"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"The Value Of A Soul (16:26) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Value Of A Soul (16:26)


1. After telling His disciples and others nearby the cost of being His
   disciple, Jesus asked...

   "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and
   loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his
   soul?" - Mk 8:36-37

2. In these words of Jesus we are reminded of the value of the soul...
   a. It is the most valuable possession one has
   b. All the wealth and power one might gain is not worth the price of
      one's soul!

3. It is a lesson we do well to remember, and so in this study we shall
   examine three questions...
   a. Does the Bible teach that man has a soul?
   b. Why is one's soul so valuable?
   c. What will one give in exchange for his or her soul?

[Because of error taught by some, it is important to provide a Bible
answer to the first question...]


      1. Such as members of the Watchtower Society (i.e., "Jehovah's
      2. Who say man "is" a soul, not "has" a soul
      3. The controversy revolves around the multi-faceted use of the
         words for "soul"
         a. The Hebrew is "nephesh", and at times it may refer to:
            1) Animal life - Gen 1:20-21 ("living")
            2) The person - Num 31:19 ("killed any person")
            3) The body - Num 6:6 ("a dead body")
            4) Something distinguished from the body - Isa 10:18 ("soul
               and body")
            5) Breath - Job 41:21 (referring to Leviathan)
         b. The Greek word is "psuche", and at times it may refer to:
            1) The person - 1Pe 3:20 ("eight souls saved by water")
            2) Life itself - Jn 13:38 ("lay down your life")
            3) Something distinguished from the spirit - He 4:12 ("soul
               and spirit")
            4) Something distinguished from the body - 1Th 5:23
               ("spirit and soul and body")
            5) That which exists after the body is dissolved - Mt 10:28
               ("kill the body but not the soul")
         -- Those who deny that man "has" a soul fail to consider that
            words may have many different meanings and applications

      1. In the teaching of Jesus
         a. Man is both body and soul, and the soul can survive murder
            by a fellow man - cf. Mt 10:28
         b. The story of Lazarus and the rich man - cf. Lk 16:22-23
            1) Some say this is only a parable
            2) Even if it is (which is highly unlikely), parables were
               "true to life" stories, not fantasy!
         c. His promise to the thief on the cross - Lk 23:42-43
      2. In the teaching of Paul
         a. There is "the inner man" that can renewed, even while "the
            outer man" decays - 2Co 4:16-18
         b. One can be with the Lord, while absent from the body - 2 Co5:6-8
         c. There is a part of man that can be "out of the body" - 2 Co12:3
         d. One can be dead, yet still be with Christ - Php 1:23
         e. Reference is made to the "spirits of just men" - He 12:
      3. The teaching of Peter
         a. He wrote of those who are "dead, but live in the spirit"
            - 1Pe 4:6
         b. He described the body as a tabernacle to be put off...if
            the body is a tabernacle (dwelling place), what dwells in
            it? - 2Pe 1:13-14
         c. The unjust are under punishment, just like some angels
            - 2Pe 2:4,9-10
      4. John, in the Revelation given to him, saw "souls of those
         slain", and they were capable of crying out with loud voices,
         and being comforted - Re 6:9-11
      -- There is also much material in the OT

[So while one may say in the right context that man "is" a soul, we
must also be willing to say that the Bible teaches man "has" a soul.
Now let's consider the next question...]


      1. Man was created in the image of God - Gen 1:26-27
         a. Yet God does not have a physical body like ours - Jn 4:24;
            Lk 24:39
         b. Therefore it must be our soul, or spirit, that is in God's
      2. This is what enable us to comprehend abstract concepts as:
         a. Life, death, eternity
         b. Things of beauty
         c. A moral sense of ought, right and wrong, good and evil
         -- Making us more than just animal creatures - cf. Ps 8:3-8

      1. The body is mostly the result of genetics
         a. We might be able to change a little through exercise,
            plastic surgery, etc.
         b. But we cannot stop the eventual aging and dying process
      2. The soul, however, is different...
         a. Despite one's genetics, there is much that can be changed
         b. By cooperating with God, we can change attitudes,
            dispositions, character - Ro 12:1-2; Ga 5:21-22; Col 3:12-15

      1. The body dies, and soon returns back to the dust
         a. The soul, or spirit, returns back to God - Ec 12:7
         b. Awaiting the resurrection of the body - cf. 1Co 15:35-58
      2. After which comes the Judgment - He 9:27; 2Co 5:10
         a. The soul, in its resurrected body, will bear the brunt of
            that Judgment
         b. Either eternal life, honor, glory, and immortality - Ro 2:7
         c. Or indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish - Ro 2:8-9
      -- Which is why we need to evaluate all things (possessions,
         decisions, actions) from an eternal perspective, from the
         soul's viewpoint - Mt 10:28; 16:26

      1. What price was required to redeem our souls from the wrath of
         God's judgment?
      2. Nothing less than the blood of the Son of God! - 1Pe 1:18-19
      -- Even if we cannot fully comprehend why Jesus had to die, we
         should able to see that the souls of men must be extremely
         valuable if His death was necessary

[So the Bible teaches that the soul is more valuable than the whole
world!  And yet, many people "sell their souls" for what surely are
petty bargains...]


      1. The word "exchange" pictures a business transaction in which
         one is bartering for something else
      2. "Barter" means "to trade or exchange one commodity for
      -- Thus it means to trade your soul for something else

      1. For some people, it is earthly riches and fame
         a. In their quest for riches, they neglect their service to
            God - 1Ti 6:10
         b. Yet they have traded their souls for that which is
            corruptible and can be stolen - Mt 6:19-21
      2. For others, it is the "passing pleasures of sin"
         a. Like the young man tempted by the harlot - Pr 5:1-14
            1) In a moment's passion, lives are destroyed (AIDS,
               unwanted pregnancies)
            2) Marriages and families are ruined
         b. Young people like Joseph, Moses, and Daniel should inspire
            us to make the right choices - cf. Gen 39:7-9; He 11:24-25;
            Dan 1:8
      3. Then others allow their souls to be sold for some convenient
         false doctrine
         a. Of which we need to beware - Col 2:8,18
         b. For the devil is a master at this - 2Co 11:13-15
         c. Through our own lack of Bible study, we can lose the most
            valuable thing we have! - cf. Hos 4:6
      4. Finally, many will trade their souls through simple laziness!
         a. They will not use the opportunities the Lord has given them
            - cf. Mt 25:24-30
         b. They fail to apply the diligence necessary to grow
            spiritually - cf. 2Pe 1:5-11


1. How valuable is your soul...?
   a. Think of what the rich man in Hades would tell you - cf. Lk 16:
   b. Think of what the souls of the redeemed would say to you - cf.
      Re 7:13-17
   c. Think of what God has done to save your soul! - Jn 3:16

2. It matters not what else you do in this life, if you do not save
   your own soul, you have been a complete failure...
   a. You might gather about you great riches and fame, and leave
      thousands of friends to mourn your departing, but if you have not
      saved your soul, you have been a miserable failure!
   b. On the other hand, you may die in a charity home for the poor,
      and be buried in a potter's field without a single friend to
      mourn, but if you saved your soul, your life was a marvelous

3. You can't afford to lose your soul, for if you lose it, you lose
   a. To the faithful will be given the place of eternal rest
      1) There will be no pain, sickness, or death there
      2) It is the inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that
         fades not away
      3) It is that city built by the living God
   b. On the other hand, there is the place of eternal punishment
      1) It is where the wicked will be tormented day and night forever
      2) It is where you will bemoan your great foolishness for having
         sold your soul for such petty things!

4. Dear friends and brethren, you don't have to lose your soul...
   a. Humbly submit yourself to the will of God
   b. Let His Word guide you, and let no man beguile you of your reward
   c. Overcome temptations, and suffer for His cause with rejoicing
   -- If you do these things, you will save your soul, and heaven will
      be yours, because God who cannot lie, has promised it!

Note:  The main idea and several thoughts from this lesson were taken
from a lesson by David Riggs.  The URL for his web site of sermons is:

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" I Will Build My Church (16:13-20) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                   I Will Build My Church (16:13-20)


1. In Mt 16:13-17, Jesus questioned His disciples concerning His
   a. He asked who others thought He was
   b. He then asked who they thought He was
   c. Peter responded: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
   d. Jesus commended Peter, stating that his confession of faith was
      based upon what the Father Himself had revealed - Mt 16:17

2. Jesus then used this opportunity to speak of His church - Mt 16:
   a. He promised to build His church
   b. He mentioned the foundation upon which it would be built
   c. He described the ultimate victory of His church
   d. He spoke of great authority that would be given

3. This passage naturally raises several questions...
   a. What is this "church" Jesus promised to build?
   b. What is the "foundation" upon which it would be built?
   c. How would "the gates of Hades" not prevail against it?
   d. What "authority" was given by Jesus, and to whom?

[Anyone who believes in Jesus should have a vital interest in the
answers to these questions.  So let's begin by noting first of all...]


      1. The Greek word is ekklesia, meaning "an assembly, a
      2. It is used in the Bible most often in two senses:
         a. The church "universal" - the whole assembly of people who
            are saved, both living and dead
         b. The church "local" - a company of saved people in a
            geographical area who work and worship together as a local
      3. In our text, Jesus is using the word "church" in its universal

      1. It is called "the body of Christ" - Ep 1:22-23
      2. It is called "the household of God" - 1Ti 3:15
      3. It is called "the temple of God" - Ep 2:19-22; 1Pe 2:5
      4. It is called "the kingdom of Christ" - Col 1:13; cf. Re 1:9
      5. It is called "the bride of Christ" - 2Co 11:2; cf. Re 19:
         6-9; 21:2
      -- Each of these expressions emphasize some blessing or 
         responsibility we have as those who have been called out of
         the world into this spiritual assembly of God's people

      1. It is evident that the church was not established at the time
         Jesus spoke...
         a. He said "I WILL build My church..." - Mt 16:18
         b. He told His disciples not to tell anyone that He was the
            Christ (a fact certainly related to the establishment of 
            His church!) - Mt 16:20
      2. The church is mentioned after Jesus' resurrection...
         a. The Lord was adding people to the church - Ac 2:47
         b. From that time forward, the church is spoken of as being in
      3. It is fair to conclude that the church began on the day of
         a. When the Spirit was poured out on the apostles - Ac 2:1-21
         b. When Peter preached the first gospel sermon - Ac 2:22-40
         c. When thousands were saved, and the Lord added them to His
            church - Ac 2:41,47

      1. The church "universal" is a spiritual body of people
         a. Known only by the Lord Himself - cf. Ac 2:47; 2Ti 2:19;
            Jn 10:14
         b. There is no earthly organization, headquarters, etc., for
            the church universal
         c. Any attempt to organize and activate the church "universal"
            results only in denominationalism
      2. The church "local" is the only visible sign of the church
         a. Local churches are made up of Christians in geographical
            areas who work and worship together as a unit - cf. Ac 8:1;
            13:1; 14:21-23,27
         b. With their frequent assembling, it is easy to identify a
            local church - cf. 1Co 1:2; 11:17-18; 14:23

[The church Jesus built, then, is that great gathering of people who
respond to the gospel in faith and obedience (cf. Ac 2:41).  Wherever
faithful disciples of Christ assemble to work and worship as a local
congregation, a church of Christ is found (cf. Ro 16:16).  As we return
to our text, we next consider...]


      1. As foretold by Isaiah - Isa 28:16
      2. As proclaimed by Peter - Ac 4:11-12; 1Pe 2:6-8
      3. As taught by Paul - 1Co 3:11; Ep 2:20

      1. Some believe the "rock" is Peter, as the first pope
         a. This is the claim of the Roman catholic church
         b. This idea was first raised only after various bishops began
            claiming universal authority over the church, hundreds of
            years after the church began
         c. Even if Peter is the "rock" in this passage, there is no
            Biblical basis for the idea that the church was built upon
            Peter alone
      2. Some think the "rock" may be Peter, but with scriptural 
         a. I.e., the church would be built upon Peter, but not solely
            upon him
            1) Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, the primary foundation
               - cf. Ep 2:20; 1Pe 2:6
            2) But one may also speak of the church built upon the
               apostles (including Peter) as the church's foundation,
               in a secondary sense - cf. Ep 2:20; Re 21:14
         b. That Jesus may be referring to what we learn later to be
            true, that upon Peter (along with the other apostles and
            Christ Himself) Jesus would build His church
      3. Jesus might be referring to the principle of divine revelation
         working through His apostles, like Peter...
         a. Jesus had just praised Peter for his confession, which was
            the result of divine revelation - Mt 16:16-17
         b. Jesus went on to say how Peter would possess the keys of
            the kingdom and the power of binding and loosing, all 
            related to the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the
            apostles - cf. Mt 16:19; Jn 16:12-13; 20:22-23
         -- If so, then Jesus is making the point that His church,
            while established through the work of men like Peter and
            the apostles, would be built on a solid foundation since
            they would be led by divine revelation
      4. A strong possibility is that the "rock" is the confession
         Peter just made...
         a. I.e., the truth of the confession:  "You are the Christ,
            the Son of the Living God"
         b. Just as Simon had been called "a rock" (Gr., petros), so
            the church would be established on a solid "rock" (Gr.,
            petra) or fact:  that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the
            Living God"!

[Whatever the "rock" in Mt 16:18, the church is built upon the strong
foundation of Christ Himself and His apostles (Ep 2:20). At this point,
let's skip ahead to what we learn about...]


      1. To Peter was promised "the keys of the kingdom" - Mt 16:19
         a. The figure of "keys" suggest the ability to allow entrance
            into the kingdom
         b. Peter exercised this ability through preaching the gospel,
            as he did on the day of Pentecost - Ac 2:17-41
      2. To the apostles was promised the power "to bind" and "to 
         a. To Peter in this passage - Mt 16:19
         b. To the rest of the disciples was promised similar power 
            - Mt 18:18
         -- Of course, presumed in all this would be the guidance of
            the Spirit, promised to lead the apostles into all the
            truth - Jn 16:12-13

      1. They "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine..." 
         - Ac 2:42
      2. Christians were commended for their acceptance of the 
         apostles' doctrine - 1Co 11:2; 1Th 2:13
      3. They were exhorted to receive the apostles' teaching -
         1Co 14:37; 2Th 2:15

[The Lord's church today, then, is wherever there are souls who have
been saved and who continue to abide in the apostles' doctrine.  For
those who remain faithful to the Lord and His apostles, they can look
forward to...]


      1. The phrase "gates of Hades" has been variously interpreted as:
         a. The powers of death (i.e., death itself)
         b. The forces of hell (whatever forces Satan might bring to
      2. In either case, the "gates of Hades" have not prevailed!
         a. Death did not prevent Jesus from building His church
         b. The forces of Satan have not succeeded in destroying His

      1. By putting on the armor of God - Ep 6:10-13
      2. By steadfastly resisting our adversary, the devil - 1Pe 5:
      3. Nothing, not even death itself, can prevent us from being
         "more than conquerors" - Ro 8:35-39
      4. The glory of this ultimate victory is beautifully portrayed in
         the visions of the Revelation - e.g., Re 7:9-17


1. Do we desire to participate in this glorious victory of Jesus'
   a. Then we must first be saved - Ac 2:38-41,47
   b. We must also abide steadfastly in Jesus' doctrine, which is also
      the apostles' doctrine - Jn 8:31; Ac 2:42; 1Th 2:13; 2Th 2:
   c. We must remain faithful until death - Re 2:10

2. Through God's grace and our faithful obedience, we can be privileged
   to be a part of that church...
   a. Which Jesus built as promised
   b. Which shall withstand whatever "the gates of Hades" might throw
      against it

Don't you want to be a part of the church of Christ?  May the words of
Jesus in Mt 16:18-19 encourage us to be satisfied with nothing less!

Jesus Christ—Historical Figure or Fairy-Tale Character? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Jesus Christ—Historical Figure or Fairy-Tale Character?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Most children and adults easily recognize the name Jesus Christ. Many even can tell the story of His life. However, those same people also recognize the names Peter Pan, Snow White, and Cinderella. And they can relate the “facts” of these fairy tales as well. Is Jesus of Nazareth a fictional character that deserves to be included in a list of mystifying magicians, daring dragon slayers, and flying boy heroes? Or should His name take its well-deserved position in the halls of factual history?
Some people say that He is a myth, a legend that never walked the Earth. After all, it is true that we do not have one single book or letter written my Jesus Himself. And, of course, no one has produced any physical evidence (such as His body) to verify His existence. What evidence is available to prove that Jesus actually walked on this Earth?


Interestingly, the first type of records comes from what are known commonly as “hostile” sources. Hostile sources were written by people who disliked Jesus and His followers. Such men certainly did not want to further the cause of Christ or add credibility to His existence. In fact, they rejected His teachings and often reviled Jesus and His followers. Therefore, when these sources speak about Jesus, no one can accuse them of shading the facts in Jesus’ favor.
A man named Tacitus will be the first hostile witness called to the stand. He was born about A.D. 56 and died about A.D. 117. He was an upper-class Roman with a good education who held high governmental positions under several Roman emperors. He is most famous for writing Annals—a history of Rome written around the year A.D. 115. In the Annals he told of the Great Fire of Rome, which occurred in A.D. 64. Nero, the Roman Emperor, was suspected by many of having ordered the city set on fire. Tacitus wrote:
Nero fabricated scapegoats, and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus. But in spite of this temporary setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome.
Tacitus hated both Christians and their namesake, Christ. He therefore had nothing positive to say about what he referred to as a “deadly superstition.” He did, however, have something to say about it. His testimony establishes beyond any reasonable doubt that the Christian religion was historically relevant and that its originator was a verifiable historical figure so famous that He even attracted the attention of the Roman Emperor himself!
Additional hostile testimony comes from Suetonius, who wrote around the year A.D. 120. The writings of Suetonius are reliable piece of historical evidence. Twice in his history book, Suetonius specifically mentioned Christ or His followers. He wrote, for example: “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbance at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius] expelled them from the city” (note that in Acts 18:2 Luke mentioned this expulsion by Claudius). Chrestus is probably a misspelling of Christos, the Greek word for Messiah. Suetonius further commented: “Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief.” Again, it is clear that Suetonius and the Roman government had feelings of hatred toward Christ and His so-called “mischievous” band of rebels. It is equally clear that Suetonius (and, in fact, most of Rome) recognized that Christ was the noteworthy Founder of a historical religion.
Another Roman by the name of Pliny the Younger also provided hostile testimony to the life of Jesus. In a letter he wrote around the year A.D. 110, he used the terms “Christian” or “Christians” seven times, and wrote the name “Christ” three times. It is undeniably the case that Christians, with Christ as their Founder, had multiplied in such a way as to draw the attention of the Emperor and his officials by the time of Pliny. After examining this kind of evidence, it is impossible to deny the fact that Jesus Christ was recognized as an actual, historical person.
Even a casual reader who glances over the testimony of the hostile Roman witnesses will be struck by the fact that these men did not portray Christ as the Son of God or the Savior of the world. They verbally stripped Him of His Sonship, denied His glory, and belittled His magnificence. They described Him to their contemporaries, and for posterity, as a mere man. Yet even though they were greatly mistaken about Who He was, they nevertheless documented that He was. And for that we are indebted to them.

God, Design, and Natural Selection by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


God, Design, and Natural Selection

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In a September 2016 New Scientist article titled “Can We Ever Know If God Exists?”1 Executive Editor Graham Lawton insisted that “the only coherent and rational position is agnosticism.”2 Allegedly, there is not enough legitimate evidence to come to the rational conclusion that “God exists.” For example, Lawton called the design argument for God’s existence a “superficially persuasive argument” that is “very refutable.”3 And how is it supposedly refuted? What evidence did Lawton offer in contradiction to the design argument? He presented only one statement: “Evolution by natural selection, working over vast lengths of time, is all you need.”4
Sadly, many people will naively take Lawton at his word and assume, “He must be right. I guess we can’t prove that God exists.” The simple fact is, however, his “refutation” of the design argument is nothing of the sort. First, the design argument for God’s existence is an actual logical argument.
Premise 1: Anything that exhibits complex, functional design demands an intelligent designer.
Premise 2: The Universe exhibits complex, functional design.
Conclusion: Therefore, the Universe must have an intelligent Designer.
This argument for God is logically sound and observationally true. Even atheists frequently testify to the “design” in nature. For example, Australian atheistic astrophysicist Paul Davies has admitted that the Universe is “uniquely hospitable,” “remarkable,” and “ordered in an intelligible way.” He even confessed to the “fine-tuned properties” of the Universe.5 The simple fact is, to deny either premise of the design argument is to deny reality, while to deny the conclusion is to deny logic.
Second, “Evolution by natural selection, working over vast lengths of time, is [not!]6 all you need.” Certainly the fit adapt and survive, and pass along their advantageous genetic traits [example: longer legs in some animals] to their offspring, but such processes (1) cannot create complex, functional design from nothing, (2) cannot change non-design into design, and (3) do not (and cannot) change one kind of animal into another. The simple fact is, natural selection does not design anything. As evolutionist Hugo de Vries admitted long ago, “Natural selection may explain the survival of the fittest, but it cannot explain the arrival of the fittest.”7 It cannot explain the arrival of the perfectly designed “bomb-producing” bombardier beetle anymore than it can rationally explain the communication skills of the “sophisticated,” “intelligent,” “tailor-made,” color-changing Cuttlefish.8
Atheistic evolution is simply inept to deal with the reasonable arguments for the existence of God, including the logically sound design argument. To say that the design argument has “turned out to be very refutable” is simply false. And to act as if natural selection over long periods of time is the answer to the design observed in nature is equally fallacious. Such talk may sound nice in theoretical circles, but the evidence on a real observational and philosophically sound level still points to design that demands a designer. In truth, regardless of what Lawton and New Scientist say, we can know that God exists.9


1 Graham Lawton (2016), “Can We Ever Know If God Exists?” New Scientist, 231[3089]:39, September 3.
2 An agnostic is “a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable”—Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary (2016), http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agnostic, emp. added.
3 Lawton, p. 39, emp. added.
4 Ibid.
5 Paul Davies (2007), “Laying Down the Laws,” New Scientist, 194[2610]:30,34, June 30.
6 Parenthetical comment added.
7 Hugo De Vries (1905), Species and Varieties: Their Origin by Mutation, ed. Daniel Trembly MacDougal (Chicago, IL: Open Court), pp. 825-826, emp. added.
8 Eric Lyons (2008), “The Cause of the Cuttlefish,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2505&topic=328.
9 See the Existence of God section of ApologeticsPress.org for a plethora of articles on this subject: http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12.

Even Jesus Had A Temper by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Even Jesus Had A Temper

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In most circumstances, Jesus chose to use gentle words and peaceful measures to take care of the Father’s business. But on at least one occasion, aggressive action ruled the day.
From the time of Moses, whenever Jewish men presented themselves to the Lord at the Temple, they were instructed to offer a half-shekel of silver. Exodus 30:13 records: “This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary.” When Moses issued this decree, the Israelites were a single, cohesive unit that traded with the same form of money. However, that changed as the years passed and the Jews found themselves dispersed into other countries (such as Babylon, Assyria, and Phrygia). Naturally, those Jews who lived in foreign nations began to use as legal tender the money of the country in which they dwelt.
This posed a problem for them when they wanted to present themselves to the Lord at the Temple, because the Law said that they were to present a half-shekel of silver. The priest of the Temple would accept no foreign currency into the sacred treasury. Therefore, greedy moneychangers posted themselves in the court of the temple in order to offer their services. They would exchange foreign currency for a Jewish half-shekel, but in doing so they routinely exacted an exorbitant “commission” on the deal. What was a foreign Jew to do? Where else could he obtain a Jewish half-shekel except in Jerusalem? The moneychangers had a virtual monopoly. Basically, nobody could come to God unless he first went through the moneychangers.
As if that were not bad enough, the moneychangers and Temple brokers also had a monopoly on the sale of livestock suitable for offering to the Lord. Since many of the worshipers who visited the Temple lived so far away, they would purchase livestock at or near the Temple, rather than trying to bring animals on the trip with them. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were in for a rude awakening because the acceptable livestock was priced outrageously high. They had no choice but to pay the prices, however, since returning home without sacrificing to God was not an option. Once again, the moneychangers and traders came between God and His worshipers.
Upon this scene of fraud and abuse, the Lion of Judah came roaring. In John 2:14-17, the story is told of Jesus experiencing righteous indignation. He formed a whip of cords and reeked havoc on the moneychangers, overturning their tables, pouring out their money, and driving them and their livestock out of the Temple.
Anger and wrath enter the lives of every one of us. But let us learn from Jesus to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath” (James 1:19). Let us also learn that there is a time for righteous indignation. When there are those who stand between God and the true worship that is due Him—whether it be through false doctrine, hypocrisy, or any other vice—let us remember the example of the Lord and “be angry, yet sin not” (Ephesians 4:26).

How Could Jesus be God if He was Seen by Man? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


How Could Jesus be God if He was Seen by Man?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, one of the reasons Jesus could not (and cannot) be God is because Jesus was seen by humankind. The official Web site of Jehovah’s Witnesses (www.watchtower.org) indicates that “[a]s the Son of God, he [Jesus—EL] could not be God himself, for John 1:18 says: ‘No one has ever seen God’ ” (“What Does the Bible Say...,” 2000). The problem with such reasoning is two-fold.
First, it ignores the fact that man only saw Jesus (“the Word”—John 1:1) after “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He came in a veiled form. No human has ever seen Jesus in His true image (i.e., as a spirit Being—John 4:24—in all His glory and splendor). In his letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul mentioned that Christ—Who had existed in heaven “in the form of God”—“made Himself of no reputation,” and took on the “likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7). Men saw an embodiment of God as Jesus dwelt here in a fleshly form. Men saw “the Word” that “became flesh.” But no one has ever seen God’s true, complete image (as a spirit Being).
The second problem with Jehovah’s Witnesses’ denial of Jesus’ deity (based on the fact that “no one has ever seen God”) is that their argument crumbles when Jehovah God’s appearances to man are considered. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jehovah is God and “is the name of the true God only” (“Identifying...,” 2002). According to their doctrine, Jehovah, not Christ, is God Almighty. Yet, man has seen Jehovah. Genesis chapter 18 records an occasion when “Jehovah appeared” to Abraham near Mamre (vs. 1). Jehovah spoke directly to Abraham (vs. 13), and the faithful servant of God “stood before the Lord” (vs. 22). The final verse of Genesis 18 states: “And Jehovah went his way, as soon as he had left off communing with Abraham. And Abraham returned unto his place” (vs. 33). If Jehovah’s Witnesses were consistent with their argument, Jehovah could not be Almighty God because man has seen Jehovah. If John 1:18 somehow disqualifies Jesus from being God, it must also prohibit “Jehovah” from being God, because they both were seen. What Bible students must understand is that man has only seen manifestations of God (i.e, in human flesh, or in the midst of a burning bush—Exodus 3:2, etc.); he has never seen God (the Father or the Son) in His true spirit image.
[NOTE: If you would like to read further on the subject “Has Man Seen God?” and examine the alleged contradiction between such passages as John 1:18 and Exodus 33:11, click on the following link: http://www.apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=2682.]


“Identifying the True God Only,” (2002), [On-line], URL: http://www.watchtower.org/library/g/1999/2/8/article_04.htm, originally appeared in Awake!, February 8, 1999.
“What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus?” (2002), [On-line], URL: http://www.watchtower.org/library/ti/index.htm.

Comets, Chameleons, and Illogical Conclusions by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Comets, Chameleons, and Illogical Conclusions

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths to which some will go to reject the rational conclusion that God created everything in six days (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11). In an effort to counter various common-sense arguments that Christians present for a literal interpretation of Genesis one and a recent Creation (as opposed to a multi-billion-year, evolutionary process), evolutionists continually draw irrational conclusions. Consider two explanations by evolutionists attempting to explain away evidence creationists present for the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs in the past.
1. Whereas creationists believe that both the Bible and secular history teach that man once lived on Earth with dinosaurs (or “dragons;” see Lyons and Butt, 2008, pp. 13-45,109-134), evolutionists must somehow explain the existence of a plethora of stories of humans interacting with “dragons.” Why has humanity “since the dawn of recorded history” (“The Spread…,” 1981, 89:103) told stories of large reptilian creatures with long, serpentine necks, elongated bodies, massive tails, horned-heads, and some with membranous wings? Although evolutionist Ker Than was honest enough to admit that “[o]f all creatures that ever lived, pterosaurs probably most closely resemble the dragons of European legend” (2007), surely this couldn’t be the answer. After all, evolution says that pterosaurs and dinosaurs went extinct 60+ million years before humans allegedly evolved. What was Ker Than’s #1 explanation for the undeniable existence of antiquated “dragon legends” around the world? With all seriousness, he wrote:
To people living in ancient times, a comet streaking through the skies with an icy tail millions of miles long would have closely resembled such a creature…. If comets were the inspiration for some dragons, it could help explain why dragons are ubiquitous in the myths and legends of so many different cultures in all corners of the world (2007, emp. added).
In one of the few places I have ever seen evolutionists attempt to answer the dragon/dinosaur conundrum, a popular evolutionary writer concludes that a comet closely resembles a dragon. Absurd!
2. If, as the Bible teaches, humans once observed dinosaurs in the distant past (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11; cf. Job 40:15-24; Job 41:1-34), it would seem logical that they not only would have told stories about what they saw (i.e., “dragon legends”—no doubt some were exaggerated), but occasionally they would have made some type of drawing or carving of them. In fact, this is exactly what has been found around the world: antiquated carvings and paintings of dinosaurs and dinosaur-like creatures (see Lyons and Butt, pp. 47-107). But such evidence conflicts with evolutionary theory. (If the ancients never lived with dinosaurs, and we did not learn about dinosaurs from the fossil record until modern times, our ancestors allegedly could not have illustrated dinosaurs; see Lyons, 2008.) Other explanations must be proposed; else evolution’s “factualiDinoty” would be called into question. Sadly, more often than not, evolutionists choose to “toe the party line” and come up with other explanations, regardless of their improbability.
Take, for example, the explanation one evolutionist gave of the Ta Prohm temple carving near Siem Reap, Cambodia (a carving that we have discussed at length elsewhere; see Butt and Lyons, 2008). Rather than admit what any unbiased child would call the animal (a “Stegosaurus,” or “dinosaur” at the very least), Dr. Steven Novella chose to point out what he called “creationist illogic” (2008). After showing two pictures of chameleons, he writes: “Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! I think we have a winner. At the very least we can conclude that the temple relief looks much more like a chameleon than a stegosaurus” (emp. added). A chameleon? Really? One wonders why, when I randomly showed a class of middle school students this particular rock carving (which I had every reason to believe they had never previously seen) every student in the class identified the animal as a dinosaur, or more specifically as a Stegosaurus. [To read much more about this rock carving, as well as several others, see Lyons and Butt, 2008. NOTE: The most distinguishing part of a Stegosaurus (its plated back) is unlike any animal alive today. Though the carving may not be what a meticulous scientific illustrator would draw, one has to keep in mind that the ancients were (1) carving on rock, (2) working within the confines of a relatively small circular area, and (3) likely working from memory (either their own or from others who described the animal).]
A toy dinosaur that was originally (when sold) confined within a toy dinosaur egg. Notice that toy makers made the easily identifiable Stegosaurus without tail spikes. This particular feature of the dinosaur was purposefully left off of the toy model for various reasons (e.g., space limitation within the egg), yet any person remotely familiar with dinosaurs knows that toy makers were intending to manufacture a Stegosaurus.
Although Christians are continually mocked for believing that God designed all the various kinds of animal and human life on days five and six of Creation, in reality such a Creation makes perfect sense. The Bible, history, and true science are in complete agreement. It is logical to believe that “in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11). What we find illogical, however, is to maintain that “dragons” came from comets and that the CambodianStegosaurus carving looks like a chameleon.


Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2008), “Physical Evidence for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 28[3], March, http://ap.lanexdev.com/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=599.
Lyons, Eric (2008), “Did the Ancients Base Their Dinosaur Drawings on Fossils?” http://ap.lanexdev.com/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2444&topic=59.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2008), The Dinosaur Delusion (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Novella, Steven (2008), “Ancient Cambodian Stegosaurus?” NeurologicaBlog, http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=196.
Than, Ker (2007), “Top 10 Beasts and Dragons: How Reality Made Myth,” LiveScience.com, http://www.livescience.com/animals/top10_dragons.html.
“The Spread of Dragon Myths” (1981), Science Digest, 89:103, May.

George Washington Said “Live as Christians” by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


George Washington Said “Live as Christians”

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The American military continues to be endangered by two key threats: theImage influx of those who do not share the Christian worldview (i.e., Muslims), and the clamor of the “politically correct” crowd to allow open homosexuality, instigating further deterioration of moral standards. Indeed, society at large is undergoing the same dilution. In stark contrast, the Founders of America were insistent on the critical role played by Christianity in the founding of the Republic. For example, issuing General Orders from Headquarters, New York, July 9, 1776, General George Washington emphasized to the Continental Army the critical importance of living as Christians during the period of seeking national independence:
The Hon. Continental Congress having been pleased to allow a Chaplain to each Regiment, with the pay of Thirty-three Dollars and one third per month—The Colonels or commanding officers of each regiment are directed to procure Chaplains accordingly; persons of good Characters and exemplary lives—To see that all inferior officers and soldiers pay them a suitable respect and attend carefully upon religious exercises. The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger—The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country (George Washington..., emp. added).
The one facet of paramount importance to the success of the nation and the military (i.e., commitment to God and Christianity) is the very feature of American civilization being systematically jettisoned. God help us to rise up and stop this travesty. The words directed to Israel of old are apropos:
They have acted corruptly toward him; to their shame they are no longer his children, but a warped and crooked generation. Is this the way you repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you? ...You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.... They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be! (Deuteronomy 32:5-6,18,28-29, NIV).


George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3: Letterbooks. Varick Transcripts: Continental Army Papers. 1775-1783, Subseries G, Letterbook 1, Image 308 of 419, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mgw:@field(DOCID+@lit(gw050226)).

When did Paul go to Jerusalem? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


When did Paul go to Jerusalem?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Three times in the book of Acts,the Bible student is informed that after Saul’s conversion to Christ in Damascus, he departed for Jerusalem. According to Acts chapter 9, Saul (also called Paul) “increased all the more in strength” following his baptism into Christ, and “confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus” (vs. 22). Then, when “many days were past…the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket” for fear of the Jews (vss. 23,25). Immediately following these verses, the text reads: “And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple” (vs. 26, emp. added). Add to these verses Paul’s respective statements to the Jerusalem mob (Acts 22:17) and to King Agrippa (Acts 26:20) regarding his journey from Damascus to Jerusalem, and Bible students get the impression that shortly after Paul‘s conversion in Damascus, he journeyed to Jerusalem. The problem with this reasoning is that Paul later wrote to the churches of Galatia, and indicated that he “did not immediately…go up to Jerusalem” following his calling to Christ (Galatians 1:16). Rather, he went to Arabia, back to Damascus, and then after three years he went up to Jerusalem (1:17-18). [NOTE: “Arabia” generally is taken as a reference to the vast peninsula which bears that name. Its northwestern boundaries reached almost to Damascus—Pfeiffer, 1979, p. 203.] Concerned Bible students want to know how these passages are harmonized? Did Paul go straight to Jerusalem shortly after his conversion, or three years later?
Although Acts chapters 9,22, and 26 all indicate that Paul went from Damascus to Jerusalem after he became a Christian, one must realize that none of these passages specifically says that Paul went straight from Damascus to Jerusalem. It only says, “And when Saul had come to Jerusalem….” The writer of Acts gives no time limitations here. In fact, nowhere in the New Testament will a person find a statement denying that three years expired between Paul’s conversion and his first trip to Jerusalem as a Christian. Although rarely emphasized, what the Bible does not say regarding Paul’s journeys is very important—it proves that the alleged contradiction is based only on speculation, and not on a fair representation of the Scriptures.
Some question why Paul did not mention his trip to Arabia to preach among the Gentiles when he spoke to the Jewish mob in Jerusalem, and later to King Agrippa. Was it not a vital piece of information? Did he just “forget” about this part of his life? Actually, Paul had a good reason for not mentioning his trip to Arabia—he was speaking to Jews who were “seeking to kill him” because of his dealings with Gentiles (Acts 21:28-31). As a way of comparison, we can understand why a college football player, who transferred from a rival school, may not talk to his current teammates about his former college experiences, or why a new sales representative, who transferred from a competing company, may refrain from talking to current customers and/or coworkers about the three years he spent with the rival company. In a similar way, it did not aid Paul’s cause to mention at the very outset of his speech that some of his first work for the Lord was done among the Gentiles. (The Jews hated Paul for his dealings with the Gentiles. The events recorded in Acts 21 alone are proof of such hatred.) Certain situations simply warrant silence on a subject, rather than an exhaustive detailing of historical facts. Paul did not lie (to the Jerusalem mob or to King Agrippa) about his past experience working with the Gentiles for a time; he merely omitted this piece of information in his efforts to show his fellow Jews that the very people among whom he had been a loyal persecutor were those to whom he now preached.
The twenty-first-century reader must remember that a Bible writer (or a speaker whom a Bible writer quotes) may be writing/speaking from one point of view, and raise a point that may not be made in another situation. Neither Paul in his speeches, nor Luke in penning the book of Acts to Theophilus, saw a need to mention Paul’s journey to Arabia. In his letter to the churches of Galatia, however, Paul was dealing with Judaizers who taught that one had to keep the Law of Moses to be saved, and who wished to discredit Paul as an apostle. Paul thus wrote to tell them that after his conversion, he preached among the Gentiles for an extended amount of time before ever meeting with another apostle. Paul did not hurry off to Jerusalem to get instruction and approval from the Twelve. In defense of his apostolic credentials to the churches of Galatia, Paul mentioned his delayed journey to Jerusalem in order to emphasize (among other things) his genuine apostleship, whose message and authority came from Almighty God, and not from the twelve apostles, or any other person.
Pfeiffer, Charles F. (1979), Baker’s Bible Atlas (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Is there no hope? by Roy Davison


Is there no hope?
Solomon, who was rich, powerful and wise, understood that there is no hope in things of this world: “For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope” (1 Chronicles 19:15).

After experiencing all worldly advantages, he concludes: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

There are beautiful aspects of life, but life is so fleeting. As Job says: “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope” (Job 7:6).

When Job said this, he had lost everything.

Job had been the richest man in the East (Job 1:3). He had more than ten thousand animals: sheep, camels, oxen and donkeys. On one day he lost them all by fire and raiders, and most of his servants were murdered (Job 1:13-17).

What can be more devastating than the loss of a child? That same day, Job’s seven sons and three daughters were killed by a powerful wind that caused the house where they were to collapse (Job 1:19).

Then, after a while, Job’s whole body was covered with painful boils from the soles of his feet to the top of his head (Job 2:7).

The one person who, come what may, should have comforted him, his wife, said to him: “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).

He was visited by three friends who claimed that these calamities were punishment from God because of hidden sin.

What prospects did Job have? Little wonder that he said: “My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me. ... Where then is my hope? As for my hope, who can see it?” (Job 17:1, 15).

What kind of man was Job? Were his so-called friends right when they claimed that he was being punished by God?

No, Job was an upright man. God Himself had testified, “there is none like him on the earth, a blameless man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). The suffering of Job was not a punishment from God but an attack by Satan.

God allowed Job to be purified by suffering, as silver is purged in the fire (compare with Proverbs 17:3 and Isaiah 48:10).

Desiring to know why God allowed him to suffer, Job felt the need for a mediator: “For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both” (Job 9:32, 33).

Even though his situation was hopeless, Job entrusted his soul to God who was his only hope.

The light of revelation breaks through dimly at first in the form of a question, and finally shines forth as a mighty declaration of faith.

First the question: “If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes. You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands” (Job 14:14, 15).

Then the declaration of faith: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27).

Through this ordeal Job gained insight and a better understanding of God: “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” ... “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:2, 5).

Right before Job proclaimed his faith in his Redeemer, he said: “Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever” (Job 19:23, 24).

They were written, they were inscribed in a book, countless copies have been reproduced by printing presses, and now his words can be read by millions in the whole world via the Internet.

The faith and perseverance of Job have encouraged countless people through the ages.

Job knew that his Redeemer lives. We also know that man’s Redeemer lives because some 2000 years later, and some 2000 years before our time, the Savior and Mediator for whom Job longed, came from the loving Father to give hope to the hopeless.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 4:11-14).

Yes, in Christ there is hope.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:1-5).

Because our Redeemer lives forevermore, we have hope even in suffering. He suffered for us, so we are willing to suffer for Him.

Job was a type of the suffering servant of God, the Christ, of whom we read: “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

“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 deceit 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; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:21-24).

Paul wrote: “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:24-27).

Getting-old does not cause us to lose our hope. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Even death does not extinguish our hope. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14).

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Amen.

Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading December 12 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading  December 12 (World English Bible)

Dec. 12
Hosea 1-4

Hos 1:1 The word of Yahweh that came to Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
Hos 1:2 When Yahweh spoke at first by Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea, "Go, take for yourself a wife of prostitution and children of unfaithfulness; for the land commits great adultery, forsaking Yahweh."
Hos 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; and she conceived, and bore him a son.
Hos 1:4 Yahweh said to him, "Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease.
Hos 1:5 It will happen in that day that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."
Hos 1:6 She conceived again, and bore a daughter. Then he said to him, "Call her name Lo-Ruhamah; for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, that I should in any way pardon them.
Hos 1:7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them by Yahweh their God, and will not save them by bow, sword, battle, horses, or horsemen."
Hos 1:8 Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived, and bore a son.
Hos 1:9 He said, "Call his name Lo-Amm; for you are not my people, and I will not be yours.
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which can't be measured nor numbered; and it will come to pass that, in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'
Hos 1:11 The children of Judah and the children of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint themselves one head, and will go up from the land; for great will be the day of Jezreel.

Hos 2:1 "Say to your brothers, 'My people!' and to your sisters, 'My loved one!'
Hos 2:2 Contend with your mother! Contend, for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband; and let her put away her prostitution from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
Hos 2:3 Lest I strip her naked, and make her bare as in the day that she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and kill her with thirst.
Hos 2:4 Indeed, on her children I will have no mercy; for they are children of unfaithfulness;
Hos 2:5 For their mother has played the prostitute. She who conceived them has done shamefully; for she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'
Hos 2:6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, that she can't find her way.
Hos 2:7 She will follow after her lovers, but she won't overtake them; and she will seek them, but won't find them. Then she will say, 'I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.'
Hos 2:8 For she did not know that I gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil, and multiplied to her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.
Hos 2:9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my new wine in its season, and will pluck away my wool and my flax which should have covered her nakedness.
Hos 2:10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one will deliver her out of my hand.
Hos 2:11 I will also cause all her celebrations to cease: her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her solemn assemblies.
Hos 2:12 I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, about which she has said, 'These are my wages that my lovers have given me; and I will make them a forest,' and the animals of the field shall eat them.
Hos 2:13 I will visit on her the days of the Baals, to which she burned incense, when she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and went after her lovers, and forgot me," says Yahweh.
Hos 2:14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
Hos 2:15 I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she will respond there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
Hos 2:16 It will be in that day," says Yahweh, "that you will call me 'my husband,' and no longer call me 'my master.'
Hos 2:17 For I will take away the names of the Baals out of her mouth, and they will no longer be mentioned by name.
Hos 2:18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, and with the birds of the sky, and with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, and will make them lie down safely.
Hos 2:19 I will betroth you to me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion.
Hos 2:20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know Yahweh.
Hos 2:21 It will happen in that day, I will respond," says Yahweh, "I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth;
Hos 2:22 and the earth will respond to the grain, and the new wine, and the oil; and they will respond to Jezreel.
Hos 2:23 I will sow her to me in the earth; and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; and I will tell those who were not my people, 'You are my people;' and they will say, 'My God!' "

Hos 3:1 Yahweh said to me, "Go again, love a woman loved by another, and an adulteress, even as Yahweh loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods, and love cakes of raisins."
Hos 3:2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley.
Hos 3:3 I said to her, "You shall stay with me many days. You shall not play the prostitute, and you shall not be with any other man. I will also be so toward you."
Hos 3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king, and without prince, and without sacrifice, and without sacred stone, and without ephod or idols.
Hos 3:5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return, and seek Yahweh their God, and David their king, and shall come with trembling to Yahweh and to his blessings in the last days.

Hos 4:1 Hear the word of Yahweh, you children of Israel; for Yahweh has a charge against the inhabitants of the land: "Indeed there is no truth, nor goodness, nor knowledge of God in the land.
Hos 4:2 There is cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break boundaries, and bloodshed causes bloodshed.
Hos 4:3 Therefore the land will mourn, and everyone who dwells therein will waste away. all living things in her, even the animals of the field and the birds of the sky; yes, the fish of the sea also die.
Hos 4:4 "Yet let no man bring a charge, neither let any man accuse; For your people are like those who bring charges against a priest.
Hos 4:5 You will stumble in the day, and the prophet will also stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother.
Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you may be no priest to me. Because you have forgotten your God's law, I will also forget your children.
Hos 4:7 As they were multiplied, so they sinned against me. I will change their glory into shame.
Hos 4:8 They feed on the sin of my people, and set their heart on their iniquity.
Hos 4:9 It will be, like people, like priest; and I will punish them for their ways, and will repay them for their deeds.
Hos 4:10 They will eat, and not have enough. They will play the prostitute, and will not increase; because they have abandoned giving to Yahweh.
Hos 4:11 Prostitution, wine, and new wine take away understanding.
Hos 4:12 My people consult with their wooden idol, and answer to a stick of wood. Indeed the spirit of prostitution has led them astray, and they have been unfaithful to their God.
Hos 4:13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks and poplars and terebinths, because its shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the prostitute, and your brides commit adultery.
Hos 4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute, nor your brides when they commit adultery; because the men consort with prostitutes, and they sacrifice with the shrine prostitutes; so the people without understanding will come to ruin.
Hos 4:15 "Though you, Israel, play the prostitute, yet don't let Judah offend; and don't come to Gilgal, neither go up to Beth Aven, nor swear, 'As Yahweh lives.'
Hos 4:16 For Israel has behaved extremely stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer. Then how will Yahweh feed them like a lamb in a meadow.
Hos 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols. Leave him alone!
Hos 4:18 Their drink has become sour. They play the prostitute continually. Her rulers dearly love their shameful way.
Hos 4:19 The wind has wrapped her up in its wings; and they shall be disappointed because of their sacrifices.

Dec. 12
1 John 2

1Jn 2:1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
1Jn 2:2 And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.
1Jn 2:3 This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commandments.
1Jn 2:4 One who says, "I know him," and doesn't keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn't in him.
1Jn 2:5 But whoever keeps his word, God's love has most certainly been perfected in him. This is how we know that we are in him:
1Jn 2:6 he who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked.
1Jn 2:7 Brothers, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.
1Jn 2:8 Again, I write a new commandment to you, which is true in him and in you; because the darkness is passing away, and the true light already shines.
1Jn 2:9 He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in the darkness even until now.
1Jn 2:10 He who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no occasion for stumbling in him.
1Jn 2:11 But he who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and doesn't know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1Jn 2:12 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
1Jn 2:13 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you know the Father.
1Jn 2:14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
1Jn 2:15 Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn't the Father's, but is the world's.
1Jn 2:17 The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever.
1Jn 2:18 Little children, these are the end times, and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. By this we know that it is the final hour.
1Jn 2:19 They went out from us, but they didn't belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have continued with us. But they left, that they might be revealed that none of them belong to us.
1Jn 2:20 You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
1Jn 2:21 I have not written to you because you don't know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
1Jn 2:22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
1Jn 2:23 Whoever denies the Son, the same doesn't have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.
1Jn 2:24 Therefore, as for you, let that remain in you which you heard from the beginning. If that which you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son, and in the Father.
1Jn 2:25 This is the promise which he promised us, the eternal life.
1Jn 2:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who would lead you astray.
1Jn 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don't need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him.
1Jn 2:28 Now, little children, remain in him, that when he appears, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
1Jn 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of him.