"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" Wisdom Regarding Riddles by Mark Copeland


Wisdom Regarding Riddles


1. In the prologue of Proverbs, among the purposes of the book stated is
   this one...
   a. "To understand a proverb and an enigma,"
   b. "The words of the wise and their riddles." - Pr 1:6

2. According to the Preacher's Commentary...
   a. "Proverbs that begin with clusters of questions may be classified
      as riddles or their offspring (see Pr 23:29-30; 30:4)"
   b. "As may be some of the numerical sayings in chapters 6 and 30."

3. Among the more picturesque riddles are the numerical sayings of King
   a. Containing observations of common things in groups of four or more
      - Pr 30:1,11-31
   b. Shedding light on human behavior and conveying moral truth - Roy

[In this study, we shall consider the numerical sayings of King Agur,
first posing them in the form of actual riddles.  For example...]


      1. Who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers - Pro  30:11
      2. Whose end is graphically depicted later in this chapter 
          - Pro 30:17; cf. also 20:20

      1. Who are clean to their own eyes, but not washed of their filth - Pr 30:12
      2. Who may justify themselves, but will be judged by the Lord   - Pr 21:2

      1. With lofty eyes, who lift their eyelids high - Pr 30:13
      2. Clearly condemned elsewhere in Proverbs - Pr 6:17; 21:4

      1. With teeth like swords, and fangs like knives - Pr 30:14
      2. Who will themselves come to poverty - Pr 22:16

[Such conduct is indicative of an evil generation, and evidenced by some
living in the "last days" (2Ti 3:1-5).  Continuing with the numerical
sayings, we ask in the form of a riddle...]


   A. THE LEECH...
      1. Who has two daughters:  Give and Give! - Pr 30:15
      2. The leech depicts those filled with insatiable greed, they are
         never satisfied - cf. Ec 5:10

   B. THE GRAVE...
      1. The grave (Sheol, the Hebrew word for the dead) can never be
         filled - Pr 30:16
      2. And so covetousness is insatiable like Hell (Sheol) and
         Destruction - cf. Pr 27:20

      1. The woman who desperately wants to conceive and give birth- Pr 30:16
      2. Like Rachel said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I die!" - cf. Gen 30:1

   D. THE EARTH...
      1. The dry earth that absorbs rain, soon wanting more - Pr 30:16
      2. Another illustration of insatiable greed

   E. THE FIRE...
      1. Which consumes as long as combustible matter is available - Pro 30:16
      2. The final example of things never satisfied

[These five images appear designed to illustrate covetousness and greed.
Now for another "riddle"...]


      1. The grace and speed of an eagle in flight - Pr 30:18-19
      2. Soaring high in the sky, but then leaving no evidence behind

      1. The slithering of a serpent - Pr 30:19
      2. Who leaves tracks on the sand, but not on a rock

      1. The sailing ship, tacking back and forth - Pr 30:19
      2. Progressing forward, but whose waves soon dissipate

      1. The mystery of courtship - Pr 30:19
      2. The exchange of affection and attraction between them

      1. How she can commit adultery, and then claim innocence - Pro 30:20
      2. Note:  "This is the way..." - tying this verse with the proceeding verses
      3. Thus she maneuvers, toying with affection and attraction like a
         man and a virgin, but like the eagle, serpent, and ship,
         believing she leaves nothing of substance behind

[These five images illustrate the ultimate wonder of adultery that
claims innocence.  The next "riddle" might be expressed in this way...]


      1. It normally is not fitting - Pr 30:21-22; cf. 19:10
      2. He becomes arrogant and overbearing, drunk with his new
         position - Believer's Bible Commentary (BBC)
      3. Like Jeroboam, such is the rule - Joseph was the exception

      1. Having all that he desires to eat - Pr 30:22
      2. His prosperity causes him to be more insolent than ever - BBC

      1. Who finally succeeds in getting married - Pr 30:23; cf. 21:9, 19
      2. Her wretched disposition would normally have kept her single,
         but by some fluke, she lands a husband. Then she becomes
         imperious and haughty, taunting those who are still unmarried.- BBC

      1. Who now rules over those who were once her equals - Pr 30:23
      2. She doesn't know how to act with refinement and grace, but is
         coarse, rude, and vulgar - BBC

[These scenarios contribute to social chaos.  Our next "riddle" reveals
examples of wise behavior...]


   A. THE ANTS...
      1. They are not strong, but they prepare their food in the summer
         - Pr 30:24-25
      2. A lesson for all, especially the sluggard - Pr 6:6-8
      3. The lesson:  plan ahead

      1. They are feeble, but they make their homes in the crags
         (cliffs) - Pr 30:26
      2. Where they are able to escape animals of prey or human hunters
         - Ps 104:18
      3. The lesson:  make wise choices

      1. They have no king, yet all advance in ranks - Pr 30:27
      2. Like a well-drilled army - cf. Joel 2:7-11,25
      3. The lesson:  work in unison with others

      1. Skillfully grasps with its hands, and is in kings' palaces - Pr 30:28
      2. Newer translations have "lizard"; probably like a gecko
      3. The lesson:  skillfully persevere

[Much wisdom can be gleaned from observing God's creation, even its
smallest creatures.  Finally, we ask again in the form of a riddle...]


   A. A LION...
      1. Mighty among beasts, turning away from none - Pr 30:29-30
      2. Majestic and unruffled as it walks - BBC

      1. The Hebrew is uncertain (lit., "girded at the loins") - Pro 30:31
      2. Whether greyhound or strutting rooster, both are stately in their walk

   C. A MALE GOAT...
      1. "a picture of noble bearing as it strides at the head of a flock" - BBC
      2. "which marches in the head of the flock in grave and stately
         manner, conducting them with great courage and resolution, and
         being ready to fight for them, either with beasts or men that
         oppose him" - Poole

      1. "against whom there is no rising up" (KJV) - Pr 30:31
      2. How foolish then, to lift up oneself, to think evil, or to be
         angry (against such a king?) - cf. Pr 30:32-33


1. These "riddles" that we've considered are not always easy to understand...
   a. The Hebrew word actually means "dark saying, hard question" 
        - cf. KJV, ASV
   b. Scholars vary quite a bit in their interpretation and application
      of these riddles

2. But for the most part, the riddles offer illustrations and lessons
   providing wisdom...
   a. On human behavior
   b. On moral truths

Such is the nature of the book of Proverbs.  Like the Old Testament as a
whole, it was written for our learning and admonition (cf. Ro 15:4; 1Co 
10:11).  I hope this study has increased your appreciate for Proverbs,
which like all Scripture...

   "...is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
   for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that
   the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good
   work." - 2Ti 3:16-17

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Spit and Bible Inspiration by Dave Miller, Ph.D

Spit and Bible Inspiration

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The Old Testament contains over 300 specific prophecies pertaining to the coming of Christ to Earth. These prophecies constitute absolute proof for the inspiration of the New Testament, since the Old Testament is easily verified to have been completed centuries before Christ’s advent. Indeed, eight centuries before Jesus Christ arrived on the planet, the prophet Isaiah predicted and described His coming in detail. For example, in a strongly Messianic section of his oracles, Isaiah described the mistreatment of the Christ would endure at the hands of His enemies: “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).
Observe the specificity of this prophetic utterance. Among other things, the prophecy predicted that Jesus would endure a physical ordeal that included being spit upon. Such a bold, forthright allusion is certainly daring—if the predictor is merely guessing. Nevertheless, this prediction was minutely fulfilled some 700 years later, as recorded in the New Testament. Matthew records that at His trial before the Jewish high priest, unnamed individuals “spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?’” (Matthew 26:67; cf. Mark 14:65). Some hours later, under the authority of the procurator Pontius Pilate, Roman soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, where the entire garrison of soldiers subjected Him to numerous indignities, including being stripped of clothing, having a crown of thorns pressed down upon His head, and being mercilessly mocked. “Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head” (Matthew 27:30; cf. Mark 15:19). Incredibly, Jesus even predicted His mistreatment, including the spitting, before it happened (Mark 10:34; Luke 18:32).
How could a man writing 700 years earlier predict something as minute as one person spitting on another? And keep in mind that the two separate occurrences (one before the high priest and the other before the Romans) were committed by perpetrators who were not the least interested in fulfilling prophecy. To predict hundreds of years in advance that someone would spit on Jesus is proof of Bible inspiration. Isaiah and the rest of the writers of the Bible demonstrate that they functioned under the superhuman, overruling power and influence of the Holy Spirit. They were guided by the God of the Universe.

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

Snake in a Bottle

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

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


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

Proof of Bible Inspiration: The Passover by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Proof of Bible Inspiration: The Passover

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Fifteen hundred years before Jesus Christ came to the planet, on a dark and fateful night in Egypt, oppressed Jews were given curious instructions from God via their leader, Moses:
Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it…. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations’” (Exodus 12:1-14).
The average Jew no doubt connected the symbolic significance of being fully clothed for travel with their imminent hasty exodus from the land. The smearing of animal blood on their doorposts might have seemed odd, but it was specifically explained as the means by which God would “pass over” them when executing the plague against the firstborn of Egypt:
And it shall be, when your children say to you, “What do you mean by this service?” that you shall say, “It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households” (Exodus 12:26-27).
However, two additional directives were given, one of which must have raised eyebrows:
In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones (Exodus 12:46).
Later generations of Israelites would have understood the significance of remaining in their homes while eating—since the blood on their doors kept their firstborn from being slain:
[N]one of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you (Exodus 12:22-23).
But the second directive pertaining to the breaking of the bones of the lamb must have perplexed even that first generation of Israelites. The stipulation was repeated to the Israelites after their departure from Egypt:
On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it (Numbers 9:11-12).
Successive generations of Jews, no doubt, would have been very careful in butchering, carving, and eating the Passover lamb to avoid breaking bones. But why? Undoubtedly, Israelite children would have asked their parents, “Why does God not want us to break any of the lamb’s bones?” The parents would have had no definitive answer—since God had not explained Himself. No clue was given to the Jews through the centuries that might explain the significance of refraining from breaking the bones of the Passover lamb.
Over five centuries later, King David wrote an inspired psalm in which he expressed his gratitude for the protection and care of God in dealing with his enemies.1 In that Psalm, David extols the goodness of God in providing him with protection from his enemies—even to the point of preserving the bones of his body from being broken by those who wished him bodily harm:
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned (Psalm 34:19-22).
No Jew in David’s day would have had any reason to extract more meaning from the psalm than that which appears at face value, i.e., God cares for His people (in this case, David) and guards them amid the onslaught of the wicked.
Over 1,000 years later, Jesus assumed bodily form on Earth (Hebrews 10:5). At the end of His 33 years, He was taken by the Romans at the behest of the Jews and crucified in keeping with Roman execution protocol. Here is John’s inspired report of the final details:
Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken” (John 19:31-36).2
Why did the Jews request that Jesus’ legs be broken? Archaeologist Vassilios Tzaferis3 explains:
Normally, the Romans left the crucified person undisturbed to die slowly of sheer physical exhaustion leading to asphyxia. However, Jewish tradition required burial on the day of execution. Therefore, in Palestine the executioner would break the legs of the crucified person in order to hasten his death and thus permit burial before nightfall. This practice, described in the Gospels in reference to the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus (John 19:18), has now been archaeologically confirmed. Since the victim we excavated was a Jew, we may conclude that the executioners broke his legs on purpose in order to accelerate his death and allow his family to bury him before nightfall in accordance with Jewish custom.4
This explanation squares with the biblical text: the reason given for the Jews’ request was their concern that the body of Jesus not remain on the cross once the Sabbath ensued. So the breaking of the leg bones of a crucifixion victim was directly connected to the hastening of the victim’s death. Further, the inspired writer juxtapositions the criminals’ status with Jesus’ status on the point of whether they were still alive. The soldiers broke the legs of the criminals, but the reason given for not breaking Jesus’ legs was that they “saw that He was already dead” (vs. 33).
Observe that both David’s words in Psalm 34 as well as John’s late first century quotation of those words in John 19 constitute ambiguous prophecies. Granted, John connected the Davidic messianic prophecy with the condition of Christ on the cross. But more than likely, neither he, nor David, nor any other Jew from 1,500 B.C. to A.D. 30 was able to fathom any further significance and “put it all together.” It was not until the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church of Christ at Corinth (Cir. A.D. 55-57) that the wonder of Bible inspiration on this point achieved clarity.
In a context in which Paul urged the congregation to take public action against an immoral member, he added a remark that had relevance to their predicament, but which had a marvelous, broader significance for all Christians for all time: “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Just as Jesus predicted, the Passover found its fulfillment in the kingdom of God (Luke 22:16).5 After more than a millennium and a half of obscurity and virtual silence, suddenly the mysterious Mosaic prohibition was solved. The rationale for refraining from breaking any of the bones of the Passover lamb under the Law of Moses was that one day in the distant future, the Lord of Heaven and Earth would assume human form and take upon Himself the sins of the world by being executed on a Roman cross. And as that unjust sentence was being carried out, when Roman soldiers would ordinarily bring their sadistic torture to the culmination and climax of death by breaking the leg bones of the victim, they found that “He was already dead.” This incredible bit of minutia—this miniscule detail that went virtually unnoticed by those gathered on that occasion outside Jerusalem at the far flung outer extremities of the mighty Roman Empire—was of monumental significance and earth-shaking import. How could Moses or David have known that centuries far beyond their own day, unknown, unnamed Roman soldiers in first century A.D. Palestine would refrain from breaking the bones of the Messiah because “he was already dead”? They could not have known—not without supernatural assistance.
Three incredible details—the bones of the Passover Lamb of Mosaic religion were not to be broken, Jesus’ bones were not broken by the Romans, and His sacrifice on the cross enabling Him to be our Passover—intertwined to bring to fruition marvelous meaning from the mind of God for all mankind. In revealing the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit had in mind the coming of Christ and anticipated minute details about Him that neither the Old Testament prophets nor the New Testament apostles grasped:
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into (1 Peter 1:10-12).
Four human writers, each engaging his own mind to report inspired minutia, were nevertheless overseen by a single divine Mind (2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Spirit did just what Jesus said He would do: teach and explain things to them they could not grasp at the time (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:12-13). Indeed, who could have ever sorted out these profound mysteries? No mere human. What Moses wrote (Exodus 12:43-46; Numbers 9:11-12), followed by what David wrote (Psalm 34:19-20), supplemented by what John reported (John 19:31-36), and brought to climactic fulfillment with what Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 5:7), could only have been orchestrated by the infinite, eternal mind of Deity Who transcends time and place.
“Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the LORD?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides me” (Isaiah 45:21).


1 Scholars and commentators on the Psalms uniformly identify as the historical context of Psalm 34 the incident in 1 Samuel 21 in which David, in his efforts to elude Saul’s retribution, took refuge among the Philistines. See, for example, the classic treatments of the Psalms by Joseph Alexander (1873), The Psalms Translated and Explained (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1975 reprint), p. 145; H.C. Leupold (1969 reprint), Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), p. 278; F. Delitzsch (1976 reprint), Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), pp. 407ff.; Albert Barnes (1847), Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2005 reprint), p. 287ff.
2 Another Messianic psalm depicts the Messiah as being in such a depleted, emaciated, if not stretched, condition that His bones were “out of joint” and that He could count His bones (Psalm 22:14,17).
3 Prominent Greek archaeologist who excavated numerous sites within Israel including Ashkelon, Beth Shean, Capernaum, Kursi, Tel Dan, and in Jerusalem. He was a member of the Supreme Archaeological Council in Israel and served as the Director of Excavations and Surveys at the Israel Antiquities Authority from 1991 to 2001.
4 Taken from his article which reports his excavation of Second Temple tombs in Jerusalem, one of which contained the remains of a crucified man in his 20s: Vassilios Tzaferis (1985), “Crucifixion—The Archaeological Evidence,” Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February, 44-53, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/crucifixion/a-tomb-in-jerusalem-reveals-the-history-of-crucifixion-and-roman-crucifixion-methods/#end04. See also Alok Jha (2004), “How Did Crucifixion Kill?” The Guardian, April 8, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/apr/08/thisweekssciencequestions; Kristina Killgrove (2015), “This Bone Is The Only Skeletal Evidence For Crucifixion In The Ancient World,” Forbes, December 8, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2015/12/08/this-bone-provides-the-only-skeletal-evidence-for-crucifixion-in-the-ancient-world/; Biblical Archaeology Society Staff (2011), “A Tomb in Jerusalem Reveals the History of Crucifixion and Roman Crucifixion Methods,” Bible History Daily, July 22, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/crucifixion/a-tomb-in-jerusalem-reveals-the-history-of-crucifixion-and-roman-crucifixion-methods/; Erkki Koskenniemi, Kirsi Nisula, and Jorma Toppari (2005), “Wine Mixed with Myrrh (Mark 15.23) and Crurifragium (John 19.31-32): Two Details of the Passion Narratives,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 27[4]:379-391.
5 Observe that Jesus was not referring to the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22:16—as He did in Matthew’s (26:29) and Mark’s (14:25) accounts where “fulfill” is not used—but to the Passover. The Passover, as originally instituted by God, had as its initial and partial meaning the recollection of the Israelites being shielded from the destroyer in Egypt (Exodus 12:23). But its ultimate and complete significance lay in the achievement of Christ on the cross. The aorist passive subjunctive verb that Luke used to report Jesus’ comments (pleirothei) means “to make full, complete, perfect,” “to consummate” (as in Matthew 5:17), and “to realize, accomplish” (as in Luke 1:20; 9:31; Acts 3:18). Perschbacher notes: “from the Hebrew, to set forth fully” and in the passive of time “to be fully arrived” [Wesley Perschbacher (1990), The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson), p. 332.] The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) captures accurately the import: “For I tell you, it is certain that I will not celebrate it again until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God.” Likewise the New Century Version (NCV): “I will not eat another Passover meal until it is given its true meaning in the kingdom of God.” The full and true meaning of the Mosaic Passover is only seen in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin.

HOW LONG? by Jim McGuiggan



This is the word of a confessor, a confessor who admitted his utter and absolute need of help or there could be no hope even though his heart longed for health, for freedom and for fullness of life.
Jesus gave him no lecture about God helping those who help themselves. He gave him no good advice about avoiding a victim mentality before walking away to some other person who could contribute to his own healing. I have only one point to make here and I know that what I have to say needs balanced. If you tell me what I have to say here needs balanced you’ll be wasting your breath—I know it! I do know it!
But balance is for those who can contribute to their own healing and I am not “God enough” (nor is anyone else) to know who these are and I’ve seen enough people, like little animals caught in cruel snares, vainly struggling to get free; in agony and without hope unless someone strong comes and patiently works with the captive, even if and while the captive protests and mistakes rescue for further torment.
The story of Christ meeting that powerless man is more than (not less than) the meeting of two persons; we’re not to read the story that way!
It was the meeting of two worlds—an old world and a new world. One was a world where the powerless were left to do the best they could (or not) the other was a new world that was made new by God walking into it. Every incident we read involving Jesus is about God on a mission of deliverance—a deliverance of a world and not just some individuals lucky enough to meet up with Him.
One world is the survival of the strong, the other the strengthening of the weak. The one would support only those who could contribute to hope and the other sought out those who had sunk into despair. This lame man well illustrated “a world” without pity because his malady was desperate and no one had the time for him or the patience for him—there were no one prepared to help him to healing and joy and joyful righteousness.
Understand this: I’m not saying there were no kind and humane people in the world—there were such people. Jesus was not the first kind man! I am saying there existed (and exists) “a world” that is shaped by the forces of evil that humanity turned loose and ended up imprisoned in that world. I am saying that when we see disease and abuse, despair and cruelty, selfish indifference and a shrugging at the state of the oppressed we’re seeing the “world” in which this man was living.
I am saying that “the world” that that man was a part of is human existence lived out under the spell of satanic and demonic power; it is this world, there aren’t really two; it’s this life; this life under evil, godless mismanagement.
We humans invited the powers in and this world and human existence became something other than what God made it for and intended it to be. But rather than obliterating it and humanity with it, God came in and as the human, Jesus of Nazareth, to redeem and reconcile it to Himself “in Christ!”Something has actually, really, happened since Jesus came and is now Lord! Another Adam, the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45), now has dominion and is God’s servant Son undoing the work of the first Adam (Romans 5:12-21) and when He completes that undoing and has destroyed the last enemy He offers to God the dominion. In doing that He does precisely the opposite of what the first Adam did and as the Head of the redeemed humanity He acknowledges God’s overarching dominion.
I’m saying that Jesus, being God being a man, represents and brings another “world”—it’s this world, not another, it’s this world re-visioned and seen by the eyes and hearts of faith as under new management in Jesus Christ. It’s this world since Jesus entered, showing that the prince of this world has been kicked out, the usurper has been exposed and his corrupt and corrupting vision of human existence is false. A world seen and acted in by Jesus is reconciled to God!
Jesus doesn’t represent a kind humaneness, He approves kindness and humaneness (its the work of God though He isn’t given the credit for genuine kindness and compassion and warm justice). but Jesus, being God being a man, represents and brings into reality a “new” creation where Sin and Suffering and Death don’t belong.
This evil threesome made themselves at home in humans and so humans came to be known as “sinful flesh” and God came in and as the man Jesus Christ in the very image of that sinful flesh (Romans 8:3) and in Jesus of Nazareth, His life and work, God “condemned Sin in the flesh” and re-visioned humanness and so re-visioned the world. That vision is only seen by faith in Jesus Christ, a faith that insists that the new world already exists but will be brought to glorious completion in a coming day.
This sinner in John 5 lay for thirty-eight years waiting deliverance but others have waited longer than that, much longer than that, for their deliverance. A life-time!  Waiting for spiritual power, spiritual wealth, for health to flow through them, for the inspiration to joyfully live righteously more consistently, more holistically and more thankfully and all of this as a result of seeing GOD walking into their lives, making them believe that not only can they be healed but that He has come to bring that very thing about!
Jesus announces the arrival of a new world!

What Do We Know Of Mary Magdalene? GEORGE L. FAULL

What Do We Know Of Mary Magdalene?


1.       After she had seven demons cast out of her, she ministered to Jesus with many women.
Luke 8:2-3, “2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.”

2.                 She was at the cross.
Mark 15:40, “There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;”

John 19:25, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.”

3.                 She saw Him buried.
Matthew 27:61, “And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.”

Mark 15:47, “And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.”

4.                 She and other women were approached by angels at the tomb and they went and told the Apostles.
Matthew 28:1, 8, “1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.”

Mark 16:1, 7, “1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”

Luke 24:8-10, “8 And they remembered his words, 9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.”

5.                 She told Peter and John that the tomb was empty and went and showed them.
John 20:1-10, “1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.”

6.                 Jesus appeared to her.
Mark 16:9-11, “9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.”

John 20:11-17, “11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

7.                 She told the disciples she saw Jesus.
John 20:18, “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.”

8.                 She is not mentioned in Acts or the Epistles.

In light of the above, it is pure evil conjecture to advocate as the Da Vinci Code and others do, that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers and had children.  To say so is the same evil doing of those who have Him have a homosexual relationship with John because it calls John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (It is John who calls himself that in humility rather than using his own name.  John 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 20)

In my judgment, hell is not hot enough for those who slander Jesus as a homosexual or a fornicating secret lover of Mary Magdalene.  Likewise Joseph Smith, the fornicating prophet said that Jesus was married to Martha and her sister, Mary.  Isn’t it interesting that men seek to paint Jesus  with the same brush they themselves are painted?