"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Jesus And The Law (5:17-19) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      Jesus And The Law (5:17-19)


1. Up to this point, Jesus has been describing the "citizens" of the kingdom...
   a. Their character and blessedness - Mt 5:3-12
   b. Their influence on the world - Mt 5:13-16

2. The next section details the "righteousness" of the kingdom...
   a. The righteousness conduct Jesus would expect of His disciples
   b. In contrast with the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees

3. He begins by correcting any false impression some may have had about
   His relationship with the Law of Moses and the Prophets...
   a. Had He come to destroy the Law and the Prophets?
   b. Are His teachings contradictory to the Law and the Prophets?

[In Mt 5:17-19, we find His answer to such questions. Our first observation is 
1. That His coming and teaching would regard the Old Law in a negative light 2. For the expression "to destroy" means literally to "to destroy utterly, to overthrow completely" (VINE) B. ON THE CONTRARY, HIS PURPOSE WAS TO "FULFILL" THE LAW AND
1. For they foretold the coming of the Messiah (Christ) a. There are approximately 330 prophecies concerning the Christ found in the Law and the Prophets b. For example, Deut 18:15,18-19; Isa 53:1-12 2. For they foretold the coming of the kingdom of God a. One example is Dan 2:44 b. Jesus proclaimed the fulfillment of that prophecy was now at hand
- Mk 1:14-15 3. For they also foretold the establishment of a new and different covenant for the people of God a. See Jer 31:31-34 b. That Jesus brought in this new covenant is confirmed in He 8:6-13 C. THEREFORE, UNTIL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS WERE
1. The Law would be as permanent as the heavens and the earth
 - Mt 5:18 a. As He said in Lk 16:17, "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail." b. There would be no change at all, until it was fulfilled c. Not even a "jot" or a "tittle" (Hebrew grammatical markings, similar to the dotting of an "i" or the crossing of a "t") 2. A person's treatment of the Law (while still in force) would affect their standing in the kingdom - Mt 5:19 How so...? a. Remember that the kingdom has a future aspect - Mt 7:21-23 b. Those who lived before the coming of the kingdom in its present sense (i.e., the church) could still be in the kingdom
in its future sense 1) Note what is said about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - Mt 8:11 2) But then notice what was said about the "sons of the kingdom," those Jews who by the Law had the right to inherit the kingdom but did not appreciate its fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ! - Mt 8:12 -- Thus, one's standing in the kingdom (in its future sense) would be affected by their treatment of whatever Law of God was in effect when they were alive! D. AN IMPORTANT QUESTION: "DID JESUS FULFILL THE LAW?" 1. If He did not... a. He failed His purpose in coming to this earth! - Mt 5:17 b. We had better observe the Law in its strictest sense! - Mt 5:18-19 (including circumcision, and not eating unclean
  meats!) 2. If He did... a. He accomplished His purpose! (notice Jn 17:4) b. We should not be surprised to find a NEW Law or Covenant governing God's people today 3. Indeed, Jesus must have fulfilled the Old Law... a. For there has been changes: 1) In the priesthood - He 7:11-14 2) In the Law itself - He 7:18-19,22 b. As the Law itself foretold, it has been replaced by a New Law
  - He 8:6-13 [Though Jesus ultimately fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, at the time He was preaching this sermon they had not been fulfilled. So, true to His statement in verse nineteen, He taught His disciples to be faithful to God's Law as it then stood. But what about the contrasts found in Mt 5:21-48? Are not these to be viewed as comparisons between the Old and New Law? Here are some thoughts along these lines...] II. THE CONTRAST MADE BY JESUS A. MANY UNDERSTAND JESUS WAS CONTRASTING THE
"OLD" AND "NEW"...
1. I.e., comparing the "Law of Moses" with the "Law of Christ" which would govern His kingdom 2. This in essence has Jesus teaching: a. That the "Old Law" only condemned the outward actions b. But that the "New Law" introduced by Jesus condemned the inner conditions which lead to the outer actions B. HOWEVER, I UNDERSTAND THE CONTRAST TO BE DIFFERENT... 1. It was a contrast between: a. The "traditional interpretation and application" of the Law b. The "righteousness of the kingdom" Jesus would require of His disciples 2. In fact, Jesus demonstrated that the righteousness of the kingdom... a. Was not only contrary to the manner many had interpreted and applied the Law b. But was in harmony with the original spirit of the Law as given to Moses and the Israelites C. REASONS FOR SUCH A VIEW... 1. The other view would seem strange in light of verse 19 a. Jesus had just warned against any alteration of the
commandments of the Law! b. The first view has Jesus doing the very thing He had just
warned against! 2. If Jesus was referring to what Moses had commanded in the Law itself, it is likely different wording would have been used a. At other times, when Jesus was definitely referring to what the Law actually said, He prefaced it with things like: 1) "Moses commanded" - Mt 8:4 2) "It is written" - Mt 4:4,7,10 b. Instead, we find Jesus repeatedly using phrases more likely to refer to ORAL teachings and interpretations rather than the WRITTEN Word of God: 1) "You have heard that it was said to those of old"
- Mt 5:21,27
2) "Furthermore it has been said" - Mt 5:31 3) "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old"
 - Mt 5:33
4) "You have heard that it was said" - Mt 5:38,43 3. In two of the contrasts, Jesus refers to statements not even found in the Law of Moses! a. "...and whoever murders will be in danger of the
 judgment"- Mt 5:21
b. "...and hate your enemy" - Mt 5:43 -- Here, Jesus reacted, not to the Law itself, but to the way it was often used! 4. We should also remember that the "Law and the Prophets" were just as concerned with the inner thoughts of the heart as the Law of Christ is - cf. Deut 6:4-7; Isa 29:13-14 CONCLUSION 1. So Jesus came... a. Not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill the Law b. Which He did, by fulfilling its many prophecies -- That Law has now been replaced by the New Covenant of our Lord 2. In illustrating the righteousness expected of those under the
New Covenant, Jesus will... a. Contrast it with the traditional interpretations and applications
  orally handed down b. Demonstrate how our righteousness must indeed exceed that of the
 scribes and Pharisees! In our next lesson, we shall begin looking at the righteousness Jesus demands...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Helping Souls Find the Truth by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Helping Souls Find the Truth

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Nothing will ever replace personal, face-to-face evangelism and Bible study. For thousands of years, God’s people have taught the lost and edified the saved while looking deeply into the eyes of precious souls, helping them see what God says is most important and pressing in life, and challenging them to become real and serious servants of the Savior. Simply put, the church of God’s dear Son should always invest a great amount of time, energy, and money in the teaching and preaching of the will of God in a fervent and personal way.

At the same time, the church of Christ must also realize the amazing opportunity that awaits her on the World Wide Web. According to InternetLive­Stats.com, more than 3.2 billion people around the world have access to the Internet. That number represents 40% of the world’s population, including 280 million users in the United States. Similar to how the Lord spoke to Paul saying, “I have many people” (potentially) in Corinth (Acts 18:10), He has even “many more people” who will potentially be open to the Truth that they find by the grace of God on the Internet.

Are you and the local congregation that you are a part of involved in an effective, active outreach and edifying ministry on the Internet? Have you considered helping those who have a long history of helping millions of souls that you or I will never personally be able to meet, much less teach? What would you think about helping a group of Christians who are involved in disseminating over 22 million electronic pages of biblically sound material a year? Would you like to be a part of a work that is freely “passing out” the equivalent of 62,671 Bible articles, books, and media selections every day? If so, then I humbly ask you to consider supporting the nonprofit work of Apologetics Press.

By the grace of God, in 2015 the Apologetics Press Web site received over 22,875,000 page views from individuals located in some 235 countries and territories worldwide. Only five years ago, the yearly page views at AP stood at just under five million. Though in that same time period (2010-2015), the number of Internet users worldwide increased by nearly 40%, the amount of Web traffic that ApologeticsPress.org received increased by 460%. Every minute 43.5 pages of electronic soul-enriching Bible material on the AP Web site is viewed. In other words, one electronic page on the AP site is seen somewhere around the world every 1.4 seconds. For this, we thank God and give Him all the glory.

We are humbled and overjoyed that God is providentially providing millions of people around the world opportunities to access the AP Web site and to receive logically and biblically sound answers to their questions. Consider the individual who has never heard of the AP site, but googles the Bible phrase “calling on the name of the Lord.” The very first item that appears (out of 68.6 million results) is an article on the AP Web site explaining the true, biblical meaning of the phrase (as of January 2016).

Will You Help Us?

For many years, the staff of Apologetics Press has prayed that God would providentially put our materials into the hands of open, honest-hearted souls who are searching for serious answers to serious questions. Whether non-Christians investigating the Truth or Christians in search of faith-building materials, we pray that, if the Lord wills, He will use us and those who support us in this work to lead lost souls to Christ and to strengthen the Lord’s church.

So how can you help us in this cause? What could you do to assist us in this work? Below are a few ideas that we pray you will consider:

  • Bookmark our Web site and visit us when searching for answers to questions about God, Creation, the Bible, Jesus, Islam, evolution, the culture war, various doctrinal matters, etc.
  • Link to us on your personal Web site or blog.
  • Tell your friends about us.
  • Share relevant AP articles, audio, videos, etc. on your social media pages.
  • Ask the elders of your local congregation if they will link to us on your church Web site.
  • Pray that the Lord would use the AP site to His glory in helping others.
  • Last but not least, would you consider supporting us monthly or yearly in this work? With the financial help of faithful Christians, we believe we could do more and more work through apologeticspress.org. We would be honored and extremely grateful if you would consider assisting us in disseminating tens of thousands of Web pages of material everyday to individuals around the world. For more information, see /Donation.aspx or call 334-272-8558.

Hell and the Omnipresence of God by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Hell and the Omnipresence of God

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Since God is omnipresent, does that mean that He will be present in hell?


The Bible certainly indicates that God is all-knowing and ever-present. “[A]ll things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Through the prophet Jeremiah, God asked: “Am I a God near at hand...and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?... Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Indeed, God does “fill heaven and earth.” Solomon said: “Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You [God]” (1 Kings 8:27). No one can flee from God’s presence (Psalm 139:7). He is omniscient and omnipresent.

The Bible does, however, speak of God’s presence in different senses. God is present on His throne in heaven (Hebrews 8:1; 12:2; Revelation 21:5). Solomon referred to “heaven” as God’s “dwelling place” from which He hears the prayers of His people (1 Kings 8:30). God is present in and among His church (1 Corinthians 3:16). Though God has hidden His face from sinners who have separated themselves spiritually from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), God still fills the Earth with His presence, knowing and seeing everything (Hebrews 4:13; Jeremiah 23:23-24). What’s more, though God is with Christians (Hebrews 13:5), and is ever-present on Earth, God also has made more direct, periodic appearances in spirit or fleshly forms (Genesis 18:1; Acts 9:5,17; Acts 23:11).

The Bible reveals that God is even present in Sheol (“the abode of the dead.... [T]he Hebrew equivalent of the Greek Hades...to which both the righteous and unrighteous go at death”—see “Sheol,” 1986). The psalmist asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:7-8, NASB, emp. added). Job declared that “Sheol is naked before Him [God], and Destruction has no covering” (Job 26:6; cf. Proverbs 15:11). Whether one enters into the afterlife on the side of Paradise (Luke 23:43; 16:22) or torments (Luke 16:23), God is there in some sense. He knows all and sees all.

In addressing his desire to leave this present life and be with Jesus, Paul wrote: “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, emp. added; cf. Philippians 1:23). In one sense, Christ was “with Paul” as a Christian and an apostle (Matthew 28:20; Acts 18:10), in another sense, while here on Earth Paul was “absent from the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6). Once again, Scripture refers to the presence of God in different senses.

In the end, the saved will “meet the Lord in the air” and “always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We are going to the place that He has prepared for us and be where He says, “I [God] am” (John 14:2-3). But what about the inhabitants of hell and the omnipresence of God? It would appear that, since God created hell for the devil, his angels, and all of the wicked (Matthew 25:41), and since the Bible makes clear that prior to the Judgment God has some kind of presence in sheol/hades, even though there is a great gulf separating Paradise and torments (Luke 16:26), God’s presence is in hell in some sense. Though on one hand the wicked will be separated from God forever (Matthew 7:23; 25:41), they will never escape His ever-present and everlasting judgment.


“Sheol” (1996), Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

Hebrews 6:4-6 and the Unpardonable Sin by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Hebrews 6:4-6 and the Unpardonable Sin

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Forgiveness is one of the most sublime concepts in the Bible. To think that our Creator loves us in spite of grievous sins that we have committed is thrilling. And to know that the blood of Jesus can forgive us when we repent and obey is nothing short of amazing (see Lyons and Butt, 2015). One of the most terrifying ideas, however, is the thought that maybe we have done things that are so wicked and sinful that we are beyond God’s forgiveness. Some believe this due to an incorrect understanding of two concepts in the Bible—the unpardonable sin and a statement in Hebrews 6:4-6.

The idea of an unpardonable sin scares some people, because they believe they may have committed it, even though most of them do not have a proper understanding of what the sin actually is. We read about the unpardonable sin in Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-30, and Luke 12:10. The sin is the very specific sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. That means the act of speaking evil of the Holy Spirit. It was committed by those who actually saw Jesus perform miracles and attributed His power to Satan. Because no one today can see Jesus perform such miracles, then the sin apparently cannot even be committed today. Some have suggested that the sin is any sin that is unrepented of, or murder, or adultery, or various other behaviors. The text is plain that those sins cannot be the unpardonable sin. It was specifically blasphemy that was the result of seeing Jesus’ miracles (see Butt, 2003).

With the idea of an unpardonable sin in mind, many people then go to Hebrews 6:4-6 and are convinced that they have fallen away from God and that it is now impossible for them to be saved. A closer look at Hebrews 6:4-6 will show the problem with this thinking. The text reads:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).

Notice what the text does not say. It does not say it is impossible to forgive a person who has fallen away. This is in contrast to the unpardonable sin. The gospel writers describe that sin as an “eternal” sin, for which there was never any forgiveness. The text in Hebrews says that if people fall away it is impossible to “renew them again to repentance.” The difference between forgiveness and repentance is profound. The message in Hebrews 6 is not that those who fall away have committed sins that God will not forgive, it is that their hearts have become so hard that they will not repent. Thus, if a person is willing to repent, he or she cannot be one of those who have fallen away according to Hebrews 6:4-6. A similar idea is found in 1 Timothy 4:2, where we read about those who have “their own conscience seared with a hot iron.” Again, it is not that God will not forgive these people, it is that they will not repent and come back to God.

An excellent example of the difference between forgiveness and repentance is seen in the lives of Judas and Peter. In a very real sense, both of these apostles betrayed their Lord. Judas sold Him to the Jewish leaders, and Peter denied three times even knowing Him. Their actions after their sins, however, show that Peter was willing to repent and come back to his Savior, but Judas’ heart was so calloused he would not repent. Peter was forgiven and Judas was lost, not because Judas’ sin was so much more grievous than Peter’s, but because Judas had allowed his heart and conscience to be so seared that he would not repent.

In summary, any person who reads Hebrews 6:4-6 and wonders if he or she is a person who is without hope and has fallen away from God can easily answer that question. If that person is willing to repent of sins and obey God, that passage cannot apply to him or her.


Butt, Kyle (2003), “Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—The ‘Unpardonable Sin,’” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1218.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2015), “Receiving the Gift of Salvation,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Receiving%20the%20Gift%20of%20Salvation.pdf.

All That’s For The Heart’s Lifting by Jim McGuiggan


All That’s For The Heart’s Lifting

He’s “King of Kings and Lord of Lords!” He’s the “Ruler of the princes/kings of the Earth!” He sits “Far above all rule and dominion, above all the powers, above every name that is named in this world and any other world, present or future!” He “is the Lord of the dead and of the living and the Lord of Sin, Death and Life itself!” In Him, “all things without limit ‘hold together’!” He’s “the Prince who brings peace and hope and assurance that on a coming day of His choosing all wrongs will be righted and both victims and their impenitent, exulting abusers will receive what unlimited wisdom and love with bring to pass!” When He was here, visible to the human eye, touchable by human hands and hearable by the human ear He revealed His Holy Father by going around healing and blessing and delivering and assuring and fiercely opposing and exposing injustice and greed and corrupt teaching!

He did all this in living! He rebuked disease in every form and ordered demonic power to leave; He confronted Death at funeral processions and in tiny bedrooms and with a word transformed sobs and heartache into laughter and praise that God had made Himself present there and He brought fellowship and self-respect to people who were shunned and isolated by their powerful and fearful neighbors. All this He did in living and He did no less in His dying—He did more in His dying because as he said Himself, “My Father loves Me because I lay down my life that I might take it again!” (John 10:17-18)
Like His Holy Father who sends the rain on the thankless, the evil, the rabid atheist, the godless abusers, the religious leaders who are whited-sepulchers and lukewarm believers, Jesus gave and offered purpose and power, life and understanding to humans of every class. And He did it not only because they needed it—He did it to proclaim that this is what GOD wanted for them. In watching Him people were seeing without understanding that God was reigning in their presence, in their bodies and minds, in their homes and in their families, in their daughters and sons.

And it’s true—much of it was miraculous and could only be manifested by someone such as He was. But it was bigger than miraculous—the miracles were also messages within a grander message. In Him we’re not just seeing astonishing temporary transformations—in Him and what He did God was saying, “See Me! See what I’m offering you! See what kind of God I am! Don’t just see the miracles—don’t just see the bread that could be a meal for a family becoming a meal that fed thousands. See ME expressing My heart by healing and feeding and liberating! Try not to worry about why all weren’t healed and fed and liberated! Try not to wrestle with why I didn’t make Myself miraculously present at all times and everywhere—rejoice that I showed Myself anywhere at any time. Know that I Am! Know that in Jesus Christ you have seen Me and so, trust Me. Know through Him, the resurrected and glorified Lord Jesus, that I can be trusted and that a day will come, in the “fullness of time” when you in wide-eyed speechless joy will see that what I have done in a series of startling acts. In Him was a revelation of the nature and unchanging character of My Kingship and reign. In Him you will learn that I am the same yesterday, today and forever.
“In Him did you ever see Me cruel or heartless? In Him did you ever see Me smile or shrug at injustice or greed? In Him did you ever hear me speak in profound anger to anyone but the powerful who dominated and humiliated the vulnerable they were supposed to protect and upbuild?
“I never ordained the torment of the human family. I find no pleasure in the awful pain of the human family; nor could I! But I created the human family with capacity to reject Me and my overarching purpose knowing that it would reject me and that agony would enter human experience. So I take responsibility for allowing cruelty and corrupt power to be part of the human condition because I choose to allow what I allow. But I joined you in and as Jesus of Nazareth to make it clear your hurt matters to Me and that it does not last forever and that it comes to a conclusion in an unending climax of inexpressible glory and justice for all, with unrepentant tyrants dealt with and everlasting LIFE for all embraced in my redemptive work. In the meantime in the light of His death see your own! In the light of His mission see your own purpose for being! In the light of His vision of Me, make it your own! See the rain and the sunshine the way He saw them—My gifts to all. Don’t doubt Me because right now not everyone everywhere experiences My gifts; be happy that anyone, anywhere, experiences them. I purpose all that enriches and is for the heart’s lifting. See the past miracles as tokens of My reigning presence in a world that’s lost its way by walking away from Me. Know through Him that My way of reigning is not by violence or corruption or sheer punitive means. Imagine how this world could have been and could be if the human family—if you, the Church—acted and thought and taught as He did and believed as He did.
In and as Him, within the limits of just one human life, I have experienced the hurt and the pleasure, the ugliness and the beauty, the glory and the gloom of life as a human. I have taken all that on Me as a human and by this I wanted you to know that I take your pain and loneliness seriously and in raising Him from the dead to an unending climax of all that is wondrous and right and joyously thrilling I show you who I am and what I’m about.
“You wouldn’t like me nor could you worship Me freely in love and joy if I were nothing but almighty power. You could never trust Me and gladly commit yourself and all your beloved ones to Me if I were heartless wisdom and self-centered in My limitlessness. You could never share with anyone a Story about Me if I loved only some of you that I have created and if I had purposed to bring only a select handful to life eternal. Believe Me, believe in Me and believe in Me through Him.

“And believe this, My work in Him has not ceased because you can no longer see Him (though you will see Him in a coming day). In light of Him I continue to express My kingly reign in its nature and purpose in the midst of My enemies (Psalm 110).

“A day of My choosing will come when My Lordship will be known to all but in the meantime remember this, you can see My reign in anyone, anywhere that you see human life respected, where leaders, men and women, nations and governments, reign in solidarity and unity, where a just and righteous order is sought and worked for, where orphans and widows, the vulnerable, powerless and voiceless are noted, where their pain is felt, where their needs are supplied or at least where the wise attempt is made to supply them; there, where human beings are given the opportunity to be what I intend them to be, THERE I am revealing My kingdom power! “Imagine these in One perfect One and this is My Beloved.” I am the Lord of all and I am for the heart’s lifting!” (Much of this last paragraph is from Mortimer Arias.)

(Holy One, in your Beloved, the Lord Jesus, you have not only saved us for you and one another, you have saved yourself for us for in Him we see you in truth. Though there were and are times when due to our pain, our confusion, the gloomy teaching we’ve heard about you we might have serious doubts about you and your purpose toward us, the human family, in Him you have blessed us with a clear vision of who you are. Make it even clearer we ask through your Holy Scriptures and your work among us in daily living that we might admire you more, be empowered more with a grander view of you by the nearness of you. We’re coming to trust you more as we begin to see you more and more in Him through whom we offer this prayer. The Lord Jesus Christ.)




Can man control the earth's climate, or is God in control of the weather? Do man-made carbon dioxide emission control the climate of the earth or does God control the weather? Who created the weather, man or God?

Genesis 7:4 "For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made."(NKJV)

Question: Did man-made CO2 emissions cause it to rain forty days and forty nights, and destroy everything but what was on the ark with Noah?

Matthew 8:24-27......26 But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was great calm.........(NKJV)

Questions: Did man-made CO2 emissions cause the storm. Did man calm the storm by controlling their carbon footprint?

Job 37 1-24.... 6 For He says to the snow, 'Be on the earth': Likewise to the gentle rain and heavy rain of His strength......(NKJV)

Question: Do men have the ability to control the climate by controlling man-made CO2 emissions?

Psalm 135:6-7 Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and on earth, In the seas and in all deep places. 7 He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.(NKJV)

Question: Can men control the climate by controlling man-made CO2 emissions?

Who is in control of the climate, God in heaven or puny men on earth?

[NOTE: Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant; neither is oxygen nor water. CO2, O, and H2O are necessary to sustain life.]

Can we be the church of the New Testament? Yes, if we hold fast the New-Testament pattern of sound words by Roy Davison


Can we be the church of the New Testament?

Yes, if we hold fast the New-Testament pattern of sound words

Continual shelling during the First World War reduced the countryside in West Flanders, Belgium to a sea of mud. More than a million men died.

The beautiful Weaver’s Guild-Hall at Ieper, built in the 12th century, was reduced to rubble. After the war, the British wanted to leave the whole city of Ieper in ruins as a memorial to the war! Understandably, the people of Ieper thought otherwise! Some wanted to replace the Guild Hall with a modern structure. But city architect Jules Coomans insisted that the Weaver’s Hall be rebuilt.

And with the help of fellow architect, P.A. Pauwels, the building was restored to its original grandeur. When the restoration was complete in 1959, the building looked exactly as it did before. This was possible because they used the original building plans and the same type of stones.

Jesus built His church in the first century (Matthew 16:18). Two millennia later the world is full of denominations that are very different from the church Jesus built. People have used their own plans and their own stones to establish thousands of denominations according to their own liking and for their own glory.

Churches of Christ exist in all parts of the world because certain people want to be nothing more and nothing less than the church of the New Testament. They must endure much criticism, however, from those who call this an impossible dream, an unattainable objective, an impracticable ideal.

Can we be the church of the New Testament? Why not, if we use the original building plans and the same stones, if we follow the pattern of the New Testament?

The question is: Do we really want to be the church of the New Testament? Or do we prefer something else, something modern or something medieval? Do we want to serve God His way or our way?

Many, if not most people in Christendom do not even try to be the church of the New Testament. Is that acceptable to God?

Jesus said about religious groups in His time: “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:13, 14).

If we belong to some religious group other than the church Jesus built, we will be uprooted. If we blindly follow blind guides, we will fall into a pit. We must be the church of the New Testament if we want to be saved.

People in denominations -- which are conspicuously different from the New Testament church -- often try to justify the difference by claiming that it is not possible to be the church of the New Testament.

Can we be the church of the New Testament? Can we be the same church we read about in the Scriptures? Certainly, if we use the original plans, if we follow the original pattern.

Is the New Testament a pattern for the church?

People who want to do their own thing, do not like patterns. Thus, they simply declare that the New Testament does not provide a pattern for the church. What does the New Testament itself say?

Does the New Testament claim to be a pattern?

Paul told Timothy: “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). Paul told Titus to “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).

An elder must hold “fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). The law is for anything “contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:8-11). Apostate Christians “will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3, 4). Thus, these ‘sound words,’ this ‘sound doctrine’ is a pattern that is to be held fast by preachers and elders, and this pattern will be rejected by people with itching ears who want to please themselves rather than God.

Paul wrote to the Romans: “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Romans 6:17). ‘Form of doctrine’ can be translated ‘pattern of doctrine’. Notice that it does not say that this pattern of doctrine has been delivered to us, but that we have been delivered to a pattern of doctrine! Rather than being subservient to sin, we are now subservient to a pattern of doctrine that we must obey from the heart!

The New Testament is our pattern. Only false teachers claim otherwise.

We certainly can be the church of the New Testament if we hold fast the New-Testament pattern of sound words.

To follow the New-Testament pattern, our speech must be pure. We must avoid theological formulations, and use Scriptural words to express our faith.

These words are not accidental. They are from God. Paul wrote: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Corinthians 2:13). Peter wrote: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). To be the church of the New Testament we must use the language of the New Testament in our teaching and preaching.

Human interpretation of these Spirit-taught words is not allowed. We must observe their true meaning. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-21).

These Spirit-taught words come from Christ. We can be the church of the New Testament if we abide in the word of Christ. Jesus tells His followers: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31, 32). His word will judge us: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

Jesus has given us His word through the apostles and the Scriptures.

The first church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). The church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20). If we continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, we will be the same church.

The holy Scriptures, inspired by God, provide all the information we need to be the church of the New Testament. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul said: “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:14, 15).

In his second letter Paul admonishes Timothy further: “But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

This pattern is normative and must be followed accurately. Paul told the Corinthians not to go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6). John warned: “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).

Yes, we can be the church of the New Testament, but only if we have the same faith and obey the same gospel contained in the New Testament. Jude wrote: “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Paul wrote to the Galatians: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).

The New Covenant must be kept.

In Greek, the word for testament and for covenant is the same [διαθήκη]. A covenant is a formal, solemn and binding agreement relative to the performance of certain actions. A confirmed covenant cannot be annulled or changed (Galatians 3:15).

The New Testament is a God-given covenant! It was ratified when Jesus died on the cross (Hebrews 9:16, 17). Through this covenant God grants blessings on specified conditions. This new covenant lays down the requirements for being a Christian and a church of Christ. These specifications cannot be changed. God, as sovereign Lord, has defined the conditions. We can be the church of the New Testament, but only if we comply with the provisions of the covenant God has given us.

Under the old covenant, God told Moses exactly how the tabernacle was to be made: “According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (Exodus 25:9). “And you shall raise up the tabernacle according to its pattern which you were shown on the mountain” (Exodus 26:30).

The necessity of following this pattern is mentioned twice in the New Testament. Stephen said: “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen” (Acts 7:44). In Hebrews it is explained that the tabernacle was a “copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain’” (Hebrews 8:5).

God foretold that the old covenant would be replaced: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke” (Jeremiah 31:31, 32).

Can we be the church of the New Testament?
Yes, certainly. If we follow the pattern of the New Testament, if we comply with the conditions and provisions of the new covenant, if we abide in the word of Christ, if we continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, if we hold fast the pattern of sound words, if we use the Scriptures for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction, if we obey from the heart that form of doctrine to which we have been delivered, if we do not go beyond what is written, if we hold fast the faithful word, if we have the same faith and obey the same gospel, if we abide in the doctrine of Christ... we can be the church of the New Testament.
Roy Davison

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

Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading for May 13 and 14 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading for May 13 and 14

World  English  Bible

May 13

Joshua 7, 8

Jos 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted things; for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. Therefore Yahweh's anger burned against the children of Israel.

Jos 7:2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, "Go up and spy out the land." The men went up and spied out Ai.

Jos 7:3 They returned to Joshua, and said to him, "Don't let all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Don't make all the people to toil there, for there are only a few of them."

Jos 7:4 So about three thousand men of the people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai.

Jos 7:5 The men of Ai struck about thirty-six men of them, and they chased them from before the gate even to Shebarim, and struck them at the descent. The hearts of the people melted, and became like water.

Jos 7:6 Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of Yahweh until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.

Jos 7:7 Joshua said, "Alas, Lord Yahweh, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? I wish that we had been content and lived beyond the Jordan!

Jos 7:8 Oh, Lord, what shall I say, after that Israel has turned their backs before their enemies!

Jos 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and will surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. What will you do for your great name?"

Jos 7:10 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Get up! Why are you fallen on your face like that?

Jos 7:11 Israel has sinned. Yes, they have even transgressed my covenant which I commanded them. Yes, they have even taken of the devoted things, and have also stolen, and also deceived. They have even put it among their own stuff.

Jos 7:12 Therefore the children of Israel can't stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will not be with you any more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.

Jos 7:13 Get up! Sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, for Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, "There is a devoted thing in the midst of you, Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted thing from among you."

Jos 7:14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. It shall be that the tribe which Yahweh selects shall come near by families. The family which Yahweh selects shall come near by households. The household which Yahweh selects shall come near man by man.

Jos 7:15 It shall be, that he who is taken with the devoted thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of Yahweh, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.' "

Jos 7:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning and brought Israel near by their tribes. The tribe of Judah was selected.

Jos 7:17 He brought near the family of Judah; and he selected the family of the Zerahites. He brought near the family of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was selected.

Jos 7:18 He brought near his household man by man, and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected.

Jos 7:19 Joshua said to Achan, "My son, please give glory to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and make confession to him. Tell me now what you have done! Don't hide it from me!"

Jos 7:20 Achan answered Joshua, and said, "I have truly sinned against Yahweh, the God of Israel, and this is what I have done.

Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoil a beautiful Babylonian robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them. Behold, they are hidden in the ground in the middle of my tent, with the silver under it."

Jos 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. Behold, it was hidden in his tent, with the silver under it.

Jos 7:23 They took them from the middle of the tent, and brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel. They laid them down before Yahweh.

Jos 7:24 Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.

Jos 7:25 Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? Yahweh will trouble you this day." All Israel stoned him with stones, and they burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.

Jos 7:26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Yahweh turned from the fierceness of his anger. Therefore the name of that place was called "The valley of Achor" to this day.

Jos 8:1 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Don't be afraid, neither be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. Behold, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, with his people, his city, and his land.

Jos 8:2 You shall do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king, except its spoil and its livestock, you shall take for a plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it."

Jos 8:3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand men, the mighty men of valor, and sent them out by night.

Jos 8:4 He commanded them, saying, "Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind the city. Don't go very far from the city, but all of you be ready.

Jos 8:5 I, and all the people who are with me, will approach to the city. It shall happen, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them.

Jos 8:6 They will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city; for they will say, 'They flee before us, like the first time.' So we will flee before them,

Jos 8:7 and you shall rise up from the ambush, and take possession of the city; for Yahweh your God will deliver it into your hand.

Jos 8:8 It shall be, when you have seized on the city, that you shall set the city on fire. You shall do this according to the word of Yahweh. Behold, I have commanded you."

Jos 8:9 Joshua sent them out; and they went to set up the ambush, and stayed between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai; but Joshua stayed among the people that night.

Jos 8:10 Joshua rose up early in the morning, mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.

Jos 8:11 All the people, even the men of war who were with him, went up, and drew near, and came before the city, and encamped on the north side of Ai. Now there was a valley between him and Ai.

Jos 8:12 He took about five thousand men, and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.

Jos 8:13 So they set the people, even all the army who was on the north of the city, and their ambush on the west of the city; and Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.

Jos 8:14 It happened, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hurried and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at the time appointed, before the Arabah; but he didn't know that there was an ambush against him behind the city.

Jos 8:15 Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.

Jos 8:16 All the people who were in the city were called together to pursue after them. They pursued Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.

Jos 8:17 There was not a man left in Ai or Beth El who didn't go out after Israel. They left the city open, and pursued Israel.

Jos 8:18 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand." Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city.

Jos 8:19 The ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand, and entered into the city, and took it. They hurried and set the city on fire.

Jos 8:20 When the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way. The people who fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers.

Jos 8:21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and killed the men of Ai.

Jos 8:22 The others came out of the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. They struck them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.

Jos 8:23 They captured the king of Ai alive, and brought him to Joshua.

Jos 8:24 It happened, when Israel had made an end of killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness in which they pursued them, and they had all fallen by the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all Israel returned to Ai, and struck it with the edge of the sword.

Jos 8:25 All that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.

Jos 8:26 For Joshua didn't draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.

Jos 8:27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took for prey to themselves, according to the word of Yahweh which he commanded Joshua.

Jos 8:28 So Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap forever, even a desolation, to this day.

Jos 8:29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until the evening, and at the sundown Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree, and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raised a great heap of stones on it that remains to this day.

Jos 8:30 Then Joshua built an altar to Yahweh, the God of Israel, in Mount Ebal,

Jos 8:31 as Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones, on which no man had lifted up any iron. They offered burnt offerings on it to Yahweh, and sacrificed peace offerings.

Jos 8:32 He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.

Jos 8:33 All Israel, and their elders and officers, and their judges, stood on this side of the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, who carried the ark of Yahweh's covenant, the foreigner as well as the native; half of them in front of Mount Gerizim, and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of Yahweh had commanded at the first, that they should bless the people of Israel.

Jos 8:34 Afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law.

Jos 8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua didn't read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the foreigners who were among them.

May 14

Joshua 9, 10

Jos 9:1 It happened, when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country, and in the lowland, and on all the shore of the great sea in front of Lebanon, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard of it

Jos 9:2 that they gathered themselves together to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.

Jos 9:3 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,

Jos 9:4 they also resorted to a ruse, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins, old and torn and bound up,

Jos 9:5 and old and patched shoes on their feet, and wore old garments. All the bread of their provision was dry and moldy.

Jos 9:6 They went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him, and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country. Now therefore make a covenant with us."

Jos 9:7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, "What if you live among us. How could we make a covenant with you?"

Jos 9:8 They said to Joshua, "We are your servants." Joshua said to them, "Who are you? Where do you come from?"

Jos 9:9 They said to him, "Your servants have come from a very far country because of the name of Yahweh your God; for we have heard of his fame, all that he did in Egypt,

Jos 9:10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon and to Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth.

Jos 9:11 Our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, 'Take provision in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them, and tell them, "We are your servants. Now make a covenant with us." '

Jos 9:12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we went out to go to you; but now, behold, it is dry, and has become moldy.

Jos 9:13 These wineskins, which we filled, were new; and behold, they are torn. These our garments and our shoes have become old because of the very long journey."

Jos 9:14 The men sampled their provisions, and didn't ask counsel from the mouth of Yahweh.

Jos 9:15 Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them, to let them live. The princes of the congregation swore to them.

Jos 9:16 It happened at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they lived among them.

Jos 9:17 The children of Israel traveled and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim.

Jos 9:18 The children of Israel didn't strike them, because the princes of the congregation had sworn to them by Yahweh, the God of Israel. All the congregation murmured against the princes.

Jos 9:19 But all the princes said to all the congregation, "We have sworn to them by Yahweh, the God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them.

Jos 9:20 This we will do to them, and let them live; lest wrath be on us, because of the oath which we swore to them."

Jos 9:21 The princes said to them, "Let them live, so they became wood cutters and drawers of water for all the congregation, as the princes had spoken to them."

Jos 9:22 Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, "Why have you deceived us, saying, 'We are very far from you,' when you live among us?

Jos 9:23 Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you will never fail to be bondservants, both wood cutters and drawers of water for the house of my God."

Jos 9:24 They answered Joshua, and said, "Because your servants were certainly told how Yahweh your God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you. Therefore we were very afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing.

Jos 9:25 Now, behold, we are in your hand. Do to us as it seems good and right to you to do."

Jos 9:26 He did so to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they didn't kill them.

Jos 9:27 That day Joshua made them wood cutters and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of Yahweh, to this day, in the place which he should choose.

Jos 10:1 Now it happened when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them;

Jos 10:2 that they were very afraid, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.

Jos 10:3 Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying,

Jos 10:4 "Come up to me, and help me, and let us strike Gibeon; for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel."

Jos 10:5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their armies, and encamped against Gibeon, and made war against it.

Jos 10:6 The men of Gibeon sent to Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, "Don't abandon your servants! Come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us; for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the hill country have gathered together against us."

Jos 10:7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.

Jos 10:8 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Don't fear them, for I have delivered them into your hands. Not a man of them will stand before you."

Jos 10:9 Joshua therefore came on them suddenly. He went up from Gilgal all night.

Jos 10:10 Yahweh confused them before Israel, and he killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth Horon, and struck them to Azekah and to Makkedah.

Jos 10:11 It happened, as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth Horon, that Yahweh cast down great stones from the sky on them to Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than who the children of Israel killed with the sword.

Jos 10:12 Then Joshua spoke to Yahweh in the day when Yahweh delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand still on Gibeon! You, moon, stop in the valley of Aijalon!"

Jos 10:13 The sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Isn't this written in the book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of the sky, and didn't hurry to go down about a whole day.

Jos 10:14 There was no day like that before it or after it, that Yahweh listened to the voice of a man; for Yahweh fought for Israel.

Jos 10:15 Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp to Gilgal.

Jos 10:16 These five kings fled, and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah.

Jos 10:17 Joshua was told, saying, "The five kings are found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah."

Jos 10:18 Joshua said, "Roll large stones to the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them;

Jos 10:19 but don't stay. Pursue your enemies, and them from the rear. Don't allow them to enter into their cities; for Yahweh your God has delivered them into your hand."

Jos 10:20 It happened, when Joshua and the children of Israel had finished killing them with a very great slaughter until they were consumed, and the remnant which remained of them had entered into the fortified cities,

Jos 10:21 that all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace. None moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.

Jos 10:22 Then Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave, and bring those five kings out of the cave to me."

Jos 10:23 They did so, and brought those five kings out of the cave to him: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.

Jos 10:24 It happened, when they brought those kings out to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who went with him, "Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings." They came near, and put their feet on their necks.

Jos 10:25 Joshua said to them, "Don't be afraid, nor be dismayed. Be strong and of good courage, for Yahweh will do this to all your enemies against whom you fight."

Jos 10:26 Afterward Joshua struck them, put them to death, and hanged them on five trees. They were hanging on the trees until the evening.

Jos 10:27 It happened at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave in which they had hidden themselves, and laid great stones on the mouth of the cave, which remain to this very day.

Jos 10:28 Joshua took Makkedah on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword, with its king. He utterly destroyed them and all the souls who were in it. He left none remaining. He did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

Jos 10:29 Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, to Libnah, and fought against Libnah.

Jos 10:30 Yahweh delivered it also, with its king, into the hand of Israel. He struck it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls who were in it. He left none remaining in it. He did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

Jos 10:31 Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it.

Jos 10:32 Yahweh delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel. He took it on the second day, and struck it with the edge of the sword, with all the souls who were in it, according to all that he had done to Libnah.

Jos 10:33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua struck him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.

Jos 10:34 Joshua passed from Lachish, and all Israel with him, to Eglon; and they encamped against it fought against it.

Jos 10:35 They took it on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed all the souls who were in it that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

Jos 10:36 Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, to Hebron; and they fought against it.

Jos 10:37 They took it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, with its king and all its cities, and all the souls who were in it. He left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but he utterly destroyed it, and all the souls who were in it.

Jos 10:38 Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir, and fought against it.

Jos 10:39 He took it, with its king and all its cities. They struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls who were in it. He left none remaining. As he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to its king; as he had done also to Libnah, and to its king.

Jos 10:40 So Joshua struck all the land, the hill country, and the South, and the lowland, and the slopes, and all their kings. He left none remaining, but he utterly destroyed all that breathed, as Yahweh, the God of Israel, commanded.

Jos 10:41 Joshua struck them from Kadesh Barnea even to Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even to Gibeon.

Jos 10:42 Joshua took all these kings and their land at one time, because Yahweh, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

Jos 10:43 Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp to Gilgal.

May 13

Luke 23

Luk 23:1 The whole company of them rose up and brought him before Pilate.

Luk 23:2 They began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man perverting the nation, forbidding paying taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king."

Luk 23:3 Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" He answered him, "So you say."

Luk 23:4 Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."

Luk 23:5 But they insisted, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place."

Luk 23:6 But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean.

Luk 23:7 When he found out that he was in Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days.

Luk 23:8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad, for he had wanted to see him for a long time, because he had heard many things about him. He hoped to see some miracle done by him.

Luk 23:9 He questioned him with many words, but he gave no answers.

Luk 23:10 The chief priests and the scribes stood, vehemently accusing him.

Luk 23:11 Herod with his soldiers humiliated him and mocked him. Dressing him in luxurious clothing, they sent him back to Pilate.

Luk 23:12 Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before that they were enemies with each other.

Luk 23:13 Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,

Luk 23:14 and said to them, "You brought this man to me as one that perverts the people, and see, I have examined him before you, and found no basis for a charge against this man concerning those things of which you accuse him.

Luk 23:15 Neither has Herod, for I sent you to him, and see, nothing worthy of death has been done by him.

Luk 23:16 I will therefore chastise him and release him."

Luk 23:17 Now he had to release one prisoner to them at the feast.

Luk 23:18 But they all cried out together, saying, "Away with this man! Release to us Barabbas!"-

Luk 23:19 one who was thrown into prison for a certain revolt in the city, and for murder.

Luk 23:20 Then Pilate spoke to them again, wanting to release Jesus,

Luk 23:21 but they shouted, saying, "Crucify! Crucify him!"

Luk 23:22 He said to them the third time, "Why? What evil has this man done? I have found no capital crime in him. I will therefore chastise him and release him."

Luk 23:23 But they were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified. Their voices and the voices of the chief priests prevailed.

Luk 23:24 Pilate decreed that what they asked for should be done.

Luk 23:25 He released him who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus up to their will.

Luk 23:26 When they led him away, they grabbed one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it after Jesus.

Luk 23:27 A great multitude of the people followed him, including women who also mourned and lamented him.

Luk 23:28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, don't weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

Luk 23:29 For behold, the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'

Luk 23:30 Then they will begin to tell the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and tell the hills, 'Cover us.'

Luk 23:31 For if they do these things in the green tree, what will be done in the dry?"

Luk 23:32 There were also others, two criminals, led with him to be put to death.

Luk 23:33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.

Luk 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." Dividing his garments among them, they cast lots.

Luk 23:35 The people stood watching. The rulers with them also scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others. Let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen one!"

Luk 23:36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar,

Luk 23:37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"

Luk 23:38 An inscription was also written over him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."

Luk 23:39 One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, "If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!"

Luk 23:40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Don't you even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?

Luk 23:41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong."

Luk 23:42 He said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."

Luk 23:43 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Luk 23:44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Luk 23:45 The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

Luk 23:46 Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" Having said this, he breathed his last.

Luk 23:47 When the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous man."

Luk 23:48 All the multitudes that came together to see this, when they saw the things that were done, returned home beating their breasts.

Luk 23:49 All his acquaintances, and the women who followed with him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Luk 23:50 Behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the council, a good and righteous man

Luk 23:51 (he had not consented to their counsel and deed), from Arimathaea, a city of the Jews, who was also waiting for the Kingdom of God:

Luk 23:52 this man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus' body.

Luk 23:53 He took it down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was cut in stone, where no one had ever been laid.

Luk 23:54 It was the day of the Preparation, and the Sabbath was drawing near.

Luk 23:55 The women, who had come with him out of Galilee, followed after, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid.

Luk 23:56 They returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

May 14

Luke 24

Luk 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they and some others came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared.

Luk 24:2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb.

Luk 24:3 They entered in, and didn't find the Lord Jesus' body.

Luk 24:4 It happened, while they were greatly perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling clothing.

Luk 24:5 Becoming terrified, they bowed their faces down to the earth. They said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Luk 24:6 He isn't here, but is risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee,

Luk 24:7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again?"

Luk 24:8 They remembered his words,

Luk 24:9 returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.

Luk 24:10 Now they were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. The other women with them told these things to the apostles.

Luk 24:11 These words seemed to them to be nonsense, and they didn't believe them.

Luk 24:12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping and looking in, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he departed to his home, wondering what had happened.

Luk 24:13 Behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was sixty stadia from Jerusalem.

Luk 24:14 They talked with each other about all of these things which had happened.

Luk 24:15 It happened, while they talked and questioned together, that Jesus himself came near, and went with them.

Luk 24:16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

Luk 24:17 He said to them, "What are you talking about as you walk, and are sad?"

Luk 24:18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who doesn't know the things which have happened there in these days?"

Luk 24:19 He said to them, "What things?" They said to him, "The things concerning Jesus, the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people;

Luk 24:20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.

Luk 24:21 But we were hoping that it was he who would redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.

Luk 24:22 Also, certain women of our company amazed us, having arrived early at the tomb;

Luk 24:23 and when they didn't find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.

Luk 24:24 Some of us went to the tomb, and found it just like the women had said, but they didn't see him."

Luk 24:25 He said to them, "Foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

Luk 24:26 Didn't the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?"

Luk 24:27 Beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luk 24:28 They drew near to the village, where they were going, and he acted like he would go further.

Luk 24:29 They urged him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is almost evening, and the day is almost over." He went in to stay with them.

Luk 24:30 It happened, that when he had sat down at the table with them, he took the bread and gave thanks. Breaking it, he gave to them.

Luk 24:31 Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished out of their sight.

Luk 24:32 They said one to another, "Weren't our hearts burning within us, while he spoke to us along the way, and while he opened the Scriptures to us?"

Luk 24:33 They rose up that very hour, returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and those who were with them,

Luk 24:34 saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"

Luk 24:35 They related the things that happened along the way, and how he was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.

Luk 24:36 As they said these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace be to you."

Luk 24:37 But they were terrified and filled with fear, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

Luk 24:38 He said to them, "Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Luk 24:39 See my hands and my feet, that it is truly me. Touch me and see, for a spirit doesn't have flesh and bones, as you see that I have."

Luk 24:40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

Luk 24:41 While they still didn't believe for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Do you have anything here to eat?"

Luk 24:42 They gave him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.

Luk 24:43 He took them, and ate in front of them.

Luk 24:44 He said to them, "This is what I told you, while I was still with you, that all things which are written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me must be fulfilled."

Luk 24:45 Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures.

Luk 24:46 He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

Luk 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Luk 24:48 You are witnesses of these things.

Luk 24:49 Behold, I send forth the promise of my Father on you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high."

Luk 24:50 He led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.

Luk 24:51 It happened, while he blessed them, that he withdrew from them, and was carried up into heaven.

Luk 24:52 They worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,

Luk 24:53 and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.