"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Cup And The Baptism (10:35-40) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   The Cup And The Baptism (10:35-40)


1. On the way to Jerusalem shortly before His arrest, Jesus received an
   unusual request...
   a. From James and John, together with their mother 
      - Mk 10:35; Mt 20:20
   b. For Jesus to do whatever they ask! - Mk 10:35
   c. In particular, the honor of sitting by Him in His glory (kingdom)
      - Mk 10:36-37; Mt 20:21

2. Jesus' response was two-fold...
   a. First, about drinking His cup and being baptized with His baptism
      - Mk 10:38-39
   b. Second, their request was not His to grant, but His Father's 
      - Mk 10:40; Mt 20:23

[In this study we shall focus on the cup and the baptism to which Jesus
referred, which is generally understood to be the cup or baptism...]


      1. To drink a cup
         a. Metaphorically, to get one's fill
         b. Either of good (Ps 23:5) or of ill (Ps 75:7-8)
         c. Jesus' cup was one of suffering - cf. Mk 14:36; Jn 18:11
      2. To be baptized
         a. Figuratively, to be overwhelmed
         b. In this case, with calamity - cf. Ps 69:2,15
         c. Jesus' baptism was one of  suffering - cf. Lk 12:50
      3. Compare the NLT:  "...Are you able to drink from the bitter cup
         of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized
         with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?"
      -- The cup and the baptism refers to suffering Jesus and His
         disciples would experience

      1. By the apostles
         a. Foretold by Jesus - Mk 10:39; Jn 15:20-21
         b. Experienced by James (martyrdom) - Ac 12:2
         c. Experienced by John (exile) - Re 1:9
         d. Experienced by the apostles in general - 1Co 4:9-13
         e. Experienced by the apostle Paul in particular - 2Co 11:23-28
      2. By disciples today
         a. Many believers in Christ continue to suffer much
            1) In Muslim and Hindu nations
            2) In communist nations like China and North Korea
         b. In the USA and other western countries there are forms of
            1) Christians and their faith are often ridiculed
            2) Many are rejected by co-workers, neighbors, friends, even
      -- We ourselves may one day have to receive the cup and the
         baptism of suffering

[Having considered how cup and baptism are used in our text to refer to
suffering, perhaps it would be appropriate to consider how they are also
used in a different context.  There is the cup and baptism...]


      1. There is a cup which we bless - 1Co 10:16
      2. The fruit of the vine in the Lord's Supper - 1Co 11:23-29
      3. Which represents Jesus' blood of the new covenant - 1Co 11:25;
         Mt 26:27-28
      4. Which we drink in memory of Him, proclaiming His death 
         - 1Co 11:25-26
      5. Thus participating in the blood of Christ - 1Co 10:16
      -- The cup we bless, is a blessing for those who partake!

      1. There is a baptism commanded for all by Christ 
          - Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15-16
      2. For the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit 
         - Ac 2:38-39
      3. Where penitent believers are commanded to be immersed in water
         - Ac 8:35-38; 10:47-48
      4. Where sins are washed away as we appeal to the Lord - Ac 22:16;
         1Pe 3:21
      5. Where we are buried into Christ's death, raised to newness of
         life - Ro 6:3-7
      6. Where we put on Christ, becoming children of God through faith
         - Ga 3:26-27
      7. Where we undergo the working of God and the Holy Spirit 
         - Col 2:12-13; Tit 3:4-7
      -- This baptism is a blessing for all who submit in faith and


1. Jesus foretold that James and John would...
   a. Drink the cup of suffering
   b. Be baptized with the baptism of suffering

2. But suffering did not happen before they...
   a. Experienced the baptism of blessing in being saved
   b. Partook weekly of the cup of blessing in remaining saved

To prepare ourselves for whatever cup or baptism of suffering we might
experience for Christ...

   * Let us be sure that we have submitted to the baptism of blessing
     in faith and repentance!

   * Let us be sure that we drink the cup of blessing weekly as
     faithfully as we can!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Jesus Predicts His Passion And Resurrection (10:32-34) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

         Jesus Predicts His Passion And Resurrection (10:32-34)


1. On three separate occasions, Jesus predicted His passion and
   a. In the region of Caesarea Philippi, He emphasized the necessity
      - Mk 8:31
   b. While traveling through Galilee, He stressed the certainty - Mk9:31
   c. Now on the road to Jerusalem, He describes it in greater detail
      - Mk 10:32-34

2. If you have ever faced an impending ordeal...
   a. You know the anticipation itself adds to the trial
   b. The anxiety and stress of knowing what it is to come

[As we remember what Jesus did to save us, do not overlook the burden of
knowing in advance what He would suffer, and what helped Him to endure.
So let's look a closer look, beginning with...]


      1. Making their way from beyond the Jordan via Jericho - Mk10:1,46
      2. This was Jesus' last trip to Jerusalem

      1. Jesus taking the lead - Mk 10:32
      2. The disciples following behind - Mk 10:32 (NLT)
      3. The people further behind - Mk 10:32 (NLT)

      1. Jesus with steadfast determination - cf. Lk 9:51
      2. The disciples filled with awe, perhaps by Jesus' determination
         - Mk 10:32 (NLT)
      3. The people overwhelmed with fear, perhaps knowing the danger
         Jesus and His followers faced in Jerusalem - Mk 10:32 (NLT);
         cf. Jn 9:22; 11:8,57

[At some point, Jesus takes the twelve apostles aside and begins to tell
them what will happen to Him...]


      1. Betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes - Mk 10:33
      2. Referring to the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of the Jews
      3. Fulfilled - Mk 14:41-46

      1. Condemned to death and delivered to the Gentiles - Mk 10:33
      2. Referring to the Romans, who alone had the authority to put to
         death - cf. Jn 18:31
      3. Fulfilled - Mk 14:55-64

      1. Treated with contempt, ridiculed - Mk 10:34
      2. To imitate with mockery and derision
      3. Fulfilled - Mk 15:16-20,29-32

      1. To be whipped, punished severely - Mk 10:34
      2. "Under the Roman method of 'scourging,' the person was stripped
         and tied in a bending posture to a pillar, or stretched on a
         frame. The "scourge" was made of leather thongs, weighted with
         sharp pieces of bone or lead, which tore the flesh of both the
         back and the breast." - Vine
      3. Fulfilled - Mk 15:15

      1. With saliva or phlegm
      2. Done with anger or contempt - Mk 10:34
      3. Fulfilled - Mk 14:65; 15:19

      1. Death would follow His mockery and torture - Mk 10:34
      2. Jesus knew the manner of death:  crucifixion! - cf. Mt 20:19
      3. Fulfilled - Mk 15:24,37

      1. Resurrected from the dead - Mk 10:34
      2. Foretold very early in His ministry - cf. Jn 2:19-22
      3. Fulfilled - Mk 16:1-7


1. When Jesus predicted His passion and resurrection...
   a. The first time, Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked Him - Mk8:31-33
   b. The second time, the disciples did not understand and refused to
      ask Him - Mk 9:31-32
   c. The third time, there is no dispute (though they may have still
      been confused)
2. What strikes me about these three predictions...
   a. Is that it reveals that Jesus knew what would happen to Him!
   b. The stress and anxiety from anticipation only added to His
      suffering for us!

3. How was Jesus able to press on, knowing what was to come...?
   a. The writer to the Hebrews reveals the answer - cf. He 12:2
   b. He encourages us to "consider Him...lest you become weary and
      discouraged" - He 12:3

Yes, let's consider how He died, but also He faced knowing what awaited
Him.  As Erdman wrote...

"Let us pause to gaze on that face and form, the Son of God, going with
unfaltering step toward the Cross! Does it not awaken us to new heroism,
as we follow; does it not awaken new love as we see how voluntary was
His death for us; yet do we not wonder at the meaning and the mystery of
that death?"

Snake in a Bottle by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Snake in a Bottle

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Collaborative evidence, by itself, stands unable to prove a case, yet when combined with other evidence, can be quite convincing. So it is with certain arguments for the Bible’s inspiration. Suppose it could be shown that the Bible, time and again, documents certain grains of wisdom that hold true today? Undoubtedly, if the Bible were the Word of God, it would exhibit such wisdom.
Consider the case of getting drunk by consuming alcohol. On numerous occasions, the Bible mentions the negative effects of drunkenness. Proverbs 23:29-32 gives a lengthy description of what happens to those who “linger long at the wine.” They have woe, sorrow, complaints and wounds without cause. Those who get drunk “will see strange things,” and the alcohol will bite them “like a serpent” and sting them “like a viper.” In chapter 20 of the same book, the Proverbs writer observed: “Wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
Indeed, the negative effects of drunkenness in our society, and globally, cannot even begin to be measured. In an insightful book titled None of These Diseases, medical doctors S.I. McMillen and David E. Stern brought to light the fact (which is well known in the medical community) that drunkenness does terrible damage to the body and the spirit. On pages 43-54, they provided a litany of drastic consequences related to alcohol. Not the least of them are nerve damage, brain damage, heart damage, damage done to the unborn, and sexual disorders. Furthermore, it can be shown that alcohol plays a part approximately 53 percent of murders, 57 percent of rapes, up to 80 percent of suicides, and 47 percent of robberies. All of this does not even include the 17,000 lives lost on the highways every year caused by drunk driving. Neither does it come close to putting into words the pain of children abused by drunken fathers, or the destruction of countless homes.
Not only does the Bible’s stance on drunkenness add credence to its divine inspiration, but it also offers a practical solution to solving many of the ills of our society—that solution being to stop getting drunk! How long, O nation, will we continue to ignore the Bible’s warnings about alcohol. Will we wait until it is too late?


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

Morphing Flight: Beyond Irreducible Complexity by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.


Morphing Flight: Beyond Irreducible Complexity

by  Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: A.P. auxillary staff scientist Dr. Fausz holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.]
Researchers and observers have long recognized that birds and various other flying creatures change the positioning of their body structures in flight in order to perform specific maneuvers or adjust their aerodynamic profile to accommodate changing flight conditions. This adaptive orientation of body shape has been dubbed “morphing” in the popular literature. The words “morph” and “morphing” are actually digressive forms of the word “metamorphosis,” which derives from the Greek “meta” (to change) and “morfe” (form). This is an apt description of the ability that birds possess to change the form or geometry of their bodies for increased maneuverability, as well as for stable flight in a wide variety of ambient conditions.
This eagle is pulling its feet against its body to reduce aerodynamic drag. Note also the craning of the wings (normally used to slow descent speed) and the spreading of the wing feathers to break up wing tips vortices that increase drag.
This capability has always been respected and often mimicked by aircraft engineers to the extent that it has been technologically possible to do so. Furthermore, bird observations have often inspired technological advancement in aircraft design and development. The Wright brothers incorporated morphing into their first successfully powered aircraft design. In a letter, Wilbur Wright described the biological observation that was the basis for this morphing design:
My observation of the flight of buzzards leads one to believe that they regain their lateral stability when partly overturned by a gust of wind, by a torsion of the tips of the wings (Wright, 1900, Image 4).
Consequently, the Wright brothers designed their first aircraft to be able to “twist” its wings for lateral stability and control, mimicking bird capability. Another well-known example of morphing in aircraft design is retractable landing gear which serves the same purpose for aircraft as when a bird pulls its feet up to its body in flight. That is, this type of morphing dramatically decreases aerodynamic drag which, in turn, increases energy efficiency for the bird of prey—which translates to fuel efficiency in aircraft. Additional “low-tech” examples of morphing include movable control surfaces used to impart forces and torques on the aircraft for maneuvering and stability, wing “slats,” “slots,” and “flaps” that extend to change the shape of the wing, providing higher lift at lower speeds for takeoff and landing, and variable “sweep” wings that allow aircraft to fly efficiently at dramatically differing flight speeds, such as in transitioning from subsonic to supersonic flight. In contrast with these examples of “low tech” morphing designs of the past, a morphing aircraft has been defined as “one that utilizes innovative actuators, effectors, or mechanisms to adapt its state substantially in order to enhance behavior and performance in addressing multiple environments” (Love, et al., 2007, emp. added). These past examples of morphing technologies were certainly innovative in their time, but are now fairly commonplace—not even considered “morphing” by some.
Nonetheless, research in new innovation for morphing aircraft is once again looking to birds for inspiration and guidance. NASA Administrator Dan Goldin stated:
NASA will open the door to a bold and revolutionary era by using technology to mimic nature. The seemingly effortless flight of birds provides the inspiration for new aircraft utilizing wings that reconfigure in flight. The vehicle changes—or morphs—from a low-speed configuration to one more suited for high speed (as quoted in Levine, 2001).
NASA is not the only organization actively pursuing aircraft morphing technology, however. A recent article described an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) currently under development, called “Roboswift” as “a small, remote-controlled aircraft that changes shape to mimic the aerodynamic profile of a swift” (Simonite, 2008). A researcher at the University of Florida, also studying morphing technology for UAVs, commented:
Despite the past century of innovation in aircraft technology, the versatility of modern aircraft remains far worse than airborne biological counterparts. The shape changing accomplished by birds and bats in flight stands as one of the few examples of true morphing. As such, the aircraft community is devoting considerable attention to the study of biological systems and how they might be implemented on a flight vehicle (Abdulrahim, 2005, emp. added).
Clearly, research in aircraft technology and design continues to draw ideas and inspiration from nature’s flyers. It is also clear that our technical capabilities seriously lag behind their natural abilities.
In spite of the fact that aerospace researchers have birds and other flying creatures to show them “how it’s done,” morphing aircraft design poses some very daunting technical challenges. This fact was discussed in an article describing the Morphing Aircraft Structures (MAS) project being carried out by the Lockheed Martin company with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA):
Morphing technology development requires integrated research in materials, smart structures, multi-functional airframe, and adaptive control. It is necessary to evaluate these constitutive technologies in a morphing vehicle to establish requirements and assure readiness for technology implementation (Love, et al., 2007).
Another research team, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Northrup Grumman, further stated: “Significant design challenges require advances in smart structures and materials (skins), actuation and power distribution, and feedback control of the morphing structure” (Ghandi, et al., 2007). The implication here is that morphing design is highly multi-disciplinary (structures, aerodynamics, control, etc.) and that all of these areas require additional research before the technology readiness level will be sufficient to actually build a true morphing aircraft. These examples only scratch the surface of the extreme levels of government funding and human resources that have gone into morphing aircraft research, yet there is still much work that must be done before a viable design can be realized, mainly due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the problem.
Given the substantial resources that have been poured into morphing aircraft research without yet achieving the final objective, it seems inconceivable that researchers would look at their biological inspiration and assume that the capabilities they are striving to emulate were derived from an unprompted, undirected natural process. That is, however, what often occurs. Consider what one evolutionist insisted:
This provides a cautionary note for those pursuing biomimicry, direct replication of biological features: essential aspects of those biological features may be driven by secondary characteristics or functions unrelated to the features’ primary functions. The bat wing, with all of its elegant modifications for flight, is an obvious example. It is derived from a typical vertebrate forelimb with all of the associated musculature, skeletal, and neuronal architectural characteristics that were originally developed for terrestrial or aboreal locomotion. That is, it was not designed for propulsive flight a priori as an engineered device might be, but was modified from other structures that originated for other functions (Evers, 2007, p. 10).
Dr. Evers issued a warning here to all those engaged in morphing aircraft research that are proceeding from the perspective of biomimicry (copying nature)—that they may be in fact designing structures that are not optimally suited to their purpose because they are copying from organic structures that, presumably, were not designed for the purpose they serve. Note, however, that Dr. Evers states that the bat wing was “modified from other structures that originated for other functions” (p. 10, emp. added). One might wonder how the bat wing “was not designed for propulsive flight a priori,” but the “typical vertebrate forelimb,” from which it supposedly derived, “originated for other functions.” This type of “doublespeak” is not uncommon, however, in Darwinist writings, and it belies an underlying difficulty with Darwinian thought. Nature’s machines are so good at what they do that it is difficult for even die-hard Darwinists to accept that they all arose as a result of an undirected process even while arguing that they did.
Dr. Evers’ comments also illustrate how Darwinists will often focus on the structural aspects of animal functionality when comparing characteristics of different animals. As we have already noted here, however, morphing flight is an example of a capability that involves so much more than just the structural configurations that give animals such as bats, birds and butterflies the ability to fly. Indeed, morphing flight is a highly multi-disciplinary skill. The different disciplinary facets of morphing may be broken down as follows:


Flying creatures and machines must be able to detect or sense the condition of the atmosphere around them, as well as their own position and structural configuration, in order to be able to carry out the activity of flying in a given environment. Examples of the types of data that must be gathered include air speed, altitude, air pressure, position relative to other objects, and the position and shape of their wings at each moment (especially true if morphing is being employed). This capability can involve highly specialized sensors in aircraft such as angular rate gyros for measuring orientation, and ports along the wing for measuring air pressure. Flying animals are able to make use of typical animal sensing capabilities such as vision, hearing, and smell, but must also rely on some very special sensor systems. Examples of these special sensors in animals include echo-location in bats (Colley, 2004), a bird’s ability to sense linear and angular acceleration with its ears (Pennycuick, 2008, p. 307), and highly sensitive hair-like mechanoreceptors that allow insects to sense the approach of potential predators (Vaidyanathan, et.al., 2001). It has even been suggested, in recent research, that birds can sense the magnetic field of the Earth, providing valuable information for navigation (Brahic, 2008).


The sensor inputs from eyes, ears, etc., as well as specialized sensor systems, must be integrated and processed in the brain for biological flyers, or alternatively, the flight computer if one is considering the sensor systems of flying machines. The processing that must be carried out includes specialized algorithms for flight stability, guidance, navigation, and control. Flight stability is arguably the most important of these functions, since without stability it is impossible to remain in flight, and lack of stability in flying can easily lead to tragic results. In aircraft, flight stability algorithms are executed at the highest possible processing speeds and given top priority for processor usage. Guidance is the function that determines, to the highest possible accuracy, where the flyer is currently located, particularly with respect to where it needs to go. On the other hand, navigation compares guidance information with known geographical waypoints to compute the “best” course for the flyer to follow to end up where the guidance function wants it to go. The control function takes guidance and navigation information and generates commands for the actuation system to steer the flyer along the computed course. In biological flyers, these commands are electrical impulses from the brain that stimulate specific muscles and organs. In aircraft, the commands are also electrical signals that activate electric motors or trigger hydraulic actuation. Given the computational requirements of flight locomotion, it may not be surprising that the size of a bird’s brain with respect to its body size is, on average, 10 times that of the reptiles with whom they are assumed to share common ancestry (Jerison, 2004).


Morphing flight requires highly specialized structures, but it also requires equally specialized actuators to move and position those structures. The very definition of morphing aircraft, given previously, describes an aircraft that “utilizes innovative actuators, effectors, or mechanisms” (Love, et al., 2004). Natural flyers, as well, require a specialized skeletal structure and attached musculature to perform their amazing feats of aerial acrobatics. Mujahid Abdulrahim discussed the wing craning actuator on his morphing aircraft design and the specialized bird structure that it was modeled after:
The wing craning (gull-wing) mechanism is loosely modeled after a set of parallel bones connecting the shoulder and elbow joints of a bird wing. A rotation of the shoulder joint in the vertical plane results in an extension or contraction of the entire wing. The skeletal mechanism provides a geometric ratio between the extension of the inner and outer bones. Such a mechanism allows the bird to morph into a variety of positions using a single movement. Each of the positions is largely stable and affords a unique capability within the flight envelope (2005).
The specialization of this “skeletal mechanism” for morphing flight is clearly illustrated in this narrative, and the muscles that actuate these motions would be expected also to be specialized for the task in their attachments to the skeletal structure, as well as their configuration.
So, each of these “subsystems” require specialized components to fulfill their part in enabling the wonders of morphing flight. The manner in which these subsystems interact, however, is equally critical to the success of morphing in providing a positive contribution to flight capability. The sensory outputs have to provide specific information to be useful for stability, guidance and navigation, and the computational capability has to have sufficient processing capacity and be “wired” in such a way as to operate effectively on that information. Similarly, the computation function has to possess information about actuator configuration and dynamics in order to output appropriate command signals to achieve the objective of flight stability and to successfully execute the desired motion in flight. Finally, the actuators have to possess the dynamic range, as well as force and torque magnitudes, to achieve the necessary changes in body shape and position in a timely fashion.
Multiple components of bird anatomy have been studied in the literature with respect to the irreducible complexity they possess regarding the bird’s ability to fly. For example, Matthew Vanhorn discussed the amazing complexity of bird feathers (Vanhorn, 2004), Caleb Colley pointed out how bats use their ears (hearing) for echolocation (2004), and irreducible complexity has been examined in general terms with regard to various components of bird physiology (Fausz, 2008). These discussions of the various elements of bird physiology are compelling irreducible complexity arguments when one considers the specialized requirements of flight systems (cf. Miller, 2006, 5[2]:5-R).
This block diagram illustrates the interconnection and interdependence of the major subsystems involved in achieving advanced flight capability.
When these physical components are considered in a system context, however, the arguments of irreducible complexity are taken to a whole new level. As discussed, the bird’s brain must have sufficient capacity to carry out the required computations, but this capacity is useless for flight without the required sensor information or the appropriate actuation systems for carrying out the computed commands. Likewise, without the necessary brain capacity the specialized sensing and actuation components would serve no purpose, and would likely be detrimental to survival. Useful flight capability is not possible without flight stability, at a minimum, and this is only possible if the necessary sensor, computer, and actuator components are all in place. Indeed, attempting flight without stability will, with high probability, result in the death of the flyer.
The multi-disciplinary nature of morphing flight has already been discussed, but is further reflected in the following:
To lay the foundation for a truly multi-role aircraft, multidisciplinary research efforts are currently focusing on technologies that enable substantial changes to the wing configuration.... Aerodynamics analysis [sic] (including unsteady and transient aerodynamics) are also important to accurately characterize the vehicle for control surface sizing, engine compatibility, and flight-control design. Despite significant strides to develop wing structure and actuation systems, much work remains to effectively control both the morphing planform as well as the entire morphing aircraft (Ghandi, et al., 2007).
This discussion illustrates that, even in focused research, it is difficult to make sure that all aspects of a significant multi-disciplinary problem are given adequate attention. This is no less true when it comes to biological creatures capable of morphing flight.
The irreducible complexity associated with bird feathers and other components of bird physiology are enough of a challenge to the Darwinian notion of natural selection to render it impractical. However, when one considers the system level implications of morphing flight, and the necessity of simultaneous development of multiple combinations of these physical components, natural selection as an explanation for morphing flight capability is seen to be absolutely irrational. Furthermore, the difficulty of achieving this capability in flying machines, even with substantial resources focused within a significant research effort, illustrates that birds are the product of, not just design, but of an incredibly capable Designer with an unparalleled understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of the problem. That Designer, of course, is God, who spoke to Job on this subject:
Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
and spread its wings toward the south?
Does the eagle mount up at your
command, and make its nest on high?
On the rocks it dwells and resides,
on the crag of the rock and the stronghold.
From there it spies out the prey; its
eyes observe from afar (Job 39:26-29).
Here God describes the computational capability inherent in a hawk flying by “wisdom” and an eagle by “command.” He also indicates the tremendous acuity of the eagle’s eyes for sensing prey, as well as several other facts about the behavior of these birds. Truly, only an omniscient, omnipotent God would possess this knowledge and the ability to apply it in such wondrous works of design and creation. Few birds have more impressive morphing flight capability than birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, making them perfect examples of the amazing design ability of the Creator.


Abdulrahim, Mujahid (2005), “Flight Performance Characteristics of a Biologically-Inspired Morphing Aircraft,” 43rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, January 10-13, Reno, NV.
Brahic, Catherine (2008), “Birds Can ‘See’ the Earth’s Magnetic Field,” New Scientist, [On-line], URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13811-birds-can-see-the-earths-magnetic-field.html.
Colley, Caleb (2004), “Bat ‘Vision’,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2633.
Evers, J.H. (2007), “Biological Inspiration for Agile Autonomous Air Vehicles,” Platform Innovations and System Integration for Unmanned Air, Land and Sea Vehicles (AVT-SCI Joint Symposium). Meeting Proceedings RTO-MP-AVT-146, Paper 15: 1-14. Neuilly-sur-Seine, France: RTO, [On-line], URL: http://www.rto.nato.int/abstracts.asp.
Fausz, Jerry (2008), “Designed to Fly,” Reason and Revelation, 28[2]:9-15, February, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3599.
Ghandi, N., Jha, A., Monaco, J., Seigler, T.M., Ward, D. and Inman, D.J. (2007), “Intelligent Control of a Morphing Aircraft,” 48th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, April 23-26, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Jerison, Harry J. (2004), “Dinosaur Brains,” Encyclopedia of Neuroscience (CDROM: Elsevier), third edition.
Levine, Jay (2001), “The Morphing Aircraft,” The Dryden X-Press, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, [On-line], URL: http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Newsroom/X-Press/stories/043001/new_morph.html.
Love, M.H., Zink, P.S., Stroud, R.L., Bye, D.R., Rizk, S. and White, D. (2007), “Demonstration of Morphing Technology through Ground and Wind Tunnel Tests,” 48th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, April 23-26, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Miller, Dave (2006), “Bee Flight Physics,” Reason & Revelation, 5[2]:5-R, February, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2839.
Pennycuick, Colin J. (2008), Modelling the Flying Bird (San Diego, CA: Academic Press), first edition.
Simonite, Tom (2008), “Morphing Aircraft Mimics a Bird on the Wing,” New Scientist, March 6, [On-line], URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13419-morphing-aircraft-mimics-a-bird-on-the-wing.html.
Vaidyanathan, Ravi, Roger D. Quinn, Roy E. Ritzmann, and Troy S. Prince (2001), “An Insect-Inspired Endgame Targeting Reflex for Autonomous Munitions,” International Conference on Intelligence Robots and Systems, October, 2001, Wailea, Hawaii.
Vanhorn, Matthew (2004), “Words of a Feather,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2610.
Wright, Wilbur (1900), “Letter to Octave Chanute,” The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, May 13, Library of Congress, [On-line], URL: http://tinyurl.com/ybropwa.

In Christ by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


In Christ

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Very little debate exists regarding what has the power to forgive sins. The Bible is abundantly clear that the blood of Christ maintains that singular quality. The apostle Paul wrote: “In Him (Christ—KB) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…” (Ephesians 1:7). While few would argue with the fact that the blood of Jesus forgives sins, there remains some confusion as to the specific point at which a person comes in contact with that blood. One way to ascertain when a person comes into contact with the blood of Christ is to examine the phrase “in Christ” in the New Testament. Depending on what version you read, the phrase “in Christ” is used approximately 80 different times.
What do we find “in Christ?” Paul, in the book of Ephesians, used the phrase multiple times in chapter 1. He stated that “every spiritual blessing” is found in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). He also stated that “forgiveness of sins” is found only in Christ (vs. 7). In the book of Romans, he further stated that “redemption” (Romans 3:24) and “eternal life” (Romans 6:23) are located in Christ. The inspired apostle told the young man Timothy that “salvation” is in Christ (2 Timothy 2:10). Paul obviously wanted his readers to understand that everything good in the spiritual realm is found in Christ alone. When discussing things outside of Christ, Paul painted a grim picture of a place without hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12).
After looking at the phrase “in Christ,” the question arises: How does a person get into Christ? It is interesting to note that the New Testament specifically mentions water baptism as one essential element that puts a person into Christ. Romans 6:3 states: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (emp. added). And Galatians 3:27 declares: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (emp. added). While some have incorrectly attempted to claim that the baptism mentioned in these two verses refers to Holy Spirit baptism, many religious people have not resorted to this faulty line of reasoning (Miller, 2003).
Andrew Davis, in his contribution to the book, Why I Am A Baptist, wrote that water baptism “was commanded by Christ in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19) and demonstrates the new life in Christ for every disciple (Rom. 6)” (2001, p. 118). His reference to Romans 6 shows that he understands water baptism is under discussion in that chapter. Conrad Mbewe wrote: “I also saw that baptism signified dying with Christ, being buried with him, and rising together with him in newness of life (Romans 6:4). It was an outward physical expression of an inward spiritual experience” (2001, p. 97). In regard to the second passage, Galatians 3:27, J. Newton Brown listed both Romans 6:4 and Galatians 3:27-28 in his section discussing water baptism as taught in the New Testament (1994, pp. 23-24).
Let us, then, put these pieces together. If the Bible says that forgiveness and all spiritual blessings are in Christ, and if Romans 6:3 and Galatians 3:27 clearly state that water baptism is the point at which a person gets into Christ, then any accountable person who has not been baptized by water is outside of Christ. Water of baptism does not save anyone by itself, but it is the point at which a person contacts the saving blood of Christ.
It is ironic that at the same time many religious groups and teachers teach that Romans 6:3 and Galatians 3:27 refer to water baptism they deny that water baptism puts a person into Christ. Such a position militates against the straightforward reading of these two passages, which shows that water baptism is the point when a person is ushered into Christ and contacts His blood (for a more in-depth study see Lyons and Butt, 2004).


Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2004), “Taking Possession of What God Gives: A Case Study in Salvation,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2546.
Mbewe, Conrad (2001), “Flying the Flags High in Africa: Baptist Hope for a Ravaged Continent,” Why I Am a Baptist, ed. Tom Nettles and Russell Moore (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-day Miracles, Tongue-speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism—A Refutation,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2569.
Brown, J. Newton (1994), A Baptist Church Manual (Valley Forge, PA: Judson).
Davis, Andrew (2001), “When Our Senses Get in the Way: From Catholic Sacraments to Baptist Conviction,” Why I Am a Baptist, ed. Tom Nettles and Russell Moore (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman).

Do Humans and Apes Differ Only by Degree? by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Do Humans and Apes Differ Only by Degree?

by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Do animals possess the same kind of intelligence as human beings? If we say that apes have less intelligence than humans, does this make them inferior to us?


Ever since Copernicus put the Sun at the center of the Solar System, scientists and other modern thinkers have diminished the role of humankind in the Universe. We have gone from being the crowning glory of God’s creation to a hairless ape stuck on a small planet circling a mediocre Sun in the distant reaches of one arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Some of the most widely read authors in the evolutionary camp (such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould) emphasize the lack of our uniqueness and the luck of our existence. Man occupies neither the center of the Universe nor the preeminent place in the living world; we are the product of the same natural, evolutionary processes that created the animals.
According to the most extreme version of this view, it is the utmost arrogance to identify any characteristic that distinguishes us from animals. Any differences we perceive are merely a matter of degree, and for all the things we do better, there are other things we do worse. The chimpanzee, in particular, is worthy of coequality because it is supposed to be our nearest living relative. Some even have gone so far as to suggest that this kinship puts a burden on us to make laws granting special rights to apes (Cavalieri and Singer, 1993; cf. Maddox, 1993).
The problem with such extreme positions is that they provide no reasonable stopping point. If we include chimps in our “community of equals,” then why not include all primates, all mammals, all animals, all living things? If the apes’ rights advocates can devise criteria that divide us and the apes from other animals, then can we not also devise criteria that divide ourselves from the apes? In other words, can we say that there are no essential differences between humans and, say, chimpanzees? Or, to put it another way, are there enough similarities to make us treat chimps on the same level, or almost on the same level, as members of our own species?
My gut reaction is to wonder why these chimps are still swinging from tree to tree, while the members of our species are able to walk on the Moon—and upright at that! To think like this makes me guilty of “speciesism,” the apes’ rights advocates would say. Apply the same reasoning to other humans, they charge, and it would put me in the position of saying that white European males are superior because Africans or Asians never have walked on the Moon. I would counter that regardless of sex or skin color, such a feat was something that members of our species were able to do, and something that chimps never could think of doing.
Does this make the chimps inferior? This word “inferior” means lower than, or below, another thing, but labeling something as inferior usually requires a judgment call. For example, inspectors at a factory may judge the work of one individual as inferior to the work of another. If this is the way the word is being used, then I cannot say that apes are an inferior product; they were created with the same physical perfection as humans. Further, God’s stewardship grant compels us to show respect for all creatures that have been entrusted to our care. That there is a special relationship between God and man neither renders the ape inferior nor opens the floodgates to animal cruelty.
If apes are not inferior to humans, is it true that they are as intelligent as humans? One of the big success stories in looking at the human-like qualities of apes is a chimp (specifically, a bonobo) known as Kanzi (see Savage-Rumbaugh and Lewin, 1994). Through many years of intense training and close social contact with humans, this remarkable animal has attained the language abilities of an average two-year-old human. Kanzi goes beyond the mere parroting or “aping” of humans: he really can communicate his wants and needs, express feelings, and use tools. Inasmuch as Kanzi can accomplish these things, does this prove that chimps are merely hairy, child-like versions of humans?
Without detracting anything from Kanzi, fundamental differences remain. Unlike human children, chimpanzees do not naturally pick up language from trained apes. Such abilities have been drilled into Kanzi, and each new trainee must be taught by humans. Also, chimps: (a) do not have a special region in the brain devoted to language; (b) have a much smaller brain overall; and (c) lack the anatomy to speak the words they may think. In summary, humans have an innate, built-in, hard-wired ability to acquire and communicate complex language from the moment of their birth; chimps do not.
Sheba, another remarkable chimp, has demonstrated the ability to count and think abstractly. She was taught that whenever presented with a choice between two quantities of an object, she would receive a reward if she gave the greatest quantity to another chimp. However, when the objects were changed to food items (gumdrops), she never would hand over the dish with the greatest quantity. Each time she chose the plate with the most gumdrops, the researchers would take it away quickly before she had a chance to eat (Fischman, 1993; Gonick, 1994). She could not learn that keeping the greater share gained her nothing—no gumdrops and no reward. In other words, her food instinct got in the way of her numerical ability. Although you and I may prefer to get the biggest piece of pizza, we may suppress that desire for the sake of politeness or because someone needs it more than we do. Apes, apparently, have no override button when it comes to food.
Perhaps part of the reason for Sheba’s apparent selfishness is that she lacks empathy or “transcendental perspective.” This is a uniquely human ability that allows us to project the effect that our actions might have on someone else’s thinking or feelings sometime in the future. For example, I am able to wash the dishes in the hopes that my doing this will please my wife who is due home in a couple of hours. Anthropologists have found that animals do not act in this way, even if the lines of communication are open through simple language skills, as in the case of Kanzi. So, although chimps may learn to think abstractly, they lack the ability to form complex social relationships based on the communication of such ideas (Gibbons, 1993). Empathy also is the reason animals live outside the moral sphere. Sheba cannot be accused of selfishness for not handing over the plate with the most gumdrops because she is incapable of knowing that this is something she ought to do.
Some researchers speculate that the sort of foresight inherent in empathy and other human endeavors, such as sophisticated tool making and long-term planning, may be related to the fourfold difference in size between the cerebral cortex of chimps and humans (Calvin, 1994). Again, this is not merely a matter of degree: the chimp brain is not a one-fourth scale model of a human brain; rather, there is a fundamental difference in the way the two brains work.
Are chimps intelligent? The answer is yes. Do chimps possess the same kind of intelligence as humans? The answer would have to be “no.” Humans are more intelligent, and they possess additional forms of intelligence. What we must remember, also, is that the greatest capabilities of the apes belong to a handful of superstars like Kanzi and Sheba. Even these animals lack the empathy, foresight, and language capabilities of all but the youngest or most intellectually challenged of our own species.
Chimps and other apes may be worthy of respect (or eve natural sympathy as McShea [1994] suggests), but they cannot share our experiences, understand our stories, or be accountable to our rules of living. They are not inferior, but neither do they differ from merely by degree.


Calvin, William H. (1994), “The Emergence of Intelligence,” Scientific American, 271[4]:100-107, October.
Cavalieri, Paola and Peter Singer (1993), The Great Ape Project (London: Fourth Estate).
Fischman, Joshua (1993), “New Clues Surface About the Making of the Mind,” Science, 262:1517, December 3.
Gibbons, Ann (1993), “Empathy and Brain Evolution,” Science, 259:1250-1251, February 26.
Gonick, Larry (1994), “Sheba’s Last Theorem,” Discover, 15[6]:114-115, June.
Maddox, John (1993), “The Kinship of Apes and People,” Nature, 364:185, July 15.
McShea, Daniel W. (1994), “On the Rights of an Ape,” Discover, 15[2]:34, February.
Savage-Rumbaugh, Sue and Roger Lewin (1994), “Ape at the Brink,” Discover, 15[9]:90-96,98, September.

Marriage Defined by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Marriage Defined

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

As legislators are fighting over the legitimacy of same-sex marriages, activist judges are claiming constitutional sanction in their redefining of marriage, and the rank and file citizens of these United States are embroiled in a polarizing culture war, it is nevertheless unthinkable that the President of these United States has announced his approval of homosexuality. If God exists and the Bible is His revealed Word, then America is facing imminent peril. The evaporation of Christian principles from American civilization will lead to the extinction of civility, freedom, and morality.
In the midst of such depressing circumstances, the spiritually minded may find refreshment in the words of bygone U.S. Supreme Courts. For example, in the 1885 case of Murphy v. Ramsey that addressed the legitimacy of polygamy, the high court declared:
For certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the coordinate States of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement (1885, emp. added).
Observe that the high Court insisted that the stability of a nation and its proper progress rely on the home composed of one man for one woman for life—the precise declaration of God Himself (Genesis 2:24). For most of American history, courts have had no trouble recognizing and reaffirming the idea of the family and the historic definition of marriage. Such thinking was in complete agreement with and based upon the Bible (Genesis 2:24).
In another U.S. Supreme Court case, Reynolds v. United States, after conceding the constitutional right to freedom of religion, the high court nevertheless repudiated polygamy as a punishable offense against society and reaffirmed the foundational importance of monogamy: “Marriage, while from its very nature a sacred obligation, is nevertheless, in most civilized nations, a civil contract, and usually regulated by law. Upon it society may be said to be built” (1879, emp. added). Those legal sentiments reflected the views of the vast majority of Americans for the first 180+ years of American history. Departure from that social norm—one man and one woman—results in the destabilization of society.
No wonder in 1848, the Supreme Court of South Carolina articulated the sentiment of the Founders and early Americans regarding what will happen if Christian morality is abandoned:
What constitutes the standard of good morals? Is it not Christianity? There certainly is none other. Say that cannot be appealed to and...what would be good morals? The day of moral virtue in which we live would, in an instant, if that standard were abolished, lapse into the dark and murky night of pagan immorality (City Council of Charleston..., emp. added).
Practitioners of unscriptural divorce, homosexuality, and other sinister behaviors are slowly but surely eroding and dissolving the moral foundations of American civilization—what the Court called “the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization.” Will America awaken from this spiritual stupor? Will Christians rise up and react in time? The time has come for those who still retain their moral sensibilities to recognize that we are in a full-scale, unmistakable war—a culture war—a spiritual war of seismic proportions against the governmental authorities and cultural forces that now are openly hostile toward God, Christ, and the Bible. May we take heart and commit ourselves to this critical struggle, as we consider the words of God through Paul:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:10-13, emp. added).


City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin (1848), 2 Strob. L. 508 (S.C. 1848).
Murphy v. Ramsey (1885), 114 U.S. 15; 5 S. Ct. 747; 29 L. Ed. 47; 1885 U.S. LEXIS 1732.
Reynolds v. United States (1879), 98 U.S. 145; 25 L. Ed. 244; 1878 U.S. LEXIS 1374; 8 Otto 145.

Contents of the Ark of the Covenant by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Contents of the Ark of the Covenant

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Following Israel’s exodus from Egypt, God instructed them to make a small wooden ark (box) overlaid with gold. The ark was 2.5 cubits long, 1.5 cubits wide, and 1.5 cubits high (or about 3.75 x 2.25 x 2.25 feet) and was called the “Ark of the Testimony” or the “Ark of the Covenant” because it contained the tablets of stone whereon the Ten Commandments were written (Exodus 25:16). According to 1 Kings 8:9, “Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone” (emp. added; cf. 2 Chronicles 5:10). The writer of Hebrews, however, indicated that the ark contained “the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (9:4). How can both of these passages be correct?
First, it may be that the Hebrews writer was indicating that the pot of manna, Aaron’s rod, and the tablets were in close proximity to the ark, but not necessarily that all three were “in” the ark. Although most English translations refer to what was “in” (NKJV; Greek en) the ark or what the ark “contained” (NIV, RSV), the uses of the Greek preposition en “are so many and various, and oft. so easily confused, that a strictly systematic treatment is impossible” (Danker, 2000, p. 326). Greek lexicographers give numerous definitions for this word, including: among, within the range of, near, before, in the presence of, etc. (Danker, pp. 326-330). Perhaps the writer of Hebrews only intended to communicate that Aaron’s rod, the container of manna, and the tablets of stone were all in close proximity to the ark in the Most Holy Place (the tablets being in the ark, while the manna and rod were “before” the ark; cf. Exodus 16:33-34; Numbers 17:10).
Second, it is also very possible that all three items were literally inside of the ark at one time, but not all of the time. Whenever comparing two or more Bible passages that might initially appear contradictory, one must be sure that the same time frame is under discussion. Such is not the case with Hebrews 9:4 and 1 Kings 8:9. In Hebrews 9, the inspired writer refers to the time of Moses, when “a tabernacle was prepared” (vs. 2; cf. Exodus 25-40). The statement in 1 Kings 8:9 (as well as 2 Chronicles 5:10) is from the time of Solomon, when he built the Temple, approximately 500 years after the tabernacle was constructed. Is it possible that the Ark of the Covenant once contained the tablets of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod, while at another time (i.e., five centuries later) the ark contained only the tablets of stone? Most certainly (cf. 1 Samuel 4-5).
What about the allegation that “Aaron’s staff could hardly have fit anyway, since the ark was a box only 2.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 cubits” (Wells, 2009)? The fact is, no one knows the length of Aaron’s rod. Rods served many purposes (e.g., for support, for administering punishment, as a symbol of authority, etc.; see Allen, 1996, p. 1022) and came in various sizes. In Aaron’s case, it appears that his rod was more of a symbol of his God-given authority than just a mere walking stick. What’s more, even if Aaron had used his rod for support, he may have only been five feet tall and needed a walking stick that was just 3½ feet long. Considering that an average walking cane today is only about three feet long, it should not be surprising that Aaron’s rod could have fit into a box that was nearly four feet long.
Indeed, the wording of 1 Kings 8:9 and Hebrews 9:4 are different. But reasonable explanations exist for the variation. There is no doubt that two different time periods are under discussion. Furthermore, as with many Hebrew and Greek words, it may be that the Greek en (in Hebrews 9:4) should be understood in a broader sense. Whatever the precise contents of the Ark of the Covenant at any given time in history, rest assured, 1 Kings 8:9 and Hebrews 9:4 are not contradictory.


Allen, L.C. (1996), “Rod,” New Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Douglas (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), third edition.
Danker, Fredrick William (2000), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago), third edition.
Wells, Steve (2009), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, [On-line], URL: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/.

Be with me Lord by Beth Johnson


Be with me Lord
The words to this song were penned by T. O. Chisholm, and the music was composed by L. O. Sanderson. It is particularly meaningful to me because my mother kept on requesting that I sing it to her while she lay dying of leukemia in February and March of 1993. Today, I find it difficult to sing because of that memory, but the prayer is still in my heart.

Be with me, Lord--I cannot live without Thee,
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life, unaided,
I need Thy strength to lean myself upon.
Be with me, Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
If storms of trial burst above my head,
If lashing seas leap everywhere about me,
They cannot harm, or make my heart afraid.
Be with me, Lord! No other gift or blessing
Thou couldst bestow could with this one compare—
A constant sense of Thy abiding presence,
Where e'er I am, to feel that Thou art near.
Be with me Lord, when loneliness o'er-takes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain,
And when shall come the hour of "my departure"
For "worlds unknown," O Lord, be with me then.
Sometimes people who are with us can make us discouraged and make our hearts faint in the work we have to do.
  • Josh 14:8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.
Some people depend upon other people to be with them and forget to depend upon God
  • Judges 4:8-9 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she (Deborah) said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.
But if the Lord be with us, we, like Joshua, will prevail
  • Josh 14:12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
Jabez prayed that the Lord would be with him to keep him from evil, and the Lord granted his request
  • 1 Chron 4:10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
Even though Job lost everything, he remembered the days when the Lord was with him
  • Job 29:2-7 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil; When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!
David praised and thanked God because He was with him
  • Ps 13:6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
  • Ps 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
  • Ps 42:7-8 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
What will be the result, if the Lord is with us?
  • Jeremiah 20:11-13 But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten. But, O LORD of hosts that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause. Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.
Christ knew the power of having His disciples with him.
  • Matt 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
  • Luke 11:23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
  • Luke 22:28-30 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
  • John 16:32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
  • John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
When Paul was ready to be delivered to death, he knew the power of having a faithful, godly friend with him.
  • 2 Tim 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
  • 2 Tim 4:16-17 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
Finally, we see a glimpse of what it means to be with the Lord.
  • Rev 3:4-5 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
  • Rev 3:20-21 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Being alone in the world can make us vulnerable to the enemy or to the elements.
  • Eccl 4:9-12 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
When we stand for the Lord and his ways, we often must stand alone.
  • Jer 15:17 I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.
  • Lam 3:21-32 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.
Jesus knew that he would be left alone in His greatest trial.
  • John 16:32-33 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Paul knew that the faith of some would fail when they were left alone.
  • Romans 11:1-4 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Paul knew the power of God's watchful care.
  • 2 Tim 3:10-12 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
  • 2 Cor 1:8-10 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
Sometimes weak christians doubt that God can save them.
  • Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
  • Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
  • Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
  • Mark 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
Daniel knew the power of God's strength and protection.
  • Dan 6:20-22 And when he (King Darius) came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
The psalmist, David, knew the power of God's strength.
  • Ps 27:12-14 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
  • Ps 84:5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
Many are the examples of godly men and women, who trusted in the power of His might as they were faced with temptations. They were men and women of faith who overcame and were victorious. (Heb 11:1-40)
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
One of the most poignant accounts in the New Testament of Jesus' protection is recounted in Matthew 14:32, Mark 6:51, and Mark 4:35-41. Here we see His powerful protection and love for the ones who served Him. 35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Moses knew he could never lead the nation of Israel without the presence of the Lord.
  • Ex 33:12-15 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
Jehoshaphat knew that the Lord's presence was in the temple and that He would hear their cry when troubles came.
  • 2 Chron 20:6-9 And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
The Psalmist, David, knew where to find fullness of joy and true pleasures.
  • Ps 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
David's sincere prayer was for God's judgment, and sentence to come from His presence.
  • Ps 17:1-3 Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips. Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal. Thou has proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou has tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
David knew that he had to have a clean heart and a right spirit in order to remain in God's presence.
  • Ps 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
David asks who will dwell with God and who will be in His presence?
  • Ps 140:13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.
Isaiah is asking God to come down and tell them more of His truth, like he did on Mt. Sinai and reveal what He has prepared for those that wait on Him. (see also 1 COR 2:9)
  • Isa 64:1-4 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Those who yearn to live in the presence of the Lord must meet certain qualifications or be forever cast out.
  • Luke 13:24-27 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Many were the tests and procedures which my mother had to endure, but when she called us to come home from India, all she said was, "The nights are long, and I am afraid." The last verse of this prayer song seemed to embody what she felt at the prospect of death.
Now would come the questions of what kind of building she had made and what kind of fruits she had borne.
  • 1 Cor 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
  • Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Like Paul, she wanted to be able to say:
  • 2 Tim 4:6-8 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Beth Johnson
Published in The Old Paths Archive