"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS" The Sins Of The Jews (2:14-16) by Mark Copeland


                    The Sins Of The Jews (2:14-16)


1. In our text, Paul reveals how the Thessalonians suffered persecution
   - 1Th 2:14
   a. It was at the hand of their own countrymen - cf. Ac 17:5-10
   b. In this they were imitators of the churches in Judea, who were 
      also persecuted by their countrymen - Ac 8:1; 12:1-4

2. Mentioning the Judaean persecution, Paul lists the sins of the Jews
   - 1Th 2:15-16
   a. This passage might be construed by some as anti-Semitic
   b. But it really isn't, for it comes from the heart of one who 
      loved his Jewish brethren - cf. Ro 9:1-5; 10:1-2

[A careful consideration of these verses and related passages can
provide food for thought, especially regarding the grace of God, His
longsuffering, and the danger of despising it.  Let's begin our
consideration by looking more closely at what this passage says


      1. Which Peter was not hesitant to proclaim - Ac 2:23,36; 3:
         14-15; 4:10; 5:30
      2. Those who were personally involved accepted responsibility for
         this act - Mt 27:25

      1. They killed prophets in the days of Elijah - 1Ki 19:10
      2. They killed prophets, including Zechariah, despite the reforms 
         of Jehoida the priest - 2Ch 24:14-21
      3. As summarized by Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, and Stephen 
         - 2 Chr 36:16; Neh 9:26; Jer 2:30; Ac 7:52

      1. In Jerusalem the apostles had been beaten and threatened 
         - Ac 5:40
      2. Ultimately there was the death of James, and the imprisonment 
         of Peter - Ac 12:1-5
      3. Paul had been persecuted in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra 
         - Ac 13:50; 14:1-6,19 
      4. He had been run out of Thessalonica and Berea by the Jews 
         - Ac 17:5-10,13-14

      1. As rebuked by Moses in the wilderness - Deut 9:7
      2. As described by God to His prophet Ezekiel - Ezek 2:3
      1. Tacitus describes them as "cherishing hatred against all 
      2. Juvenal says "They would not even point out the way to any one
         except of the same religion; nor, being asked, guide any to a
         fountain except the circumcised."
      3. Diodorus Sicuhs describes them as "those alone among all the
         nations who were unwilling to have any intermingling with any 
         other nation, and who regarded all others as enemies"
      -- As quoted by Barnes in his commentary on 1Th 2:15

      1. As happened at Antioch of Pisidia - Ac 13:42-51
      2. The idea that Gentiles could now be included among God's 
         people was abhorrent to many Jews, as indicated by their 
         reaction in Ac 22:21-22
      3. Even some Jewish Christians demanded that Gentiles had to be
         circumcised and keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved 
         - Ac 15:5

[In this manner the Jews as a nation of people had been filling up the
measure of their sins, and the fullness of God's wrath was about to
come upon them (perhaps the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD - cf. Mt

Now it is important to stress that these were not the words of an anti-
Semite.  Paul loved his brethren in the flesh (Ro 9:1-5; 10:1-4).  They
are simply facts of history, given objectively by a Jew who himself had
been guilty of the same things!  Consider how Paul described


      1. Prior to his conversion - 1Ti 1:12-13
      2. Compelling even others to blaspheme the name of Christ 
         - Ac 26:9-11     

      1. Wreaking havoc of the church - Ac 8:3; 9:1-2; 26:9-10
      2. An indication of his zeal for his Jewish faith - Php 3:6

      1. "a violent aggressor" (NASB), "injurious" (KJV) - 1Ti 1:13
      2. "It does not mean merely doing injury, but refers rather to 
         the manner or spirit in which it is done. It is a word of 
         intenser signification than either the word 'blasphemer,' or
         'persecutor,' and means that what he did was done with a 
         proud, haughty, insolent spirit. There was wicked and 
         malicious violence, an arrogance and spirit of tyranny in what
         he did, which greatly aggravated the wrong that was done."


1. So what is the point?  Certainly Paul was not anti-Semitic...
   a. What he says was not true of all Jews
      1) Many had become Christians (e.g., the apostles, Paul himself)
      2) There were churches "in Judea" - cf. 1Th 2:14
   b. Any Jew who came to Christ would be "grafted" back in 
      - cf. Ro 11:23-24
   c. The Gentiles as a group were not much better - cf. Ro 1:18-32

2. But there are important lessons to be learned...
   a. The danger of even God's chosen people falling away - He 3:12-4:2
   b. The wonderful grace of God for those willing to repent
      1) As seen in the life of Paul - 1Ti 1:12-16
      2) As still extended to the Jews - Ro 11:1-5,23
   c. The wrath of God coming upon those who refuse His grace 
      - cf. Ro 2:4-11
      1) To those who obey not the gospel - 1Pe 4:17; 2Th 1:7-9
      2) To those who persist in sin - He 10:26-31

As we are therefore reminded of how some of the Jews fell from grace,
may it serve to caution us not to receive God's grace in vain:

   "We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to
   receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: `In an acceptable
   time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped
   you.' Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of 
   salvation."  (2Co 6:1-2) 

Are Songs and Prayers Sometimes One and the Same? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Are Songs and Prayers Sometimes One and the Same?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Are songs and prayers sometimes one and the same?


Ask any five year old if there is a difference between singing and praying and you will likely receive the “you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me” look. “Everyone knows there is a difference between singing and praying.” A song is composed of words and music. Its words are “uttered in musical tones and with musical inflections and modulations” (“Sing,” 2010). A prayer is “an address (as a petition) to God…in word or thought” (“Prayer,” 2010; cf. 1 Samuel 1:12-13). Prayers are without musical tones and inflections, right?

Although praying and singing are often two distinct acts of worship (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:15), sometimes they are one and the same. That is, occasionally (or perhaps oftentimes) petitions to God are sung to Him. The Greek word most frequently translated “prayer” in the New Testament is proseuche. It is defined simply as a “petition addressed to deity, prayer” (Danker, 2000, p. 878, emp. in orig.). In the Old Testament, the English word “prayer” is derived most frequently from the Hebrew word te pillâ. This word is found 76 times in the Old Testament. Interestingly, this word for prayer occurs most often (32 times) in the book of Psalms. Psalms are songs that were (and are) sung (cf. Psalm 105:2; 1 Chronicles 16:9; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13). The Israelites titled this collection of inspired poems tehillim, meaning “songs of praise or hymns” (“Psalms,” 1988).

Admittedly, simply because a song contains the word “prayer” (or “pray,” “praying,” etc.) does not make the song a type of prayer. However, as Harris, Archer, and Waltke observed in their Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, “five Psalms are specifically called ‘prayers’ in their superscription (Ps 17, 86, 90, 102, 142)” (1980, p. 726). Bible publishers often add headings to each of the psalms in an attempt to help the reader easily recognize the subject matter. Thomas Nelson Publishers added the word “prayer” to the subject headings of some 25 psalms in their New King James translation of the book of Psalms. They also used prayer terminology (e.g., “a plea” or “an appeal”) to label several other psalms. Obviously, both the ancients (who gave us Psalms’ superscriptions) and certain modern-day Bible publishing companies have seen many of the psalms for what they are: prayers.

Consider a few of the psalms in which David and others prayed.
  • “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? Selah” (4:1-2). [NOTE: “Selah” is found 71 times in the book of Psalms. Although its precise import is unknown, “it is generally agreed that Selah must be a musical or liturgical sign” (Wiseman, 1996, p. 1074).]
  • “Hear a just cause, O LORD, attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips” (17:1).
  • “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You...Selah. Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry” (39:7,11-12).
  • “Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth...Selah (54:1-3).
  • “Give ear to my prayer, O God, and do not hide Yourself from my supplication. Attend to me, and hear me” (55:1-2).
  • “Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer.... I will sing praise to your name forever” (61:1,8).
  • “O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah” (84:8).
  • “Bow down Your ear, O LORD, hear me.... Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer” (86:1,6).
  • “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come to You…. Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands” (102:1,25). [NOTE: According to Hebrews 1:8-12, the psalmist was actually speaking (i.e., praying) to Jesus, “the Son”.]
Consider also Habakkuk three. The prophet begins the chapter with these words: “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth” (emp. added). It is evident, however, that Habakkuk’s prayer is also a type of song. First, the musical/liturgical term Selah is repeated three times (vss. 3,9,13). Second, when the prayer was repeated it was to be accompanied with “stringed instruments” (vs. 19). What’s more, though the exact meaning of “Shigionoth” in verse one is unknown, commentators are confident that it has some connection to music. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown believe it is “a musical phrase ‘after the manner of elegies,’ or mournful odes” (1997). Barnes concludes that the term probably “means a psalm with music expressive of strong emotion, ‘erratic’ or ‘dithyrambi’ ” (1997).

Generally speaking, songs and prayers are distinguished by songs being uttered with musical tones and inflections, and prayers being worded without musical accompaniment. However, one lesson learned from the inspired book of Psalms, the ancient hymnbook of the Jews, as well as from Habakkuk three, is that prayers may also be sung. That is, a song that petitions our Heavenly Father and Savior is both a song and a prayer.


Barnes, Albert (1997), Barnes’ Notes (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

Danker, Frederick William, William Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).

Harris, R. Laird, Gleason Archer, Jr. and Bruce Waltke, eds. (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).

Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

“Prayer” (2010), Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prayer.

“Psalms” (1988), The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

“Sing” (2010), Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sing?show=0&t=1284488817.

Wiseman, D.J. (1996), “Selah,” New Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Douglas (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), third edition.

Are Children Born With Sin? by Moisés Pinedo


Are Children Born With Sin?

by  Moisés Pinedo

Have you ever seen the face of a newborn child, touched the soft skin of his rose-colored cheeks, and sensed his innocence when looking into his beautiful eyes? In stark contrast, Catholic teaching alleges that “small infants are sinful!” The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares:
Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called (1994, 1250, emp. added).
The Bible teaches that children do not bear the sin of their parents (Exodus 32:32-33; Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chronicles 25:4; Jeremiah 31:30; Ezekiel 18:20). However, Catholics are quick to point out that David declared: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). To understand this passage, we must keep in mind that the subject of Psalm 51 is David’s sin, not original sin. Consider the nouns and possessives David used to indicate that the sin which he was talking about was the sin he committed: “Blot out my transgression” (vs. 1); “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (vs. 2); “I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (vs. 3); “Against You, You only, have I sinned” (vs. 4); etc. There is not even the slightest allusion to some kind of original sin in the psalmist’s supplication. In fact, it was from his own sin and transgression that the psalmist desired to be freed.
But, why did he refer to the moment in which he was formed in the womb of his mother? The psalmist could have been using hyperbole (cf. Psalm 58:3; Colley, 2004), or emphasizing the condition in which his mother conceived him. In the latter case, although he was born without sin, he was born into a world that was covered, plagued, and influenced by sin.
Consider also that the psalmist made these pleas for forgiveness as an adult. He used present-tense verbs to plead for forgiveness: “Have mercy upon me...blot out my transgressions” (vs. 1); “Wash me thoroughly...cleanse me from my sin (vs. 2); “I acknowledge my transgressions” (vs. 3); “Purge me with hyssop...wash me” (vs. 7); “Make me hear joy and gladness” (vs. 8); “Hide Your face from my sins...blot out all my iniquities” (vs. 9); “Create in me a clean heart...renew a steadfast spirit within me” (vs. 10).
David’s pleas for forgiveness were due to a sin (or sins) that he committed long after his birth. The psalmist himself made this fact clear in a parallel passage, where he prayed: “Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions” (Psalm 25:7, emp. added). If Psalm 51 is a plea to be freed from original sin, how do Catholics explain that God anointed, blessed, and used David while he bore the sin of the first man?
Additionally, the psalmist declared that he was “shapen” and “conceived” in iniquity (51:5, KJV). This is not a reference to birth (as Catholicism claims), but to conception. To be consistent with the Catholic idea that Psalm 51 supports the dogma of original sin, we must conclude that original sin is transmitted at the moment of conception. If that is the case, the Catholic Church will have to rework its theology concerning baptism to include a way to “baptize” children before birth to save them from “the power of darkness” (Cathecism..., 1994, 1250).
To arrive at a correct interpretation of Psalm 51, we also must consider other biblical passages where similar expressions are used. For example, Isaiah declared: “The Lord has called me from the womb; from the matrix of my mother He has made mention of my name” (49:1). In Jeremiah 1:5, God told His prophet: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you.” If by the expression, “I was brought forth in iniquity” (Psalm 51:5), David alluded to the original sin he bore, how do Catholics explain Isaiah and Jeremiah’s declarations of sanctity from the womb? Were these two prophets born without the contamination of original sin? According to Catholicism, only Jesus and Mary were born in a completely holy condition. These passages cannot be reconciled with the Catholic dogma of original sin (see Colley, 2004).
But, what about Romans 5:12, where the apostle Paul wrote that “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned”? Does this verse teach that we bear Adam’s sin? No. As we observed in another article (cf. Pinedo, 2009), this verse teaches that death—the consequence of sin—spread to all men, not because Adam sinned, but “because all sinned” (5:12; cf. Romans 3:23). Of course, this “all” cannot refer only to Adam. Nothing in the Bible teaches, indicates, or implies that children are born with sin.
Paul indicated that where there is no law, there is no sin (Romans 3:20; cf. John 15:22). And the apostle John declared that “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). If infants cannot know the Law of God or understand it, they cannot commit lawlessness.
Jesus Himself said: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14, emp. added). Paul declared that none who are unclean can enter into the kingdom of heaven (Ephesians 5:5). Jesus added: “[U]nless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3, emp. added). If children come to the world with a “fallen human nature and tainted by original sin” (to use the words of the Catechism), why would men have to become as little children, who are also “contaminated” with sin? The Bible is clear: sin is not inherited. No baby has ever been born bearing the guilt of Adam’s sin. No one bears the responsibility for Adam’s sin but Adam himself.


Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), (Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press).
Colley, Caleb (2004), “Did David Authorize Infant Baptism?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2626.
Pinedo, Moisés (2009), “Was Mary Sinless?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240062.

Are All Sins Equal? by Kyle Butt, M.Div. Colton Scott


Are All Sins Equal?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.
Colton Scott

At Apologetics Press, we receive numerous questions on various topics. One of the more commonly asked questions is, “Are all sins equal?” In order to answer such a question, we must go to the only definitive source that can speak with authority concerning sins: the Bible. When we do, we see that the answer depends upon the context in which the question is asked.
In one sense, the answer is, “Yes, sin is sin.” James 2:10-11 says: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” From these verses, we see that any sin is enough to convict a person as a sinner. John said as much when he wrote: “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). So, even though cultures may view certain sins as more or less important than others, the Bible teaches that any deviation from God’s law is enough to keep an individual from the presence of the Lord if that sin is not forgiven.
This point is further underscored in the story of the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-27). The rich young ruler explained to Jesus that he had kept all of the commandments from the time of his youth. Jesus responded to him by saying, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” At these words, the young ruler left sorrowfully. Though he had kept all of the commandments save one, he was still living in sin, due to the fact that he valued his wealth more than his relationship with God. According to Jesus’ statement, the young man only lacked “one thing,” yet it was still enough to keep him from the presence of the Lord. So, in this context, all sins are the same.
However, the fact that any sin can condemn a person does not mean that all sins are judged the same, or have the same spiritual consequences. The Bible plainly states, in numerous places, that God considers some sins to be “greater,” or more evil than others. For instance, in Exodus 32:21, Moses asked Aaron: “What did this people do to you, that you brought so great a sin upon them?” Obviously, this is comparative language, indicating that Aaron’s sin was more evil, or had greater implications than some other sin. We see this concept carried over into the New Testament as well. In Matthew 5:19, Jesus said that whoever breaks “the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” Clearly, certain commandments were considered “least” and, by comparison, others must have been considered “greater.” The concept of “greater” commandments is found in Matthew 23:23. There Jesus chastised the Pharisees for “neglecting the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” His point was very clear; the failure to tithe a tiny amount of spices was much less of a sin than the failure to administer justice and mercy to one’s fellow man.
Perhaps the most explicit demonstration of this principle is expressed in Jesus’ conversation with Pilate. In John 19:11, Jesus said to Pilate, “[T]he one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” His statement could not be more direct. The individual responsible for delivering Jesus over to Pilate had committed a sin greater than the sin committed by Pilate.
With this in mind, a person may wonder how all sins can cause a person to be lost, but some sins are judged to be greater than others. A simple illustration will suffice to make this situation clear. Suppose that a person borrows money from the bank to buy a $10,000 car. That person pays the bank back $9,000, but stops making payments on the car. What will happen? The bank will repossess the car, even though the person paid off all of the balance except $1,000. Any unpaid balance is enough to lose the car. Now suppose a person borrows $10,000 on a car and does not pay any of it back. What will happen? The bank will repossess the car. In these two cases, does one person have a greater debt than the other? Certainly, the one who still owes $10,000. But are both debts, even though they are of unequal value, enough to cost both borrowers their cars? Yes. [NOTE: At Apologetics Press we have answered related questions such, “Are There Degrees of Punishment and Reward?” (see Butt, et al., 2000), and “Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—‘The Unpardonable Sin’” (Butt, 2003).]


We can see that the Bible explicitly and clearly tells how God views sins. Sins vary in terms of judgment and weight, yet any one sin is enough to cause a person to lose his or her soul if left unforgiven. In view of this truth, let us all strive to faithfully obey God so that the blood of His Son Jesus Christ can continually cleanse us from all of our sins, from the least to the greatest (1 John 1:7).


Butt, Kyle and Alden Bass and Bert Thompson (2000), “Are There Degrees of Punishment and Reward?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=212.
Butt, Kyle (2003), “Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—‘The Unpardonable Sin,’” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1218.

Are All Divorced Persons Eligible to Remarry? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Are All Divorced Persons Eligible to Remarry?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

American civilization is experiencing significant moral decay. “Traditional American values,” i.e., values that were drawn from the Bible, are being jettisoned by a sizable portion of the nation’s citizenry. This spiritual and social deterioration is nowhere more evident than in the breakdown and dissolution of the family. Divorce rates have consistently climbed to higher and higher levels. The marriage relationship no longer commands the respect it once did. This God-ordained institution, though originally intended to be held in honor and sanctity, has been significantly undermined and cheapened.
The religious response to this situation generally has been accommodative, as many within the church find their own families adversely affected by divorce. They have been intimidated by two factors: (1) the large numbers of divorced people; and (2) the emotional trauma associated with divorce. “Rethinking” their understanding of Bible teaching, they have decided to relax the high standards that God enjoined. The various viewpoints now available to those who wish to justify their marital decisions are legion.
The clear teaching of the Bible is that God wants one man for one woman for life (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). The only exception to this foundational premise was articulated by Jesus when He said a person is permitted to divorce the original mate only for the specific reason of that mate’s sexual infidelity. Then and only then may the innocent mate form a second marriage with an eligible partner (Matthew 19:9). Consequently, the primary thrust of Scripture as it pertains to marriage is “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16). In fact, He permits it on only one ground.
This divine aversion to divorce refers specifically to divorce that occurs between two people who are scripturally married. Men and women who marry for the first time in their youth should so conduct themselves that they remain together. God does not want that first marriage to dissolve. He hates it when these couples unscripturally dissolve their scriptural marriage. Unscriptural divorce is the kind of divorcing that God hates.
However, not all divorce is contrary to God’s will. Jesus said an individual has permission to divorce the mate that commits fornication (Matthew 19:9). So divorce for that innocent marriage partner is not sinful. In Ezra’s day, exiled Jews had formed illicit marriages and were required to sever those marriages (Ezra 10:3,11). Divorce in that instance was likewise not sinful. John the baptizer informed Herod that when he married Herodias, he was sinning, and would have to dissolve the marriage (Mark 6:17-18). Divorce in that case was not sinful. When Paul identified several Corinthian Christians as having previously been adulterers (1 Corinthians 6:9), the putting away (i.e., divorce) that would have been necessary to end their adultery in order to be “washed” and “sanctified” (1 Corinthians 6:11) would not have been sinful. (The same principle would have applied equally to all other forms of fornication mentioned in the context—including homosexuality). These scriptural examples show that not all divorce is wrong in God’s sight.
On the other hand, much of the divorcing that is occurring today is contrary to the will of God. Any person who divorces their scriptural spouse for any reason, other than fornication, is sinning in so doing. They sin when they divorce! They sin on at least two counts. First, they sin because they have divorced for some reason other than fornication. Second, they sin because they violated the vows they took when they married (i.e., “until death do us part”).
In this divorced condition (i.e., having divorced for some reason other than fornication), the individual has placed himself in a predicament that comes under additional divine restrictions. Paul pinpointed those restrictions in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 where he insisted that scripturally married couples ought not to divorce. However, should their marriage break up unscripturally, both are to remain unmarried. Some feel this verse does not refer to a technical divorce but merely to a separation. Either way, their breakup (whether by separation or divorce) is contrary to God’s will, and neither of the two is eligible to marry someone else.
People are permitted to participate in marriage only insofar as God says they are eligible to do so. The Hebrews writer insisted that marriage (and the sexual relationship that accompanies marriage) is to be undertaken honorably—i.e., in accordance with God’s regulations. To engage in marriage (and the sexual relations that accompany marriage) out of harmony with God’s regulations is to be guilty of fornication and adultery (Hebrews 13:4). Fornication, by definition, refers to illicit sexual intercourse. Adultery is one type of fornication, and refers to the sexual relations between a man and a woman, at least one of whom has prior marital responsibilities. Adultery, by definition, derives its meaning on the basis of a person’s prior marital connections.
A person does not have to be married in order to please God and go to heaven. All a person has to be is a Christian. He does not have to be an elder, a deacon, or a preacher. He or she does not have to be a father, or a mother, or a parent. These are relationships and roles that God designed to be helpful to the human condition. However, not everyone qualifies to fill these roles, and people can go to heaven without ever occupying these roles. So it is with marriage. All people must meet God’s designated prerequisites before marriage may be had in honor. God nowhere promises anyone unlimited access to the marriage relationship.
Notice, then, that in view of God’s regulations, three categories of divorced persons are ineligible to remarry: (1) the person who committed fornication and was divorced for that act by his or her spouse (Matthew 19:9a); (2) the person who was unscripturally divorced (i.e., put away for some reason other than fornication) by a spouse (Matthew 19:9b); and (3) the person who was deserted by an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:12-15). In these three instances, the divorced person is ineligible to remarry. Putting the entire matter positively, the only divorced person who is eligible in God’s sight to remarry (while the former mate is still living—Romans 7:3) is the person who divorced his/her original mate for that mate’s sexual unfaithfulness.
Many people feel that such strict limitations are out of harmony with the grace, love, and forgiveness of God. They believe that such high standards make divorce the “unpardonable sin.” But this conclusion does not follow. People can be forgiven of mistakes they make in the realm of divorce and remarriage. Forgiveness is not the issue. The issue is: can they remain in whatever marriage relationship they choose? Can they so sin that they forfeit their right to participate in a future marriage relationship? Jesus made the answers to these questions clear in His discussion in Matthew 19:1-12. All people who divorce their scriptural mates for any reason except fornication continue to commit adultery when they remarry.
However, do we have any indication elsewhere in Scripture that people can so sin that they forfeit their privilege to participate in a state, condition, or relationship that they previously enjoyed—even though they may be forgiven? As a matter of fact, the Bible is replete with such instances! Adam and Eve violated God’s word and were responsible for introducing sin into the Universe. One consequence of their sin was that they were expelled from Eden. Could they be forgiven? Yes! Could they ever return to the garden? No! Their expulsion was permanent. They had so sinned that they forfeited the privilege of enjoying that previous status.
Esau was guilty of profanity when he sold his birthright (Hebrews 12:16). Could he be forgiven for this mistake? Yes! Could he regain his birthright? No, “though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:17)!
Virtually the entire adult population of the nation of Israel sinned when they refused to obey God by proceeding with a military assault against the land of Canaan (Numbers 14:11-12). Could they be forgiven? Yes, and they were (Numbers 14:19-20). Were they then permitted to enter into the Promised Land? Absolutely not! They were doomed to wander in the desert for forty years (Numbers 14:33-34).
Moses allowed himself to be goaded into disobedience on one occasion by the incessant complaining of the nation committed to his keeping (Numbers 20:7-12). Could Moses be forgiven? Yes! In heaven, we will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 15:3)! But was Moses permitted to enter into the Promised Land? No. He was banned permanently from that privilege due to his own sinful choice (Deuteronomy 32:51-52).
Eli failed to manage his family properly, and so brought down upon himself lasting tragedies (1 Samuel 3:11-14). Though Saul acknowledged his own sin, his disobedience evoked God’s permanent rejection of him as king (1 Samuel 15:11,23,26,28). Samuel never visited Saul again. David’s sin, though forgiven, brought several negative consequences that could not be altered (2 Samuel 12:11-14). Solomon’s sin resulted in personal calamity and the division of the nation (1 Kings 11-12).
These biblical examples demonstrate that sin produces lasting consequences, despite the availability of God’s grace and forgiveness. If biblical history teaches us anything, it teaches that people cannot sin and then expect to have things the way they were before. More often than not, much suffering comes upon those who violate God’s will, making it impossible for them to enjoy past privileges—though they can be forgiven and have the hope of heaven.
Many people feel that God would be unkind, unfair, or overly harsh if He did not permit divorced and remarried couples to stay together, regardless of their previous marital choices. Undoubtedly, these same people would feel that God was unfair to Adam and Eve for ejecting them from the garden, making it impossible for them to enjoy the condition that they once sustained! That would mean that God was unfair and harsh toward the Israelites as well as Moses! Such thinking betrays an inaccurate and unscriptural grasp of the nature and person of God. It reflects a failure to possess a healthy fear of God (Exodus 20:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Luke 12:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Hebrews 10:31; 12:29; Revelation 6:16-17).
God elevated the marriage relationship to a high plane when, at the beginning of the human race, He laid down the strict standards that govern marriage (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). Many apparently feel that they have a right to be married regardless of their previous conduct. They feel that God’s high standards ought to be adjusted in order for them to exercise their “right.” Yet, the Bible teaches that the institution of marriage was founded by God to provide cohesion and orientation in life. Unlike one’s spiritual marriage (i.e., to Christ), which will proceed right on into eternity, human marriage is for this life alone (Matthew 22:30). Therefore, marriage is not a right; it is a privilege. People must conform to God’s marriage rules in order for marriage to serve its earthly purpose. Failure to comply neutralizes the ability of the marriage institution to do what it was divinely designed to do. Failure to comply with God’s “directions for use” causes us to forfeit our opportunity to participate in the institution. We must remember: Father knows best.

Irresistible Grace by Trevor Bowen


Irresistible Grace


This fourth tenet of Calvinism has two primary points: One, the elect cannot resist God's grace to save; therefore, the elect cannot prevent themselves from being regenerated. Second, this grace unto salvation is bestowed directly by the Holy Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit directly and forcefully changes the heart of man, outside of any other medium, such as the Bible.

Our Questions Posed

Logically derived from the first 3 tenets of Calvinism, the bestowment of God's grace must be irresistible. If salvation was left up to each man, then a chosen person might not to choose to be saved, defeating God's election. For this reason and because of man's total depravity, God must actively save each person. Therefore, in Calvin's system of theology, men become passive subjects of divine regeneration. This belief is clearly seen in a prevalent denominational church's confession of faith:
"All those whom God has predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectively to call, by His word and Spirit, out of that state of death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone and giving them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills; and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ, yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace."
"This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed by it." Westminster Confession, chapter 10, sections 1-2
Having these two Calvinistic points before us, we will now proceed to question the validity of these points, trying to provide answers according to the Bible standard. Therefore, let us consider, "Is God's grace irresistible?" and "Does the Spirit directly convert man outside the appeal of the gospel?".


Several examples could be listed from the Bible showing man's rejection of the divine effort to save him. One of the clearest examples is seen in the following passage:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!" Luke 13:34
Why were the Jerusalem Jews not saved? Was not Christ willing? As God was He not able to save? Why were they not saved? Christ wanted them to be saved. The answer is in the last phrase, "but you were not willing" . From this verse, we learn that even though God desires man to be saved, he may still be lost through his own unwillingness.
Throughout the Israelite nation's history, God made continual efforts to save the Israelites. Unfortunately, they refused to repent, obey, and be saved. Please observe this account of God's judgment upon Israel and its final earthly king.
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the LORD. And he also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear an oath by God; but he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the LORD God of Israel.
Moreover all the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the LORD which He had consecrated in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy." II Chronicles 36:11-16
In this passage we observe several points contradictory to Calvinism: King Zedekiah hardened his own heart, and he did not humble himself ultimately before God. Yet according to Calvin, a man cannot harden his heart or even enjoy the possibility of humbling himself because man is born completely hardened , and God makes all choices.
Also, this passage exhibits the rejection of God's compassionate extension of mercy. The phrase "rising up early" indicates God's eagerness and sincere efforts to redeems His people, but how did the Israelites respond to God's grace? "But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy." Why did God's compassion motivate Him to send messengers to a people who could not respond? If these people were doomed to be lost and reject God, then God would not and could not even try to save them. Otherwise, how can the atonement be limited , if in this example it is extended to the lost, and how can it be irresistible if it is rejected? If God's sovereignty is extended absolutely, how could God's efforts have failed?

The Direct Operation of the Holy Spirit?

In answering our second question, "Does the Spirit directly convert man outside the appeal of the gospel?", let us look at two passages, which might be used to teach that the Holy Spirit does directly operate on man's heart.
"For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake." I Thessalonians 1:5
"Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul." Acts 16:14
When you read these passages does it seem to imply that the Lord directly changed the hearts of men through the Holy Spirit? Look closely. What do the passages strictly state? The first passage states that the gospel came in the spoken word and in the Holy Spirit. The second verse directly says that the Lord opened Lydia's heart to understand.
If one is sympathetic to the Calvinistic position, these passages may seem to justify the irresistible operation of the Holy Spirit. However, several assumptions are made from these passages to produce the desired conclusion. Notice what these passages did not say. Even though I Thessalonians 1:5 states that the Holy Spirit came in addition to the spoken word, it does not say that He directly operated on the Thessalonians' heart. Neither does Acts 16:14 explain how the Lord opened Lydia's heart. It directly states that the Lord opened her heart, but it does not state that He directly opened her heart.
This assumption illustrates a common error that occurs when one approaches the Bible desiring to justify a belief with the love of truth held second to a love of tradition (II Thessalonians 2:9-12). These passages do teach that the Lord affects peoples' hearts through the Holy Spirit. This point is not under question. What we desire to know is how the Holy Spirit affects people. Rather than assume a conclusion consistent with our own beliefs, we must derive a conclusion from all passages to be consistent with the Bible as a whole.

The Operation of the Holy Spirit THROUGH the Word of God

How does the Holy Spirit affect men's hearts? Just before He was crucified, Jesus explained to the apostles that the He would send the Holy Spirit, Who would reveal all truth to them (John 16:5-15). It was the apostles responsibility to spread this gospel through preaching and writing (Matthew 28:18-20). When we read their inspired writings, we can understand and learn so that we may share their understanding (Ephesians 3:3-5).
They were not speaking their opinions, nor were they left to their own remembrance. As we have noted elsewhere, the Holy Spirit guided them in their speaking and writing, so that it was as if the Holy Spirit was speaking (I Corinthians 2:6-16; Matthew 10:20; I Thessalonians 2:13; II Peter 1:20-21). It is through hearing this gospel, delivered by the Holy Spirit, that one's heart is pricked, after which one may believe and repent (Acts 2:37-38; Romans 10:17). Therefore, it may be said that the Holy Spirit operates indirectly on men's hearts through the medium of the Word of God, or the Bible.
Although no passages are known to this writer that teach the Holy Spirit's direct operation on men's hearts, the above passages clearly teach that the inspired preaching, inspired writing, and miracles towards confirmation were the primary works of the Holy Spirit. These passages also clearly teach that one's heart is pricked, made tender, and enlightened by the gospel, explaining how the Lord opened Lydia's heart.
The following table lists even more passages showing the work accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.
Holy Spirit Work Gospel
Nehemiah 9:20 Instructs II Timothy 3:16-17
John 14:26 Teaches Psalm 119:97-102
John 16:8 Convicts Titus 1:9;
Romans 3:9-19
John 6:63 Quickens Psalm 119:50
John 16:13 Guides Psalm 119:105
John 3:5 Gives birth I Peter 1:23
I Peter 1:2 Sanctifies John 17:17;
II Thessalonians 2:13
Titus 3:5 Saves James 1:21
I Corinthians 6:11 Washes Ephesians 5:26
Acts 9:31 Comforts I Thessalonians 4:18
Ephesians 1:13 Seals Ephesians 1:13
John 15:26 Testifies John 5:39
Romans 8:16 Witnesses Matthew 24:14
Romans 5:5 Gives love I John 2:5
Galatians 5:22 Gives joy Jeremiah 15:16;
I Thessalonians 1:6
The Holy Spirit is not synonymous with, nor is it the Word of God, but He is responsible for each of these actions through the delivery and imbuing of the Bible.
In some of the above passages we find reference to both the Holy Spirit and the Word of God accomplishing the above tasks, while other passages only mention the Spirit or the Word, but not both. It should be understood that in the above passages where only one is mentioned, the other's place is assumed to be understood by the writer. A writer need not fully pen every detail of every doctrine with every reference. Often the "Holy Spirit" or the "word" is used alone for the sake of brevity or conciseness. Once the relationship is established, it need not be reestablished at every mention of either the Holy Spirit or the gospel.

"The Power of God Unto Salvation"

The question that plagued Calvin and many like-minded thinkers was, "Why are some saved and others are not?" "Why do some obey after hearing the gospel and others do not?" Calvin's answer was that God chose certain people to be saved and then brought about their repentance and salvation directly through the Holy Spirit. If this is not true, then what makes the difference? To begin to answer this question, let us observe the following passage:
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Romans 1:16
This establishes our previous point that the gospel is the key to salvation (James 1:21). Of course, it is delivered by the Holy Spirit, hence His name is often used in conjunction with the gospel. However, many people hear the gospel, but few repent and obey it. What makes the difference? The difference is seen in Jesus' previously noted explanation of the parable of the sower:
"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
"Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience." Luke 8:11-15
Reinforcing our previous point, the seed that sprouts and produces fruit is the Word of God. Among the four types of ground, which represent the four types of hearts, three respond to the gospel, but only one remains faithful. One type of heart does not even respond at all. What is the difference? The wayside ground is the hardened path, into which no seed can penetrate and germinate. This represents those who have a hardened heart and ignore the gospel until the Devil removes it from their attention. The last type of ground has some sense of nobility and goodness, appreciates the call of Christ's love through the gospel, and has enough humility to accept God's grace (James 1:18; I Peter 5:5-10; II Peter 1:3).
The Bible also distinguishes the differing types of hearts as those who do or do not receive the love of the truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12). This finally resolves to an individual choice for each person. Do you really want to be saved? Are you willing to make real and difficult sacrifices in this life? Do you love truth enough to sincerely hear it? "He who has an ear to hear, let him hear"


We have observed examples in both the New and Old Testaments, which contained people resisting God's grace towards them. This teaches that grace is not irresistible. We have also observed passages that show the Holy Spirit touches peoples' hearts indirectly through the word of God, or the Bible. But, we were unable to find any passages that show men who were unable to resist God's grace, or the Holy Spirit directly affecting their hearts. In the absence of such passages, how can we assume that God irresistibly and directly saves people? Passages that mention God touching people's hearts should be understood in light of scripture, not under the pressure of our traditions. The only questions which remains is, "To which interpretation will you abide and live? - one that is based on scripture, or one that is based on assumption and prejudice?"
Next: Perseverance of the Saints
Trevor Bowen

New Year Prophecy by Ben Fronczek


New Year Prophecy

For thousands of years, there have been a number of individuals and groups that claim the ability to see visions and make predictions as to what the future will hold. Some claim that they literally have seen events unfold before they have happened; sometimes hundreds of years before they happen.
When we talk about prophecy in the church we think of the prophets of old such as Isaiah, Daniel, and others whose writings we have in the Bible. They were individuals chosen by God to communicate a message to the people. They were sometimes even blessed with special abilities to perform miracles. But all too often people ridiculed them because of their messages even though they were of vital importance. (consider Noah and his message and how the people ignored it)
There were predictions of the coming Messiah, the Christ child, but usually the messages were simple and clear, ‘Repent or reap the consequences. Change your sinful ways or experience the fury of God Almighty. Repent or meet your doom.’
In the Bible such messages have rung out from the time of Noah who spoke of a coming deluge, to the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament who warned the Jewish nation of their destruction by conquering nations. Even in the New Testament Peter, Paul, and even Jesus Himself spoke of a coming judgment day; a day that would end our world as we know it.
But have others seen this Judgment Day? Is it possibly there are those who are not part of Jewish history and never made it into the Bible who have seen such things?
I have wondered about this for years now. Maybe some of you have see programs on television or heard about such ancient or even modern prophecies?
The reason I am speaking on this subject today is because over the next year you are going to hear a lot about one such prophecy.  The prophecy written in stone in South America is centered around what will happen at the end of the Mayan long count calendar.
The Mayans set this calendar to begin in the year 3114 B.C. (according to our modern Gregorian calendar). If the Long Count began in 3114 B.C. and it’s calculated to continue for 5126 years, the “end date” will be — you guessed it — 2012 A.D. Further refinement sets the date to Dec. 21, the day of the winter solstice for the Northern Hemisphere. We are talking about a year from this coming Wednesday!
As to what will happen on that day there are debates. There are those who simply predict that it’s just going to be another day like any other day. But there are also those who seem to think that the Mayans predicted some significant changes to happen on our planet Earth. Some say that the Mayans “predicted” the end of the world as we know it. On this date, doomsayers assert that Earth will be ravaged by a smorgasbord of cataclysmic astronomical events — everything from a Planet flyby to a “killer” solar flare and a geomagnetic reversal, ensuring we have a very, very bad day.
I want you to know that in the up and coming months PUBLIC CONCERN ABOUT DOOMSDAY IN December 2012 will continue escalate and  blossom into a major news event on the Internet, TV and Hollywood. They’ve already made a movie called 2012.   According to these doomsday prophets, we only have a year left.                    Makes you think doesn’t it!
Will the worst case scenario happen? Will the world end as we know it a year from now? I don’t know, but reputable scientists who have studied this event seem convinced that no such cataclysmic events are going to occur. They claim it’s bad science and it’s all a hoax.  But still it makes you think!
There are other so called prophets and prophecies, some ancient, and some not so ancient.
There is Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce and St. Malachi who lived during the middle ages who predicted 112 Popes names from his time forward until dooms day. All the predictions have supposedly come true thus far, and that why the Catholic church labeled him a saint for his outstanding ability and accuracy. He not only predicted the 112, he also predicted only 1 more pope after the present one. The last one he calls Peter the Roman, he writes that in his time “The city of 7 hills will be utterly destroyed, and the awful Judge will Judge the people.”
And then there prophecies of the Native American tribe of Arizona, the Hopi Indians, and others which are very similar to those of the Mayans whose carvings predict a end to life as we know it in the year 2012.
Now as a preacher you may be waiting for me to stand up and condemn all these so called pagan prophets and their prophecies, and prove them wrong. I can’t.                       Most scientists cannot.
Where did these individuals receive this ability?   Are they a hoax?
Should we ignore their warning?
Is it all going to end in December of 2012 or somewhere in between?
And in all honesty, I can tell you this, I don’t know!
But as a preacher I can say this, we can be sure of what the Bibles says. And what does it say concerning this day… The last day?
To begin with, in Acts 1:11 two men dressed in white told His disciples, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven”
You can be assured of this, some day Jesus will return.
There is another good verse in 2 Peter 3, read verses 1-10a “Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.”
There are a few things that I want you to consider from this text today.
#1. Some day Jesus will return, not to save, but to judge, (cf. Mt. 25:31 ff) (Click on verse to go to the link)
#2. As to WHEN He will return, the text says that he will come like a thief in the night. The time is unknown. It could be December 21, 2012, or it could be tomorrow, or it could be in the year 2525.
But one thing I think is interesting, as you examine all the Old Testament prophecies of coming Judgment, and then their fulfillment; there were always signs to indicate that the time was near. (Noah – ark; Moses – Plagues; Jewish Nation –warnings, wars, plagues, and droughts)
In Luke chapter 21 Jesus warns his disciples then of the great disaster that was to fall upon Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans.  In verse 25 He tells them that there will be obvious signs of impending doom. Around verse 30 He tells them that when you see plants sprouting you know summer is near, likewise there would be signs of the up and coming judgment on Jerusalem.
So 1st Jesus will someday return.
2nd The actual date is not given to us in the Bible. He said he will come like a thief in the night.
#3. Look at what he says will happen when He returns in 2 Peter 3:10b (read) . ” But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Then Read 2 Thessalonians. 1:6-9  “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”
If God said that He is going to do this why hasn’t it happen already? Verse 9 states that He is not wanting anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to repentance.
Then God should keep letting the world go on for ever, right?
The Old Testament doesn’t seem to indicate that God chooses to work that way. He knows the hearts of men.
–   He knew what was in their heart in Noah’s time
–   He knew what was in the hearts of those in Sodom and Gomorrah
–   He knew what was in the heart of those people in the promised land when commanded Joshua to kill every man woman and child in certain cities.
He knows when people are hopelessly steeped in sin. And He knows when mankind will no longer choose to repent.
Whether the predictions of the Mayan’s or the Hopi Indians, or St. Malachi of the world ending soon is true or not, I don’t know. But one thing for sure the Bible surely predicts an end, and also preaches a warning
Read 2 Peter 3:11-18  “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
#1. Verse 11 burns in my heart and mind. Since this is going to happen, what kind of person should I be? How should I live? How should I act? What things should I do? What things should I avoid? What should I tell others?
And if Jesus does return shortly, ‘Am I ready? Have I obeyed His commands?’  And if He doesn’t return in my lifetime, ‘Shouldn’t I be living this way anyway?’
What about you?
This is Christmas week, the time the world is reminded of and celebrates the greatest gift that God ever gave us, His own Son, born in a manger almost 2000 years ago. Born to die for our sin, for our mistakes and disobedience. He is the greatest gift that could ever be given to us, EVER! And He is a gift given to us out of Love. The Father’s love.
And all we need to do is receive God’s gift, His son in faith; we need to accept and believe in Him. And we need to convince others to do the same.
#2. Verse 13 goes on to say, “in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”   
So if doomsday comes next December or not, do not be afraid. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you. That is if you have accepted Him as your lord and Savior. And if we are still alive when He does return, Paul writes to the Corinthians that we will be immediately instantaneously,  “transformed ..” as fast as a twinkle in an eye. In 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul writes, “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
#3 So in Verse 17 it says to be on your guard, don’t let anyone rob you of your faith  
#4 Verse 18 says to continue to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Closing: Again I ask you the question that Peter wrote in his letter. Since this is going to happen, “What kind of people ought you to be?” Accept His gift and share it with others!
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566