"THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN" Warning Against Receiving False Teachers (7-13) by Mark Copeland


Warning Against Receiving False Teachers (7-13)


1. In our brief survey of 2nd John, we have seen that John stressed the
   importance of "truth" and "love"...
   a. Four times in the first six verses he uses the word "love"
   b. Five times in these same verses he uses the word "truth"

2. Indeed, our last study observed that in verses 4-6 we have:
   a. A commendation for walking in truth - 2Jn 4
   b. An exhortation to walk in love - 2Jn 5-6

3. But what if someone comes our way, teaching doctrine contrary to 
   what we have learned from Jesus and His apostles...?
   a. Should our desire to "walk in love" permit us to receive and 
      support those teaching error?
   b. Can we do so, and still be "walking in truth"?

4. In the remaining portion of this short epistle, John (the "apostle 
   of love") is very explicit about such things...
   a. He tells us to beware of deceivers and antichrists - 2Jn 7
   b. He tells us to look to ourselves lest we lose those things we 
      have worked for - 2Jn 8
   c. He tells us of the danger of not abiding in the doctrine of Christ - 2Jn 9
   d. He tells us we cannot support teachers who fail to teach the 
      doctrine of Christ without sharing in their evil deeds - 2Jn 10-11

In this "Warning Against Receiving False Teachers", then, John warn us
about several things worthy of our careful consideration.  Let's take a
closer look, beginning with the need to ...]

      1. In His sermon on the mount - Mt 7:15
      2. In His discourse on Mt. Olivet - Mt 24:11, 23-25
      3. Paul, in his farewell address to the Ephesian elders - Ac 20:29-31
      4. Paul, in his first epistle to Timothy - 1Ti 4:1-3
      5. Peter, in his second epistle - 2Pe 2:1-3

      1. Deceivers had gone out, denying that Jesus had come in the flesh - 2Jn 7
      2. Many false prophets had gone out into the world - 1Jn 4:1
      3. Denying that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, they were 
         "antichrists" - 1Jn 4:3; 2Jn 7

[With such ample warning, and seeing that they had started to come even
in John's day, we should not be surprised to see many such deceivers
and antichrists today!

To guard against being misled by such deceivers, we do well to consider
the next important theme in our text...]


      1. Several times on one occasion by Jesus - Mk 13:5,9,23,33
      2. By Paul in writing to the Corinthians - 2Co 13:5

      1. John was concerned that they not lose the things they worked for - 2Jn 8
      2. The writer to the Hebrews was concerned that we not fall short
         of entering our heavenly rest - cf. He 3:12-4:1

[With the real danger of falling short of our eternal reward, and with
the ever present deceivers who can make it happen, it is imperative 
that we fully understand the basis upon which our relationship with the
Father and Son rests.  

John is clear about what that entails as he stresses the need to...]


      1. Is it the doctrine about Christ, or the doctrine taught by Christ?
      2. As pointed out in the Expositor's Bible Commentary, the 
         question is of little importance for John holds equally to 
         both positions
         a. It is fundamental to the faith to hold to the proper views about Christ - cf. 2Jn 7
         b. It is fundamental to the faith to obey the commandments of Christ - cf. 1Jn 3:24
      3. Thus what John says here applies in either case

      1. Those who do not abide, do not have God - e.g., 1Jn 1:6; 2:3-5
      2. Those who do abide, have both the Father and the Son - cf. Jn 14:21,23
      -- Note:  This verse strongly supports the concept of the
         Trinity, in which there is only one God, but three distinct 
         personalities in the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)

[As long as we abide in the doctrine of Christ, keeping His 
commandments, we have no reason to fear being misled by deceivers, nor
losing our reward.

That brings us to the theme which may have prompted the writing of this letter...]


      1. It was common for first century missionaries to depend upon 
         the hospitality of the early Christians - cf. Philemon 22
      2. In his third epistle, John commends Gauis for this sort of hospitality - 3Jn 5-7

      1. Supporting a teacher made one a fellow worker with him who 
         a. That could make one a fellow worker for the truth - 3Jn 8
         b. But if his teaching was contrary to the doctrine of Christ,
            supporting him would be to share in his evil deeds - 2 Jn  11
      2. Therefore the admonition to the elect lady not to receive or
         greet such false teachers...
         a. Not we should never seek to study with those in error who
            may come our way
         b. But not to receive those false teachers who seek only our
            acquiescence to their doctrine and our support to help them spread it!


1. With this "Warning Against Receiving False Teachers", John purpose
   in writing is fulfilled

2. He then signs off with a brief farewell...
   a. Having so much more to write, but desiring to speak in person  - 2Jn 12
      1) Why?  "...that our joy may be full"
      2) Despite the convenience of remote communication (e.g., writing
         letters, talking on the phone, sending email), nothing
         surpasses the joy of talking face to face
   b. Sending greetings from "the children of your elect sister" - 2 Jn  13
      1) How one interprets "the elect lady and her children" in verse
         1 determines one's understanding of verse 13
      2) Either members of another church, or relatives of the "elect 
         lady and her children"

2. As we close our perusal of this epistle, I hope that we are left 
   with a strong sense of need...
   a. To walk in the truth
   b. To walk in love
   c. To be very careful about those teachers to whom we give our support

How is our walk today?  Are we walking according to the doctrine of 
Christ concerning truth and love?  Remember the words of John...

      "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of
      Christ does not have God.  He who abides in the doctrine of
      Christ has both the Father and the Son."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Jesus Christ emphatically declared that the Old Testament Scriptures contained prophecies He would fulfill (Luke 24:27,44). Biblical scholars have catalogued more than 300 amazing prophecies that find precise fulfillment in the life and labor of the Son of God. One of these predictive declarations is found in Daniel 9:24-27, commonly referred to as the prophecy of “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.” In this article, I would like to consider this important Old Testament oracle.
A proper analysis of Daniel 9:24ff. involves several factors. First, one should reflect upon the historical background out of which the prophetic utterance arose. Second, consideration should be given to the theological aspects of the Messiah’s work that are set forth in this passage. Third, the chronology of the prophecy must be noted carefully; it represents a prime example of the precision of divine prediction. Finally, one should contemplate the sobering judgment that was to be visited upon the Jewish nation in the wake of its rejection of the Christ. Let us give some attention to each of these issues.


Because of Israel’s apostasy, the prophet Jeremiah had foretold that the Jews would be delivered as captives to Babylon. In that foreign land they would be confined for seventy years (Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10). Sure enough, the prophet’s warnings proved accurate. The general period of the Babylonian confinement was seventy years (Daniel 9:2; 2 Chronicles 36:21; Zechariah 1:12; 7:5). But why was a seventy-year captivity decreed? Why not sixty, or eighty? There was a reason for this exact time frame.
The law of Moses had commanded the Israelites to acknowledge every seventh year as a sabbatical year. The ground was to lie at rest (Leviticus 25:1-7). Apparently, across the centuries Israel had ignored that divinely imposed regulation. In their pre-captivity history, there seems to be no example of their ever having honored the sabbath-year law. Thus, according to the testimony of one biblical writer, the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity was assigned “until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths” (2 Chronicles 36:21).
If each of the seventy captivity-years represented a violation of the sabbatical-year requirement (every seventh year), as 2 Chronicles 36:21 appears to suggest, this would indicate that Israel had neglected the divine injunction for approximately 490 years. The captivity era therefore looked backward upon five centuries of sinful neglect. At the same time, Daniel’s prophecy telescoped forward to a time—some 490 years into the future—when the “Anointed One” would “make an end of sins” (9:24). Daniel’s prophecy seems to mark a sort of “mid-way” point in the historical scheme of things.
In the first year of Darius, who had been appointed king over the realm of the Chaldeans (c. 538 B.C.), Daniel, reflecting upon the time span suggested by Jeremiah’s prophecies, calculated that the captivity period almost was over (9:1-2). He thus approached Jehovah in prayer. The prophet confessed his sins, and those of the nation as well. He petitioned Jehovah to turn away His wrath from Jerusalem, and permit the temple to be rebuilt (9:16-17). The Lord responded to Daniel’s prayer in a message delivered by the angel Gabriel (9:24-27). The house of God would be rebuilt. A more significant blessing would come, however, in the Person of the Anointed One (Christ), Who is greater than the temple (cf. Matthew 12:6). This prophecy was a delightful message of consolation to the despondent Hebrews in captivity.


This exciting context sets forth the primary purpose of Christ’s mission to Earth. First, the Messiah would come to deal with the problem of human sin. He would “finish transgression,” make an “end of sins,” and effect “reconciliation for iniquity.” That theme is developed gloriously throughout the New Testament (see Matthew 1:21; 20:28; 26:28; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:20; 1 Peter 2:24; Revelation 1:5—passages that are but a fractional sampling of the New Testament references to this exalted topic).
The advent of Christ did not put an “end” to sin in the sense that wickedness was eradicated from the Earth. Rather, the work of the Savior was to introduce a system that could provide effectually and permanently a solution to the human sin predicament. This is one of the themes of the book of Hebrews. Jesus’ death was a “once-for-all” event (see Hebrews 9:26). The Lord never will have to return to the Earth to repeat the Calvary experience.
It is interesting to note that Daniel emphasized that the Anointed One would address the problems of “transgression,” “sin,” and “iniquity”—as if to suggest that the Lord is capable of dealing with evil in all of its hideous forms. Similarly, the prophet Isaiah, in the 53rd chapter of his narrative, revealed that the Messiah would sacrifice Himself for “transgression” (5,8,12), “sin” (10,12), and “iniquity” (5,6,11).
It is worthy of mention at this point that Isaiah 53 frequently is quoted in the New Testament in conjunction with the Lord’s atoning work at the time of His first coming. Since Daniel 9:24ff. quite obviously has an identical thrust, it, too, must focus upon the Savior’s work at the cross, and not upon Jesus’ second coming—as is alleged by premillennialists.
Second, in addition to His redemptive work in connection with sin, Daniel showed that the Messiah would usher in an era of “everlasting righteousness.” This obviously is a reference to the Gospel dispensation. In the pages of the New Testament, Paul forcefully argued that Heaven’s plan for accounting man as “righteous” was made known “at this present season” (Roman 3:21-26) through the Gospel (Romans 1:16-17).
Third, the angel’s message suggested that as a result of the Messiah’s work, “vision and prophecy” would be sealed up. The Hebrew term denotes that which is brought to a “conclusion” or is finished (Gesenius, 1979, p. 315). It should be emphasized that the major burden of the Old Testament was to proclaim the coming of God’s Son. Peter declared that the prophets of ancient times heralded the “sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow them.” He affirmed that this message now is announced in the Gospel (1 Peter 1:10-12). Here is a crucial point. With the coming of the Savior to effect human redemption, and with the completion of the New Testament record which sets forth that message, the need for “vision and prophecy” became obsolete. As a result, “prophecy” (and other revelatory gifts) have “ceased” (see 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Ephesians 4:11-16). There are no supernatural “visions” and “prophecies” being given by God in this age. [For further study, see Judisch (1978, Chapter 5), and Jackson (1990, pp. 114-124).]
Fourth, Daniel stated that the “most holy” would be anointed. What is the meaning of this expression? Dispensational premillennialists interpret this as a reference to the rebuilding of the Jewish temple during the so-called “millennium.” But the premillennial concept is not supported by the facts.
Any view that one adopts regarding this phraseology must be consistent with other biblical data. The expression “most holy” probably is an allusion to Christ Himself, and the “anointing” a reference to the Lord’s endowment with the Holy Spirit at the commencement of His ministry (Matthew 3:16; Acts 10:38). Consider the following factors. (1) While it is possible that the grammar can reflect a “most holy” thing or place (i.e., in a neuter form), it also can yield a masculine sense—“Most Holy One.” The immediate context tips the scales toward the masculine since the “anointed one, the prince” is mentioned in verse 25. (2) The “anointing” obviously belongs to the same time frame as the events previously mentioned, hence is associated with the Lord’s first coming, not the second one. (3) Thompson has observed that the act of anointing never was associated with the temple’s “most holy” place in the Old Testament (1950, p. 268). (4) Anointing was practiced in the Old Testament period as a rite of inauguration and consecration to the offices of prophet (1 Kings 19:16), priest (Exodus 28:41), and king (1 Samuel 10:1). Significantly, Christ functions in each of these roles (see Acts 3:20-23; Hebrews 3:1; Matthew 21:5). (5) The anointing of Jesus was foretold elsewhere in the Old Testament (Isaiah 61:1), and, in fact, the very title, “Christ,” means anointed.
Fifth, the Anointed One was to “make a firm covenant with many” (Daniel 9:27a, ASV). A better rendition would be: “Make a covenant firm....” The meaning seems to be: the Messiah’s covenant surely will remain firm, i.e., prevail, even though He is killed. The “covenant,” as E.J. Young observed, “is the covenant of grace wherein the Messiah, by His life and death, obtains salvation for His people” (1954, p. 679).
Sixth, as a result of Christ’s death, “the sacrifice and the oblation” would cease (9:27a). This is an allusion to the cessation of the Jewish sacrifices as a consequence of Jesus’ ultimate sacrificial offering at Golgotha. When the Lord died, the Mosaic law was “nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). That “middle wall of partition” was abolished (Ephesians 2:13-17), and the “first covenant” was replaced by the “second” one (Hebrews 10:9-10). This was the “new covenant” of Jeremiah’s famous prophecy (Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Hebrews 8:7ff.), and was ratified by the blood of Jesus Himself (Matthew 26:28). This context is a rich depository of truth concerning the accomplishments of Christ by means of His redemptive work.


The time element of this famous prophecy enabled the studious Hebrew to know when the promised Messiah would die for the sins of humanity. The chronology of this prophetic context involves three things: (a) a commencement point; (b) a duration period; and (c) a concluding event.
The beginning point was to coincide with a command to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” The time span between the starting point and the concluding event was specified as “seventy weeks.” This would be seventy weeks of seven days each—a total of 490 days. Each day was to represent a year in prophetic history. Most conservative scholars hold that the symbolism denotes a period of approximately 490 years (Payne, 1973, p. 383; Archer, 1964, p. 387; cf. RSV). Finally, the terminal event would be the “cutting off,” (i.e., the death) of the Anointed One (9:26). [NOTE: Actually, the chronology is divided into three segments, the total of which represents 486½ years. This would be the span between the command to restore Jerusalem, and the Messiah’s death.]
If one is able to determine the date of the commencement point of this prophecy, it then becomes a relatively simple matter to add to that the time-duration specified in the text, thus concluding the precise time when the Lord was to be slain. Let us therefore narrow our focus regarding this matter.
There are but three possible dates for the commencement of the seventy-week calendar. First, Zerubbabel led a group of Hebrews out of captivity in 536 B.C. This seems to be an unlikely beginning point, however, because 486 years from 536 B.C. would end at 50 B.C., which was eighty years prior to Jesus’ death. Second, Nehemiah led a band back to Canaan in 444 B.C. Is this the commencement point for computing the prophecy? Probably not, for 486 years after 444 B.C. ends at A.D. 42—a dozen years after the death of Christ. However, in 457 B.C., Ezra took a company from Babylon back to Jerusalem. Does this date work mathematically? Indeed. If one starts at 457 B.C., and goes forward for 486½ years, the resulting date is A.D. 30—the very year of Christ’s crucifixion! This is the common view (Scott, 1975, 5:364).
The strongest objection to this argument is the claim that Ezra issued no charge to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, and so the starting point of the prophecy could not date from the time of his return. Noted scholar Gleason Archer has responded to this allegation by affirming that Ezra’s commission:
...apparently included authority to restore and build the city of Jerusalem (as we may deduce from Ezra 7:6,7, and also 9:9, which states, “God...hath extended lovingkindness unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of God, and to repair the ruins thereof, and to give us a wall in Judea and in Jerusalem,” ASV). Even though Ezra did not actually succeed in accomplishing the rebuilding of the walls till Nehemiah arrived thirteen years later, it is logical to understand 457 B.C. as the terminus a quo for the decree predicted in Daniel 9:25 (1964, p. 387, emp. in orig.).
In “the midst” of the seventieth week, i.e., after the fulfillment of the 486½ years, the Anointed One was to be “cut off.” This is a reference to the death of Jesus. Isaiah similarly foretold that Christ would be “cut off out of the land of the living” (Isaiah 53:8).
But why are the “seventy weeks” of Daniel’s prophecy divided into three segments—seven weeks, 62 weeks, and the “midst” of one week? There was purpose in this breakdown. (1) The first division of “seven weeks” (literally, forty-nine years) covers that period of time during which the actual rebuilding of Jerusalem would be underway, following the Hebrews’ return to Palestine (9:25b). This was the answer to Daniel’s prayer (9:16). That reconstruction era was to be one of “troublous times.” The Jews’ enemies had harassed them in earlier days (see Ezra 4:1-6), and they continued to do so in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. [For further discussion of this circumstance, see Whitcomb (1962, p. 435).] (2) The second segment of sixty-two weeks (434 years), when added to the previous forty-nine, yields a total of 483 years. When this figure is computed from 457 B.C., it terminates at A.D. 26. This was the year of Jesus’ baptism and the beginning of His public ministry. (3) Finally, the “midst of the week” (3½ years) reflects the time of the Lord’s preaching ministry. This segment of the prophecy concludes in A.D. 30—the year of the Savior’s death.


No historical revisionism can alter the fact that the Lord Jesus was put to death by His own people, the Jews (John 1:11). This does not sanction any modern-day mistreatment of the Jewish people; it does, however, acknowledge that Israel, as a nation, suffered a serious consequence as a result of its role in the death of the Messiah.
Daniel’s prophecy depicted the Roman invasion of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jewish temple. The prophet spoke of a certain “prince that shall come,” who would “destroy the city and the sanctuary” like an overwhelming flood (9:26b). All of this was “determined” (see 9:26b, 9:27b) by God because of the Jews’ rejection of His Son [Matthew 21:37-41; 22:1-7; see Young (1954, p. 679)].
The interpretation of this portion of the prophecy is beyond dispute. Jesus, in His Olivet discourse concerning the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:1-34), talked about “the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet” (24:15). The Lord was alluding to Daniel 9:27. The “abomination that makes desolate” was the Roman army, under its commander, Titus (“the prince”—9:26b), who vanquished Jerusalem in A.D. 70. [NOTE: The “prince” of verse 26a is not the same as the anointed “prince” of verse 25a. The “prince” of verse 26 comes after the anointed Prince has been cut off.]
The historical facts are these. In A.D. 66, the Jews, who were subject to Rome, revolted against the empire. This plunged the Hebrews into several years of bloody conflict with the Romans. Titus, son and successor of the famous Vespasian, overthrew the city of Jerusalem (after a five-month siege) in the summer of A.D. 70. The holy city was burned (cf. Matthew 22:7), and the “sanctuary” (temple) was demolished. Christ had informed His disciples that the day was coming when the Jews’ “house” would be left desolate (Matthew 23:38); indeed, not one stone would be left upon another (Matthew 24:2). Significantly, only one stone from that temple, and parts of another, have been identified positively by archaeologists (Frank, 1972, p. 249). J.N. Geldenhuys summarized this situation by noting that Titus
...overran the city with his army, destroyed and plundered the temple, and slew the Jews—men, women and children—by tens of thousands. When their lust for blood had been sated, the Romans carried off into captivity all the able-bodied remnant of the Jews (for they had done away with all the weaklings and the aged), so that not a single Jew was left alive in the city or its vicinity. Only on one day in the year—the day of remembrance of the destruction of the temple—were they allowed to mourn over the city from the neighboring hill-tops (1960, 3:141).
This event was referred to by Daniel as the “abomination of desolation” because the city of David was desolated by the Roman army—an abominable force because of its idolatrous fabric. It is not without considerable interest that apparently even the Jews recognized that the destruction of the Hebrew nation was a fulfillment of Daniel’s remarkable prophecy. Josephus, the Jewish historian, stated that “Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them” (Antiquities, X.XI.7).


Daniel’s inspired record regarding the “seventy weeks” is a profound demonstration of the validity of scriptural prophecy. It foretells the coming of the Messiah, and details His benevolent work. The prophecy pinpoints the very time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Finally, it reveals the disastrous consequences of rejecting the Son of God. How thankful we should be to Jehovah for providing this rich testimony.
[NOTE: For a more thorough analysis and refutation of the premillennial-dispensational view of Daniel 9:24ff., see my extended essay on this subject, available in the Apologetics Press Research Article Series.]


Archer, Gleason L. (1964), A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago: Moody).
Frank, Harry Thomas (1972), An Archaeological Companion to the Bible (London: SCM Press).
Geldenhuys, J. Norval (1960), “Luke,” The Biblical Expositor, ed. Carl F. H. Henry (Philadelphia, PA: Holman).
Gesenius, William (1979 reprint), Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Jackson, Wayne (1990), “Miracles,” Giving a Reason for Our Hope, ed. Winford Claiborne (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University).
Judisch, Douglas (1978), An Evaluation of Claims to the Charismatic Gifts (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Payne, J. Barton (1973), The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy (New York: Harper & Row).
Scott, J.B. (1975), “Seventy Weeks,” Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill C. Tenney (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Thompson, J.E.H. (1950 reprint), “Daniel,” The Pulpit Commentary, ed. H.D.M. Spence and Joseph Exell (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Whitcomb, John C., Jr. (1962), “Nehemiah,” The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody).
Young, Edward J. (1954), “Daniel,” The New Bible Commentary, ed. F. Davidson (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Cyrus the Great: King of Persia by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Cyrus the Great: King of Persia

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, is mentioned twenty-two times in the Old Testament—an evidence of his prominence in the biblical scheme of things in those declining days of Judah’s history. When Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian regime in 539 B.C., he was disposed quite favorably toward the Jews. Ezra 1:1-2 reads as follows:
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and he also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, Jehovah, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Exactly how the Lord “stirred up the spirit” of the Persian ruler no one is able to say precisely. That God is able to operate in international affairs—to effect His sovereign will—is certain (Daniel 2:21; 4:17), but how He accomplishes these things, using seemingly natural means, remains a mystery. But there is an interesting possibility. Josephus, the famous Hebrew historian who had access to historical records long since lost, stated that Cyrus was exposed to the prophecies of Isaiah (44:26-45:7), who, more than 150 years earlier, had called the Persian monarch by name, and had announced his noble role in releasing the Hebrews from captivity and assisting in the rebuilding of the Jewish temple (XI.I.2). It is a fact that Daniel was still living in the early years of Cyrus’ reign (see Daniel 10:1), and he might well have been the very one who introduced the Persian commander to Isaiah’s testimony. Interestingly, there is archaeological information that lends support to the biblical record.
During excavations at Babylon (1879-82), archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam discovered a small (ten inches), clay, barrel-shaped cylinder that contained an inscription from Cyrus. Now housed in the British Museum, the cylinder reported the king’s policy regarding captives: “I [Cyrus] gathered all their [former] inhabitants and returned [to them] their habitations” (Pritchard, 1958, 1:208). As noted scholar Jack Finegan observed: “The spirit of Cyrus’s decree of release which is quoted in the Old Testament (II Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2-4) is confirmed by the Cyrus cylinder...” (1946, p. 191).
The science of archaeology frequently has been a willing witness to the integrity of the sacred Scriptures.


Finegan, Jack (1946), Light from the Ancient Past (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
Josephus, Flavius (1957), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, transl. William Whitson (Philadelphia, PA: John C. Winston).
Pritchard, James B. (1958), The Ancient Near East (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

Critics and the Cosmos by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Critics and the Cosmos

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Some believe the Bible contains notions about the Cosmos that create a natural world which is completely foreign to reality. Because the inspired writers spoke of the heaven’s being “rent asunder” after Jesus was baptized (Mark 1:10, ASV) and the “windows of heaven” opening to allow rain to fall upon the Earth (Genesis 7:11), Bible critics have suggested that the writers believed the sky to be the same old blue, solid wall that uninspired men from so many other cultures professed.
Modern-day liberalism frequently has employed this type of argument to indicate the Bible writers’ alleged “unscientific view” of the Universe. Does the Bible imbibe ancient mythological misrepresentations? Is its information on the Cosmos “unscientific”? What is the truth of the matter?
The fact is, the Bible no more teaches that the heavens were a “solid wall” than modern day weathermen believe the Sun literally “rises” in the morning and “sets” in the evening. The Bible no more indicates that there are literal windows in heaven than doctors believe that a woman’s water can literally break. Technically, it is not correct to refer to a woman’s amniotic fluid as water; nor is it correct to refer to the water as “breaking.” Yet doctors frequently employ this kind of language. It is not scientifically correct to speak of the Sun “rising” and “setting,” but everyone understands weathermen to mean that the Earth is turning on its axis. Surely, if modern man, with all his advanced technology, can use such phenomenal language as “sunrise and sunset” in reference to the dawn and dusk of his day, the Bible writers can be afforded the same luxury.
Why do skeptics not allow the biblical writers as much literary license as they themselves employ? No doubt it is because they take extreme measures—by ignoring the type of language used in different parts of Scripture (i.e., literal or figurative)—in an attempt to find some kind of error in the Bible. Such arguments are destined to fail because common sense has been omitted from the interpreting “equation.”

Teachings of Jesus (Part 38) Taxes and Money by Ben Fronczek

Teachings of Jesus (Part 38) Taxes and 


Most of us like receiving more money in our paycheck, but I don’t know anyone who likes to see more taxes out of what they receive. We are coming to the end of the tax season with the deadline only 2 weeks away. Many look for tax loop holes so they don’t have to pay more taxes. Others like to be paid cash and don’t pay taxes at all on money earn. And I find it interesting that the Jews who did not like what Jesus was doing bring up the subject of paying taxes trying to find another way to get Him in trouble.
In Luke 20:20 – 26 it says, “20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21 So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied.
25 He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
26 They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.”
They probably wanted to know if Jesus believed that the Mosaic Law required the Jews to “pay taxes” to the occupying Romans. Maybe they thought that if Jesus said “yes,” He would alienate the common people, especially the Zealots, who objected strongly to paying the Romans anything. If Jesus said “no,” He would incur the wrath of Rome, and the Sanhedrin could tell Pilate that He taught the people not to pay their taxes.
Jesus perceived the malicious intentions of His questioners, and rather than getting caught up by their flattering comments, He proceeded to lead them into a trap of His own. He used an object lesson to reinforce and clarify what He was about to say. So He asked to see a Roman coin.
The Roman “denarius” bore the image of “Caesar,” probably that of Tiberius who reigned during this period (A.D. 14-37). His image on the coin suggested that the money ultimately belonged to him and the government that he headed and represented. He had issued the coin but in another sense it belonged to the person who currently possessed it.
The fact that the Jews used Roman money shows that Rome ruled over them. On the positive side Roman rule included providing services for them, which made it necessary to tax them for those services. So in one sense the demand for taxes was legitimate.
Then Jesus added that they should likewise give God what is due to Him, namely: their worship and service, because like the coin that bore the image of Caesar, we bear the image of our God.
1 Peter 2:13-17 says, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
In this text Jesus was showing that paying earthly rulers what’s due to them is only a logical extension of paying the heavenly Ruler what is due to Him.
This text is the closest to a political statement Jesus makes. . . . In many ways Jesus’ handling of this question shows that he is not interested in the political agenda of changing Rome. He is not a zealot. Rather He is more interested in people honoring God.
This teaching would have been helpful to Luke’s original readers who, as well as all Christians showing that we have a responsibly to pagan political authorities as well as to God.
Romans 13:1-7 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Even though Jesus may have very little to say about politics, He has much to say about money and how we look at it compared to other things.
Of the 38 parables Jesus related, 16 deal with how we handle money. One out of 10 verses in the gospels deals with money and possessions! We also find that in the four Gospels, Jesus talked more about money than He did about heaven and hell combined! He even talks more about money that love.
We see extremes in the Gospel accounts. In Luke 18 we talked about the rich man who asked Jesus what he must do to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus told him to obeys the commandments of God, and the man said he had. But then Jesus said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” And if you remember how the story ended the man walked away very sad and Jesus told those standing nearby, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
In Mathew 6:19-20, Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The problem with the rich man and why he walked away so sad was because He treasured the wrong thing; his priorities were off. But on the opposite side of the spectrum we have another story recorded in Luke 21, where Jesus praises the action of someone else. Starting in verse 1 it says, “As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
I don’t believe Jesus necessarily cares how much is given as much as where the person heart and priorities lay. There is no doubt in my mind that this woman loved God with all her heart.
What I have discovered is that there is definitely a reason why the Bible is full of scriptures about money – people desperately need wisdom when it comes to their personal finances. If I had to pick one word to describe Jesus it would still be “love,” but I think Jesus realized more of us would struggle with our spending habits than with loving those around us. There are many people who have no problem with loving others but are barely scraping by living paycheck to paycheck or are in debt up to their eyeballs.
People in power within our government seem to have spending problems as well. The fact is, people from all walks of life have the same problems, including not knowing how to handle money.
There are certainly some people who do a much better job handling money than others. However, I see that even the guy driving the BMW may be in over his head and bouncing checks.
Money is important and but has a tendency reveals who we are and really what’s important to us. The scripture I quoted earlier actually ends with Jesus saying, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”
Many I know that have had some financial success are smart with their money but also generous. They don’t just put it all away waiting for disaster to strike, they also give. In other words, balance seems to be the key. Don’t spend it all, but don’t hoard it all away in a world system that can fail you.
As someone once said, ‘The only sure things in this world is death and taxes.’ Yes, you will be taxed, and yes one day we will all die. And where your priorities lie while alive will determine what will happen to you and where you go after you die. Jesus once said, “What good is it if you gain the whole world but then lose your soul.”
Where do your priorities lie? Governments need money to run, to maintain the infrastructure, to protect us from evil in the world, to keep some level of order in our society, to pay our teachers and do so much more. They may not do the best job at it but we need to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
But also we need to give to God what belongs to God; not every last nickel you have. He never asked that of us. But rather He wants your love, your devotion, your worship, your praise and adoration, and a commitment to Him. Give what money you can because you want to not because you have to. Give to help others. And give to glorify our wonderful God so others may come to know Him.
In the letter to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul wrote that if we are generous, God will bless us with even more to share with others. It seems to be a matter of stewardship. Like in the parable of the talents, and Minas those who use what they have well were give more to use and glorify their master.
But really, all we have here is just wood, hay and stubble; here today and gone tomorrow. So I say live for those things that are eternal and you will be so much happier in the long run.
Be wise with your money; save some, spend some, a give some away and God will bless you for being wise.

Beware of dogs ... and people! by Roy Davison

Beware of dogs ... and people!

This mosaic is in the Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy.
They say that barking dogs never bite. This is true. They always stop barking before they bite!
The dog that bit me, did not bark. When I was twelve, I was distributing advertising for my father’s TV repair business. An elderly dog silently walked up behind me and left a clear set of teeth marks in my leg. He obviously had an intense dislike of advertising distributors!
Roman villas in Paul’s day often had a floor mosaic in the entrance showing a dog on a chain, sometimes with the words, “CAVE CANEM” (Beware of the dog)!
It is wise to beware of dogs, but when Paul tells us, “Beware of dogs” in Philippians 3:2, he is referring to dogs of the human variety. Jesus tells us, “Beware of people” (Matthew 10:17).
“Beware of” means to be on guard against, to be cautious about, to be alert to potential danger from, to be ready to avoid danger from.
People are dangerous!
Humans are the most dangerous creatures on earth. What other form of life has destroyed cities with atomic bombs, and maintains huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons?
The most powerful hydrogen bomb ever detonated (by the Soviet Union on Severny Island above the Arctic Circle on October 30, 1961) had 1400 times the power of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined, and ten times the power of all other explosives used in World War II. This picture was taken at a distance of 160 km. The atmospheric shock wave broke windows in northern Norway and Finland, a thousand kilometers away.
In 1985 there were 68,000 active nuclear weapons. In the meantime this has been reduced to about 20,000 that are active or could easily be reactivated. Some of this reduction comes from treaties, but most of it results from decommissioning outmoded, obsolete weapons. Although there are fewer bombs, their destructive capability has been increased.
This is not something that mankind may be proud of. Consider the resources this gobbles up, when much of the world lacks food.

Yet, spiritual dangers are even greater.

A volcanic eruption in 79 AD buried Pompeii, Italy under five meters of ash, killing 15,000 people. Excavations have unearthed several “Beware of the dog” mosaics. Someone should have warned: “Beware of the volcano!” There are greater dangers than dogs.
Although the danger of nuclear destruction threatens us like a smoking Mount Vesuvius, we live in a world that is even more dangerous spiritually. God warns us about spiritual dangers that threaten our souls. Satan has laid spiritual landmines along both sides of the narrow way that leads to life.
We must beware of falling away because of sin. We must beware of false teachers, of religious leaders who exalt themselves, and of persecutors.

Beware of falling away because of sin.

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12, 13).
The deceitfulness of sin is our greatest spiritual danger. We must beware of anything that tempts us to sin and leads us away from God.
Sin is glorified in the media, on the Internet, on television, on the radio, in magazines.
At school, young people are taught how to be immoral, and are fooled into thinking that immorality has no negative consequences.
The fashion world emphasizes sensuality. Social pressure encourages us to be “like everyone else.”
We must beware of these corruptive influences.
We must exhort one another not to depart from the living God through sin.
Referring to people who twist the Scriptures “to their own destruction,” Peter gives a similar warning: “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17, 18).
These verses refute the false doctrine of “Once saved, always saved”!
We must beware lest we “fall from our own steadfastness”; we must beware lest we “depart from the living God”!
To avoid falling away through the deceitfulness of sin, we must beware of anyone who tries to lead us into sin.
This includes being alert to dangers from false teachers, religious leaders who exalt themselves, and persecutors.

Beware of persecutors.

Jesus warned His followers: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues” (Matthew 10:16, 17).
How do Christians react to persecution? Jesus said: “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another” (Matthew 10:23). “Do not fear them” (Matthew 10:26). “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39).
Paul warned Timothy: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words” (2 Timothy 4:14, 15).
Paul was thankful that God had protected him: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:17, 18).
We must beware of persecutors. Yet, we need not be afraid. An eternal home with God is waiting, whatever happens to us.

Beware of religious leaders who exalt themselves.

Jesus warned, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers” (Mark 12:38-40).
Pretentious religious leaders glorify themselves, not God. We must beware of them.

Beware of false teachers.

We must beware of those who introduce teachings and practices that are contrary to sound doctrine, that deviate from the original teaching of Christ and His apostles: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1).
Jesus warns about their deceptive appearance and tells us how to identify them: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15, 16).
Jesus warned His followers against two prevalent errors: “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6). The disciples did not know what He meant by leaven until He clarified it. “Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:12).
The Pharisees and Sadducees were the two major denominations among the Jews at the time of Christ. They both taught false doctrine.
The Sadducees rejected most of the Old Testament outright, recognizing only the five books of Moses. They did not believe in a resurrection, in angels, or in spirits (Acts 23:8). They were liberalistic in their interpretation and application of Scripture.
The Pharisees were “the strictest sect” of the Jews (Acts 26:5), but their piety was superficial. Jesus told them, “You pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Matthew 23:23); “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:9). They were also “lovers of money” (Luke 16:14).
Thus, we are duly warned to beware of these doctrinal errors, which are still prevalent today: a liberalistic interpretation and application of Scripture, and a superficial piety that exalts human doctrine above the word of God.
Jesus refers to these errors as leaven because they spread easily.

Beware of those who base doctrine on the Old Covenant.

In the early church certain false teachers tried to impose requirements of the Old Covenant, such as circumcision and Sabbath-keeping, on Christians (Colossians 2:11-17). Paul warns against them in the harshest of terms, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:2, 3).

Beware of those who base doctrine on philosophy and human traditions.

Paul warns: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8, 9).
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
Referring to John’s baptism, Jesus asked the Jewish leaders, “Was it from heaven or from men?” (Mark 11:30). We ought to ask this question about all religious principles, doctrines and practices: Is it from heaven or from men? Everything that is not from God must be rejected.
During a recent walk I saw on a gate: “Beware! Poisonous frogs!” Although I doubt that poisonous frogs were lurking behind that gate, they really do exist! Touch the moisture on the back of a Yellow Golden Poison Dart Frog and put your finger in your mouth, and almost instantly you die. As the name indicates, their poison was used on arrows. They are among the most poisonous creatures on earth.
It is certainly wise to be wary of poisonous frogs, vicious dogs, and a nuclear holocaust. But even more we must beware of spiritual dangers.
Take heed to yourselves” (Luke 17:3). “Take heed what you hear” (Mark 4:24). “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:4). “Take heed , watch and pray” (Mark 13:33).
God warns us to beware of falling away through the deceitfulness of sin, to beware of persecutors, to beware of money-loving religious leaders who exalt themselves, to beware of false teachers who interpret the Scriptures liberalistically, to beware of false teachers who follow their own rigid regulations rather than the Scriptures, to beware of false teachers who base doctrine on the Old Covenant, on philosophy or on human traditions.
Peter’s warning in 1 Peter 5:8, 9 is applicable: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.” Amen.
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive