"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Joel - The Day Of The Lord (2:28-3:21) by Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                 Joel - The Day Of The Lord (2:28-3:21)


1. In our previous lesson on Joel, we saw that...
   a. Joel's prophecy was occasioned by a plague of locusts - 1:2-4
   b. He proclaimed the plague as a warning from God - 1:15-16
      1) If the people would not repent, "the day of the Lord" would
         come and bring greater destruction - 2:1-5
      2) If they did repent, then material blessings would  follow - 2:12-14
   c. Joel therefore called for a national repentance - 2:15-17a
   d. Evidently his work was effective, for he describes the blessings
      that had come - 2:21-27

2. We also noticed some lessons to be learned from the book...
   a. The value of natural calamities (can serve to turn men to God)
   b. The nature of true repentance - 2:12-13
   c. The character of the Lord - 2:13b
   d. "The day of the Lord", when referring to God's judgment on a city
      or nation, can be averted - cf. also Jer 18:7-8; Jonah 3:1-10

3. In this lesson, we shall complete our survey of Joel by reading 
   a. With attention to the prophetic element of this passage
   b. Offering comments concerning its interpretation

[Let's begin with a careful reading of this passage...]


      1. God's Spirit will be poured out on all flesh - 2:28-29
      2. Wonders in heaven and earth to appear before the coming of 
         "the day of the Lord" - 2:30-31
      3. There shall be deliverance in Mount Zion and Jerusalem - 2:32

      1. God will judge all nations on account of His people - 3:1-3
      2. Specifically mentioned are Tyre, Sidon and Philistia - 3:4-8
         a. Who had mistreated God's people
         b. Who shall be treated as they treated others
      3. The nations are called to do battle - 3:9-12
         a. "Prepare for war!"
         b. Come to the "Valley of  Jehoshaphat", where the Lord will
            judge the nations
            1) Jehoshaphat means "God shall judge"
            2) The valley referred to may be the Kidron near Jerusalem
      4. The outcome - 3:13-17
         a. There will be a great harvest
         b. "The day of the Lord" is described...
            1) As near in this "valley of decision"
            2) In which the heavenly bodies are diminished and shaken
         c. While God's people find shelter and strength in Him
         d. The Lord will be known and dwell in Zion, Jerusalem forever
            remaining holy

      1. Judah shall be blessed by a "fountain...from the house of the
         Lord" - 3:18
      2. Egypt and Edom will be desolate because of their violence- 3:19
      3. Judah and Jerusalem shall abide forever, acquitted of their 
         guilt - 3:20-21

[Such is the prophetic message of Joel.  What he SAYS is clear enough.
What he MEANS is something else!  Here are a few thoughts on...]


      1. "it shall come to pass afterward" - 2:28
         a. This period of time is clearly defined by Peter in Ac 2:14-21
         b. In which he applies it to the events on the Day of 
      2. "in those days and at that time" - 3:1
         a. The same period of time as described in 2:28-32
         b. I.e., at some point during the Messianic age
      3. "in that day" - 3:18
         a. The context places this AFTER "the day of the Lord"
         b. I.e., at some point during the Messianic age, but not until
            AFTER the judgment of the nations in the "Valley of Jehoshaphat"

      1. Certainly 2:28-29 refers to a period beginning with the 
         events described in Acts 2
         a. Peter said "this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel" 
            - Ac 2:16
         b. An inspired statement pinpointing when this prophecy began
            to be fulfilled
      2. However, there are different opinions regarding Joel 2:30-3:21
         a. "The day of the Lord" in 2:30-31 is variously interpreted as:
            1) The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD
            2) The final coming of the Lord
         b. The judgment  in the "valley of Jehoshaphat" in 3:1-17 is
            variously interpreted as:
            1) Figurative, by some; literal, by others
            2) Referring to no specific judgment, by some
            3) Referring to a specific judgment at some time, by others...
               1) E.g., after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD
               2) E.g., The "Battle of Armageddon" prior to the 
                  "millennium" - Re 16:14-16
               3) E.g., the battle after the "millennium" described in Re 20:7-10
         c. Various views are also offered for the blessing of Judah 
            and Jerusalem in 3:18-21
      -- With such differences in interpretation, one should not be dogmatic

      1. The passage is not to be taken literally
         a. It would be physically impossible for ALL the nations to 
            gather in the "Valley of Jehoshaphat" - 3:2,12
         b. The "Valley of  Acacias" is located on the other side of 
            the Jordan River, making it geographically impossible to be
            watered by a stream from Jerusalem - 3:18
      2. This passage speaks in terms meaningful and comforting to 
         Israelites in Joel's day
         a. The prophecy was initially given to comfort them, give them
            hope for the future
         b. Therefore prophetic elements are described in terms to 
            which they could relate
            1) E.g., deliverance in their capital, Jerusalem - 2:32
            2) E.g., judgment upon those enemies who oppressed them- 3:1-8
            3) E.g., desolation of such enemies as Edom and Egypt- 3:19
            4) E.g., blessings to befall the nation and the land- 3:18,20-21
      3. But it refers to spiritual realities fulfilled with the coming
         of the Messiah!
         a. Salvation and deliverance will indeed come out of Zion and
            Jerusalem - cf. 2:32 with Lk 24:44-47; He 12:22-24
         b. God will judge the enemies of His people - cf. 3:1-17 with
            Re 4-20 (esp. Re 20:7-10)
         c. In the end, God's people will prosper and the wicked will 
            be desolate - cf. 3:18-21 with Re 21-22 (esp. Re 22:1-2)
      4. This is true whether or not any particular event is referred 
         to in this passage
         a. I lean toward the view that "the day of the  Lord" in this
            passage is the FINAL JUDGMENT when the Lord comes again
         b. Others think that it refers to the DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM
            in 70 A.D
         c. Whatever one's interpretation, the application is the same...
            1) The means and source of salvation:  The Lord Himself - 2:32
            2) The day of the Lord is coming!
               a) A terrible day for the wicked - cf. 3:14-16a
               b) But for God's people there is shelter and strength- cf. 3:16b
               c) And in the end, blessings for the people of God, 
                  while their enemies lie desolate - cf. 3:18-21


1. In studying "The Minor Prophets"...
   a. Determining the proper INTERPRETATION is certainly a worthy goal
   b. But determining the proper APPLICATION is our essential task!

2. If this be true, then the crucial question is this:  Have we found
   that salvation, deliverance, shelter and strength which only the Lord
   can provide when the final "day of the Lord" comes?

To know where to look, one should carefully read Peter's sermon on the
Day of Pentecost, after he had quoted Joel - cf. Ac 2:22-39

Afterlife and the Bible by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Afterlife and the Bible

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

We human beings find it very easy to live life as if we will be here forever. On occasion, we come face to face with death when a loved one or friend passes away. But the essence of daily living is such that it is easy to ignore the reality of death and the certainty of existence beyond the grave. Numerous ideas exist in the world regarding life after death—from annihilation to reincarnation. Islam speaks of “paradise” while Catholicism speaks of “purgatory.” While it does not answer all of our questions, the Bible nevertheless speaks definitively and decisively regarding afterlife.
The Bible teaches that human beings are composite creatures. Humans possess a fleshly body that is composed of physical elements made from “the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7). Unlike animals, humans also possess a spiritual dimension—made in God’s own image—that transcends the body and physical life on Earth (Genesis 1:26-27). God places within each prenatal person at conception a spirit that makes each individual a unique personality that will survive physical death, living on immortally throughout eternity (Zechariah 12:1). At death, the spirit separates from the body and exists in a conscious condition in the spirit realm (Genesis 35:18; 1 Kings 17:21-22). Thus the Bible defines “death” as “separation”—not “extinction” or “annihilation” (Thayer, 1901, p. 282; Vine, 1940, p. 276). Since “the body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26), the separation of one’s spirit from one’s body results in the physical death of the body. But what about the spirit?
The clearest depiction of existence beyond physical death is seen in Luke 16:19-31. In this account, both men are said to have died. Wherever Lazarus went, angels transported him there. The rich man’s body was buried—but his person was in Hades where he was tormented in flames. The rich man could see and recognize Lazarus and Abraham. Abraham referred to the rich man’s former existence as “your lifetime.” Abraham made clear that their respective locations were irreversible. The rich man’s brothers still occupied their father’s house on Earth. The rich man’s plea to send Lazarus to his living relatives would require Lazarus to “rise from the dead” (vs. 31).
The term translated “hell” in verse 23 (KJV) is the Greek word hades, and is not to be confused with the term gehenna. “Gehenna” (found twelve times in the New Testament) refers to the place of eternal, everlasting punishment—the “lake of fire” where Satan, his angels, and all wicked people will be consigned after the Second Coming of Jesus and the Judgment. Gehenna is hell. On the other hand, “hades” (occurring ten times in the New Testament and paralleling the Hebrew Old Testament term sheol) always refers to the unseen realm of the dead—the receptacle of disembodied spirits where dead people await the return of the Lord (Revelation 1:18). Hades is not hell.
Observe further that Luke 16 depicts Hades as including two regions: one for the deceased righteous, and a second for the deceased wicked. The former is referred to as the “bosom of Abraham” (meaning “near” or “in the presence of ” Abraham—cf. John 1:18). Jesus referred to this location as “paradise” (Luke 23:43; cf. Acts 2:25-34). The term “paradise” is of Persian derivation, and referred to “a grand enclosure or preserve, hunting-ground, park, shady and well-watered” (Thayer, 1901, p. 480). The Jews used the term as “a garden, pleasure-ground, grove, park,” and came to apply it to that portion of Hades that was thought “to be the abode of the souls of the pious until the resurrection” (p. 480). The word is used in three senses in the Bible: (1) In the Septuagint (Genesis 2:8,9,10,15,16; 3:2,3,4,9,11,24,25), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, it refers to the literal Garden of Eden on Earth where Adam and Eve lived (Septuagint, 1970, pp. 3-5). It normally is translated “garden” in English versions; (2) It is used one time, in a highly figurative New Testament book, to refer to the final abode of the saved, i.e., heaven (Revelation 2:7); and (3) It is used in connection with the Hadean realm.
While Jesus, the thief, and Lazarus went to the paradise portion of Hades, the rich man went to the unpleasant area that entailed torment and flame—tartarosas, or Tartarus (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). The occupants there await “the judgment of the great day.” Thus, Hades is a temporary realm that will be terminated at the Judgment (Revelation 20:13-14).
God gives people only their earthly life to prepare their spirits for their eternal abode (Hebrews 9:27). When a person dies, his or her body goes into the grave, while the spirit enters the Hadean realm to await the final Judgment. At the Second Coming of Christ, all spirits will come forth from Hades and be resurrected in immortal bodies (John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15:35-54). All will then face God in judgment, receive the pronouncement of eternal sentence, and be consigned to heaven or hell for eternity.
[NOTE: For an audio sermon on this topic, click here.]


Septuagint Version of the Old Testament (1970 reprint), (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Thayer, J.H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
Vine, W.E. (1966 reprint), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).

Adam and Eve, Good and Evil by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Adam and Eve, Good and Evil

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did Adam and Eve know of good and evil prior to sinning? It was only after Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that the Bible says they came “to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:5,22). How could God punish them for an evil action if they did not know what evil was?


Consider a hypothetical situation: What if two godly parents living in the most wicked city in the world chose never to let their children out of their house. They gave them everything they needed for survival inside the house. They filled their home with only good things. Their children never saw evil on television, heard of it on the radio, nor read of it in books. The children could play in any room in the house and open any door, except they had been forbidden to open the front door that leads to “Sodom and Gomorrah.” Do these children know what they can do and cannot do? Yes. Have they seen, witnessed, or experienced the evil outside their house (and compared that evil to the good within their own house)? No. Everything in their house was good. They had the freedom to do any number of things within their own house. They were forbidden to do one thing: open the front door. Did they know they were not supposed to open the front door? Yes. But did they know of the evil on the other side? No. They had never seen it, heard it, thought it, or experienced it.
The term “know” (Hebrew yada, Greek ginosko) or one of its derivatives (i.e., knew, known, etc.) is used in Scripture in a variety of ways. Several times it refers to a man and woman having sexual intercourse (Genesis 4:1,17,25; Judges 11:39; 19:25). Jesus used the term to refer to His regard for His sheep (i.e., people—John 10:27). In contrast to the way of the wicked that will perish, the psalmist wrote that God “knows” (i.e., approves, takes delight in, etc.) the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6). Paul used the term “know” in Ephesians 3:19 in the sense of knowing “experimentally what intellectually is beyond our powers of knowing”—the love of Christ (Jamieson, 1997). The fact is, like so many other words in Scripture (and in modern times) the word “know” has a variety of meanings.
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden everything was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). They had the freedom to eat of “of every tree of the garden” (2:16), but were forbidden to eat of the fruit of one of them (2:17). They knew of God’s good creation and they knew that if they ate of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (the one forbidden tree), God said they would die (3:2-3). However, it was not until after they ate of the forbidden tree that they actually “knew” (experienced) evil. Thus, in one sense Adam and Eve did know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil (they knew what they should and should not do; they understood moral distinctions), but they did not know of good and evil experientially until after their disobedience.


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

A Look at 1 Corinthians 7:15 by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


A Look at 1 Corinthians 7:15

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

A current misconception with regard to divorce and remarriage is the notion that 1 Corinthians 7:15 is “later revelation” which “modifies” or “clarifies” Matthew 19:9. It is argued that 1 Corinthians 7:15 permits the Christian, who is deserted by a non-Christian mate, to remarry on the sole ground of that desertion. On the other hand, Matthew 19:9, which permits remarriage only on the ground of fornication, applies strictly to a Christian married to a Christian and therefore is not to be considered applicable to the Christian who is married to a non-Christian. Several factors make such a viewpoint untenable:
First, the context of Matthew 19 is divorce (Matthew 19:3), while the context of 1 Corinthians 7 is not divorce, but the propriety of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1ff.). Jesus applied God’s original marriage law (paraphrased from Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 in Matthew 19:4-6) to the question of divorce and remarriage in Matthew 19:9. But Paul applied God’s general marriage law (paraphrased in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11) to several different questions which relate to celibacy and the legitimacy of marriage for widows/widowers, Christian/non-­Christians, and singles.
Second, it is fallacious to hold that if 1 Corinthians 7:15 relates to a Christian married to a non-Christian, Matthew 19:9 must refer exclusively to a Christian married to a Christian. Matthew 19:9 was uttered in context to a group of Jews who were seeking an answer to their question concerning Jewish divorce (Matthew 19:3). Jesus gave them an answer that was intended for them—as well as for all those who would live during the Christian age. He appealed to Genesis 2 which resides in a pre-Jewish context and clearly applies to all men—the totality of humanity. Genesis 2 is a human race context. It reveals God’s ideal will for human marriage for all of human history—pre-Mosaic, Mosaic, and Christian. Though divorce and remarriage for reasons other than fornication was “allowed” (though not endorsed—Matthew 19:8) during the Mosaic period, Jesus made clear that the Jews had strayed from the original ideal because of their hard hearts. He further emphasized (notice the use of δε [“but”] in Matthew 19:8-9) that the original marriage law, which permitted divorce and remarriage for fornication alone, would be reaffirmed as applicable to all persons during the Christian age. Prior to the cross, ignorance may have been “unattended to” (Acts 17:30), that is, God did not have a universal law, as is the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16), but with the ratification of the New Testament, all men everywhere are responsible and liable for conforming themselves to God’s universal laws of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. God’s original marriage law was and is addressed to all people (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). Christ’s application to the question of divorce was implied in the original law and is addressed to all people (Matthew 19:9). Paul’s application to questions of sex, celibacy, and non-Christian mates is addressed to all people (1 Corinthians 7). Scripture harmonizes beautifully and God treats all impartially. Thus “to the rest” (1 Corinthians 7:12) cannot be applying to other marriage relationships since Jesus had already referred to all marriages (whether Jew or non-Jew, Christian or non-Christian).
Third, 1 Corinthians 7 does not address different “classes” of marriages. The Corinthian letter was written in response to correspondence previously sent to Paul by the Corinthian (cf. 1:11; 5:1; 7:1; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1). Thus, 1 Corinthians amounts to a point-by-point response to matters previously raised by the Corinthians themselves. When Paul refers to the general question of sexual activity/celibacy (7:1), he is alluding to the method by which he is organizing his remarks in direct response to questions asked by the Corinthians. Thus, “to the rest” (7:12) refers to the rest of the matters or questions about which the Corinthians specifically inquired (and to which Jesus did not make specific application while on Earth). These matters (not marriages) are easily discernible from what follows. The “rest” of the questions would have included the following:
  1. Should a Christian husband who has a non-Christian wife sever the relationship (vs. 12)?
  2. Should a Christian wife who has a non-Christian husband sever the relationship (vs. 13)?
  3. Are Christians somehow ceremon­ially defiled or rendered unclean by such a relationship (vs. 14)?
  4. Are children born to such relation­ships ceremonially unclean (vs. 14)?
  5. Is a Christian guilty of sin if his or her non-Christian mate severs the relationship (vss. 15-16)?
  6. Does becoming a Christian mean that one should dissolve all conditions and relationships which were entered into before becoming a Christian (vss. 17-24)?
  7. What should be the sexual and/or marital status of virgins and widows in light of the current period of distress (vss. 25-40)?
All of these questions may be answered in light of and in harmony with Jesus’ own remarks in Matthew 19. Jesus did not specifically make application to these unique instances. He did not address Himself to the application of God’s general marriage law to every possible scenario (specifically, to the spiritual status of a Christian married to a non-Christian). Yet, His teaching applies to every case of marriage on the question of divorce.
Fourth, the specific context of 1 Corinthians 7:15 relates to the person who becomes a Christian, but whose mate does not. The unbeliever now finds himself married to a different person (in the sense that his mate underwent a total change in thinking and morals, and began to live a completely different lifestyle). The unbeliever consequently issues an ultimatum, demanding that his mate make a choice: “either give up Christ, or I’m leaving!” Yet, to live in marriage with an unbeliever who makes continuance of the marriage dependent upon the believer’s capitulation (i.e., compromise of Christian responsibility or neglect of divinely-ordained duty) would amount to slavery (i.e., “bondage”—being forced to forego the Christian life). But neither at the time the marriage was contracted, nor at the present time, has the Christian been under that kind of bondage (such is the force of the perfect indicative passive in Greek). God never intended or approved the notion that marriage is slavery. Christians are slaves only to God—never to men or mates (Matthew 23:10; Romans 6:22; Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:24; Philemon 16; 1 Corinthians 7:15). So, Paul is saying that, though a believer is married to an unbeliever (and continues to be so), the believer is not to compromise his or her discipleship. To do so, to back away from faithful loyalty to Christ, at the insistence of the unbelieving mate, would constitute a form of slavery which was never God’s intention for marriage. To suggest that δεδουλωται (“bondage, enslaved, reduced to servitude”) refers to the marriage bond is to maintain that in some sense and in some cases the marriage bond is to be viewed as a state of slavery. But God does not want us to view our marital unions as slave relationships in which we are “under bondage.” Yes, if our marriage is scriptural, we are “bound” (δεο—1 Corinth­ians 7:27,39; cf. Romans 7:2), but we’re not “enslaved” (1 Corinthians 7:15). So Paul was not commenting on the status of a believer’s marital status (i.e., whether bound or loosed). Rather, he was commenting on the status of a believer’s spiritual responsibilities as a Christian in the context of marital turmoil generated by the non-Christian mate and calculated to derail the Christian’s faithfulness to Christ. Paul was answering the question: “How does being married to a non-Christian affect my status as a Christian if he/she threatens to leave?” He was not answering the question: “How does being married to a non-Christian affect my status as a husband/wife (with the potential for remarriage) when the non-Christian departs?” Jesus already answered that question in Matthew 19:9—divorce and remarriage is permitted only upon the basis of your mate’s sexual unfaithfulness. Paul, too, spoke more directly to this question back in verses 10-11 when he ruled out remarriage.
Summarizing, though God’s marriage law is stringent (for everybody), and though God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), neverthe­less, there are times when an unbelieving mate will actually force the believer to make a choice between Christ and the unbelieving mate. To choose the mate over Christ—to acquiesce to the non-Christian mate’s demand to compromise one’s faithfulness in any area of obligation to God—would be to subject oneself to, and to transform the marriage into, a state of slavery (i.e., “bondage”). Yet, the believer is not now and never has been in such enslavement. Thus, the believer must let the unbeliever exit the relationship in peace. The believer must “let him depart”—in the sense that the believer must not seek to prevent his departure by compromising his loyalty to Christ. Of course, the Christian would continue to hold out hope that the marriage could be saved. If, however, the non-Christian forms a sexual union with another, the Christian is permitted the right to exercise the injunction of Matthew 19:9 by putting away the non-Christian solely on the grounds of fornication, freeing the innocent Christian to marry an eligible person.
Fifth, one final factor to consider. Verses 17-24 cannot be requiring an individual to remain in whatever marital state he or she is in at the time of conversion. Paul uses the examples of slavery and circumcision to show that, merely because a person becomes a Christian, he is not absolved of his pre-Christian circumstances. If he is a slave prior to baptism, he will continue to be a slave after baptism, and should not think that becoming a Christian gives him the right to shirk his legal status as a slave. Such is why Paul instructed Onesimus to return to his position of servitude (Philemon 12). So, Paul was encouraging the person who becomes a Christian, but whose mate does not become a Christian, to remain in that marriage rather than think that becoming a Christian somehow gives him or her the right to sever the relationship with the non-Christian mate. Being married to a non-Christian mate is not sinful in and of itself (see Miller, 2002). But Paul was not placing his stamp of approval upon relationships, practices, and conditions that were sinful prior to baptism and encouraging Christians to remain in those relationships. Such would contradict what he later tells the Corinthians concerning unequal yokes (2 Corinthians 6:17) and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). He was referring to relationships and conditions that were not sinful prior to baptism. Christians still have the same obligations to conduct themselves appropriately (i.e., according to God’s laws) within those pre-conversion situations, though they have now become Christians. Such instructions apply to any relationship, practice, or condition that was not sinful (i.e., in violation of Christ’s laws) prior to baptism. But this directive does not apply to any practice or relationship that was sinful prior to baptism (i.e., adultery, homo­sexuality, evil business practices, etc. cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
May God grant us the humility and determination to conform our lives to His will concerning marriage—no matter how “narrow” it may seem (Matthew 7:14). May the church of our day be spared any further harm that comes from the promotion of false theories and doctrines which are calculated to re-define God’s will as “wide” and “broad” (Matthew 7:13). May we truly seek to please, not men, but God (Galatians 1:10).


Miller, Dave (2002), “Be Not Unequally Yoked,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=431&topic=37.

NOBODY’S A ‘NOBODY’ by Jim McGuiggan



George MacDonald’s character, Curdie, came to the king’s house because the princess had told him to report to her there. At the door he met the officious housekeeper (who seemed to swell and fill the door) who rebuked him for his comings and goings and the fact that he (as she saw it) made a mess of things while he was there. “Don’t you know this is my house?” she barked. Curdie politely replied that he didn’t know that because he thought it was the king’s house. She responded, he responded, she called him insolent and oozing pride & she asked the poor ignoramus, “Don’t you see by my dress that I am in the king’s service?” Curdie, a young mine worker, wanted to know, “And am I not one of his miners?”
“Ah, that goes for nothing,” she snapped. “I am one of his household. You are an out-of-doors laborer. You are a nobody. You carry a pickaxe. I carry the keys at my waist. See!”
But Curdie checkmated her with, “But you must not call one ‘a nobody’ to whom the king has spoken.”
This is a hard lesson for us to learn. You understand that it isn’t that we’re all to function in the same place of authority with the same responsibilities. There are those that have been given authority over us and though often we don’t like that, there’s no community living without accepting the truth of it. Still, it’s a hard lesson to learn because we tend to be prideful (do we not?) and if we’ve haven’t been given the most sought after job, the one that attracts the attention and gets the big money, we’re inclined to whimper (and other things) a lot. Well, why not? We should be treated with respect and when we are stuck in a lower level position our “personhood” is scorned and many of us won’t stand for that, will we.  (Is that not true—or am I mistaken?)
The sad thing is that some of us get the place we think we deserve and it doesn’t make us better. Like the officious housekeeper we balloon up and fill the doorways of life and are only content when we think we’ve surpassed the other “peasants” way below us. In that spirit it doesn’t matter to us, for example, that others would be better as rich people than we would be if we were made rich. It only matters that we are or get to be wealthy or prominent or acclaimed.
Apparently Curdie had no trouble with any of that. He had a pure heart and was perfectly content to be the king’s miner. He didn’t need to have the keys to buildings hanging at his belt, didn’t need to minister to vast congregations, nor did he need to drive a big fancy car or be the belle of anyone’s ball. He was more than at peace within himself. He rejoiced in the dignity of being one that the king had spoken to and needed nothing more.
(Sigh. What a lovely way that is. It makes me want to be a better man and while I can’t confess that I’m troubled much with jealousy, perhaps there’s more of it in me than I occasionally think there is. Of course I’m well aware that I’m greatly troubled with other things.)
You see the confrontation between Curdie and the housekeeper illustrated in reverse in Number 16 where the rebels weren’t as wise or as pure in heart as Curdie.
Korah, Dathan and Abiram attacked Moses and Aaron because those two exercised authority over the assembly at large and restricted the priesthood to Aaron’s family. The rebels said that these two took too much on themselves because all the people of God are holy and they wanted to exercise the priesthood (16:1-4, 10). Moses reminded them that this was God’s restriction but he goes on to remind these Levites that God had spoken to them and given them their own ministry (16:10). And that was where the problem was rooted. The leading rebels didn’t think their ministry was glorious enough—they wanted more. They thought they were being cheated, you see. They thought that having the priesthood keys at their belt would give them the dignity and recognition they deserved. Had they believed what Curdie knew, that no one to whom the King has spoken is “a nobody;” they would not have despised the privileged place God had already given to them. Though Curdie was a miner with a pickaxe in his hand he knew full well and with joyful contentment that he was one of the king’s servants and in this knowledge he glorified his ministry.
You understand it wasn’t simply that Korah and company were despising their position, they were exalting themselves (compare Romans 12:3-8) and thought they were being robbed. And they weren’t opposing Moses alone; they were opposing God (Numbers 16:11)!
It wasn’t a question about what God wanted. It was all about what these Levites wanted! It wasn’t an information problem; it was a heart problem. “I deserve and want more!”
Poor souls. They talked as though they were suffering like the colonies in their most awful moments suffered when France and Spain and Portugal and Britain were at their plundering worst. They talked as though they were African-Americans that were humiliated and robbed all those years under the worst face of White dominance in the USA or they were Irish during the centuries when England plundered and bullied them. Doesn’t it make you want to throw up sometimes when people (ourselves included?) blessed to the skies whine on and on about wanting more? Those, like Korah, Dathan and Abiram who take the lead in furthering a heart problem among the people of God have something to answer for as the entire Numbers 16 chapter shows.
I can easily imagine someone saying: “It occurs to me that this is a great chapter to use to defend the status quo. It’s a good chapter to use to keep people ‘in their place’.” Hmmm. That’d be another heart problem, wouldn’t it?].

HUMAN TRADITION? by steve finnell


HUMAN TRADITION? by steve finnell

Is man-made tradition equal to Scripture? Can following human tradition save anyone? Does God approve of human tradition that is contrary to the Bible?

Believers in God have always struggled with human traditions.

Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. (NIV)

Human tradition does not please God

Mark 7:1-9.......7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules made by men.' 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." 9 And he said to them : "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God  in order to observe your own traditions! (NIV)

God did not inspire man-made creed books, denominational doctrines that are contrary to Scripture, nor any other books that have been inspired by men's opinions.

Matthew 16:5-12.......12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against  the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. (NIV)

The Pharisees and Sadducees had a problem. They loved their human traditions more than God's commandments.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine . Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what they want to hear. 4 They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (NIV)

Myth Defined: Any invented story, idea, or concept.

All doctrine that is contrary to the Bible is a myth. 

Human traditions that men have accepted as truth, but are contrary to the Bible:
1. That mankind living under the new covenant can be saved like the thief on the cross. No water baptism required. The thief did not believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, so no belief in the resurrection of Jesus required.


2. God selected a few men to be saved by grace alone and selected all others to burn in hell for all eternity.


3. That praying to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints has been approved of by God.


4. That water baptism is for a testimony of faith, but not essential for forgiveness of sins.


5. That God created theistic evolution.


6. That God established different denominations so men could choose the plan of salvation that agrees their own desires. That faith and practice could be written according to the tradition of men.


7. That pastors and priests have been given the authority to forgive men of their sins against God.


8. That studying Bible commentaries, church creed books, catechisms, denominational statements of faith is the way to find God's absolute truth.


9. That all men are guilty of Adam's sin at birth and need to be forgiven of Adam's sin. That the doctrine of original sin is confirmed by Scripture. [Note: Infants are not guilty of sin. Period. They do not break God's commandments.]



The Bible and the Bible alone is the antidote for the myths of human traditions. The Bible is the inoculation against false doctrine.

It Shall Accomplish What I Please by B. Johnson


It Shall Accomplish What I Please
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa 55:10-11).
Our Heavenly Father says that His word is like the snow and rain from heaven which make the earth bud and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater. Like the moisture from the sky, His word will not return to him void, but it will accomplish the purpose for which it has been sent.
The comparison here is between the earth receiving the snow and rain and being nourished, or watered, by it and His word (both Old Testament and New) being sent into the hearts of the people. Sometimes the earth is rocky and hard; likewise the hearts of the people may not be receptive, yet the gospel has a way of softening or watering those stony hearts to make them grow into what God wants them to be.
When we have studied and worked with an individual or a group of people who seem not to understand or respond, we need to remember this passage and know that God’s word will not return to him empty. It will accomplish His will even if it only serves to put Jesus’ enemies under his feet (1 Cor 15:24-26). Our Father is fair and will give these people every possible chance to repent (2 Pe 3:9).
God has ordained that He will accomplish His will through His word. Man’s ways and thoughts are not the same as God’s ways and thoughts (Isa 55:8-9). The only way we can know God’s thoughts is for Him to reveal them to us, for only the Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of God (1 Cor 2:11). God’s prophets and apostles were inspired to write the word of God in the scriptures (2 Tim 3:16-17). They were guided into all truth (Jn 16:13).
We can build with wood, hay and stubble, but the only thing that will endure the test of the fire is gold (1 Cor 2:12-13). God’s word is pure gold, and we must use it to build in the hearts of the people. The Lord commanded Timothy to preach what he heard from the inspired apostle (2 Tim 2:2), and was told to preach God’s word (2 Tim 4:4). He commands us to preach the oracles of God (1 Pe 4:11). If we trust Him, and preach His word, it will not return to Him void.
Beth Johnson
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.
Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading for February 12 & 13 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading for February 12 & 13

World  English  Bible


Feb. 12
Genesis 43

Gen 43:1 The famine was severe in the land.
Gen 43:2 It happened, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said to them, "Go again, buy us a little more food."
Gen 43:3 Judah spoke to him, saying, "The man solemnly warned us, saying, 'You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.'
Gen 43:4 If you'll send our brother with us, we'll go down and buy you food,
Gen 43:5 but if you'll not send him, we'll not go down, for the man said to us, 'You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.' "
Gen 43:6 Israel said, "Why did you treat me so badly, telling the man that you had another brother?"
Gen 43:7 They said, "The man asked directly concerning ourselves, and concerning our relatives, saying, 'Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?' We just answered his questions. Is there any way we could know that he would say, 'Bring your brother down?' "
Gen 43:8 Judah said to Israel, his father, "Send the boy with me, and we'll get up and go, so that we may live, and not die, both we, and you, and also our little ones.
Gen 43:9 I'll be collateral for him. From my hand will you require him. If I don't bring him to you, and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever,
Gen 43:10 for if we hadn't delayed, surely we would have returned a second time by now."
Gen 43:11 Their father, Israel, said to them, "If it must be so, then do this. Take from the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry down a present for the man, a little balm, a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts, and almonds;
Gen 43:12 and take double money in your hand, and take back the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight.
Gen 43:13 Take your brother also, get up, and return to the man.
Gen 43:14 May God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release to you your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved."
Gen 43:15 The men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and got up, went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
Gen 43:16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, "Bring the men into the house, and butcher an animal, and make ready; for the men will dine with me at noon."
Gen 43:17 The man did as Joseph commanded, and the man brought the men to Joseph's house.
Gen 43:18 The men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph's house; and they said, "Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time, we're brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, attack us, and seize us as slaves, along with our donkeys."
Gen 43:19 They came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they spoke to him at the door of the house,
Gen 43:20 and said, "Oh, my lord, we indeed came down the first time to buy food.
Gen 43:21 When we came to the lodging place, we opened our sacks, and behold, every man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. We have brought it back in our hand.
Gen 43:22 We have brought down other money in our hand to buy food. We don't know who put our money in our sacks."
Gen 43:23 He said, "Peace be to you. Don't be afraid. Your God, and the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks. I received your money." He brought Simeon out to them.
Gen 43:24 The man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet. He gave their donkeys fodder.
Gen 43:25 They made ready the present for Joseph's coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there.
Gen 43:26 When Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves down to him to the earth.
Gen 43:27 He asked them of their welfare, and said, "Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he yet alive?"
Gen 43:28 They said, "Your servant, our father, is well. He is still alive." They bowed the head, and did homage.
Gen 43:29 He lifted up his eyes, and saw Benjamin, his brother, his mother's son, and said, "Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?" He said, "God be gracious to you, my son."
Gen 43:30 Joseph hurried, for his heart yearned over his brother; and he sought a place to weep. He entered into his room, and wept there.
Gen 43:31 He washed his face, and came out. He controlled himself, and said, "Serve the meal."
Gen 43:32 They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians, that ate with him, by themselves, because the Egyptians don't eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.
Gen 43:33 They sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth, and the men marveled one with another.
Gen 43:34 He sent portions to them from before him, but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. They drank, and were merry with him.

Feb. 13
Genesis 44

Gen 44:1 He commanded the steward of his house, saying, "Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth.
Gen 44:2 Put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, with his grain money." He did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
Gen 44:3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys.
Gen 44:4 When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, "Up, follow after the men. When you overtake them, ask them, 'Why have you rewarded evil for good?
Gen 44:5 Isn't this that from which my lord drinks, and by which he indeed divines? You have done evil in so doing.' "
Gen 44:6 He overtook them, and he spoke these words to them.
Gen 44:7 They said to him, "Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing!
Gen 44:8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again to you out of the land of Canaan. How then should we steal silver or gold out of your lord's house?
Gen 44:9 With whoever of your servants it be found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondservants."
Gen 44:10 He said, "Now also let it be according to your words: he with whom it is found will be my bondservant; and you will be blameless."
Gen 44:11 Then they hurried, and every man took his sack down to the ground, and every man opened his sack.
Gen 44:12 He searched, beginning with the eldest, and ending at the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin's sack.
Gen 44:13 Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and returned to the city.
Gen 44:14 Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, and he was still there. They fell on the ground before him.
Gen 44:15 Joseph said to them, "What deed is this that you have done? Don't you know that such a man as I can indeed divine?"
Gen 44:16 Judah said, "What will we tell my lord? What will we speak? Or how will we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold, we are my lord's bondservants, both we, and he also in whose hand the cup is found."
Gen 44:17 He said, "Far be it from me that I should do so. The man in whose hand the cup is found, he will be my bondservant; but as for you, go up in peace to your father."
Gen 44:18 Then Judah came near to him, and said, "Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord's ears, and don't let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even as Pharaoh.
Gen 44:19 My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Have you a father, or a brother?'
Gen 44:20 We said to my lord, 'We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother; and his father loves him.'
Gen 44:21 You said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.'
Gen 44:22 We said to my lord, 'The boy can't leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.'
Gen 44:23 You said to your servants, 'Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will see my face no more.'
Gen 44:24 It happened when we came up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.
Gen 44:25 Our father said, 'Go again, buy us a little food.'
Gen 44:26 We said, 'We can't go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down: for we may not see the man's face, unless our youngest brother is with us.'
Gen 44:27 Your servant, my father, said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons:
Gen 44:28 and the one went out from me, and I said, "Surely he is torn in pieces;" and I haven't seen him since.
Gen 44:29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.'
Gen 44:30 Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the boy's life;
Gen 44:31 it will happen, when he sees that the boy is no more, that he will die. Your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant, our father, with sorrow to Sheol.
Gen 44:32 For your servant became collateral for the boy to my father, saying, 'If I don't bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever.'
Gen 44:33 Now therefore, please let your servant stay instead of the boy, a bondservant to my lord; and let the boy go up with his brothers.
Gen 44:34 For how will I go up to my father, if the boy isn't with me?--lest I see the evil that will come on my father." 
Feb. 12, 13
Matthew 22

Mat 22:1 Jesus answered and spoke again in parables to them, saying,
Mat 22:2 "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son,
Mat 22:3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast, but they would not come.
Mat 22:4 Again he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "Behold, I have made ready my dinner. My cattle and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the marriage feast!" '
Mat 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise,
Mat 22:6 and the rest grabbed his servants, and treated them shamefully, and killed them.
Mat 22:7 When the king heard that, he was angry, and sent his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Mat 22:8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited weren't worthy.
Mat 22:9 Go therefore to the intersections of the highways, and as many as you may find, invite to the marriage feast.'
Mat 22:10 Those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good. The wedding was filled with guests.
Mat 22:11 But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who didn't have on wedding clothing,
Mat 22:12 and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here not wearing wedding clothing?' He was speechless.
Mat 22:13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and throw him into the outer darkness; there is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.'
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few chosen."
Mat 22:15 Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entrap him in his talk.
Mat 22:16 They sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are honest, and teach the way of God in truth, no matter who you teach, for you aren't partial to anyone.
Mat 22:17 Tell us therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"
Mat 22:18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test me, you hypocrites?
Mat 22:19 Show me the tax money." They brought to him a denarius.
Mat 22:20 He asked them, "Whose is this image and inscription?"
Mat 22:21 They said to him, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
Mat 22:22 When they heard it, they marveled, and left him, and went away.
Mat 22:23 On that day Sadducees (those who say that there is no resurrection) came to him. They asked him,
Mat 22:24 saying, "Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed for his brother.'
Mat 22:25 Now there were with us seven brothers. The first married and died, and having no seed left his wife to his brother.
Mat 22:26 In like manner the second also, and the third, to the seventh.
Mat 22:27 After them all, the woman died.
Mat 22:28 In the resurrection therefore, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had her."
Mat 22:29 But Jesus answered them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.
Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like God's angels in heaven.
Mat 22:31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven't you read that which was spoken to you by God, saying,
Mat 22:32 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
Mat 22:33 When the multitudes heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
Mat 22:34 But the Pharisees, when they heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, gathered themselves together.
Mat 22:35 One of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, testing him.
Mat 22:36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Mat 22:37 Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 A second likewise is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
Mat 22:40 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
Mat 22:41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question,
Mat 22:42 saying, "What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "Of David."
Mat 22:43 He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying,
Mat 22:44 'The Lord said to my Lord, sit on my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?'
Mat 22:45 "If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?"
Mat 22:46 No one was able to answer him a word, neither did any man dare ask him any more questions from that day forth.