2/26/20

"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Hosea - God's Redeeming Love (4:1-7:16) by Mark Copeland




                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                Hosea - God's Redeeming Love (4:1-7:16)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our previous lesson we began our survey of the book of Hosea...
   a. Noting that Hosea was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel
   b. Whose work began as Amos' was ending, and prophesied from 750-725 B.C.

2. The key to understanding the book is the analogy illustrated in the
   first three chapters...
   a. In which Hosea and his wife Gomer illustrates God's experience with Israel
   b. Which served as an object lesson to express "God's Redeeming
      Love" for His people

3. We therefore saw in the first three chapters...
   a. Israel's rejection symbolized, in the names of Hosea and Gomer's children - Hos 1:2-9
   b. Israel's restoration foretold - Hos 1:10-2:1
   c. Israel's unfaithfulness described, depicted as a wife guilty of harlotry - Hos 2:2-13
   d. Israel's restoration described, cured of her idolatry - Hos 2:14-23
   e. Israel's restoration symbolized, depicted as a harlot taken back to be a wife - Hos 3:1-5

4. The rest of the book contains the messages of Hosea, proclaimed with
   this analogy in the background; there is...
   a. God's indictment of Israel and her sins - Hos 4:1-7:16
   b. God's warning of punishment that is to befall her - Hos 8:1-10:15
   c. God's promise of a future restoration - Hos 11:1-14:9

[In this lesson, we shall continue our survey of Hosea by noticing 
God's indictment of Israel for her sins, chapters 4-7...]

I. GOD'S INDICTMENT OF ISRAEL (4:1-7:16)

   A. THE CHARGE AGAINST ISRAEL (4:1-5:15)
      1. Against the nation as a whole - Hos 4:1-3
         a. For no truth, mercy, or knowledge of God is in the land
         b. All forms of wickedness are rampant
      2. Against the priests in particular - Hos 4:4-14
         a. It does no good to contend with the people, for people do
            not respect their priests
         b. The priests themselves have rejected knowledge, which is to their destruction
         c. The priests feed off the sins of the people, increasing their own spiritual adultery
      3. A word of warning to Judah in the south - Hos 4:15-19
         a. Judah, don't be like Israel!
         b. Judah, leave Ephraim (Israel) to her idols!
      4. Against the priests, rulers, and people - Hos 5:1-7
         a. They have been a snare, not a help
         b. Their idolatry has led Israel to stumble, even Judah as well
         d. God has withdrawn Himself from them
      5. The impending sentence - Hos 5:8-15
         a. Ephraim (Israel) shall be laid waste, and Judah shall not escape either
         b. Like a lion, God will come upon them and tear them away
         c. This God will do until they confess their sin and diligently seek Him

   B. THEIR APPEAL REJECTED (6:1-7:16)
      1. The call to repentance - Hos 6:1-3
         a. Some believe these three verses are Hosea's desperate plea to Israel to repent
         b. Others think that these are the words of Israel, but was not sincere
         -- In either case, verse four reveals the shallowness of Israel's faithfulness
      2. Rejected because of Israel's true condition - Hos 6:4-7:16
         a. Faithfulness was only temporary, like the morning cloud or early dew
         b. They offered sacrifices, but did not show mercy or truly know God
         c. They transgressed the covenant, and became defiled, even influencing Judah
         d. When God would have healed them, their iniquity was even worse
         e. Idolatry, alliances with pagan nations, rejection of God's
            efforts to discipline them...all these things were the 
            charges brought against Israel!

[Like a Judge in court God has brought His charges against unfaithful
Israel.  Like an unfaithful spouse who committed adultery, so Israel 
has done to God!  Our next study will consider God's warning of the 
punishment to befall Israel, but before we finish this lesson let's 
review..]

II. SOME KEY PASSAGES IN THIS SECTION

   A. "MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE"
      1. Notice Hos 4:1,6
      2. This verse, like many others in the Bible, emphasizes the 
         importance of knowing the Word of God - cf. Jm 1:21
      -- How is your knowledge of God's Word?

   B. "EPHRAIM IS JOINED TO IDOLS, LET HIM ALONE"
      1. Consider Hos 4:17
      2. The context is that of warning Judah to stay away from Israel
      3. There often comes a time when efforts to restore the erring
         are futile; rather than risk being influenced adversely, 
         withdrawal of association is necessary - cf. 1Co 5:11-13

   C. "YOUR FAITHFULNESS IS LIKE A MORNING CLOUD..."
      1. Read Hos 6:4
      2. Many people are quick to profess repentance, but do remain 
         true to the Lord; how faithful to the Lord are we?

   D. "FOR I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE..."
      1. This passage (Hos 6:6) was often quoted by Jesus - Mt 9:13; 12:7
      2. It reflects what was said in the Proverbs - Pr 21:3
      3. Micah taught the same principle - Mic 6:6-8
      4. It is not that God did not call for sacrifice, but all the
         worship in the world will not cover a lack of mercy and true 
         knowledge of God! - cf. Hos 4:6, also Jer 9:23-24

   E. "THEY DO NOT CONSIDER IN THEIR HEARTS THAT I REMEMBER..."
      1. Look at Hos 7:2
      2. How sad that people sin, as though there is no God who takes 
         notice of what they are doing
      3. But a time is coming when all that has been done will be 
         brought to light! - cf. Eccl 12:14; Ro 2:16; Rev 20:12
      -- Our only hope is to have our sins forgiven by the blood of Jesus!

   F. "EPHRAIM HAS MIXED HIMSELF AMONG THE PEOPLES"
      1. Cf. Hos 7:8
      2. Through unsavory associations, Israel had been corrupted
      3. Such is the danger of the wrong companions - cf. 1Co 15:33
      4. Thus we need to heed warnings such as those found in 2Co 6:14-18

CONCLUSION

1. Truly the words of prophets like Hosea were "written for our admonition" - 1Co 10:11
   a. Like Israel, we have been richly blessed - Ep 1:3
   b. Like Israel, we are expected to remain faithful - Re 2:10

2. The question is, will we "fall after the same example of disobedience"? - cf. He 4:11
   a. Will we fall for lack of knowledge?
   b. Will we fall because our faithfulness is like a morning cloud or early dew?
   c. Will we fall because we forget the importance of mercy in our service to God?
   d. Will we fall because we do not consider that God remembers what we do?
   e. Will we fall because rather than be the "salt of the earth", we
      become so "mixed" by those in the world we lose our flavor? (cf. Mt 5:14)

Through a careful and serious study of the prophets, we are more likely
to avoid making the same mistakes as Israel, and to heed the words of
the apostle Paul:

   "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."
                                                (1Co 10:12)
 

Blind Faith by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=444

Blind Faith

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

A common misconception among atheists, humanists, and evolutionists is that those who reject evolution in order to hold to a fundamental, literal understanding of the biblical documents are guided by “blind faith.” Robinson articulated this position quite emphatically when he accused Christians of abandoning rationality and evidence in exchange for intellectual dishonesty and ignorance of the truth (1976, pp. 115-124). Many within the scientific community labor under the delusion that their “facts” and “evidence” are supportive of evolution and opposed to a normal, face-value understanding of the biblical text. They scoff at those who disagree with them, as if they alone have a corner on truth.
The fact of the matter is that while most of the religious world deserves the epithets hurled by the “informed” academicians, those who espouse pure, New Testament Christianity do not. New Testament Christians embrace the biblical definition of faith, in contrast to the commonly conceived understanding of faith that is promulgated by the vast majority of people in the denominational world.
The faith spoken of in the Bible is a faith that is preceded by knowledge. One cannot possess biblical faith in God until he or she comes to the knowledge of God. Thus, faith is not accepting what one cannot prove. Faith cannot outrun knowledge—for it is dependent upon knowledge (Romans 10:17). Abraham was said to have had faith only after he came to the knowledge of God’s promises and was fully persuaded (Romans 4:20-21). His faith, therefore, was seen in his trust and submission to what he knew to be the will of God. Biblical faith is attained only after an examination of the evidence, coupled with correct reasoning about the evidence.
The God of the Bible is a God of truth. Throughout biblical history, He has stressed the need for the acceptance of truth—in contrast with error and falsehood. Those who, in fact, fail to seek the truth are considered by God to be wicked (Jeremiah 5:1). The wise man urged: “Buy the truth, and sell it not” (Proverbs 23:23). Paul, himself an accomplished logician, exhorted people to love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). He stated the necessity of giving diligence to the task of dealing with the truth properly (2 Timothy 2:15). Jesus declared that only by knowing the truth is one made free (John 8:32). Luke ascribed nobility to those who were willing to search for and examine the evidence, rather than being content to simply take someone’s word for the truth (Acts 17:11). Peter admonished Christians to be prepared to give a defense (1 Peter 3:15), which stands in stark contrast to those who, when questioned about proof of God, or the credibility and comprehensibility of the Bible, triumphantly reply, “I don’t know—I accept it by faith!”
Thus, the notion of “blind faith” is completely foreign to the Bible. People are called upon to have faith only after they receive adequate knowledge. In fact, the Bible demands that the thinker be rational in gathering information, examining the evidence, and reasoning properly about the evidence, thereby drawing only warranted conclusions. That, in fact, is the essentiality of what is known in philosophical circles as the basic law of rationality: one should draw only such conclusions as are justified by the evidence. Paul articulated exactly this concept when he wrote: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). John echoed the same thought when he said to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). These passages show that the New Testament Christian is one who stands ready to examine the issues. God expects every individual to put to the test various doctrines and beliefs, and then to reach only such conclusions as are warranted by adequate evidence. Man must not rely upon papal authorities, church traditions, or the claims of science. Rather, all people are obligated to rely upon the properly studied written directives of God (2 Timothy 2:15; John 12:48; 2 Peter 3:16). Biblical religion and modern science clash only because the majority of those within the scientific community have abandoned sound biblical hermeneutics and insist upon drawing unwarranted, erroneous conclusions from the relevant scientific evidence.
The Bible insists that evidence is abundantly available for those who will engage in unprejudiced, rational inquiry. The resurrection claim, for example, was substantiated by “many infallible proofs,” including verification through the observation of more than five hundred persons at once (Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8). Many proofs were made available in order to pave the way for faith (John 20:30-31). Peter offered at least four lines of evidence to those gathered in Jerusalem before he concluded his argument with “therefore…” (Acts 2:14-36). The acquisition of knowledge through empirical evidence was undeniable, for Peter concluded, “as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22, emp. added). John referred to the auditory, visual, and tactile evidences that provided further empirical verification (1 John 1:1-2). Christ offered “works” to corroborate His claims, so that even His enemies did not have to rely merely on His words—if they would but honestly reason to the only logical conclusion (John 10:24-25,38). The proof was of such magnitude that one Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews, even admitted: “[W]e know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2).
Nevertheless, there are always those who, for one reason or another, refuse to accept the law of rationality, and who avoid the warranted conclusions—just like those who side-stepped the proof that Christ presented, and attributed it to Satan (Matthew 12:24). Christ countered such an erroneous conclusion by pointing out their faulty reasoning and the false implications of their argument (Matthew 12:25-27). The proof that the apostles presented was equally conclusive, though unacceptable to many (Acts 4:16).
The proof in our day is no less conclusive, nor is it any less compelling. While it is not within the purview of this brief article to prove such (see Warren and Flew, 1977; Warren and Matson, 1978), the following tenets are provable: (1) we can know (not merely think, hope, or wish) that God exists (Romans 1:19-20); (2) we can know that the Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God, and intended to be comprehended in much the same way that any written human communication is to be understood; (3) we can know that one day we will stand before God in judgment and give account for whether we have studied the Bible, learned what to do to be saved, and obeyed those instructions; and (4) we can know that we know (1 John 2:3).
By abandoning the Bible as a literal, inerrant, infallible standard by which all human behavior is to be measured, the scientist has effectively rendered biblical religion, biblical faith, and New Testament Christianity sterile—at least as far as his or her own life is concerned. Once the Bible is dismissed as “figurative,” “confusing,” or “incomprehensible,” one has opened wide the doors of subjectivity, in which every man’s view is just as good as another’s. The more sophisticated viewpoint may be more appealing, but it remains just as subjective and self-stylized.

REFERENCES

Robinson, Richard (1976), “Religion and Reason,” Critiques of God, ed. Peter A. Angeles (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus).
Warren, Thomas B. and Antony G.N. Flew (1977), The Warren-Flew Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).
Warren, Thomas B. and Wallace I. Matson (1978), The Warren-Matson Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—The "Unpardonable Sin" by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1218

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—The "Unpardonable Sin"

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Through the years, numerous writers have taken on the task of explaining the comment spoken by Jesus concerning the “unpardonable sin”—blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. From these writings have come countless false doctrines, insinuations, and suggested explanations. It is the purpose of this article to explain what “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” is not, what it actually is, and to offer comment concerning whether it still can be committed today.
Three of the four gospel accounts contain a reference to the statement made by Jesus concerning blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. These three passages read as follows.
Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).
Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation—because they said, “He has an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:28-30).
And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven (Luke 12:10).
Each of these references to the statement made by Jesus verifies that Jesus did clearly state that there is a specific sin that “will not be forgiven.” The American Standard Version describes the sin as an “eternal sin” (Mark 3:29). Jesus defined that sin as “the blasphemy against the Spirit.” What, then, is blasphemy against the Spirit?
In order to explain this sin fully, a look at the general context of the statement is critical. Matthew’s account offers the most detail concerning the setting in which Jesus’ statement was made. In Matthew 12:22, the text indicates that a certain man who was demon-possessed was brought to Jesus to be healed. As was His common practice, Jesus cast out the unclean spirit, and healed the man of his blindness and inability to speak. After seeing this display of power, the multitudes that followed Jesus asked, “Could this be the Son of David?” (12:23). Upon hearing this remark, the Pharisees, wanting to discredit the source from which Jesus received His power, declared that Jesus was casting out demons by “Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.” Jesus proceeded to explain that a kingdom divided against itself could not stand, and if He were casting out demons by the power of demons, then He would be defeating Himself. It was after this accusation by the Pharisees, and Jesus’ defense of His actions, that Christ commented concerning the blasphemy against the Spirit. In fact, the text of Mark clearly states that Jesus made the comment about the blasphemy against the Spirit “because they said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’ ”
Another critical piece of information needed to clarify Jesus’ statement is the definition of blasphemy. Wayne Jackson wrote: “Blasphemy is an anglicized form of the Greek term blasphemia, which scholars believe probably derives from two roots, blapto, to injure, and pheme, to speak. The word would thus suggest injurious speech” (2000). Bernard Franklin, in his article concerning blasphemy against the Spirit, suggested:
The word “blasphemy” in its various forms (as verb, noun, adjective, etc.) appears some fifty-nine times in the New Testament. It has a variety of renderings, such as, “blasphemy,” “reviled,” “railed,” “evil spoken of,” “to speak evil of,” etc. Examples of these various renderings are: “They that passed by reviled him” (Matthew 27:39). “He that shall blaspheme” (Mark 3:29). “They that passed by railed on him” (Mark 15:29). “The way of truth shall be evil spoken of ” (2 Peter 2:2). “These speak evil of those things” (Jude 10). It is evident from these that blasphemy is a sin of the mouth, a “tongue-sin.” All New Testament writers except the author of Hebrews use the word (1936, pp. 224-225).
Furthermore, Jesus defined the term when, after referring to blasphemy, He used the phrase “speaks a word against” in Matthew 12:32.

WHAT THE UNPARDONABLE SIN IS NOT

With the working definition of blasphemy meaning, “to speak against,” or “speak evil of,” it is easy to rule out several sins that would not qualify as the unpardonable sin. Occasionally, murder is suggested as the “unpardonable sin.” Such cannot be the case, however. First, since blasphemy is a “tongue sin,” murder would not fall into this category. Second, several biblical passages show the sin of murder can be forgiven. When King David committed adultery and had Uriah the Hittite murdered, the prophet Nathan came to him, informing him that God had seen that David “killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword” (2 Samuel 12:9). When David confessed to Nathan and repented, the prophet told David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (12:13). And, although David was punished for his iniquity, it was forgiven. The Bible plainly demonstrates that murder is not the unpardonable sin.
Adultery surfaces as another sin put forward as unpardonable. Yet the same reasoning used to discount murder as the unpardonable sin can be used to disqualify adultery. First, it does not fit the category of blasphemy. Second, David was forgiven of adultery, just as surely as he was forgiven of murder. The apostle Paul gave a list of no less than ten sins (including adultery) of which the Corinthian brethren had been forgiven (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Adultery cannot be the unpardonable sin.
Another sin set forth as the unpardonable sin is blasphemy of any kind, not specifically against the Holy Spirit. We know, however, that blasphemy in general cannot be unforgivable for two reasons. First, in the context of the unpardonable sin, Jesus clearly stated that “whatever blasphemies” men may utter (besides against the Holy Spirit) could be forgiven. Second, Paul confessed that before his conversion, he had formerly been “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief ” (1 Timothy 1:13). These two biblical passages rule out the possibility of general blasphemy as the unpardonable sin.
We begin to see, then, that we cannot arbitrarily decide which sins we think are heinous, and then simply attribute to them the property of being unpardonable, especially considering the fact that even those who were guilty of crucifying the Son of God had the opportunity to be forgiven (Acts 2:36-38). Therefore, since the unpardonable sin falls into a category of its own, and cannot be murder, adultery, general blasphemy, etc., some scholars have set forth the idea that the unpardonable sin is not a single sin at all, but is instead the stubborn condition of a person who persists in unbelief. This understanding, however, fails to take into account the immediate context of the “unpardonable sin.” Gus Nichols, commenting on this idea of “persistent unbelief,” stated: “It is true, great multitudes are going into eternity in rebellion against God to be finally and eternally lost; but it is for rejecting and neglecting pardon graciously extended in the gospel while they live, not because they have committed the unpardonable sin” (1967, p. 236). Wendell Winkler, under a section titled, “What the Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit is Not,” wrote that it is not
postponement of obedience until death. The text implies that those who commit the eternal sin continue to live while having lost all opportunity of salvation; whereas those who postpone obedience to Christ (except those who commit the eternal sin) could have obeyed at any time previous to their death (1980, p. 20).

IN THIS AGE OR IN THE AGE TO COME

Jesus said that blasphemy against the Spirit would not be forgiven “in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:32). Certain religious organizations have seized upon this statement to suggest that Jesus has in mind a situation in which certain sins will be remitted after death—but not this sin. This idea of a purgatory-like state, where the souls of the dead are given a “second chance” to do penance for the sins they committed in their earthly life, finds no justification in this statement made by Christ (nor in any other biblical passage, for that matter). R.C.H. Lenski stated that Jesus’ use of the phrase under discussion meant simply “absolutely never” (1961, p. 484). Hendriksen concurred with Lenski when he wrote:
In passing, it should be pointed out that these words by no stretch of the imagination imply that for certain sins there will be forgiveness in the life hereafter. They do not in any sense whatever support the doctrine of purgatory. The expression simply means that the indicated sin will never be forgiven (1973, p. 528).
As the writer of Hebrews succinctly wrote, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
It also has been suggested by several writers that the “age to come” discussed by Jesus refers to the Christian Age. According to this idea, Jesus made the statement in the Jewish Age, when the Law of Moses was in effect, and the “age to come” denoted the Christian Age immediately following, when the Law of Christ would prevail. Putting this meaning to the phrase often leads the advocates of this theory to conclude that the unpardonable sin could be committed in the Christian Age, after the resurrection of Christ. As Winkler surmised, “Thus, since our Lord was speaking while the Jewish age was in existence, he was affirming that the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost would not be forgiven in (a) the Jewish age, nor in (b) the Christian age, the age that followed” (1980, p. 21). Nichols, after affirming the same proposition, concluded:
It follows that this sin, therefore, could be committed during the personal ministry of Christ, and was then committed, as we have seen, and could also be committed under the gospel age or dispensation. They could have attributed the works of the Spirit to Satan after Pentecost, the same as before (1967, p. 234).
Two primary pieces of evidence, however, militate against the idea that Jesus’ reference to the “age to come” meant the Christian Age. First, in Mark 10:30, the gospel writer has Jesus on record using the same phrase (“in the age to come”) to refer to the time when the followers of Christ would inherit “eternal life” (see Luke 18:30 for the parallel passage). This is a clear reference to life after death, since Paul said “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Second, Mark’s account of the unpardonable sin describes the sin as an “eternal sin.” The translators of the New King James Version recorded that the person who commits the sin “never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:29). Mark’s account, with its emphasis on eternity, shows that the phrase simply is meant to underscore the fact that this sin will “absolutely never” be forgiven (Lenski, p. 484). It is incorrect, then, to use the phrase “in the age to come” to refer to purgatory. It also is tenuous to use the phrase to refer to the Christian Age. The best explanation, to quote Hendrickson again, is that “the expression simply means that the indicated sin will never be forgiven” (p. 528).

WHAT THE UNPARDONABLE SIN IS

As was noted earlier, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only sin in the Bible that is given the status of unpardonable or eternal. In fact, Jesus prefaced His discussion of this sin by stating that, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men,” except for blasphemy against the Spirit. Using the working definition of blasphemy as “speaking evil of,” it becomes clear that the sin described by Jesus was a “tongue sin” that the Pharisees had committed, or at least were dangerously close to committing.
What had the Pharisees done that would have put them in jeopardy of committing the unpardonable sin? According to His own testimony, during Jesus’ time on this Earth He cast out demons by the “Spirit of God” (Matthew 12:28). When the Pharisees saw that Jesus had performed a verifiable miracle, they could not argue with the fact that Christ possessed certain powers that others (including themselves) did not have. Therefore, in order to cast suspicion on the ministry of Jesus, they claimed that He was casting out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons. The name Beelzebub is simply another name for Satan (Franklin, 1936, p. 227), as can be seen from Jesus’ reference to Satan in Matthew 12:26. Even when faced by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit through Jesus, the Pharisees were, in essence, attributing Jesus’ power to Satan, and claiming that Jesus was “Satan incarnate instead of God incarnate. It is this, and nothing else, that our Lord calls the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (or Spirit—KB)” (Franklin, p. 227). Maxie Boren wrote: “The context of Matthew 12:22ff. shows clearly that this was indeed the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—attributing the miracle done by Jesus to the power of the devil. Jesus said it was done ‘by the Spirit of God’ (verse 28) but they (the Pharisees—KB) said it was done by Beelzebub” (n.d., p. 1). It is clear that blasphemy against the Spirit was a definite, singular sin, which could be committed by the Pharisees during the life of Jesus.

IS THE “UNPARDONABLE SIN” THE
SAME AS THE “SIN UNTO DEATH”?

John, in his first epistle, mentioned the fact that “there is sin leading to death” and “there is sin not leading to death” (1 John 5:16-17). His statement in these verses has been connected by more than a few people to Jesus’ remark about the “eternal sin.” It is evident, however, that this connection is based more on opinion than on textual Bible study.
First, there is no biblical evidence that connects the passage in 1 John with the Pharisees’ accusation. Furthermore, the entire context of 1 John gives the Christian readers hope of forgiveness for all sins that they might have committed. John wrote: “All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death” (1 John 5:17). Several chapters earlier, he wrote: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, emp. added). In the scope of John’s epistle, any unrighteousness committed by his readers could be forgiven if the transgressor took the proper steps of repentance and confession. Apparently, the “sin unto death” in 1 John is not a specific sin for which it is impossible to receive forgiveness, but rather, is any sin for which a person will not take the proper steps demanded by God to receive the forgiveness available. On the other hand, blasphemy against the Spirit was a specific, eternal sin that never would be forgiven.

CAN THE UNPARDONABLE SIN BE COMMITTED TODAY?

The next question usually asked concerning this sin is whether or not it is still possible to commit it today. Opinions on this question certainly vary, and scholars seem to be divided in their positions. The evidence, however, seems to point toward the idea that this sin cannot be committed today.
First, the circumstances under which the sin is described cannot prevail today, due to the fact that the age of miracles has ceased (see Miller, 2003). No one today will have the opportunity to witness Jesus performing miracles in person (2 Corinthians 5:16).
Second, there is no other mention of the sin in any biblical passage written after the resurrection of Christ. None of the inspired New Testament writers refers to the sin in any epistle or in the book of Acts, and none offers warnings to new converts about avoiding the sin post-Pentecost. Franklin observed:
If it were possible for it to be committed, would there not have been some warning against it? Were there any danger regarding it, would the Apostle Paul, who wrote half the books of the New Testament, have failed to warn against its commission? Paul does not even mention the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The sin in question was actually committed in the days of our Lord’s ministry on earth, but it does not necessarily follow that it could be committed in His absence (p. 233).
In discussing this matter, Gus Nichols wrote: “It seems that all sins committed today are pardonable, and that all can be saved, if they will” (1967, p. 239). V.E. Howard, commented along the same lines when he stated that “there is no unpardonable sin today” (1975, p. 156).
In conclusion, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only unpardonable sin mentioned in the Bible, and it is mentioned in the context of the Pharisees accusing Jesus of being possessed by the Devil. The context indicates that it was a specific sin, and not a series of forgivable sins, or an attitude of persistent unbelief. After the resurrection, no inspired writer mentions the sin, and no warnings against it were recorded. There is no concrete evidence that it can be committed today. The fact that it is not mentioned after the resurrection, lends itself to the idea that it cannot still be committed. In fact, the indication from passages such as 1 John 1:7,9 is that “all unrighteousness” that a person could commit today can be forgiven by the blood of Jesus. As Howard said when concluding his remarks about the eternal sin: “In the same scripture our Lord gave full assurance that every sin and blasphemy against the ‘Son of man’ shall be forgiven him. Today the gospel of Christ is to be preached to every man on earth and any man on earth may be saved by obeying the gospel (Mark 16:15-16)” [p. 157].

REFERENCES

Boren, Maxie B. (no date), “The Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit,” Class Handout, Brown Trail church of Christ, Bedford, Texas, Lesson 4.
Franklin, Barnard (1936), “The Blasphemy Against the Holy Ghost: An Inquiry into the Scriptural Teaching Regarding the Unpardonable Sin,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 93:220-233, April.
Hendriksen, William (1973), The Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Howard, V.E. (1975), The Holy Spirit (West Monroe, LA: Central Publishers).
Jackson, Wayne (2000), Blasphemy—What Is This Great Sin?, [On-line], URL: http://www.christiancourier.com/archives/blasphemy.htm.
Lenski, R.C.H. (1961 reprint), The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-day Miracles, Tongue-speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation,” Reason and Revelation, 23(3):17-23, March.
Nichols, Gus (1967), Lectures on the Holy Spirit (Plainview, TX: Nichols Brothers).
Winkler, Wendell, ed. (1980), What Do You Know About the Holy Spirit? (Fort Worth, TX: Winkler Publications).

Belief in God is Not Enough by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2318

Belief in God is Not Enough

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

It is impossible to go to heaven without believing that there is a God (Hebrews 11:6). But a mere mental assent to the fact that God exists is not enough to save a person’s soul. In fact, the book of James says: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (2:19).
Once a person accepts the vast amount of evidence available to prove that God exists, that person must follow up belief with a desire and resolve to obey the Creator. An E-mail that came into our office illustrates this point well. After reading on our site an article that defends the existence of God, one gentleman wrote: “For many, many years I began to write off all religions as ‘fake.’ I’m not completely convinced still. However, after reading this article, I was faced with the absolute fact that not only does God exist, but that He is surely angry with me for disbelieving in Him.” Acknowledging the existence of the Creator is the first step toward assuaging His anger, but it cannot be the last. In fact, the term “practical atheist” is applied to a person who technically acknowledges that there is a God, but does nothing about that belief.
What, then, must follow a person’s belief in the Creator? That individual must find God’s message to His creation. An honest search for such communication will bring that person to the realization that the 66 books of the Bible are God’s inspired Word to man (see Butt, 2007). Upon discovering that the Bible is God’s message to humanity, a diligent study of the Scriptures reveals that Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah and the Son of God (see Butt and Lyons, 2006). By following the teachings of Jesus, the honest investigator realizes that Jesus has opened the door of salvation to all who will receive it as He has commanded (see Lyons and Butt, n.d.).
At Apologetics Press, it thrills us to hear that a person has left false atheistic views and embraced the idea of a divine Creator. Yet we know that such a mental shift is simply the first crucial step to eternal life. A penitent heart and faithful life of obedience to God’s commands must accompany that belief in order for it to be of any real, eternal value (James 1:22-25).

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/ Behold%20the%20Word%20of%20God.pdf.
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2006), Behold! The Lamb of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/ Behold%20the%20Lamb%20of%20God.pdf.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (no date), Receiving the Gift of Salvation, [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/ Taking%20Possesion%20of%20God%20Gifts.pdf.

AUTHENTIC GODHOOD by Jim McGuiggan





http://theabidingword.com/logos/index.html


AUTHENTIC GODHOOD

In Euripides’s Alcestis the Spartan king, Admetos, is to die unless he gets a substitute. His wife Alcestis offers herself as his substitute but the thought of losing her is driving Admetos crazy. Hercules (Heracles), son of the gods and a regular guest at Admetos’s house comes to visit, notes the gloom and misery everywhere, learns of the situation and goes out and rescues her from Death.
The poet Robert Browning zeroes in on the reputation of Hercules as a helper of humankind against the forces that are too strong for it. He makes the point that this going to humanity’s defense is one of the authenticating marks of genuine godhood and has the chorus singing this:
Gladness be with thee, Helper of our world! 
I think this is the authentic sign and seal 
Of Godship, that it ever waxes glad, 
And more glad, until gladness blossoms, bursts 
Into a rage to suffer for mankind, 
And recommence at sorrow: drops like seed 
After the blossom, ultimate of all. 
Say, does the seed scorn the earth and seek the sun? 
Surely it has no other end and aim 
Than to drop, once more die into the ground, 
Taste cold and darkness and oblivion there: 
And thence rise, tree-like to grow through pain to joy, 
More joy and most joy,—do man good again.
Browning stresses not only the theme of suffering to help humanity, he stresses the gladness of heart in which the enterprise is undertaken. It isn’t a grim, reluctant, foot-dragging approach to the matter (Heracles “strode” off to effect the rescue). And it was “for the joy set before him” our Savior despised the pain and loss barring His way. Only a blind theology gives the impression that God has a hard time loving sinners! Only a blind Ecclesiology and Pneumatology teaches the blessed Church of the Lord Jesus Christ that it is to be the enemy of sinners. What nonsense! What a blatant denial of the Incarnation, Cross & Resurrection!
P.T. Forsyth insisted that the coming of God as the weak and wounded Jesus Christ is not only not surprising, it would be astonishing if He had not come in Jesus Christ, in a rage to suffer on humanity’s behalf. In this, Forsyth doesn’t have in mind only the tender side of God, His gentle love and compassion though he does have that in mind; he’s thinking of God’s infinitely holy character that hates all that stands between Him and the human family He has Fathered (Acts 17:29). If God was moved in love, it was a holy love. Christ doesn’t come simply blessing, being sweet, talking kindly and taking us in His loving arms—He comes sharing the suffering of the judgment that holiness must bring upon Sin in order to deal with it!
The forgiveness of sins, the reconciliation of the world is achieved through love’s judgment on Sin—the word of the cross says that! And it’s love judgment on Sin on behalf of sinners! Romans 11:32.
And it had to be God’s Incarnation, God’s cross or it wouldn’t be the love of God that worked the rescue. And it had to be a representative human in and through whom reconciliation was accomplished because a repentance worthy of the nature of Sin must come from humankind if we wish to live in immortal glory. In the cross Jesus repents for us. I don’t mean he repents so that we don’t have to—I mean what R.W. Moberly and McCleod Campbell have taught us, that He alone could give humanity a repentance which gives complete homage to the righteousness of God and to which we can (by faith in Him) add our “amen”. Our repentance is His for His mind alone knows the nature of Sin and denounces its very existence, denounces its usurping His life-bringing place in human hearts (see Romans 8:3 where He condemns Sin that made its home in humankind).
Those who are His do not see what He and He alone has done and draw the conclusion that they don’t need to repent since He has done it or equally bad, nod some tame approval of it and stroll our way home, hands in pockets. There is nothing “legal” about this! It’s “relational”. Those who are His  are part of Him (1 Corinthians 6:15; 12:12)!!! Part of Him, telling again through suffering and joy and speech the Story of His own once-and-for-all doing for humanity and for them, them who are sinners like everyone else!
“Nothing in my hand I bring/Simply to Thy cross I cling/Naked come to Thee for dress/Helpless turn to Thee for grace…” is true in every syllable but we still “cling, come, turn” to such a Lord Jesus. By faith we offer Him as our representative; Him, who did for us what we could not for ourselves. And in offering Him we offer back nothing other than God’s being and doing, Himself as the Lover of humanity and of each of us in particular. but we offer! We offer in repentance and faith that which the gracious God works in us (Romans 2:4; Philippians 1:29; Acts 18:27). It’s that that we freely offer in and through Jesus Christ but we do offer it! The Christ into whom we are baptized is not “any old Christ”—we become part of a Sin-killing, Life-bringing, Righteousness-embodying Lord Jesus. We don’t just smile approvingly and wish Him well—we become one with Him, for Him, for ourselves and for the world!
It was God and it was God in Christ who came to our rescue. The motivation for this coming/sending of God is that God “so loved the world” (John 3:16-17). We can’t take it all in. We can’t take it all in because we have neither the intellect nor the purity of heart. We’d have to be God to take it all in—it’s a God thing!
Not to be able to see that in the cross blinds us to the possibility of seeing it anywhere else in the world.
There is no authentic God but that God; the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ!

OBEYING THE GOSPEL? by steve finnell

http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/04/obeying-gospel-steve-finnell-is-obeying.html

OBEYING THE GOSPEL?  by steve finnell

Is obeying the gospel essential to salvation? Yes, it is essential.

What obeying the gospel is not.
1. Obeying the gospel is not keeping the Law of Moses.
2. Obeying the gospel is not doing good works.
3. Obeying the gospel is not being individually selected for salvation.
4. Obeying the gospel is not being saved by grace alone.
5. Obeying the gospel is not being baptized as an infant.
6. Obeying the gospel is not being saved by faith alone.
Is obeying the gospel essential for salvation? Yes.

1. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 ......the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.(NKJV)

Those who believed and were baptized into Christ were set free from sin. Romans 6:3-7. Note: They were set free from sin after being immersed in water, not the minute they believed.

Jesus gave the gospel to obey. Mark 16:15-16...preach the gospel.....16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved....(NKJV)

2. 1 Peter 4:17 For the time has come for judgement to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end who do not obey the gospel of God?(NKJV)

Sounds like a question that answers itself.

3. Romans 6:17-18 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.(NKJV)

They obeyed the doctrine of the gospel. Yes, obedience is required to be set free from sin. The apostle Peter gave the gospel requirements on the Day of Pentecost. Acts 2:22-41.
 He preached the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. He preached Jesus as Lord and Christ. He preached repentance and water baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

THE GOSPEL PLAN OF SALVATION: 1.FAITH John 3:16. 2. CONFESSION Romans 10:9. 3. REPENTANCE Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38. 4. IMMERSION IN WATER Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21.

YES, YOU MUST OBEY THE GOSPEL TO BE SAVED.

Living Like Pharisees And Hypocrites by B. Johnson

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Johnson/Edna/Elizabeth/1939/hypocrites.html

Living Like Pharisees And Hypocrites
A dangerous temptation for a preacher and his family is to live like the Pharisees and hypocrites described in Matthew, chapter 23. Hypocrites, in their false pride, feel they must sing better and louder than anyone in the congregation. They want to know more and be better than anyone. Their kids have to be the smartest or the prettiest. Their cars have to be bigger and go faster and their good deeds must be seen of men to be a ‘showcase’ for all. What a pity, “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?” (Job 27:8).
The book of Matthew has much to say about this type of person. “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward” (Mat 6:2). “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Mat 6: 5). “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Mat 6:16).
A very real temptation is for preachers and their wives to tell others how to live and what is wrong in their lives, while they themselves have many ‘unresolved issues’ in their own family relationships. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Mat 7:5). They seem to be pillars of the church, yet they may only make a mockery of religion in their private lives. “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Mat 15:7-8).
Not all people are blind to this inconsistency. Some are soured on the church because they see insincerity in the leadership. “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in” (Mat 23:13).
They may harp on the subject of giving and expect (or demand) that they be given high salaries unequal to the people who are supporting them. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Mat 23:14-15).
Preachers and their wives often demand that the congregation live by the ‘letter of the law,’ but they themselves will not do as much in their private lives. They may bind heavy burdens on the members and ultimately cause them to lose their souls because they cannot meet expectations and thereby become discouraged.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess” (Mat 23:23-25).
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Mat 23:27-28).
Consider seriously, wives of preachers! Are you really what you appear to be? Are you for real? “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

Beth Johnson
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading February 26 & 27 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading February 26 & 27

World  English  Bible

Feb. 26
Exodus 7

Exo 7:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Behold, I have made you as God to Pharaoh; and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.
Exo 7:2 You shall speak all that I command you; and Aaron your brother shall speak to Pharaoh, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.
Exo 7:3 I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
Exo 7:4 But Pharaoh will not listen to you, and I will lay my hand on Egypt, and bring forth my armies, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
Exo 7:5 The Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh, when I stretch forth my hand on Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them."
Exo 7:6 Moses and Aaron did so. As Yahweh commanded them, so they did.
Exo 7:7 Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Exo 7:8 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
Exo 7:9 "When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, 'Perform a miracle!' then you shall tell Aaron, 'Take your rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it become a serpent.' "
Exo 7:10 Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, as Yahweh had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
Exo 7:11 Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers. They also, the magicians of Egypt, did in like manner with their enchantments.
Exo 7:12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.
Exo 7:13 Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he didn't listen to them; as Yahweh had spoken.
Exo 7:14 Yahweh said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn. He refuses to let the people go.
Exo 7:15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning. Behold, he goes out to the water; and you shall stand by the river's bank to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent you shall take in your hand.
Exo 7:16 You shall tell him, 'Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you, saying, "Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness:" and behold, until now you haven't listened.
Exo 7:17 Thus says Yahweh, "In this you shall know that I am Yahweh. Behold, I will strike with the rod that is in my hand on the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.
Exo 7:18 The fish that are in the river shall die, and the river shall become foul; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink water from the river." ' "
Exo 7:19 Yahweh said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Take your rod, and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their ponds of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.' "
Exo 7:20 Moses and Aaron did so, as Yahweh commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
Exo 7:21 The fish that were in the river died; and the river became foul, and the Egyptians couldn't drink water from the river; and the blood was throughout all the land of Egypt.
Exo 7:22 The magicians of Egypt did in like manner with their enchantments; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he didn't listen to them; as Yahweh had spoken.
Exo 7:23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he lay even this to heart.
Exo 7:24 All the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink; for they couldn't drink of the water of the river.
Exo 7:25 Seven days were fulfilled, after Yahweh had struck the river.

Feb. 27
Exodus 8

Exo 8:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him, "This is what Yahweh says, 'Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 8:2 If you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your borders with frogs:
Exo 8:3 and the river shall swarm with frogs, which shall go up and come into your house, and into your bedchamber, and on your bed, and into the house of your servants, and on your people, and into your ovens, and into your kneading troughs:
Exo 8:4 and the frogs shall come up both on you, and on your people, and on all your servants.' "
Exo 8:5 Yahweh said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Stretch forth your hand with your rod over the rivers, over the streams, and over the pools, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.' "
Exo 8:6 Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:7 The magicians did in like manner with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Entreat Yahweh, that he take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to Yahweh."
Exo 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh, "I give you the honor of setting the time that I should pray for you, and for your servants, and for your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, and remain in the river only."
Exo 8:10 He said, "Tomorrow." He said, "Be it according to your word, that you may know that there is none like Yahweh our God.
Exo 8:11 The frogs shall depart from you, and from your houses, and from your servants, and from your people. They shall remain in the river only."
Exo 8:12 Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to Yahweh concerning the frogs which he had brought on Pharaoh.
Exo 8:13 Yahweh did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courts, and out of the fields.
Exo 8:14 They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank.
Exo 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart, and didn't listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken.
Exo 8:16 Yahweh said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.' "
Exo 8:17 They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were lice on man, and on animal; all the dust of the earth became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:18 The magicians tried with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they couldn't. There were lice on man, and on animal.
Exo 8:19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God:" and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he didn't listen to them; as Yahweh had spoken.
Exo 8:20 Yahweh said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; behold, he comes forth to the water; and tell him, 'This is what Yahweh says, "Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 8:21 Else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you, and on your servants, and on your people, and into your houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.
Exo 8:22 I will set apart in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end you may know that I am Yahweh in the midst of the earth.
Exo 8:23 I will put a division between my people and your people: by tomorrow shall this sign be." ' "
Exo 8:24 Yahweh did so; and there came grievous swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses: and in all the land of Egypt the land was corrupted by reason of the swarms of flies.
Exo 8:25 Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God in the land!"
Exo 8:26 Moses said, "It isn't appropriate to do so; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to Yahweh our God. Behold, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and won't they stone us?
Exo 8:27 We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh our God, as he shall command us."
Exo 8:28 Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to Yahweh your God in the wilderness, only you shall not go very far away. Pray for me."
Exo 8:29 Moses said, "Behold, I go out from you, and I will pray to Yahweh that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow; only don't let Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to Yahweh."
Exo 8:30 Moses went out from Pharaoh, and prayed to Yahweh.
Exo 8:31 Yahweh did according to the word of Moses, and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. There remained not one.
Exo 8:32 Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he didn't let the people go.

Feb. 26, 27
Mark 1

Mar 1:1 The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Mar 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, "Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.
Mar 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make ready the way of the Lord! Make his paths straight!' "
Mar 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins.
Mar 1:5 All the country of Judea and all those of Jerusalem went out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins.
Mar 1:6 John was clothed with camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
Mar 1:7 He preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen.
Mar 1:8 I baptized you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit."
Mar 1:9 It happened in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Mar 1:10 Immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens parting, and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
Mar 1:11 A voice came out of the sky, "You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Mar 1:12 Immediately the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness.
Mar 1:13 He was there in the wilderness forty days tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals; and the angels were serving him.
Mar 1:14 Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God,
Mar 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News."
Mar 1:16 Passing along by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.
Mar 1:17 Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you into fishers for men."
Mar 1:18 Immediately they left their nets, and followed him.
Mar 1:19 Going on a little further from there, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets.
Mar 1:20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired servants, and went after him.
Mar 1:21 They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught.
Mar 1:22 They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes.
Mar 1:23 Immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out,
Mar 1:24 saying, "Ha! What do we have to do with you, Jesus, you Nazarene? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are: the Holy One of God!"
Mar 1:25 Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!"
Mar 1:26 The unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
Mar 1:27 They were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching? For with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him!"
Mar 1:28 The report of him went out immediately everywhere into all the region of Galilee and its surrounding area.
Mar 1:29 Immediately, when they had come out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
Mar 1:30 Now Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him about her.
Mar 1:31 He came and took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them.
Mar 1:32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to him all who were sick, and those who were possessed by demons.
Mar 1:33 All the city was gathered together at the door.
Mar 1:34 He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. He didn't allow the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Mar 1:35 Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he rose up and went out, and departed into a deserted place, and prayed there.
Mar 1:36 Simon and those who were with him followed after him;
Mar 1:37 and they found him, and told him, "Everyone is looking for you."
Mar 1:38 He said to them, "Let's go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because I came out for this reason."
Mar 1:39 He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out demons.
Mar 1:40 A leper came to him, begging him, kneeling down to him, and saying to him, "If you want to, you can make me clean."
Mar 1:41 Being moved with compassion, he stretched out his hand, and touched him, and said to him, "I want to. Be made clean."
Mar 1:42 When he had said this, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean.
Mar 1:43 He strictly warned him, and immediately sent him out,
Mar 1:44 and said to him, "See you say nothing to anybody, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing the things which Moses commanded, for a testimony to them."
Mar 1:45 But he went out, and began to proclaim it much, and to spread about the matter, so that Jesus could no more openly enter into a city, but was outside in desert places: and they came to him from everywhere.