"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Haggai - Build The Temple! (1:1-2:23) by Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                 Haggai - Build The Temple! (1:1-2:23)


1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets", we now jump ahead about 100 years...
   a. Prophets like Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habakkuk prophesied shortly
      before the seventy years of Babylonian captivity (i.e. before 606-536 B.C.)
   b. Following the return under the leadership of Zerubbabel (536 
      B.C.), it was not long before two more prophets were sent to the people of Israel

2. These prophets were Haggai and Zechariah, the first of which we shall consider in this lesson...
   a. Concerning the MAN
      1) His name means "Festival" or "Festive"
      2) What we know of Haggai is limited to his book and references in Ezra (see below)
      3) Together with Zechariah he motivated the Jews in rebuilding the temple
   b. Concerning the MESSAGE
      1) It is commonly dated around 520 B.C. (the second year of King Darius - Hag 1:1)
         a) For the foundation of the temple had been laid shortly 
            after the arrival under the leadership of Zerubbabel (i.e.,536 B.C.) - cf. Ezra 3:8-13
         b) Yet opposition to rebuilding the temple stopped it for 16 years - Ezra 4:1-24
         c) God then raised up Haggai and Zechariah - Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14
      2) The theme of Haggai's preaching:  Build The Temple!
         a) His message contains four separate proclamations
         b) All within four months - cf. Hag 1:1; 2:1,10,20

[As we outline and briefly consider the message of Haggai, we begin by noticing...]


      1. Haggai takes the Lord's message to Israel's leaders - Hag 1:1
         a. Zerubbabel the governor (who lead the first group of exiles back home)
         b. Joshua the high priest (also known as Jeshua, Ezra 2:1-2, 36,40; 3:2-8)
      2. The Lord takes issue with what the people have been saying - Hag 1:2-4
         a. They have been saying the time is not right to build the temple
         b. The Lord challenged them as to whether they should live in
            paneled houses while the temple lies in ruins
      1. The Lord challenged them to consider what was happening - Hag 1:5-6
         a. Their efforts were much
         b. But they received little in return
      2. To motivate them in building the temple, their trouble is explained - Hag 1:7-11
         a. They needed to build the temple and thereby glorify God
         b. For their efforts to obtain much for themselves was frustrated by God
            1) They looked for much, but God blew it away
            2) While His house lay in ruins, they were busy building their own
            3) Therefore God had called for a drought on the land and its fruit

      1. With the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua the people obeyed - Hag 1:12
      2. The Lord promises to be with them - Hag 1:13
      3. Stirred up by the Lord, Zerubbabel and Joshua lead the remnant
         to resume work on the temple - Hag 1:14-15

[From Hag 1:1,15, we can determine that it took 24 days for the people
to begin rebuilding the temple.  About a month later (cf. Hag 2:1),
another message from the Lord comes by way of Haggai.  This message is...]


      1. Haggai is sent again to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the faithful remnant - Hag 2:1-2
      2. Those who had seen the former temple in its glory are asked if
         the present temple appears as nothing in comparison - Hag 2:3
      -- The new temple evidently did not compare with the temple built by Solomon

      1. The Lord encourages them to be strong, for He is with them - Hag 2:4-5
      2. The Lord promises to make the glory of this temple greater - Hag 2:6-9
         a. By shaking the nations and having them come to "the Desire of All Nations"
            1) This can be translated "the desired of all nations will
               come", perhaps speaking of the nations bringing their wealth to the temple - cf. Hag 2:8; Isa 60:5
            2) Many see a Messianic reference in this phrase, though no
               reference is so made in the New Testament (He 12:26-27  does make an allusion to verse 6)
         b. By giving peace "in this place"
            1) Some see another Messianic reference in this phrase
            2) Certainly Jesus as the Prince of Peace, came to the temple

[With such a word of encouragement, the people would continue with 
their task of rebuilding the temple.  But all was not well in the eyes
of the Lord; He needed Haggai once again to prophesy to the people, so
two months later (cf. 2:1,10) comes...]


      1. Through two questions, the Lord challenges the priests to think - Hag 2:10-13
         a. Can holiness be transferred through casual contact? - No
         b. Can defilement be transferred through casual contact? - Yes
      2. Well, the people are unclean, and what they therefore offer is unclean! - Hag 2:14
         a. Unclean people can't build a holy temple
         b. Therefore, their offering is unclean!

      1. First, begin considering what God has done in the past - Hag  2:15-17
         a. Before the stone was laid in the temple, things were scarce
         b. The Lord even brought blight, mildew and hail to frustrate their labors, but they did not heed Him
      2. Now, begin considering what God is promising to do - Hag 2:18-19
         a. Begin considering that very day (24th day of the ninth month)
            1) Consider what has occurred from the day the temple's foundation was laid
            2) Is there seed in the barn? (no)  Nor has the produce yielded its fruit
         d. But beginning that very day (24th day of the ninth month), God was going to bless them!

[With such a promise, they would likely repent and build the temple as
they should. To encourage them further, Haggai has one last message...]


      1. This message came at the same time as the third message - Hag 2:20
         a. On the 24th day of the ninth month, of the second year of Darius
         b. Nearly four months after the first message - cf. Hag 1:1
      2. Directed to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah - Hag 2:21-22
         a. God proclaims He will shake heaven and earth
         b. He will overthrow the kingdoms of the Gentiles
         c. This He will do, "everyone by the sword of his brother"
         -- Note:  Just as He did before, using Assyria to punish 
            Israel, Babylon to punish Assyria, Medo-Persia to punish Babylon, etc.

      1. In the same day that God will overthrow the nations - Hag 2:23a
      2. God will make Zerubbabel as a signet ring, for God has chosen him - Hag 2:23b
         a. Many see a Messianic reference in this promise
            1) For God calls Zerubbabel "My servant", an expression 
               often used in Isaiah in reference to the Messiah - cf.  Isa 52:13; 53:11
            2) And God says "for I have chosen you" (Messiah means  anointed, chosen)
         b. That as governor of Judah and descendant of David, 
            Zerubbabel represents the Messianic hope that has been 
            renewed and would be ultimately fulfilled with the coming of Jesus!
         -- Note:  With His exaltation to the right hand of God, Jesus
            began to rule the nations "with a rod of iron", as Revelation vividly depicts - Re 1:5; 2:26-27; 3:21; 17:14


1. Haggai's message was primarily designed to encourage Zerubbabel and
   the faithful remnant of Israel who had returned from Babylonian captivity...
   a. To finish rebuilding the temple
   b. To do so in a manner that would honor and glorify God
   c. To look to the future with hope and promise

2. Like other books of the Old Testament...
   a. Haggai was "written for our learning" - Ro 15:4
   b. There are lessons that can easily be gleaned from this book, such as:
      1) The importance of putting God first - Hag 1:2-4
      2) The need for every one to work, not just the leaders - Hag 1:12-15
      3) The danger of letting evil contaminate our efforts to serve God - Hag 2:11-14

3. As Christians, we are blessed to be "a holy temple in the Lord" - Ep2:19-22; cf. 1Pe 2:5
   a. The foundation of this temple has been laid
   b. But the need for building upon the foundation continues! 

Living in a highly materialistic society, it may easy for us to neglect
the ongoing construction of the Lord's house.  Perhaps we need to 
remember the words of the Lord through Haggai:

   "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, 
   and this temple to lie in ruins?" (Hag 1:4)

If we are indeed guilty of neglecting the Lord's house, then heed also
these words of Haggai:

                           "Consider your ways!"

Did Jesus Break the Sabbath? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Did Jesus Break the Sabbath?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One common misconception regarding the behavior of Jesus is that, on occasion, in healing the sick and performing other benevolent actions, He broke the Sabbath in order to accommodate the higher law of love. This viewpoint leaves the impression that law is sometimes, if not frequently, antithetical to being loving. It implies that sometimes breaking God’s laws is necessary in order to be loving. This notion, of course, is flawed and contrary to Bible teaching. As Paul explained to the Romans: “he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments…are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10). Paul meant that when you obey the law’s directives concerning how to conduct yourself toward your neighbor, you will be engaging in loving behavior. To love, one must enact God’s laws.
The fact is the perfect Son of God obeyed all of God’s laws, never violating even one Divine precept (Hebrews 4:15). Sin is defined as violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Since Jesus was sinless, He never broke God’s laws. Hence, He could not have broken the Sabbath. Those who leveled such an accusation against Him were, in fact, mistaken.

the pool

Take, for example, the incident in John 5, when Jesus caused a man, who suffered from a 38-year-old ailment, to rise from his bed of confinement and walk. The fact that Jesus’ action took place on the Sabbath drew the criticism of the Jews who promptly informed the man, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed” (vs. 10). Many would suppose that Jesus would not be concerned with careful conformity to the Law. They would assume that He would chide the Jews for their “nit-picky, legalistic” approach to religion, and that He would be quite willing to dismiss the requirements of the Law in order to give priority to human need in the name of compassion. But this viewpoint is fraught with error, not the least of which is its demeaning assessment of law—law which God, Himself, authored. Law, according to God, is given for human well-being (Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:13; Proverbs 29:18). God’s law is “holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12), and serves divinely intended, positive purposes (e.g., Romans 3:20). Indeed, Jesus’ handling of His critics illustrates the high regard He had for law, the necessity of carefully conforming to that law, and the critical importance of applying it accurately.
In John 7, calling attention to the miracle He performed in chapter 5, Jesus offered a logical rebuttal to the allegation that He violated the Sabbath. Here is that argument placed in syllogistic form:
Premise 1: If the Law of Moses requires the circumcision of a male infant on the 8th day after birth—even when the 8th day falls on the Sabbath—then healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.
Premise 2: The Law of Moses requires the circumcision of a male infant on the 8th day after birth—even when the 8th day fell on the Sabbath.
Conclusion: Therefore, healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.
Jesus then offered a concluding admonition that cinched the validity of His argument: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (vs. 24). Making application of God’s laws based on “appearance” refers to doing so based on how things seem or look to the person making the judgment, i.e., forming an opinion based on inadequate evidence. To the contrary, to “judge with righteous judgment” means to make accurate assessments by drawing only warranted conclusions from the evidence, i.e., thinking and acting rationally. One must be very careful that he is “accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NASB) and not “handling the word of God deceitfully” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

The Synagogue

Another instance in which Jesus was falsely accused of breaking the Sabbath is seen on the occasion when Jesus entered the synagogue and encountered a man who had a deformed hand (Matthew 12:9-13). This circumstance prompted His enemies to ask Him a question in hopes of being able to accuse Him of breaking the Law. They asked: “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Of course, they had pre-decided that the answer to the question was “no,” and that, in fact, the Law would naturally forbid such an action.
Unfortunately, the prevailing interpretation of the Law of Moses at the time, at least among the Jewish leaders, was that the Sabbath law enjoined total inactivity—as if everyone was to sit down for 24 hours and do absolutely nothing. This view was a distortion of God’s Law on the matter. The Law gave the right, even the obligation, to engage in several activities (that could rightly be designated “work”) that did not constitute violation of the Sabbath regulation. On this occasion, Jesus pinpointed one such instance: “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?” (vs. 11). Jesus was recalling a directive from the Law of Moses:
You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray, and hide yourself from them; you shall certainly bring them back to your brother. And if your brother is not near you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it to your own house, and it shall remain with you until your brother seeks it; then you shall restore it to him. You shall do the same with his donkey, and so shall you do with his garment; with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he has lost and you have found, you shall do likewise; you must not hide yourself. You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fall down along the road, and hide yourself from them; you shall surely help him lift them up again (Deuteronomy 22:1-4; cf. Exodus 23:4-5).
Such passages give insight into the nature of God and provide tremendous assistance in making proper application of God’s laws to everyday circumstances.
Observe that God’s laws never contradict or countermand each other. Unlike manmade laws which often manifest inconsistency and contradiction, God’s laws function in perfect harmony with each other. The Mosaic passage to which Jesus alluded demonstrates that the general principle of the cessation of usual work on the Sabbath did not conflict with any number of specific circumstances in which benevolence and compassion were to be expressed. In an agriculturally based society, a family’s survival depends on its farm animals. If a sheep, ox, or donkey were to break out of its stall, flee the premises, and then fall into a pit from which it would be unable to extricate itself, the animal would most likely die or become seriously ill if left in its predicament for 24 hours. To expend the necessary effort (i.e., “work”) to retrieve the animal from danger was not considered by God to be included in the Sabbath prohibition. Hence, Jesus stated the logical conclusion: “Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep?” (vs. 12). If action could be exerted to see to the well-being of a dumb animal, then obviously, God would approve of action taken to see to the physical care of a human being! Here, once again, is Jesus’ argument placed in syllogistic form:
Premise 1: If the Law of Moses requires a person to manifest care, concern, and physical effort to recover a neighbor’s escaped, endangered farm animal—even when the incident occurs on the Sabbath—then healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.
Premise 2: The Law of Moses requires a person to manifest care, concern, and physical effort to recover a neighbor’s escaped, endangered farm animal—even when the incident occurs on the Sabbath.
Conclusion: Therefore, healing a man on the Sabbath is equally legal.
The logic is penetrating and decisive. Indeed, “they could not answer Him regarding these things” (Luke 14:6; see also Luke 6:6-11). Far from suggesting that law is unimportant and may be ignored under the guise of “human need,” or implying that humans can break the “letter of the law” in order to keep the “spirit of the law” (see Miller, 2003), Jesus demonstrated that inherently built into God’s laws are all concerns deemed by Deity to be necessary. The benevolent, loving thing to do will always harmonize with God’s laws, since “love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10), i.e., every truly loving action has already been defined by God in His legal admonitions.

The Grain Field

A final instance in which Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath is seen in the grain field incident (Matthew 12:1-8). Many commentators automatically assume that the charge leveled against Jesus’ disciples by the Pharisees was a scripturally valid charge. However, when the disciples picked and consumed a few heads of grain from a neighbor’s field, they were doing that which was perfectly lawful (Deuteronomy 23:25). Working would have been a violation of the Sabbath law. If they had pulled out a sickle and begun harvesting the grain, they would have been violating the Sabbath law. However, they were picking strictly for the purpose of eating immediately—an action that was in complete harmony with Mosaic legislation (“but that which everyone must eat”—Exodus 12:16). A modern equivalent might be reaching for a box of cereal on the pantry shelf, pouring it in a bowl, retrieving the milk from the refrigerator, pouring it on the cereal, and eating it. The Pharisees’ charge that the disciples were doing something “not lawful” on the Sabbath was simply an erroneous charge (cf. Matthew 15:2).
Jesus commenced to counter their accusation with masterful, penetrating logic, advancing successive rebuttals. Before He presented specific scriptural refutation of their charge, He first employed a rational device designated by logicians as argumentum ad hominem (literally “argument to the man”). He used the “circumstantial” form of this argument, which enabled Him to “point out a contrast between the opponent’s lifestyle and his expressed opinions, thereby suggesting that the opponent and his statements can be dismissed as hypocritical” (Baum, 1975, p. 470, emp. added). This variety of argumentation spotlights the opponent’s inconsistency, and “charges the adversary with being so prejudiced that his alleged reasons are mere rationalizations of conclusions dictated by self-interest” (Copi, 1972, p. 76).
Observe carefully the technical sophistication inherent in Jesus’ strategy. He called attention to the case of David (vss. 3-4). When David was in exile, literally running for his life to escape the jealous, irrational rage of Saul, he and his companions arrived in Nob, tired and hungry (1 Samuel 21). He lied to the priest and conned him into giving to his traveling companions the showbread, or “bread of the Presence” (12 flat cakes arranged in two rows on the table within the Tabernacle [Exodus 25:23-30; Leviticus 24:5-6])—bread that legally was reserved only for the priests (Leviticus 24:8-9; cf. Exodus 29:31-34; Leviticus 8:31; 22:10ff.). David clearly violated the law. Did the Pharisees condemn him? Absolutely not! They revered David. They held him in high regard. In fact, nearly a thousand years after his passing, his tomb was still being tended (Acts 2:29; cf. 1 Kings 2:10; Nehemiah 3:16; Josephus, 1974a, 13.8.4; 16.7.1; Josephus, 1974b, 1.2.5). On the one hand, they condemned the disciples of Jesus, who were innocent, but on the other hand, they upheld and revered David, who was guilty. Their inconsistency betrayed both their insincerity as well as their ineligibility to bring a charge against the disciples.
After exposing their hypocrisy and inconsistency, Jesus next turned to answer the charge pertaining to violating the Sabbath. He called their attention to the priests who worked in the Temple on the Sabbath (12:5; e.g., Numbers 28:9-10). The priests were “blameless”—not guilty—of violating the Sabbath law because their work was authorized to be performed on that day. As previously noted, the Sabbath law did not imply that everyone was to sit down and do nothing. The Law gave the right, even the obligation, to engage in several activities that did not constitute violation of the Sabbath regulation. Again, examples of such authorization included eating, Temple service, circumcision (John 7:22), tending to the basic care of animals (Exodus 23:4-5; Deuteronomy 22:1-4; Matthew 12:11; Luke 13:15), and extending kindness or assistance to the needy (Matthew 12:12; Luke 13:16; 14:1-6; John 5:5-9; 7:23). The divinely authorized Sabbath activity of the priests proved that the accusation of the Pharisees brought against Jesus’ disciples was false. [The term “profane” (vs. 5) is an example of the figure of speech known as metonymy of the adjunct in which “things are spoken of according to appearance, opinions formed respecting them, or the claims made for them” (Dungan, 1888, p. 295, emp. added). By this figure, Leah was said to be the “mother” of Joseph (Genesis 37:10), Joseph was said to be the “father” of Jesus (Luke 2:48; John 6:42), God’s preached message was said to be “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:21), and angels were said to be “men” (e.g., Genesis 18:16; 19:10). Priestly activity on the Sabbath gave the appearance of violation when, in fact, it was not. Coincidentally, Bullinger classified the allusion to “profane” in this verse as an instance of catachresis, or incongruity, stating that “it expresses what was true according to the mistaken notion of the Pharisees as to manual works performed on the Sabbath” (1898, p. 676, emp. added).]
After pointing out the obvious legality of priestly effort expended on the Sabbath, Jesus stated: “But I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple” (12:6). The underlying Greek text actually has “something” instead of “One.” If priests could carry on Tabernacle/Temple service on the Sabbath, surely Jesus’ own disciples were authorized to engage in service in the presence of the Son of God! After all, service directed to the person of Jesus certainly is greater than the pre-Christianity Temple service conducted by Old Testament priests.
For all practical purposes, the discussion was over. Jesus had disproved the claim of the Pharisees. But He did not stop there. He took His methodical confrontation to yet another level. He penetrated beneath the surface argument that the Pharisees had posited and focused on their hearts: “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless” (12:7). In this verse, Jesus quoted from an Old Testament context (Hosea 6:6) in which the prophet of old struck a blow against the mere external, superficial, ritualistic observance of some laws, to the neglect of heartfelt, sincere, humble attention to other laws while treating people properly. The comparison is evident. The Pharisees who confronted Jesus’ disciples were not truly interested in obeying God’s law. They were masquerading under that pretense (cf. Matthew 15:1-9; 23:3). But their problem did not lie in an attitude of desiring careful compliance with God’s law. Rather, their zest for law keeping was hypocritical and unaccompanied by their own obedience and concern for others. They possessed critical hearts and were more concerned with scrutinizing and blasting people than with honest, genuine applications of God’s directives for the good of mankind.
They had neutralized the true intent of divine regulations, making void the Word of God (Matthew 15:6). They had ignored and skipped over the significant laws that enjoined justice, mercy, and faith (Matthew 23:23). Consequently, though their attention to legal detail was laudable, their misapplication of it, as well as their own neglect and rejection of some aspects of it, made them inappropriate and unqualified promulgators of God’s laws. Indeed, they simply did not fathom the teaching of Hosea 6:6 (cf. Micah 6:6-8). “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” is a Hebraism (cf. Matthew 9:13) [McGarvey, 1875, pp. 82-83]. God was not saying that He did not want sacrifices offered under the Old Testament economy (notice the use of “more” in Hosea 6:6). Rather, He was saying that He did not want sacrifice alone. He wanted mercy with sacrifice. Internal motive and attitude are just as important to God as the external compliance with specifics.
Samuel addressed this same attitude shown by Saul: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). Samuel was not minimizing the essentiality of sacrifice as required by God. Rather, he was convicting Saul of the pretense of using one aspect of God’s requirements, i.e., alleged “sacrifice” of the best animals (1 Samuel 15:15), as a smoke screen for violating God’s instructions, i.e., failing to destroy all the animals (1 Samuel 15:3). If the Pharisees had understood these things, they would not have accused the disciples of breaking the law when the disciples, in fact, had not done so. They “would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7, emp. added).
While the disciples were guilty of violating an injunction that the Pharisees had concocted (supposing the injunction to be a genuine implication of the Sabbath regulation), the disciples were not guilty of a violation of Sabbath law. The Pharisees’ propensity for enjoining their uninspired and erroneous interpretations of Sabbath law upon others was the direct result of cold, unmerciful hearts that found a kind of sadistic glee in binding burdens upon people for burdens’ sake rather than in encouraging people to obey God genuinely.
Jesus placed closure on His exchange with the Pharisees on this occasion by asserting the accuracy of His handling of this entire affair: “For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (vs. 8). In other words, Jesus affirmed His deity and, therefore, His credentials and authoritative credibility for making accurate application of the Law of Moses to the issue at hand. One can trust Jesus’ exegesis and application of Sabbath law; after all, He wrote it!
Matthew 12 does not teach that Jesus broke the Sabbath or sanctions occasional violation of His laws under extenuating circumstances. His laws are never optional, relative, or situational—even though people often find God’s will inconvenient and difficult (e.g., John 6:60; Matthew 11:6; 15:12; 19:22; Mark 6:3; 1 Corinthians 1:23). The truth of the matter is that if the heart is receptive to God’s will, His will is “easy” (Matthew 11:30), “not too hard” (Deuteronomy 30:11), nor “burdensome” (1 John 5:3). If, on the other hand, the heart resists His will and does not desire to conform to it, then God’s words are “offensive” (Matthew 15:12), “hard,” (John 6:60), “narrow” (Matthew 7:14), and like a hammer that breaks in pieces and grinds the resister into powder (Jeremiah 23:29; Matthew 21:44).


The religion of Christ surpasses all human religion. It is rooted in the very essence of Deity. When Jesus took on human form on Earth, He showed Himself to be the Master logician and exegete Who always conducted Himself in a rational manner and conformed His actions to divine law. May we do likewise.
[NOTE: For more on Jesus’ handling of the Sabbath, see Miller, 2004.]


Baum, Robert (1975), Logic (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston).
Bullinger, E.W. (1898), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968 reprint).
Copi, Irving (1972), Introduction To Logic (New York: Macmillan).
Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Josephus, Flavius (1974a reprint), Antiquities of the Jews (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Josephus, Flavius (1974b reprint), Wars of the Jews (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
McGarvey, J.W. (1875), Commentary on Matthew and Mark (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Miller, Dave (2003), “The Spirit and Letter of the Law,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1225.
Miller, Dave (2004), “Situation Ethics—Extended Version,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=645&topic=38.

Did God Approve of the Extermination of Humans? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Did God Approve of the Extermination of Humans?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Skeptics have been especially critical of the Bible’s portrayal of God ordering the execution of entire populations—including women and children—during the Israelite conquest of Canaan. The Hebrew term herem found, for instance, in Joshua 5:7, refers to the total dedication or giving over of the enemy to God as a sacrifice, involving the extermination of the populace. It is alleged that the God of the Bible is as barbaric and cruel as any of the pagan gods. But this assessment simply is not true. Please consider the following observations.
In the first place, in the Decalogue that was given to the Israelites, the command, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13) undoubtedly referred to murder. It is so translated in most English versions (e.g., NKJV, NIV, NASB, etc.). In other words, the Old Covenant given to the Jews forbade taking the law into one’s own hands and murdering one’s fellow man. The Law of Moses certainly never intended for this commandment to be understood that the taking of human life always is wrong, regardless of the circumstance. In fact, the law itself made provision for implementing the death penalty in at least sixteen cases (see Miller, 2002). But these provisions entailed judicial execution based upon due process—not murder (even as it exists in our own society). The wording of Leviticus 24:17 (“Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death”) clarifies this point. The passage forbids taking life by individuals who are acting without legal authority—which, itself, brought the death penalty. Both murder and the death penalty are in the same verse, verifying the necessity of making a distinction between the two. God, Himself, implemented the death penalty directly on various people throughout human history (as evinced in the 1 Samuel 6:19 list), and required others to do it (as in 1 Samuel 15).
In the second place, if the critic would take the time to study the Bible and make an honest evaluation of the principles of God’s justice, wrath, and love, he or she would see the perfect and harmonious relationship between them. God’s vengeance is not like the impulsive, irrational, emotional outbursts of pagan deities or human beings. He is perfect in all His attributes. He possesses His attributes to a perfect degree, and each attribute exists in perfect balance and synchronization with every other attribute—a perfect blending. He therefore is perfect in justice, love, and anger. Just as God’s ultimate and final condemnation of sinners to eternal punishment will be just and appropriate (Matthew 13:41-42; 25:41), so this temporal judgment of wicked people in the Old Testament is ethical and fair. Human beings do not have an accurate grasp on the gravity of sin and the deplorable nature of evil and wickedness. Human sentimentality is hardly a qualified measuring stick for divine truth and spiritual reality.
Ironically, the atheist, the agnostic, the skeptic, and the liberal attempt to stand in judgment on the ethical behavior of God when, if their position is correct, there is no such thing as an absolute, objective, authoritative standard by which to pronounce anything right or wrong! As the French existentialist philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre, admitted: if there is no God, everything is permitted. The atheist and agnostic have absolutely no platform on which to stand from which to make moral or ethical distinctions—except as the result of subjective, purely personal preference. The very fact that they concede the existence of objective evil is an unwitting concession that there is a God Who has established an absolute framework of moral certainty.
The facts of the matter are that the Canaanites, whom God’s people were commanded to destroy, were destroyed for their own wickedness (Deuteronomy 9:4; 18:9-12; Leviticus 18:24-25,27-28). Canaanite culture and religion in the second millennium B.C. were polluted, corrupt, and unbelievably perverted. No doubt the people were physically diseased from their illicit behavior. There simply was no viable solution to their condition except destruction. Their moral depravity was “full” (Genesis 15:16). They had slumped to such an immoral, depraved state, with no hope of recovery, that their existence on this Earth had to be ended. A similar predicament existed in Noah’s day when God waited while Noah preached for years but was unable to divert the world’s population from its wickedness (Genesis 6:3,5-7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:5-9). Including the children in the destruction of such populations actually spared them from a worse condition—that of being reared to be as wicked as their parents, thereby facing eternal punishment. All persons who die in childhood, according to the Bible, are ushered to Paradise and, ultimately will reside in heaven. Children with evil parents must naturally suffer innocently while on Earth (e.g., Exodus 20:5; Numbers 14:33).
Those who disagree with God’s annihilation of the wicked in the Old Testament have the same liberal attitude that has prevailed in society for the last forty years. That attitude typically has opposed capital punishment as well as the corporal punishment of children. Such a person simply cannot see the rightness of evildoers being punished by execution or physical pain. This aberrant view has resulted in the rest of society being forced to live with the outcome of such skewed thinking, i.e., undisciplined, out-of-control children who grow to adulthood and wreak havoc on society by perpetrating crime—crime that has risen to historically all-time high levels.


Miller, Dave (2002), “Capital Punishment and the Bible,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1974.

Did David Authorize Infant Baptism? by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Did David Authorize Infant Baptism?

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

Why do many parents want to have their newborn babies baptized? Different parents have different reasons, but the most prominent reason is that parents want their children to be forgiven of sin (“Early Teachings on Infant Baptism”). But infants have no sin! Jesus said: “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). This statement suggests that people are baptized and become Christians in order to be like little children. If little children are lost sinners, why would the Lord tell us all to be like children (see Matthew 19:14)?
Of course, little children (including infants) are not lost. They are not old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong, so they cannot intelligently choose to do wrong, and thus they cannot sin. Baptism saves us from sin (1 Peter 3:21), and babies cannot be saved from sin, since they have not yet sinned. Young children are not in need of being saved, but instead are in a safe condition. Kyle Butt offered an insightful example:
Does the Bible teach that babies go to hell when they die? In order to answer this question, we must find a biblical example in which an infant died, and in which his or her eternal destination is recorded. To do such is not difficult. In 2 Samuel 12, King David’s newborn son fell terminally ill. After seven days, the child died. In verses 22 and 23, the Bible records that David said: “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” It is clear that David’s dead infant son would never return to this Earth, but David also said that one day, he would go to be with his son. Through inspiration, David documented that his own eternal destination was going to be “in the house of the Lord” (Psalm 23:6; cf. Psalm 17:15; 103:1-5; Isaiah 37:35; Acts 13:34; Hebrews 11:32). Therefore, we can conclude that “the house of the Lord” would be the eternal destination of his infant son to whom David would one day go. King David was looking forward to the day when he would be able to meet his son in heaven. Absolutely nothing in this context gives any hint that the dead infant son’s soul would go to hell (2003).
Some suggest, however, that David acknowledged inheritance of original sin, because he stated: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). An example of this erroneous approach is that of Matthew Henry, who commented on what David wrote in Psalm 51:5:
He confesses his original corruption.... David elsewhere speaks of the admirable structure of his body (Psalm 139:14,15), it was curiously wrought; and yet here he says it was shapen in iniquity, sin was twisted in with it; not as it came out of God’s hands, but as it comes through our parents’ loins. He elsewhere speaks of the piety of his mother, that she was God’s handmaid, and he pleads his relation to her (86:16;116:16), and yet here he says she conceived him in sin; for though she was, by grace, a child of God, she was, by nature, a daughter of Eve, and not excepted from the common character. Note, it is to be sadly lamented by every one of us that we brought into the world with us a corrupt nature, wretchedly degenerated from its primitive purity and rectitude; we have from our birth the snares of sin in our bodies, the seed of sin in our souls, and a stain of sin upon both. This is what we call original sin, because it is ancient as our original, and because it is the original of all our actual transgressions (n.d., 3:431, emp. in orig.).
A “companion” passage to Psalm 51:5 is Psalm 58:3, where David wrote a similar statement: “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” At first glance, it might seem that David affirmed that children are born, as it is frequently phrased, “black with sin.” Is that what David meant? If the Holy Spirit inspired David to write that infants are inherently sinful at birth, then at least some infants need the remission of sins. The truth is, there are several possible interpretations of these two verses, but none of them authorizes infant baptism.
First, notice that the context of Psalm 51:5 and Psalm 58:3 includes poetic, hyperbolic language. In verses three and four of chapter 51, David declared: “And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned...” (emp. added). One possible meaning of Psalm 51:5 and Psalm 58:3 is this: much of David’s life was characterized by sin, and, because David was so conscious of his sin, he expressed his sorrow by using hyperbolic, figurative language (see Jackson, 1998, p. 46; see also Coffman and Coffman, 1992, p. 434). This is a strong probability, because David wrote that children speak lies “as soon as they are born” (Psalm 58:3). Since infants cannot speak lies, we can assume that David did not intend to convey a literal meaning in Psalm 58:3. Plus, that verse indicates that all wicked people speak lies, which is not necessarily true. People can sin in ways other than practicing dishonesty. Job, obviously employing hyperbole, said that he had cared for orphans and widows since he was born (Job 31:18; see Jackson, 2000). Since Psalm 58:3 lends itself heavily to the hyperbolic interpretation, then interpreting Psalm 51:5, which contains seemingly hyperbolic language, as being figurative, also is reasonable. If the language of Psalm 51:5 is taken literally, and one reads into the literal language the Calvinistic doctrine of original sin, the verse contradicts other plain passages of Scripture (Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). But the Bible does not contradict itself.
Second, when some still insist that Psalm 51:5 demonstrates that David was born “black with sin,” we should remind them that David’s mother, being an adult, was a sinner. If the language of this verse is to be understood literally, then the sin of which David wrote must be the sin of his mother. However, David did not mean that he inherited the sin of his mother (see Butt, 2004). Many people suffer from the consequences of their parents’ sin, but infants are not responsible for their parents’ sin. This is because the soul does not come from human parents, but from God (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Hebrews 12:9; see Jackson, 2000). People do not become sinful until they choose to sin, and that happens sometime after birth (see Genesis 8:21; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Jeremiah 3:25).
A third plausible interpretation of Psalm 51:5 is that David simply noted that he was conceived and born in a world in which sin is prevalent. In that sense, any of us could truthfully say, “I was born in sin,” without contradicting Scripture, or even admitting personal sin, especially in view of the fact that our parents are sinners (see Jackson, 2000).
Fourth, because David wrote Psalm 51 as a prayer of repentance, some have suggested that the Psalmist was using poetic license to put words into the mouth of the child who was conceived as a result of David’s illicit affair with Bathsheba. In that context, the text could literally read: “In sin my mother conceived me.” While the possibility that this interpretation is correct cannot be ruled out, it seems on the surface to be a “stretch”—David’s meaning is not as obvious when we use this interpretation as it is when we use others.
A fifth possibility, though remote, is that David referenced the fact that he was the tenth generation in the lineage of Judah, who had an incestuous relationship with his daughter-in-law, Tamar (see Genesis 38). Since Deuteronomy 23:2 reads: “One of the illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord” (emp. added), it is possible that David simply made reference to the sin of Judah and Tamar, which haunted his family.
David never claimed that infants are sinful at birth. However, even if it could be scripturally proven (and it cannot) that children are born in sin, infants still would not be proper candidates for baptism, because belief and repentance are prerequisites for baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 3:19).


Butt, Kyle (2003), “Do Babies Go to Hell When They Die?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2255.
Butt, Kyle (2004), “Do Children Inherit the Sins of Their Parents?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2543.
Coffman, James Burton and Thelma B. Coffman (1992), Commentary on Psalms (Abilene, TX: ACU Press).
“Early Teachings on Infant Baptism” (2004), Catholic Answers, [On-line], URL: http://www.catholic.com/library/Early_Teachings_of_Infant_Baptism.asp.
Henry, Matthew (no date), Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (McLean, VA: MacDonald).
Jackson, Wayne (1998), “ ‘Yes, We Baptize Our Babies....’—A Response,” Christian Courier, 33:45-46, April.
Jackson, Wayne (2000), “ ‘Original Sin’ and a Misapplied Passage” [On-line], URL: http://www.christiancourier.com/archives/originalSin.htm.




For NT believers there’s no doubt whatever that without Jesus, His person and work, Sin isn’t dealt with. Believers don’t need to prove again and again what no believer in 2,000 years has doubted or would dream of doubting.
Precisely how Christ “deals with” Sin is still disputed though it’s clear that the evangelical stream currently prefers the penal substitution view which I think is bad doctrine that requires either universalism or limited atonement as in Augustinian Calvinism. (I’ve worked with that some in The Dragon Slayer.) Setting aside atonement theory what’s indisputable for people like us is this: Christ dealt with Sin or it wasn’t dealt with. The Incarnation, life, death, resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ is/are the objective realities the NT says are indispensable for reconciliation and so deal with Sin that it is not an indestructible enemy of sinners—Christ conquered it so that sinners can conquer it also [John 12:41;16.33; 1 John 5:4-5]. How He “conquered” it is complex and numerous theories are offered.
This focus on God in Christ is the “objective” side of reconciliation with God. Humanity didn’t provide that—God provided that independent of the human family. [That statement needs developed to be made clear since Jesus didn’t float down out of heaven but was born of a woman who was a child of Adam and Jesus is himself listed as a child of Adam in Luke 3.] All that is true, but it’s only on side of the “reconciliation” story. 2 Corinthians 5:18 insists that “all things” are of God (referencing the things just said) but 5.20 calls (using an aorist imperative) for humans to “be reconciled” to God. “Be you reconciled to God!” It’s clear that while human response isn’t what initiates or is the ground on which humans are reconciled to God, human response is required. The Godward side of the Story is that God does not reckon human sins against them (5.19), what should have kept humans and God alienated from one another is the human record of sinful conduct that rose out of sinful hearts. The man-ward side of the Story is what is rarely dealt with in evangelical teaching/preaching. There is still the fevered fear of “legalism” or “self-salvation”—a fear inherited from Augustine, systematized in Calvinism and Lutheranism.
All talk of earning a right relationship with God is nonsense. A saving relationship with God begins in grace, is sustained by grace and ends with grace! Paul knows that no one earns anything (Titus 3.5 is enough) but the same one who wrote Titus 3.5 wrote 2 Corinthians 5.20. The entire story of reconciliation (in any situation, human or divine) must include the attitude of both parties toward the other. There cannot be “reconciliation” while one chooses and lives out hostility toward the other. To do that is to remain alienated. There is no such thing as “being at one” when in fact one chooses not to be at one. This realignment of the heart with God is the subjective side of “reconciliation/atonement”.
God’s work of reconciliation/atonement is not done when Christ has done what He has done in His earthly ministry—He has yet to overcome the sinner’s chosen alienation. That’s where gospeling enters, that’s where the Father & Son, in and through the Spirit, brings the truth that woos and leads sinners to a transformed heart (2 Corinthian 5.19-20; John 6:63; 16:13-15; Romans 2:4; Phil 1.29; Acts 16:14; 18:27 and elsewhere).
With this work—God’s continued work of reconciling—the sinner now rejects his sin, his choice of alienation, he wants to be God’s friend and servant. He renounces his past sin and renounces the sinful bent that remains a part of him due to the years of alienation and he continues (by God’s help) to “put off” the various behaviors that were part of his “old man” status (the “old man” being his relationship to and inclusion in the first Adam—see Romans 5:12–6:6). In Jesus he is not now the same person he was before God brought him to a repentant faith. Now in faith he rejects all that the “old man” (first Adam) stands for and embraces all that the “last Adam” is and stands for (see 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; 45-49 with Romans 5.14, last phrase and 7:4-6). At no point is the sinner coerced, he is not forced to believe, his free-will capacity has not been obliterated but the truth of God so works that he is persuaded and shaped that his eyes and heart are opened by the Gospel (1 Corinthians 1:21; Acts 2.37; 16:13-15; Romans 10:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). God’s goodness leads the believer to renounce Sin in all its forms (attitude, thought and deed as well as the still existing weakness that leads to sins). This is the era, the dispensation of the Spirit in and by whom the glorified and exalted Lord Jesus makes Himself present to the world having completed in His earthly ministry, experience and glorification all that needed to be done then (John 14:16-18, 23; 16:12-15; Ephesians 3:14-21 and John 16:5-11).
This shouldn’t lead to an overstress on “doing” or “the pursuit of moral excellence” (though we were created for good works—Ephesians 2.10; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Peter 2:24; Titus 3:4-8). We must take into account the truth that God cannot have fellowship with people who choose to be “darkness” (Colossians 1:13, 21; 2 Corinthians 6:14) and who remain therefore in the kingdom of darkness. At the heart of the human response to God—which is generated by God’s saving truth—is faith. Saving faith is both receiving as true what God has revealed concerning Himself in Jesus Christ and committing oneself in trusting obedience to that faith. This is what overcomes the world. Faith says of Jesus Christ, “He is right—we are wrong; He is righteous—we are unrighteous; He is the truth—we are lies……” That believing/trusting response (which is the gift of God as well as a free human response) takes us into and is the way of life in the “new world” (new creation). In and through Him we died to the “old world” and enter that new world; we die to “the old man” and are resurrected in the “new man” (Colossian 2:12; Ephesians 2:5-6).
“Reconciliation” includes the reorientation of a heart with God’s. It includes having the mind of Christ. God’s work of reconciliation is not completed until the sinner (whatever his limitations) takes God’s purpose as his own and that begins in and continues in a denial of the self and the embracing Jesus Christ as our life and identity [(Romans 6:1-6; Colossians 2:12; 3:1-5).




Worship Defined: reverent honor and homage paid to God or sacred personage...
Psalm 111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. (KJV)

God's name is holy and reverend. The question, are the names of preachers, priests, popes, elders, bishops, deacons, and pastors, reverend and holy. Do they deserved to be worshiped? Do they deserve the title of Reverend or Holy Father?

John 17:11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father.....(NIV)

Jesus refers to God as Holy Father. Nowhere in Scripture is any person mention as Holy Father.

Acts 10:25,26 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself." (NIV)

Peter did not accept worship from Cornelius. Peter was not a Reverend nor was he a Holy Father.

Those who like to be called Reverend or Holy Father would say, well that is just a term of respect. No, calling someone sir, is a term of respect.

Reverend and Holy Father are terms of worship. They are reserved for God alone.

There is no Scripture in the Bible that refers to any apostle, pastor, bishop, elder, nor the Virgin Mary as being worthy of worship. Only God should be revered.

What are Spiritual Disciplines? by Roy Davison


What are Spiritual Disciplines?

The Scriptures do not mention ‘spiritual disciplines’. The word ‘discipline’ does occur in the Bible, but with a different meaning.

Biblical discipline

Discipline is chastisement to discourage improper behavior. Parents discipline their children and God disciplines His children: “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24); “You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you” (Deuteronomy 8:5); “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6; see verses 5-11); “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

One can discipline himself: “When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, that became my reproach” (Psalm 69:10); “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

A religious standard of conduct

The word ‘discipline’ in the expression ‘spiritual disciplines’ refers to a religious standard of conduct. This usage originates, not from the Bible, but from eastern religions and Roman Catholic mysticism.

The Buddhist ‘Vinaya’ can be translated as the Buddhist ‘Discipline’. A Buddhist monk must observe 227 training rules. A regular Buddhist has five rules.

Hindu and Catholic monasteries also have their ‘disciplines’ consisting of training rules, prohibitions, allowances and regulations that govern daily conduct.

In this sense, a discipline is a regimentation involving a technique or methodology intended to accomplish greater spirituality and closeness to God.

Mysticism involves spiritual ‘exercises’ that supposedly bring one closer to God in a direct personal ‘better felt than told’ way.

Disciplines almost always involve an hierarchy. One has a ‘spiritual director’ or ‘spiritual mentor’ who is supposedly more advanced and closer to God who helps one with his ‘spiritual formation’. This violates the command of Christ: “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ” (Matthew 23:8-10). No one but Jesus is qualified to be our spiritual director or spiritual mentor. Anyone who sets himself up as such is a usurper.

Disciplines are usually elitist. Those who practice the disciplines consider themselves ‘more spiritual’ and ‘closer to God’ than others who do not practice them.

Disciplines are attractive to many people because they promise increased spirituality and communion with God.
By studying and applying the Scriptures we can accomplish these worthy goals. We can exercise ourselves toward godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). We can “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Disciplines, however, promise increased spirituality by means of humanly devised practices. Disciplines usually make reference to certain portions of Scripture, sometimes validly but often accompanied by misinterpretation. In substance, however, they are human formulations.
What did Jesus say about this approach to religion? “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Matthew 15:7-9).

Disciplines have an appearance of wisdom but are worthless

In the first century some who were “vainly puffed up by their fleshly mind” (Colossians 2:18) were trying to impose their rules and regulations on Christians. Paul responded: “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations -- ‘Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,’ which all concern things which perish with the using -- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:20-23).

What is the source of these ideas?

In the Catholic church, each order has its own discipline. You can take your pick: Augustinians (several different kinds), Carmelites (two kinds: with bare feet in sandals or with shoes and socks), Franciscans (several different kinds), Dominicans, Carthusians, Hieronymites, Cistercians, Trappists (the strictest branch of the Cistercians), Baladites, Benedictines, Basilians.
Non-Catholics in general have claimed that the whole Bible is their ‘rule of conduct’ not a set of man-made rules of devotion.

Certain groups, however, such as the Quakers are mystic religions with man-made rules and regulations (‘The Discipline of the Society of Friends’) intended to increase morality and communion with God. Quakers have periods of silence in their assemblies when they ‘wait for The Inward Teacher to speak to them’. They call this ‘expectant waiting’. When someone ‘gets a message’ they (men or women) stand up and pass the message on to the others. This message is viewed as coming from God.

The concept of ‘the Spiritual Disciplines’ was promoted by the Quaker, Richard J. Foster in his 1978 book, ‘Celebration of Discipline, the Path to Spiritual Growth’. He praised Medieval Catholic mystics who, according to him, had a closeness to God that we cannot attain unless we use similar techniques. Since ‘the Spiritual Disciplines’ do not come from the Bible, each proponent has his own list. Foster sub-divided them into ‘inward, outward and corporate’. Dallas Willard sub-divides his list into ‘Disciplines of Abstinence’ and ‘Disciplines of Engagement’. Another influential writer is Donald Whitney with his book ‘Disciplines for the Christian Life’ (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1991). Existential mysticism is advocated by some: develop your own set of practices that work for you.

Each writer has his own list of ‘the spiritual disciplines’. Prayer is included but mystic ‘prayer’ is different from Biblical prayer. A mystic thinks God speaks directly to him when he prays. Other ‘disciplines’ such as simplicity, solitude and silence are borrowed from Catholic mystics such as the Trappist Cistercians. Each of these items is mentioned in Scripture in distinctive contexts, but they are never presented as ‘spiritual disciplines’.

For the mystic, silence is not just silence. Tilden Edwards, founder of the ‘Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation’ writes: “In its fullness silence itself is participation in God’s being, which is the depth of our own being.” He quotes John of the Cross that ‘silence is God’s first language’, and Mother Teresa that ‘silence is God speaking to us’, and Meister Eckhart that ‘there is nothing so like God as silence’. He concludes: “Silence thus is living, pregnant, sacred space.” Contemplative Possibilities in Corporate Worship/Liturgy by Tilden Edwards.

‘Contemplative Spirituality’ has been promoted in various forms among churches of Christ. Lipscomb University has an ‘Institute for Christian Spirituality’ with a ‘Spiritual Direction’ program led by Associate Director Jackie L. Halstead. Their brochure states: “She holds certificates from two programs with the Shalem Institute -- ‘Spiritual Guidance’ and ‘Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats’, and is a member of the Lay Cistercians of Gethsemani Abbey.”

The web site of the latter states: “The Abbey of Gethsemani” follows “Christ under a rule and an abbot. We Trappist monks lead lives of prayer, work, and sacred reading, steeped in the heart and mystery of the Church. The Abbey is a monastery in the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance (OCSO), part of the body of the Roman Catholic Church.” Notice that they follow Christ “under a rule and an abbot”. Their rule is the ‘Rule of Benedict’ which consists of 73 chapters.

Jackie “is a member of the Lay Cistercians of Gethsemani Abbey.” This is what their web site says about membership: “We welcome any Christian adult who feels called to live a lay contemplative lifestyle in the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict and the Cistercian tradition.”

The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation states the following about their mission: “We trust that God is immediately present, and lovingly, liberatingly active and responsive in our lives. This Presence is always available to guide us toward being our deepest, truest selves in God.”

Mr. William C. Dietrich, who was Executive Director and Senior Faculty Member of the ‘Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation’ for many years, is a Quaker who is also a council officer (the treasurer) of the ‘Silver Spring Zendo One Heart Sangha’, a Buddhist congregation.

The difference between mystic prayer and Biblical prayer

Not only is the whole idea of having humanly devised rules and practices condemned by the Bible, but mystic prayer expects direct guidance from God at the time of prayer. Did you notice this in the quotation from the Shalem Institute? “God is immediately present ... This Presence is always available to guide us toward being our deepest, truest selves in God.”

Jesus taught His followers how to pray (Luke 11:1-4). Paul wrote: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Mystic prayer includes being silent and listening for what God wants to whisper to you. Another designation for ‘listening prayer’ is ‘contemplative prayer’. Often, people are encouraged to have a notepad with them when they pray to write down anything God might tell them. This is called ‘journaling’.

Stacey S. Padrick in ‘The Listening Side of Prayer’ says there are two techniques for listening to God. One is through His word. The other is by ‘journaling’. He suggests that we write out questions for God, meditate in silence, and then write down the responses that come in answer to the questions. He suggests that we should then discuss these replies with other believers to discern whether they are really from God!

Such a ridiculous idea is not found in the Scriptures. We make our requests known to God in prayer. He speaks to us through the holy Scriptures which equip the man of God for every good work. We do read about people who walk “according to the dictates of their own hearts” (Jeremiah 9:14) and prophets who “speak a vision of their own hearts” (Jeremiah 23:16, 26; Ezekiel 13:2, 17).

We must observe the warning and statement of Paul: “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:13-17).

Beware of mystic Bible study

In connection with ‘Contemplative Spirituality’ a subjective approach to Bible study is often advocated. After reading a passage, the mystic waits and ‘opens his heart' to hear what God wants to tell him about that passage. This is promoted as being ‘God-centered Bible study’ but it is actually ‘man centered’. Certainly it is good to consider what a passage means and how it ought to be applied in one’s life. But God speaks in and through the Scriptures, not separately afterwards! If it is not in the Scriptures, it is not from God. If you long for something more than the Scriptures, you are opening up your heart, not to God, but to your own imaginations and even to satanic influences.
This approach is called ‘Transformative Bible Study’. This is how Rhonda Lowry (wife of the president of Lipscomb University) says she prepares for such study, as reported by John Mark Hicks in his blog of July 8, 2008:
“Before we can read Scripture transformatively, we must settle ourselves. We must rid ourselves of the busy-ness of life, focus on the task at hand, and seek God.
“I seek this with some meditative breathing exercises and prayer. To encounter God in the present, we need to be ‘in’ the present (rather than letting our mind wander back to the past or planning the future). I find the easiest way to do this for me is to pray the ‘Jesus prayer’ with rhythmic breathing. As I inhale I address Jesus with these words ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,’ and as I exhale I pray ‘have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I do this repeatedly until calm enters my soul, everything else is excluded from my consciousness, and I sense some focus on God’s comforting presence. It is an experience of calm. This prepares me to hear the text.”

Where in the holy Scriptures, which equip the man of God completely for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17), are we instructed to prepare for prayer or Bible study by means of breathing exercises?

Mysticism downplays doctrine
Jesus said: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 3:31, 32). John warned: “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).
A mystic tends to consider doctrinal soundness unimportant because he thinks he can commune directly with God in silence without words.
Mystics of widely differing doctrinal backgrounds (even including heathen mystics) often feel a closer bond with one another than they feel with non-mystics in their own fellowship.
Referring to the ‘Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation’, which is composed of mystics from many different religious denominations, Jackie Halstead wrote in her blog on October 16, 2010: “Next leg was five days at the Shalem gathering in Maryland. How do I describe this community of believers? My faith community, soul friends, people of my heart.”
Mysticism gives false hope. Many of the people at Shalem have never been born again according to the teaching of Christ. Yet, they all think they have close communion with God! They also think they are more spiritual than others who have been “born again of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5) but who do not espouse ‘contemplative spirituality’.
The Mystic Theologian Adolphe Tanquerey writes that mental prayer “is the most effective means of assuring one's salvation” (The Spiritual Life, A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology, #673).
Ritualism and mysticism enable people to feel close to God when their hearts are far from Him: “These people draw near to me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men” (Isaiah 29:13).
‘Spiritual disciplines’ are unspiritual
The Holy Spirit commands us through Peter: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). Since ‘Spiritual Disciplines’ are not in the Scriptures, they are not beneficial for spiritual growth. God condemns subjection to human disciplines and designates them as unspiritual, ‘basic principles of the world’ (Colossians 2:20-23).

Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading for March 18 and 19 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading for March 18 and 19

World  English  Bible

Mar. 18
Exodus 30, 31

Exo 30:1 "You shall make an altar to burn incense on. You shall make it of acacia wood.
Exo 30:2 Its length shall be a cubit, and its breadth a cubit. It shall be square, and its height shall be two cubits. Its horns shall be of one piece with it.
Exo 30:3 You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top, its sides around it, and its horns; and you shall make a gold molding around it.
Exo 30:4 You shall make two golden rings for it under its molding; on its two ribs, on its two sides you shall make them; and they shall be for places for poles with which to bear it.
Exo 30:5 You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.
Exo 30:6 You shall put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with you.
Exo 30:7 Aaron shall burn incense of sweet spices on it every morning. When he tends the lamps, he shall burn it.
Exo 30:8 When Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before Yahweh throughout your generations.
Exo 30:9 You shall offer no strange incense on it, nor burnt offering, nor meal offering; and you shall pour no drink offering on it.
Exo 30:10 Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once in the year; with the blood of the sin offering of atonement once in the year he shall make atonement for it throughout your generations. It is most holy to Yahweh."
Exo 30:11 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 30:12 "When you take a census of the children of Israel, according to those who are numbered among them, then each man shall give a ransom for his soul to Yahweh, when you number them; that there be no plague among them when you number them.
Exo 30:13 They shall give this, everyone who passes over to those who are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary; (the shekel is twenty gerahs;) half a shekel for an offering to Yahweh.
Exo 30:14 Everyone who passes over to those who are numbered, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the offering to Yahweh.
Exo 30:15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when they give the offering of Yahweh, to make atonement for your souls.
Exo 30:16 You shall take the atonement money from the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the Tent of Meeting; that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before Yahweh, to make atonement for your souls."
Exo 30:17 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 30:18 "You shall also make a basin of brass, and its base of brass, in which to wash. You shall put it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.
Exo 30:19 Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in it.
Exo 30:20 When they go into the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water, that they not die; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Exo 30:21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they not die: and it shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his descendants throughout their generations."
Exo 30:22 Moreover Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 30:23 "Also take fine spices: of liquid myrrh, five hundred shekels; and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, even two hundred and fifty; and of fragrant cane, two hundred and fifty;
Exo 30:24 and of cassia five hundred, after the shekel of the sanctuary; and a hin of olive oil.
Exo 30:25 You shall make it a holy anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer: it shall be a holy anointing oil.
Exo 30:26 You shall use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the testimony,
Exo 30:27 the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense,
Exo 30:28 the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its base.
Exo 30:29 You shall sanctify them, that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them shall be holy.
Exo 30:30 You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and sanctify them, that they may minister to me in the priest's office.
Exo 30:31 You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'This shall be a holy anointing oil to me throughout your generations.
Exo 30:32 It shall not be poured on man's flesh, neither shall you make any like it, according to its composition: it is holy. It shall be holy to you.
Exo 30:33 Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on a stranger, he shall be cut off from his people.' "
Exo 30:34 Yahweh said to Moses, "Take to yourself sweet spices, gum resin, and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be an equal weight;
Exo 30:35 and you shall make incense of it, a perfume after the art of the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy:
Exo 30:36 and you shall beat some of it very small, and put some of it before the testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be to you most holy.
Exo 30:37 The incense which you shall make, according to its composition you shall not make for yourselves: it shall be to you holy for Yahweh.
Exo 30:38 Whoever shall make any like that, to smell of it, he shall be cut off from his people."

Exo 31:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 31:2 "Behold, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
Exo 31:3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
Exo 31:4 to devise skillful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
Exo 31:5 and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of workmanship.
Exo 31:6 I, behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the heart of all who are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded you:
Exo 31:7 the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the testimony, the mercy seat that is on it, all the furniture of the Tent,
Exo 31:8 the table and its vessels, the pure lampstand with all its vessels, the altar of incense,
Exo 31:9 the altar of burnt offering with all its vessels, the basin and its base,
Exo 31:10 the finely worked garments--the holy garments for Aaron the priest--the garments of his sons to minister in the priest's office,
Exo 31:11 the anointing oil, and the incense of sweet spices for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded you they shall do."
Exo 31:12 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 31:13 "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, 'Most certainly you shall keep my Sabbaths: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies you.
Exo 31:14 You shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Exo 31:15 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to Yahweh. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall surely be put to death.
Exo 31:16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
Exo 31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.' "
Exo 31:18 He gave to Moses, when he finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets, written with God's finger.

Mar. 19
Exodus 32, 33

Exo 32:1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him."
Exo 32:2 Aaron said to them, "Take off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them to me."
Exo 32:3 All the people took off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.
Exo 32:4 He received what they handed him, and fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said, "These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt."
Exo 32:5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation, and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to Yahweh."
Exo 32:6 They rose up early on the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
Exo 32:7 Yahweh spoke to Moses, "Go, get down; for your people, who you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves!
Exo 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, 'These are your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.' "
Exo 32:9 Yahweh said to Moses, "I have seen these people, and behold, they are a stiff-necked people.
Exo 32:10 Now therefore leave me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of you a great nation."
Exo 32:11 Moses begged Yahweh his God, and said, "Yahweh, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, that you have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
Exo 32:12 Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'He brought them forth for evil, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the surface of the earth?' Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people.
Exo 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever.' "
Exo 32:14 Yahweh repented of the evil which he said he would do to his people.
Exo 32:15 Moses turned, and went down from the mountain, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand; tablets that were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other they were written.
Exo 32:16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tables.
Exo 32:17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is the noise of war in the camp."
Exo 32:18 He said, "It isn't the voice of those who shout for victory, neither is it the voice of those who cry for being overcome; but the noise of those who sing that I hear."
Exo 32:19 It happened, as soon as he came near to the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing: and Moses' anger grew hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mountain.
Exo 32:20 He took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
Exo 32:21 Moses said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you have brought a great sin on them?"
Exo 32:22 Aaron said, "Don't let the anger of my lord grow hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil.
Exo 32:23 For they said to me, 'Make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him.'
Exo 32:24 I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them take it off:' so they gave it to me; and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."
Exo 32:25 When Moses saw that the people had broken loose, (for Aaron had let them loose for a derision among their enemies),
Exo 32:26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on Yahweh's side, come to me!" All the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.
Exo 32:27 He said to them, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Every man put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and every man kill his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.' "
Exo 32:28 The sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
Exo 32:29 Moses said, "Consecrate yourselves today to Yahweh, yes, every man against his son, and against his brother; that he may bestow on you a blessing this day."
Exo 32:30 It happened on the next day, that Moses said to the people, "You have sinned a great sin. Now I will go up to Yahweh. Perhaps I shall make atonement for your sin."
Exo 32:31 Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made themselves gods of gold.
Exo 32:32 Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin--and if not, please blot me out of your book which you have written."
Exo 32:33 Yahweh said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Exo 32:34 Now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin."
Exo 32:35 Yahweh struck the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Exo 33:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, "Depart, go up from here, you and the people that you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your seed.'
Exo 33:2 I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
Exo 33:3 to a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of you, for you are a stiff-necked people, lest I consume you in the way."
Exo 33:4 When the people heard this evil news, they mourned: and no one put on his jewelry.
Exo 33:5 Yahweh said to Moses, "Tell the children of Israel, 'You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go up into your midst for one moment, I would consume you. Therefore now take off your jewelry from you, that I may know what to do to you.' "
Exo 33:6 The children of Israel stripped themselves of their jewelry from Mount Horeb onward.
Exo 33:7 Now Moses used to take the tent and to pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and he called it "The Tent of Meeting." It happened that everyone who sought Yahweh went out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp.
Exo 33:8 It happened that when Moses went out to the Tent, that all the people rose up, and stood, everyone at their tent door, and watched Moses, until he had gone into the Tent.
Exo 33:9 It happened, when Moses entered into the Tent, that the pillar of cloud descended, stood at the door of the Tent, and spoke with Moses.
Exo 33:10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud stand at the door of the Tent, and all the people rose up and worshiped, everyone at their tent door.
Exo 33:11 Yahweh spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. He turned again into the camp, but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, didn't depart out of the Tent.
Exo 33:12 Moses said to Yahweh, "Behold, you tell me, 'Bring up this people:' and you haven't let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.'
Exo 33:13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you, so that I may find favor in your sight: and consider that this nation is your people."
Exo 33:14 He said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Exo 33:15 He said to him, "If your presence doesn't go with me, don't carry us up from here.
Exo 33:16 For how would people know that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Isn't it in that you go with us, so that we are separated, I and your people, from all the people who are on the surface of the earth?"
Exo 33:17 Yahweh said to Moses, "I will do this thing also that you have spoken; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name."
Exo 33:18 He said, "Please show me your glory."
Exo 33:19 He said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy."
Exo 33:20 He said, "You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live."
Exo 33:21 Yahweh also said, "Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock.
Exo 33:22 It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by;
Exo 33:23 then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back; but my face shall not be seen."
Mar.  18
Mark 11

Mar 11:1 When they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethsphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
Mar 11:2 and said to them, "Go your way into the village that is opposite you. Immediately as you enter into it, you will find a young donkey tied, on which no one has sat. Untie him, and bring him.
Mar 11:3 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord needs him;' and immediately he will send him back here."
Mar 11:4 They went away, and found a young donkey tied at the door outside in the open street, and they untied him.
Mar 11:5 Some of those who stood there asked them, "What are you doing, untying the young donkey?"
Mar 11:6 They said to them just as Jesus had said, and they let them go.
Mar 11:7 They brought the young donkey to Jesus, and threw their garments on it, and Jesus sat on it.
Mar 11:8 Many spread their garments on the way, and others were cutting down branches from the trees, and spreading them on the road.
Mar 11:9 Those who went in front, and those who followed, cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Mar 11:10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"
Mar 11:11 Jesus entered into the temple in Jerusalem. When he had looked around at everything, it being now evening, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Mar 11:12 The next day, when they had come out from Bethany, he was hungry.
Mar 11:13 Seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came to see if perhaps he might find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
Mar 11:14 Jesus told it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!" and his disciples heard it.
Mar 11:15 They came to Jerusalem, and Jesus entered into the temple, and began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of those who sold the doves.
Mar 11:16 He would not allow anyone to carry a container through the temple.
Mar 11:17 He taught, saying to them, "Isn't it written, 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?' But you have made it a den of robbers!"
Mar 11:18 The chief priests and the scribes heard it, and sought how they might destroy him. For they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching.
Mar 11:19 When evening came, he went out of the city.
Mar 11:20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away from the roots.
Mar 11:21 Peter, remembering, said to him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away."
Mar 11:22 Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God.
Mar 11:23 For most certainly I tell you, whoever may tell this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and doesn't doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is happening; he shall have whatever he says.
Mar 11:24 Therefore I tell you, all things whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received them, and you shall have them.
Mar 11:25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions.
Mar 11:26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions."
Mar 11:27 They came again to Jerusalem, and as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders came to him,
Mar 11:28 and they began saying to him, "By what authority do you do these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?"
Mar 11:29 Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Mar 11:30 The baptism of John-was it from heaven, or from men? Answer me."
Mar 11:31 They reasoned with themselves, saying, "If we should say, 'From heaven;' he will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?'
Mar 11:32 If we should say, 'From men' "-they feared the people, for all held John to really be a prophet.
Mar 11:33 They answered Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus said to them, "Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things."

Mar. 19
Mark 12

Mar 12:1 He began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the winepress, built a tower, rented it out to a farmer, and went into another country.
Mar 12:2 When it was time, he sent a servant to the farmer to get from the farmer his share of the fruit of the vineyard.
Mar 12:3 They took him, beat him, and sent him away empty.
Mar 12:4 Again, he sent another servant to them; and they threw stones at him, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated.
Mar 12:5 Again he sent another; and they killed him; and many others, beating some, and killing some.
Mar 12:6 Therefore still having one, his beloved son, he sent him last to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
Mar 12:7 But those farmers said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
Mar 12:8 They took him, killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
Mar 12:9 What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers, and will give the vineyard to others.
Mar 12:10 Haven't you even read this Scripture: 'The stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner.
Mar 12:11 This was from the Lord, it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
Mar 12:12 They tried to seize him, but they feared the multitude; for they perceived that he spoke the parable against them. They left him, and went away.
Mar 12:13 They sent some of the Pharisees and of the Herodians to him, that they might trap him with words.
Mar 12:14 When they had come, they asked him, "Teacher, we know that you are honest, and don't defer to anyone; for you aren't partial to anyone, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
Mar 12:15 Shall we give, or shall we not give?" But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, "Why do you test me? Bring me a denarius, that I may see it."
Mar 12:16 They brought it. He said to them, "Whose is this image and inscription?" They said to him, "Caesar's."
Mar 12:17 Jesus answered them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." They marveled greatly at him.
Mar 12:18 There came to him Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection. They asked him, saying,
Mar 12:19 "Teacher, Moses wrote to us, 'If a man's brother dies, and leaves a wife behind him, and leaves no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up offspring for his brother.'
Mar 12:20 There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying left no offspring.
Mar 12:21 The second took her, and died, leaving no children behind him. The third likewise;
Mar 12:22 and the seven took her and left no children. Last of all the woman also died.
Mar 12:23 In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be of them? For the seven had her as a wife."
Mar 12:24 Jesus answered them, "Isn't this because you are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God?
Mar 12:25 For when they will rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Mar 12:26 But about the dead, that they are raised; haven't you read in the book of Moses, about the Bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
Mar 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are therefore badly mistaken."
Mar 12:28 One of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together. Knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the greatest of all?"
Mar 12:29 Jesus answered, "The greatest is, 'Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one:
Mar 12:30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.
Mar 12:31 The second is like this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Mar 12:32 The scribe said to him, "Truly, teacher, you have said well that he is one, and there is none other but he,
Mar 12:33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Mar 12:34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." No one dared ask him any question after that.
Mar 12:35 Jesus responded, as he taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?
Mar 12:36 For David himself said in the Holy Spirit, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet." '
Mar 12:37 Therefore David himself calls him Lord, so how can he be his son?" The common people heard him gladly.
Mar 12:38 In his teaching he said to them, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces,
Mar 12:39 and the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts:
Mar 12:40 those who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation."
Mar 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much.
Mar 12:42 A poor widow came, and she cast in two small brass coins, which equal a quadrans coin.
Mar 12:43 He called his disciples to himself, and said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, this poor widow gave more than all those who are giving into the treasury,
Mar 12:44 for they all gave out of their abundance, but she, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on."