer? (3) - For the congregation to select seven whom the apostles could appoint over this business 5) What qualifications did the apostles lay down for the selection of the seven? (3) - Men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom 6) What would this enable the apostles to do? (4) - Give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word 7) What were the names of the seven men who were selected? What is unique about their names? (5) - Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicholas - They are all Grecian (Hellenistic) names 8) How did the apostles appoint those whom the congregation selected? (6) - Through prayer and the laying on of hands 9) As the word of spread, what two things occurred? (7) - The number of the disciples multiplied greatly - A great many of the priests were obedient to the faith 10) What did Stephen, one of the seven, do among the people? (8) - Great signs and wonders 11) Who began to dispute with Stephen? (9) - Some from the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, others from Cilicia and Asia) 12) What were they unable to do? (10) - Resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which Stephen spoke 13) What did they secretly induce men to say? (11) - "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God" 14) What did they stir up the people, elders, and scribes to do? (12) - To seize Stephen and bring him to the council 15) What did they set up false witnesses to say? (13-14) - "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law" - "We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us" 16) As those in the council looked at Stephen, what did they see? (15) - His face as the face of an angel

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Five by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                              Chapter Five


1) To examine the sin of Ananias and Sapphira in lying to the Holy

2) To note the amazing signs and wonders that were done by the apostles,
   in which all were healed

3) To consider the apostles' response when government seeks to stifle
   the preaching of the gospel


In contrast to the remarkable liberality in the church as described in
the previous chapter, we are now told of the example of Ananias and
Sapphira.  A husband and wife who sold a possession, they tried to
mislead the apostles that they were giving the entire proceeds.
Confronted one at a time by Peter and found guilty of lying against the
Holy Spirit, they both fall dead, bringing great fear upon all (1-11).

Highly esteemed among the people, the apostles continue doing many signs
and wonders among the people and in the temple (Solomon's Porch).
Believers were added to the Lord in increasing numbers, who then brought
the sick out into the streets on beds and couches, that perhaps the
shadow of Peter might fall on some of them.  A multitude from the
surrounding cities brought those who were sick and tormented, and
everyone was healed (12-16).

Once again the high priest and those of Sadducees are filled with anger.
They have the apostles placed into custody.  During the night, an angel
of the Lord frees them and commands the apostles to continue to teach in
the temple.  In the morning when the council convenes, the prison is
found secure but empty.  When told that the apostles are teaching in the
temple, officers are sent to bring the apostles peacefully to the
council.  When the high priest charges them of disobeying the command
not to teach in the name of Jesus (cf. 4:18), the apostles reply "We
ought to obey God rather than man."  They further proclaim that God
raised Jesus (whom the council had murdered) and has exalted Him to be
Prince and Savior who offers repentance to Israel and forgiveness of
sins.  To this the apostles claim to be witnesses, along with the Holy
Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him (17-32).

Infuriated, the council plots to kill the apostles.  However, one in the
council, a Pharisee and highly respected teacher of the law by the name
of Gamaliel (cf. 22:3), advises the council to leave the apostles alone.
Based upon the history of other "movements" that had failed, Gamaliel
reasons that if the apostles were doing the work of men, it would come
to naught.  But if it was the work of God, the council could do nothing
to stop it and would only be fighting against God.  The council is
willing to heed his advice, though the apostles are beaten and charged
not to speak in the name of Jesus before being released.  The apostles
leave the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer
shame in the name of Jesus, and continue right on teaching and preaching
Jesus as the Christ every day in the temple and in every house (33-42).



      1. They sold a possession, but kept back part of the proceeds
      2. Ananias brings a part to the apostles, Sapphira aware of his
         intention to deceive

      1. Peter challenges Ananias
         a. Why has he allowed Satan to enter his heart to lie to the
            Holy Spirit?
            1) The land was his to use
            2) The money was his to control
         b. He has not lied to men, but to God!
      2. Ananias drops dead
         a. Upon hearing the words of Peter
         b. Creating great fear on those who heard
         c. Carried out by young men and buried

      1. Peter confronts Sapphira
         a. She enters three hours later, unaware
         b. Did she sell the land for a certain amount?  Yes, she
         c. Why did she agree with her husband to the test the Spirit?
         d. Those who buried her husband are ready to carry her out
      2. Sapphira falls dead
         a. Immediately at the feet of Peter
         b. Carried out by young men and buried by her husband
         c. Creating great fear upon all the church and all who heard


      1. Many signs and wonders were done by the apostles among the
      2. While none dared join them, they were esteemed highly

      1. Believers were increasingly added to the Lord
      2. They brought the sick out on the street
         a. Laying them on beds and couches
         b. That at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on
      3. A multitude gathered from the cities surrounding Jerusalem
         a. Bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits
         b. They were all healed


      1. The apostles put into the common prison
         a. By the high priest and those of the sect of the Sadducees
         b. For they were filled with indignation
      2. The apostles freed by an angel of the Lord
         a. Who came at night, opened the prison doors, and brought them
         b. Who charged them to return to the temple and speak the words
            of life
         c. Which they did, entering the temple in the early morning

      1. The council calls for the apostles to be brought from the
         a. The officers are unable to do so, for the apostles are not
         b. Despite the secure doors, and guards standing outside
      2. The council has the apostles brought from the temple
         a. The council is informed that the apostles are teaching the
         b. The apostles are brought to the council peacefully, for fear
            of the people
      3. The high priest challenges the apostles
         a. Were they not strictly commanded to teach in Jesus' name?
         b. You have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, intending to
            bring this Man's blood on us!
      4. Peter and the apostles respond
         a. We ought to obey God rather than man
         b. God has raised Jesus, whom you murdered
         c. God has exalted Jesus to His right hand
            1) To be Prince and Savior
            2) To give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins
         d. We are witnesses to these things
            1) And so is the Holy Spirit
            2) Whom God has given to those who obey Him
      5. The council's immediate reaction
         a. They were furious
         b. They plotted to kill the apostles

      1. Gamaliel stands up in the council
         a. A Pharisee, a teacher of the law
         b. Held in respect by all the people
         c. Who commands the apostles be put outside for awhile
      2. Gamaliel cautions the council
         a. To be careful what they do with the apostles
         b. Remember what happened to Theudas
            1) A man claiming to be someone, joined by 400 men
            2) He was slain, and those who obeyed him came to nothing
         c. Remember what happened to Judas of Galilee in the days of
            the census
            1) He drew away many people after him
            2) He also perished, and those who obeyed him dispersed
         d. His advice regarding the apostles:  leave them alone
            1) If their work is of men, it will come to nothing
            2) If it is of God, it cannot be overthrown and you will be
               fighting against God

      1. The council's decision
         a. They agree with Gamaliel to let the apostles go
         b. But first beat them and command them not to speak in the
            name of Jesus
      2. The apostles' reaction
         a. They depart rejoicing they were counted worthy to suffer
            shame for His name
         b. They continued to teach and preach Jesus daily in the temple
            and in every house


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Ananias and Sapphira (1-11)
   - The power of the apostles (12-16)
   - The persecution of the apostles (17-42)

2) Who is introduced as having sold a possession? (1)
   - Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife

3) What did the husband do?  Was the wife aware of it? (2)
   - He kept back part of the proceeds and brought a part to the
     apostles; yes, she was

4) What did Peter charge the husband of doing?  In what way? (3)
   - Lying to the Holy Spirit
   - By keeping back part of the price (but implying he was giving all
     of it)

5) Who did Peter say he had lied to? (4)
   - Not to men but to God

6) What happened when the man heard this?  What was the reaction of
   those who heard? (5)
   - He fell down and breathed his last; great fear come upon all who

7) How long before the wife came in?  Was she aware of what happened?
   - Three hours; no

8) Did she attempt to mislead Peter also? (8)
   - Yes

9) What did Peter charge her with being guilty of doing? (9)
   - Agreeing with her husband to test the Spirit of the Lord

10) What then happened?  What was the reaction upon those who heard?
   - She fell dead, and was buried by her husband; great fear came upon

11) What was being done by the apostles? (12)
   - Many signs and wonders among the people

12) How did the people regard the apostles? (13)
   - None dared join them, but did esteem them highly

13) Did this hinder the growth of the church? (14)
   - No, believers were being increasingly added to the Lord

14) What did the believers do?  Why? (15)
   - They brought the sick out into the street on beds and couches
   - That the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on them

15) Who else were bringing sick people? (16)
   - A multitude from the surrounding cities

16) Of those sick and tormented brought to the apostles, who were
    healed? (16)
   - They were all healed

17) Who was filled with indignation and had the apostles put into
    custody? (17-18)
   - The high priest and those of the sect of the Sadducees

18) Who freed the apostles during the night?  What were they told to do?
   - An angel of the Lord; to go to the temple and speak to the people
     all the words of this life

19) What was discovered when the apostles were sent for from prison?
   - The prison was secure with the guards standing outside, but no one
     was inside

20) When told that the apostles were teaching in the temple, what did
    the council do? (24-26)
   - Sent the officers to bring the apostles without violence, for they
     feared the people

21) What three charges did the high priest make against the apostles?
   - Did we not command you not teach in this name?
   - You have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine
   - You intend to bring this Man's blood on us!

22) What was the initial response of Peter and the apostles to these
    charges? (29)
   - We ought to obey God rather than man

23) What else did the apostles proclaim on this occasion? (30-32)
   - God raised up Jesus whom they murdered by hanging on a tree
   - God exalted Him to His right hand to be Prince and Savior
   - To give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins
   - We are witnesses to these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God
     has given to those who obey Him

24) What was the council's initial reaction?  What were they planning to
    do? (33)
   - They were furious; they plotted to kill the apostles

25) Who in the council stood up?  Who was he?  What did he command? (34)
   - A Pharisee named Gamaliel
   - A teacher of the law held in respect by all the people
   - That the apostles be put outside for a while

26) What were his initial words to the council? (35)
   - Take heed what you intend to do regarding these men

27) What two examples does he give of 'failed movements'? (36-37)
   - Theudas and his followers who came to nothing when he died
   - Judas of Galilee and those who followed him, who were dispersed
     when he died

28) What counsel does Gamaliel then offer?  Why? (38-39)
   - Keep away from the apostles and leave them alone
   - If their work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of
     God, they will be fighting against God and cannot overthrow it

29) What was the council's response to Gamaliel?  Yet what did they
    still do? (40)
   - They agreed with him
   - They beat the apostles, commanded them not to speak in the name of
     Jesus, then let them go

30) How did the apostles' respond as they left the council? (41)
   - Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the
     name of Jesus

31) What did the apostles continue to do?  Where? (42)
   - Teach and preach Jesus as the Christ; daily in the temple, and in
     every house

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Four by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                              Chapter Four


1) To study the beginning of the persecution against the church, and the
reason for it

2) To note the apostolic response to persecution, and continued progress
of the church in Jerusalem


The first case of persecution against the church is described in this
chapter.  Peter and John are put into custody because their preaching on
the resurrection of Jesus disturbed a number of the religious leaders
(in particular the Sadducees who denied any resurrection, Mt 22:23; Ac
23:8).  In spite of this, the number of men who believed came to be
about five thousand (1-4).

After a night in jail, Peter and John are brought before the council,
including the high priest and members of his family.  Challenged to
explain themselves, Peter proclaims the healing was done by the name of
Jesus Christ, the very one they crucified yet whom God raised from the
dead and who has now become "the chief cornerstone" (cf. Ps 118:22),
and in whose name alone salvation is now available.  Amazed  at Peter
and John's boldness, and unable to deny that the lame man had been
healed, the council sends them outside and confer among themselves.
They decide to prevent the spread of the apostles' doctrine by
threatening Peter and John not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus.
The apostles respond that they must speak what they have seen and heard.
The council, unable to do anything more at this time because of the
people, simply threaten the apostles once again and let them go (5-22).

Returning to their companions, Peter and John report what has been said.
Prayer is offered, asking for boldness in view of the persecution
foretold in Psalms 2:1-2, and for signs and wonders to continue in the
name of Jesus.  At the conclusion of the prayer, the place where they
prayed was shaken and all were filled the Holy Spirit, emboldening them
to speak the Word of God (23-31).

The chapter ends with a description of the continued growth of the
church, with the oneness of the brethren and the empowered testimony of
the apostles to the resurrection of Jesus.  The great liberality
continues, meeting the needs of the saints.  One example in particular
is noted, that of Barnabas, whose work is featured later in the book
(cf. Ac 11:22-30; 13:1-15:41), and whose liberality stands in stark
contrast to what takes place in the next chapter (32-36).



      1. Peter and John taken into custody
         a. By the priests, captain of the temple, and the Sadducees
         b. Who were upset by their preaching in Jesus the resurrection
            from the dead
         c. Kept overnight until the next day
         d. The number of those who believed came to be about five
      2. Their appearance before the Council (Sanhedrin)
         a. Before the rulers, elders and scribes
         b. Before Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander,
            along with other family members of the high priest
         c. Peter and John challenged to explain by what power or name
            they have acted
      3. Peter's response as led be the Spirit
         a. Were they being judged for doing a good deed to a helpless
            man in making him well?
         b. It was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth he was made
            1) Whom they crucified
            2) Whom God raised from the dead
            3) Who is the stone rejected by the builders, and has become
               the chief cornerstone - cf. Ps 118:22
         c. There is salvation in no other name under heaven

      1. The council's reaction
         a. What the council saw
            1) The boldness of Peter and John
               a) Perceived as uneducated and untrained men
               b) Realized as having been with Jesus
            2) The man who had been healed
               a) Standing with Peter and John
               b) Against whose healing nothing could be said
         b. What the council reasoned
            1) A notable has occurred, evident to all, none could deny
            2) To prevent further spread, to threaten the apostles
         c. What the council did
            1) Commanded Peter and John
            2) Not to speak at all or teaching in the name of Jesus
      2. Peter and John's reply
         a. Shall they listen to the council or God?
         b. They cannot but speak what they have seen and heard
      3. Peter and John released
         a. Upon further threatening
         b. Finding no way of punishing them,
         c. Because of the people, who glorified God for what had been
         d. For the man who was healed was over forty years old


      1. To their brethren
      2. To report all that had been said to them

   B. THEIR PRAYER (24-30)
      1. Addressed to the Lord God, Creator of all things
         a. Who prophesied by the mouth of His servant David
         b. Of the nations' rage and plotting against His Christ
         c. As fulfilled by Herod and Pilate, by Gentiles and Israel
         d. Who did according to His predetermined purpose
      2. Asking for all boldness in the face of such threats
         a. That His servants may speak His word
         b. That His hand might stretch out
            1) To heal, to do signs and wonders
            2) Through the name of His holy Servant Jesus

   C. THE ANSWER (31)
      1. The place in which they were assembled was shaken
      2. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
      3. They spoke the word of God with boldness


   A. THEIR UNITY (32)
      1. The multitude of believers were of one heart and one soul
      2. None claimed their possessions as their own; they had all
         things in common

      1. With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection
         of Jesus
      2. And great grace was upon them all

      1. None among them lacked what they needed
         a. For all who possessed lands or houses sold them
         b. The proceeds were laid at the apostles' feet
         c. Distribution was made as each had need
      2. The example of Joses
         a. Called Barnabas, Son of Encouragement, by the apostles
         b. A Levite of the country of Cyprus
         c. Sold land, and laid the money at the apostles' feet


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The arrest of Peter and John (1-22)
   - The prayer for boldness (23-31)
   - The progress of the church (32-37)

2) Who came upon Peter and John while they were speaking? (1)
   - The priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees

3) Why were they upset with Peter and John? (2)
   - Because they preached in Jesus the resurrection of the dead

4) Why did that upset them? (cf. Mt 22:23; Ac 23:8)
   - The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection

5) What did they do with Peter and John? (3)
   - Placed them in custody until the next day

6) How many men had come to believe in Christ? (4)
   - About five thousand

7) Who joined the rulers, elders and scribes on the next day? (5-6)
   - Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other members
     of the family of the high priest

8) What did they ask Peter and John? (7)
   - "By what power or by what name have you done this?"

9) What name did Peter given them? (8-10)
   - The name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth

10) What had the religious leaders done?  What had God done? (10)
   - Crucified Jesus
   - Raised Jesus from the dead

11) What else did Peter say about Jesus? (11-12)
   - He is the rejected stone which has become the chief cornerstone
     (cf. Ps 118:22)
   - There is salvation in no other name but His

12) What did the religious leaders see, perceive, and realize about
    Peter and John? (13)
   - Their boldness
   - That they were uneducated and untrained men
   - That they had been with Jesus

13) What could the religious leaders not deny? (14)
   - That the man standing with Peter and John had been healed

14) After Peter and John were put out of the council, what did the
    council confer among themselves? (15-17)
   - They could not deny such a notable miracle
   - To prevent the spread of the apostles' doctrine, to severely
     threaten them

15) What did the council command Peter and John?  How did they respond?
   - Not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus
   - "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than
     to God, you judge."
   - "...we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

16) After threatening the apostles some more, why did the council not
    punish them further? (21-22)
   - Because of the people, who glorified God for what had been done

17) Once released, what did Peter and John do? (23)
   - Returned to their companions and reported all the council had said

18) What did they then do? (24)
   - Pray to God

19) What Messianic prophecy did they refer to in their prayer? (25-26)
   - The one found in Ps 2:1,2

20) Who were mentioned as a fulfillment of opposing God and Christ? (27)
   - Herod and Pilate; the Gentiles and the people of Israel

21) In their opposition against God, what had they actually done? (28)
   - What God had determined before to be done

22) In their prayer, what did the apostles ask of God? (29-30)
   - To consider the threats and give His servants boldness to speak His
   - To grant healing signs and wonders to be done in the name of Jesus

23) What happened in response to their prayer? (31)
   - The place where they assembled shook; they were all filled with the
     Holy Spirit
   - They spoke the word of God with boldness

24) What manifested the oneness of the believers at that time? (32)
   - They had all things in common

25) What manifested the greatness enjoyed by the church at that time?
   - With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of
   - Great grace was upon them all

26) What manifested their love and generosity at that time? (34-35)
   - Those who had lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds
     to the apostles
   - Distribution was made as anyone had need

27) Who was singled out as an example of their liberality? (36-37)
   - Joses, a Levite from Cyprus named Barnabas (Son of Encouragement)
     by the apostles

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Three by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                             Chapter Three


1) To study the healing of the lame man, noting various aspects of the

2) To examine Peter's second gospel sermon, his call to repent and the
   blessings to follow


The chapter opens with Peter and John going to the temple where they
encounter a man lame from birth begging for alms at the gate called
Beautiful.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Peter commands him
to rise up and walk.  Taking the lame man by the right hand and lifting
him up, the man is healed instantly and completely.  Walking, leaping,
and praising God, he accompanies Peter and John into the temple to the
wonder and amazement of the crowd (1-11).

On Solomon's porch, Peter explains that the healing occurred by faith in
the name of Jesus.  God has glorified His Servant Jesus, the Holy One
and the Just, the Prince of life, whom they denied and killed, but whom
God raised from the dead as witnessed by Peter and John.  While their
crimes were done in ignorance, even foretold and fulfilled by God, they
are commanded to repent and turn.  Those that do are promised to have
their sins blotted out and experience other blessings from Jesus who
will remain in heaven until the times of restoration of all things.
Those who do not heed Jesus will be utterly destroyed as foretold by
Moses (cf. Deut 18:15,18-19).  As sons of the prophets, and of the
covenant God made with Abraham to bless all families through his seed
(cf. Gen 22:18), to them first God has sent Jesus to bless them in
turning them away from their iniquities (12-26).



      1. Peter and John go to the temple
         a. At the hour of prayer
         b. Which was the ninth hour (3 p.m.)
      2. The lame man at the temple gate called Beautiful
         a. Lame from his mother's womb
         b. Carried daily to the gate to ask for alms
         c. Seeing Peter and John, asks them for alms
      3. Peter heals the lame man
         a. They fix their eyes on the man, and Peter tells him to look
            at them
         b. The man gives them his attention, expecting to receive
         c. Peter has no gold or silver, but gives what he has
            1) He commands the lame man in the name of Jesus to rise up
               and walk
            2) He takes him by the right hand and lifts him up
         d. Immediately his feet and ankle bones receive strength
            1) Leaping up, the man stands and walks
            2) He enters the temple with Peter and John
            3) He is walking, leaping, and praising God

      1. The people see the lame man walking and praising God
      2. The people know him as the one who begged alms at the Beautiful
      3. They are filled with wonder and amazement at what happened
      4. As the lame man holds on to Peter and John, the people run to
         them in Solomon's Porch


      1. Peter questions why the crowd marveled
         a. Why look at Peter and John so intently?
         b. As though by their own power or godliness they made the man
      2. God has glorified His Servant Jesus
         a. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of their
         b. Has glorified Jesus
            1) Whom they delivered up and denied
               a) In the presence of Pilate
               b) When he was determined to let Him God
            2) The Holy One and the Just
               a) Whom they denied
               b) And asked for a murderer to be granted to them
            3) The Prince of life
               a) Whom God raised up
               b) Of which Peter and John are witnesses
      3. It was through faith in His name that made the man strong
         a. A man whom they see and know
         b. Faith which comes through Jesus has given him perfect
            soundness in their presence

      1. Peter knows they and their rulers crucified Christ in their
         a. Those things God foretold by the mouth of His prophets
         b. How Christ would suffer, God has fulfilled
      2. Peter commands them to repent and be converted
         a. That their sins may be blotted out
         b. That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the
         c. That God might send Jesus Christ
            1) Who was preached to them before
            2) Whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration
               of all things
               a) Which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy
               b) Since the world began
      3. Even as Moses warned the fathers (cf. Deut 18:15,18-19)
         a. That God would raise up for them a Prophet from their
         b. Whom they should hear in all things, whatever He says
         c. Those who will not hear that Prophet will be utterly
            destroyed from among the people
         d. As all the prophets foretold these days, from Samuel and
            those who followed
      4. They are the sons of the prophets, of the covenant God made
         with their fathers
         a. Saying to Abraham, "And in your seed all the families of the
            earth shall be blessed"
         b. To them first, God sent His Servant Jesus to bless them
            1) Having raised Him up
            2) To turn every one of them from their iniquities


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The healing of the lame man (1-11)
   - Peter's second sermon (12-26)

2) When did Peter and John go up to the temple? (1)
   - At the hour of prayer, the ninth hour (3 p.m.)

3) What was the name of the gate of the temple where the lame man begged
   for alms? (2)
   - Beautiful

4) When Peter and John spoke to the lame man, what he expecting? (3-5)
   - To receive something from them

5) As Peter prepared to heal the lame man, what did he say?  What did
   Peter then do? (6-7)
   - "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
   - Took the lame man by the right hand and lifted him up

6) How soon was the lame man healed?  How did the lame man respond?
   - Immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength
   - Leaping up, stood, walked into the temple, leaping and praising God

7) Who saw the lame man walking in the temple?  What was their reaction?
   - All the people, who knew he had been the lame beggar at the gate
   - Filled with wonder and amazement

8) Where did the crowd gather in the temple area? (11)
   - Solomon's porch

9) What did Peter first deny? (12)
   - That by their own power or godliness they made the man walk

10) What had God done through this miracle? (13)
   - Glorified His Servant Jesus

11) Of what did Peter accuse of the crowd concerning Jesus? (13-15)
   - They delivered and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, who wanted
     to let Him go
   - They denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for murderer to be
     granted to them
   - They killed the Prince of life

12) What did Peter then proclaim regarding Jesus?  What evidence does he
    provide? (15)
   - God raised Him from the dead; he and John as witnesses

13) To what does Peter attribute the healing of the lame man? (16)
   - The name of Jesus and faith in His name

14) What does Peter say regarding their guilt?  What else about their
    actions? (17-18)
   - They did it in ignorance, as did their rulers
   - It was foretold by God through His prophets, which God has now

15) What two commands does Peter give to the people? (19)
   - Repent
   - Be converted (lit., turn)

16) What three blessings are extended to those who obey? (19-20)
   - That your sins may be blotted out
   - That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
   - That He may send Jesus Christ

17) How long must Christ remain in heaven?   As described by whom? (21)
   - Until the times of restoration of all things
   - God, by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began

18) What did Moses promise to the fathers?  What did he also warn
    them? (22-23)
   - God would raise up a Prophet like him whom they should hear
   - Those who do not hear Him will be utterly destroyed

19) Who else foretold of these days? (24)
   - All the prophets, from Samuel and those who followed

20) How did Peter describe his audience? (25)
   - As sons of the prophets
   - As those of the covenant God made with their fathers

21) What promise did God make to Abraham? (25)
   - "And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

22) How was God seeking to bless the people? (26)
   - Having raised up Jesus, sending Him to bless them in turning people
     away from their iniquities

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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The Quran: the Sun Sets in a Mud Puddle? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Quran: the Sun Sets in a Mud Puddle?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The Quran contains a considerable amount of uninspired folklore from Jewish (and other) sources. It also occasionally incorporates elements of mythology and fairytale in its pages. In a surah that Muslim sources identify as one in which Muhammad answered questions designed by Jewish rabbis to challenge his prophethood (Pickthall, n.d., pp. 211-212), the Quran relates the story of Dhu‘l-Qarneyn—“The Two-Horned One.” In conveying the story, the Quran gives credence to the outrageous superstition that the Sun sets in a mud puddle:
They will ask thee of Dhu’l-Qarneyn. Say: I shall recite unto you a remembrance of him. Lo! We made him strong in the land and gave him unto every thing a road. And he followed a road till, when he reached the setting‑place of the sunhe found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout: We said: O Dhu’l‑Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness. He said: As for him who doeth wrong, we shall punish him, and then he will be brought back unto his Lord, who will punish him with awful punishment! But as for him who believeth and doeth right, good will be his reward, and We shall speak unto him a mild command. Then he followed a road till, when he reached the rising‑place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom. So (it was). And We knew all concerning him (Surah18:84-92, emp. added).
Observe that the Quran’s account is not worded in such a way as to be allowable on the basis of accommodative or phenomenal language—even as we speak of the Sun setting or rising. The inclusion of the location of the Sun’s setting—a muddy spring—places the account squarely into the realm of myth.
The same mistake is made earlier in the same surah (vss. 10-27) when the Quran lends credibility to the legend of the “Seven Sleepers of Ephesus” (see Campbell, 2002; Gilchrist, 1986). The legends (which predate the Quran) spoke of seven (the number varies) noble Christian youths who fled persecution during the reign of Decius the Emperor who died in A.D. 251. The youths took refuge in a cave near Ephesus, but then were sealed in to die. Instead, their lives were miraculously preserved by falling into a deep sleep that lasted for nearly 200 years, a sleep the Quran claims lasted 309 years (vs. 26). For the Quran to dignify such outlandish tales is to disprove its own inspiration.


Campbell, William (2002), The Quran and the Bible in the Light of History and Science, [On-line],URL: http://answering-islam.org.uk/Campbell/contents.html.
Gilchrist, John (1986), Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, [On-line], URL: http://answering-islam.org.uk/Gilchrist/Vol1/5c.html.
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (n.d.), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).

When Did Terah Beget Abraham? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


When Did Terah Beget Abraham?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Unfortunately, in an attempt to defend the strict chronology of Bible genealogies, there are some who read them without taking into account that certain Hebrew phrases possess a wider connotation than what might be perceived in English. One of these phrases occurs several times in Genesis 11. In that chapter, we learn of various Messianic ancestors who lived to a certain age and begot sons. For example, verse 16 of the chapter reads: “Eber lived thirty-four years, and begot Peleg.” Later, we read where “Nahor lived 29 years, and begot Terah” (11:24). The sons listed in this chapter generally are thought to be the firstborn sons, yet the evidence shows that this was not always the case because there was not always a father-to-firstborn-son linkage.
Many have assumed that because Genesis 11:26 states, “Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran,” that Abram (also known as Abraham; cf. Genesis 17:5) was Terah’s firstborn, and that he was born when Terah was 70. The truth is, however, Abraham was not born for another 60 years. When Stephen was delivering his masterful sermon recorded in Acts 7, he stated that Abraham moved to the land of Palestine “after the death of his father [Terah—EL]” (7:4). Yet if Terah was 205 years old when he died (Genesis 11:32), and Abraham departed Haran when he was 75 (Genesis 12:4), then Terah was 130, not 70, when Abraham was born. In light of this information, John Whitcomb and Henry Morris have aided us in better understanding Genesis 11:26 by paraphrasing it as follows: “And Terah lived seventy years and begat the first of his three sons, the most important of whom (not because of age but because of the Messianic line) was Abram” (1961, p. 480, parenthetical item in orig.).
Lest you think this is an isolated incident (in which the son mentioned was not the firstborn son), consider another example. Genesis 5:32 states: “And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” Like the situation with Terah begetting Abraham, Nahor, and Haran, here we read that at age 500, Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Was Shem the firstborn? Were the three sons of Noah triplets? Or was Shem mentioned first because of his Messianic connection? In all likelihood, the evidence seems to indicate that Shem was not the firstborn, but was born two years later. Consider the following passages:
“Noah was six hundred years old when the flood waters were on the earth” (Genesis 7:6).
“And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry” (Genesis 8:13, emp. added).
“Shem was one hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad two years after the flood” (Genesis 11:10, emp. added).
These verses seem to suggest that Shem was born, not when Noah was 500, but rather when he was 502. A comparison of Genesis 11:10 with 10:22 may suggest that Shem’s son, Arphaxad, was not the firstborn son in his family. Likely, Shem, Arphaxad, and others are mentioned first for the same reason Abraham is—because they are Messianic ancestors, and not because they were the firstborn sons of their fathers. Interestingly, numerous other Messianic ancestors, such as Seth, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Perez, were not firstborn sons. Was Moses being dishonest when he recorded these genealogies? Absolutely not. We must remember that
the year of begetting a first son, known in the Old Testament as “the beginning of strength,” was an important year in the life of the Israelite (Gen. 49:3; Deut. 21:17; Psa. 78:51; and Psa. 105:36). It is this year...and not the year of the birth of the Messianic link, that is given in each case in Genesis 11 (Whitcomb and Morris, p. 480).
Just as Genesis 5:32 does not teach that Noah was 500 when Shem was born, Genesis 11:26 does not teach that Abraham was born when Terah was 70. This verse basically means that Terahbegan having children at age 70, not that all three children were born at that age. According to other passages, Terah was 130 when Abraham was born. Those who allege these passages contradict Genesis 11:26 simply are misunderstanding the text by not taking into account that certain Hebrew phrases possess a wider connotation than what might be perceived in modern-day English.


Whitcomb, John C. and Henry M. Morris (1961), The Genesis Flood (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Will Science Eventually Kill God? by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


Will Science Eventually Kill God?

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Impossible concept, and yet it has captured the attention of the news media of late (e.g., Wolchover, 2012). Will the bulk of society likely tend to continue its movement away from God in the coming years? Probably, since that has historically been the trend, inside and outside the Bible. But God has never been eliminated from human thought in the thousands of years of human existence, because His providential hand brings punishment on societies at those times when the population in sufficient numbers turns its back on God. Then inevitably follows a return by many to spiritual matters (see Miller, 2008).
Still, according to NBC News, Sean Carroll, a theoretical cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, believes that science will eventually remove the need for God in the equation to explain certain Universal phenomena. He argues that, “God’s sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times” (Wolchover). We are not sure where he is getting his information, because statistically, the world is en masse (84%) theist (e.g., “Major Religions of the World,” 2007), and the percentage of the population in this country that believes that God has played a role in the origin of the Universe (78%) is far beyond the secular evolutionary community (15%) (see Miller, 2012). While there certainly has been an increase in the ranks of the non-religious community in the past several years, the Earth is still, by far, theistic.
Carroll further argues that many of the phenomena that were once highlighted as proof of the existence of God, since science could not explain those phenomena, are gradually being eliminated, in his opinion. He believes that the need for a God to cause the Big Bang to “bang” is side-stepped by the idea of an eternal Universe—a Universe like the one theorized by the Oscillating Universe Big Bang model. [NOTE: This is not to say that we believe the Big Bang Theory to be true. We have outlined several issues that show the Big Bang to be false elsewhere (e.g., Thompson, Harrub, and May, 2003). We are merely addressing his assertions.] He believes that the problem of having a necessary cause for the Universe, even if the Universe is not eternal, is side-stepped by the idea that time started at the Big Bang, and therefore, there is no need of a pre-existing cause. According to Alex Filippenko, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley that is quoted in the article, “The Big Bang could’ve occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there. With the laws of physics, you can get universes.” Carroll further argues that the “fine tuning” argument used by theists with regard to many physical constants that seem perfectly suited for our existence, can be side-stepped using theories about parallel universes beyond our’s (Wolchover).
Several comments are worth mentioning in response to Carroll. First of all, notice the tacit admission that God is still needed to explain some things in the Universe, even if they might eventually be eliminated in Carroll’s mind. Many issues that point to God have been eliminated, in Carroll’s opinion: but that implies that some remain.
Second, his attempt to side-step the problem of needing a “trigger” for the Big Bang by giving credence to theories that postulate the eternality of the Universe, does not lend to the idea that science has eliminated the need for God in that area. On the contrary, science has already spoken on that matter. Nothing lasts forever, according to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (see Miller, 2007 for an in depth discussion of the Laws of Thermodynamics as they relate to the Universe as a whole). So such theories are not in keeping with the findings of science. Since nothing lasts forever in nature, the Universe could not have lasted forever—God is needed.
His further attempt to side-step the issue of needing a cause for a non-eternal Universe Big Bang model, by arguing that time began at the Big Bang, is reminiscent of Stephen Hawking’s recent comments on the matter. However, as we have discussed elsewhere (see Miller, 2011), that idea is not in keeping with the scientific evidence either. The Universe could not have caused itself since, in nature, nothing comes from nothing. Energy cannot spontaneously generate, according to the evidence from science—specifically the 1st Law of Thermodynamics (see Miller, 2007). Theories that postulate such erroneous concepts are not in keeping with science. So, once again, science has not eliminated the need for God in that instance either. The existence of the Universe still requires an adequate Cause, according to the evidence from science.
Filippenko’s comments merely highlight another issue that science cannot explain without God—the existence of the laws of physics. A poem requires a poet. A law requires a law writer. As eminent atheistic theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, Paul Davies, noted, “You need to know where those laws come from. That’s where the mystery lies—the laws” (“The Creation Question…,” 2011). The atheist has no explanation for how the laws of science could have written themselves into existence, and there is no logical explanation outside of a cosmic Law Writer.
Carroll’s attempts to side-step the issue of the theist’s finely tuned Universe argument by postulating parallel Universes is not a sound argument. Science has not proven such a theory. No alternate Universe has ever been witnessed, and therefore is outside the scope of the evolutionary community’s own definition of empirical science. Such an argument is mere conjecture and speculation—not evidence. So again, science has not dismissed the need for God in this instance either.
Time and again, Carroll attempts to make his case for science eliminating God, by relying on theories that cannot be verified with science or that blatantly contradict the evidence from science. So, in the end, Carroll has not proven that science has or could ever eliminate God. The only thing he has proven is that atheists are not self-consistent in their viewpoint on this matter.
Is it true that many people today are accepting such “evidence” and are therefore turning from God? Are they in the process causing God to be eliminated from their minds—i.e., not “retain[ing] God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28)? Is it likely that there will be more and more people in the coming years that join the bandwagon in rejecting God? Definitely. However, such behavior is not due to the evidence from true science, but rather, due to their own desires (cf. Romans 1:20-32). Ironically, while such atheists wishfully dream that science will one day kill God, science has actually already ruled out atheism as an explanation for the origin of the Universe (seewww.apologeticspress.org for evidence on this subject).


“The Creation Question: A Curiosity Conversation” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
“Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents” (2007),http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html.
Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,”Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.
Miller, Jeff (2008), “The Cycle of Unbelief,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2495.
Miller, Jeff  (2011), “A Review of Discovery Channel’s ‘Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?’”Reason & Revelation, 31[10]:98-107, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1004&article=1687.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “Literal Creationists Holding Their Ground in the Polls,” Reason & Revelation, 32[9]:94-95, September, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1093&article=2040#.
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 23[5]:33-47, May,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=541&article=540.
Wolchover, Natalie (2012), “Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God?” NBC News: Science, September 18, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49074598/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.UFnWIlEpCeZ.

Will There be a "Rapture"? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Will There be a "Rapture"?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The average American is aware of the periodic claim that “the end is near.” When Y2K was approaching, outcries of doom, global disruption, and Armageddon were widespread. Hal Lindsey achieved nationwide attention over thirty years ago with his national bestseller The Late Great Planet Earth (1970). A more recent repackaging of the dispensational brand of premillennialism is the popular Left Behind book series (see “The Official…”). Every so often, a religious figure captures national attention, announcing the impending return of Jesus—even to the point of setting a date—only to fade into the anonymity from which he arose when his claim falls flat, but having achieved his “fifteen minutes of fame” (see Whisenant and Brewer, 1989). The sensationalism sells well and tweaks the curiosity of large numbers of people. Incredibly, this pattern has been repeating itself literally for centuries!
Such is the case with the alleged “Rapture.” It comes from the Latin word “rapere,” which means “to seize, snatch out, take away.” Dispensationalists apply this word to the idea that Christ will come suddenly and secretly in the air to snatch away from the Earth the living saints and the resurrected bodies of those saints already deceased. This rapture is supposed to occur just prior to the seven-year Tribulation period, which, in turn, will be followed by the Millennium.
Proponents claim that the Rapture will be secretive. We are told that families will be shocked by the strange disappearance of a mother, father, or child. Driverless cars will collide in the streets (thus the bumper sticker: “In case of rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned”). A man and wife will be in bed; she hears a noise, turns her head, and finds him gone. Planes will crash with no pilots found. These sensational and dramatic examples illustrate the view that the Rapture will be an invisible coming of the Lord for His saints, leaving visible results of chaos and confusion among the remaining unbelievers.
In reality, the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible, though it is claimed to be the Latin equivalent of harpadzo translated “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NKJV). Lindsey admitted, “[i]t is not found in the Bible” (1970, p. 126), and noted that the word “translation” is just as suitable. Yet the word “translation” does occur in the New Testament. Paul referred to the fact that God “has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13, emp. added). So when an unbeliever obeys the Gospel, receives forgiveness of sins, and is added to the church of Christ, he is taken out of the world and transferred to Christ’s kingdom. This use of the term is certainly a far cry from the idea that it refers to Christians being raptured from the physical Earth to meet Jesus in the air.
The New Testament uses three terms to refer to Christ’s return. First, parousia is translated “coming, presence, or advent.” Second, epiphaneia is translated “appearing, manifestation, or brightness.” Third, apokalupsis is translated “revelation.” Dispensationalism holds that parousia(“coming”) refers to the “Rapture” that occurs seven years before the epiphaneia (“appearing”) or apokalupsis (“revelation).” Accordingly, at the “Rapture,” it is claimed that Jesus will come forthe church only, while at the “Revelation,” Jesus will return with the church, and put an end to the “Tribulation” and “Armageddon.”
The primary passage used to support the idea of a “rapture” is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. But this passage was not actually given to deal with the return of Christ. Its purpose was twofold. First, it was designed to reassure Christians that their deceased loved ones would be able to share in the Lord’s return. Second, it informed Christians that those who are still living when Christ returns will have no precedence or advantage over those who have already died. This dual function of the text constitutes a very different emphasis from the one imposed upon it by dispensationalists.
The dispensational distinctions made between the three New Testament terms that refer to Christ’s return are simply untenable (see Boettner, 1957, pp. 163-164). For example, dispensationalists assert that the “coming” (parousia) in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1 refers to the “Rapture.” Yet the same word is used in 1 Thessalonians 3:13 to speak of Jesus coming “with” His saints, thereby coinciding with the dispensational concept of the “Appearing” or “Revelation” seven years after the “Rapture.” Dispensationalists apply 2 Thessalonians 2:8 to the “Antichrist,” and therefore must understand this as a reference to the “Appearing” seven years after the “Rapture.” Yet the verse uses the expression “themanifestation (i.e., “brightness”—epiphaneia) of His coming (parousia).” Thus the term “coming” is used in the New Testament to refer to both dispensational concepts of the “Rapture” and the “Appearing,” and the two expressions are, in fact, combined in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 to refer toone and the same event.
The term “Revelation” (apokalupsis) in 1 Corinthians 1:7 is descriptive of what the dispensationalists call the “Rapture,” since Christians await it. But in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, it clearly refers to the “Appearing.” The term “Appearing” (epiphaneia) is used in 1 Timothy 6:14 as the event that terminates Christian activity on Earth, and thus fits the “Rapture” concept. But in 2 Timothy 4:1,8, the references to judgment fit the “Appearing.”
In view of these considerations, the sincere Bible student is forced to conclude that the three words relating to Christ’s return in the New Testament are used synonymously and interchangeably. The New Testament simply makes no distinction between the coming of the Lordfor His saints (“Rapture”) and the coming of the Lord with His saints (“Appearing” or “Revelation”). The dispensational dichotomy is in direct conflict with New Testament terminology.
Additionally, if Christians are to be removed seven years before the “Revelation” or “Coming” of Christ, then no passage should speak of Christians remaining on Earth until the “Revelation.” However, many passages do just that (see Boettner, pp. 165-166). For example, in Titus 2:13, Paul referred to the “blessed hope” and the “appearing” as one and the same event, i.e., Christ’s coming. In the original language, the two substantives, “hope” and “appearing” (epiphaneia) are closely linked by the common article. They are not two separate events, as if to be read: “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing.” Rather, the text is saying, “looking for the blessed hope and appearing.” The one explains the other. The “blessed hope” of Christians is “the glorious appearing” of Christ. Other examples would be 1 Peter 1:13 and 4:13, where the grace on which the Christian is to set his hope is to be received at the “revelation” (apokalupsei) of Christ, at which time the Christian may rejoice. But, according to dispensationalism, the Christian should rejoice seven years earlier at the rapture.
Further, the use of the word “end” comes from a word that refers to “full end” and, in the New Testament, always refers to the end of the world, i.e., the Judgment day (see Boettner, p. 168-169). In Matthew 28:20, Jesus promised to be with the disseminators of the Gospel message to the very “end.” This means the church will remain on the Earth, preaching the Gospel, until the Judgment Day. But if the church is “raptured away” seven years before the end, she cannot fulfill what Christ commanded her to do! In Matthew 13:39-40, there is no removal of the saints before the “full end.” The righteous and the wicked grow together until the very end. The separation of the two comes at the end (not seven years before the end). The dispensationalist claims that the righteous will be taken out from among the wicked. But the Bible says just the opposite: the wicked will be taken out from among the righteous (Matthew 13:39-40).
The doctrine of the “Rapture” asserts that believers will be raised seven years before the “Revelation,” and 1,007 years before the end of the “Millennium.” But in four separate verses, Jesus Himself said believers will be raised “at the last day” (John 6:39,40,44,54). There can be no other days after the last day. So the believers cannot be raised at an alleged “Rapture” beforethe last day.
Finally, the Second Coming of Christ is nowhere depicted as secret, as the “Rapture” advocates affirm. In fact, just the opposite is true. Christ’s coming will be accompanied by “blazing fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:7), the sound of a trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52), a “shout,” the “voice of the archangel,” and the “trump of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). In fact, “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7). These passages show that all persons everywhere will see and hear this event. In fact, the very passage upon which the doctrine of the “Rapture” is founded (i.e., 1 Thessalonians 4:16), far from describing a quiet and secretive event, is about the noisiest verse in the Bible!
When one is willing to remove from the mind all preconceived, complex, and sensational theological concoctions, and simply let the Bible present its own portrait of the end of time and the Second Coming of Christ, the dispensational viewpoint of a postulated “Rapture” is seen to be totally unfounded.


Boettner, Loraine (1957), The Millennium (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed).
Lindsey, Hal (1970), The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
“The Official Left Behind Series Site,” (2003), http://www.leftbehind.com/.
Whisenant, Edgar and Greg Brewer (1989), The Final Shout Rapture 1989 Report (Nashville, TN: World Bible Society).