"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Healings In Gennesaret (6:53-56) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                  The Healings In Gennesaret (6:53-56)


1. Following Jesus' walk on water, other miracles soon followed...
   a. Shortly after anchoring the boat on the shores of Gennesaret - Mk6:53
   b. When Jesus healed everyone who was brought to Him - Mk 6:54-56

2. "The Healings In Gennesaret" provide an opportunity to make
   observations about...
   a. The success of Jesus' healing ministry
   b. The purpose of Jesus' healing ministry

[Similar observations can be made about the healing ministries of Peter
and Paul, which can serve to critique so-called healing ministries today
(are they really of God?).  So let's begin by noting...]


      1. Where Jesus and His disciples anchored their boat - Mk 6:53
      2. A densely populated and fertile plain south of Capernaum
         - Hendriksen
      3. About 3 miles along the Sea of Galilee (also called the Lake of
         Gennesaret, Lk 5:1) - ibid.
      4. Its natural beauty and fertility were most remarkable... the
         plain produced walnuts, palms, figs, olives, and grapes
         - Josephus

      1. The healings of Peter - Ac 5:14-16
         a. In Jerusalem
         b. During the early days of the church
      2. The healings of Paul - Ac 19:11-12
         a. In Ephesus
         b. During his extended stay, while on his third journey

[In both rustic and urban settings, wonderful things happened when true
men of God were healing the sick.  But now let's consider carefully...]


      1. When people heard He was there, they gathered the sick 
         - Mk 6:54-56
      2. Wherever He went, they brought the sick to Him
         a. On beds
         b. Laying them in the market places
      3. Note well:  "as many as touched Him were made well"

      1. Peter in Jerusalem - Ac 5:14-16
         a. The sick were laid out in the street on beds and couches
         b. People from surrounding cities were brought the sick and
         c. Note well:  "they were all healed"
      2. Paul at Ephesus - Ac 19:11-12
         a. God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul
         b. Even handkerchiefs brought from his body to the sick healed
         c. Note well:  implied is that all who received such
            ministrations were healed

[The crowds that gathered around Jesus, Peter, and Paul were
understandable.  The success of these three men was remarkable.  Now for
an observation or two about...]


      1. The purpose of the healings was to confirm Jesus' claims - cf.
         Jn 5:36; 10:25,37-38
      2. People who saw such signs made the connection - e.g., Jn 3:2;
      3. Jesus did refrain on one occasion from doing miracles for lack
         of faith - cf. Mt 13:58
      4. But note well:  He never failed any miracle that He Himself

      1. The purpose of apostolic miracles was to confirm their message
         - Mk 16:17-20
      2. God bore witness to His Word by the gifts of the Holy Spirit
         - He 2:3-4
      3. The apostles did not always heal those they knew were sick
         - cf. 2Ti 4:20
      4. But note well:  the apostles never failed any miracle they


1. Today, there are self-proclaimed faith healers who say God is working
   through them...
   a. Often large crowds attend their meetings, hoping to be healed
   b. But many people leave such meetings, disappointed that they were
      not healed
   c. Despite having such healers lay their hands on them, and pray for

2. When true servants of God healed, everyone was healed...!
   a. Whether it was Jesus, Peter or Paul
   b. The purpose of miracles to confirm they were servants of God
   c. And God left no room for doubt!

3. The fact is, such healing ministries were for a specific purpose...
   a. They were to confirm the message and messengers as being from God
   b. Once the Word of God was completely revealed and confirmed, there
      is no longer a need for such miracles of confirmation - cf. 1Co13:8-10
   c. Which explains why such miracles are not being done today
   d. Contrary to claims made by false teachers who mislead many

When we carefully study the miracles of Jesus and those of His apostles,
comparing them with the so-called miracle healers of today, we can
easily see the difference...
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Jesus Walks On Water (6:45-52) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                     Jesus Walks On Water (6:45-52)


1. Have you ever felt alone...
   a. As you battled the storms of life?
   b. Wondering where Jesus was when you needed Him?

2. Then perhaps the miracle we are about to study may be helpful...
   a. When Jesus walked on the water
   b. Recorded in three gospels (Matthew, Mark, John)

[Our study will be based on Mark's account (Mk 6:45-52).  We'll divide
the study in two sections, beginning with verses 45-47 where we read


      1. Jesus sent His disciples by boat to Bethsaida near Capernaum
         - Mk 6:45; cf. Jn 6:17
      2. He Himself departed to the mountain to pray - Mk 6:46
         a. Even in His busy schedule, taking time to pray was a
            priority for Jesus - cf. Mk 1:35
         b. If the Son of God needed prayer, how much more the children
            of God today! - cf. Col 4:2
      3. Thus at evening, while His disciples were rowing, He was alone
         - Mk 6:47
      -- Two vivid scenes:  Jesus praying on the mountain, His disciples
         rowing in the sea

      1. Like the disciples rowing in the sea, we are to busying working
         a. Working out our salvation with fear and trembling 
            - cf. Php 2:12
         b. Abounding in the work of the Lord - cf. 1Co 15:58
      2. Meanwhile, as on the mountain, so now in heaven, Jesus prays
         for us
         a. He is our great High Priest - cf. He 4:14-16
         b. He makes intercession on our behalf - cf. He 7:25; Ro 8:34;
            1Jn 2:1
      -- Two vivid scenes:  Jesus praying in heaven, His disciples busy
         on earth

[As we return to our text (verses 48-52), the two scenes become one as
Jesus joins His disciples and we read of...]


      1. Jesus saw His disciples straining at rowing - Mk 6:48
         a. For the wind was against them
         b. Matthew records the boat was being tossed by the waves 
            - Mt 14:24
      2. Jesus came to them, walking on the sea - Mk 6:48
         a. About the fourth watch of the night (3:00 to 6:00 am)
         b. He would have passed them by had they not called out
      3. The disciples saw Him, thought it was a ghost, and cried out
         - Mk 6:49
         a. Perhaps like King Herod, they were prone to superstition
            - cf. Mk 6:14
         b. Given the circumstances (dark night, stormy sea), who could
            blame them?
      4. They were greatly troubled, but Jesus spoke words of comfort
         - Mk 6:50
         a. Note that Mark says "immediately" - Jesus sought to allay
            their fears quickly
         b. "Be of good cheer" (NKJV), "Take heart" (ESV), "Take
            courage" (NASB)
         c. "It is I; do not be afraid" - Jesus sought to encourage them
            with His presence
      5. It is interesting that Mark does not record Peter's attempt to
         walk out to Jesus
         a. As recorded by Matthew - Mt 14:28-31
         b. Especially if Mark's gospel was based mostly on Peter's
         c. Yet it is consistent with the humility often seen in the
            gospels, where the authors make little or no reference to
            themselves (cf. Matthew, Mark, John)
      6. As Jesus joined them in the boat, the wind ceased and they
         marveled - Mk 6:51-52
         a. Greatly amazed beyond measure, and rightly so!
         b. For they had yet to grasp the significance of His feeding
            the 5000
         c. According to Matthew, they worshiped Jesus and proclaimed
            Him to be the Son of God - Mt 14:33
      -- Jesus' coming had brought great peace and comfort to His

      1. For now, we are like the disciples, rowing our way to the
         heavenly shore
      2. At times, the stormy seas in our journey will make us afraid
         and challenge our faith
      3. Remember that He prays for us!
         a. As He did on the mountain
         b. So He now does in heaven
      4. When He does come...
         a. His coming will be with the greatest "storm" ever! 
            - cf. 2Pe 3:10-12
         b. But it will bring joy and peace for those who look for Him
            - cf. 2Pe 3:13; Re 21:1-7
      5. How we will gladly proclaim Him to be the Son of God!
      -- Jesus' final coming will bring great peace and comfort to those
         who serve Him


1. As described in the Believer's Bible Commentary...

   "The church has seen in this miracle a picture of the present age and
   its close. Jesus on the mountain represents Christ in His present
   ministry in heaven, interceding for His people. The disciples
   represent His servants, buffeted by the storms and trials of life.
   Soon the Savior will return to His own, deliver them from danger and
   distress and guide them safe to the heavenly shore."

2. So while we may struggle at times in our service to the Lord...
   a. We can take comfort, knowing that Jesus is praying for us during
      the storm
   b. We can take courage, knowing that His coming for us will bring us
      great peace

But such comfort and courage will come only to those who are willing to
serve Him now.  Are you in the "boat" and "rowing" in the service of
Jesus Christ, the Son of God...? - cf. Mt 28:18-20
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

Questions and Answers: The Passion of the Christ--Biblically Accurate? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Questions and Answers: The Passion of the Christ--Biblically Accurate?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Is the Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of the Christ, biblically accurate?


Hollywood rarely, if ever, represents the Bible accurately when it ventures into the arena of biblical history. Its depictions of Bible events usually are adjusted and supplemented with extrabiblical details. Nevertheless, Mel Gibson’s blockbuster recreation of the final hours of Jesus’ life on Earth depicts the major events quite credibly. The movie is particularly accurate in its cinematic portrayal of the attitude and actions of Pilate, the Jewish hierarchy, and the Jewish mob. Both the scourging scene and the actual crucifixion match substantially the extant historical reports of these Roman forms of punishment and execution—with perhaps one exception, i.e., the placement of the nails in Jesus’ hands (cf. Harrub and Thompson, 2002).
However, the movie does contain several nonbiblical allusions. For example, a single squadron of Jewish guards arrests Jesus in the garden, whereas the gospel accounts include a large angry mob with the Jewish officers (Matthew 26:47; Mark 14:43; Luke 22:47). After His arrest, Jesus is shoved off a bridge to dangle from a chain. As He is hoisted upward, He sees one of the disciples (Judas) hiding beneath the bridge. Mary Magdalene is linked with the adulterous woman of John 8. After Christ’s scourging, women sop up Jesus’ blood with towels provided by Pilate’s wife. Mary, experiencing a flashback to Christ’s childhood, comforts Jesus as He transports the cross to Golgotha. Simon of Cyrene, the man chosen by the Romans to assist Jesus with the cross, is given considerable dialogue. Mary is given an exaggerated role, and frequently is addressed as “mother,” in keeping with Catholic tradition (Gibson is Catholic). A raven pecks the eye of one of the thieves hanging beside Jesus. Yet the Bible says nothing of these details. Perhaps a more serious deviation is Satan’s attempt to discourage Jesus from subjecting Himself to the ordeal. In contrast, the New Testament depicts Satan as a central instigator of the event, apparently unaware of the ultimate spiritual and eternal implications for atonement (Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 12:1-5).
Despite such alterations to the biblical record, Gibson is to be commended for achieving his primary purpose: to give the viewer a deeper awareness of the suffering of Christ.


Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2002), “An Examination of the Medical Evidence for the Physical Death of Christ,” Reason & Revelation, 22:1-7, January.

It Takes Intelligence to Design a Human—oid by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


It Takes Intelligence to Design a Human—oid

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

On Monday, March 16 the world was introduced to HRP-4C, a female, humanoid robot designed and created by developers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Ama, 2009). This 95-pound technological wonder wowed onlookers with her animated facial expressions, lifelike walk, and human-like responses. Designers created her to be a fashion model. They hope that future models will be able to help “with daily chores or work side by side with people.” But Hirohisa Hirukawa, one researcher who worked on the robot, said concerning this dream: “Technologically, it hasn’t reached that level” (Ama, 2009). For all the money, man-hours, and technology applied to the field of robotics, robots simply cannot perform standard tasks that an average human does with little thought or exertion.
Models of the HRP-4C robot will soon be on sale for about $200,000. Japanese robotics developers, who are some of the leaders in the field, believe that the market for humanoid robots will soon be in the billions of dollars. They want to be the front-runners in this technological expansion.
As exciting as HRP-4C’s debut was, however, it was not problem-free. As Ama noted:
The demonstration didn’t all go smoothly. The robot often looked surprised, opening its mouth and eyes in a stunned expression, when the demonstrator asked it to smile or look angry. Its walk was also not quite ready for the Paris Collection, partly because its knees are permanently bent. It has sensors in its feet but it lacks the sensitive balance of a real human (2009).
If we wanted to list a few other things that limit the robot’s capabilities, we could mention that it does not have light-weight, super-strong bones that heal in a matter of weeks if they are broken, it cannot turn a banana into usable energy to keep itself going, it cannot do simple jumping jacks, does not have self-cleaning eyeballs, etc. To put it mildly, the robot’s abilities are dismal when compared to a living human.
Shuuji Kajita, the leading developer of the group, optimistically noted that HRP-4C “is just the first step” (Ama, 2009). He means this is the first step toward making a robot that can come closer to human functionality. But future steps in that direction will cost billions, consume massive amounts of research time, and require input from thousands of brilliant men and women across the globe. These things do not just happen by accident, which, of course, is the point. Robots don’t happen by accident; they require intelligent designers to bring them into existence.
Only the most obstinate mind can miss the clear implication. Robots are inferior to humans and they require intelligent, personal beings for their construction. Human beings are superior to robots in functionality and complexity; therefore they must also require an intelligent, personal being for their design. As the psalmist so aptly put it some 3,000 years ago: “I will praise You [God], for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well” (139:14).


Ama, Yuri Kagey (2009), “Walking, Talking Female Robot to Hit Japan Catwalk,” [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090316/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_girl_robot.

Hebrews 6:4-6 and the Unpardonable Sin by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Hebrews 6:4-6 and the Unpardonable Sin

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Forgiveness is one of the most sublime concepts in the Bible. To think that our Creator loves us in spite of grievous sins that we have committed is thrilling. And to know that the blood of Jesus can forgive us when we repent and obey is nothing short of amazing (see Lyons and Butt, 2015). One of the most terrifying ideas, however, is the thought that maybe we have done things that are so wicked and sinful that we are beyond God’s forgiveness. Some believe this due to an incorrect understanding of two concepts in the Bible—the unpardonable sin and a statement in Hebrews 6:4-6.
The idea of an unpardonable sin scares some people, because they believe they may have committed it, even though most of them do not have a proper understanding of what the sin actually is. We read about the unpardonable sin in Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-30, and Luke 12:10. The sin is the very specific sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. That means the act of speaking evil of the Holy Spirit. It was committed by those who actually saw Jesus perform miracles and attributed His power to Satan. Because no one today can see Jesus perform such miracles, then the sin apparently cannot even be committed today. Some have suggested that the sin is any sin that is unrepented of, or murder, or adultery, or various other behaviors. The text is plain that those sins cannot be the unpardonable sin. It was specifically blasphemy that was the result of seeing Jesus’ miracles (see Butt, 2003).
With the idea of an unpardonable sin in mind, many people then go to Hebrews 6:4-6 and are convinced that they have fallen away from God and that it is now impossible for them to be saved. A closer look at Hebrews 6:4-6 will show the problem with this thinking. The text reads:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Notice what the text does not say. It does not say it is impossible to forgive a person who has fallen away. This is in contrast to the unpardonable sin. The gospel writers describe that sin as an “eternal” sin, for which there was never any forgiveness. The text in Hebrews says that if people fall away it is impossible to “renew them again to repentance.” The difference between forgiveness and repentance is profound. The message in Hebrews 6 is not that those who fall away have committed sins that God will not forgive, it is that their hearts have become so hard that they will not repent. Thus, if a person is willing to repent, he or she cannot be one of those who have fallen away according to Hebrews 6:4-6. A similar idea is found in 1 Timothy 4:2, where we read about those who have “their own conscience seared with a hot iron.” Again, it is not that God will not forgive these people, it is that they will not repent and come back to God.
An excellent example of the difference between forgiveness and repentance is seen in the lives of Judas and Peter. In a very real sense, both of these apostles betrayed their Lord. Judas sold Him to the Jewish leaders, and Peter denied three times even knowing Him. Their actions after their sins, however, show that Peter was willing to repent and come back to his Savior, but Judas’ heart was so calloused he would not repent. Peter was forgiven and Judas was lost, not because Judas’ sin was so much more grievous than Peter’s, but because Judas had allowed his heart and conscience to be so seared that he would not repent.
In summary, any person who reads Hebrews 6:4-6 and wonders if he or she is a person who is without hope and has fallen away from God can easily answer that question. If that person is willing to repent of sins and obey God, that passage cannot apply to him or her.


Butt, Kyle (2003), “Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—The ‘Unpardonable Sin,’” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1218.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2015), “Receiving the Gift of Salvation,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Receiving%20the%20Gift%20of%20Salvation.pdf.

Did Life Originate Underground? by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


Did Life Originate Underground?

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

“It’s been proven! Life began in a primordial soup in lakes and oceans. If you don’t believe us, you’re an ignoramus…. No, wait. Scratch that. Actually, it began in space. If you don’t believe us, you’re an ignoramus. Wait...it began underground. Now, if you don’t believe us, you must be an ignoramus….” Once again, it appears that the evolutionary community is wrong in its long-time, dogged speculation about the origin of life according to the naturalistic model. While most of us grew up being taught in school definitively that life sprang into existence in some primordial soup, recent research is now calling that into question—proving that evolution has never had key answers that would prove itself to be true. Not surprisingly, the new research provides more support for the Creation model of origins.
Scientists have discovered 19 special microbes all over the globe, as far as 3.1 miles underground. The microbes were acquired from rock fissures in such diverse locations as North America, Japan, Europe, South America, and even deep hydrothermal vents in the Caribbean (Cantor, 2013). What makes them special is that they are “more than 97% identical, or practically the same species,” according to researcher Matt Schrenk of Michigan State University in East Lansing (Cantor), even though they have been found on opposite sides of the Earth. Rick Colwell of Oregon State University in Corvallis said, “There seems to be a core group of microbes that appears again and again in all of these environments” (as quoted in Brahic, 2013). Researchers believe that such similarities point “to a possible common ancestor about 3.5 billion years ago” (Cantor). But do such similarities really prove a common ancestor?
Evolutionists have long argued that similar body structures in various organisms is proof of common descent—proof that those creatures with similar structures evolved from a common ancestor. Creationists have long argued that a common Designer is a better explanation for such similarities, as is the case in the current discovery. The evolutionary model, with its common ancestor supposition, does not fit the evidence. New Scientist explains: “Nobody knows how these cosmopolitan bugs went global” (Brahic). Colwell notes, “It is hard to come up with a single hypothesis for how the organisms spread so widely” (as quoted in Brahic). Schrenk has proposed a “controversial explanation,” according to New Scientist, that speculates that plate tectonics is responsible for spreading the microbes, but Colwell says he does not “feel comfortable saying these organisms could have spread from a location” (as quoted in Brahic). After all, Schrenk, himself, admits that “[i]t is easy to understand how birds or fish might be similar oceans apart, but it challenges the imagination to think of nearly identical microbes (10,000 miles) apart from each other in the cracks of hard rock at extreme depths, pressures, and temperatures” (as quoted in Cantor).
Under the naturalistic evolutionary model, a solution is difficult, convoluted, and far-fetched. What if, instead, the evidence were interpreted in a different, simpler, straightforward way? The microbes did not come from a common ancestor in one location that then defied reasonable explanation in spreading all over the globe. Instead, they were created in the beginning already all over the globe. Microevolution then proceeded to cause small variations in the microbes; since macroevolution is impossible, they are still “more than 97% identical, or practically the same species.” The Creation model wins the reasonable test—yet, again.


Brahic, Catherine (2013), “The 19 Superbugs that Rule Earth’s Hidden Depths,” New Scientist On-line: Life, December 9, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24727-the-19-superbugs-that-rule-earths-hidden-depths.html#.Uu_JCrRdyHg.
Cantor, Matt (2013), “Life May Have Originated Miles Underground,” USA Today On-line, December 14, http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/12/14/newser-life-originated-underground/4022999/.

Is America’s Iniquity Full? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Is America’s Iniquity Full?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

When one examines the sweeping scope of human history, it becomes readily apparent that progress is not technically linear. Rather, nations rise and fall. The progress that they achieve is often lost to later civilizations, who must essentially “reinvent the wheel.” Archaeological evidence exists to substantiate the fact that highly advanced civilizations have preceded modern times, creating many enigmas for researchers. The Moche were a highly developed society that vanished centuries ago. The ancient Paracas performed medieval wonders in brain surgery using only crude metal instruments. The fabled Macchu Picchu achieved incredible engineering feats (“Inca...,” 1995). The Nasca (or perhaps their predecessors) produced massive drawings that stretch for miles and are thus visible/discernible only from the air (“The Lost City...,” 2000; “Nasca Lines,” n.d.).
What happened to such civilizations? Why are they now nonexistent? One would expect that the likelihood of a nation’s survival would increase in proportion to the technological, medical, and economic progress. One explanation for this circumstance (perhaps the explanation) is provided by the Bible. Simply stated, the Bible affirms that as a nation moves in the direction of spiritual and moral depravity, becoming increasingly alienated from God, that nation positions itself for inevitable destruction. That destruction may come in the form of natural disasters—like volcanoes (e.g., Pompey). It may come in the form of external invasion—as in the case of the fall of Babylonia or Rome. It can even come in the form of direct, miraculous intervention by God—as in the case of Sodom and the other cities of the plain (Genesis 19:29).
This principle is alluded to repeatedly in Scripture. When God promised to Abraham that his descendents would be given the land of Canaan as their homeland, He noted that this gift would not be given for several hundred years. Why the delay? “[F]or the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16). God would not have displaced one group of people simply in order to give another group the land. That would be unjust and prejudicial—in direct contradiction to God’s nature (Deuteronomy 32:4). He eventually allowed the Israelites to conquer Canaan because the peoples that inhabited the land had grown exceedingly wicked. Concomitant with reception of the land, God used the Israelites to punish the Canaanites for their perversion and depravity.
For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 18:25-30, emp. added).
Observe that God gives civilizations a considerable amount of time—even hundreds of years—to choose the spiritual and moral direction they will take. If they are determined to spiral downward in an ever-deepening devotion to idolatry, covetousness, sexual impurity, etc., then God eventually “lowers the boom” and destroys them for their iniquity (cf. the Genesis Flood—Genesis 6:3). The inspired writer of the book of Kings compared the wickedness of King Ahab to the previous inhabitants of the land of Canaan, noting the reason for their destruction: “And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings 21:25-26).
This same principle is reiterated in the New Testament. Jesus summarized the history of Israel as one of frequent rebellion against divine precepts. He intimated that they were nearing the limit of God’s toleration and impending punishment when He declared to them: “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt” (Matthew 23:32). It was as if an imaginary cup had been gradually filling up with sin, and that it was nearing the brim—at which time God would respond with appropriate destruction. Paul verified this very understanding when he accused his fellow Jews of having been the ones “who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16, emp. added). As the Jews entrenched themselves against the will of God, they were guilty of piling sins on top of sins, until inevitable divine wrath would be forthcoming—as it did when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Speaking centuries earlier, the inspired writer of Kings acknowledged this principle in his summary of the Jews’ national history:
And the Lord spoke by His servants the prophets, saying, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols), therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day’” (2 Kings 21:10-15, emp. added).
Observe that the writer compared the sin of the Israelites with the sin of the previous occupants of the land of Canaan, thus earning for themselves the same outcome: divine retribution and devastation. As the prophet Ezekiel reported: “‘Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,’ says the Lord God” (15:8).
It is interesting that the Founding Fathers of America recognized this eternal, biblical principle as having been posited in the fabric of the Universe by the Creator. They understood that while God will judge each individual human being at the Judgment when Christ returns (e.g., 2 Corinthians 5:10), He judges nations in history, in time, by bringing destruction upon them when their iniquity is “full.” That is why Luther Martin, a delegate to the federal Constitutional Convention, stated in 1788: “It was said, it ought to be considered, that national crimes can only be, and frequently are, punished in this world by national punishments” (Elliot, 1836, 1:374, emp. added). George Mason, often called “The Father of the Bill of Rights,” stated at the Constitutional Convention: “As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities” (as quoted in Madison, 1840, 3:1391, emp. added). The “Father of the American Revolution” and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, explained: “Revelation assures us that ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation.’ Communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their general character” (1907, 3:286). Thomas Jefferson likewise warned: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep forever” (1794, Query 18, p. 237, emp. added).
Finally, consider the haunting, if not prophetic, warning issued by Daniel Webster:
[I]f we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity” (1903, 13:492-493, emp. added).
If this pattern of eventual divine retribution has repeated itself many times over throughout world history, and if God is immutable, i.e., He does not change (Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6), will He not respond to America’s iniquity in the same fashion? Yes, He will. So the only question that remains to be answered? “Is America’s iniquity full?”


Adams, Samuel (1907 reprint), The Writings of Samuel Adams, ed. Harry Cushing (New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons).
Elliot, Jonathan, ed. (1836), The Debates in the Several State Conventions (Washington, DC: Jonathan Elliot).
Jefferson, Thomas (1794), Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia, PA: Mathew Carey).
“The Lost City of Nasca” (2000), BBC, [On-line], URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/1999/nasca.shtml.
Madison, James (1840), The Papers of James Madison, ed. Henry Gilpin (Washington, DC: Langtree & O’Sullivan).
“Nasca Lines” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://www.crystalinks.com/nasca.html.
“Inca, Secrets of the Ancestors” (1995),
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations Series, [On-line], URL: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/llilas/centers/outreach/resources/topic/inca.html.
Webster, Daniel (1903), The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, & Company).

Does God Alone Possess Immortality? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Does God Alone Possess Immortality?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Bible repeatedly testifies to the fact that this life is not all there is. For the faithful, the best is yet to come (Luke 16:22; 23:43; 2 Timothy 4:8). For the unfaithful, the worst is yet to come (Luke 16:23-24). The unrighteous “will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46, emp. added; cf. Lyons and Butt, 2005). At death, “the dust will return to the earth as it was,” but “the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7; cf. Genesis 2:7). Jesus taught: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26, emp. added). In short, the soul of man is immortal (Romans 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 15:53-54).

If the soul of man is immortal, however, some wonder how Paul could truthfully write to Timothy that God “alone has immortality” (1 Timothy 6:16, emp. added)? If God alone has immortality, then how can man also be immortal?

Indeed, both God and man are immortal. God, by His very nature, is eternal (Psalm 90:2), and thus He is not subject to death (Greek thanatos). Only when God, the Word, put on flesh and physically inhabited His natural world did He willingly subject Himself to death (John 1:1-5,14; 19:30; Philippians 2:5-8). Yet, even then, death had no power over Him (Acts 2:22-36; 1 Corinthians 15:21). He defeated thanatos; He is athanatos (immortal). He not only physically rose from the dead, but His Spirit never ceased to exist.

Still, how can God “alone” have immortality (Greek athanasia; 1 Timothy 6:16), if the soul of man is also immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53-54; cf. Matthew 25:46)? The answer is really quite simple: The only reason man is immortal is because God gives man immortality. God created man differently than plants and animals; He chose to make man “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). Among other things, one of the great blessings of being an image-bearer of God is that humans have an immortal soul (see Lyons and Thompson, 2002). However, in the sense that God’s everlasting nature is immortal, God alone possesses immortality.

Consider a parallel. According to Scripture, both God and His faithful children are pure and holy (1 John 3:3; Matthew 5:8; 1 Peter 1:16). They are pure and holy, however, on different levels. Whereas God is innately perfect (Isaiah 6:3; James 1:13), man can only become pure and holy through the grace of God and the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:22; Ephesians 1:3-14). God is holy; man becomes holy. Likewise, God “alone [inherently] has immortality” (1 Timothy 6:16), but He has given it to man.


Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2002), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God’: Parts 1 & 2,” Reason & Revelation, 22:17-32, March and April.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2005), “The Eternality of Hell: Parts 1 & 2,” Reason & Revelation, 25:1-15, January and February.

Two Men Prayed by Beth Johnson

Two Men Prayed
“And he spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”  (Luke 18:9-14).
When I was young in the faith and read the prayer of the Pharisee, I wondered how he could have been condemned if he really did all those things he claimed to do. I did not understand the heart behind the prayer. Jesus’ parable does not seem to apply to everyone – certainly not to those who genuinely follow God’s commandments. It was given especially to those self-confident souls who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others. Such were the Pharisees who made up their own righteousness (Rom 10:1-3) thereby making up their own commandments (Mt 15:1-3:8-9). The Pharisees despised others, trusting that they alone followed the “traditions” of the fathers. They despised others who did not (John 7:47-49).
The Pharisees were hypocrites (Luke 12:1) who pretended to serve God (Mt 23:23) but who in fact served men (Mt 23:3, 5). This Pharisee would have been justified for turning from extortion, unrighteousness, adultery, etc., if he had done those things for the Lord (Mt 6:1-5). He probably did give tithes of all that he possessed, but it was for the wrong motive (Mt 23:5). Therefore, all of his righteousness was as a filthy rag to God, for he did not love God (1 Cor 13:1-3).
Jesus gave the parable for the Pharisee and gave him a solution to his problem. The heart of the publican was his solution. The publican was genuinely sorry for his sin and begged God for mercy. He did not exalt himself for any reason, but sought God’s help to change. The Lord promised mercy for those who confessed and forsook their sins (Pro 28:13). The Pharisee, on the other hand, was genuinely proud that he only was “walking in the light” and had no intention of changing. There was no hope for the Pharisee. He was right in his own eyes and planned to stand in the same position forever.
Jesus pointed to the hearts behind both men. The Pharisee sought to exalt and justify himself (Luke 15:15), while the publican humbled himself before God. God intentionally abases the proud and promises to punish them (Pro 16:5). God promises to exalt those who humble themselves before Him (1 Peter 5:5-6). Let us confess our sins to Him and trust His promise to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). If we trust Him, He will do that for us.
Beth Johnson


Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading January 24 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading  January 24 (World English Bible)

Jan. 24
Genesis 24

Gen 24:1 Abraham was old, and well stricken in age. Yahweh had blessed Abraham in all things.
Gen 24:2 Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that he had, "Please put your hand under my thigh.
Gen 24:3 I will make you swear by Yahweh, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live.
Gen 24:4 But you shall go to my country, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac."
Gen 24:5 The servant said to him, "What if the woman isn't willing to follow me to this land? Must I bring your son again to the land you came from?"
Gen 24:6 Abraham said to him, "Beware that you don't bring my son there again.
Gen 24:7 Yahweh, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house, and from the land of my birth, who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, 'I will give this land to your seed.' He will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.
Gen 24:8 If the woman isn't willing to follow you, then you shall be clear from this my oath. Only you shall not bring my son there again."
Gen 24:9 The servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.
Gen 24:10 The servant took ten camels, of his master's camels, and departed, having a variety of good things of his master's with him. He arose, and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor.
Gen 24:11 He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time that women go out to draw water.
Gen 24:12 He said, "Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham.
Gen 24:13 Behold, I am standing by the spring of water. The daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water.
Gen 24:14 Let it happen, that the young lady to whom I will say, 'Please let down your pitcher, that I may drink,' and she will say, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink,'--let her be the one you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master."
Gen 24:15 It happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher on her shoulder.
Gen 24:16 The young lady was very beautiful to look at, a virgin, neither had any man known her. She went down to the spring, filled her pitcher, and came up.
Gen 24:17 The servant ran to meet her, and said, "Please give me a drink, a little water from your pitcher."
Gen 24:18 She said, "Drink, my lord." She hurried, and let down her pitcher on her hand, and gave him drink.
Gen 24:19 When she had done giving him drink, she said, "I will also draw for your camels, until they have done drinking."
Gen 24:20 She hurried, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again to the well to draw, and drew for all his camels.
Gen 24:21 The man looked steadfastly at her, remaining silent, to know whether Yahweh had made his journey prosperous or not.
Gen 24:22 It happened, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold,
Gen 24:23 and said, "Whose daughter are you? Please tell me. Is there room in your father's house for us to lodge in?"
Gen 24:24 She said to him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor."
Gen 24:25 She said moreover to him, "We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in."
Gen 24:26 The man bowed his head, and worshiped Yahweh.
Gen 24:27 He said, "Blessed be Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his loving kindness and his truth toward my master. As for me, Yahweh has led me in the way to the house of my master's relatives."
Gen 24:28 The young lady ran, and told her mother's house about these words.
Gen 24:29 Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban. Laban ran out to the man, to the spring.
Gen 24:30 It happened, when he saw the ring, and the bracelets on his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, "This is what the man said to me," that he came to the man. Behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring.
Gen 24:31 He said, "Come in, you blessed of Yahweh. Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and room for the camels."
Gen 24:32 The man came into the house, and he unloaded the camels. He gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.
Gen 24:33 Food was set before him to eat, but he said, "I will not eat until I have told my message." He said, "Speak on."
Gen 24:34 He said, "I am Abraham's servant.
Gen 24:35 Yahweh has blessed my master greatly. He has become great. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male servants and female servants, and camels and donkeys.
Gen 24:36 Sarah, my master's wife, bore a son to my master when she was old. He has given all that he has to him.
Gen 24:37 My master made me swear, saying, 'You shall not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live,
Gen 24:38 but you shall go to my father's house, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son.'
Gen 24:39 I said to my master, 'What if the woman will not follow me?'
Gen 24:40 He said to me, 'Yahweh, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you, and prosper your way. You shall take a wife for my son of my relatives, and of my father's house.
Gen 24:41 Then will you be clear from my oath, when you come to my relatives. If they don't give her to you, you shall be clear from my oath.'
Gen 24:42 I came this day to the spring, and said, 'Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, if now you do prosper my way which I go--
Gen 24:43 behold, I am standing by this spring of water. Let it happen, that the maiden who comes forth to draw, to whom I will say, "Give me, I pray you, a little water from your pitcher to drink,"
Gen 24:44 and she will tell me, "Drink, and I will also draw for your camels,"--let her be the woman whom Yahweh has appointed for my master's son.'
Gen 24:45 Before I had done speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder. She went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, 'Please let me drink.'
Gen 24:46 She hurried and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink.' So I drank, and she made the camels drink also.
Gen 24:47 I asked her, and said, 'Whose daughter are you?' She said, 'The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bore to him.' I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her hands.
Gen 24:48 I bowed my head, and worshiped Yahweh, and blessed Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter for his son.
Gen 24:49 Now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me. If not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left."
Gen 24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered, "The thing proceeds from Yahweh. We can't speak to you bad or good.
Gen 24:51 Behold, Rebekah is before you. Take her, and go, and let her be your master's son's wife, as Yahweh has spoken."
Gen 24:52 It happened that when Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth to Yahweh.
Gen 24:53 The servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and her mother.
Gen 24:54 They ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and stayed all night. They rose up in the morning, and he said, "Send me away to my master."
Gen 24:55 Her brother and her mother said, "Let the young lady stay with us a few days, at least ten. After that she will go."
Gen 24:56 He said to them, "Don't hinder me, seeing Yahweh has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master."
Gen 24:57 They said, "We will call the young lady, and ask her."
Gen 24:58 They called Rebekah, and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" She said, "I will go."
Gen 24:59 They sent away Rebekah, their sister, with her nurse, Abraham's servant, and his men.
Gen 24:60 They blessed Rebekah, and said to her, "Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let your seed possess the gate of those who hate them."
Gen 24:61 Rebekah arose with her ladies. They rode on the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rebekah, and went his way.
Gen 24:62 Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he lived in the land of the South.
Gen 24:63 Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the evening. He lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming.
Gen 24:64 Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel.
Gen 24:65 She said to the servant, "Who is the man who is walking in the field to meet us?" The servant said, "It is my master." She took her veil, and covered herself.
Gen 24:66 The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.
Gen 24:67 Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife. He loved her. Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Jan. 23, 24
Matthew 12

Mat 12:1 At that time, Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the grain fields. His disciples were hungry and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.
Mat 12:2 But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said to him, "Behold, your disciples do what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath."
Mat 12:3 But he said to them, "Haven't you read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him;
Mat 12:4 how he entered into the house of God, and ate the show bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
Mat 12:5 Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbath day, the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless?
Mat 12:6 But I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.
Mat 12:7 But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless.
Mat 12:8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
Mat 12:9 He departed there, and went into their synagogue.
Mat 12:10 And behold there was a man with a withered hand. They asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?" that they might accuse him.
Mat 12:11 He said to them, "What man is there among you, who has one sheep, and if this one falls into a pit on the Sabbath day, won't he grab on to it, and lift it out?
Mat 12:12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day."
Mat 12:13 Then he told the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out; and it was restored whole, just like the other.
Mat 12:14 But the Pharisees went out, and conspired against him, how they might destroy him.
Mat 12:15 Jesus, perceiving that, withdrew from there. Great multitudes followed him; and he healed them all,
Mat 12:16 and commanded them that they should not make him known:
Mat 12:17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
Mat 12:18 "Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit on him. He will proclaim justice to the nations.
Mat 12:19 He will not strive, nor shout; neither will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
Mat 12:20 He won't break a bruised reed. He won't quench a smoking flax, until he leads justice to victory.
Mat 12:21 In his name, the nations will hope."
Mat 12:22 Then one possessed by a demon, blind and mute, was brought to him and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.
Mat 12:23 All the multitudes were amazed, and said, "Can this be the son of David?"
Mat 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man does not cast out demons, except by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons."
Mat 12:25 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.
Mat 12:26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?
Mat 12:27 If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
Mat 12:28 But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
Mat 12:29 Or how can one enter into the house of the strong man, and plunder his goods, unless he first bind the strong man? Then he will plunder his house.
Mat 12:30 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who doesn't gather with me, scatters.
Mat 12:31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.
Mat 12:32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in that which is to come.
Mat 12:33 "Either make the tree good, and its fruit good, or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit.
Mat 12:34 You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Mat 12:35 The good man out of his good treasure brings out good things, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings out evil things.
Mat 12:36 I tell you that every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Mat 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from you."
Mat 12:39 But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Mat 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Mat 12:41 The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, someone greater than Jonah is here.
Mat 12:42 The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, someone greater than Solomon is here.
Mat 12:43 But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and doesn't find it.
Mat 12:44 Then he says, 'I will return into my house from which I came out,' and when he has come back, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.
Mat 12:45 Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more evil than he is, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first. Even so will it be also to this evil generation."
Mat 12:46 While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, seeking to speak to him.
Mat 12:47 One said to him, "Behold, your mother and your brothers stand outside, seeking to speak to you."
Mat 12:48 But he answered him who spoke to him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"
Mat 12:49 He stretched out his hand towards his disciples, and said, "Behold, my mother and my brothers!
Mat 12:50 For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother."