Was the Sun Up, Down, or In Between? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Was the Sun Up, Down, or In Between?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Attempting to cite contradictions between the resurrection accounts of the four Gospels consistently has been an endeavor long on effort and Scripture-twisting but short on evidence and valid reasoning. For example, some Bible critics demand that the time of day at which the women visited the empty tomb of Jesus is different when the Gospel of John is compared with the other three accounts. Please read for yourself the four different accounts that follow (emphasis has been added to underscore the time of day under discussion).

Matthew 28:1: Now late on the sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Luke 24:1: But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came unto the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared.
Mark 16:2: And very early on the first day of the week, they come to the tomb when the sun was risen.
John 20:1: Now on the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb.

First, please understand that if these four accounts were in any ancient book other than the Bible, they hardly would be questioned as contradictory. In fact, they most likely would be considered to be in perfect agreement. Yet the Bible often is scrutinized much more strictly than any other book that records ancient history. Consider this: if the above accounts were read to a group of third graders could they understand what time of day was under discussion? To ask is to answer. Everyone who reads the accounts can see quite plainly that the women visited the tomb sometime very early on the first day of the week.
Second, it is not difficult to understand how Mary Magdalene could have arrived at the tomb while it was yet dark, and as it began to dawn, and at early dawn. The fact is, it was so early that the Sun had not fully come up, and thus a hint of darkness lingered over the scene.
This alleged contradiction is easily reconciled, proving once again that the sum of God’s Word is truth (Psalm 119:160).

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken by J.C. Bailey


A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

The Holy Spirit said in Hebrews 12:28 that we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Daniel foretold this kingdom in Daniel 2:44. He said this kingdom would stand forever. In this second chapter, Daniel said there would be four world-wide kingdoms.
History reveals that there were four world-wide kingdoms before John the Baptist came preaching that the kingdom was at hand (Matthew 3:2). John was beheaded and Jesus took up his ministry and he preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matthew 4:17). He told us, Mark 9:1, how close the kingdom was, for there were those that would not taste death until they saw the Kingdom come in POWER. 
Then the Holy Spirit told us the power would come in Jerusalem, upon the apostles, before they left the city to preach of the resurrected Christ: "And behold, I send forth the promise of the Father upon you, but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:48). Before Jesus left this earth He explained to the apostles when the power would come: "But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). So we have learned that the Lord would set up a kingdom that would last forever. John said that kingdom was at hand. Jesus said that kingdom would come in the lifetime of those people who were there with him at that time. He said that the kingdom would come with POWER. That the Power would come in Jerusalem and then we learned that the apostles would receive POWER when the Holy Spirit came.
Before Jesus left this earth he said that he had all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). The Holy Spirit said that Jesus had POWER when he arose from the dead: "who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 1:4). Then on the day of Pentecost, Peter ended up the first part of his sermon with this statement: "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified." So if we can prove anything by the Bible, we know that the kingdom of Christ was ushered in on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
People often ask why we do not pray the Lord's Prayer. Jesus never prayed what we call the Lord's Prayer. He gave it as a model for the apostles to pray. He said: AFTER THIS MANNER THEREFORE PRAY YE (Matthew 6:9). They were told to seek FIRST the KINGDOM and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). Did they seek in vain? No, we have shown you that the kingdom began on the day of Pentecost. We do not pray for something that the Lord has already given us. SO NOW WE THANK GOD THAT WE CAN RECEIVE THE KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN. To pray "THY KINGDOM COME" IS A MOCKERY.
The kingdom came and after the day of Pentecost it is always spoken of as something that was already in existence. Paul told the new converts that through many tribulations they must enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:23). In the next verse it says that they appointed elders in EVERY CHURCH (Acts 14:23). Despite the teaching of men to the contrary, the church and the kingdom are one and the same thing. Of necessity this has to be. THERE IS ONE BODY (Eph. 1:4). The body is the church (Eph. 1:22,23). Jesus Christ, himself, made the church and the kingdom ONE. I quote: "And I also say unto thee that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Let us read next from Colossians 1:13: "who delivered us out of the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love." Then in the 18th verse of the same chapter he says: "and he is the head of the body the church: who is the beginning the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence." If Jesus has the pre-eminence in ALL THINGS, he must be reigning NOW or he does not have the PRE-EMINENCE.
There are many who teach that Jesus did intend to set up his kingdom but when the Jews rejected him he set up the church instead. There is not a semblance of proof for this theory. As we have shown, the Scriptures time after time speak of the kingdom as an established fact. Someone says that Jesus will set up his kingdom on this earth. How can Jesus set up an earthly kingdom when he said in John 18:36: "My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered unto the Jews; but my kingdom is not from hence?" So this theory that Jesus some time in the future, would set up an earthly kingdom flies right into the face of the statement made by the Lord Jesus Christ.
We shall go farther. People knew that Jesus had taught that the kingdom was at hand when he first began his ministry. They knew that John the Baptist had taught that the kingdom was at hand. So they approached Jesus and asked when the kingdom was going to come (Luke 17:20). JESUS SAID THAT THE KINGDOM WOULD NOT COME BY OBSERVATION. I want to dwell on this. Those who teach that Jesus will yet set up a kingdom on this earth are going to have it come by observation but THE KINGDOM OF GOD is within you (Luke 17:21).
People say we are now living in the church age. When Christ comes we shall then be in the kingdom age. The Bible never talks about a church age or a kingdom age. It does say that the church was the eternal purpose of God (Eph. 3:10-11). So then the church was not an afterthought as some vainly teach. There is to be NO AGE after the church. We read: "unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever." So the church is going to last eternally according to Ephesians 3:21. I would like here to inject the statement that Paul made in Acts 27:25: "I believe God that it shall be even as he hath spoken unto me." Peruse carefully all we have studied and I can say very confidently that I BELIEVE GOD THAT IT SHALL BE EVEN AS HE HATH SPOKEN UNTO ME.
We hear a great deal of talk about a born-again Christian. If you are a Christian you are born- again. Let us look at the fact of being born again. Where are those who are born-again? Jesus said that: "Except ye be born anew ye cannot see the kingdom of God." What is the conclusion of that statement? Those who are born anew see the kingdom of God. If the kingdom does not exist how can one be born anew? Jesus further said, when Nicodemus questioned him about the new birth that: "Except one be born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). So if there it not a kingdom, of necessity there is no new birth. False teaching gets people into queer predicaments.
By our study of the word of God we have learned that there is one body. That body may be referred to as a church or a kingdom. More proof is not needed but we shall speak now from the Book of Hebrews: "But of the Son he saith, thy throne is forever and ever; and the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." The Holy Spirit says THY THRONE IS. He did not say it had been nor did he say it would be. He says it is FOREVER AND EVER. We turn now to the 12th chapter, verse 23, of Hebrews. "To the general assembly and church of the first born who are enrolled in heaven." The church is enrolled in heaven. However in the 28th verse of the same chapter he calls this church of the first born A KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN.
THERE IS NO SCRIPTURE THAT SAYS JESUS WILL EVER SET FOOT ON THE EARTH AGAIN. I read this about the return of our Lord: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thess. 4:16, 17). Ponder the statement. We shall be caught up in the air to meet the Lord and so we shall be forever with the Lord. No room for a reign with Christ on earth.
Those that teach that the kingdom is still future say that the righteous will be raised and a thousand years later the wicked will be raised. This is contrary to the teaching of our Lord for He said that THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED WOULD BE RAISED IN ONE HOUR (John 5:28, 29). There cannot be a thousand years inside of one hour. Then to add to that, Jesus said four times in the 6th chapter of John that the righteous would be raised at the last day, verses 39, 40, 44, 54. You cannot have time after the LAST DAY. After the last day we shall have eternity and there will not be a thousand year reign of Christ after the last day.
The ascension of Jesus is told in this language: "And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). Daniel tells us what happened on the other side of that cloud: "I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto the son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13, 14).
John received a message for the seven churches in Asia and the Lord assured him: "and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father, to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever" (Rev. 1:6).
TRUTH NEVER CONTRADICTS TRUTH. Revelation 20 does not teach anything contrary to the truth we have learned. That would be impossible.
J.C. Bailey (1987, Bengough, Saskatchewan)

Published in The Old Paths Archive

What Is Real? By Allan Turner


What Is Real?
By Allan Turner

A blind man lives in total visible reality but cannot see any of it and so he must grapple in darkness. A spiritually blind man lives in total reality without being aware of vast and powerful elements in it. This robs him and disarms him with respect to good and evil, but changes nothing except his own ability to deal adequately with reality. Consequently, it is important to know what is real.
According to the materialistic or atheistic world view, there is nothing beyond this physical world. Man is simply matter in motion. On the other hand, according to the pantheistic world view, the material world is really not real. He believes everything is spirit and that matter is simply an illusion. In contrast to both these world views, the Bible teaches there is both a spiritual realm and a physical realm, and that neither of these realms is more or less real than the other. In fact, both the spiritual realm and the physical realm are very real and encompass all of reality. What this all means is that unless one knows the word of God, one does not really know what is real.
Four Levels Of Reality
The Bible student needs to realize that uncreated and created reality includes four levels of existence: (1) the Godhead, made up of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, (2) angels and demons, the latter of which have a leader called satan; (3) the spirits of believing and unbelieving dead human beings in hades, and (4) living human beings, both believing and unbelieving. The materialist does not factor into his thinking levels one, two, or three. According to him, these levels cannot exist (see Madalyn Murray O'Hair's statement, The Fourth Question, page 21). The materialist, of course, is wrong, and, as we have already stated, foolishly so. They would have us believe 1) everything came from nothing, 2) order came from chaos, 3) harmony came from discord, 4) life came from non-life, 5) reason came from irrationality, 6) personality came from non-personality, and 7) morality came from amorality. These materialistic presuppositions are anti-God and anti-intellectual. Not only do they go against everything that is taught in the Bible, but everything that can be observed with the five senses as well. In other words, materialism is not just unscriptural, which would certainly be enough to make it wrong, but it is also irrational.
Two Divisions
The four levels of reality articulated in the Bible can be further broken down into two divisions: (1) the kingdom of God, which consists of God, angels, spirits of the dead in Christ, and living disciples of Christ, and (2) the kingdom of darkness, which consists of satan, spirits of unbelieving dead, and living people who are in rebellion against God. We are citizens in one of these kingdoms or the other—there is absolutely nothing in between! Although these two divisions are basic to a Biblical world view, too many today seem to be ignorant of this truth. Nevertheless, from the Garden of Eden, with its two trees (one allowed, and one forbidden), to the eternal destiny of the human being in heaven or hell, we learn from the Bible that there are two—and only two—ways: God's way, and all other ways. According to the word of God, people are said to be saved or lost; they belong either to God's house or the world; there was Gerizim, the mount of blessing, and Ebal, the mount of cursing; there is the narrow way and the broad way, leading either to eternal life or destruction; there are those who are with us and there are those who are against us; there are those who are within and those who are without; there is life and death, truth and falsehood, good and bad, light and darkness, love and hatred; and, finally, there is the wisdom that comes from above and the wisdom that comes from below. Without the Biblical discernment that tells them the differences between these things, worldly Christians will miss the way, the truth, and the life, and, in doing so, will miss all there is!
The smudged line that in too many instances exists between the church and the world today must be made as clear as our Lord demanded. This can only be done when Christians develop a Biblical world view. As we said in the introduction to this series, two keys to developing a Biblical world view are repentance and revival. If we are going to be the salt that savors a lost and dying world, and if we are going to be the light that shines out of the terrible darkness all about us, then worldly Christians, who will not repent and renew their minds, must be withdrawn from (II Thessalonians 3:6; I Timothy 6:3-5; II Timothy 3:1-5). There is simply no other valid alternative. We must not be conformed to this world. Instead, we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so as to prove the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1,2).
Modern Sadducees
Influenced by the materialistic/atheistic mind-set that is so prevalent in our society, many Christians, like the Sadducees of old, no longer reflect a Biblical world view (cf. Acts 23:8). Consider, for instance, the subject of angels. Angels are real. They are spiritual beings created by God (Psalm 148:1,5), who are on a higher order than man (Hebrews 2:7), and neither reproduce nor die (Luke 20:35,36). They are mentioned some 273 times in the Bible and often function as agents of destruction or blessing (Genesis 19:13,16). As such, they were involved in God's providential care for His people (II Kings 18-19). It is our firm conviction that angels still function in this capacity today.
Unfortunately, many have assumed that, because miracles have ceased, angels are no longer in business today. This view would seem to be an obvious contradiction of Hebrews 1:13,14, which says angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.”
Although it is true that we are not living in an age when God operates miraculously through men, this must not be taken to mean that God is not still exercising control over His creation. In Matthew 5:45, the Bible teaches the general providence of God, and in Matthew 6:33, the child of God is taught to trust in God's specific providence toward His children. In Romans 8:28-31, we are taught that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” Does this not suggest God's continued providential care? If so, is there any reason for us to think that angels are not still involved in this providential care?
God's Providence Is Real
As we have already pointed out, both Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:17 make it clear that God's creation has not been left to mere chance, as the materialistic/atheistic world view proclaims. God is still in control. He still rules in the kingdoms of men and this is verified by such passages as Romans 13, Acts 17:26, and Daniel 4:17,32. To believe, as some do, that God takes a “hands-off” position with reference to the affairs of mankind is not only a contradiction of Scripture, but it is tantamount to dethroning Jesus Christ, who now reigns as King of kings (Revelation 1:5; Ephesians 1:20,21).
Actually, when one develops a Biblical world view, he or she recognizes there is a great battle going on in this world—a battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Consequently, it is comforting to know that angels are sent forth by God to minister unto us, because “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:13). There is great consolation in knowing that our prayers to God are not exercises in futility, but are, in fact, requests based on a faith that God can and will help us, and that angels are His agents in these matters.
It is unfortunate that many Christians living in the last decade of the 20th century are more comfortable with naturalistic rationalism than they are with the supernaturalism taught in the Bible. As we have already pointed out, there is a real battle going on today, although spiritual in nature (cf. Ephesians 6:10-20). But just because those who fight against us are spiritual beings does not mean they are not real. Christians must snap out of the worldly thinking that causes them to equate the material, physical world and its inhabitants as being real, while at the same time thinking the spiritual world and its inhabitants are somehow unreal. Such thinking does not reflect a Biblical world view. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are supernatural but real. So are the holy angels and satan and his angels. If the Bible says we fight against “principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and a spiritual host of wickedness,” then let us believe God rather than man in this matter.
Supernatural, But Not Miraculous
Some erroneously believe that in order for God to be actively at work in His creation today He would have to be performing miracles. This is just a failure to appreciate the fact that most of God's activities in both the Old and New Testaments were non-miraculous. The story of Joseph is but one of the many examples of God's non-miraculous activities. Although men, with all their lusts, jealousies, and deceptions, were exercising their free wills in the matter of Joseph, he could say, “you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20; 45:5-8). The Scriptures attribute David's success against the lion, bear, and Goliath to the help of God (I Samuel 17:37,45-47). Are we to label these as miraculous? The Lord was able to work a great victory through Shammah (II Samuel 23:11,12). When we stand in our own bean fields today, cannot God work victories through us without performing miracles?
The Bible tells us that God can deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13; II Thessalonians 3:3) and can open doors for us (I Corinthians 16:7; Colossians 4:2,3; Revelation 3:8). Does He? By faith we can answer, “yes.” Does He need to perform a miracle to do so? Certainly not! Therefore, we can confidently sing: “Lord I believe, yes, I believe, I cannot doubt or be deceived; the eye that sees each sparrow fall, His unseen hand is in it all.” Just because we cannot see God's providence does not mean that it is not real.
The apostle Paul prayed that Christians would have the eyes of their understanding enlightened so they could see “the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” (Ephesians 1:18,19). If we will, by faith, open our eyes, we can see the spiritual reality that says, “they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (II Kings 6:16).
What is real? More than the atheistic or pantheistic world views tell us. How do we know? The Bible tells us so!

"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Sixteen by Mark Copeland


                            Chapter Sixteen


1) To understand the basis and purpose underlying the collection taken
   on the first day of the week

2) To note the love accompanying the writing of this epistle which is
   filled with so much correction of error


In this final chapter, Paul discusses one last subject before making
his concluding remarks.  It concerns the collection for the saints, for
which Paul gives instructions as to the manner in which the funds are
to be gathered and then sent to Jerusalem (1-4).  He then writes
briefly of his plans to see them and makes a few comments concerning
Timothy and Apollos (5-12).  His final exhortations, greetings and 
solemn warning are marked with a tone of love:  the need to love one 
another, a warning to love the Lord, and a declaration of his love for 
them (13-24).



      1. The same as those given the churches of Galatia (1)
      2. To be gathered each first day of the week, people giving as
         they have been prospered, to avoid last minute collections (2)

      1. To be sent along with an approved representative of the church
         of Corinth (3)
      2. If deemed appropriate, Paul will join them in going to
         Jerusalem (4)


   A. PAUL'S PLANS (5-9)
      1. To see them after passing through Macedonia (5-7)
      2. To remain in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a door of 
         opportunity has been opened for him (8-9)

      1. Allow him to come without fear (10)
      2. Do not despise him, but send him to Paul in peace (11)

      1. Though urged by Paul, he chose not to go to Corinth at the
         present time (12a)
      2. But he will at a more convenient time (12b)


      1. Exhortation to steadfastness and love (13-14)
      2. Exhortation to submit to the household of Stephanus and others
         like them, who refresh the spirits of those who know them

   B. GREETINGS (19-21)
      1. From the churches of Asia, Aquila and Priscilla, and others
      2. Greet one another with a holy kiss (20b)
      3. Paul's own personal salutation in his own handwriting (21)

      1. A grave warning about not loving the Lord Jesus , with a plea
         for His coming (22)
      2. A prayer for grace and an expression of love for those in
         Christ Jesus (23)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - The Collection For The Saints (1-4)
   - Personal Plans And Related Comments (5-12)
   - Concluding Exhortations, Greetings, And A Solemn Farewell (13-24)

2) What was the purpose of the collection? (1)
   - For the needy saints in Jerusalem (Romans 15:26)

3) When was the collection to be taken? (2)
   - On the first day of the week

4) What was the purpose of doing it this way? (2)
   - To avoid a last minute collection

5) What principle concerning giving is taught in verse two?
   - To give as one may prosper

6) When did Paul plan to go to Corinth? (5-8)
   - After staying in Ephesus till Pentecost, and then after passing
     through Macedonia

7) Who would likely see them in the meantime? (10-11)
   - Timothy

8) What noble comments are made concerning Stephanus, Fortunatus, and
   Achaicus (15-18)
   - They devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints
   - They refreshed the spirits of Paul and those at Corinth

9) What husband and wife team joined Paul in greeting the church at
   Corinth? (19)
   - Aquila and Priscilla

10) What grave warning does Paul give in this chapter? (22)
   - If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus, let him be accursed

11) What earnest wish does Paul express in this chapter? (22)
   - That the Lord might come

12) How does Paul close this epistle which is filled with so much
    rebuke for the error that existed in the church at Corinth? (24)
   - My love be with you all in Christ Jesus

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Fifteen by Mark Copeland


                             Chapter Fifteen


1) To see how the resurrection of Jesus is the basis of our faith

2) To determine why we believe that Jesus was indeed raised from the

3) To notice the sequence of events which will occur at the end of time
   as presented in this chapter

4) To understand what is revealed about our own future resurrection
   from the dead


In this chapter Paul deals with problems the Corinthians were having 
concerning the resurrection of the dead.  Evidently there were teachers 
at Corinth claiming there would be no resurrection.  Paul answers this 
false doctrine by reminding them of the gospel which they received and 
which proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1-11).  He 
then proceeds to verify the resurrection with several different lines 
of argumentation (12-34).  The last half of the chapter is devoted to 
answering anticipated questions concerning how the dead will be raised 
and with what body will they come (35-58).



      1. Paul proclaimed it and they received it (1)
      2. By it they are saved, if they hold fast to it (2)

      1. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (3)
      2. He was buried and rose again the third day according to the
         Scriptures (4)
      3. He was seen by many eyewitnesses (5-7)
      4. He was seen by Paul himself, who by the grace of God was able
         to preach the gospel (8-10)
      5. Such was the gospel preached, and the Corinthians had believed
         it (11)


      1. Christ is not risen from the dead (12-13)
      2. The apostles' preaching and the Corinthians' faith is vain 
      3. The apostles are false witnesses (15-16)
      4. They are still in their sins (17)
      5. Those who have died in Christ have perished (18)
      6. Those who hope in Christ are the most pitiable of all men (19)

      1. Christ is the "firstfruits" (20)
      2. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive
      3. A brief description as to when this will occur (23-28)
         a. At the coming of Christ (23)
         b. This will be the end, when Christ delivers the kingdom to
            God (24-28)
            1) When He has put an end to all rule, authority and power
            2) For Christ must reign till God has put all enemies under
               His feet (25)
            3) The last enemy being death itself (26)
            4) When all is made subject to Christ, the Son will also be
               subject to Him Who put all things under Him (27-28)

      1. Why are some being baptized for the dead if there is no
         resurrection? (29)
      2. Why do the apostles and others suffer harsh persecution if
         there is no resurrection? (30-32)
      3. Beware of evil influence and those who do not have the
         knowledge of God (33-34)


      1. It will be different from the one sown, just as the plant is
         different from the seed  (35-38)
      2. Illustrations of the different types of bodies in the physical
         world (39-41)
      3. Thus the resurrected body will be different from the physical
         body, though it is the same as the one sown (42-49)
         a. The weak, dishonorable, corruptible body will be raised in
            incorruption, glory and power (42-43)
         b. The natural body, patterned after the first Adam, will be
            raised a spiritual body patterned after the Last Adam
         c. Those who have borne the image of the man of dust from the
            earth, will one day bear the image of the Man of heaven

      1. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does
         corruption inherit incorruption (50)
      2. The mystery of the resurrection as revealed by Paul (51-57)
         a. All shall be changed, whether dead or alive (51)
         b. It will occur in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
            trumpet (52)
         c. The corruptible, mortal man will put on incorruption and
            immortality, and we will be victorious over death through
            Jesus Christ our Lord (53-57)
      3. A final exhortation to be steadfast, immovable, always
         abounding in the work of the Lord (58)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - The Resurrection:  Proclaimed In The Gospel (1-11)
   - The Resurrection:  Verified By Paul (12-34)
   - The Resurrection:  Described By Paul (35-58)

2) What are some of the key elements of the gospel? (1-8)
   - Christ died for our sins
   - Christ was buried and raised the third day
   - Christ was seen by eyewitnesses

3) What type of proof is offered for the resurrection of Jesus? (5-8)
   - Eyewitness testimony by numerous witnesses

4) If Christ was not raised from the dead, what would it mean? (14-19)
   - The preaching of the apostles and our faith is vain
   - The apostles are false witnesses
   - We are still in our sins
   - Those who died in Christ have perished
   - We who hope in Christ are to be pitied

5) What will happen when Christ comes again? (23-26, 51-53)
   - The resurrection from the dead
   - The kingdom delivered to God the Father

6) What does Paul refer to when he speaks of "baptism for the dead"?
   - Of the many different explanations that have been offered, the one
     making most sense to me is that Paul is speaking of the
     inconsistency of those who deny the resurrection while at the same
     time practicing a form of "vicarious baptism".  Notice that Paul
     refers to "they" who were doing this, not "we" (i.e., the
     apostles).  Paul in this passage is neither openly condemning or
     justifying the practice.  He simply uses the practice of others
     to demonstrate the inconsistency of such practice when denying
     the resurrection of the dead.  Whether we should practice such a
     rite as "baptism for the dead" today must be determined from
     passages elsewhere.  All we find elsewhere concerning baptism is
     that it requires faith and repentance of the one being baptized.
     This would preclude the practice of "vicarious baptism."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Fourteen by Mark Copeland


                            Chapter Fourteen


1) To understand the proper use of tongues, especially their use in the

2) To understand the principles which are to govern the assembly of the


In this chapter Paul concludes his discussion of spiritual gifts.  In 
comparing the gift of prophesying with that of speaking in tongues, he 
points out that prophesying excels when it comes to the edification of 
the church (1-5).  In fact, unless the speaking of tongues provides a 
new revelation or teaching, and is properly interpreted, it does little 
good (6-19).  Designed to convince unbelievers, improper use of 
speaking in tongues in the assembly can even bring reproach on the 
church (20-25).  Therefore Paul regulates the proper use of spiritual 
gifts in the assembly with a series of instructions, including 
commandments from the Lord about the place of women (26-40).



      1. A call to love, but also spiritual gifts, especially the gift
         of prophecy (1)
      2. Speaking in tongues (as done at Corinth) is speaking to God
         and is speaking mysteries (2)
      3. Whereas prophesying edifies, exhorts, and comforts others (3)
      4. Speaking in tongues (as done at Corinth) was not edifying the
         church, thus the desire that they had the gift of prophecy
         more than the gift of tongues (4-5)

      1. Without a revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or teaching,
         speaking in tongues profit nothing (6)
      2. Like playing an instrument without giving any distinction in
         the sounds (7-9)
      3. Without interpretation, it is no better than a foreigner
         speaking to you (10-11)
      4. Therefore the admonitions:
         a. To excel in the area of edifying the church (12)
         b. For those who speak in tongues to pray that they may be
            able to interpret (13)
         c. To be able to pray and sing with both the spirit and the
            understanding, that all might be edified (14-19)

      1. Tongues are a sign for unbelievers, while prophesying is for
         believers (20-22)
      2. Tongues in the assembly (without interpreters) will give 
         people the wrong impression (23)
      3. But prophesying in the assembly can bless even the unbeliever
         and uninformed person (24-25)



      1. Two or three may speak, in turn, and let one interpret (27)
      2. If there is no interpreter, keep silent in church (28)

      1. Two or three prophets may speak, and others may discern (29)
      2. To be done in turn, that all may learn, for the spirits of the
         prophets are subject to the prophets (30-32)
      3. God is not the author of confusion but of peace, in all the
         churches (33)

      1. They are to keep silent in the assemblies (34)
      2. Let them ask husbands at home if they have questions (35a)
      3. For it is shameful for women to speak in church (35b)
      4. These are commandments of the Lord which must be recognized as
         such (36-38)

   E. FINAL COMMENTS (39-40)
      1. Desire to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues
      2. Let all things be done decently and in order (40)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Spiritual Gifts: Prophesying And Speaking In Tongues (1-25)
   - Spiritual Gifts: Regulating Their Use (26-40)

2) As being practiced at Corinth, what did speaking in tongues
   accomplish? (2,4)
   - Edifying only the speaker

3) What is the value of prophesying? (3)
   - Provides edification, exhortation and comfort

4) What is necessary for speaking in tongues to be of value in the
   assembly? (6)
   - It must provide a revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or teaching

5) What is the purpose of speaking in tongues? (22)
   - To serve as a sign to unbelievers

6) What restrictions does Paul place on speaking in tongues in the
   assembly? (27-28)
   - Must be two, no more than three
   - Must have an interpreter, or remain silent

7) What restrictions does Paul place on women in the assemblies?
   - To be silent

8) What two basic principles are to govern the assembly of the church?
   - Let all things done for edification
   - Let all things done decently and in order

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Thirteen by Mark Copeland


                            Chapter Thirteen


1) To see the value of love in our service to the Lord

2) To understand the scriptural definition of "love"

3) To determine when spiritual gifts would cease


In the middle of his discussion on spiritual gifts, Paul describes the 
"more excellent way" of love.  After first emphasizing the importance 
of love (1-3), he then defines love by what it is and what it does 
(4-8a).  Ending with love's quality of "permanence", Paul contrasts it 
with the temporary nature of spiritual gifts.  Though such gifts 
fulfilled an important function, the time would come when they would 
cease, while qualities like faith, hope, and love would remain (8-13).



      1. Even if one spoke with tongues of men and of angels...
      2. Without love, the person would be like sounding brass or a
         clanging cymbal

      1. Even if one had the gift of prophecy to understand all
         mysteries and all knowledge...
      2. Even if one had the gift of faith sufficient to remove
      3. Without love, such a person is nothing

      1. Even if one gave all their goods to the poor...
      2. Even if one were willing to be burned at the stake...
      3. Without love, it profits the person nothing


      1. Suffers long
      2. Is kind

      1. Does not envy; does not parade itself, is not puffed up
      2. Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not
         provoked, thinks no evil
      3. Does not rejoice in iniquity

      1. Rejoices in the truth
      2. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
         endures all things
      3. Never fails


      1. Love never fails, but spiritual gifts will cease (8)
      2. Spiritual gifts to cease when that which is perfect is comes 
      3. Spiritual gifts equated with "childish things", which are put
         away at maturity (11)
      4. Spiritual gifts necessary when knowledge (revelation?) is
         partial (12)

      1. What will abide (remain) is faith, hope, love
      2. The greatest being love


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - The "Importance" Of Love (1-3)
   - The "Definition" Of Love (4-8a)
   - The "Permanency" Of Love (8-13)

2) What is necessary for any service that we may render to be of value?
   - Love

3) What is the main difference between love and spiritual gifts? (8)
   - Love never fails, but spiritual gifts will cease

4) What does "that which is in part" refer to in verse ten? (9)
   - Knowing in part, prophesying in part (i.e., partial knowledge,
     partial revelation)

5) What does "that which is perfect" refer to in verse ten? (10)
   - Complete knowledge, complete revelation (see question nine below)

6) What two illustrations does Paul use to show the temporary nature of
   spiritual gifts (11-12)
   - A man putting away childish things
   - Seeing clearly after a period of viewing in a dim mirror

7) In verse twelve, what word is being modified by the expressions
   "in part" and "fully"?
   - Know (or knowledge)

8) What will remain after spiritual gifts cease? (13)
   - Faith, hope, and love

9) Why is it unlikely that the expression "that which is perfect is
   come" in verse ten refers to Christ, or to heaven?
   - Paul speaks of faith, hope and love abiding (remaining) after
     spiritual gifts have ceased (13)
   - Because of the nature of faith (Hebrews 11:1) and hope (Romans8:24-25)
     , they will cease to exist when Christ or heaven comes
   - If "that which is perfect is come" refers to Christ or heaven, and
     spiritual gifts were to last till then, verse thirteen would be
   - For this reason it is more in keeping with the context to 
     understand "that which is perfect is come" to refer to the
     complete knowledge or revelation of God's Will

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Twelve by Mark Copeland


                             Chapter Twelve


1) To be aware of the many different spiritual gifts enjoyed by the
   early church

2) To appreciate the interdependence of the members of the Body of


In this chapter Paul begins to address the issue of spiritual gifts.  
From what we read later in chapter fourteen, it appears the jealousy 
and envy that characterized their division mentioned earlier also 
expressed itself in their use (and abuse) of certain spiritual gifts.  
Expressing his concern that they be not ignorant about these matters, 
Paul first emphasizes that spiritual gifts, though diverse, come from 
the same Spirit and are to be used for the benefit of all (1-11).  To 
demonstrate that every person (and spiritual gift) is important, He 
compares the church to a body with many different yet essential members 
(12-27).  The chapter closes with Paul pointing out that not all serve 
the same function and have the same gifts, encouraging them to 
earnestly desire the best gifts, and preparing to show them a more 
excellent way in the next chapter (28-31).



      1. Paul does not want them to be ignorant concerning spiritual
         gifts (1)
      2. For as Gentiles they had been misled by dumb idols (2)
      3. Two general principles to bear in mind:
         a. No one speaking by the Spirit of God will call Jesus 
            accursed (3a)
         b. No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit

      SPIRITUAL GIFTS (4-11)
      1. They all come from the same Spirit (4)
         a. Just as there are different ministries, but the same Lord
         b. Just as diverse activities proceed from the same God (6)
      2. Each "manifestation" (spiritual gift), though given to one, is
         to benefit all (7)
      3. A summary of the different spiritual gifts (8-10)
         a. The word of wisdom
         b. The word of knowledge
         c. Faith
         d. Gifts of healing
         e. Working of miracles
         f. Prophecy
         g. Discerning of spirits
         h. Different kinds of tongues
         i. Interpretation of tongues
      4. But it is the same Spirit who works all these things,
         distributing to each one as He wills (11)


      1. Just like the human body, the body of Christ with its many
         members are yet one (12)
         a. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body (13a)
         b. And we have all been made to drink into one Spirit (13b)
      2. No member can say that they are not important (14-19)
         a. The body is not one member, but many (14)
         b. As illustrated with parts of the human body (15-19)
      3. No member can say that others are not important (20-26)
         a. Though many members, yet one body (20)
         b. As illustrated with parts of the human body (21-24a)
         c. God has composed the body to be one, and its members to 
            have mutual concern for each other (24b-26)

      1. You are the body of Christ, and individually are members of it
      2. God has appointed various functions in the church (28)
      3. Rhetorical questions to illustrate that not everyone has the
         same function (29-30)
      4. Certainly it was proper to desire the best gifts, yet Paul
         will show them a more excellent way (31)

1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Spiritual Gifts:  Unity In Diversity (1-11)
   - The Need For Diversity In One Body (12-31)

2) Why were the "manifestations" (spiritual gifts) of the Spirit given?
   - For the profit of all

3) Who determined who received what gift? (11)
   - The Spirit distributed to each one as He willed

4) What part does the Holy Spirit play in our conversion and
   sanctification? (13)
   - By the Spirit we are all baptized into one body
   - We have all been made to drink of the Spirit

5) Can any member of the body say that they are not important? (15-19)
   - No!

6) Can any member of the body say others are not important? (21-22)
   - No!

7) What indication is there in this chapter that at least some of the
   spiritual gifts or functions were temporary? (29)
   - The reference to "apostles"; even most charismatics would agree
     that the office of apostle does not exist today, that it was only
     a temporary but necessary part of the establishment of the Lord's
     church (Ep 2:20-22)

8) Was there anything wrong with the Corinthians desiring the "best
   gifts"? (31)
   - No, Paul encouraged them to do so, yet he would have them know a
     more excellent way (the way of love as expounded in chapter

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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The Quran and Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Quran and Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One very significant clash between the Quran and the Bible, intimately aligned with the person and deity of Jesus, is His redemptive role. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are showcased in the New Testament as the central platform of Christianity (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Acts 2:22-36; 3:13-18; 4:2,10,25-28; 5:30-31; 17:31; et al.). The primary reason Jesus came into the world was to carry out the absolutely essential plan of salvation—the means of atonement that makes it possible for God to forgive sin (Isaiah 53:10-11; Mark 10:45; Luke 19:10; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Timothy 2:5-6). It is only through Christ that forgiveness of sin can occur (Acts 4:12; 13:38; Ephesians 2:18). And it is only through Christ’s shed blood that this remission could be achieved (Hebrews 9:11-10:4,19; 2:14; Colossians 1:14,20; 1 Peter 1:18-21; Revelation 1:5). Christ’s crucifixion (necessarily followed by His resurrection) is unequivocally the supreme feature of the Christian religion. Without that unique and singular event, propitiation would be impossible (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2). Atonement for sin is a mandatory, indispensable necessity—intimately linked with the very nature of deity. God cannot remain just, while simply overlooking or dismissing human sin (Romans 3:25).
But the Quran, in conspicuous contradistinction, shows abject ignorance of the notion of atonement. It, in fact, denies the historicity of the crucifixion of Christ. In a passage that recounts the frequent disobedience of the Jews, the point is made:
And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger—They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain, but Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise (Surah 4:157-158, emp. added).
Since Jesus (allegedly) was not actually crucified, it follows that He likewise was not resurrected from the dead:
(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ (Surah 3:55, emp. added).
In sharp contrast, the New Testament places the resurrection as the platform on which the rest of the Christian system rests. If Jesus was not crucified and subsequently resurrected from the dead, then Christianity is a sham and completely indefensible. As Paul declared:
Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable (1 Corinthians 15:12-19, emp. added).
The author of the Quran appears oblivious to this deficiency. He endorses Christianity (as long as Christians will acknowledge God as singular), but denies the resurrection. Yet the Christian religion itself admits that if the resurrection did not take place, it is a false religion. In fact, the very name “Christian” would be a blasphemous term if Christ is not to be worshiped as God and Savior. To identify oneself, or others, as “Christians” in an approving manner should be as unacceptable and repugnant to Islam as the identification of Muslims as “Mohammedans.” Yet the Quran frequently lends dignity to the term “Christian” in an approving manner (Surah 2:62,111,113,120; 5:51,69,82; 22:17)—all the while denying its most central tenet.

The Value of Biblical Sex Laws by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


The Value of Biblical Sex Laws

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In 1998, the Committee on Adolescence published an article in Pediatrics titled “Adolescent Pregnancy—Current Trends and Issues: 1998.” According to the statistics in the report, in 1998, 56 percent of the girls polled in the United States had had sexual intercourse before they were old enough to vote (at age 18). That same year, 73 percent of all boys were sexually active. The average age for the first intercourse experience was 17 for girls and 16 for boys. Even more troubling is the fact that 19 percent of sexually active high school students reported having four or more successive partners.
Television and movies portray sexual intercourse as a harmless, fun activity in which all “cool” people engage—regardless of their marital status. As a result, it sometimes is difficult to convince people of the negative effects of illicit sexual intercourse. After all, the debonair James Bond slept with as many women as he could in any given 007 movie. Yet he suffered no negative repercussions from his sexual promiscuity. The picture in real life is not quite as harmless, however. Here are a few statistics on the harmful effects of the promiscuous sex lives of many people today.
  • More than 10,000,000 children in Africa are orphans because their parents died of AIDS(McMillen and Stern, 2000, p. 115).
  • In America, up to 60 percent of the young adult population carries the incurable genital herpes virus (p. 120).
  • In America, about 30 percent of the young adult population carries the venereal wart virus (p. 122).
Amazingly, the Old and New Testament writers penned commandments—which derived ultimately from God—that would stop these terrible diseases from spreading. Proverbs 7:4-27 and Leviticus 19:29 are good examples of these laws as found in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the inspired apostle Paul explained that sexual immorality is a sin against the body (1 Corinthians 6:15-18). Throughout the pages of Scripture, God commanded that sexual intercourse be enjoyed only within the confines of a God-approved, monogamous, marital relationship. Jesus Himself stated:
Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”? And said “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:4-5).
The biblical rules regarding intercourse help illustrate that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. How could the biblical writers have known the proper place for intercourse, when the nations around them engaged in various perverted practices? The simple fact is, God created humans, and He always has known how they should behave in every area of their lives. Just think how much heartache and physical pain people today could avoid—both for themselves and for those they love—simply by following biblical teaching concerning sexual intercourse. We would be wise indeed to abide by these rules—and to teach others to do the same.


McMillen, S.I. and David Stern (2000), None of These Diseases (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell), third edition.

Where is God when I Hurt? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Where is God when I Hurt?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

No doubt many people over the centuries and throughout the world have rejected belief in the one true God on the grounds that they have witnessed or experienced great pain and suffering. Perhaps the loss of a loved one, or some other tragedy in their life, made them resentful and bitter toward God and life. By blaming God, somehow the pain seemed more bearable. But the Bible speaks definitively on this matter. And only the Bible can give us an accurate explanation for the existence of pain and suffering on the Earth.
Many great men and women in Bible history have preceded us in their attempts to live faithfully for God in the face of great hardship. Being human beings just like us, they faced the daily struggle to overcome self, sin, and Satan. They, too, had to cope with the stress and strain of life. They, too, had to endure hurt. We can learn from their behavior (Romans 15:4). If we will consider their lives and their reaction to the difficulties of life, we can receive from their example the necessary strength to endure. When we observe how they were mistreated and persecuted, and how they coped with their hurt, we can draw from them the needed encouragement to endure and achieve the victory.


For example, in his efforts to live the Christian life, Stephen found himself standing before the highest legislative body of the Jewish nation—the 71 members of the Sanhedrin that included the High Priest as president. He was on trial for his life. Instead of offering a legal defense, he preached a sermon. He surveyed Israelite history, spotlighting their behavioral propensity for apostasy, and then he drove his sermon home with this grand conclusion:
You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it (Acts 7:51-53).
Here was this great man of God, on trial for his life, and yet no speech could ever be less calculated to gain one’s acquittal. Instead of defending himself to achieve his release, Stephen’s sermon placed his accusers on trial before the bar of God!
Their reaction? They were cut to the heart and gritted their teeth at him. They began yelling at the top of their lungs while they stopped up their ears. Then they ran at him, dragged him outside the city, and threw rocks at him until they beat the life from his body. Did Stephen experience great hurt? Yes, even unto death! Where was God? Right there with him! In fact, by the miraculous intervention of God, he was able to gaze upward into heaven itself and see the glory of God, and Jesus standing at His right hand. When you and I hurt, God and Christ are still there!


Then there was Elijah (1 Kings 19). Upon hearing that Jezebel had “put out a contract” on his life, he literally “ran for his life” into the desert and hid in a cave. God spoke to him directly and said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” His response showed a heart filled with desperation and despair when he insisted that he had been very zealous for the Lord, despite the fact that the Israelites had forsaken the covenant, torn down God’s altars, and killed God’s prophets. He felt he was the only one left—and they were trying to kill him, too! Here was a man who felt the crushing pressure of persecution. Here was a man who was hurting.
Yet, God had provided him with appropriate victories in life. When he went to meet his king (1 Kings 18), he was accused of making trouble for God’s people. But the truth was, it was Ahab who troubled Israel by forsaking God’s commands. He then challenged the hundreds of false prophets to meet him in a contest on Mt. Carmel to determine once and for all who is God. When those false prophets tried all day long to evoke a response from their god to ignite the sacrifice, they failed miserably. Elijah then gathered all the people around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord. Placing wood upon the altar and carefully arranging the sacrificial meat upon the wood, he ordered it to be doused with water, thoroughly saturating the entire sacrificial site. Then he offered a simple prayer to the God of heaven, which elicited fire that roared down out of the atmosphere, consuming the sacrifice, the wood, the altar stones, the water, and even the dust! That caused God’s people to get their thinking straight, and Elijah ordered the execution of the false prophets. Was Elijah a man who had to endure hurt? Yes! But God was with him!


And what of Daniel? Deported from his homeland while still a youth, he was placed in an unfriendly foreign culture and forced to learn the language and literature of the Babylonians. When his political enemies became jealous over his success and favor with the king, they finagled the law to get Daniel in trouble with the legal system. His crime? Praying to the one true God regularly! His punishment? Death by being thrown to lions. Talk about hurt! Yet, God was with him and stopped the mouths of the lions (Hebrews 11:33). Though he spent the night in the lions’ den, he was retrieved the next morning safe and sound. His accusers were substituted in his place, and the Bible says the lions tore them in pieces before their bodies hit the ground (Daniel 6:24). Did Daniel have to face hurt in life? Yes! But God was with him!


Then there is Amos. He had no intention of being used by God as a prophet (Amos 7:14). He was spending his life tending sheep and sycamore trees that produced a fruit that had to be manually pierced to ripen. But when God commissioned him to travel from his home in southern Palestine to northern Palestine, and to present God’s words to those people, he went. But he was not well received. When he announced that Israel would be laid waste and the king himself would die by the sword, you can imagine the reaction. Amaziah the priest accused him of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and tried to intimidate him into leaving the country immediately. Amos responded by making clear that he was no prophet by profession, and would have been content to do the humble work he performed in his private life. But God had instructed him to prophesy, and that’s what he was going to do. Not only would Israel fall, but Amaziah’s own children would be killed and his own wife turned into a prostitute (Amos 7:17). Was Amos placed in a situation that brought hurt into his life? Criticism? Opposition? Yes! But God saw him through his hurt!


Micaiah, too, faced the pressures and hurts of life. When the king of Israel and the king of Judah met to discuss the possibility of a mutual military campaign, the king of Judah wanted some reassurance from God that their efforts would be successful. Ahab paraded his 400 false prophets before Jehoshaphat, and the “yes men” offered the desired reassurance. But Jehoshaphat was uneasy and wanted some more credible indication. Ahab admitted that Micaiah could be consulted—“but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8).
Micaiah was immediately summoned. The two kings sat upon their thrones, listening to the false prophets. One false prophet, Zedekiah, even dramatized his reassurance by holding up an iron replica of some ox horns and declaring that the kings would gore the Syrians to death. Meanwhile, the officer who had been sent to bring Micaiah to them, urged him to go along with the other prophets and reassure the king. But Micaiah said he would say what the Lord told him to say, and when questioned by the king, he sarcastically suggested that they go right ahead. When pressed to get serious, Micaiah predicted that the army would be scattered and Ahab would be killed. He then described how a lying spirit was directing the advice of the false prophets—whereupon Zedekiah walked over, slapped Micaiah across the face, and taunted him with the words, “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go from me to speak to you?” Micaiah said he would find out on that day of military calamity when he would run and hide in an inner chamber.
Micaiah was sent to prison for his courageous stand, and was placed on bread and water. But when the battle ensued, Ahab disguised himself for the specific purpose of avoiding Micaiah’s prediction. The Syrian king even assembled a “swat” team of 32 assassins, and charged them to avoid all conflict and concentrate solely on getting Ahab. But God did not use them to accomplish His prediction. Instead, the Bible informs us that a nameless archer drew back his bow and let his arrow fly “at random,” that is, aiming at no one in particular—no doubt just excited in the heat of battle. Out of all those soldiers who were occupying the battlefield, that arrow found its way to Ahab. And out of all the places on Ahab’s armor, that arrow struck in the crevice between the joints of the armor and punctured his wicked heart. His blood pooled in the bottom of his chariot and he was dead by sundown. Micaiah had to face hurt—but God was with him, and he lived to see the demise of those who inflicted the hurt.


The Elijah of the New Testament faced the same thing. He had to stand up and confront the Pharisees and Sadducees face to face, label them “vipers,” insist upon repentance, and warn them of the wrath and unquenchable fire to come (Matthew 3:7-12). When he had the courage to inform the king that his marriage was unacceptable to God, the king’s illicit wife held it against John and wanted him eliminated. She got her way, and the executioner cut off John’s head, leaving only his headless corpse for his disciples to bury (Mark 6:14-29). Did John face hurt? Yes—even unto death! But was God with John? Jesus, Himself, said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). God knows our hurt, and He is there.


Paul was a model of persecution. The list of his persecutions is lengthy (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). He received the customary 40 lashes (Deuteronomy 25:1-3) from the Jews on five separate occasions. Three times he received the customary Roman beating with rods (Acts 16:23). He was even stoned (Acts 14:19). Three times he went through the harrowing experience of being shipwrecked (e.g., Acts 27:41ff.), and even drifted on the ocean all night and all day. He experienced the fatigue of frequent travels, the perils of waters, robbers, angry countrymen, and Gentiles. He suffered in the city and in the desert, in the sea and among false brethren. He went through weariness, toil, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, fasting, cold, and nakedness. He was a hounded, hunted, harassed, and hurt man! He experienced the insecurity and fright that comes from vicious opposition. But the Lord said to him, “Don’t be afraid, but speak, and don’t keep silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you” (Acts 18:9-10). When he faced the hurtful pain of a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him humble, the Lord reassured him—even in the midst of his suffering—“My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He was able to conclude: “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Infirmity, distress, reproach, persecution? These things hurt! But through it all—we are assured of the help of our Lord!


But the supreme example of suffering and hurt is that of Jesus Christ Himself. Besides the lack of physical comforts (Matthew 8:20) and the frequent mistreatment He endured throughout His earthly ministry, finally He was seized by an angry mob carrying swords and clubs. He was positioned before a kangaroo court to face the accusations of false witnesses. He encountered the tirade of a raging High Priest who accused Him of blasphemy, and He had to hear the council’s condemnation to death. He had people spit in His face, beat Him, and strike Him with the palms of their hands as they mocked and taunted Him. He was bound and taken before the Roman authorities where He experienced the further humiliation of a jeering crowd who chose a notorious criminal over Him for release. He then suffered further indignities at the hands of Roman soldiers who stripped Him, pressed a crown of thorns down upon His head, spit on Him, and struck Him on the head with the reed they had made Him hold as a scepter. Finally, He endured the excruciating, horrifying death inflicted by a Roman cross, as passers-by blasphemed Him, shook their heads at Him, and taunted Him to save Himself. Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him. Where was God? Where is God when you or I hurt? Where is God when a Christian loses a child? He is right where He was when He lost His own Son.
Whatever suffering or hurt you or I may experience, pales in comparison to the hurt endured by our Lord. We need to remember: Sunday followed Friday. His suffering unto death provided an incredible result that you and I may share. “God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Must we hurt?
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was guile found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:21-23).
 In fact, Jesus was “made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death…that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” and, in so doing, He is able to “bring many sons to glory…for in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:9-10,18). Jesus suffered great hurt and harm, but He endured for us. May we endure for Him! We can and must be like Him. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).


In Revelation 19, we are treated to a spectacular portrait. Heaven opens and out comes a white horse whose rider has three names: “Faithful and True;” “The Word of God;” and “King of kings and Lord of lords.” In righteousness, He judges and makes war. His eyes are flames of fire. He wears on His head multiple crowns, and his clothing has been dipped in blood. Protruding out of His mouth is a sharp sword. He rides at the head of the mounted cavalry of heaven. The Christians who were first given this awesome picture had been undergoing intense, excruciating pain and suffering. But neither they nor we can visualize this marvelous scene without coming to at least one undeniable conclusion: God knows when we hurt and experience untold pain and suffering; but He is there, He is with us, He will not abandon us, and we must continue to trust Him.