"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" The Three Tribunals (4:3-5) by Mark Copeland


                      The Three Tribunals (4:3-5)


1. Among the many problems that existed in the church at Corinth...
   a. There was the problem of division - 1Co 1:10-11
   b. Which involved "preacher-itis" or "personality cults" - 1Co 1:12

2. In dealing with the problem, the apostle Paul...
   a. Rebuked the spiritual immaturity of such division - 1Co 3:1-4
   b. Revealed how one should view the role of preachers 
      - 1Co 3:5-9; 4:1-2
   c. Remarked that in his own case he was more interested in what the
      Lord thought - 1Co 4:3-5

3. In the text for this study (1Co 4:3-5), we are introduced to three
   different types of judgment...
   a. The court of judgment by men
   b. The court of judgment by one's conscience
   c. The court of judgment by Christ
   -- We might call these "The Three Tribunals"

4. In our federal court system, we have...
   a. The local federal court
   b. The federal district court of appeal
   c. The federal supreme court
   -- In which the judgment of one court is more final that the others

[So it is with "The Three Tribunals" of our text.  There is a difference
between them, and we do well to see what the Scriptures say about each
one.  We begin with the lowest "tribunal"...]


      1. "... it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or
         by a human court" - 1Co 4:3a
      2. Note carefully that he said "a very small thing", not "nothing"
      3. Paul was often concerned about what people thought in some matters
         a. About what his weak brother thought - 1Co 8:13
         b. About what the lost thought - 1Co 9:19-23; 10:31-33
      4. But what people thought of him personally was " a very small thing"...
         a. His accomplishments
         b. His status as a preacher

      1. He knew how fallible the opinions of others could be
         a. The world loves false teachers - Lk 6:26; cf. Jer 5:30-31
         b. They hate those "not of the world" - Jn 15:18-19
      2. He new their criteria for judging was wrong
         a. They often look at the outward appearance - cf. 1Sa 16:7
         b. A problem Paul had to deal with - 2Co 10:7,10
         c. Yet he knew what the Lord had said - cf. Jn 7:24

[While there are times we should be considerate of what others think,
the final estimation needs to look to a higher court.  Some would say
"Let your conscience be your guide."  But let's examine...]


      1. "In fact, I do not even judge myself." - 1Co 4:3b
      2. Paul is not totally discounting the need to examine oneself
         a. We are to examine ourselves at the Lord's Supper 
            - 1Co 11:28-31
         b. We should periodically examine our own salvation - 2Co 13:5
      3. He certainly stressed the importance of a good conscience
         - 1Ti 1:5,19; 3:9; 4:2
      4. But in the matter at hand (evaluating preachers), Paul refused
         to depend on this "tribunal"

      1. He knew how fallible one's conscience or self-estimation can be
         a. He had always served God with good conscience - Ac 23:1
         b. Even when he was killing Christians - cf. Ac 26:9-11
         c. When misinformed, one can have a clear conscience and still
            be dead wrong!
      2. Paul acknowledged this possibility
         a. "For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified
            by this;" - 1Co 4:4a
         b. While his conscience was clear, he knew that it did not make
            him right

[Paul knew there remained a final and infallible judgment...]


      1. He knew that "He who judges me is the Lord" - 1Co 4:4b
         a. This refers to the judgment by Christ is evident from v.5
         b. For Christ will judge men at His coming - 2Co 5:10
      2. He viewed the Lord's judgment as superior, for He will:
         a. "bring to light the hidden things of darkness" (things a
            clear conscience might miss)
         b. "reveal the counsels of the heart" (things often hidden from
            the view of others)
      3. Thus Paul viewed this "tribunal" as final, with no court of appeal!

      1. He knew the judgment of Christ was certain
         a. For God provided proof through the resurrection of Jesus
            - Ac 17:31
         b. And so Paul often wrote of this judgment 
            - Ro 14:10; 2 Co 5:10; 2Ti 4:1
      2. He knew the judgment of Christ was superior
         a. He knew the Lord was judging even then (cf. the present
            tense) - 1Co 4:5; cf. Re 2-3
         b. He knew the Lord could know the secrets of men - Jn 2:24-25;
            cf. Mt 9:4


1. And so we have "The Three Tribunals"...
   a. The court of judgment by men
   b. The court of judgment by one's conscience
   c. The court of judgment by Christ

2. To which "tribunal" are we appealing for the hope of salvation...?
   a. Is our hope based on what fallible men have said?
   b. Is our trust based on what we feel in our hearts, or what our
      conscience tells us?
   c. Or do we place our trust and hope in the words of the Lord who
      will judge us? - Jn 12:48; cf. Mk 16:16; Re 2:10

I trust that we have seen there is only one "tribunal" we should look to
for the final answer to such questions, and that we might truly have the
attitude of Paul...

   "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be
   well pleasing to Him." - 2Co 5:9

Note:  The main points of this outline are based on a sermon by
Alexander Maclaren with a similar title in his Expositions Of The Holy

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Biblical Accuracy Set in Stone by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Biblical Accuracy Set in Stone

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Writing about a rock that was discovered almost 150 years ago certainly would not fit in a current “in the news” section. In fact, since 1868, so much has been written about this stone that very few new articles pertaining to it come to light. But the truth of the matter is that even though it was discovered more than a century ago, many Christians do not even know it exists, and need to be reminded of its importance.
The stone is known as the Moabite Stone (or the Mesha Inscription). A missionary named Klein first discovered the stone in August of 1868 (Edersheim, n.d., p. 109). When he initially saw the black basalt stone, it measured about 3.5 feet high and 2 feet wide. Upon hearing of Klein’s adventure, a French scholar named Clermont-Ganneau located the antiquated piece of rock and made an impression of the writing on its surface. From that point, the details surrounding the stone are not quite as clear. Apparently, the Arabs who had the stone thought that it was a religious talisman of some sort, and broke it into several pieces by heating it in fire and then pouring cold water on it. The pieces were scattered, but about two-thirds of the original stone has been relocated, and currently resides at the Louvre in Paris (Jacobs and McCurdy, 2002).
The written inscription on the stone provides a piece of “rock-solid” evidence verifying the Bible’s accuracy. Mesha, the king of Moab, had the stone cut in about 850 B.C. to tell of his many conquests and his reacquisition of certain territories that were controlled by Israel. In the over 30-line text composed of about 260 words, Mesha mentions that Omri was the King of Israel who had oppressed Moab, but then Mesha says he “saw his desire upon” Omri’s son and upon “his house.” The Mesha stele cites Omri as the king of Israel, just as 1 Kings 16:21-28 indicates. Furthermore, it mentions Omri’s son (Ahab) in close connection with the Moabites, just as 2 Kings 3:4-6 does. In addition, both the stele and 2 Kings 3:4-6 list Mesha as the king of Moab. The stele further names the Israelite tribe of Gad, and the Israelite God, Yahweh. Taken as a whole, the Moabite stone remains one of the most impressive pieces of evidence verifying the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. And, although this find has been around almost 150 years, it “still speaks” to us today (Hebrews 11:4).


Edersheim, Albert (no date), The Bible History—Old Testament, book VI (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Jacobs, Joseph and J. Frederick McCurdy (2002), “Moabite Stone,” JewishEncyclopedia.com, [On-line], URL: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=680&letter=M.

Atheism: Contradictory at Best, Hideous at Worst by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Atheism: Contradictory at Best, Hideous at Worst

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Many atheists often describe certain things as being “deplorable,” “atrocious,” or “wicked.” Arguably the most famous atheist in the world in 1976, atheistic philosopher Antony Flew, confessed that the Nazis committed real, objective moral atrocities during the 1930s and 1940s when they slaughtered six million Jews (Warren and Flew, 1976, p. 248). Many atheists admit that it would be morally wrong to rape a woman or to sexually abuse and torture a four-year-old child. Richard Dawkins, the most recognized atheist in the world today, has even boasted that someone who does not believe in evolution may be “wicked” (1989).
Such recognition by atheists of anything being morally wrong begs the question: How can an atheist logically call something atrocious, deplorable, wicked, or morally wrong? According to atheism, we are nothing but matter in motion. We allegedly evolved from rocks and slime over billions of years. We supposedly arose from animals—living organisms that have no sense of morality. Animals eat their young, kill their mates, and steal the food of any animal from which they can successfully take it—whether friend, foe, or family member. Atheists allege that “we are animals…. We like to think of ourselves as elevated above other creatures. But the human body evolved” from animals (Marchant, 2008, 200[2678]:44, emp. added). Thus, the fact is, as Dr. Thomas B. Warren concluded in his debate with Antony Flew, “[T]he basic implication of the atheistic system does not allow objective moral right or objective moral wrong” (1976, p. 49).
Atheistic philosopher Jean Paul Sartre summarized godlessness well when he said, “Everythingis indeed permitted if God does not exist” (1961, p. 485, emp. added). If atheists refuse to admit that real moral objectivity exists, then they are forced to admit that when the Jews were starved, gassed, and experimented on “like the animals” they supposedly were (cf. Marchant, 2008), the Nazis did nothing wrong. If human life really is as worthless as bacteria (as atheist Eric Pianka said naturalism demands), then there would be nothing truly wrong with systematically spreading the ebola virus for the purpose of eliminating 90% of the human population, which Dr. Pianka suggested needed to happen in order to save the Earth (see Mims, 2006). Atheists who theoretically take atheistic evolution to its logical conclusion, are forced to admit what Dan Barker acknowledged in his debate with Kyle Butt in February 2009: that, if need be, he would rape millions of girls to save the rest of humanity (Butt and Barker, 2009, pp. 33-36). After all, if we are nothing but advanced ape-like creatures, and “our male ancestors became ancestors in part because they conditionally used rape,” then, as evolutionist Randy Thornhill confessed, “rape is evolutionary, biological, and natural” (2001; cf. Thornhill and Palmer, 2000)—a sickening thought.
Atheists can say, “We don’t like that,” or “We would never do that,” but they can never logically say that something is objectively wrong or right. If they do, they are making a self-defeating statement. They would be contradicting the very naturalism they espouse. If they actually admit that for atheism no objective standards for “good” and “evil” can exist, then rape could just as well be right, while a virtue like bravery could be bad. Either way, atheism loses. It is either contradictory, and thus self-defeating, or it is too horrible for even the most contemptible to contemplate.
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1).


Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), The Butt/Barker Debate: Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Dawkins, Richard (1989), “Book Review,” The New York Times, section 7, April 9.
Marchant, Jo (2008), “We Should Act Like the Animals We Are,” New Scientist, 200[2678]:44-45, October 18-24.
Mims, Forrest (2006), “Dealing With Doctor Doom,” The Citizen Scientist, www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2006/2006-04-07/feature1p/ index.html.
Sartre, Jean Paul, (1961), “Existentialism and Humanism,” French Philosophers from Descartes to Sartre, ed. Leonard M. Marsak (New York: Meridian).
Thornhill, Randy (2001), “A Natural History of Rape,” Lecture delivered at Simon Fraser University, March 16, http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/jhamlin/3925/Readings/Thornhill_on_rape.pdf.
Thornhill, Randy and Craig T. Palmer (2000), A Natural History of Rape (Cambridge: MIT Press).
Warren, Thomas B. and Antony Flew (1976), The Warren-Flew Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).

The Adulterous Woman by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Adulterous Woman

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One of the most misused, mishandled, and misapplied passages in the Bible is the narrative of the woman caught in adultery, recorded in John 8:1-11. [For a discussion of the technical aspects of this passage as a textual variant, see Woods, 1989, p. 162; McGarvey, 1974, p. 16; Metzger, 1971, pp. 219-222; Metzger, 1968, pp. 223-224]. This passage has been used by situation ethicists (e.g., Fletcher, 1967, pp. 83,133), libertines, and liberals to insist that God is not “technical” when it comes to requiring close adherence to His laws. The bulk of Christendom has abetted this notion by decontextualizing and applying indiscriminately the remark of Jesus: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (vs. 7). The average individual, therefore, has come to think that Jesus was tolerant and forgiving to the extent that He released the woman from the strict restrictions of Bible law that called for her execution. They believe that Jesus simply waved aside her sin, and granted her unconditional freedom and forgiveness—though the Law called for her death (Leviticus 20:10). After all, isn’t it true that Jesus places people “in the grip of grace” (Lucado, 1996)?
Those who challenge these conclusions are derided as “traditionalists” who lack “compassion,” and who are just like the “legalistic” scribes and Pharisees who cruelly accused the woman and wanted her handled in strict accordance with Mosaic Law. Did Jesus set aside the clear requirements of Mosaic legislation in order to demonstrate mercy, grace, and forgiveness? A careful study of John 8:1-11 yields at least three insights that clarify the confusion and misconception inherent in the popular imagination.
First, Mosaic regulations stated that a person could be executed only if there were two or more witnesses to the crime (Deuteronomy 19:15). One witness was insufficient to invoke the death penalty (Deuteronomy 17:6). The woman in question was reportedly caught in the “very act” (vs. 4), but nothing is mentioned about the identity of the witness or witnesses. There may have been only one, thereby making execution illegal.
Second, even if there were two or more witnesses present to verify the woman’s sin, the Old Testament was equally explicit concerning the fact that both the woman and the man were to be executed (Deuteronomy 22:22). Where was the man? The accusing mob completely side-stepped this critical feature of God’s Law, demonstrating that this trumped-up situation obviously did not fit the Mosaic preconditions for invoking capital punishment. Obedience to the Law of Moses in this instance actually meant letting the woman go!
A third consideration that libertines overlook concerning this passage is the precise meaning of the phrase “He who is without sin among you….” If this statement is taken as a blanket prohibition against accusing, disciplining, or punishing the erring, impenitent Christian, then this passage flatly contradicts a host of other passages (e.g., Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14; Titus 3:10; 2 John 9-11). Jesus not only frequentlypassed judgment on a variety of individuals during His life on Earth (e.g., Matthew 15:14; 23; John 8:44,55; 9:41; et al.), but also enjoined upon His followers the necessity of doing the same thing (e.g., John 7:24). Peter could be very direct in assessing people’s spiritual status (e.g., Acts 8:23). Paul rebuked the Corinthians’ inaction concerning their fornicating brother: “Do you not judge those who are inside?… Therefore put away from yourselves that wicked person” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13, emp. added). Obviously, Paul demanded that Christians must judge (i.e., make an accurate assessment regarding) a fellow Christian’s moral condition. Even the familiar proof text so often marshaled to promote laxity (i.e., “Judge not, that you be not judged”—Matthew 7:1) records Jesus admonishing disciples: “…then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (vs. 5). The current culture-wide celebration of being nonjudgmental (“I’m OK, you’re OK”) is clearly out of harmony with Bible teaching.
So Jesus could not have been offering a blanket prohibition against taking appropriate action with regard to the sins of our fellows. Then what did His words mean? What else could possibly be going on in this setting so as to completely deflate, undermine, and terminate the boisterous determination of the woman’s accusers to attack Him, by using the woman as a pretext? What was it in Jesus’ words that had such power to stop them in their tracks—so much so that their clamor faded to silence and they departed “one by one, beginning with the oldest” (vs. 9)?
Most commentators suggest that He shamed them by getting them to realize that “nobody is perfect and we all sin.” But this motley crew—with their notorious and repeatedly documented hard-heartedness—would not have been deterred if Jesus simply had conveyed the idea that, “Hey, give the poor woman a break, none of us is perfect, and we’ve all done things we're not proud of.” These heartless scribes and Pharisees had the audacity to divert her case from the proper judicial proceedings and to humiliate her by forcibly hauling her into the presence of Jesus, thereby making her a public spectacle. Apparently accompanied by a group of complicit supporters, they cruelly subjected her to the wider audience of “all the people” (vs. 2) who had come to hear Jesus’ teaching. They hardly would have been discouraged from their objective by such a simple utterance from Jesus that “nobody’s perfect.”
So what is the answer to this puzzling circumstance? Jesus was striking at precisely the same point that Paul drove home to hard-hearted, hypocritical Jews in Rome: “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” (Romans 2:1). Paul was especially specific on the very point with which Jesus dealt: “You who say, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ do you commit adultery?” (vs. 22). In other words, no person is qualified to call attention to another’s sin when that individual is in the ongoing practice of the same sin. Again, as Jesus previously declared, “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). After all, it is the “spiritual” brother or sister who is in the proper position to restore the wayward (Galatians 6:1).
Consequently, in the context under consideration, Jesus knew that the woman’s accusers were guilty of the very thing for which they were willing to condemn her. (It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the man with whom the woman had committed adultery was in league with the accusing crowd.) Jesus was able to prick them with their guilt by causing them to realize that He knew that they, too, were guilty. The old law made clear that the witnesses to the crime were to cast the first stones (Deuteronomy 17:7). The death penalty could not be invoked legally if the eyewitnesses were unavailable or unqualified. Jesus was striking directly at the fact that these witnesses were ineligible to fulfill this role since they were guilty of the same sin, and thus deserved to be brought up on similar charges. They were intimidated into silence by their realization that Jesus was privy to their own sexual indiscretions.
Observe carefully that with the withdrawal of the accusers, Jesus put forth a technical legal question: “Woman, where are they? Did no man condemn thee?” (ASV), or “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?” (vs. 10, KJV). The reason for Jesus to verify the absence of the accusers who had brought the charges against the woman was that the Law of Moses mandated the presence of eyewitnesses to the crime before guilt could be established and sentence passed. The woman confirmed, “No man, Lord” (vs. 11). Jesus then affirmed: “Neither do I condemn you….” The meaning of this pronouncement was that if two or more witnesses to her sin were not able or willing to document the crime, then she could not be held legally liable, since neither was Jesus, Himself, qualified to serve as an eyewitness to her action. The usual interpretation of “neither do I condemn you” is that Jesus was flexible, tolerant, and unwilling to be judgmental toward others or to condemn their sinful actions. Ridiculous! The Bible repudiates such thinking on nearly every page. Jesus was declaring the fact that the woman managed to slip out from under judicial condemnation on the basis of one or more legal technicalities. But, He said (to use modern-day vernacular), “You had better stop it! You were fortunate this time, but you must cease your sinful behavior!” Jesus did not condemn the woman legally--He had no grounds to do so. But He most certainly condemned her morally and spiritually!
Incredible! The scribes and Pharisees were trying to catch Jesus in a trap. Yet Jesus, as was so often the case (e.g., Matthew 21:23-27), “turned the tables” on His accusers and caught them in a trap instead! At the same time, He demonstrated a deep and abiding respect for the governing beauty and power of law—the law that He and His Father had authored. Jesus was the only person Who ever complied with Mosaic legislation perfectly. He never sought to excuse human violation of law, nor to minimize the binding and authoritative application of law to people. Any interpretation of any passage that depicts Jesus as violating God’s law in order to forgive or accommodate man is a false interpretation, as is any interpretation that relegates law to a status of secondary importance (cf. Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:13; Psalms 19:7-11; Romans 7:12). Any interpretation of any passage that contradicts the teaching of other clear passages also is false. Jesus was not in sympathy with the permissive mindset of today’s doctrinally lax thinkers who soften doctrine and the binding nature of law in the name of “grace,” “freedom,” or “compassion.”


Fletcher, Joseph (1967), Moral Responsibility (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster).
Lucado, Max (1996), In the Grip of Grace (Dallas: Word).
McGarvey, J.W. (1974 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Metzger, Bruce (1971), A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (New York: United Bible Society).
Metzger, Bruce M. (1968), The Text of the New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press), second edition.
Woods, Guy N. (1989), A Commentary on the Gospel According to John (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

Did Jesus Rise “On” or “After” the Third Day? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did Jesus Rise “On” or “After” the Third Day?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The most frequent reference to Jesus’ resurrection reveals that He rose from the grave on the third day of His entombment. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record Jesus as prophesying that He would arise from the grave on this day (Matthew 17:23; Mark 9:31; Luke 9:22). The apostle Paul wrote in his first epistle to the Corinthians that Jesus arose from the grave “the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4). What’s more, while preaching to Cornelius and his household, Peter taught that God raised Jesus up “on the third day” (Acts 10:40, emp. added). The fact is, however, Jesus also taught (and Mark recorded) “that the Son of Man” would “be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31, emp. added). Furthermore, Jesus elsewhere prophesied that He would be in the heart of the Earth for “three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40). So which is it? Did Jesus rise from the dead on the third day or after three days?
While to the 21st-century reader these statements may initially appear to contradict one another, in reality, they harmonize perfectly if one understands the different, and sometimes more liberal, methods ancients often used when reckoning time. In the first century, any part of a day could be computed for the whole day and the night following it (cf. Lightfoot, 1979, pp. 210-211). The Jerusalem Talmud quotes rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah, who lived around A.D. 100, as saying: “A day and night are an Onah [‘a portion of time’] and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it” (from Jerusalem Talmud: Shabbath ix. 3, as quoted in Hoehner, 1974, pp. 248-249, bracketed comment in orig.). Azariah indicated that a portion of a 24-hour period could be considered the same “as the whole of it.” Thus, as awkward as it may sound to an American living in the 21st century, a person in ancient times could legitimately speak of something occurring “on the third day,” “after three days,” or after “three days and three nights,” yet still be referring to the same exact day.
The Scriptures contain several examples which clearly show that in Bible times a part of a day was often equivalent to the whole day.
  • According to Genesis 7:12, the rain of the Noahic Flood was upon the Earth “forty days and forty nights.” Verse 17 of that same chapter says it was on the Earth for just “forty days.” Who would argue that it had to rain precisely 960 hours (40 days x 24 hours) for both of these statements to be true?
  • In Genesis 42:17 Joseph incarcerated his brothers for three days. Then, according to verse 18, he spoke to them on the third day and released them (all but one, that is).
  • In 1 Samuel 30:12,13, the phrases “three days and three nights” and “three days” are used interchangeably.
  • When Queen Esther was about to risk her life by going before the king uninvited, she instructed her fellow Jews to follow her example by not eating “for three days, night or day” (Esther 4:16). The text goes on to tell us that Esther went in unto the king “on the third day” (5:1, emp. added).
  • Perhaps the most compelling Old Testament passage which clearly testifies that the ancients (at least occasionally) considered a portion of a twenty-four hour period “as the whole of it” is found in 2 Chronicles 10. When Israel asked King Rehoboam to lighten their burdens, he wanted time to contemplate their request, so he instructed Jeroboam and the people of Israel to return “after three days” (2 Chronicles 10:5, emp. added). Verse 12, however, indicates that Jeroboam and the people of Israel came to Rehoboam “on the third day, as the king had directed, saying, ‘ Come back to me the third day’ ” (emp. added). Fascinating, is it not, that even though Rehoboam instructed his people to return “after three days,” they understood this to mean “on the third day.”
  • From Acts 10, we can glean further insight into the ancient practice of counting consecutive days (in part or in whole) as complete days. Luke recorded how an angel appeared to Cornelius at “about the ninth hour of the day” (approximately 3:00 p.m.; Acts 10:3). “The next day” (10:9) Peter received a vision from God and welcomed visitors sent by Cornelius. “On the next day” (10:23) Peter and the servants of Cornelius departed for Caesarea. “And the following day they entered Caesarea” where Peter taught Cornelius and his household the Gospel (10:24). At one point during Peter’s visit,Cornelius spoke about his encounter with the angel of God. Notice carefully how he began the rehearsal of the event. He stated: “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour…” (10:30, NASB, emp. added). Although the event actually had occurred only 72 hours (or three literal days) earlier, Cornelius spoke of it as taking place “four days ago to this hour.” Why four days instead of three? Because according to the first-century method of reckoning time, a part of the first day and a part of the fourth day could be counted as whole days. Surely one can see how this information aligns itself perfectly with Jesus’ burial taking place on Friday and His resurrection occurring on Sunday. A part of Friday, all day Saturday, and a part of Sunday would be considered three days in ancient times, not one or two.
Even though in modern times some may find this reasoning somewhat confusing, similar idiomatic expressions frequently are used today. For example, we consider a baseball game that ends after only completing 8½ innings a “9-inning game.” And even though the losing pitcher on the visiting team only pitched 8 innings (and not 9 innings like the winning pitcher from the home team), he is said to have pitched a complete game. Consider also the guest at a hotel who checks in at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and checks out at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday—less than 24 hours later. Did the man stay one day or two days at the hotel? Technically, the guest was there for less than one full day (24-hour period), yet the hotel legally can charge him for two days since he did not leave before the mandatory 11:00 a.m. checkout time. Considering how flexible we are in measuring time, depending on the context, perhaps we should not be surprised at how liberal the ancients could be in calculating time.
Further evidence proving that Jesus’ statements regarding His burial were not contradictory centers around the fact that even His enemies did not accuse Him of contradicting Himself. No doubt this was due to their familiarity with and use of the flexible, customary method of stating time. In fact, the chief priests and Pharisees even said to Pilate the day after Jesus was crucified: “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day” (Matthew 27:63-64, emp. added). The phrase “after three days” must have been equivalent to “the third day,” else surely the Pharisees would have asked for a guard of soldiers until the fourth day. Interesting, is it not, that modern skeptics charge Jesus with contradicting Himself, but not the hypercritical Pharisees of His own day.
The idiomatic expressions that Jesus and the Bible writers employed to denote how long Jesus would remain in the grave does not mean that He literally was buried for 72 hours. If we interpret the account of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection in light of the cultural setting of the first century, and not according to the present-day (mis)understanding of skeptics, we find no errors in any of the expressions that Jesus and the gospel writers used.


Hoehner, Harold W (1974), “Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ—Part IV: The Day of Christ’s Crucifixion,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 131:241-264, July.
Lightfoot, John (1979 reprint), A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

“Documented” Transitional Forms? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


“Documented” Transitional Forms?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The cover of the March 1-7, 2008 issue of New Scientist pictures an illustrator’s attempt at drawing a half fish, half reptilian creature. Above the illustration is the title: “Amazing Missing Links: Creatures that Reveal the Real Power of Evolution.” Allegedly, evolutionists “have abundant evidence for how all the major groups of animals are related, much of it in the form of excellent transitional fossils” (Prothero, 2008, 197[2645]:35). After his introductory comments, the author, Donald Prothero, listed several alleged transitional fossils, which supposedly “are conclusive proof that evolution has occurred, and is still occurring” (p. 41). Included in this list were a variety of animals—from velvet worms to dinosaurs, and giraffes to manatees. Readers, however, have to go no further than Prothero’s introduction to see the inaccuracy of his assertions.
Prothero introduced his list of transitional forms, that supposedly prove evolution, with two examples that science dealt a crushing blow to long ago. Prothero wrote: “Darwin’s 1859 prediction that transitional forms would be found was quickly confirmed. In 1861 the first specimen of Archaeopteryx—a classic transitional form between dinosaurs and birds—was discovered, and in the 1870s the iconic sequence of fossil horses was documented” (p. 35, emp. added). Of the alleged “numerous fossils and fossil sequences showing evolutionary change,” Prothero chose to begin his article with Archaeopteryx and the “sequence of horse fossils,” both of which are supposedly “documented” proof of evolution. In truth, Archaeopteryxand the horse family tree do not even come close to confirming evolution.
Regarding horse evolution, the fossil record simply does not bear out what New Scientist writer Prothero claimed. In fact, due to the severe lack of fossil evidence linking the various horse “family members” together, even prominent evolutionists have abandoned the “horse evolution” argument. Prothero claimed that as far back as “the 1870s the iconic sequence of fossil horses was documented” (p. 35). Since that time, however, evolutionists such as Dr. George Gaylord Simpson have admitted, “The uniform, continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature” (Simpson, 1953, p. 125, emp. added). In a 2000 article that appeared in the journal Natural History, Dr. Stephen Jay Gould criticized science textbooks’ use of misinformation surrounding the evolution of horses. He wrote:
Once ensconced in textbooks, misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent, because, as stated above, textbooks copy from previous texts. (I have written two essays on this lamentable practice: one on the amusingly perennial description of the eohippus, or “dawn horse,” as the size of a fox terrier, even though most authors, including yours truly, have no idea of the dimensions or appearance of this breed...) [2000, 109[2]:45, emp. added].
In light of such statements by renowned evolutionists, one wonders how Prothero can be so confident that the evolution of horses was documented by fossils as far back as the 1870s. Is Prothero’s article just another example of how “misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent” in many evolutionary writings?
And what about Archaeopteryx? Is it a “confirmed” transitional form, as Prothero asserted? Simply because Archaeopteryx has teeth in its beak and claws on its wings, does not prove that it was the transitional form between reptiles and birds. Consider that some modern birds have claws on their wings, and yet no one thinks of them as being missing links. The African bird known as touraco has claws on its wings, as does the hoatzin of South America when it is young. Both of these birds use their fully functional claws to grasp branches and climb trees. If you have ever seen an ostrich close up, you might have noticed that it, too, has claws on each wing and can use them if attacked. Obviously, simply because a bird in the fossil record is discovered with claws on its wings does not mean that it is a transitional fossil.
In 1993, Science News reported that an odd fossil bird had been unearthed in Mongolia. It supposedly is millions of years younger than Archaeopteryx and, interestingly, had teeth in its beak (Monasterky, 1993, 143:245). As with the claws on the wings of Archaeopteryx, evolutionists cannot prove that the presence of teeth make the animal something more than a bird. What’s more, consider that while most reptiles have teeth, turtles do not. And, some fish and amphibians have teeth, while other fish and amphibians have no teeth. How can evolutionists be so sure that Archaeopteryx’s teeth make it a dinosaur-bird link? Such an assertion is based on unprovable assumptions.
Archaeopteryx also had fully formed feathers, just like living birds. Fossils of Archaeopteryxleave no hint of the animal being a half-scaly/half-feathered creature. It was not in some kind of in-between stage. Furthermore, “[e]xperts don’t know what Archaeopteryx’s closest [alleged—EL] dinosaur ancestor looked like—fossils haven’t yet been found” (“Fossil Evidence,” 2007), i.e., evolutionists have been entirely unsuccessful in finding any actual transitional forms between dinosaurs and birds.
Finally, what makes the suggestion that Archaeopteryx was the missing link between reptiles and birds even more unbelievable is that “[a]nother bird fossil found in the desert of west Texas in 1983, Protoavis, is dated even earlier, 75 million years before Archaeopteryx” (DeYoung, 2000, p. 37, emp. added). Although some paleontologists have questions about the fossil remains of Protoavis (birds, after all, were not supposed to be around with the “earliest dinosaurs”), Dr. Chatterjee of Texas Tech University “has pointed out, the skull of Protoavis has 23 features that are fundamentally bird-like, as are the forelimbs, the shoulders, and the hip girdle” (Harrub and Thompson, 2001). In 1991, Science magazine ran a story titled, “Early Bird Threatens Archaeopteryx’s Perch,” wherein Alan Anderson wrote: “His [Chaterjee’s—EL] reconstruction also shows a flexible neck, large brain, binocular vision, and, crucially, portals running from the rear of the skull to the eye socket—a feature seen in modern birds but not dinosaurs” (253:35).
The fact is, the fossil record does not, in any way, demonstrate that dinosaurs evolved into birds or that horses evolved from little dog-like creatures. Ironically, although Prothero, writing for New Scientist, wrote that a “favourite lie” of creationists is ‘there are no transitional fossils’” (2008, 197[2645]:35), evolutionist Mark Ridley wrote an article for the same journal 27 years earlier and confessed that “no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation...” (1981, 90:832, emp. added).


Anderson, Alan (1991), “Early Bird Threatens Archaeopteryx’s Perch,” Science, 253:35, July 5.
DeYoung, Don (2000), Dinosaurs and Creation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
“Fossil Evidence” (2007), NOVA, [On-line], URL:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/transitional.html.
Gould, Stephen Jay (2000), “Abscheulich! (Atrocious),” Natural History, 109[2]:42-50, March.
Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2001), “ArchaeopteryxArchaeoraptor, and the ‘Dinosaurs-to-Birds’ Theory [Part 1],” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/473.
Monastersky, Richard (1993), “A Clawed Wonder Unearthed in Mongolia,” Science News, 143:245, April 17.
Prothero, Donald (2008), “What Missing Link?” New Scientist, 197[2645]:35-41, March 1-7.
Ridley, Mark (1981), “Who Doubts Evolution?” New Scientist, June 25, 90:832.
Simpson, George Gaylord (1953), Life of the Past (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).

After This, the Judgment by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


After This, the Judgment

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Life is not fair. Every day, in hundreds of ways, this fact makes itself abundantly clear to us. September 11, 2001 marked a day when the unfairness of this physical life became especially apparent. The entire world stood with mouth agape as it watched four hijacked United States commercial planes used as weapons against our unsuspecting nation. Within minutes, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were rocked by the impact of these planes. Fires burned, smoke billowed, and the loss of innocent human life shocked us all. Through the carnage and terror, one primary feeling emerged from the collective mind of the United States—we will find and punish whoever did this.
When this type of tragedy occurs and the heinousness of criminal activity comes into full focus, the question always arises: Is it right in God’s eyes for humans to demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice and punished for their dastardly act of vicious cowardice? And if so, who has the authority to administer such punishment. Fortunately, the Bible provides clear answers to such questions. In Romans 13, the inspired apostle Paul explained that each citizen has an obligation to be obedient to the governing authorities because “the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Furthermore, the government “does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:1-4).
The Bible plainly teaches that the government has the God-given authority to execute wrath on those who do evil. What does the statement “does not bear the sword in vain” mean in this context? Without a doubt, the sword in the first century (as well as in previous and subsequent centuries) was looked upon as a weapon of death. The Old Testament is replete with references to the sword being just such an instrument. Hosea 11:6 records: “And the sword shall slash in his cities, devour his districts, and consume them.” Again in Jeremiah 15:3 it is written: “ ‘And I will appoint over them four forms of destruction,’ says the Lord: ‘the sword to slay, the dogs to drag, the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.’ ” New Testament references support the idea as well. Revelation 6:8 states: “So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth” (emp. added). When Paul stated that the government does not bear the sword in vain, he explicitly advocated the idea that the government reserves the right to administer capital punishment.
One reason God has given this right to the government can be found in Ecclesiastes 8:11: “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” If proper punishment is not meted out to the perpetrators of crimes, then more and more people embolden themselves to commit crimes against the government and their fellow human beings.
Along with this authority, the government has been given a tremendous responsibility to administer justice properly and without partiality. The Proverbs writer commented: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (29:2). It is true that many unrighteous rulers have taken power and misused the authority of the government. Consider Herod, for instance, who “killed the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:2). Or bring to mind the evil Roman Emperor Nero who captured Christians and tortured them via heinous acts of persecution. And no list of evil rulers would be complete without the infamous Hitler, who murdered over six million Jews. But even though these rulers have abused the office and authority that God gave the governing powers, the authority given to the government by God has not been lessened because of their abuse. The government “does not bear the sword in vain.”
Unfortunately, certain unalterable limitations make it impossible for the government to catch and punish every person who has committed criminal acts. Some villains inevitably slip through the cracks of the justice system and never are punished in this life. Each year thousands of parents abuse their own children physically and sexually and receive none of their just deserts. Each year hundreds of murder cases are filed away stamped “UNSOLVED,” and will stay that way. Each day thieves loot and plunder, making themselves fat and rich off of the toil and labor of their victims, yet they get away scot-free.
Because of the injustice that goes unpunished, many wonder if there is a righteous God Who sees and acts on behalf of the victims. They need wonder no more, because God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31). The wicked have been warned that “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:8). And: “ ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30-31). While it is the case that God’s retributive justice is not meted out to its full extent in this present age, it is not the case that it will remain muted so forever. Paul had this to say to those who persisted in wickedness: “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil” (Romans 2:5-9). Some may escape the sword of the state, but they will not escape the sword of their God.

A Coin Called "Daric" by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


A Coin Called "Daric"

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Before Solomon began building the “holy house” of God, his father David challenged the Israelites to consecrate themselves by bringing an offering to the Lord that would be used in the temple’s construction (1 Chronicles 29:3-5). The text says that “the leaders of the fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king’s work, offered willingly” (29:6). They gave 5,000 talents of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze, and 100,000 talents of iron. First Chronicles 29:7 also indicates that these Israelites gave 10,000 daricsof gold.
The use of currency known as darics in a narrative that predated the invention of the currency by 500 years has led some to believe the author of Chronicles lacked divine guidance. These critics correctly assert that the daric was a coin of the Persian Empire (probably derived from Darius the Mede). Furthermore, it is true that even though the chronicler used the daric to evaluate a temple offering that took place around 970 B.C., this coinage was unknown to David (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary). It was not minted before 515 B.C. (Dillard and Longman, 1994, p. 171), and probably was not known in Palestine until the fifth century B.C. (about the time when the book of Chronicles was written). So why does this notinvalidate the inerrancy of the Scriptures? After all, a narrative that has things (like money) in it that obviously did not exist when the narrative took place is nothing but a fairy tale, is it not?
Actually, the use of the term “daric” by the writer of Chronicles in the fourth or fifth century B.C. does not mean that he believed (or wanted his readers to believe) that the Israelites in David’s time possessed darics. The chronicler merely expressed in language that would be intelligible to his readers the sum of the gold donated by the Israelites, without intending to assume that there were darics in use in the time of David (Keil and Delitzsch). All he did was use a term that was popular in his own day to help his readers better understand the sacrifice of those who gave the gold (cf. Ezra 2:69; 8:27; Nehemiah 7:70-72).
The chronicler used a figure of speech known as “prolepsis” (the assignment of something, such as an event or name, to a time that precedes it). People often use prolepsis for the sake of convenience, or so that the reader or audience can better understand what is being communicated. For example, I might say, “My wife and I dated two years before we got married,” when actually she was not my wife when we were dating, but a very dear friend. We may see a special on television about when President Ronald Reagan was boy, but the fact is, Ronald Reagan was not President of the United States when he was a boy. From time to time, even the Bible uses this kind of accommodative language. In John 11, the Bible speaks of a woman named Mary who “anointed the Lord with ointment” (11:1-2), yet this anointing actually did not occur for about three months. John merely spoke about it as having already happened because when he wrote his gospel account, this event was generally known. Another example of prolepsis is found in Genesis 13:3 where we read that Abraham “went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel.” This area actually did not wear the name Bethel until years later when Jacob gave it that name (Genesis 28:19). However, when Moses wrote of this name hundreds of years later, he was free to use it even when writing about a time before the name actually was given. Likewise, the chronicler used accommodative language when explaining the free-will offerings given to help in constructing the temple of God.
It is possible that this is not the first time the writer of Chronicles used such conversion measures. In 2 Chronicles 4:5, it says that the molten Sea that sat in the inner court of the temple held 3,000 baths (a bath was the largest of the liquid measures in Hebrew culture). However, 1 Kings 7:26 says that the same Sea held 2,000 baths. These numbers may be different because the “bath” unit mentioned in 1 Kings was larger than the “bath” unit used in 2 Chronicles. Since the Chronicles account was written after the Babylonian exile, it is quite possible that reference is made to the Babylonian bath, which might have been less than the Jewish bath used at the time of Solomon (Clarke, 1996).
Admittedly, the writer of Chronicles used measures of his period familiar to modern readers even when writing about events that took place 500 years beforehand. However, converting measures does not destroy the inerrancy of Scripture!
Barnes, Albert (1997), Barnes’ Notes (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Clarke, Adam (1996), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Dillard, Raymond B. and Tremper Longman III (1994), An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan).
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1996), Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament (Electronic Database: Biblesoft), new updated edition.
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (1962), (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

Why was Jesus despised? by Roy Davison


Why was Jesus despised?
Strange as it may seem, some did not like Jesus. He was a good man. He healed the sick and helped the weak. Yet, some really despised Hem. It had been foretold that the Messiah would be “despised by the people” (Psalm 22:6). “He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isaiah 53:3).
To despise is to regard with contempt, to feel a strong dislike for.
Jesus explained why: “This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
There were many religious people in Palestine at the time of Christ. One might expect them to welcome the Son of God with open arms. But they did not. Jesus was unpopular for several reasons.

He opposed traditions that were contrary to the will of God.
Many people are really attached to their traditions. They often love them more than the word of God.
Jewish religious life at the time of Christ was regulated by the Old Testament plus the writings of the rabbis. A careful distinction was made between inspired and uninspired writings. Yet, many of the rituals and regulations were based, not on the Scriptures, but on human traditions.
Jesus was unpopular with the religious leaders because He condemned traditions that were contrary to the word of God.
“Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders” (Mark 7:1-3).
There is nothing wrong with washing your hands before you eat, but handwashing - although not commanded in the Old Testament - was viewed as an obligatory religious rite.
“Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, ‘Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?’ He answered and said to them, ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men’” (Mark 7:5-8).
Jesus applied this passage from Isaiah to the people of His time, and unfortunately, the same is true today. The religious lives of many are governed, not by the Scriptures, but by traditions that violate the Scriptures. 
Unscriptural names are worn that glorify something or someone other than Christ.
Worship is conducted according to tradition rather than the Scriptures. Roman Catholics worship images, dead people (Saints) and the Pope. Protestants celebrate Christmas and Easter according to Catholic tradition, while neglecting to have the Lord’s supper each week. People burn candles and incense, and play music instruments, forms of worship that are not prescribed in the New Testament.
Jesus said that worship based on human doctrine is in vain. To follow Christ, we must put aside human traditions and be led by the word of God.
But many love their traditions more than God’s word. With such people, Christ is not really popular. A man may praise the Lord a thousand times with his lips, but if he is following the doctrines of men, his worship is to no avail.

Jesus was unpopular because He emphasized spiritual values and taught the futility of material things.
At first Jesus was popular because of His healings and His miraculous feeding of nine thousand people. But when He refused to become a worldly king (John 6:15) and said, “I am the bread of life” and “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:48, 63), His popularity evaporated.
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’” (John 6:66-68). 
Jesus told a rich young man who kept the ten commandments: “‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’” (Matthew 19:21-24).
This man carefully observed the ten commandments, but material wealth was the focus of his life, and it was hard for him to put his wealth aside to follow Christ.
Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13). Mammon is material wealth. One cannot devote his life both to God and to material wealth.
“Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him” (Luke 16:14). The Pharisees despised Jesus because they were “money-lovers.” (“Lovers of money” is one word in Greek.)
Many people today, even though they are Christians, even though they attend services regularly, might be lost because their lives are focused on material things. They are so busy earning money that they have little time for spiritual endeavors. Their house and car payments are so high that they have little left for benevolence and the work of the Lord. They live in luxury but lack treasure in heaven.
The apostle Matthew, also called Levi, left his money to follow Christ: “And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ And he arose and followed Him” (Mark 2:14).
One man wanted Jesus to help him get a share of an inheritance. Notice how Jesus responded: “Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ But He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’” (Luke 12:13-15). Jesus refuses to deal with the validity of the request but goes to the core of the problem and condemns the covetousness of both brothers.
“Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?” So he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’” But God said to him, “You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’” (Luke 12:16-21).
Jesus would not fit in our modern society at all! What a statement! Heavenly treasure is more important than earthly treasure! Jesus obviously never watched television!
Many years ago a man in Belgium became a Christen but fell away after a time. When I visited him he said that he had experienced more disadvantages than advantages from being a Christian. Through the years he saved money to buy a cottage in Spain - where the weather is nice - for his retirement years. But a few years before he could retire, he died.
Jesus spoke the truth about the futility of worldly wealth: “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
Also in our time, Jesus is definitely not popular with materially- minded people. They did not like Him then, and they do not like Him now. They may pretend to serve Him, but actually they serve themselves.
Jesus wants us to dedicate our lives to doing good. We ought to help others and contribute something worthwhile to society. But many spend their time mainly taking care of themselves, increasing material ease, while others are in need. We must repent if we want to be true followers of Christ.

Jesus was unpopular because He exposed the sinfulness of self- righteous people and called sinners to repentance.
Jesus was most disliked by the so-called religious people of His time. He embarrassed them because He ate with sinners. When criticized for this He replied: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13).
People who realized that they needed forgiveness, liked Jesus because He encouraged them to leave their sinful ways and live new lives under His leadership.
People who thought they were righteous, hated Jesus because He condemned their hypocrisy. “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’s seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men’” (Matthew 23:1- 5). 
Jesus evaluated people on the basis of their spiritual attitude and not on the basis of their outward show of religion.
How many churches and people today give an outward show of religion, but will have nothing to do with those who are lost? They pray long prayers but do little to help the poor and sinful. They look down on them and do not want to be seen in their company.
Jesus associated with the lowly. If we want to be followers of Christ we must do what we can to help the sinful and the poor.
Paul said a time would come when many would have nothing but an empty shell of religion: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Jesus was unpopular for various reasons.
He opposed human traditions that are contrary to the will of God.
He emphasized spiritual values and taught the futility of material things.
He exposed the sinfulness of self-righteous people and called sinners to repentance.
Jesus was unpopular in His day and He is unpopular with most people today.
But we pray that you will make Him King of your life. Take up your cross and follow Him. Free yourself from human traditions. Seek the kingdom of God rather than material gain. Repent of your sins. Go to Christ for forgiveness and be His messenger to help others find the way. If you do this, you will no doubt be unpopular with many. But you will please Christ, and when He comes again, He will recognize you as His own. Amen.
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive