10/14/20

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Alternatives To The Resurrection (28:11-15)

 

 "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
Alternatives To The Resurrection (28:11-15)

INTRODUCTION

1. There are certain facts of history that no one can deny...
   a. Many people testified they saw Jesus raised from the dead
   b. These same people suffered greatly because of their testimony
   -- Such facts support the actual resurrection of Jesus from the dead

2. From the beginning, there have been alternative theories to explain
   the empty tomb...
   a. Matthew records the earliest theory: the disciples stole the body- Mt 28:11-15
   b. Other theories have been raised as well

3. Because of the significance of the resurrection (described in a previous lesson)...
   a. Those opposed to the gospel know this event must be discredited
   b. We who believe in Jesus must always be ready to provide a defense - 1Pe 3:15
      1) Not only why we accept the testimony of the witnesses (see previous lesson)
      2) But why we find alternative explanations impossible to accept

[In this study, we shall consider various "Alternatives To The
Resurrection", and why they are inadequate to explain the empty tomb.
We begin with the first explanation...]

I. THE DISCIPLES STOLE THE BODY

   A. ELEMENTS OF THIS THEORY...
      1. The disciples stole the body, then claimed He rose from the dead
      2. This was the "official" theory offered from the very beginning - Mt 28:11-15

   B. PROBLEMS WITH THIS THEORY...
      1. The explanation defies logic
         a. If the soldiers were asleep...
            1) How did they know it was the disciples who took the body?
            2) How could the large stone guarding the entrance be
               rolled away without awakening the soldiers?
         b. The soldiers guarding the tomb were Romans - Mt 27:62-66
            1) They were professional soldiers
            2) Charged to guard the tomb with their lives
            3) The punishment for falling asleep on duty was death
      2. This would make those who testified they saw Jesus liars and frauds
         a. As we saw in the previous lesson, they claimed empirical evidence
         b. Suppose just a few disciples stole the body, unbeknown by others...
            1) Such as Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, or the women
            2) Others still say they saw Jesus, ate and drank with Him
         c. You have to explain why they were willing to lie and die knowing it was a lie

[The likelihood of timid disciples stealing the body of Jesus out from
under the noses of highly disciplined and skilled Roman soldiers while
they slept (an offense punishable by death) is hard to believe! Perhaps
that is why those who refuse to believe in the resurrection have
proposed alternative explanations, one being...]

II. THEY WENT TO THE WRONG TOMB

   A. ELEMENTS OF THIS THEORY...
      1. The women went to the wrong tomb, and found it empty
      2. They erroneously concluded that Jesus had risen, and their story spread

   B. PROBLEMS WITH THIS THEORY...
      1. The women had been to the tomb before - Mt 27:61
      2. The religious and political leaders could have easily silenced the apostles' claim
         a. If the women went to the wrong tomb, then the right tomb
            was still sealed and guarded by the Roman soldiers
         b. When the apostles' created an uproar with their story of
            the resurrection of Jesus (cf. Ac 4:1-2; 5:27-33), the
            Jewish leaders could have directed people to the right tomb
            and presented the body of Jesus!
      3. You still have the testimony of the apostles to contend with

[A more popular explanation in some circles is...]

III. JESUS SWOONED AND LATER REVIVED

   A. ELEMENTS OF THIS THEORY...
      1. Jesus did not actually die on the cross, He only swooned
         a. Suffering from shock, pain, and loss of blood, He fainted
            (swooned) from exhaustion
         b. Thinking that He was dead, the Roman soldiers took Him down
            and buried Him in the tomb
      2. In the coolness of the tomb, Jesus revived
         a. Somehow He left the tomb
         b. Appeared to His disciples, then lived in obscurity to die years later

   B. PROBLEMS WITH THIS THEORY...
      1. Jesus would have had to revive sufficiently enough to:
         a. Break through the burial garments that bound Him, including
            a hundred pounds of spices used in preparing His body for burial - Jn 19:38-40
         b. Role away the large stone that sealed the tomb
         c. Fight off the Roman guards protecting the tomb
         d. Walk the seven miles to Emmaus where He was seen by the two disciples
         e. Walk back to Jerusalem where He was seen by the apostles
         -- All within the same day!
      2. Every effort was made to prove He was dead
         a. The Roman soldiers at the cross pierced His side - Jn 19: 31-34
            1) Out of which flowed blood and water
            2) An indication He was already dead, having died of a ruptured heart
         b. Pilate made sure He was dead - Mk 15:43-45
            1) When Joseph of Arimathea wanted the body
            2) The Roman centurion confirmed that Jesus was dead
      3. Not only would this make the apostles liars and frauds, but
         Jesus also for allowing a lie to spread for years!

[Another popular alternative explanation is...]

IV. THE DISCIPLES HAD HALLUCINATIONS OR VISIONS

   A. ELEMENTS OF THIS THEORY...
      1. All of Christ's post-resurrection appearances were only supposed appearances
      2. Those who claimed to see Jesus had hallucinations

   B. PROBLEMS WITH THIS THEORY...
      1. Remember that the appearances were not just to individuals, one at a time
         a. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus claimed to see Him - Lk 24:13-35
         b. Ten apostles claimed to see Him - Jn 20:19-25
         c. He appeared to over 500 people at once - 1Co 15:6
      2. The hallucination theory contradicts laws and principles which
         psychiatrists say are essential to hallucinations:
         a. Only certain kinds of people have hallucinations
            1) These are usually high-strung, highly imaginative, and very nervous people
            2) Usually only paranoid or schizophrenic individuals have hallucinations
            3) The appearances were not restricted to people of any
               particular psychological make up
         b. Hallucinations are linked in an individual's subconscious
            1) An individual may have an hallucination
            2) But hallucinations do not appear to groups of people
         c. They occur in people when there is a spirit of anticipation or hopeful expectation
            1) The disciples had no such anticipation - Lk 24:13-21
            2) They were prone to disbelieve even after they were told
               of the resurrection - Jn 20:24-25

[Then there is the theory that...]

V. SOMEONE IMPERSONATED JESUS

   A. ELEMENTS OF THIS THEORY...
      1. The appearances were not really Christ at all, but someone
         impersonating Him
      2. This is evident because in some cases they did not recognize Him at first

   B. PROBLEMS WITH THIS THEORY...
      1. The disciples were reluctant to believe in the resurrection
         a. Some were doubtful, such as Thomas - Jn 20:24-25
         b. It would have been hard to convince them unless it was really Him
      2. It would have been impossible to impersonate Christ's wounds
         a. This was Christ's proof it was really Him - Jn 20:26-27
         b. Which convinced doubting Thomas - Jn 20:28-29
      3. The apostles traveled with Jesus for three years
         a. It is incredible that anyone could have gotten away with an impersonation
         b. Which is why the apostles were witnesses of the resurrection - Ac 10:39-41
      4. The one claiming to be Jesus performed miracles
         a. Suddenly appearing in locked rooms - Jn 20:19
         b. Directing them how to catch fish - Jn 21:1-7

[Closely related to this would be the theory that...]

VI. SOMEONE WAS MISTAKEN FOR JESUS

   A. ELEMENTS OF THIS THEORY...
      1. The disciples simply mistook for Jesus someone who looked like Him
      2. For example, the women mistook the gardener for Jesus - Jn 20: 14-15

   B. PROBLEMS WITH THIS THEORY...
      1. The same problems as with the impersonation theory
         a. Disciples reluctant to believe in the resurrection
         b. Impossible to recreate the wounds of Jesus
         c. Ample time with Jesus to verify His identity
      2. While Mary may have mistaken Jesus for the gardener, she was
         able to look through her grief and recognize who He was

[Finally, here is an alternative proposed by some theologians who just
cannot accept the idea of a physical, bodily resurrection...]

VII. IT WAS ONLY A SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION

   A. ELEMENTS OF THIS THEORY...
      1. Christ's resurrection was not a real physical resurrection
      2. Christ's body remained in the grave and His real resurrection
         was spiritual in nature
      3. It was only told this way to illustrate the truth of spiritual resurrection

   B. PROBLEMS WITH THIS THEORY...
      1. If it was only a spiritual resurrection, what happened to the body?
         a. The enemies of Christ were never able to produce a body
         b. Which they would have gladly done to discredit the apostles
      2. Again, the nature of the apostles' testimony is empirical:
         they ate and drank with Him, touched Him - Lk 24:36-43; Ac 10: 39-41; 1Jn 1:1-2
      3. Paul argued a bodily resurrection of Jesus as evidence for our
         own bodily resurrection - 1Co 15:12-58

CONCLUSION

1. The resurrection of Jesus has been variously interpreted as...
   a. A great hoax (the resurrection is false)
   b. Mythology (the resurrection is fiction)
   -- Therefore various alternatives have been proposed to explain the empty tomb

2. But there is only one interpretation worth accepting...
   a. It is the supreme event of history (the resurrection is fact)
   b. Supported by empirical testimony provided by reliable witnesses
   c. With implications of great significance for both unbeliever and believer alike

When you consider the strength of the apostles' testimony, and contrast
it with the weakness of the alternative explanations that have been
proposed, it leads an honest person in only one direction:  to faith in
Jesus Christ as the Son of God...

   "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His
   disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are
   written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son
   of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."
                                                     (Jn 20:30-31)

Are you willing to believe in Jesus, that you might have life in His
name?  Then heed the words of the apostle Peter proclaimed in the first
gospel sermon:

   "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God
   has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
   Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said
   to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what
   shall we do?"  Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every
   one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the
   remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy
   Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to
   all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."
                                                       (Ac 2:36-39)  
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Was Jesus Misquoted? by Dewayne Bryant, Ph.D.

 

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2795


Was Jesus Misquoted?

by  Dewayne Bryant, Ph.D.

[EDITORS NOTE: The following article was written by auxiliary staff writer Dewayne Bryant, who holds two Masters degrees, and is completing Masters study in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, while pursuing doctoral studies at Amridge University. He has participated in an archaeological dig at Tell El-Borg in Egypt and holds professional membership in both the American Schools of Oriental Research as well as the Society of Biblical Literature.]

Jesus is under attack like never before. While criticism of the Faith is nothing new, there is an increase in the public exposure of Christianity’s detractors. From documentaries on the small screen to blockbuster movies on the silver screen, critics are pursuing all media venues to preach a message of distrust—and even hate. The members of the new atheism have lambasted the Christian Faith in bestselling books, describing the faithful as simple-minded, anti-scientific, and even dangerous. For Christianity’s critics, the spiritual forecast looks bright for a brisk trade in fear.

Not all of the enemies of the Faith come from a secularist perspective. While plenty come from a scientific background, one of the newest cast members is a former minister and purported biblical scholar. Bart Ehrman, professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is one of the foremost scholars in the country in the area of textual criticism, the art and science of evaluating ancient manuscripts. Trained at Princeton Theological Seminary under Bruce Metzger, a theological conservative and one of the greatest text critics of the 20th century, Ehrman abandoned his former fundamentalist roots and has penned several books questioning the Bible.

WAS JESUS MISQUOTED?

Ehrman specializes in textual criticism, the art and science of evaluating biblical manuscripts. Textual criticism is concerned with studying ancient documents in order to determine the original wording of the text. Like all other documents from antiquity, the original autographs of the New Testament writings are no longer extant. While scribes from the ancient world were quite exact in their standards of copying, no scribe was perfect. This means that manuscripts possessed by biblical scholars have slight—though usually meaningless—differences due to copyist’s errors. In his bestselling book Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman paints a rather bleak picture of the current state of the study of biblical texts:

Not only do we not have the originals, we don’t have the first copies of the originals, we don’t even have the copies of the copies of the originals, or copies of the copies of the copies of the originals. What we have are copies made later—much later.... And these copies all differ from one another, in many thousands of places.... These copies differ from one another in so many places that we don’t even know how many differences there are (2005, p. 10).

It is amazing that a book about textual criticism made it onto the New York Times bestseller list, but there is one major difference that makes its popularity unsurprising. The very fact that it attempts to discredit the Bible is a major selling point. Members of the modern militant variety of atheism have used Ehrman’s book as a rallying point. Christopher Hitchens lists Misquoting Jesus as essential reading in the book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007). Sam Harris, another of the new atheists, lists Ehrman’s work on his Web site as recommended reading.

Ehrman’s basic approach is one of despair. He asserts the original text is irrecoverable and virtually unknowable. According to Ehrman, the text was written long after the events they purport to record, by “orthodox” scribes who intentionally altered the text itself. He describes this secretive alteration of the text as something akin to a conspiracy. These alterations changed the face of Christianity as we know it. He says, “It would be wrong...to say—as people sometimes do—that the changes in our text have no real bearing on what the texts mean or on the theological conclusions that one draws from them.... In some instances, the very meaning of the text is at stake, depending upon how one resolves a textual problem” (p. 208).

In short, the Christian Faith practiced by millions today is unlike that practiced in the first century. Not only is it different, it is inaccessible because agenda-driven scribes have corrupted the very documents that serve as a window to the early church. Short of the invention of time travel, no one can know precisely how early Christianity was practiced—according to Ehrman.

THE STATE OF THE TEXT

According to scholars and critics like Ehrman, the New Testament documents were transmitted in poor fashion. In one of the greatest hoaxes in textual criticism, liberal scholars like Ehrman perpetuate the misconception that the transmission of the biblical text is like a game of “broken telephone” or “Chinese whispers.” According to the rules of the game, a line of people take turns whispering a phrase into the ear of the next person in line. They must whisper it so softly that the person on the other side of their neighbor cannot hear it, and they are not allowed to repeat themselves. When the message gets to the end of the line, it is usually nonsensical and garbled beyond recognition, much to the delight of the participants.

The “broken telephone” analogy is a popular one, but woefully incorrect. Distorting the message to the point of incomprehensibility is the point of the game. That was not the point of the biblical scribes who copied what they believed to be the very Word of God. It is a well-known fact that Old Testament scribes copied the text with a level of fidelity nearly inconceivable by moderns. Scribes developed a highly sophisticated method of counting words, letters, the middle word of a book along with its middle letter, and everything else imaginable to ensure that the copy of the text was a perfect reproduction of the original manuscript. For that reason, the vast number of copyist errors in the Old Testament manuscripts consists of nothing more than a single letter, usually one that looks similar to another in the Hebrew alphabet. Using rules of textual criticism, scholars are able to classify and correct the error quite easily.

While the Old Testament scribes were quite sophisticated in their efforts, what about the scribes who copied the New Testament documents? Unfortunately, New Testament scribes were not always as faithful as their Jewish counterparts. But this hardly means that their work is suspect. Let us return to the broken telephone analogy. Scribes copying the documents were not copying for an audience of one. Their work could be checked and verified by many others who read the copies, or heard them read aloud in the first churches. Furthermore, they were under no rules that limited their ability to communicate their message or forbade them from correcting anyone else. The sheer gravity of copying the words of the apostolic writers, not to mention those of Christ Himself, would have involved the entire Christian community.

To his discredit, Ehrman uses the broken telephone argument when he surely knows better. Trained at Princeton Seminary, a premiere school for New Testament studies, Ehrman knows that scribes did not transmit the biblical documents in this manner. While scribes in the New Testament world did not have the same checks and balances used by Jewish scribes, it does not mean that their efforts were slack or their standards lax. Copying the biblical documents was not for an audience of one, but for the entire Christian community. Others would have been able to check the documents and note any errors that the scribes might have made.

An inconvenient truth for Ehrman, and others favorable to his views, is the witness of authorities in the early church. The early church fathers began quoting and alluding to the books of the New Testament very early. In his Apologia Prima, Justin Martyr indicates that on Sunday the apostolic writings would be read publicly. Tertullian echoes Justin’s sentiments, saying,

Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over to the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally (De Praescriptione Haereticorum 36.1).

As New Testament scholars Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace point out, “What is at issue here is the meaning of ‘authentic’ writings. If this refers to the original documents, as the word in Latin (authenticae) normally does, then Tertullian is saying that several of the original New Testament books still existed in his day, well over a century after the time of their writing” (2007, p. 45, italics in orig.). Tertullian specifically references Paul’s letters to the churches at Corinth, Philippi, Thessalonica, Ephesus, and Rome. Although this point is not entirely certain, it is an interesting thought. Tertullian’s statement provides evidence of a concern for preserving the manuscripts accurately. Given human fascination with historical relics and our interest in preserving them, it is possible that the early churches would have mirrored Tertullian’s concerns, preserving the letters written by the apostles themselves.

Bock and Wallace make a powerful argument concerning two of the earliest manuscripts known today. Citing p75 and Codex Vaticanus (also known as B), they argue that the two manuscripts

have an exceptionally strong agreement. And they are among the most accurate manuscripts that exist today. P75 is about 125 years older than B, yet it is not an ancestor of B. Instead, B was copied from an earlier ancestor of P75.... The combination of these two manuscripts in a particular reading must surely go back to the very beginning of the second century (2007, p. 47).

The state of the New Testament text is much better than the situation of despair found in Misquoting Jesus. As a world-class text critic, Ehrman must be fully aware of this material, yet chooses not to cite any of it in his work. In fact, he rarely cites scholars who disagree with him, leaving the inaccurate impression that he represents a vast majority of scholars who hold the same viewpoint. This borders on academic dishonesty.

That Ehrman knows the ancient scribes were conscientious about serving as custodians of the textual tradition is revealed in admissions throughout the text of Misquoting Jesus. He says, “Far and away, the most changes are the result of mistakes, pure and simple—slips of the pen, accidental omissions, inadvertent additions, misspelled words, blunders of one sort or another” (p. 55). The truth finally comes out that the massive majority of errors in the New Testament manuscripts are the result of a copyist’s error, not a deliberate alteration. What Ehrman downplays is that textual critics are well-schooled in how to detect and qualify copyists’ mistakes. By referring to the 400,000 errors in the manuscripts, Ehrman is leaving a false impression with his readership. Some of the errors are easily correctable, and others are downright absurd. As Bock and Wallace explain, “What exactly constitutes a textual variant? Any place among the manuscripts in which there is variation in wording, including word order, omission or addition of words, and even spelling differences is a textual variant. Thus, the most trivial alterations count as variants” (p. 54).

Ehrman does reserve some qualified praise for the ancient scribes. He writes:

The scribes—whether non-professional scribes in the early centuries or professional scribes of the Middle Ages—were intent on conserving the textual tradition they were passing on. Their ultimate concern was not to modify the tradition, but to preserve it for themselves and for those who would follow them. Most scribes, no doubt, tried to do a faithful job in making sure that the text they reproduced was the same text they inherited (p. 177).

Indeed, scribes in the ancient world were expected to copy texts faithfully, despite Ehrman’s assertions that they deliberately altered the New Testament documents. His understanding of ancient scribal custom is made clear by his inclusion of a humorous story about a scribe who deliberately modified the wording of a passage in a copy of the Bible (Codex Vaticanus). A later scribe came along and changed the word back to its original reading, adding the marginal note: “Fool and knave! Leave the old reading, don’t change it!” (p. 56).

A weakness of Ehrman’s argument is that, while he argues that scribes deliberately altered the text, one must ask how he knows it was altered; the charge presupposes that the original reading is still accessible in some way. One cannot argue that the words of Jesus or the teaching of Paul has been changed if one does not know what they actually said, which Ehrman repeatedly confesses. Rather, the very fact that scholars know that the text was altered on occasion means that they have a good idea of what the original reading was. This makes Ehrman’s arguments relatively inconsequential, since he depends upon later examples of change to make his points.

The criticism of Misquoting Jesus has come fast and furious. In the age of the Internet, substantial criticisms of the work have appeared en masse. Not only do Ehrman’s ideas fail to convince those who have studied the issue, New Testament scholars have posted devastating critiques of his work on-line in venues ranging from academic blogs to seminary Web sites. Academic heavyweights such as Darrell Bock, Craig Blomberg, and Craig Evans have all provided measured criticism of Ehrman’s work, although he appears to have paid little attention. Indeed, Ehrman fuels the controversy when interviewed, choosing to rehash the same arguments each time when they have been answered by other scholars in a variety of media venues. In interviews, Ehrman generally tends to overplay the nature of the manuscript errors and attributes much more importance to them than is warranted.

Ehrman’s book Orthodox Corruption is a scholarly version of the popular-level Misquoting Jesus. Of this book, New Testament scholar Gordon Fee writes, “Unfortunately, Ehrman too often turns mere possibility into probability, and probability into certainty, where other equally viable reasons for corruption exist” (1995, 8:204). Some critics of Christianity are notorious for failing to incorporate the criticisms of their peers in their own work and making adjustments where necessary. In this Ehrman is no exception, as Orthodox Corruption generally states a similar case as the one found later in Misquoting Jesus, even after fellow scholars offered criticism that appears to have gone largely unheeded.

Ehrman’s work resonates in a post-Christian culture where Christianity is viewed as secretive and even deceptive. His description of the state of the text is bleak, but it is just as inaccurate. Scholars have great confidence in the Greek text that lies beneath modern English translations, and for good reason. Ancient scribes believed they were copying the very words of God, and treated their duties with a commensurate level of care. They knew that God, and His Word, deserved no less.

CONCLUSION

Bart Ehrman has made something of a career out of selling the idea that the New Testament is not only full of inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and outright contradictions, but that some of those discrepancies were deliberately inserted into the text. He is something of a theological celebrity, enjoying airtime in a number of different radio and television interviews. As one of the foremost New Testament textual scholars in America, Ehrman should be taken seriously. At the same time, his criticism of the Faith is questionable, and, at times, laughable.

Ehrman excels at selling a packaged version of Christianity that is supposedly authentic but falls short. He matter-of-factly describes the supposed difficulties with Christianity almost as if they are trade secrets of the Faith. On the popular level, it is likely that many of his readers have never heard of these criticisms of the New Testament from a scholar writing for a lay audience. At the same time, scholarly treatments of these issues are readily available. Many fine works written by both the scholar and non-scholar alike have answered all of the objections Ehrman raises. From that standpoint, Ehrman’s exploration of these issues gives an appearance of disingenuousness.

Unlike less scholarly, more popular authors such as Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), Peter Baigent (The Jesus Papers), and Simcha Jacobovici (The Jesus Family Tomb), Ehrman must be taken seriously. He is a widely respected scholar who has produced a number of contributions to the field of New Testament studies. At the same time, he also appears to have little interest in resolving the problems he raises. An honest seeker will try to resolve difficulties he uncovers, if for no other reason than to explore the mystery itself. Ehrman seems to have little interest in finding solutions, preferring instead to emphasize what he considers to be problems in the text. The Christian must be aware that the overwhelming majority of those difficulties often have rather simple solutions, offered by scholars bearing the same level of credentials as Ehrman himself.

REFERENCES

Bock, Darrell and Daniel Wallace (2007), Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture’s Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson).

Ehrman, Bart (2005), Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (San Francisco, CA: Harper).

Fee, Gordon (1995), “Review of The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, by Bart D. Ehrman” in Critical Review of Books in Religion, 8:203-206.

Harris, Sam “Recommended Reading (A-Z),” [On-line], URL: http://www.sam harris.org/site/book_reading_list/.

Hitchens, Christopher (2007), God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: Twelve Books).

Was God Satisfied with His Creation or Not? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

 

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=437

 

 Was God Satisfied with His Creation or Not?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

At evilbible.com, a Web site that purports to “spread the vicious truth about the Bible” (“Biblical…,” 2013), the very first alleged “obvious contradiction” listed involves Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 6:6. Since Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good,” and Genesis 6:6 reveals that “the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart,” the Bible is said to be contradictory and untrustworthy. Allegedly, the Lord could not be both satisfied and dissatisfied with His Creation.

The fact is, however, God could logically be both pleased and displeased with His Creation, if the statements were referring to two different periods of time. Most any Bible student knows that, though only four complete chapters separate Genesis 1:31 and 6:6, they are separated—chronologically speaking—by more than a millennium. “In the beginning” God was pleased with His Creation. Several hundred years later, after “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5), God was then “sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” (6:6). It is quite telling that such a simple explanation has apparently eluded the minds of many skeptics.

Veils, Footwashing, and the Holy Kiss by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

 

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1275

Veils, Footwashing, and the Holy Kiss

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The average American feels that truth is unknowable, and therefore everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. He or she feels that one viewpoint is as good as another, and no one should be so arrogant or judgmental as to say that one view is correct and all others are wrong. After all, one cannot be certain as to what is ultimately right and what is ultimately wrong. And who is to say who is right and who is wrong? How can we be so sure that we have all the answers?

This cultural inclination has infiltrated the church. It manifests itself among those who insist that we in the churches of Christ have been too narrow and dogmatic about our doctrinal positions. They say we have assumed that we’re right, and that other religious groups are wrong; we have made too much of some issues, and too little of others; and our rigid doctrinal stance has, in turn, caused us to be unloving and intolerant of alternative viewpoints and churches.

Of course, this entire line of thinking proceeds from a humanistic, pluralistic mindset. It constitutes the classic attempt to dodge accountability and responsibility. When Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32), He was showing that we must be right about certain matters. We do not know everything. But we can know some things—those things that God expects us to know. We can know truth! We can know that we know (1 John 2:3). We can know which things we have to know, and we can know which things we do not have to know. But we must analyze each matter logically and scripturally.

For example, some have concluded that God wants women to wear head-coverings when they worship in the presence of men. They believe this conclusion follows from the teaching of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. However, the wearing of a veil in Corinth conveyed a meaning within Graeco-Roman culture that is not conveyed in American culture. It was a cultural phenomenon (“judge in yourselves”—vs. 13). To them, the veil symbolized a woman’s submission to male authority (vs. 10). The removal of the veil symbolized a woman’s rejection of male authority, and was equivalent to the shameful practice of shaving the head—an act done by women of ill-repute (vs. 5-6). Since the symbolism of the veil in Corinthian culture was in harmony with the abiding principle of female submission to male leadership, Corinthian Christians were admonished to conform to the cultural practice.

The application of this injunction is that Christians, who find themselves in cultures today where a particular cultural symbol undergirds an abiding biblical principle, should conform to that cultural propriety. Head coverings have no such significance in American culture, and vary throughout the world (cf. Genesis 24:65; 29:25; 38:14-15; Song of Solomon 4:1,3; 6:7). If Paul intended for veils to be enjoined upon all Christian women in all cultures for all time, then three conclusions follow: a hat is no substitute; veils must be worn outside the worship assembly as well; and those who refuse must be urged to shave their heads.

Another area of confusion about which the truth may be ascertained is the “holy kiss.” Both Paul and Peter urged first-century Christians to greet each other with holy kisses (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14). Was this injunction intended to be an abiding feature of Christianity? Does God want Christians today to practice a “holy kiss,” even as He desires that baptism, prayer, and the Lord’s Supper be observed?

Kissing as a greeting predated Christianity (1 Samuel 20:41; 2 Samuel 20:9; Matthew 26:49; Luke 7:45; Acts 20:37). Americans typically have been unable to relate to kissing as a standard form of greeting. They shake hands or offer a pat on the back. However, hugging has become increasingly prominent in recent years. Paul could not have been commanding Christians to start kissing each other as a form of greeting—they were already doing so! Rather Paul was applying Christian principles to the existing and widespread cultural practice of kiss-greetings by urging them to keep their greeting holy. Far from enjoining kissing, he was requiring holy kissing. He was telling Christians to make their kiss-greetings a sanctified activity—set apart for, or in line with, proper Christian living. He was instructing them, “Since you kiss, when you kiss, make it holy—greet one another with a holy kiss.”

A third practice that requires clarification in order to understand its proper application is foot washing. Jesus literally startled and shocked the disciples on the occasion when He insisted upon washing their feet (John 13:1-20). It is nearly as surprising to find religious groups today who believe that Jesus was instituting an abiding occurrence—a worship act to be observed ritualistically in the practice of Christianity.

As a matter of fact, the washing of feet in first-century Palestine was a common cultural amenity that was necessary due to the dry, dusty road conditions and the footwear of the day (i.e., sandals—Genesis 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; Judges 19:21; 1 Timothy 5:10). In a typical middle-eastern setting, several social courtesies were ordinarily extended to guests. These expressions of hospitality included the kiss greeting, anointing, and caring for the guest’s animals, in addition to providing food and shelter (Genesis 18:4-5; 24:32; Judges 19:21; Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 12:20; Psalm 23:5; Ecclesiastes 9:8; Daniel 10:3; Matthew 6:17; Luke 7:44-46). Western culture typically has a completely different list of social amenities, including taking a guest’s coat, offering something to drink, and asking the guest to be seated.

In a culture where household servants were in abundant supply, the task of washing a guest’s dusty feet normally would have been performed by a servant of the host. This fact is what made Jesus’ action so repugnant to the disciples. They were disgusted that Jesus would lower Himself to perform such demeaning labor.

Since the disciples of Jesus already were practicing foot washing, Jesus was simply using the cultural custom to teach a spiritual principle. That is why He prefaced His action by noting they would not understand the significance of what He was about to do (John 13:7). That is why, when He finished, He asked, “Do you know what I have done to you?” (vs. 12). Obviously, they knew that He had washed their feet! If He was merely urging them to continue this common practice, they would have understood His injunction instantly. But that was not the point He was attempting to get across to them. He was teaching self-humiliation and forgiveness. We, too, must be humble enough to correct our mistakes and receive the forgiveness that Jesus offers. We must be willing to treat others better than ourselves by serving them and showing concern for the fulfillment of their needs. It would be a simple matter if we could fulfill this edict by ritualistically washing another’s feet. However, Jesus was conveying the fact that the humility and unassuming, servant-attitude that He wants us to display require a far more diligent, consistent dedication of one’s daily behavior.

A Refuge in Times of Trouble by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

https://thepreachersword.com/2013/11/21/a-refuge-in-times-of-trouble/#more-4878

A Refuge in Times of Trouble

Hawksbill

(This post was the 7th most read in 2013)

The Old Testament Patriarch, Job, observed over 3,000 years ago, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

I have been reminded of that this week.  Again.

Rescue teams have been searching the Barren River in Bowling Green, Kentucky, looking for Adam Smelser, missing since Sunday afternoon.  Evidently he went for a run.  Then a swim. And hasn’t been seen since.  I feel the grief and heart-break of his parents, family and friends.

Then on Monday Norma Jean received a call that her cousin, Carolyn Parslow, collapsed suddenly. She was taken to Florida Hospital and never regained consciousness. She passed away on Tuesday evening.  We are leaving for Tampa tomorrow where I will preach her funeral service on Saturday.

I think back this year of those who have left us too soon.  Azaiah DeGarmo. Marty Pickup.  Ted Brewer.  And there are many others.  Friends that I have loved.  Families we’ve been close to.  Earthly relationships that are severed.

Then there those who are suffering with an incurable, debilitating disease. A fire that has destroyed a family’s home.   A father who has walked out on his family.  Someone who has lost their life savings.  And people who have lost everything in the Typhon stricken Philippines.

So what is the answer? How do we cope? Where do we turn when Trouble troubles our lives?

The Psalmist says, “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”  (Ps. 9:9-10)

Let me suggest four ways God can be your refuge that I have observed from my friends who are suffering and based on Biblical teaching.

(1) Live in God’s Presence. James said, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” Jesus promised “I am with you always even to the end of the world. Mt 28:29.

When we suffer adversity, we can know that we are in the presence of God. What a great encouragement, comfort and consolation.

One man said, where was God when my son died?” The answer is: The same place he was when His son died. If you feel forsaken, Jesus knows how you feel. God is not a spectator of our pain, we are in his presence.

(2) Learn from God’s Promises. The Psalmist affirmed that God would be with us. That he is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” God promises help. Comfort. Hope. He says, “I care. And I will care for you.” (I Pet. 5:7). He feels our pain. And will supply our every need.

(3) Lean on God’s Power When Sennacherib, king of Assyria invaded Judah, the king stood up and said. “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him.  With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah” (2 Chron 32:7-8)

Finite strength is undependable and expendable, but God’s infinite power is sufficient for every need. Indeed we are “kept by the power of God” (1 Pet 1:5)

(4) Look For God’s Purpose God’s purpose is not to make you miserable. Paul said to “rejoice in the Lord” God does not send pain, problems and pressures. God is the giver of good gifts. (Jas. 1:18)

Why does trouble come? Maybe it is because of the evil of other people. Sometimes it is the result of living in a natural world that is filled with sin, suffering and separation. It could be through our own poor choice (Gal. 6:7-8) Or maybe the Devil is trying to trap us (1 Pet. 5:8)

So what is God’s Purpose for me as I experience life’s problems? To walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7) To use adversity to make me stronger (Jas 1:2-3) To focus on God’s eternal plan in Jesus. (Eph. 3:11) To claim victory through His love, grace and mercy. (Rom 8:30-31)

We all will suffer trouble in this life. Sometimes extreme tragedy will befall us. Yet, whatever the trial or trouble, there is help.  Hope. There is God.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

THE ORIGIN OF FAITH GEORGE L. FAULL

 

http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-origin-of-faith-george-l.html

THE ORIGIN OF FAITH

GEORGE L. FAULL

The Calvinistic preacher had preached a sermon on the text of:
Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God."
He stressed the total depravity of man and his inability to believe the Gospel because of his sinful nature. He stressed that man must be given faith by God in order to be saved. Afterwards, a listener came to him to inquire earnestly for salvation.
Seeker: Sir, I am zealous to receive salvation. How do I do so?
Preacher: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, for without faith it is impossible to please God.
Seeker: Oh, yes. I know and I acknowledge that I am a sinner, but I fear you closed the door to my salvation. I do not yet have what you call "saving faith."
Preacher: You should pray for it and perhaps God will grant it.
Seeker: But how can I call on Him in whom I have not believed? I have heard you preach before that faith is necessary for prayers to be heard. What then can I do?
Preacher: Wait upon the Lord, my friend, for saving faith.
Seeker: But today is the day of salvation. I may die in my sins and be lost. Is there nothing to which I can cling for hope?
Preacher: You are yet depraved, and saving faith has not yet come to you. When God in His mercy gives you faith, you will believe and be saved. The natural man cannot believe, because of his sin.
Seeker: But sir, the devils, depraved as they are, believe and tremble. Surely there is something we are overlooking.
Preacher: (Now frustrated.) Sir, you are dead in your sins. You cannot believe without the Holy Spirit operating in your heart. Being dead, you cannot act. You must first be made alive so you can believe.
Seeker: But sir, Jesus said, "He that believeth hath eternal life." He also said, "He that believeth not shall not see life." How can I get life to believe, when believing is necessary to have life? It appears to me that life is the result of faith, not faith the result of life. I am more confused than ever.
Preacher: Let me put it this way. You cannot believe because you are blind.
Seeker: But I don't understand. If I cannot see because I am spiritually blind, how can I hope to see?
Preacher: God will have to remove your sightless-ness so that you can believe and be saved.
Seeker: You mean that I must tarry for faith and wait for Him to give it to me so that I may see, and then believe?
Preacher: Exactly, sir. Faith is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.
Seeker: Then why do you so earnestly plead with us sinners to repent? Why does God say, "Why will you die?" I don't want to die in my sins. I want to be saved. I'm terrified. Is there nothing I can do to get God to give me saving faith?
Preacher: You must wait until it pleases God to give you faith and repentance, sir.
Seeker: Sir, do you and your congregation wish me to come to a saving faith?
Preacher: Most definitely, my friend, we are praying for this.
Seeker: "I still think something must be wrong with all this. I want to believe and be saved. You and your congregation are praying for my salvation, yet God is withholding it. Doesn't the Bible say something about God not being willing that any should perish, but that all might come to repentance?
Preacher: Hu-ru-m-ph! Well, it does say something like that. But man is depraved and has lost his ability to believe. Thus God must give him faith so that he can believe and be saved.
Seeker: Woe is me! God commands me under threat of eternal damnation to believe and be saved. But now I find that I must tarry for Him to give me the faith that saves. You tell me to pray for it, yet I must have faith to pray. The offer of salvation is offered to believers today, but I must wait on it for another day. I am too depraved to believe, and yet the devils believe and tremble. I must be made alive so I can believe, yet I must believe to be made alive. I cannot see because I am blind, and yet I must get over my blindness before I can believe. You and your church want me to believe and to be saved, but God has not yet given me faith so I can believe. Yet you say that God is a God of grace, who wants people everywhere to believe. It is so confusing to me. I cannot believe all this. I am forever lost and I cannot see any hope of my salvation. It appears to me that God is at fault if I do not believe. Good-by, sir.
Preacher: Good day, sir. I will pray that God will give you the gift of faith as He has me. For surely God is not a respecter of persons.
Seeker: Indeed? Why then does He give to you what He has not given to me? And why is my salvation dependent upon faith which only He can give? Why does He hold me responsible for my unbelief, though I am willing to believe?
Preacher: You charge God with foolishness, sir!
Seeker: If I may say so, I suspect that we both have much to learn about God's dealings with men. It seems to me that if all you say is true, then God is the author of confusion.
Preacher: (Indignantly) He certainly is not the author of confusion. God cannot lie!
Seeker: I did not mean to slander God. I only know that I desire to be saved. I want a saving faith. The more I read the Scriptures the more I believe in the goodness and mercy of God, His holiness, justice and long-suffering. Yet, I read in His Word that He has appointed a day of judgment. I believe in Jesus, His Son, but I have not yet experienced any "inner light," except that I'm a sinner, and I need a Savior. I had hoped that you could tell me how to find peace.
Preacher: Well, we will pray that faith will come by our prayers. Good-by.


The above dialogue is typical of Calvinistic preaching. Calvinism has God as the one responsible for whether or not a man will believe. The abuse of the text in Ephesians 2:8-9 needs to be corrected. The King James Version states:
Ephesians 2:8-9, "8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast."
It is assumed by many that the text says a man's faith is the gift of God. It does no such thing.
"But," it may be objected, "it says we are saved by faith, and that not of yourselves."
We reply, "It does not. The word 'that' (touto) in the text does not refer back to 'faith' or 'grace.' 'That' is in the neuter gender, and cannot refer to either 'grace' or 'faith.' These words are both feminine. Obviously, Paul is telling us that salvation is by grace, not by our own works. 'That' refers to the whole concept of salvation."
It is a great error to teach that God gives us faith. The Scriptures are plain. Faith is our responsibility before God. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
Romans 10:9, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
John 20:31, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
Again we read:
I John 5:10, "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son."
Again,
Mark 1:15, "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel."
Common sense shows that faith is our responsibility. Is it reasonable to think that God would command us to have what only He could give us? Is it reasonable to believe that He would say, "Whoso-ever believeth on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life," if God alone gives faith to an elect few? The doctrine of Calvinism, that God gives faith to some and not to others, is a damnable heresy. Jesus said that if Sodom and Gomorrah had had the advantages of the Jews, they would have repented. He upbraided the cities which saw His power, but would not repent. Calvinism makes God a tyrannical parent who demands from his child that which the child cannot possibly do. This is blasphemy.

God in His mercy gave His Son so that we might be saved. This is God's offer. We need only to accept it. When we do so, we have lost all rights to boasting and pride. Salvation is not of ourselves. It is a gift from God.

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken by J.C. Bailey

 

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Bailey/John/Carlos/1903/Articles/kingdomt.html

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

The Holy Spirit said in Hebrews 12:28 that we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Daniel foretold this kingdom in Daniel 2:44. He said this kingdom would stand forever. In this second chapter, Daniel said there would be four world-wide kingdoms.

History reveals that there were four world-wide kingdoms before John the Baptist came preaching that the kingdom was at hand (Matthew 3:2). John was beheaded and Jesus took up his ministry and he preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matthew 4:17). He told us, Mark 9:1, how close the kingdom was, for there were those that would not taste death until they saw the Kingdom come in POWER.

Then the Holy Spirit told us the power would come in Jerusalem, upon the apostles, before they left the city to preach of the resurrected Christ: "And behold, I send forth the promise of the Father upon you, but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:48). Before Jesus left this earth He explained to the apostles when the power would come: "But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). So we have learned that the Lord would set up a kingdom that would last forever. John said that kingdom was at hand. Jesus said that kingdom would come in the lifetime of those people who were there with him at that time. He said that the kingdom would come with POWER. That the Power would come in Jerusalem and then we learned that the apostles would receive POWER when the Holy Spirit came.

Before Jesus left this earth he said that he had all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). The Holy Spirit said that Jesus had POWER when he arose from the dead: "who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 1:4). Then on the day of Pentecost, Peter ended up the first part of his sermon with this statement: "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified." So if we can prove anything by the Bible, we know that the kingdom of Christ was ushered in on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

People often ask why we do not pray the Lord's Prayer. Jesus never prayed what we call the Lord's Prayer. He gave it as a model for the apostles to pray. He said: AFTER THIS MANNER THEREFORE PRAY YE (Matthew 6:9). They were told to seek FIRST the KINGDOM and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). Did they seek in vain? No, we have shown you that the kingdom began on the day of Pentecost. We do not pray for something that the Lord has already given us. SO NOW WE THANK GOD THAT WE CAN RECEIVE THE KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN. To pray "THY KINGDOM COME" IS A MOCKERY.

The kingdom came and after the day of Pentecost it is always spoken of as something that was already in existence. Paul told the new converts that through many tribulations they must enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:23). In the next verse it says that they appointed elders in EVERY CHURCH (Acts 14:23). Despite the teaching of men to the contrary, the church and the kingdom are one and the same thing. Of necessity this has to be. THERE IS ONE BODY (Eph. 1:4). The body is the church (Eph. 1:22,23). Jesus Christ, himself, made the church and the kingdom ONE. I quote: "And I also say unto thee that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Let us read next from Colossians 1:13: "who delivered us out of the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love." Then in the 18th verse of the same chapter he says: "and he is the head of the body the church: who is the beginning the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence." If Jesus has the pre-eminence in ALL THINGS, he must be reigning NOW or he does not have the PRE-EMINENCE.

There are many who teach that Jesus did intend to set up his kingdom but when the Jews rejected him he set up the church instead. There is not a semblance of proof for this theory. As we have shown, the Scriptures time after time speak of the kingdom as an established fact. Someone says that Jesus will set up his kingdom on this earth. How can Jesus set up an earthly kingdom when he said in John 18:36: "My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered unto the Jews; but my kingdom is not from hence?" So this theory that Jesus some time in the future, would set up an earthly kingdom flies right into the face of the statement made by the Lord Jesus Christ.

We shall go farther. People knew that Jesus had taught that the kingdom was at hand when he first began his ministry. They knew that John the Baptist had taught that the kingdom was at hand. So they approached Jesus and asked when the kingdom was going to come (Luke 17:20). JESUS SAID THAT THE KINGDOM WOULD NOT COME BY OBSERVATION. I want to dwell on this. Those who teach that Jesus will yet set up a kingdom on this earth are going to have it come by observation but THE KINGDOM OF GOD is within you (Luke 17:21).

People say we are now living in the church age. When Christ comes we shall then be in the kingdom age. The Bible never talks about a church age or a kingdom age. It does say that the church was the eternal purpose of God (Eph. 3:10-11). So then the church was not an afterthought as some vainly teach. There is to be NO AGE after the church. We read: "unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever." So the church is going to last eternally according to Ephesians 3:21. I would like here to inject the statement that Paul made in Acts 27:25: "I believe God that it shall be even as he hath spoken unto me." Peruse carefully all we have studied and I can say very confidently that I BELIEVE GOD THAT IT SHALL BE EVEN AS HE HATH SPOKEN UNTO ME.

We hear a great deal of talk about a born-again Christian. If you are a Christian you are born- again. Let us look at the fact of being born again. Where are those who are born-again? Jesus said that: "Except ye be born anew ye cannot see the kingdom of God." What is the conclusion of that statement? Those who are born anew see the kingdom of God. If the kingdom does not exist how can one be born anew? Jesus further said, when Nicodemus questioned him about the new birth that: "Except one be born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). So if there it not a kingdom, of necessity there is no new birth. False teaching gets people into queer predicaments.

By our study of the word of God we have learned that there is one body. That body may be referred to as a church or a kingdom. More proof is not needed but we shall speak now from the Book of Hebrews: "But of the Son he saith, thy throne is forever and ever; and the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." The Holy Spirit says THY THRONE IS. He did not say it had been nor did he say it would be. He says it is FOREVER AND EVER. We turn now to the 12th chapter, verse 23, of Hebrews. "To the general assembly and church of the first born who are enrolled in heaven." The church is enrolled in heaven. However in the 28th verse of the same chapter he calls this church of the first born A KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN.

THERE IS NO SCRIPTURE THAT SAYS JESUS WILL EVER SET FOOT ON THE EARTH AGAIN. I read this about the return of our Lord: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thess. 4:16, 17). Ponder the statement. We shall be caught up in the air to meet the Lord and so we shall be forever with the Lord. No room for a reign with Christ on earth.

Those that teach that the kingdom is still future say that the righteous will be raised and a thousand years later the wicked will be raised. This is contrary to the teaching of our Lord for He said that THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED WOULD BE RAISED IN ONE HOUR (John 5:28, 29). There cannot be a thousand years inside of one hour. Then to add to that, Jesus said four times in the 6th chapter of John that the righteous would be raised at the last day, verses 39, 40, 44, 54. You cannot have time after the LAST DAY. After the last day we shall have eternity and there will not be a thousand year reign of Christ after the last day.

The ascension of Jesus is told in this language: "And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). Daniel tells us what happened on the other side of that cloud: "I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto the son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13, 14).

John received a message for the seven churches in Asia and the Lord assured him: "and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father, to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever" (Rev. 1:6).

TRUTH NEVER CONTRADICTS TRUTH. Revelation 20 does not teach anything contrary to the truth we have learned. That would be impossible.

J.C. Bailey (1987, Bengough, Saskatchewan)

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading for October 14 and 15 by Gary Rose

 

 

Bible Reading for October 14 and 15

World  English  Bible

Oct. 14

Proverbs 15-17

Pro 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Pro 15:2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of fools gush out folly.

Pro 15:3 Yahweh's eyes are everywhere, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Pro 15:4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but deceit in it crushes the spirit.

Pro 15:5 A fool despises his father's correction, but he who heeds reproof shows prudence.

Pro 15:6 In the house of the righteous is much treasure, but the income of the wicked brings trouble.

Pro 15:7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so with the heart of fools.

Pro 15:8 The sacrifice made by the wicked is an abomination to Yahweh, but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

Pro 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to Yahweh, but he loves him who follows after righteousness.

Pro 15:10 There is stern discipline for one who forsakes the way: whoever hates reproof shall die.

Pro 15:11 Sheol and Abaddon are before Yahweh-- how much more then the hearts of the children of men!

Pro 15:12 A scoffer doesn't love to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.

Pro 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face; but an aching heart breaks the spirit.

Pro 15:14 The heart of one who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

Pro 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are wretched, but one who has a cheerful heart enjoys a continual feast.

Pro 15:16 Better is little, with the fear of Yahweh, than great treasure with trouble.

Pro 15:17 Better is a dinner of herbs, where love is, than a fattened calf with hatred.

Pro 15:18 A wrathful man stirs up contention, but one who is slow to anger appeases strife.

Pro 15:19 The way of the sluggard is like a thorn patch, but the path of the upright is a highway.

Pro 15:20 A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother.

Pro 15:21 Folly is joy to one who is void of wisdom, but a man of understanding keeps his way straight.

Pro 15:22 Where there is no counsel, plans fail; but in a multitude of counselors they are established.

Pro 15:23 Joy comes to a man with the reply of his mouth. How good is a word at the right time!

Pro 15:24 The path of life leads upward for the wise, to keep him from going downward to Sheol.

Pro 15:25 Yahweh will uproot the house of the proud, but he will keep the widow's borders intact.

Pro 15:26 Yahweh detests the thoughts of the wicked, but the thoughts of the pure are pleasing.

Pro 15:27 He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live.

Pro 15:28 The heart of the righteous weighs answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes out evil.

Pro 15:29 Yahweh is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Pro 15:30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart. Good news gives health to the bones.

Pro 15:31 The ear that listens to reproof lives, and will be at home among the wise.

Pro 15:32 He who refuses correction despises his own soul, but he who listens to reproof gets understanding.

Pro 15:33 The fear of Yahweh teaches wisdom. Before honor is humility.


Pro 16:1 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from Yahweh.

Pro 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but Yahweh weighs the motives.

Pro 16:3 Commit your deeds to Yahweh, and your plans shall succeed.

Pro 16:4 Yahweh has made everything for its own end-- yes, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Pro 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to Yahweh: they shall certainly not be unpunished.

Pro 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is atoned for. By the fear of Yahweh men depart from evil.

Pro 16:7 When a man's ways please Yahweh, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Pro 16:8 Better is a little with righteousness, than great revenues with injustice.

Pro 16:9 A man's heart plans his course, but Yahweh directs his steps.

Pro 16:10 Inspired judgments are on the lips of the king. He shall not betray his mouth.

Pro 16:11 Honest balances and scales are Yahweh's; all the weights in the bag are his work.

Pro 16:12 It is an abomination for kings to do wrong, for the throne is established by righteousness.

Pro 16:13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings. They value one who speaks the truth.

Pro 16:14 The king's wrath is a messenger of death, but a wise man will pacify it.

Pro 16:15 In the light of the king's face is life. His favor is like a cloud of the spring rain.

Pro 16:16 How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! Yes, to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

Pro 16:17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil. He who keeps his way preserves his soul.

Pro 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Pro 16:19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor, than to divide the plunder with the proud.

Pro 16:20 He who heeds the Word finds prosperity. Whoever trusts in Yahweh is blessed.

Pro 16:21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent. Pleasantness of the lips promotes instruction.

Pro 16:22 Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, but the punishment of fools is their folly.

Pro 16:23 The heart of the wise instructs his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.

Pro 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Pro 16:25 There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Pro 16:26 The appetite of the laboring man labors for him; for his mouth urges him on.

Pro 16:27 A worthless man devises mischief. His speech is like a scorching fire.

Pro 16:28 A perverse man stirs up strife. A whisperer separates close friends.

Pro 16:29 A man of violence entices his neighbor, and leads him in a way that is not good.

Pro 16:30 One who winks his eyes to plot perversities, one who compresses his lips, is bent on evil.

Pro 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of glory. It is attained by a life of righteousness.

Pro 16:32 One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty; one who rules his spirit, than he who takes a city.

Pro 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from Yahweh.


Pro 17:1 Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife.

Pro 17:2 A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who causes shame, and shall have a part in the inheritance among the brothers.

Pro 17:3 The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, but Yahweh tests the hearts.

Pro 17:4 An evildoer heeds wicked lips. A liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.

Pro 17:5 Whoever mocks the poor reproaches his Maker. He who is glad at calamity shall not be unpunished.

Pro 17:6 Children's children are the crown of old men; the glory of children are their parents.

Pro 17:7 Arrogant speech isn't fitting for a fool, much less do lying lips fit a prince.

Pro 17:8 A bribe is a precious stone in the eyes of him who gives it; wherever he turns, he prospers.

Pro 17:9 He who covers an offense promotes love; but he who repeats a matter separates best friends.

Pro 17:10 A rebuke enters deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred lashes into a fool.

Pro 17:11 An evil man seeks only rebellion; therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.

Pro 17:12 Let a bear robbed of her cubs meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

Pro 17:13 Whoever rewards evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.

Pro 17:14 The beginning of strife is like breaching a dam, therefore stop contention before quarreling breaks out.

Pro 17:15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to Yahweh.

Pro 17:16 Why is there money in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, seeing he has no understanding?

Pro 17:17 A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity.

Pro 17:18 A man void of understanding strikes hands, and becomes collateral in the presence of his neighbor.

Pro 17:19 He who loves disobedience loves strife. One who builds a high gate seeks destruction.

Pro 17:20 One who has a perverse heart doesn't find prosperity, and one who has a deceitful tongue falls into trouble.

Pro 17:21 He who becomes the father of a fool grieves. The father of a fool has no joy.

Pro 17:22 A cheerful heart makes good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Pro 17:23 A wicked man receives a bribe in secret, to pervert the ways of justice.

Pro 17:24 Wisdom is before the face of one who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool wander to the ends of the earth.

Pro 17:25 A foolish son brings grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.

Pro 17:26 Also to punish the righteous is not good, nor to flog officials for their integrity.

Pro 17:27 He who spares his words has knowledge. He who is even tempered is a man of understanding.

Pro 17:28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is counted wise. When he shuts his lips, he is thought to be discerning. 

 

Oct. 15

Proverbs 18-20

Pro 18:1 An unfriendly man pursues selfishness, and defies all sound judgment.

Pro 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own opinion.

Pro 18:3 When wickedness comes, contempt also comes, and with shame comes disgrace.

Pro 18:4 The words of a man's mouth are like deep waters. The fountain of wisdom is like a flowing brook.

Pro 18:5 To be partial to the faces of the wicked is not good, nor to deprive the innocent of justice.

Pro 18:6 A fool's lips come into strife, and his mouth invites beatings.

Pro 18:7 A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are a snare to his soul.

Pro 18:8 The words of a gossip are like dainty morsels: they go down into a person's innermost parts.

Pro 18:9 One who is slack in his work is brother to him who is a master of destruction.

Pro 18:10 The name of Yahweh is a strong tower: the righteous run to him, and are safe.

Pro 18:11 The rich man's wealth is his strong city, like an unscalable wall in his own imagination.

Pro 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is proud, but before honor is humility.

Pro 18:13 He who gives answer before he hears, that is folly and shame to him.

Pro 18:14 A man's spirit will sustain him in sickness, but a crushed spirit, who can bear?

Pro 18:15 The heart of the discerning gets knowledge. The ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

Pro 18:16 A man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.

Pro 18:17 He who pleads his cause first seems right; until another comes and questions him.

Pro 18:18 The lot settles disputes, and keeps strong ones apart.

Pro 18:19 A brother offended is more difficult than a fortified city; and disputes are like the bars of a castle.

Pro 18:20 A man's stomach is filled with the fruit of his mouth. With the harvest of his lips he is satisfied.

Pro 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue; those who love it will eat its fruit.

Pro 18:22 Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of Yahweh.

Pro 18:23 The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly.

Pro 18:24 A man of many companions may be ruined, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.


Pro 19:1 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than he who is perverse in his lips and is a fool.

Pro 19:2 It isn't good to have zeal without knowledge; nor being hasty with one's feet and missing the way.

Pro 19:3 The foolishness of man subverts his way; his heart rages against Yahweh.

Pro 19:4 Wealth adds many friends, but the poor is separated from his friend.

Pro 19:5 A false witness shall not be unpunished. He who pours out lies shall not go free.

Pro 19:6 Many will entreat the favor of a ruler, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.

Pro 19:7 All the relatives of the poor shun him: how much more do his friends avoid him! He pursues them with pleas, but they are gone.

Pro 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul. He who keeps understanding shall find good.

Pro 19:9 A false witness shall not be unpunished. He who utters lies shall perish.

Pro 19:10 Delicate living is not appropriate for a fool, much less for a servant to have rule over princes.

Pro 19:11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger. It is his glory to overlook an offense.

Pro 19:12 The king's wrath is like the roaring of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.

Pro 19:13 A foolish son is the calamity of his father. A wife's quarrels are a continual dripping.

Pro 19:14 House and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from Yahweh.

Pro 19:15 Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep. The idle soul shall suffer hunger.

Pro 19:16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is contemptuous in his ways shall die.

Pro 19:17 He who has pity on the poor lends to Yahweh; he will reward him.

Pro 19:18 Discipline your son, for there is hope; don't be a willing party to his death.

Pro 19:19 A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty, for if you rescue him, you must do it again.

Pro 19:20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end.

Pro 19:21 There are many plans in a man's heart, but Yahweh's counsel will prevail.

Pro 19:22 That which makes a man to be desired is his kindness. A poor man is better than a liar.

Pro 19:23 The fear of Yahweh leads to life, then contentment; he rests and will not be touched by trouble.

Pro 19:24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.

Pro 19:25 Flog a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke one who has understanding, and he will gain knowledge.

Pro 19:26 He who robs his father and drives away his mother, is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.

Pro 19:27 If you stop listening to instruction, my son, you will stray from the words of knowledge.

Pro 19:28 A corrupt witness mocks justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down iniquity.

Pro 19:29 Penalties are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools.


Pro 20:1 Wine is a mocker, and beer is a brawler. Whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Pro 20:2 The terror of a king is like the roaring of a lion. He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life.

Pro 20:3 It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife; but every fool will be quarreling.

Pro 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the winter; therefore he shall beg in harvest, and have nothing.

Pro 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Pro 20:6 Many men claim to be men of unfailing love, but who can find a faithful man?

Pro 20:7 A righteous man walks in integrity. Blessed are his children after him.

Pro 20:8 A king who sits on the throne of judgment scatters away all evil with his eyes.

Pro 20:9 Who can say, "I have made my heart pure. I am clean and without sin?"

Pro 20:10 Differing weights and differing measures, both of them alike are an abomination to Yahweh.

Pro 20:11 Even a child makes himself known by his doings, whether his work is pure, and whether it is right.

Pro 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, Yahweh has made even both of them.

Pro 20:13 Don't love sleep, lest you come to poverty. Open your eyes, and you shall be satisfied with bread.

Pro 20:14 "It's no good, it's no good," says the buyer; but when he is gone his way, then he boasts.

Pro 20:15 There is gold and abundance of rubies; but the lips of knowledge are a rare jewel.

Pro 20:16 Take the garment of one who puts up collateral for a stranger; and hold him in pledge for a wayward woman.

Pro 20:17 Fraudulent food is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth is filled with gravel.

Pro 20:18 Plans are established by advice; by wise guidance you wage war!

Pro 20:19 He who goes about as a tale-bearer reveals secrets; therefore don't keep company with him who opens wide his lips.

Pro 20:20 Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in blackness of darkness.

Pro 20:21 An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning, won't be blessed in the end.

Pro 20:22 Don't say, "I will pay back evil." Wait for Yahweh, and he will save you.

Pro 20:23 Yahweh detests differing weights, and dishonest scales are not pleasing.

Pro 20:24 A man's steps are from Yahweh; how then can man understand his way?

Pro 20:25 It is a snare to a man to make a rash dedication, then later to consider his vows.

Pro 20:26 A wise king winnows out the wicked, and drives the threshing wheel over them.

Pro 20:27 The spirit of man is Yahweh's lamp, searching all his innermost parts.

Pro 20:28 Love and faithfulness keep the king safe. His throne is sustained by love.

Pro 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength. The splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Pro 20:30 Wounding blows cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the innermost parts. 

 

Oct. 14

Ephesians 5

Eph 5:1 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.

Eph 5:2 Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.

Eph 5:3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;

Eph 5:4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.

Eph 5:5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.

Eph 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.

Eph 5:7 Therefore don't be partakers with them.

Eph 5:8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light,

Eph 5:9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,

Eph 5:10 proving what is well pleasing to the Lord.

Eph 5:11 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them.

Eph 5:12 For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.

Eph 5:13 But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light.

Eph 5:14 Therefore he says, "Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

Eph 5:15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise;

Eph 5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Eph 5:17 Therefore don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Eph 5:18 Don't be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

Eph 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Eph 5:20 giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father;

Eph 5:21 subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.

Eph 5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body.

Eph 5:24 But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it;

Eph 5:26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word,

Eph 5:27 that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Eph 5:28 Even so husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.

Eph 5:29 For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the assembly;

Eph 5:30 because we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones.

Eph 5:31 "For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh."

Eph 5:32 This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Christ and of the assembly.

Eph 5:33 Nevertheless each of you must also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


Oct. 15

Ephesians 6

Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Eph 6:2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with a promise:

Eph 6:3 "that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth."

Eph 6:4 You fathers, don't provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Eph 6:5 Servants, be obedient to those who according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ;

Eph 6:6 not in the way of service only when eyes are on you, as men pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Eph 6:7 with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men;

Eph 6:8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is bound or free.

Eph 6:9 You masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with him.

Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.

Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Eph 6:12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world's rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Eph 6:13 Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.

Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Eph 6:15 and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace;

Eph 6:16 above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.

Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the spoken word of God;

Eph 6:18 with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints:

Eph 6:19 on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News,

Eph 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Eph 6:21 But that you also may know my affairs, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make known to you all things;

Eph 6:22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts.

Eph 6:23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 6:24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. Amen.