4/17/20

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Preparing The Way Of The Lord (3:1-12) by Mark Copeland

 
"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

Preparing The Way Of The Lord (3:1-12)

INTRODUCTION

1. Prior to the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, we read of the work of John the Baptist...
   a. Who preached in the wilderness of Judea - Mt 3:1
   b. Who at first had a very successful ministry - Mt 3:5-6
   c. Which was later cut short by his imprisonment - Mt 4:12

2. Though John's work was short-lived, it was clearly important...
   a. Each of the four gospels preface Jesus' ministry with that of John's
   b. His ministry prepared people for what was to come

[If we seek to understand the message and ministry of Jesus Christ, we
must start with the one who was sent to "prepare the way of the Lord".
In this study we shall begin by observing what we can regarding...]

I. THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

   A. HIS MESSAGE...
      1. A call to repentance - Mt 3:1-2
         a. Lit., "a changing of the mind"
         b. Which change prompts one to turn from sin and turn to God
         c. Prompted by sorrow for one's sins, manifested by a zealous
            desire to do what is right - cf. 2Co 7:10-11
      2. A proclamation of the coming "kingdom of heaven" - Mt 3:2
         a. The term "kingdom" in Jewish thought meant "rule, reign"
         b. The phrase "of heaven" implies the source of such rule; other gospel writers use "of God"
              - cf. Mk 1:14-15
         c. The rule or reign of God was about to be manifested in a special way; it was "at hand" (near)

   B. HIS PURPOSE...
      1. To fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah - Mt 3:3
         a. Which was to "prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight" - Isa 40:3
         b. I.e., to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah
      2. To fulfill the prophecy of Malachi - Mt 3:4
         a. Concerning the sending of Elijah - cf. Mal 4:5-6
         b. John came "in the spirit and power of Elijah", not that he
            actually was Elijah - cf. Jn 1:19-23 (cf. Mt 3:4 with 2Ki 1:8)
      -- As the angel told Zacharias, his son John was to "make ready a
         people prepared for the Lord" - Lk 1:16-17

   C. HIS SUCCESS...
      1. People from Jerusalem, all Judea, etc., went to him - Mt 3:5
      2. They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins- Mt 3:6
         a. For he preached a baptism of repentance - Mk 1:4a
         b. A baptism for the remission of sins - Mk 1:4b

   D. HIS CHALLENGE...
      1. When people came to be baptized, he expected to see fruits in
         keeping with true repentance - Mt 3:7-8
         a. He expected compassion for the poor - Lk 3:10-11
         b. He expected honest business dealings - Lk 3:12-13
         c. He expected fair treatment, contentment with one's wages - Lk 3:14
      2. He told them not to trust in their heritage or ancestry - Mt 3:9
         a. It was not enough to be Jews, descendants of Abraham
         b. God could just as easily raise up children to Abraham out of stones
      3. He warned them that the time of judgment was near - Mt 3:10
         a. The "ax" (God's judgment) was at the root of the trees
         b. That which did not bear good fruit would be cut off - cf. Ro 11:11-23; Jn 15:1-6

   E. HIS PROMISE...
      1. One mightier than he is coming - Mt 3:11
         a. Yes, John did indeed baptize with water with repentance
         b. But one (Jesus) was coming to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire!
      2. Whose work would be to separate the wheat from the chaff - Mt 3:12
         a. Using a "winnowing fan" (the Holy Spirit? cf. Jn 16:7-8, 12-13)
         b. And burn up the chaff with "unquenchable fire" (the Judgment? cf. Mt 13:30)

[We can learn more of the ministry of John the Baptist by studying the
other gospels, but what Matthew records is sufficient to make several
observations about how he was "Preparing The Way Of The Lord"...]

II. OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THE MINISTRY OF JOHN

   A. JOHN PREPARED PEOPLE FOR JESUS' MESSAGE...
      1. John preached a call to repent - Mt 3:2,8
         a. Jesus did the same during His earthly ministry - Mt 4:17; 9:13; 11:20; 12:41
         b. Jesus expected the call to repentance to be proclaimed in
            His name to all nations - Lk 24:46-47
         c. And so His apostles proclaimed the need to repent- Ac 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 20:20-21; 26:19-20
         -- Unless we heed to the call to repent, we have not begun to
            understand nor act upon what it means to be true disciples of Jesus Christ!
      2. John proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, that it was near- Mt 3:2
         a. This was the same message proclaimed by Jesus - Mt 4:17;cf. Mk 1:14-15
         b. By His disciples, in the Limited Commission - Mt 10:7
         c. The theme of the kingdom was an important part of the gospel following the Great Commission
               - Ac 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23
         -- What came to be taught concerning the kingdom, we shall
            consider in another lesson; but it was "at hand" during
            Jesus' earthly ministry, and in existence following His
            ascension to heaven - cf. Col 1:13; 1Th 2:12; Re 1:9

   B. JOHN PREPARED THE PEOPLE FOR JESUS' WORK...
      1. He spoke of Jesus as One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit - Mt 3:11
         a. This did not rule out Jesus baptizing in water, or that His disciples would
            1) Indeed, Jesus did baptize in water, via His disciples - Jn 4:1-2
            2) He later commanded water baptism in the Great 
               Commission, which His disciples carried out 
               - Mt 28:19-20; Ac 2:38; 8:35-38; 10:47-48
         b. But Jesus would also baptize with the Holy Spirit, as promised - cf. Ac 1:4-5
            1) Which occurred at Pentecost - cf. Ac 2:1-21
            2) The result of which affects all who are saved - Tit 3:5-7
         -- Yes, John "indeed" baptized with water (as would Jesus),
            but John prepared the people for a work Jesus would do that
            went far beyond what he was doing!
      2. He spoke of Jesus as One who would separate the "wheat" from the "chaff" - Mt 3:12
         a. Jesus' work would divide the good from the bad 
            - cf. Mt 13:"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
                 Preparing The Way Of The Lord (3:1-12) 47-50
         b. His work would even cause division within one's family - cf. Mt 10:34-39
         -- From what John said, we can expect that the effect of 
            Jesus' work would sometimes cause division, not peace!
      3. He spoke of Jesus as administering judgment - Mt 3:12
         a  Jesus later depicted Himself as judge - Mt 26:31-46
         b. He spoke of how His words would judge us in the last day - Jn 12:48
         -- It is true that Jesus came the first time to save the 
            world, but He is coming again, this time to judge the world! - 2Th 1:7-10

CONCLUSION

1. The ministry of John the Baptist was an important one...
   a. To "prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight"
   b. This he did by preaching the same themes, letting people know what to expect
   -- Of course, there was more, as John was to actually identify the Messiah to Israel

2. But when Jesus began preaching, people were more likely to:
   a. Repent of their sins
   b. Answer the call to be baptized
   c. Accept the good news concerning the kingdom
   ...for John had been preaching such themes in the wilderness of Judea!

3. In a sense, John's message is still needed today...
   a. There are many who turn the message of Jesus Christ into some sort of "easy-believism"
   b. But John reminds us of the need to bear fruits in keeping with true repentance

As Jesus would say later, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do
not do the things which I say?" (Lk 6:46).  Are you showing true
acceptance of Jesus as Lord by doing the things He says?


Failing to Count the High Cost of Leaving the Faith by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1359

Failing to Count the High Cost of Leaving the Faith

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been.” — John Greenleaf Whittier
As we make our way through this pilgrimage we call life, each of us faces opportunities and challenges that require not only forethought and decision, but commitment and dedication as well. At times we think carefully, choose wisely, and act forcefully. At times we do not.
While it is true that there exist scenarios in which a personal failure may be due to circumstances beyond our control, often it is true that the responsibility for failure rests solely with the individual. It seems to be a part of human nature that we readily empathize with the person who works hard, gives his best, and yet still fails. But it is just as much a part of human nature that we disdain the person who—in the heat of battle—simply quits, gives up, and walks away. That person never will experience the sweet taste of victory, the joy of success, or the innate pride of having given his all. Truly, the saddest words are, “It might have been.”
Nowhere is the truth of this adage more evident than in our relationship with our God. And nowhere is failure more tragic, or the results more permanent. Within the pages of both the Old and New Testaments there are numerous accounts of people—or nations—that simply quit, gave up, and walked away from both their faith and their God. The results were nearly always disastrous to them personally. Sadder still was the effect their personal loss of faith had on family, friends, neighbors, and even future generations. It is a simple fact that many who leave the faith fail to count the high cost of doing so.
Every person familiar with the Old Testament is aware that one of its central themes is that of the evil results of spiritual apostasy. From the beginning of Genesis to the end of Malachi, heaven’s warning was this: faithfulness would bring spiritual life and God’s blessings, while unfaithfulness would bring spiritual death and God’s wrath. Ezekiel declared: “When the righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and comitteth iniquity, and dieth therein; in his iniquity that he hath done shall he die” (Ezekiel 18:26)
Moses often warned the Israelites of the horrible effects of apostasy (see Deuteronomy 8:11-14; 4:9; 28:62). God was willing to help them possess the land of Canaan (Exodus 23:30; Deuteronomy 10:22). But more than once their sins reversed God’s promised blessings. Eventually their apostasy caused God to allow them to be dispersed. In fact, no nation has ever been disseminated so completely. The Northern Kingdom was captured and taken from Canaan by the Assyrians c. 722 B.C.. These people never would return to Israel as a group, and eventually were scattered around the world. The Southern Kingdom, Judah, was taken into captivity by the Babylonians, and despite the vast number of people exiled, only a remnant would return 70 years later.
Truly, God’s people had failed to count the high cost of leaving the faith. That failure even affected generations yet unborn. Moses and the other prophets understood what so many of the general populace did not—obedience is important because it is the only possible demonstration of faith (James 2:18); without faith, no one can please God (Hebrews 11:6), and without obedience, there is no faith.
Turning to the New Testament, the story remains much the same. During His tenure on Earth, Jesus warned that some, in temptation, would fall away from the faith (Luke 8:13), and even went so far as to note that some branches [disciples] would be pruned from Him as the vine and burned (John 15:1-6). We know that, indeed, some of the early Christians did leave the faith. The apostle Paul observed that Demas forsook him and his own faith, “having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). Some abandoned Christianity, reverting to their beloved Judaism, and in so doing “fell away” (Hebrews 6:4-6; Galatians 5:4). In fact, it was prophesied that prior to the return of Christ at His second coming, a great apostasy would occur (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; cf. 1 Timothy 4:1ff, 2 Timothy 4:1ff.).
Paul observed that the things written in the Old Covenant had been penned “for our learning” (Romans 15:4), and that the old law was to be our “schoolmaster” (Galatians 3:24). It should come as no surprise, then, to see Paul catalog in 1 Corinthians 10 a number of instances in which the Israelites apostatized—as a warning to those who would follow so they could avoid making the same mistakes. Through the years that followed, however, there have been those who have ignored the inspired warning, and who subsequently have abandoned the faith. Why is this the case? And what has been the cost?

WHY DO CHRISTIANS LEAVE THE FAITH?

Were it possible for us today to catalog the reasons why Christians leave the faith, no doubt the list would be quite lengthy. Likely, however, included among those reasons would be some, or all, of the following.
First, some fall away because they neglect their own spiritual welfare. The Scriptures are clear regarding the fact that Christians have been provided a “great salvation” that should not be neglected (Hebrews 2:3). When a person does what the Bible commands him to do to be saved, he enters the kingdom (i.e., the church) as a newborn enters an earthly family—in need of milk for sustenance and tender care for survival. The apostle Peter spoke of such people as “newborn babes” who were to “long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Paul discussed those whom he had fed spiritually “with milk, not with meat” because they were not yet ready for such (1 Corinthians 3:2). But just as the neonatal child eventually grows into adolescence and adulthood, so Christians are to mature in their faith. Peter observed that one of the responsibilities of being a faithful child of God is to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). There are those who never would dream of neglecting their physical needs such as food and rest, yet who nevertheless carelessly neglect their spiritual needs. They do not attend worship services regularly (Hebrews 10:24-25). They make no effort to cultivate personal habits of diligent study and meditation (2 Timothy 2:15). And, they ignore biblical commands to assist in the salvation of others and thus bear fruit as a Christian (John 15:1-10; Romans 7:4). As a result, they grow disinterested in spiritual matters, and eventually drift away completely.
Second, some leave the faith as a result of persecution. In His parable of the sower (Matthew 13), the Lord revealed that on occasion a person “endures for a while; and when tribulation and persecution arise because of the word, straightway he stumbles” (13:21). In Luke 14:27-32, Christ gave several examples intended to emphasize the importance of counting the cost of discipleship. No doubt some are drawn to Christianity because of the “abundant life” it ensures in the here and now (John 10:10), and because of the promise of an eternal life with God in the hereafter (John 3:16). They fail to realize, however, that “all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). When persecution arises—from family, friends, or the world—their faith becomes like the seed that fell on the shallow soil with a layer of bedrock underneath. It sprang up quickly, but soon was destroyed by the heat of the midday Sun.
Third, some abandon the faith because they fall prey to false teaching. Faithful Christians will take heed how they hear (Luke 8:18), and be careful to compare all that they hear to the Word of God (Acts 17:11). In Matthew 22:23-33, Christ rebuked the Sadducees because of their ignorance of the Word of God, and attributed their manifold errors to such ignorance. In both 1 Timothy 4:1ff. and 2 Timothy 4:1ff., Paul foretold of a time when some would fall away from the faith because they succumbed to the doctrines of false teachers (cf. also 1 John 4:1). In this day and age, when there is a different religious group represented on practically every street corner, and a different televangelist on practically every television station, it is all the more easy to fall victim to human doctrines that are at variance with the Word of God. Such doctrines have snared many, and caused them to lose their souls.
Fourth, it cannot be denied that many have left the faith because of suffering in their lives, or in the lives of those they know and love. Sadly, we today do not inhabit a world reminiscent of the Garden of Eden; rather, we live in a world ravaged by the effects of man’s sin (Genesis 3:16ff.; Romans 5:12; 8:20ff.). Planet Earth is ravaged by natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes that often take an awful toll on both property and human life. Our bodies and minds are ravaged by an increasingly long list of maladies such as cancer, heart attacks, and Alzheimer’s disease. Christians are not somehow immune to such occurrences. Christ observed in the Sermon on the Mount that God “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). It is a scriptural teaching that while we are the recipients of many blessings, we also are affected by calamities from time to time. One of the messages of the book of Job is that Jehovah does not necessarily shield His people from tragedies.
As He ended His Sermon on the Mount, Christ told a parable of two men, one of whom He labeled as wise for building his house upon a foundation of rock, and one of whom He labeled as foolish for building his house upon a foundation of sand (Matthew 7:24-27). The Lord’s point was two-fold: (1) trials and tribulations will come; and (2) in order for faith to stand firm, it must be rooted in God’s Word. Sometimes the trials and tribulations are literal disasters such as those Christ discussed in His parable—floods, winds, and rains. Sometimes, however, the trials and tribulations are mental or spiritual assaults upon our faith that arrive in the form of persecution, the effects of disease upon a loved one, or the death of a family member. Unfortunately, on occasion such assaults raise questions in the mind of a Christian concerning the benevolence and omnipotence of God. Deep-seated emotions are stirred and the seeds of doubt begin to sprout, eventually coming into full bloom to replace what was once a vibrant, living faith. Faithfulness turns into faithlessness, and a soul is lost.
There are, to be sure, numerous other reasons why Christians leave the faith. Some place their confidence in men, only to see that those they trust also have feet of clay. Some fall away because they do not have a steady diet of association with other Christians, and exposure to the world on a daily basis causes their commitment to God to wane. Some lose their faith as a result of fellow Christians whose actions may be well-intentioned, but who are harsh and inappropriate. More than one soul has had his fledgling faith bludgeoned and destroyed by an insensitive, tactless saint under the banner of defending the faith or righting a wrong. Regardless of the reason(s), the fact remains that as they are on their way to heaven, some Christians lose sight of the goal, become distracted or disinterested, take a detour, and end up leaving the faith altogether. But at what cost?

THE HIGH COST OF LEAVING THE FAITH

In Romans 12:2, Paul warned: “And be not fashioned according to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Sad though it may be, the truth is that some Christians ultimately leave the faith, and again are “fashioned according to this world.” They once were lost, but were offered salvation as the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet they spurned the Lord’s gift, choosing instead to relinquish the treasures of a home in heaven for a meager measure of earthly pottage. What an unseemly trade—and at what a terrible price! Surely they who do such have failed to count the high cost of leaving the faith.

The Cost to the Individual Himself

In addressing the apostasy of certain Christians, Peter lamented:
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse than the first. For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them. It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:21-22).
The apostle paints an ugly picture with his vivid description of the end state of those who leave the faith. Peter’s observation that in the case of these apostates, their “last state is become worse than the first,” is fitting indeed. Think of the burden of guilt that will follow them all the days of their lives. These are people who once knew the serenity of salvation. These are people who once understood the promise of an eternal life in heaven. These are people who once enjoyed the friendship and fellowship of other saints. But now, all of that is gone, having been freely relinquished and subsequently replaced with the knowledge of eventually spending an eternity in the absence of God in an eternal hell (2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 21:8).
As the days pass by in their own fleeting fashion, what will run through the mind of the apostate? In more private moments, as he sits quietly on the park bench on a beautiful spring day, or looks pensively out the bay window of his house at the gentle rain as it falls from heaven, will his knowledge of what he knows he should do, but refuses to do, not eat away at his inner peace? Will he not remember passages such as James 4:17: “To him that knoweth to do right, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”? Will he not remember Paul’s statement Philippians 2:10-11 that “in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, or things in heaven and things on the earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father”? While his outward appearance may exhibit a confident attitude of indifference toward his present spiritual state, his true inner self may languish in the knowledge that he once was saved, but now is lost.

The Cost to Families

In Romans 14:7, Paul commented on the human condition when he noted that “none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself.” How true an observation that is. Hermits are few and far between. Man rarely does well when isolated from others of his kind. As God looked down from His heavenly estate on the first man, Adam, whom He had created, He remarked, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Nothing has changed since that initial divine diagnosis.
From the beginning to the end of our pilgrimage of life, we interact socially with those around us. We move beyond childhood and adolescence to adulthood. And as is often the case, we fall in love, marry, form a home, bear and rear children, and possibly even become grandparents or great-grandparents. Although at times we wish they did not, the truth of the matter is that more often than not the decisions we make, and the actions that stem from those decisions, inevitably affect those we love the most. Certainly this is true in a spiritual context.
For example, Peter noted that the effects of a godly wife upon her husband might be responsible for bringing his soul to the Lord. “In like manner, ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without a word be gained by the behavior of their wives, beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear” (1 Peter 3:1-2). What a sobering thought—that one person, through behavior tempered by a reverent fear of God, ultimately might influence a sinner to come to salvation.
Yet what is the corollary to this concept? If faithfulness produces such wonderful results, what results might unfaithfulness produce? Does not practical experience answer that question in a thousand different ways? Consider, for example, the following scenario. A young man grows up, becomes a Christian, falls in love, and marries a lovely Christian woman with whom he has two children. But during the children’s impressionable years of youth, the man and his wife grow indifferent about their own spiritual conduct and welfare, and eventually leave the faith. Church attendance stops. Fellowship with Christians is severed. Years pass. Then, at the persistent urging of a friend, this couple attends a lecture on the Bible and man’s responsibility according to it. The message moves both the husband and wife to repent of their years of spiritual apathy. They ask for, and are granted by God and their fellow Christians, forgiveness. They then begin their Christian life anew.
But what of their two children? These are the children who for years witnessed the callous indifference of their parents toward spiritual matters. These are the children who rarely, if ever, were taken to worship God, or attended Bible class. These are the children whose Bible knowledge would fit into a sewing thimble, because during the years when they should have been receiving spiritual instruction at home, their parents were not even capable of sustaining their own faith, much less imparting that faith to their offspring.
Their parents have returned to God. But experience tells us it is highly unlikely that these children ever will. Because of the parents’ unfaithfulness at a critical time in their children’s lives, the opportunity to impart a living, active faith to those children during their most impressionable years has been lost forever. And what, then, will become of this couple’s grandchildren and great grandchildren? Is it not true to say that likely they, too, will be reared in an atmosphere of indifference, apathy, or outright unbelief? Thus, the spiritual condition of not one, but several generations, has been affected adversely as a result of unfaithfulness on the part of parents who failed to count the high cost of leaving the faith.

The Cost to the Church

On occasion, however, it is not just physical families that suffer due to a member’s unfaithfulness. Sometimes the spiritual family of the church suffers just as well. The sin of a single individual can have severe repercussions for those around him. Paul applied this principle when he urged the Christians at Corinth to discipline one of their own members who was living in adultery. He warned: “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6).
Suppose, just to choose one example, that the local evangelist commits adultery and leaves his wife and family. First, there is little doubt that the church’s reputation will be damaged. As he works in a local community, a preacher’s influence is exhibited in a variety of ways, and his actions, rightly or wrongly, often are interpreted by non-Christians as representative of what Christians in general should be like. The fact that he has been unfaithful not only to his wife, but to his Lord, may well have a negative impact on how the church is viewed by those who are not members of it, and yet who under other circumstances would have been kindly disposed to it. This is true of any Christian, not just one who is continually in the public eye.
Second, such circumstances will provide “grist for the mill" of those who are always searching for reasons to revile the church and its individual members. When he wrote his first epistle to the young evangelist Timothy, Paul urged that his instructions be carried out so that there would be “no occasion to the adversary for reviling” (1 Timothy 5:14). When Christians leave the faith, it supplies ammunition for those who have set themselves against God’s work through His church.
Third, there are weak and new Christians to consider. As they see a man who was once a faithful Christian fall into sin and abandon his faith, it can have a devastating effect upon theirs. The Proverbs writer suggested: “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint” (25:19). The new Christian, or the one who is struggling already, may reason as follows: If a man who is a seasoned child of God has lost his way and left the faith, then what hope is there for me? The initial unfaithfulness of a single individual may, on occasion, set off a chain reaction that decimates the body of Christ in a way no one could have imagined.

CONCLUSION

Christians may freely choose to walk away from their faith in God, but no power in existence can take that faith from them without their consent. Paul assured the Christians of his day, and for all ages, that this was true when he wrote:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-37).
While it is true that some Christians fall away, it does not have to be so. Peter provided instructions from the Lord for the Christians of his day, and then reminded them: “Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10).

Facsimile 1 from the Book of Abraham by Dewayne Bryant, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1641

Facsimile 1 from the Book of Abraham

by  Dewayne Bryant, Ph.D.

Christianity is a historical religion. The Bible makes claims about events that happened in real time and space that can be evaluated in light of the historical and archaeological records. If the events of the Bible truly happened, then one would expect the surviving evidence to lend support to the biblical record. If not, then we would naturally expect the evidence to contradict it. Over the last two centuries, the Bible has fared incredibly well.
Mormonism also makes a number of historical claims. Like the claims of the Old and New Testaments, the Mormon scriptures can be checked against the historical and archaeological records. The Book of Mormon and other Mormon scriptures have not fared well at all. The dearth of evidence has made things increasingly difficult for Mormon apologists.
Scholars within the Mormon community have recognized the difficulties presented by the archaeological record. Michael Coe, professor emeritus at Yale University and one of America’s foremost experts on the Mayan civilization, says, “What has gone wrong, therefore, with Mormon archaeology?… Mormon intellectuals, it seems to me, have taken three ways to extract themselves from the dilemma,” noting, “The third way out of the dilemma is apostasy. I will not dwell further on this painful subject, but merely point out that many unusually gifted scholars whom I count as friends have taken exactly this route” (Coe 1973, pp. 46-47). Scholars such as William Ramsay and William Foxwell Albright began as skeptics of the Bible and later became convinced by the evidence that the Bible was true. It would appear that the opposite is the case for many scholars who have difficulty reconciling the claims of the Mormon scriptures with the paucity of evidence in the archaeological record.
Of all the sacred texts of the Mormon church, one of the most fascinating is the Book of Abraham, a five-chapter book that purportedly records the travels of Abraham in Egypt. According to Joseph Smith’s introductory comments in the translation, Abraham wrote the book himself, “by his own hand, upon papyrus” (Smith, 1842, [9]3:704). The book tells a story of Abraham’s capture and near-sacrifice by an evil Egyptian priest. It also portrays the patriarch as lecturing the pharaoh in astronomy.
In the 1800s, ancient papyrus documents emerged that were quickly purchased by the budding Mormon church. Smith, eagerly seeking historical evidence, claimed these documents were part of the Book of Abraham, which would in time become canonized as part of the Mormon scriptures. These documents were later lost, only to resurface in the 1900s to be examined by scholars.
Egyptologists who have examined these papyrus fragments understand them to be parts of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a tome of spells to aid the deceased in the afterlife. This corpus of material began as the Pyramid Texts, which were inscribed inside the pyramids themselves. As pharaohs abandoned pyramid building in favor of tombs, Egyptians inscribed these texts on coffins, which were then called the Coffin Texts. Finally, this material was written on scrolls, later known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead. This work was illustrated by scribes in the ancient world, and three such illustrations (known as Facsimiles 1, 2, and 3) were found among the papyrus documents Smith purchased.
Facsimile 1 supposedly depicts the scene of Abraham nearly being sacrificed by the Egyptian priest Elkenah. Since Joseph Smith knew virtually nothing about Egyptian religion, he misidentified everything in the scene. Following is the list of Smith’s proposed identifications, as well as their true identification (The facsimiles and the suggested identifications may also be found on the LDS Web site: http://lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/fac-1?lang=eng).
  1. “The Angel of the Lord.” This winged figure is not an angel but the ba, or the soul of the deceased. It was depicted in Egyptian art as a bird-like figure with a human head that hovered near the body of its owner. Angels in the Bible are heavenly beings (the Hebrew term mal’ach means “messenger”), not disembodied human souls. The original papyrus is fragmentary, and the original head of the bird is missing. It was restored (presumably by Smith himself) as the head of a bird, but almost certainly had the head of a human originally.
  2. “Abraham fastened upon the altar.” The figure identified as Abraham is really the body of the deceased who is being mummified. This is a common scene in Egyptian art.
  3. “The idolatrous priest Elkenah attempting to offer up Abraham as a sacrifice.” What the picture does not reveal is that in the original papyrus document, the head of the standing figure is missing, as is the hand of the arm that is extended over the body. These were drawn in at a later date. In the original document, it is absolutely certain that the head of the standing figure was that of a jackal, which would belong to Anubis, the god of mummification. The knife in the hand was also added. In pictures like this from Egypt, the hand is empty. Someone supplied the knife in the drawing, which was not there originally.
  4. “The altar for sacrifice by the idolatrous priests, standing before the gods Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and Pharaoh.” The “altar” is a structure known as a funerary couch or funerary bed. It was essentially an embalming table. The deceased is often depicted as resting on this structure during the mummification process. In other ancient illustrations the god Osiris is seen lying on the couch.
  5. “The idolatrous god of Elkenah.” The items in the picture numbered 5-8 are improperly identified. There are no known gods with the names Smith ascribes. In the Book of Abraham, Smith plainly states that this illustration was included to educate the reader about the Egyptian gods: “That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning” (Book of Abraham, 1:14). Unfortunately, many Mormon believers may be completely unaware that this is pure invention. These are not idols of gods, but rather funerary items known as canopic jars (some might object here, saying that Smith’s identification is accurate, since the jars depict Egyptian gods. The problem is that the word “god” in Scripture, unless it refers to the God of the Bible, is often synonymous with “idol.”). These jars, often made of alabaster, held specific internal organs that had been removed from the body of the deceased during the mummification process. The heads on the tops of the jars each represent one of the four sons of Horus. All four of the names Smith assigns are incorrect. No one with any familiarity with either Egyptian or Hebrew would have used these names—because they belong to neither language. The figure depicted on the first jar is the god Qebehsenuef. This jar contained the intestines of the deceased.
  6. “The idolatrous god of Libnah.” This jar is topped with the head of a jackal, representing the god Duamutef. It contained the stomach.
  7. “The idolatrous god of Mahkackrah.” This jar is topped with the head of a baboon, representing the god Hapi. It contained the lungs.
  8. “The idolatrous god of Korash.” This is the human-headed jar, representing Imseti. This jar contained the liver.
  9. “The idolatrous god of Pharaoh.” This figure is more difficult to identify, but it may represent the crocodile god Sobek. Defenders argue this point tenaciously, since no name is given other than “idolatrous god” and its ambiguity allows considerable room for defense by Mormon apologists. But the very fact that the identification is so vague suggests that it, like everything else in the scene, is guesswork on Smith’s part (remember that the canopic jars are also misidentified as “idolatrous gods”). There is still a problem with this identification, however. The term pharaoh was not used to refer to the king of Egypt until the Eighteenth Dynasty (Hoffmeier, 1996, p. 87)—roughly 1500 B.C.—a detail Smith could not have known. The patriarchal narratives in Genesis call the king of Egypt pharaoh because by the time Moses put these stories in writing, this was a common term used to refer to the king (although Hoffmeier also notes that the king’s name may be missing because it was common Egyptian practice not to name one’s enemies). If Abraham had written the papyrus with “his own hand” as Smith stated, the patriarch would have used the name of the king rather than the term “Pharaoh.”
  10. “Abraham in Egypt.” Again, this is the body of the deceased person being mummified, not the captive patriarch. The fact that the figure appears to be clean-shaven is particularly difficult for Mormon apologists. Egyptian men shaved their heads and facial hair, while Semitic peoples did not (cf. Genesis 41:14). Egyptian art, such as that in the Beni Hasan tomb painting (17th century B.C.), shows Semitic people like Abraham with beards and full heads of hair (the beard with which the pharaohs were depicted was a false one—a close examination of both paintings and sculpture will show the strap along the jaw line designed to hold the beard in place). Shaving the beard was a sign of extreme shame (2 Samuel 10:4) or mourning (cf. Isaiah 7:20) for the Israelites.
  11. “Designed to represent the pillars of heaven, as understood by the Egyptians.” Many ancient cultures believed that heaven was supported by pillars. The design in Facsimile 1 seems to be nothing more than artistic ornamentation. The name Smith assigns to these “pillars” is neither Hebrew nor Egyptian. It is another instance of invention on his part. The Egyptian concept of heaven, which they called Aaru (“the field of reeds”), was of reed fields much like those in the Nile delta. Of course, Smith could not have known this, and simply based his guess on what was familiar to him.
  12. “Raukeeyang, signifying expanse, or the firmament over our heads; but in this case, in relation to this subject, the Egyptians meant it to signify Shaumau, to be high, or the heavens, answering to the Hebrew word, Shaumahyeem.” Smith says that the “expanse” is analogous to the Hebrew “Shaumahyeem,” which is a badly garbled spelling of the Hebrew word shamayim, meaning “heavens.” Raukeeyang and shaumau are not Egyptian words. Smith’s designations do little more than expose his lack of familiarity with the textual evidence, both biblical and Egyptian.
Egyptologists have disputed Smith’s identifications for a century. In 1912, an Episcopal bishop named Franklin S. Spalding sent copies of the three facsimiles to some of the world’s leading Egyptologists. Spalding published the results of his inquiry in the book, Joseph Smith, Jr., As a Translator. The scholars of whom Spalding inquired agreed that the facsimiles belonged to funerary documents. The famed Sir William Flinders Petrie said, “It may be safely said that there is not one single word that is true in these explanations.… None but the ignorant could possibly be imposed on by such ludicrous blunders” (as quoted in Spalding, p. 24). Archibald Sayce of Oxford said, “It is difficult to deal seriously with Joseph Smith’s impudent fraud” (as quoted in Spalding, p. 23). Arthur Mace of the Department of Egyptian Art of the Metropolitan Museum of New York stated:
The “Book of Abraham,” it is hardly necessary to say, is a pure fabrication.… Joseph Smith’s interpretation of these cuts is a farrago of nonsense from beginning to end. Egyptian characters can now be read almost as easily as Greek, and five minutes’ study in an Egyptian gallery of any museum should be enough to convince any educated man of the clumsiness of the imposture” (as quoted in Spalding, p. 27).
The New York Times even carried a story in the Sunday edition of December 29, 1912, with a headline stating, “Museum Walls Proclaim Fraud of Mormon Prophet” (“Museum Walls…”).
Mormons passionately believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. They also vigorously defend the texts considered sacred by the Mormon church. But as a historical faith—one that makes claims that may be checked against the ancient evidence—the Mormon scriptures fail to pass basic tests of historical accuracy. This is not surprising, as the evidence clearly implicates Smith as a gifted, though error-prone, storyteller. The Old and New Testaments have been supported and verified by archaeological evidence. Mormon scriptures have been contradicted by it. With all passionate sincerity, we would invite our Mormon friends to investigate the evidence and see for themselves whether the Mormon scriptures pass the test. From all the evidence that has emerged so far, the Bible passes with flying colors. The same cannot be said for the Book of Mormon or its companion, the Book of Abraham. [NOTE: For more discussion on the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, see “Is the Book of Mormon From God”? http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2787&topic=80.]

REFERENCES

Coe, Michael D. (1973), “Mormons and Archaeology: An Outside View,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer, pp. 40-48.
Hoffmeier, James K. (1996), Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press).
Smith, Joseph Jr. (1842), “Truth Will Prevail,” Times and Seasons, [9]3, March 1.
Spalding, Franklin Spencer (1912), Joseph Smith, Jr., As A Translator (New York: Protestant Episcopal Church National Council).
“Museum Walls Proclaim Fraud of Mormon Prophet” (1912), New York Times, 29:1-2, December.
“Facsimile I” (no date), http://lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/fac-1?lang=eng.

Ezekiel’s Vision: An Alien UFO? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1061

Ezekiel’s Vision: An Alien UFO?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.


“I saw it with my own two eyes,” the farmer excitedly explained to the reporter. “As I was feeding the chickens, a huge, saucer-shaped object hovered over my house. A bright light beamed down through my barn, and before I knew what was happening, I saw Bessie, my best milk cow being pulled through the air toward the ship. In seconds, the ship whirred away with Bessie. Don’t know why those aliens would want my best cow!”
Does this scenario sound vaguely familiar? Hundreds of UFO sightings, alien abduction stories, and supposed communication with extraterrestrial life forms have been reported across the globe. From the various outlandish claims, not a single shred of legitimate evidence for life in outer space has ever surfaced. Yet, humanity’s fascination with aliens, UFOs, and extraterrestrial life seems only to grow year by year, in spite of this lack of evidence.
As proof of this growing fascination, it has been suggested that the biblical prophet Ezekiel, in the Old Testament book bearing his name, had an early encounter with an alien spaceship. In a Web article titled “UFOs: Even Before There Were Weather Balloons…,” the author misquoted Ezekiel 1:1-4: “As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as if it were gleaming bronze” (a very loose paraphrase of Ezekiel 1:1-4). The article then listed several other ancient “UFO” sightings, and concluded by stating: “These are just a few of the examples of UFO sightings from history” (2004).
Is it the case that Ezekiel saw an alien-operated flying machine from outer space? No, Ezekiel did not see an alien spaceship. How, then, are his visions to be explained? When one looks into Ezekiel’s prophetic book, it becomes clear that Ezekiel did see some strange things. From a quick reading of chapter one, it becomes apparent that Ezekiel saw a “great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself ” (vs. 4), four living creatures from within the cloud (vs. 5), a wheel beside each living creature (vs. 15), and the rims of the wheels full of eyes (vs. 18), among many other things. Indeed, the things seen by Ezekiel were amazing and unusual to say the least.
But with a little research into the biblical message, it becomes clear that Ezekiel’s writing and visions were apocalyptic in nature—very similar to the writings found in both Daniel and Revelation. The visions Ezekiel described are of heavenly, spiritual beings, not “alien life forms.” By comparing the description of the living creatures in Ezekiel to that of the living creatures that surround the throne of God in Revelation 4, one quickly realizes that the scenes witnessed by Ezekiel, John, Daniel, and other inspired writers were visions of God and His spiritual host of heaven.
As further evidence of this fact, at the end of Ezekiel 1, after describing “a likeness with the appearance of a man” on a throne, Ezekiel wrote: “This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord” (1:28). Then, a few verses later in chapter 2, this same person said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me” (2:3). Ezekiel fully understood this to be the Lord talking to Him, that the vision was of spiritual beings, and that he had not had an encounter with an alien from outer space. It is ironic that Ezekiel recognized his vision to be a calling and message from God, yet over 2,500 years after this vision, modern-day UFO hunters want to “reinterpret” Ezekiel’s original understanding of what he saw. A simple question should be asked: who would be in a better position to know what he saw—Ezekiel, or a modern-day “alien hunter” who believes in UFOs in spite of the overwhelming paucity of evidence? To ask is to answer, is it not?
Ezekiel did not see a UFO! He was allowed the special privilege of being called by God through an amazing vision of the heavenly host. His description of the vision ties in perfectly with other apocalyptic writings such as Daniel and Revelation. Those who are looking for the long-absent evidence proving the existence of aliens and UFOs, will have to look some place other than Ezekiel for it.

REFERENCES

“UFOs: Even Before There Were Weather Balloons…” (2004), [On-line], URL: http://ufos.miningco.com/library/weekly/aa052097.htm.

THE BRICKS & MORTAR OF WHO WE ARE by Jim McGuiggan

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

THE BRICKS & MORTAR OF WHO WE ARE

“There are foundational elements…people… that are the brick and mortar of who we are. People that are so deeply embedded that we take their existence for granted until suddenly they’re not there. And we collapse into rubble…..” (Daniel Cerone)
Thank God for people (young or old) who look out for us.
But if we’re very fortunate we recognize early the saving power of these unheralded people and live with the joy and strength they bring to us and we find ourselves better than we would be if they hadn’t been in our lives. And part of that inspiration is there because we treasure them so much that we desire to please them by living in honor and that desire gives us power to keep from sinking into contented mediocrity. But it’s more than that, isn’t it; they enable us, we feel, to rise above where we are into someone worth their trouble.
Thank God for people (young or old) who inspire us.

The noted Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson’s poor health meant he lived, as someone put it (I can’t recall who), “a lifelong crucifixion.” But from childhood he was blessed by a tender and patient care-giver he called “Cummy”.* I enjoy many of his letters but few as much as the one in which, many years later, after he had become famous, he wrote to tell her how good she had been to him, a very sick little boy. He said he had often hoped he would become “someone worth talking about” if for no other reason than that Cummy’s trouble over him would not be wasted. Well it wasn’t wasted (love’s efforts are never wasted because it’s the motivation that makes them worth talking about). They write letters to such people as Cummy and they sing songs and write books and make movies about them. RLS lived a gallant and cheerful life from the cross he always hung on and to a profound degree it was due to his tender old nurse that was looking out for him.
Thank God for people (young or old) who see our need and embrace the trouble that is us and embrace it FOR us.
With his health deteriorating and coming to a close Stevenson wrote:
Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie
Glad did I live and gladly die
And I laid me down with a will
This be the verse you grave for me
‘Here he lies where he longed to be
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.’
Thank God for people who help us to earn a fine death.
Praise to a GOD who looks out for us and wants to look out for us
* His care-giver was Alison Cunningham and one of my fine grandchildren is called Allison Cunningham. Someone who cares a lot and gives a lot.

GRACE ACCESSED BY FAITH by steve finnell

http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2017-03-26T02:47:00-07:00&max-results=10&start=8&by-date=false

GRACE ACCESSED BY FAITH by steve finnell


Faith to believe is not imputed to individuals because they have been saved by grace alone. Grace is available to all men because Jesus died on the cross. Grace is only applied to those who obey God's terms for pardon. Grace is accessed by faith. Faith is not accessed by grace.

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have  peace with God  through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (NKJV)  

Grace is accessed through faith.

The progression to God's grace.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (NKJV)

Only the saved are under God's grace.

Terms of Grace.
1. Faith: John 3:15-16 "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16...whoever believes in Him...(NKJV)

2. Repentance: Acts 3:19 "Repent therefore  and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out...(NKJV)

3. Confession: Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart  that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (NKJV)

4. Immersion in Water: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved...(NKJV)

Grace is only accessed by the saved, however, it is available to all men who obey God's terms for forgiveness. (Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, NKJV)

Who before Christ was the greatest person in the world? by Roy Davison

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/017-greatestperson.html

Who before Christ was the greatest person in the world?
 
In secular history we read about powerful rulers who are called ‘great’. Darius the Great of Persia had an empire of 7.5 million km². By way of comparison, the continent of Europe is about 10 million km². Alexander the Great had an empire of only 5.4 million km². There were rich kings such as Croesus of Lydia. There were great philosophers such as Confucius and Socrates. But Jesus said: “What is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).

In the holy Scriptures certain men are called great, such as Abraham (Genesis 24:35) and Moses (Exodus 11:3).

Speaking about John the Baptist Jesus said: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:7-11).

Maybe some were just as great, but no one was greater than John the Baptist. Why was John great? Jesus says he was “more than a prophet,” he was God’s messenger to prepare the way for the Messiah.

Let us examine the life of John to find qualities that made him great.

John had an exceptional birth announcement. The angel Gabriel appeared to his father, Zacharias, and said: “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:13-17).

John would “be great in the sight of the Lord.” We should not strive to be great in the sight of men but great in the sight of the Lord.

John would be “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” John was great because God empowered him. He was chosen by God to fulfill a special task in the history of the world. “John performed no sign” (John 10:41). Thus being filled with the Holy Spirit does not mean that one can perform signs.

Our God-given task in life is less spectacular. Yet we all have a task. And we can have the gift of the Holy Spirit as Peter promised on the Day of Pentecost: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38, 39). Jesus said also: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).

John would “turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” What accomplishment could be greater than to bring souls to repentance that they might be saved from sin and spend eternity with God in heaven?

John was great because he was humble. He said: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry” (Matthew 3:11). When Jesus came to him requesting baptism, John replied: “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14). Once John was told: “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified -- behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” He replied: “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ ... He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:26-30).

John was great because he had the courage to call even powerful people to repentance. “Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:5-8).

John even dared to call the king to repentance, which resulted in his death. “For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her. Because John had said to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.’ Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.’ He also swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.’ So she went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask?’ And she said, ‘The head of John the Baptist!’ Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb” (Mark 6:17-29).

Thus we see something of the greatness of John the Baptist.

After telling of John’s greatness, Jesus goes on to say something that is truly amazing. “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).

By saying this, Jesus did not mean to detract from the greatness of John in any way. He merely emphasizes how great it is to be in the kingdom of heaven, a kingdom that John foretold, but would not have a part in. John had preached: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). But he was imprisoned and murdered before Christ, after His ascension, began to reign at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33).

That John’s understanding of the kingdom was limited is indicated by the question he sent his disciples to ask Jesus: “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3).

The least in the kingdom of heaven has an insight into God’s plan for the salvation of world that Old Covenant prophets did not have. Jesus told His followers: “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matthew 13:16, 17).

Peter also mentions that Christians have a better understanding of God’s salvation than the Old Covenant prophets had: “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven --- things which angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Let us follow the example of John in the things that made him great. Let us define our concept of what is great by the word of God and seek His approval. Let us ask the Father for the Holy Spirit. Let us do what we can to bring others to repentance. Let us be humble and give the glory to God. Let us not be afraid to call the powerful to repentance. And most of all, let us be thankful for the great privileges we have in the kingdom of God. Amen.
Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible reading for April 17-19 by Gary Rose





Bible reading for April 17-19 

World  English  Bible





Apr. 17
Numbers 25, 26

Num 25:1 Israel abode in Shittim; and the people began to play the prostitute with the daughters of Moab:
Num 25:2 for they called the people to the sacrifices of their gods; and the people ate, and bowed down to their gods.
Num 25:3 Israel joined himself to Baal Peor: and the anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel.
Num 25:4 Yahweh said to Moses, Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them up to Yahweh before the sun, that the fierce anger of Yahweh may turn away from Israel.
Num 25:5 Moses said to the judges of Israel, Everyone kill his men who have joined themselves to Baal Peor.
Num 25:6 Behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought to his brothers a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the door of the Tent of Meeting.
Num 25:7 When Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from the midst of the congregation, and took a spear in his hand;
Num 25:8 and he went after the man of Israel into the pavilion, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
Num 25:9 Those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.
Num 25:10 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 25:11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I didn't consume the children of Israel in my jealousy.
Num 25:12 Therefore say, Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace:
Num 25:13 and it shall be to him, and to his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.
Num 25:14 Now the name of the man of Israel that was slain, who was slain with the Midianite woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a fathers' house among the Simeonites.
Num 25:15 The name of the Midianite woman who was slain was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he was head of the people of a fathers' house in Midian.
Num 25:16 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 25:17 Harass the Midianites, and strike them;
Num 25:18 for they harassed you with their wiles, with which they have deceived you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the prince of Midian, their sister, who was slain on the day of the plague in the matter of Peor.

Num 26:1 It happened after the plague, that Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying,
Num 26:2 Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers' houses, all who are able to go forth to war in Israel.
Num 26:3 Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying,
Num 26:4 Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as Yahweh commanded Moses and the children of Israel, that came forth out of the land of Egypt.
Num 26:5 Reuben, the firstborn of Israel; the sons of Reuben: of Hanoch, the family of the Hanochites; of Pallu, the family of the Palluites;
Num 26:6 of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; of Carmi, the family of the Carmites.
Num 26:7 These are the families of the Reubenites; and those who were numbered of them were forty-three thousand seven hundred thirty.
Num 26:8 The sons of Pallu: Eliab.
Num 26:9 The sons of Eliab: Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. These are that Dathan and Abiram, who were called of the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against Yahweh,
Num 26:10 and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died; what time the fire devoured two hundred fifty men, and they became a sign.
Num 26:11 Notwithstanding, the sons of Korah didn't die.
Num 26:12 The sons of Simeon after their families: of Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites; of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites; of Jachin, the family of the Jachinites;
Num 26:13 of Zerah, the family of the Zerahites; of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites.
Num 26:14 These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty-two thousand two hundred.
Num 26:15 The sons of Gad after their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites; of Haggi, the family of the Haggites; of Shuni, the family of the Shunites;
Num 26:16 of Ozni, the family of the Oznites; of Eri, the family of the Erites;
Num 26:17 of Arod, the family of the Arodites; of Areli, the family of the Arelites.
Num 26:18 These are the families of the sons of Gad according to those who were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred.
Num 26:19 The sons of Judah: Er and Onan; and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan.
Num 26:20 The sons of Judah after their families were: of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites; of Perez, the family of the Perezites; of Zerah, the family of the Zerahites.
Num 26:21 The sons of Perez were: of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites.
Num 26:22 These are the families of Judah according to those who were numbered of them, seventy-six thousand five hundred.
Num 26:23 The sons of Issachar after their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites; of Puvah, the family of the Punites;
Num 26:24 of Jashub, the family of the Jashubites; of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites.
Num 26:25 These are the families of Issachar according to those who were numbered of them, sixty-four thousand three hundred.
Num 26:26 The sons of Zebulun after their families: of Sered, the family of the Seredites; of Elon, the family of the Elonites; of Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites.
Num 26:27 These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those who were numbered of them, sixty thousand five hundred.
Num 26:28 The sons of Joseph after their families: Manasseh and Ephraim.
Num 26:29 The sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites; and Machir became the father of Gilead; of Gilead, the family of the Gileadites.
Num 26:30 These are the sons of Gilead: of Iezer, the family of the Iezerites; of Helek, the family of the Helekites;
Num 26:31 and of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites; and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites;
Num 26:32 and of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites; and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites.
Num 26:33 Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
Num 26:34 These are the families of Manasseh; and those who were numbered of them were fifty-two thousand seven hundred.
Num 26:35 These are the sons of Ephraim after their families: of Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthelahites; of Becher, the family of the Becherites; of Tahan, the family of the Tahanites.
Num 26:36 These are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the family of the Eranites.
Num 26:37 These are the families of the sons of Ephraim according to those who were numbered of them, thirty-two thousand five hundred. These are the sons of Joseph after their families.
Num 26:38 The sons of Benjamin after their families: of Bela, the family of the Belaites; of Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites; of Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites;
Num 26:39 of Shephupham, the family of the Shuphamites; of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites.
Num 26:40 The sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites; of Naaman, the family of the Naamites.
Num 26:41 These are the sons of Benjamin after their families; and those who were numbered of them were forty-five thousand six hundred.
Num 26:42 These are the sons of Dan after their families: of Shuham, the family of the Shuhamites. These are the families of Dan after their families.
Num 26:43 All the families of the Shuhamites, according to those who were numbered of them, were sixty-four thousand four hundred.
Num 26:44 The sons of Asher after their families: of Imnah, the family of the Imnites; of Ishvi, the family of the Ishvites; of Beriah, the family of the Berites.
Num 26:45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites; of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites.
Num 26:46 The name of the daughter of Asher was Serah.
Num 26:47 These are the families of the sons of Asher according to those who were numbered of them, fifty-three thousand and four hundred.
Num 26:48 The sons of Naphtali after their families: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites; of Guni, the family of the Gunites;
Num 26:49 of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites; of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites.
Num 26:50 These are the families of Naphtali according to their families; and those who were numbered of them were forty-five thousand four hundred.
Num 26:51 These are those who were numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred one thousand seven hundred thirty.
Num 26:52 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 26:53 To these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.
Num 26:54 To the more you shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer you shall give the less inheritance: to everyone according to those who were numbered of him shall his inheritance be given.
Num 26:55 Notwithstanding, the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.
Num 26:56 According to the lot shall their inheritance be divided between the more and the fewer.
Num 26:57 These are those who were numbered of the Levites after their families: of Gershon, the family of the Gershonites; of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites; of Merari, the family of the Merarites.
Num 26:58 These are the families of Levi: the family of the Libnites, the family of the Hebronites, the family of the Mahlites, the family of the Mushites, the family of the Korahites. Kohath became the father of Amram.
Num 26:59 The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt: and she bore to Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.
Num 26:60 To Aaron were born Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
Num 26:61 Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before Yahweh.
Num 26:62 Those who were numbered of them were twenty-three thousand, every male from a month old and upward: for they were not numbered among the children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given them among the children of Israel.
Num 26:63 These are those who were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.
Num 26:64 But among these there was not a man of them who were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.
Num 26:65 For Yahweh had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. There was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

Apr. 18
Numbers 27, 28

Num 27:1 Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah.
Num 27:2 They stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, at the door of the Tent of Meeting, saying,
Num 27:3 Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against Yahweh in the company of Korah: but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons.
Num 27:4 Why should the name of our father be taken away from among his family, because he had no son? Give to us a possession among the brothers of our father.
Num 27:5 Moses brought their cause before Yahweh.
Num 27:6 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 27:7 The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: you shall surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brothers; and you shall cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them.
Num 27:8 You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter.
Num 27:9 If he have no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers.
Num 27:10 If he have no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father's brothers.
Num 27:11 If his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his kinsman who is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be to the children of Israel a statute and ordinance, as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Num 27:12 Yahweh said to Moses, Go up into this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel.
Num 27:13 When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was gathered;
Num 27:14 because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the waters before their eyes. (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)
Num 27:15 Moses spoke to Yahweh, saying,
Num 27:16 Let Yahweh, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,
Num 27:17 who may go out before them, and who may come in before them, and who may lead them out, and who may bring them in; that the congregation of Yahweh not be as sheep which have no shepherd.
Num 27:18 Yahweh said to Moses, Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him;
Num 27:19 and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and commission him in their sight.
Num 27:20 You shall put of your honor on him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may obey.
Num 27:21 He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before Yahweh: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.
Num 27:22 Moses did as Yahweh commanded him; and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:
Num 27:23 and he laid his hands on him, and commissioned him, as Yahweh spoke by Moses.

Num 28:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 28:2 Command the children of Israel, and tell them, My offering, my food for my offerings made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to me, you shall observe to offer to me in their due season.
Num 28:3 You shall tell them, This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to Yahweh: male lambs a year old without blemish, two day by day, for a continual burnt offering.
Num 28:4 You shall offer the one lamb in the morning, and you shall offer the other lamb at evening;
Num 28:5 with the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meal offering, mixed with the fourth part of a hin of beaten oil.
Num 28:6 It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in Mount Sinai for a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Num 28:7 Its drink offering shall be the fourth part of a hin for the one lamb. You shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to Yahweh in the holy place.
Num 28:8 The other lamb you shall offer at evening: as the meal offering of the morning, and as the drink offering of it, you shall offer it, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Num 28:9 On the Sabbath day two male lambs a year old without blemish, and two tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour for a meal offering, mixed with oil, and the drink offering of it:
Num 28:10 this is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, besides the continual burnt offering, and the drink offering of it.
Num 28:11 In the beginnings of your months you shall offer a burnt offering to Yahweh: two young bulls, and one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 28:12 and three tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour for a meal offering, mixed with oil, for each bull; and two tenth parts of fine flour for a meal offering, mixed with oil, for the one ram;
Num 28:13 and a tenth part of fine flour mixed with oil for a meal offering to every lamb; for a burnt offering of a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Num 28:14 Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine for a bull, and the third part of a hin for the ram, and the fourth part of a hin for a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year.
Num 28:15 One male goat for a sin offering to Yahweh; it shall be offered besides the continual burnt offering, and the drink offering of it.
Num 28:16 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, is Yahweh's Passover.
Num 28:17 On the fifteenth day of this month shall be a feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
Num 28:18 In the first day shall be a holy convocation: you shall do no servile work;
Num 28:19 but you shall offer an offering made by fire, a burnt offering to Yahweh: two young bulls, and one ram, and seven male lambs a year old; they shall be to you without blemish;
Num 28:20 and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil: you shall offer three tenth parts for a bull, and two tenth parts for the ram.
Num 28:21 You shall offer a tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs;
Num 28:22 and one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you.
Num 28:23 You shall offer these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering.
Num 28:24 After this manner you shall offer daily, for seven days, the food of the offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh: it shall be offered besides the continual burnt offering, and the drink offering of it.
Num 28:25 On the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation: you shall do no servile work.
Num 28:26 Also in the day of the first fruits, when you offer a new meal offering to Yahweh in your feast of weeks, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no servile work;
Num 28:27 but you shall offer a burnt offering for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh: two young bulls, one ram, seven male lambs a year old;
Num 28:28 and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth parts for each bull, two tenth parts for the one ram,
Num 28:29 a tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs;
Num 28:30 one male goat, to make atonement for you.
Num 28:31 Besides the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, you shall offer them (they shall be to you without blemish), and their drink offerings.

Apr. 19
Numbers 29, 30

Num 29:1 In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing of trumpets to you.
Num 29:2 You shall offer a burnt offering for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 29:3 and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth parts for the bull, two tenth parts for the ram,
Num 29:4 and one tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs;
Num 29:5 and one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you;
Num 29:6 besides the burnt offering of the new moon, and the meal offering of it, and the continual burnt offering and the meal offering of it, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, for a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Num 29:7 On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; and you shall afflict your souls: you shall do no manner of work;
Num 29:8 but you shall offer a burnt offering to Yahweh for a pleasant aroma: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; they shall be to you without blemish;
Num 29:9 and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth parts for the bull, two tenth parts for the one ram,
Num 29:10 a tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs:
Num 29:11 one male goat for a sin offering; besides the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and their drink offerings.
Num 29:12 On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no servile work, and you shall keep a feast to Yahweh seven days:
Num 29:13 and you shall offer a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh; thirteen young bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old; they shall be without blemish;
Num 29:14 and their meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth parts for every bull of the thirteen bulls, two tenth parts for each ram of the two rams,
Num 29:15 and a tenth part for every lamb of the fourteen lambs;
Num 29:16 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.
Num 29:17 On the second day you shall offer twelve young bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 29:18 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;
Num 29:19 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and their drink offerings.
Num 29:20 On the third day eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 29:21 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;
Num 29:22 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.
Num 29:23 On the fourth day ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 29:24 their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;
Num 29:25 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.
Num 29:26 On the fifth day nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 29:27 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;
Num 29:28 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.
Num 29:29 On the sixth day eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 29:30 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;
Num 29:31 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, the meal offering of it, and the drink offerings of it.
Num 29:32 On the seventh day seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 29:33 and their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, according to their number, after the ordinance;
Num 29:34 and one male goat for a sin offering; besides the continual burnt offering, the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.
Num 29:35 On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly: you shall do no servile work;
Num 29:36 but you shall offer a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish;
Num 29:37 their meal offering and their drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, shall be according to their number, after the ordinance:
Num 29:38 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, and the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it.
Num 29:39 You shall offer these to Yahweh in your set feasts, besides your vows, and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your meal offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.
Num 29:40 Moses told the children of Israel according to all that Yahweh commanded Moses.

Num 30:1 Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which Yahweh has commanded.
Num 30:2 When a man vows a vow to Yahweh, or swears an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
Num 30:3 Also when a woman vows a vow to Yahweh, and binds herself by a bond, being in her father's house, in her youth,
Num 30:4 and her father hears her vow, and her bond with which she has bound her soul, and her father holds his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond with which she has bound her soul shall stand.
Num 30:5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he hears, none of her vows, or of her bonds with which she has bound her soul, shall stand: and Yahweh will forgive her, because her father disallowed her.
Num 30:6 If she be married to a husband, while her vows are on her, or the rash utterance of her lips, with which she has bound her soul,
Num 30:7 and her husband hear it, and hold his peace at her in the day that he hears it; then her vows shall stand, and her bonds with which she has bound her soul shall stand.
Num 30:8 But if her husband disallow her in the day that he hears it, then he shall make void her vow which is on her, and the rash utterance of her lips, with which she has bound her soul: and Yahweh will forgive her.
Num 30:9 But the vow of a widow, or of her who is divorced, even everything with which she has bound her soul, shall stand against her.
Num 30:10 If she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath,
Num 30:11 and her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and didn't disallow her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond with which she bound her soul shall stand.
Num 30:12 But if her husband made them null and void in the day that he heard them, then whatever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband has made them void; and Yahweh will forgive her.
Num 30:13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.
Num 30:14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows, or all her bonds, which are on her: he has established them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.
Num 30:15 But if he shall make them null and void after that he has heard them, then he shall bear her iniquity.
Num 30:16 These are the statutes, which Yahweh commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between a father and his daughter, being in her youth, in her father's house. 
 
Apr.  17
Luke 10

Luk 10:1 Now after these things, the Lord also appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two ahead of him into every city and place, where he was about to come.
Luk 10:2 Then he said to them, "The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send out laborers into his harvest.
Luk 10:3 Go your ways. Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.
Luk 10:4 Carry no purse, nor wallet, nor sandals. Greet no one on the way.
Luk 10:5 Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house.'
Luk 10:6 If a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.
Luk 10:7 Remain in that same house, eating and drinking the things they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Don't go from house to house.
Luk 10:8 Into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat the things that are set before you.
Luk 10:9 Heal the sick who are therein, and tell them, 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you.'
Luk 10:10 But into whatever city you enter, and they don't receive you, go out into its streets and say,
Luk 10:11 'Even the dust from your city that clings to us, we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the Kingdom of God has come near to you.'
Luk 10:12 I tell you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.
Luk 10:13 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
Luk 10:14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.
Luk 10:15 You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.
Luk 10:16 Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."
Luk 10:17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!"
Luk 10:18 He said to them, "I saw Satan having fallen like lightning from heaven.
Luk 10:19 Behold, I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will in any way hurt you.
Luk 10:20 Nevertheless, don't rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
Luk 10:21 In that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in your sight."
Luk 10:22 Turning to the disciples, he said, "All things have been delivered to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is, except the Father, and who the Father is, except the Son, and he to whomever the Son desires to reveal him."
Luk 10:23 Turning to the disciples, he said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see,
Luk 10:24 for I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see the things which you see, and didn't see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and didn't hear them."
Luk 10:25 Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Luk 10:26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"
Luk 10:27 He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
Luk 10:28 He said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live."
Luk 10:29 But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?"
Luk 10:30 Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Luk 10:31 By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:32 In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion,
Luk 10:34 came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
Luk 10:35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, 'Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.'
Luk 10:36 Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?"
Luk 10:37 He said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
Luk 10:38 It happened as they went on their way, he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Luk 10:39 She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
Luk 10:40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me."
Luk 10:41 Jesus answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,
Luk 10:42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her."

Apr. 18, 19
Luke 11

Luk 11:1 It happened, that when he finished praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples."
Luk 11:2 He said to them, "When you pray, say, 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come. May your will be done on Earth, as it is in heaven.
Luk 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
Luk 11:4 Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' "
Luk 11:5 He said to them, "Which of you, if you go to a friend at midnight, and tell him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
Luk 11:6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him,'
Luk 11:7 and he from within will answer and say, 'Don't bother me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give it to you'?
Luk 11:8 I tell you, although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as many as he needs.
Luk 11:9 "I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you.
Luk 11:10 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.
Luk 11:11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he won't give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?
Luk 11:12 Or if he asks for an egg, he won't give him a scorpion, will he?
Luk 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
Luk 11:14 He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. It happened, when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the multitudes marveled.
Luk 11:15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons."
Luk 11:16 Others, testing him, sought from him a sign from heaven.
Luk 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. A house divided against itself falls.
Luk 11:18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul.
Luk 11:19 But if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore will they be your judges.
Luk 11:20 But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come to you.
Luk 11:21 "When the strong man, fully armed, guards his own dwelling, his goods are safe.
Luk 11:22 But when someone stronger attacks him and overcomes him, he takes from him his whole armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.
Luk 11:23 "He that is not with me is against me. He who doesn't gather with me scatters.
Luk 11:24 The unclean spirit, when he has gone out of the man, passes through dry places, seeking rest, and finding none, he says, 'I will turn back to my house from which I came out.'
Luk 11:25 When he returns, he finds it swept and put in order.
Luk 11:26 Then he goes, and takes seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first."
Luk 11:27 It came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you!"
Luk 11:28 But he said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it."
Luk 11:29 When the multitudes were gathering together to him, he began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks after a sign. No sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah, the prophet.
Luk 11:30 For even as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will also the Son of Man be to this generation.
Luk 11:31 The Queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and will condemn them: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, one greater than Solomon is here.
Luk 11:32 The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, one greater than Jonah is here.
Luk 11:33 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, that those who come in may see the light.
Luk 11:34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore when your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light; but when it is evil, your body also is full of darkness.
Luk 11:35 Therefore see whether the light that is in you isn't darkness.
Luk 11:36 If therefore your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining gives you light."
Luk 11:37 Now as he spoke, a certain Pharisee asked him to dine with him. He went in, and sat at the table.
Luk 11:38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he had not first washed himself before dinner.
Luk 11:39 The Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness.
Luk 11:40 You foolish ones, didn't he who made the outside make the inside also?
Luk 11:41 But give for gifts to the needy those things which are within, and behold, all things will be clean to you.
Luk 11:42 But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, but you bypass justice and the love of God. You ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.
Luk 11:43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the marketplaces.
Luk 11:44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like hidden graves, and the men who walk over them don't know it."
Luk 11:45 One of the lawyers answered him, "Teacher, in saying this you insult us also."
Luk 11:46 He said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load men with burdens that are difficult to carry, and you yourselves won't even lift one finger to help carry those burdens.
Luk 11:47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
Luk 11:48 So you testify and consent to the works of your fathers. For they killed them, and you build their tombs.
Luk 11:49 Therefore also the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and apostles; and some of them they will kill and persecute,
Luk 11:50 that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
Luk 11:51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary.' Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.
Luk 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! For you took away the key of knowledge. You didn't enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in, you hindered."
Luk 11:53 As he said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be terribly angry, and to draw many things out of him;
Luk 11:54 lying in wait for him, and seeking to catch him in something he might say, that they might accuse him.