5/1/20

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Itinerant Ministry Of Jesus (4:23-25) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

               The Itinerant Ministry Of Jesus (4:23-25)

INTRODUCTION

1. Jesus started His public ministry by moving to Capernaum - Mt 4: 12-17
   a. A city on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee
   b. A fulfillment of the prophecy in Isa 9:1-2
   c. From which He began to preach His message of the kingdom

2. But Jesus' work was not what you might call a "located ministry"...
   a. He did not stay in one place
   b. Where people might easily come to see and hear Him

3. His ministry was an "itinerant ministry"...
   a. He traveled from place to place
   b. If people wanted to hear Him more than once, they had to follow Him

[In our text, Mt 4:23-25, we find a summary of "The Itinerant Ministry
Of Jesus."  In this study, let's begin by taking a look at...]

I. THE NATURE OF JESUS' ITINERANT MINISTRY

   A. HE DID NOT STAY IN ONE PLACE LONG...
      1. He "went about all Galilee" - Mt 4:23
      2. He went about "teaching in their synagogues" - Mt 4:23
      3. Luke records an example: in the synagogue at Nazareth - Lk 4:14-30
      4. But as mentioned by both Mark and Luke, Jesus felt compelled
         to keep moving - Mk 1:35-39; Lk 4:42-44

   B. HE PROCLAIMED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM...
      1. His preaching involved "good news" about the kingdom - Mt 4:23; 
          cf. Mk 1:14
      2. As recorded by Mark, this "good news" included the following:
         a. "The time is fulfilled" - the time foretold by the
             prophets, cf. Dan 2:44
         b. "The kingdom of God is at hand" - the kingdom foretold by
            the prophets, cf. Dan 2:44; Lk 1:32-33

   C. HE HEALED ALL KINDS OF SICKNESS AND DISEASE...
      1. He healed people afflicted with various diseases and torments- Mt 4:23-24
      2. Including the demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics - Mt 4:24
      3. Both Mark and Luke provide more detail at this point in their gospels
         a. Casting out an unclean spirit - Mk 1:21-28; Lk 4:31-37
         b. Healing Peter's mother-in-law - Mk 1:29-30; Lk 4:38-39
         c. Healing many after a Sabbath sunset - Mk 1:32-34; Lk 4:40-41
         -- Matthew records these events after The Sermon On The Mount
            in his gospel

   D. HIS FAME SPREAD...
      1. Throughout all Syria, the region to the north of Galilee - Mt 4:24
      2. Evidently throughout Decapolis, Judea, and beyond the Jordan,
         regions to the south and east - Mt 4:25
      3. The healing of a leper forced him to stay in deserted places - Mk 1:45

   E. GREAT MULTITUDES FOLLOWED HIM...
      1. From Galilee and regions all around - Mt 4:25
      2. Mark says they came to Him from every direction - Mk 1:45
      3. They came to hear Him, and to be healed by Him - Lk 5:15

II. OBSERVATIONS REGARDING JESUS' ITINERANT MINISTRY

   A. EVERYONE NEEDS TO HEAR THE GOSPEL...
      1. Jesus' concern was not just for those in his town of Capernaum
         a. Compelled to preach the gospel in other cities, He went about "all Galilee"
         b. He later sent His disciples to preach throughout all the cities of Israel
         c. He finally commissioned to them to preach to every person,
            making disciples "of all the nations" - Mk 16:16; Mt 28:19
      2. It has been said, "No one has the right to hear the gospel
         twice, before everyone has heard it once"
         a. This statement reflects a sentiment worth remembering
         b. Once the gospel has been shared, we are not under 
            obligation to repeat it again and again to one not interested
         c. If those who hear are not interested, they have judged 
            themselves unworthy of eternal life - e.g., Ac 13:44-47
         d. As long as there are souls who have not heard, we do not
            always have the luxury of "spoon-feeding" the spiritually
            indifferent in an attempt to reach them!
      3. Similarly, churches may not always have the luxury to hold on
         to their evangelists
         a. Some are like the people who tried to keep Jesus from leaving them - Lk 4:42
         b. But having received the word, they need to appreciate the
            need for others to hear - Lk 4:43
         c. Especially today, when we have Bibles to teach us, we can
            more liberal with letting evangelists do their work of 
            evangelizing! - cf. Ro 10:14-15

   B. THE PURPOSE OF THE HEALING MIRACLES...
      1. Certainly they were an expression of Jesus' compassion 
         - Mt 14:14; 20:29-34
      2. Such miracles were also confirmation of prophecy - Mt 8:16-17
         a. They were recorded that we might believe - Jn 20:30-31
         b. They were intended to confirm who Jesus was - cf. Jn 5:36
      3. In a similar way, the miracles done by His followers was for
         the purpose of confirming their message as being from God 
         - cf. Mk 16:19-20; He 2:3-4
         a. Their purpose was not to make Christians "healthy and wealthy"
         b. Their purpose was not for personal benefit; e.g., Paul did
            not heal Timothy of his stomach ailments and frequent 
            infirmities, prescribing medicinal treatment instead- 1Ti 5:23
      -- The primary purpose of such miracles, as always, was to 
         confirm God's messengers; in this case, confirming Jesus to be
         the Son of God! - cf. Ac 2:22

   C. AUTHENTIC MIRACLES CAN'T BE KEPT SECRET...
      1. Jesus' reputation quickly spread throughout the region
      2. Even His enemies had to admit His miracles were real - Jn 11:47
      3. Such was true with the miracles performed by the apostles - Ac 4:14-16
      4. If one could truly heal today as Jesus and His apostles did...
         a. It would be on every TV network
         b. None would deny it, especially Christians who question the
            validity of what is often claimed to be miraculous today!
      -- The more you study the miracles of the Bible, the easier it is
         see that those who claim to do miracles today are either 
         sincerely mistaken or deliberate deceivers!

   D. FOLLOWING JESUS REQUIRES EFFORT ON OUR PART...
      1. The multitudes who wanted to hear and see Jesus had to follow
         Him where He went
         a. It required leaving their homes, probably at great expense
         b. It was probably very inconvenient, especially when sick and disabled!
      2. Following Jesus today requires some effort also!
         a. Time and energy must be expended to learn and grow in the
            teachings of Christ
         b. It may not always be convenient to utilize opportunities to
            learn more about Jesus
      -- The next time you stay home because of some physical
         inconvenience, think of those souls who followed Jesus on His
         itinerant travels!

CONCLUSION

1. Many Christians have often thought how wonderful it must have been
   to see Jesus on earth during His public ministry...
   a. To see the miracles, to witness the healings
   b. To hear His sermons proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom
   b. To sit at His feet, listening to His gracious words of instruction

2. In reality, it may not have been as easy as one might think...
   a. You would have had to leave home for an extended period of time
   b. Contending with the multitudes, it might have difficult to even
      get close to Jesus
   -- I wonder if many Christians today would have made the effort!

3. As we think of "The Itinerant Ministry Of Jesus", I hope we will remember...
   a. The importance of spreading the gospel of the kingdom today
   b. The compassion our Lord had for the sick and oppressed
   c. The effort we should be willing to make to follow the Lord

4. Perhaps most importantly, to realize...
   a. That once you have heard the gospel of the kingdom, no one is
      obligated to repeat it to you again and again
   b. That having heard it once, you may never have the opportunity to
      hear it again!

It is _your_ responsibility to heed the call to repent and accept the
good news concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.  Have you?
  

God and Human Sexuality by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1185

God and Human Sexuality

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Does God exist? Sufficient evidence exists to warrant the conclusion: “Yes, I know that God exists.” Has He spoken to us? Again, sufficient evidence exists to prove that the book we call the Bible is the inspired, infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word of God. Since God exists, and since He has given to us His divine will in written form, moral choices and human behavior are to be governed by that revealed will.
What is God’s will concerning human sexuality? That will was demonstrated originally in the creation of the first human beings: “Male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27). God’s decision to create a female counterpart to the male was not coincidental. The female uniquely met three essential criteria: (1) “It’s not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18); (2) a helper suitable to him was needed (Genesis 2:18,20); and (3) the human race was to be perpetuated through sexual union (Genesis 1:28). Both Jesus and Paul reiterated this same understanding (Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Corinthians 7:2). So the woman was: (a) the divine antidote to Adam’s loneliness; (b) a helper fit for him; and (c) the means of the propagation of the human race. Here we see the divine arrangement for the human species.
Not long after God set into motion the created order—which He had pronounced as “very good” (Genesis 1:31)—man began to tamper with the divine will, and altered God’s original intentions concerning human sexuality. Polygamy was introduced into the world by Lamech (Genesis 4:19). God could have created two women for Adam. But He did not. Rather, He made one man for one woman for life. That is the divine will.
The next recorded departure from the divine will regarding human sexuality was Abraham’s foolish scheme to allow his wife Sarah to be taken by Pharoah (Genesis 12:10-12). That incident was followed by the determination by Sarah to offer Hagar as the means by which an heir might be secured (Genesis 16:1-16). Both of these actions obviously were contrary to God’s ideal of healthy, normal sexual behavior.
Genesis 19 now comes into view:
Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way,” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.” But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.” And they said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one came in to sojourn, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door (Genesis 19:1-11, NKJV).
Moses already had described the spiritual condition of Sodom’s inhabitants as being “wicked and sinners against Jehovah exceedingly” (Genesis 13:13). God Himself stated that their sin was “great” and “grievous” (Genesis 18:20). The specific activity described in Genesis 19 involved the desire on the part of the males of Sodom to “know” Lot’s two visitors. The Hebrew term yada is used euphemistically to denote sexual intercourse (cf. Genesis 4:1; 19:8; Numbers 31:17, 35; Judges 11:39; 21:11).
Notice that the crime that was condemned in this passage was not the fact that the Sodomites were being violent and forcing someone to do something against his will (see Miller, 2002). Jude made that clear when he identified their sin as “giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh” (vs. 7). Peter echoed the same thought:
[A]nd turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemning them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed; they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries (2 Peter 2:6-10, NKJV; cf. Jeremiah 23:14).
The term “sodomy” has come into the English language because of the sexual activity practiced in Sodom. A standard English dictionary defines “sodomy” as “[a]ny of various forms of sexual intercourse held to be unnatural or abnormal, especially anal intercourse or bestiality” (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000, p. 1651). It surely is reminiscent of our day to observe that when Lot urged the sodomites not to do “so wickedly,” the men accused Lot of being judgmental (Genesis 19:9; cf. Deuteronomy 23:17-18).
In addition to the pre-Mosaic period of history, God made clear His will on this matter when He handed down the Law of Moses. In a chapter dealing almost exclusively with sexual regulations, His words are explicit and unmistakable.
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any beast, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before a beast to mate with it. It is perversion. Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who sojourns among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 18:22-30, NKJV)…. If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them (Leviticus 20:13, NKJV).
A person would need help to misunderstand these injunctions.
Another graphic account is given in Judges 19, during the period of the judges, which was a time of spiritual and moral depravity and decay—the “Dark Ages” of Jewish history. “Sons of Belial” (i.e., wicked scoundrels) surrounded a house where travelers had taken refuge for the night. As in Sodom, they desired to “know” the male guest (Judges 19:22). The host, like Lot, knew exactly what they meant, as is evident from the fact that, like Lot, he offered them a sexual alternative (which, of course, God did not approve). Their sexual desire was labeled as “wickedness,” “outrage,” “vileness,” “lewdness,” and “evil” (Judges 19:23,24; 20:3,6,10,12,13, NKJV).
During the period of the kings, Josiah instituted sweeping moral and religious reforms. These included tearing down the homes of the Sodomites (2 Kings 23:7).
The New Testament is equally definitive in its uncompromising and unquestioned condemnation of illicit sexual activity. Paul summarized the “unrighteous” and “ungodly” behavior of the Gentile nations and declared:
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them (Romans 1:26-32, NKJV).
This passage uses Greek terms that linguistic scholars define as “forbidden desire,” “impurity,” “unnatural vice,” “shameful passions,” “not in accordance with nature,” and “individuals of the same sex being inflamed with sensual, sexual desire for each other” (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, pp. 28,118,119,240,583,877). Not only is God displeased with those who participate in such behavior, but verse 32 indicates that He is equally displeased with those who are merely supportive of such conduct—though they themselves do not engage in the activity. To the Corinthian church, Paul asked:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NKJV).
The Greek word translated “homosexual” is a metaphorical use of a term that literally means “soft” and, when referring to people, refers to males allowing themselves to be used sexually by other males. Again, lexicographers apply the term to the person who is a “catamite,” i.e., a male who submits his body to another male for unnatural lewdness, i.e., homosexually (Thayer, 1977, p. 387; Arndt and Gingrich, p. 489).
The term “sodomites,” (“abusers of themselves with mankind” in the KJV) is a translation of the term arsenokoitai. It comes from two words: arsein (a male) and koitei (a bed), and refers to one who engages in sex with a male as with a female (Thayer, p. 75). Paul used the same term when he wrote to Timothy, and identified some behaviors that are both “contrary to sound doctrine” and characteristic of the one who is not “a righteous man” (1 Timothy 1:9-10).
When Paul said, “such were some of you,” he proved not only that those involved may be forgiven, but that they can cease such activity. We are forced to conclude that sexual activity between persons of the same sex is not a matter of genetics; it is a behavioral phenomenon associated largely with environmental factors.
Illicit sex is just one more departure from God’s will that American civilization is facing. God identified all departures from His will pertaining to sexual intercourse as “fornication.” The underlying Greek term, porneia, is a broad term that covers every form of illicit sexual intercourse, including adultery, incest, bestiality, bigamy, polygamy, bisexuality, necrophilia, and more. Our sex-crazed society is so promiscuous, and so estranged from God’s view of human sexuality, that our public schools consider it appropriate to teach children to simply “take precautions” when they engage in sexual escapades outside of marriage. But God never encouraged people to practice “safe sex.” Rather, He instructed people to exercise self-control, self-discipline, and moral responsibility. The Bible teaches that we are not to be self-indulgent. We are to put restraints on ourselves, and control our sexual urges and desires according to God’s will.
Encouraging young people simply to “take precautions” only encourages additional illicit behavior. It encourages more promiscuity. It contributes to an increase—not a decrease—in the number of pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases. Despite several decades of inundating our schools with sex education, and the promotion of so-called “safe sex,” the statisticians inform us that in the next thirty days, 83,850 unwed girls will become pregnant in this country (“Teens in Crisis,” 2001, p. 1). The handling of the issue by the social liberal has not worked. In fact, the problem has greatly worsened.
The Bible definition of “safe sex” is sex that is confined to a divinely authorized, scriptural marriage. The depths to which our country has slumped morally is seen in the fact that it is legal for public school officials to distribute condoms to students, but it is illegal to distribute Bibles or to teach Bible principles. The time has come for our nation to wake up. The time has come to face the fact that freedom requires restraint. Rights require personal responsibility. People must take responsibility for their choices, and accept the consequences of their own actions. Paul declared, “flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18). He did not say, “engage in ‘safe’ fornication!” There is no such thing as “safe” sin or “safe” immorality. God said a person must run away from it, resist it, and reject it. To a youth, Paul said, “Keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy 5:22). The writer of Hebrews insisted that the marriage bed is to be kept “undefiled.” “[F]ornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). Paul said there should not be so much as a hint of sexual immorality among Christians (Ephesians 5:3).
Please understand: God loves all sinners—regardless of the specific sins they have committed. The faithful Christian will do the same. But it is imperative that we be about the business of alerting those who are engaged in sexual sin regarding God’s will, in an effort to “snatch them out of the fire” (Jude 23), and to “save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).

CONCLUSION

Sexual sin undoubtedly will go down in history as one of the major contributors to the moral and spiritual deterioration, decline, and downfall of American society. One wonders how much longer such widespread unchastity can go on in our land before God will “visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:25). Every society in human history that has followed this course toward moral and spiritual depravity has eventually been destroyed by God. Indeed, in light of such moral confusion, our society cannot continue to survive indefinitely into the future—unless, of course, God is prepared to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.

REFERENCES

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
Arndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Miller, Dave (2002), “Sodom—Inhospitality or Homosexuality?,” Reason & Revelation, 22:41-42, November.
Thayer, J.H. (1962 reprint), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
“Teens in Crisis” (2001), Teen Help (Las Vegas, NV: World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools).

God and Capital Punishment by Frank Chesser, M.S.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5415

God and Capital Punishment

by  Frank Chesser, M.S.


[NOTE: The author of the following article is an A.P. board member.]
In 1984 leaders of 13 major denominational churches in Florida signed a joint document condemning capital punishment. They described the death penalty as being extremely harmful, immoral, an action that encourages violence and demonstrates disrespect for human life and is inconsistent with the love of God.1 The conduct of these religious leaders is a classic example of refusing to think right about God. Capital punishment is a principle that is divine in origin and permanent in nature. It embraces all of time. God intends for the death penalty to be employed as an act of justice by duly authorized authorities for as long as man should inhabit the earth.

God as Executioner

It is incomprehensible that anyone with even a superficial knowledge of the Bible would object to the death penalty. The Bible is replete with examples of capital punishment with God as the executioner. Was God acting immorally, exhibiting disrespect for human life, and in defiance of His own nature when he destroyed the world of Noah’s day with a global flood? Can a man descend to a depth of sin and evil that he no longer deserves to live? The mind is the axis of life. The minds of the objects of God’s wrath were incessantly evil. They were barren of a single good thought (Genesis 6:5). They feasted on vileness like vultures on the rot of dead flesh and filled the earth “with violence” (Genesis 6:11). Had they forfeited the right to life? Is not God sovereign over all that is? Is He not the source of life? Does He not retain the right to decide when life should end? Is it possible for God to act in a manner inconsistent with His own nature? Is a man thinking right about God when, by implication, he accuses God of acting immorally? “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God?” (Romans 9:20). The flood alone is proof of the moral justice of capital punishment and of its complete compatibility with the whole of God’s nature.
God executed capital punishment against Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim (Genesis 19). The inhabitants of these wicked cities had perverted the very core of man’s sexual being as designed by God. They were sick with sin. They coveted the unnatural and abnormal. They heaped dishonor upon “their own bodies” (Romans 1:24). They yearned after “strange flesh” (Jude 7). Their sexual passions were “vile” (Romans 1:26). They could not “cease from sin” (2 Peter 2:14). They had reached the point of no return. Did they deserve to live? God utterly destroyed these cities with burning sulphur and emblazoned the memory of them before the minds of men “for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).
Was God acting improperly when He slew Er, Judah’s firstborn, because he was wicked (Genesis 38:7), killed his brother Onan, because he refused to submit to the Levirate marriage law and perpetuate his brother’s name in Israel (Genesis 38:8-10), or when “it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock?” (Exodus 12:29). Does man have the right to call God into account for His actions? “Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘why have you made me like this?’” (Romans 9:20). Who is weak, frail, puny, sinful man to question the conduct of God? God destroyed the army of Egypt in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:26-28). He killed Nadab and Abihu because they “offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them” (Leviticus 10:1). He slew some in Israel who loathed the gift of manna, looked backward with longing eyes to the food provisions in Egypt, and demanded a change in diet (Numbers 11:4–34), and killed the ten spies who returned from Canaan with an evil report (Numbers 14:37). Is a man spiritually rational when he depicts such actions of God as immoral and dishonoring to human life?
God destroyed the families of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in the heart of the earth and 250 princes with fire because they rebelled against the authority of Moses and demanded access to the priesthood (Numbers 16:1-33). He then slew 14,700 in Israel who accused Moses and Aaron of killing “the people of the Lord” (Numbers 16:41). He executed capital punishment upon a large number of Israelites who expressed contempt for the leadership of Moses and God’s provisions of grace in the wilderness (Numbers 21:5-6). He slew 23,000 in Israel for fornication and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:8), commanded an additional thousand to be executed by the hands of judges (Numbers 25:1-9), and granted Joshua a victory over a coalition of five armies by killing more soldiers with hailstones than the army of Israel had slain in battle (Joshua 10:11).
God executed a host of men in Bethshemesh because of their lack of reverence for the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 6:19), killed Nabal for his wickedness (1 Samuel 25:38), and slew Uzzah for touching the ark (2 Samuel 6:7). He killed 70,000 men of Israel as an act of judgment upon David and Israel because of sin (2 Samuel 24:15), used a lion to slay a disobedient prophet from Judah (1 Kings 13:24), and slew Jeroboam, the first king of the northern kingdom (2 Chronicles 13:20). He executed 102 soldiers in Israel who refused to honor His authority through Elijah (2 Kings 1:1-12), used an angel to kill 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night (2 Kings 19:35), and slew Jehoram, the fifth king of Judah, with a bodily disease (2 Chronicles 21:18-19). God killed Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-10) and slew Herod for refusing to glorify God (Acts 12:23). Is a man thinking right about God when he arrays God’s love against God’s holiness, justice, and wrath and depicts capital punishment as harmful, immoral, and lacking in respect for human life?

Man as God’s Executioner

God often used man to administer judgment upon men and nations whose sin and rebellion called for the cessation of life. He used the sons of Levi to slay some three thousand men who had sinned in worshiping the golden calf (Exodus 32:27-28). He used Israel to stone a man who blasphemed the name of God (Leviticus. 24:10-14) and a man who violated the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36) and to bring judgment on His enemies (Numbers 21), and He praised and blessed Phinehas for appeasing His wrath in slaying two adulterers (Numbers 25:6-14). God’s statement to Abraham, “for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16), points to the inevitable judgment that would befall the inhabitants of Canaan when their sin reached the full mark. At the close of his life, Moses reminded Israel of the end of God’s grace, mercy, and forbearance with the seven nations in Canaan, and said, “And when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them.” (Deuteronomy 7:2). God used the nation of Israel to execute judgment upon the people of Canaan for their longstanding idolatry and sin (Joshua 1-12).
God used Israel to administer capital punishment upon Achan and his family (Joshua 7). The period of the judges was a spiritually tumultuous period in Israel’s history as the people “did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way” (Judges 2:19). They adopted the idolatry and wicked ways of the pagan nations. God utilized the king of Mesopotamia; Eglon, king of Moab; Jabin, king of Canaan; the Midianites, Ammonites, and Philistines to bring judgment upon them. As they manifested repentance, God would raise up judges to lead Israel in freeing the nation from the oppression of these heathen rulers and punishing them for their own idolatry and sin. Rivers of blood flowed across the land during this chaotic period as God used men to inflict capital punishment upon other men because of their impenitent sin and rebellion.
The Ammonites were descendants of Lot. They were pagan, idolatrous, cruel, and exceedingly corrupt. They refused to aid Israel in a time of great need and joined Moab in hiring Balaam to curse them (Deuteronomy 23:4). In the early days of Saul’s reign, they threatened to gouge out the right eyes of all the men in the city of Jabesh (1 Samuel 11:2). And the “spirit of God came upon Saul” (1 Samuel 11:6), and God employed Saul and Israel to kill the Ammonites until “it happened that those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together” (1 Samuel 11:11). The Amalekites shared kinship with the Ammonites in idolatry, cruelty, and wickedness. When Israel ascended out of Egypt, the Amalekites attacked them from behind, killing the most vulnerable: the elderly, weak, and feeble (Deuteronomy 25:17-18). God reminded Saul of this act of inhumanness and said, “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them.” (1 Samuel 15:3).
David was a “man of war” (1 Chronicles 28:3). He was a sword of judgment in the hand of God to execute the penalty of death upon the enemies of God, whose corruptness of life called for their destruction. He often inquired of the Lord, seeking His will concerning battle engagements. He said of God, “He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” (2 Samuel 22:35). In a summary of some of his military victories, inspiration asserts, “And the Lord preserved David wherever he went.” (2 Samuel 8:14). God’s role for David’s life was for him to function as a hammer of God’s judgment upon heathen nations steeped in idolatry and iniquity and to secure and bring peace to Israel, thus creating a tranquil environment for Solomon to construct the Temple. It was this very point that David pressed upon the mind of Solomon in the closing days of his life (1 Chronicles 22:6-19).
God used Abijah, the second king of Judah, to render judgment upon Jeroboam and Israel because of their apostasy and idolatry. Five hundred thousand men of Israel perished in this conflict. Judah was victorious because “they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 13:18). Asa, the third king of Judah, faced an Ethiopian army of a million soldiers, the largest army mentioned in the Old Testament. He implored God for divine aid. “So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah” (2 Chronicles 14:12). During the reign of Jehoshaphat, the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Edom descended upon Judah. In Jehoshaphat’s prayer before the congregation of Judah in Jerusalem, he expressed the nation’s helpless state and their total dependence upon God. God executed judgment upon the wicked nations by turning their swords against one another until “and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.” (2 Chronicles 20:24).
Idolaters and enemies of God, the Syrians affirmed that God was only a local Deity with limited power (1 Kings 20:28). God employed Israel to punish Syria and they “killed one hundred thousand foot soldiers of the Syrians in one day.” (1 Kings 20:29). An additional 27 thousand were killed by the weight of a wall that fell upon them in the city of Aphek (1 Kings 20:30). God utilized Jehu to judge the wicked house of Ahab. “So Jehu killed all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men and his close acquaintances and his priests, until he left him none remaining.” (2 Kings 10:11). He then killed all the worshipers of Baal until he had “destroyed Baal out of Israel” (2 Kings 10:28).
Israel descended into such depths of sin that God raised the sword of Assyria against them and destroyed their national identity in Assyrian captivity (2 Kings 17:5-23). Judah emulated Israel’s conduct and God utilized Babylon to execute judgment upon them. He later used the Medes and Persians to judge Babylon. Isaiah specifies ten pagan nations who suffered the judgment of God because of their grievous sin (cf. Isaiah 13-23). The New Testament closes with God’s answer to the martyrs of Christ who cried, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10). God administered judgment upon the enemies of His Son and the church and declared, “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!” (Revelation 18:20).
Is a man thinking right about God when he sees all of these biblical examples, yet still declares the death penalty to be harmful, immoral, disrespectful to human life, and inconsistent with the nature of God?

Divine Laws Demanding the Death Penalty

Following the global Flood, God reiterated the need for the increase of the human family (Genesis 9:1). Sin had changed everything, and the tranquil co-existence between man and animal had been supplanted with hostility (Genesis 9:2). The vegetarian status of both man and animals prior to sin had now been changed to allow man to consume meat (Genesis 1:29-30; 9:3).2 Divine permission to eat meat was accompanied with a prohibition regarding the consumption of blood. “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” (Genesis 9:4), because the “life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). Since human life reflects the image of God, the most severe possible penalty is attached to the action of murder that brings it to an end. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.” (Genesis 9:6).
This principle and penalty embraces all of time. Civil government is ordained of God (Romans 13:1). It is an expression of God’s concern for man’s well-being, and when functioning faithfully, it discourages lawlessness and promotes peace and serenity. Romans 13:4 describes authorized civil authorities as ministers of God, persons who do not bear “the sword in vain,” and avengers divinely bound to execute “wrath on him who practices evil.” The sword is a symbol of capital punishment and, when wielded by the state, is an action authorized by God. Any man who attempts to sheathe the state’s sword is in rebellion to God and His will. He is resisting “the ordinance of God” (Romans 13:2). God placed the sword in the hand of the state, and no man has a right to remove it.
“He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:12). The willful taking of life demands the life of the perpetrator. In ancient times, God granted the right of vengeance to the victim’s nearest relative, designated as the “avenger of blood” who shall “put the murderer to death” (Numbers 35:19). Cities of refuge were provided for accidental slayings, allowing one to live in peace and safety whose act of killing was unintentional (Numbers 35:6-15). Moreover, the taking of life for self-defense purposes is not murder, and such action is not subject to the death penalty. The need and desire for self-preservation is divinely implanted. It is as natural and inherent to life as food and drink. It would be wholly inconsistent with the nature of God to design man with such a potent need and then refuse him the right to exercise it. Preserving one’s own life or the life of any innocent victim from the murderous intent of evil doers is perfectly compatible with both the nature of God and the nature of man as designed by God. Exodus 22:2 envisions just such a case as a man kills a thief caught breaking into his home at night in defense of himself and his family and is rendered guiltless.
“And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:15). “And he who curses his father or mother shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:17). Mothers descend into the depths of pain and anguish in order to bring life into the world. God’s mothers and fathers are heaven’s gift to children. Parents functioning according to God’s pattern for the home are children’s first insight into the nature of God. Parents are god-like in a child’s eyes. Parents who love God set the feet of their children on the road to eternal bliss. To strike or curse such a parent is an assault upon the heart. It inflicts mental and emotional pain that far exceeds physical suffering. It undermines the peace and joy of the home, the bedrock of society, and afflicts the heart of God.
“He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:16). Kidnapping was punishable by death. Stealing a man for slave traffic invited the death penalty even when the victim was yet in the thief’s possession. Robbing a man of his personal freedom was a capital offense. Exodus 21:22-23 contemplates an expectant mother’s losing her life or the life of her miscarried child as she endeavored to shield her husband from an aggressor. The aggressor was to be put to death. Exodus 21:29-30 envisions the death of a man or woman by an ox known to have a violent nature. Unless the relatives of the victim agreed upon financial compensation, the owner of the ox was to suffer the death penalty.
“You shall not permit a sorceress to live.” (Exodus 22:18). Sorcery strikes at the very heart of the sovereignty of God. It is an attempt to circumvent God and take charge of one’s own life. As are all efforts to rid man’s mind and life of God and His restraining influences, it appeals to the lust of the flesh. It fosters defilement (Leviticus 19:31). The Canaanites were engrossed in every form of sorcery and it was one of the reasons God removed them from the land (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Saul’s consultation with the witch of Endor is cited as one of the reasons God “killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David” (1 Chronicles 10:13-14). Sorcerers were to be put to death by stoning (Leviticus 20:27).
All forms of perverted sexual activity, such as incest (Leviticus 20:11-12,14), homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13), and bestiality (Leviticus 20:15) were subject to the death penalty. There are complexities associated with man’s sexual being as designed by God that transcend human comprehension. This truth is mightily reinforced by God’s law concerning even the touching of a man’s genitals. Foolish indeed is the man who refuses to perceive this truth and proceeds to tamper with this aspect of life. Perverted sexual conduct is an egregious assault upon the very core of a man’s being. There is no action of man that calls for more intense judgment. The homosexuality of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim incurred a judgment that God will not allow man to forget. It is a repetitive theme in both Testaments, a sign-post from God regarding His attitude toward this grievous sin (Jude 7), and the last book in the Bible holds it up as the epitome of sin (Revelation 11:8). A nation is doomed if it allows this sin to reach a level of national acceptance.
“The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10). Heterosexual relationships outside of marriage were punishable by death. Adultery injures the marital relationship like no other sin. There is something unique about the one-flesh relationship in marriage, and there is something unique about the sin that severs it. The stringent nature of Matthew 19:9 bears witness to this truth. Relaxing the rigidity of God’s marital law is to man’s own peril. It is senseless to tamper with the things of God. Those who think right about God would never consider such conduct. There is nothing that creates more excitement in the halls of hell than for man to attempt to modify God’s marital laws intended to protect the sanctity of the home, the foundational unit of society.
Idolatry was a capital punishment offense (Deuteronomy 17:2-7). This grievous evil, the source of so many sins, plagued Israel for almost the whole of their national life until their return from Babylonian captivity. False prophets aiming to lure Israel into idolatry were to be killed (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). Family members, such as one’s wife, son, daughter, brother, or friend who endeavored to entice their family “secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods” (Deuteronomy 13:6) were not to be pitied, spared, or concealed but were to be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 13:8-10). Rumors concerning a city’s involvement in idolatry were to be thoroughly investigated, and if found to be true, the city in its entirety was to be destroyed, and even the spoil of the city was to be burned (Deuteronomy 13:12-17).
Acts of rebellion against decisions made by a tribunal of priests and judges in execution of God’s law were subject to the death penalty (Deuteronomy 17:8-13). Prophets who dared to speak where God had not spoken, or who prophesied in the name of an idol were to be slain (Deuteronomy 18:20). Harlotry by the daughter of a priest was punishable by death (Leviticus 21:9). Child sacrifice to an idol was subject to death by stoning (Leviticus. 20:2). Desecrating the Sabbath with work called for the death penalty (Exodus 35:2). Capital punishment was to be administered to any non-priest who attempted to usurp priestly functions (Numbers 3:10), to a non-Levite who encroached upon Levitical responsibility in performing the services of the tabernacle (Numbers 18:22-23), to any Levite who neglected or refused to give his own tenth of the tithe received from Israel (Numbers 18:25-32), and to any Kohathite charged with transporting the sacred furniture of the tabernacle, if he looked upon or touched any of it (Numbers 4:15,20).
A man proven to be a false witness was to be put to death if such was his intention regarding the accused (Deuteronomy 19:16-21). Capital punishment was to be inflicted upon an incorrigible son (Deuteronomy 21:18-21), a new bride who was verified to be guilty of fornication prior to marriage (Deuteronomy 22:13-21), a man who raped an engaged or married woman (Deuteronomy 22:25-27), and one who blasphemed or cursed God (Leviticus 24:10-16).

Conclusion

Capital punishment is ordained by God. God intends for the death penalty to occupy a permanent place in society for as long as the world stands. Opposing the death penalty is an act of defiance against God, the nature of God, and the will of God. Those who manifest aversion to capital punishment are refusing to think right about both God and sin.

Endnotes

1 Jon Nordheimer (1984), “Death Penalty Assailed By Florida Church Leaders,” New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1984/11/27/us/death-penalty-assailed-by-florida-church-leaders.html, November 27.
2 Eric Lyons (2003), “Were All Men Vegetarians Before the Flood?”, Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1257.

God Always Thinks Ahead by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1547

God Always Thinks Ahead

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The report of the miraculous events that God used to deliver the Israelites from bondage had spread throughout the land of Canaan. The inhabitants of Canaan had lost all courage and trembled with fear at the prospect of fighting against a people with such a powerful God. In fact, when Joshua sent out the two spies to explore the city of Jericho, the harlot Rahab hid them from danger and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt” (Joshua 2:9-10). God’s work and reputation had so paralyzed the Canaanites that the Israelites planned to make easy work of them.
In the first major battle of the Canaanite conquest, the battle of Jericho, God continued to help the Israelites by miraculously destroying the walls of the city. God did, however, decree that none of the gold or silver in Jericho was to be taken by any individuals; it was all to be dedicated to Him. Sadly, an Israelite named Achan disobeyed God’s command and took a wedge of gold, unbeknownst to Joshua and the other Israelites.
In the confidence of their colossal victory over Jericho, the Israelites next plotted to take the small Canaanite city of Ai. Without consulting God, the Israelites only sent a few thousand men to Ai, thinking that victory was inevitable. Aspirations of victory were defeated, however, when the few men of Ai sallied forth and defeated the Israelites, killing some 36 men.
Joshua and the Israelites were devastated and confused. Why had God left them? And what would the other Canaanite nations do now that they saw that the Israelites could be beaten? Joshua mourned and cried to God, “O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great Name?” (Joshua 7:8-9).
Upon hearing Joshua’s prayer, God informed him of Achan’s sin and explained that the Israelites would not be victorious until the sinner was removed from the camp. Joshua speedily followed God’s instructions for the removal of Achan. Then God gave Joshua a plan for defeating Ai. He instructed Joshua to set an ambush behind the city. Then he was to set a band of soldiers in front of the city and retreat as in the previous battle (Joshua 8). When all the men of Ai saw the retreating Israelites, they thought that the Israelites were defeated as before, and they all rushed forward, leaving the city unguarded. Those in ambush then attacked the city, and signaled for the retreating Israelites to turn and fight. The result was the utter defeat of Ai.
What appeared to be a major defeat to Joshua and the other Israelites, God used to set the stage for a major victory, by making the defeat look intentional. God had added another element to the Canaanites’ reasons to fear Him, showing that not only were the Israelites powerful and strong with His aid, but that they also were capable of cunning military strategy through His guidance. God’s name and brilliance were once again glorified, even in spite of the temporary setback caused by sin in the Israelite camp. This episode provides one more piece of evidence that “[t]here is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord” (Proverbs 21:30).

There It Lay Hidden All Along by Jim McGuiggan

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

There It Lay Hidden All Along

His name was Levi! New Testament readers know him better as Matthew. A tax-collector. Rome had set up a system of “client kings”. It offered its approval and military support to this king or that one if the king would agree to raise taxes for Rome’s needs [the client king got his cut, of course]. They’d assess how much they wanted from a kingdom and the client king would give that to Rome. It didn’t matter how much more he could wring out of his people so long as he could give Rome their cut.
The Jewish people had two reasons to despise the tax-collectors—Rome and the Herodian family with whom Rome had made the agreement.
Tax-collectors weren’t poor little things who were mistreated; we get a better view of them as a class when we think of those who collaborated with the Nazis in France or Belgium or Holland. They must have been emotionally and socially tough to take such a job in the midst of their own people. Don’t you think they would have had to harden themselves to work for the hated and abusive authorities? Would they not be resentful and bitter and durable when every day they were despised, jeered at, isolated and passed by in silence? And if they had wives and children would they not have to steel themselves against the pain their loved ones would surely feel in such a society? My guess is they well have been lonely at times too but gutted it out.  You think so?
In any case that’s who was sitting at his place when Jesus walked up to him. There He stands looking in silence at him, those big earnest eyes searching Matthew while the tax-collector looks up at Him every now and then with a “Well, what do you want?” sort of look.
Then the silent looker-on says: “Leave all that and follow me!”
Obviously Matthew knew something of the one who spoke to him. It cannot have been just anyone—the local butcher, for example—that came and said that to him. The collaborator had heard about Jesus. Bless me, even Cornelius had heard (Acts 10:37-38) and even a little Greek mother from the Sidon area. Matthew knew who this was! Some critic would have seen all and as soon as Jesus said, “Leave all that and come and follow me,” he would have run off to tell his friends. “Guess who the new prophet asked to follow him!” They’d guess and the informant would say, “No, no, better than that! Guess again!” When they’d exhausted their list of pious people who loved Israel and hated the Herod family he’d say, “No, it was ‘old money-bags’ himself. Levi the tax-collector.” They’d shake their heads at the prophet’s naiveté but that would turn to wonder when the word got around that Matthew had got up and done it! There it lay hidden all along and only Jesus had the love to see it and the goodness and power to harness it!
All the hatred, all the sneering, all the isolation and intimidation couldn’t turn Levi from his tax-gathering table, it couldn’t melt his hardness or strengthen him to finally join the oppressed against the ruthless masters—the world powers. But the stories about this One and one long look at Him, one strong sweet appeal from Him and Matthew strode out of one world and into another, to a new way of life and never looking back.
When I think of such a dramatic turn around all sorts of questions swirl around in my mind—questions I have no satisfying answers for. Now and then when I think of it, it makes me half wish I had had Matthew’s experience and felt the dramatic urge. I was never a great kid but my coming to the Lord Jesus, my entering the waters of baptism and taking His name upon me as my Lord and Savior was almost a quiet and steady process—as it is with most of us I suppose. I love that too, but the drama of Matthew’s conversion (and many like him down the centuries) thrills me as it must thrill you.
Every final meeting of the Lord Jesus just before we get up from whatever we were busy with and follow Him has its drama even if it isn’t obvious. It’s more than (not less than) a personal u-turn. Worlds collide and empires clash on those occasions. People by God’s grace throw off the shackles and throw themselves into an adventure that knows no end. Once again, in each conversion, the Story of God as told in the person of Jesus Christ is re-told and re-enacted in a faith-filled baptism, in a weekly Suppering with the living Lord at the Lord’s Supper when they culminate in the rehearsal of His resurrection to new life and a new world [Romans 6:3-7].
Such conversions are an ongoing witness to the presence of God’s saving power and the present existence of a new creation.
People are called to and made for adventure when Jesus comes calling and transforming them with truth about a new world, a new creation and to a cosmic mission.
In the days of the sailing ships, sailors who had sailed with Drake would come back and tell stories of what it was like to sail with such a captain. They’d tell tales not of balmy days in safe lagoons and gentle breezes. They’d tell of storms, raging seas and battles with giant waves; they whip off their shirts and show scars they’d got as a result of battle with sea monsters and jagged rocks, they’d show calloused hands that rowed for half a day and then another half and then another until exhausted but successful in bringing their ship into contact with a friendly wind that would fill the sails. Farm boys—barefoot farm boys, eyes wide with the longing for adventure, boys who’d never seen the sea would shrug off their harnesses, leave their ploughs lying in the fields and run off to another life—to another world!
That same Jesus is walking the earth today, stopping here and there and looking long at women and men, boys and girls, then saying, “Come and follow me and I will show you what you were made for.” And then and there, even the same life setting will become new and shot through with glory and adventure and people spring up on to white horses and ride after a white-horsed rider whose name is THE WORD OF GOD (Revelation 19:13-14) to battle seven-headed beasts and Death and Hell itself (Revelation 13:1; 20:14)!
(Oh Lord of Life won’t you come to us electrify us by a new awareness of who we are? Deliver us from lesser causes and energize us for the ongoing clash with a satanic world that hates you and all you love? Open our eyes to our reason for existing; for the world’s plundered poor! Won’t you help us to rise to our feet and go the distance? Forgive us for having an abundance of your blessings and in our greed wanting more? For the world you have loved in and through and as your Son won’t you help us to gospel about Him? We don’t doubt you but we fear when we see and hear how we your people pursue “more” and “more” while countless Lazaruses lie helpless and licked by the dogs. We fear what’s happening to us when we demand more and more “freedoms” while millions lie enslaved. There is no other help but you. Where else can we go? This prayer in Jesus Christ.)

Transubstantiation GEORGE L. FAULL

http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/03/transubstantiation-george-l.html

Transubstantiation

 

GEORGE L. FAULL

 

The Catholic Church holds to the doctrine of transubstantiation.  What is such a teaching?
It is best described by those who teach it.  We will quote a few of the canons of the Council of Trent, the 13th session.
Canon 1-4, 6
“(1.) Whosoever shall deny, that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there are truly, really, and substantially contained the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, together with his soul and divinity, and consequently Christ entire; but shall affirm that he is present therein only in a sign and figure, or by his power; let him be accursed.
“(2.) Whosoever shall affirm that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there remains the substance of the bread and wine, together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; and shall deny that wonderful and peculiar conversion of the whole substance of the bread into his body, and of the whole substance of the wine into his blood, the species only of bread and wine remaining, which conversion the Catholic Church most fitly terms “transubstantiation’; let him be accursed.
“(3.) Whosoever shall deny that Christ entire is contained in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist, under each species and under every part of each species when they are separated; let him be accursed.
“(4.) Whosoever shall affirm that the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are not present in the admirable Eucharist, as soon as the consecration is performed, but only as it is used and received, and neither before nor after; and that the true body of our Lord does not remain in the hosts or consecrated morsels which are reserved or left after communion; let him be accursed.
“(6.) Whosoever shall affirm that Christ, the only begotten son of God, is not to be adored in the holy Eucharist with the external signs of that worship which is due to God; and therefore that the Eucharist is not to be honored with extraordinary festive celebration, nor solemnly carried about in processions, according to the laudable and universal rites and customs of holy Church, nor publicly presented to the people for their adoration; and that those who worship the same are idolaters; let him be accursed.”
If one doubts this is their teaching, consult a recent Catechism and read it for yourself.
To sum it up, once the words of consecration are uttered by the Priest from that point on, there is no bread or wine left on the table.  It is now Christ’s body and blood.  This is the same flesh that was  born  of  a  virgin and that was crucified and is the same
body of Him who sits on the right hand of God.  If the wafer is not all eaten, it is taught to still be His own flesh and blood.
Are the following words “This is my body, this is my blood,” to be taken as literal or should they be taken as figurative language?  If it is to be taken literal, then every word should be literal.
The disciples saw it as bread and the fruit of the vine but He says, “it is his body and blood”.  If they knew it was bread and the fruit of the vine and He said these words, then they had to suppose it was changed into His body and blood and was no longer bread but His body.  Yet, He was standing there saying, “This is my blood, which is shed  many for the remission of sins.”
Which is literal?
  
  • Was it bread and the fruit of the vine?  Yes.
  • Was His body and His blood yet shed?  No, for He had not yet sacrificed His body and blood for sins.
He did not put it in the future, “this will be My body and blood which will be shed” but “this is My body and blood which is shed.”  If this is literal, then how can this be? Since Calvary had not occurred, “this is My body which is shed,” cannot be literal.
Obviously He was standing there.  When they ate of it there was none of Him missing.  Remember they insist that it is literal.  It is Him.  They are eating His body and drinking His blood.  If this is literal speech, they are literally eating His body and drinking His blood!  If the bread and cup was changed to His actual body and blood, this is cannibalism!  They would be doing what they had been forbidden to do all their life.  They were drinking blood, which the Law of Moses forbade them to do.  He wasn’t dead yet so they were eating Him alive!
We cannot put it in the future for they say they are taking His words literal and it is not in the future tense but the present tense.
Also, how can it be taken literal for what they are eating is not identical to His body?  It appeared to be as bread and juice, not flesh and blood.  The color, shape, taste, substance has not changed.  Is it then literally changed?  When Moses’ rod was changed to a serpent, did it still look like a rod?  No.
It certainly is not literal in the areas of sight, taste, smell and feeling.  He is standing there so they could see the difference between it and His flesh.  They could see none of Him was devoured; so how are we to understand it to be literal?
Has there ever been a more ludicrous and blasphemous teaching than this?  This doctrine does not require faith to believe, but rather gullibility. 
When Jesus changed the water into wine, it no longer looked like water but rather like wine.  The Governor never even knew a miracle occurred.  The Apostles would have had to disobey God to have obeyed Christ.  “Take eat!” “Drink blood!”  This is cannibalism!  Who but the beguiled could believe it?
However, if the bread and cup were but symbols of His body and blood, it is a simple but beautiful ordinance.  “This is” or “this represents” is common language we use every day.  We show a picture and say, “this is my Son” or look at a drawing and say, “this is the Chicago Skyline”.  In ancient days, this idiom was heard when Joseph said to the butler, “the three branches are three days”.  To the baker he said, “the three baskets are three days”.  To Pharaoh he said, “the seven cattle are seven years and the seven good ears are seven years.”  Daniel says, “the ten horns are ten Kings”.  Paul says, “the rock was Christ”.  John says, “the seven stars are the angels of the seven Churches.”
The idiom appears all through the Word of God when one thing represents or is a symbol of another.  In fact, the words “represents”, “signifies”, “symbolizes” or “symbol” does not even appear in the King James Version Bible.  The concept is expressed with the phrase,  “this is” or “these are.”
Think of the parables.  When did Jesus ever say something symbolizes or represents another?  He said, “the seed is the Word of God.”  “The reapers are the angels.”  “The thorns are the cares of this world.” So all this foolishness about Jesus not saying it represents or symbolizes His body and blood is mere foolishness and ignores a clear idiom of their speech.
Maybe this poem will illustrate it better:
A ROMAN MIRACLE
A pretty maid, a Protestant, was to a Catholic wed;
To love all Bible truths and tales, quite early she’s been bred.
It sorely grieved her husband’s heart that she would not comply,
And join the Mother Church of Rome and heretics deny.
So by the day he flattered her, but still she saw no good
Would ever come from bowing down to idols made of wood.
The Mass, the host, the miracles, were made but to deceive;
And transubstantiation too, she’d never dare believe.
He went to see his clergyman and told him his sad tale,
“My wife is an unbeliever, sir; you can perhaps prevail.”
For all your Romish miracles, my wife has strong aversion,
To really work a miracle may lead to her conversion.
The priest went with the gentleman, he thought to gain a prize.
He said, “I will convert her, sir, and open both her eyes.”
So when they came into the house, the husband loudly cried,
“The priest has come to dine with us!”
“He’s welcome,” she replied.
And when, at last, the meal was o’er, the priest at once began,
To teach his hostess all about the sinful state of man;
The greatness of our Saviour’s love, which believers can’t deny,
To give Himself a sacrifice and for our sins to die.
“I’ll return tomorrow, lass, prepare some bread and wine;
The sacramental miracle will stop your soul’s decline.”
“I’ll bake the bread,” the lady said, “You may,” he did reply,
“And when you’ve seen this miracle, convinced you’ll be, say I.”
The priest did come accordingly, the bread and wine did bless,
The lady asked, “Sir, is it changed?”  The priest he answered, “Yes.
It’s changed from common bread and wine to truly flesh and blood;
Begorra, lass, this power of mine has changed it into God!”
So having blessed the bread and wine, to eat they did prepare,
The lady said unto the priest, “I warn you to take care,
For half an ounce of arsenic was mixed right in the batter,
But since you have its nature changed, it cannot really matter.”
The priest was struck real dumb, he looked as pale as death.
The bread and wine fell from his hands and he did gasp for breath.
“Bring me my horse!” the priest cried, “This is a cursed home!”
The lady replied, “Begone; tis you who shares the curse of Rome.”
The husband, too, he sat surprised, and not a word did say.
At length he spoke, “My dear,” said he, “the priest has ran away;
To gulp such mummery and tripe, I’m not for sure quite able;
I’ll go with you and renounce this Roman Catholic fable!
--Author Unknown
The Catholic Church accepts what the Council of Trent says about the mass being a sacrifice of Christ.  They say, “This sacrifice is identical with the sacrifice of the cross, inasmuch as Jesus Christ is Priest and victim in both: the only difference lies in the manner of offering, which is bloody on the cross and bloodless upon our altars.”
This contradicts Jesus’ saying, “Do this in remembrance of me”, not “do this as a sacrifice of me.”  It ignores that the Hebrew writer demonstrates the superiority of Christianity to Judaism in that He was sacrificed once for all and needed not daily be offered up. Hebrews 9:28; 10:2, 10-12, 14.  This makes Jesus’ sacrifice no better than that of bulls or goats.
The little round wafer is called “the host” which means “the sacrifice or the victim.”  This is so blasphemous in that when He made this sacrifice, He said, “it is finished.”  John 19:30  He dies no more.
How blasphemous to worship a piece of bread.  It is idolatry of the worst sort.  They worship matter.  As a remembrance, the supper shows forth His death until He comes.  It is not a re-crucifixion of Him or a re-sacrifice of Him.  We eat His memorial to commemorate His death and what He has done for us.  We do not eat our God for if we eat Him, we excrete Him.  If we eat Him, we can vomit Him.  (They even insist that if it is vomited since it is Christ, it be buried or burned.)    Christ re-buried! Will He rise again or stay buried?  Christ burned!  If we drink His blood, how can it make men drunken (as many priests have become.)?  If it is His body, rats and other vermin can eat it.  But this is enough. If these thoughts do not show the absurdity of the doctrine, the reader must remain in his superstition.