12/21/20

Atheism and Liberal, Missouri by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1447

Atheism and Liberal, Missouri

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the summer of 1880, George H. Walser founded the town of Liberal in southwest Missouri. Named after the Liberal League in Lamar, Missouri (to which the town’s organizer belonged), Walser’s objective was “to found a town without a church, [w]here unbelievers could bring up their children without religious training,” and where Christians were not allowed (Thompson, 1895; Becker, 1895). “His idea was to build up a town that should exclusively be the home of Infidels...a town that should have neither God, Hell, Church, nor Saloon” (Brand, 1895). Some of the early inhabitants of Liberal even encouraged other infidels to move to their town by publishing an advertisement which boasted that Liberal “is the only town of its size in the United States without a priest, preacher, church, saloon, God, Jesus, hell or devil” (Keller, 1885, p. 5). Walser and his “freethinking” associates were openly optimistic about their new town. Excitement was in the air, and atheism was at its core. They believed that their godless town of “sober, trustworthy and industrious” individuals would thrive for years on end. But, as one young resident of that town, Bessie Thompson, wrote about Liberal in 1895, “...like all other unworthy causes, it had its day and passed away.” Bessie did not mean that the actual town of Liberal ceased to exist, but that the idea of having a “good, godless” city is a contradiction in terms. A town built upon “trustworthy” atheistic ideals eventually will reek of the rotten, immoral fruits of infidelity. Such fruits were witnessed and reported firsthand by Clark Braden in 1885.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885

Braden was an experienced preacher, debater, and author. In his lifetime, he presented more than 3,000 lectures, and held more than 130 regular debates—eighteen of which were with the Mormons (Carpenter, 1909, pp. 324-325). In 1872, Braden even challenged the renowned agnostic Robert Ingersoll to debate, to which Ingersoll reportedly responded, “I am not such a fool as to debate. He would wear me out” (Haynes, 1915, pp. 481-482). Although Braden was despised by some, his skills in writing and public speaking were widely known and acknowledged. In February 1885, Clark Braden introduced himself to the townspeople of Liberal (Keller, 1885, p. 5; Moore, 1963, p. 38), and soon thereafter he wrote about what he had seen.

In an article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, titled “An Infidel Experiment,” Braden reported the following.

The boast about the sobriety of the town is false. But few of the infidels are total abstainers. Liquor can be obtained at three different places in this town of 300 inhabitants. More drunken infidels can be seen in a year in Liberal than drunken Christians among one hundred times as many church members during the same time. Swearing is the common form of speech in Liberal, and nearly every inhabitant, old and young, swears habitually. Girls and boys swear on the streets, playground, and at home. Fully half of the females will swear, and a large number swear habitually.... Lack of reverence for parents and of obedience to them is the rule. There are more grass widows, grass widowers and people living together, who have former companions living, than in any other town of ten times the population.... A good portion of the few books that are read are of the class that decency keeps under lock and key....
These infidels...can spend for dances and shows ten times as much as they spend on their liberalism. These dances are corrupting the youth of the surrounding country with infidelity and immorality. There is no lack of loose women at these dances.
Since Liberal was started there has not been an average of one birth per year of infidel parents. Feticide is universal. The physicians of the place say that a large portion of their practice has been trying to save females from consequences of feticide. In no town is slander more prevalent, or the charges more vile. If one were to accept what the inhabitants say of each other, he would conclude that there is a hell, including all Liberal, and that its inhabitants are the devils (as quoted in Keller, 1885, p. 5).

According to Braden, “[s]uch are the facts concerning this infidel paradise.... Every one who has visited Liberal, and knows the facts, knows that such is the case” (p. 5).

As one can imagine, Braden’s comments did not sit well with some of the townspeople of Liberal. In fact, a few days after Braden’s observations appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was arrested for criminal libel and tried on May 18, 1885. According to Braden, “After the prosecution had presented their evidence, the case was submitted to the jury without any rebutting evidence by the defence (sic), and the jury speedily brought in a verdict of ‘No cause for action’ ” (as quoted in Mouton, n.d., pp. 36-37). Unfortunately for Braden, however, the controversy was not over. On the following day (May 19, 1885), a civil suit was filed by one of the townsmen—S.C. Thayer, a hotel operator in Liberal. The petition for damages of $25,000 alleged that Clark Braden and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article in which they had made false, malicious, and libelous statements against the National Hotel in Liberal, managed by Mr. Thayer. He claimed that Braden’s remarks, published in the St. Louise Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, “greatly and irreparably injured and ruined” his business (Thayer v. Braden). However, when the prosecution learned that the defense was thoroughly prepared to prove that Liberal was a den of infamy, and that its hotels were little more than houses of prostitution, the suit was dismissed on September 17, 1886 by the plaintiff at his own cost (Thayer v. Braden). Braden was exonerated in everything he had written. Indeed, the details Braden originally reported about Liberal, Missouri, on May 2, 1885 were found to be completely factual.

It took only a few short years for Liberal’s unattractiveness and inconsistency to be exposed. People cannot exclude God from the equation, and expect to remain a “sober, trustworthy” town. Godlessness equals unruliness, which in turn makes a repugnant, immoral people. The town of Liberal was a failure. Only five years after its establishment, Braden indicated that “[n]ine-tenths of those now in town would leave if they could sell their property. More property has been lost by locating in the town than has been made in it.... Hundreds have been deceived and injured and ruined financially” (Keller, p. 5). Apparently, “doing business with the devil” did not pay the kind of dividends George Walser (the town’s founder) and the early inhabitants of Liberal desired. It appears that even committed atheists found living in Liberal in the early days intolerable. Truly, as has been observed in the past, “An infidel surrounded by Christians may spout his infidelity and be able to endure it, but a whole town of atheists is too horrible to contemplate.” It is one thing to espouse a desire to live in a place where there is no God, but it is an entirely different thing for such a place actually to exist. For it to become a reality is more than the atheist can handle. Adolf Hitler took atheism to its logical conclusion in Nazi Germany, and created a world that even most atheists detested. Although atheists want no part of living according to the standards set out by Jesus and His apostles in the New Testament, the real fruits of evolutionary atheism also are too horrible for them to contemplate.

Although the town of Liberal still exists today (with a population of about 800 people), and although vestiges of its atheistic heritage are readily apparent, it is not the same town it was in 1895. At present, at least seven religious groups associated with Christianity exist within this city that once banned Christianity and all that it represents. Numerous other churches meet in the surrounding areas. According to one of the religious leaders in the town, “a survey of Liberal recently indicated that 50% of the people are actively involved with some church” (Abbott, 2003)—a far cry from where Liberal began.

There is no doubt that the moral, legal, and educational systems of Liberal, Missouri, in the twenty-first century are the fruits of biblical teaching, not atheism. When Christianity and all of the ideals that the New Testament teaches are effectively put into action, people will value human life, honor their parents, respect their neighbors, and live within the moral guidelines given by God in the Bible. A city comprised of faithful Christians would be mostly void of such horrors as sexually transmitted diseases, murder, drunken fathers who beat their wives and children, drunk drivers who turn automobiles into lethal weapons, and heartache caused by such things as divorce, adultery, and covetousness. (Only those who broke God’s commandments intended for man’s benefit would cause undesirable fruit to be reaped.)

On the other hand, when atheism and all of its tenets are taken to their logical conclusion, people will reap some of the same miserable fruit once harvested by the early citizens of Liberal, Missouri (and sadly, some of the same fruit being reaped by many cities in the world today). Men and women will attempt to cover up sexual sins by aborting babies, children will disrespect their parents, students will “run wild” at home and in school because of the lack of discipline, and “sexual freedom” (which leads to sexually transmitted diseases) will be valued, whereas human life will be devalued. Such are the fruits of atheism: a society in which everyone does that which is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6)—a society in which no sensible person wants to live.

REFERENCES

Abbott, Phil (2003), Christian Church, Liberal, Missouri, telephone conversation, April 7.

Barnes, Pamela (2003), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, telephone conversation, March 12.

Becker, Hathe (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.

Brand, Ida (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.

Carpenter, L.L. (1909), “The President’s Address,” in Centennial Convention Report, ed. W.R. Warren, (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), pp. 317-332. [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/wwarren/ccr/CCR15B.HTM.

Haynes, Nathaniel S. (1915), History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois 1819-1914 (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/nhaynes/hdcib/braden01.htm, 1996.

Keller, Samuel (1885), “An Infidel Experiment,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Special Correspondence with Clark Braden, May 2, p. 5.

Moore, J.P. (1963), This Strange Town—Liberal, Missouri (Liberal, MO: The Liberal News).

Mouton, Boyce (no date), George H. Walser and Liberal, Missouri: An Historical Overview.

Thayer, S.C. v. Clark Braden, et. al. Filed on May 19, 1885 in Barton County Missouri. Dismissed September 10, 1886.

Thompson, Bessie (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.

Atheism & Free Will by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5339

Atheism & Free Will

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Renowned atheist Carl Sagan began his immensely popular book Cosmos with these words: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”1 What do today’s atheists mean when they use the term Cosmos? The modern “scientific” idea is that the Cosmos is completely, entirely, and altogether materialistic, composed of matter and energy, and contains nothing immaterial or “not-matter.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “materialism” as, “The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.”2 As it now stands, the ideas of the Cosmos or of “nature” have been redefined to include only physical matter and energy. Evolutionists Hewlett and Peters demand that “to be scientific in our era is to search for solely natural explanations.”3 Physicist Paul Davies correctly stated, “The materialist believes that mental states and operation are nothing but physical states and operations.”4 Evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin admitted that evolutionists “have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism…. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.”5

What are the logical implications of the idea that everything in the Universe consists solely of matter and energy? At first glance, the materialistic idea may not seem very profound or Earth shattering, but a deeper probe into the concept reveals that some of the most fundamental aspects of humanity are at stake. In this article, we focus on one feature of humanity that must be denied if materialism is accepted: human free will. You see, if matter and energy are all that “really” exists, then the notion must be rejected that there is a human will that directs the decision-making process. In short, if you, as a person, have ever made a single real decision; if you have ever freely chosen to do or not do anything, then atheism cannot be true. This is the case because your decision would be the result of something “more than” matter. It could not be explained by a naturalistic “cause and effect” chain of chemical events. If there is a “you” inside your body that freely chooses this or rejects that, then the materialist understanding of the Universe is false.

Modern leaders in the atheistic community admit as much. Sam Harris, recognized in skeptical circles as one of the four leading voices of modern atheism, penned a book titled Free Will. In that short volume, he wrote: “Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making…. We do not have the freedom we think we have.”6 He further stated, “I cannot determine my wants…. My mental life is given to me by the cosmos.”7 Again, “People feel (or presume) an authorship of their thoughts and actions that is illusory.”8 And, “What I will do next, and why, remains, at bottom, a mystery—one that is fully determined by the prior state of the universe and the laws of nature (including the contributions of chance).”9 As he begins to summarize his views toward the end of the book, he says, “You will do whatever it is you do, and it is meaningless to assert that you could have done otherwise.”10

Why does Harris demand that free will is non-existent? His commitment to materialism paints him into this corner, which is obvious from his statement: “In improving ourselves and society, we are working directly with the forces of nature, for there is nothing but nature itself to work with.”11 On the second-to-last page he writes, “Am I free to change my mind? Of course not. It can only change me.”12

There are striking ironies in the position that Harris and others take as they deny their own free will and their readers’ as well. First, why in the world would these men write books and articles in an attempt to persuade anyone to believe their “no free will” position if the reader cannot decide for himself to change his mind? What is the point of trying to convince a person who believes in free will, if that “belief” is nothing more than the consequence of the cause-and-effect, natural processes that are banging around in his brain? If the reader does not have the ability to choose his or her belief, what is the point of trying to “show” the superiority of the “no-free-will” position? According to Harris and crew, you believe what you believe because of the physics of the Cosmos working in your brain, and how in the world words on a page could change those physics would indeed be a mystery worth uncovering. The fact that modern atheists are writing books to convince people that there is no free will belies the undeniable fact that humans have free will.

Second, Harris’ concluding statement brings to light another glaring difficulty in the no-free-will position. He says, “Am I free to change my mind? Of course not. It can only change me.”13 Wait just a minute. Who is the “I” or the “me” in the sentence? If there is no free will, and humans are simply the combined total of the physical processes at work in their brains, then there should be nothing more than the “mind” in Harris’ sentence. The fact that he can differentiate between “himself” and his “mind” shows that there is something more at work than determinism. A purely physical entity such as a rock or atom does not have the ability to think in terms of “I” or “me.” In truth, that Harris is conscious of an “I” or of a “self” contradicts his claim that free will does not exist.14

In addition, it seems humorous and superfluous for people such as Harris to write an “Acknowledgements” section in their books. Why thank people and acknowledge their contributions to your work if they could not have done otherwise? He writes, “I would like to thank my wife and editor, Annaka Harris, for her contributions to Free Will. As is always the case, her insights and recommendations greatly improved the book. I don’t know how she manages to raise our daughter, work on her own projects, and still have time to edit my books—but she does. I am extremely lucky and grateful to have her in my corner.”15 That’s all well and good, but since she has no free will, she didn’t choose to help Sam. It was thrust upon her by the nature of the Cosmos. Why thank a person who stays with you and helps you due to no choice or decision of her own, but due to an unalterable course of cause-and-effect actions in her brain? Why not thank the computer that “typed the words so faithfully as I hit the key strokes,” or the oxygen that “so generously entered my lungs and allowed my cells to function,” or the light that “so gracefully bounced from the screen (or page) to my eye, allowing me to see”? That Harris thanks his wife and not his computer gets to the point that there is something very different about the two entities. You thank a person because that person helped you (but could have chosen to do otherwise).

On February 12, 1998, William Provine, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the distinguished Cornell University, took to the podium on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He was invited to deliver the keynote address at the second annual Darwin Day, a day dedicated to commemorating the life and teachings of Charles Darwin. In an abstract of that speech on the Darwin Day Web site, Dr. Provine’s introductory comments are recorded in the following words: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.”16 Provine’s ensuing message centered on his fifth statement regarding the lack of human free will.

Several years later, Provine continued to hold to this position. He appeared in the Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed in 2008. In his discussion about Darwinian evolution, he said, “It starts by giving up an active deity, then it gives up the hope that there is any life after death. When you give those two up, the rest of it follows fairly easily. You give up the hope that there is an imminent morality. And finally, there’s no human free will. If you believe in evolution, you can’t hope for there being any free will. There’s no hope whatsoever in there being any deep meaning in life. We live, we die, and we’re gone.”17 The late Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick concurred with Provine. He wrote in his book The Astonishing Hypothesis: “‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”18

In his million-copy international best-selling book The Selfish Gene, renowned atheistic writer and speaker Richard Dawkins explained the evolutionary ideas that force atheism to deny human free will. He asserted that humans are “survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve selfish molecules known as genes.”19 Since Dawkins views humans as a compilation of physical genes fighting for survival, he must insist that these genes instinctively strive to live and pass on their information. That being the case, every human action must then be a product of the physical “gene” forces at work in the human body and brain. Human actions cannot be the result of some type of personality or free will according to this notion. In his attempt to flesh out his view more thoroughly and give answers to behaviors that have traditionally been attributed to human free will, he expounds on the selfish gene idea: “This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behaviour.”20 When explaining the relationships that survival machines (humans) have with each other, he stoically quips:

To a survival machine, another survival machine (which is not its own child or another close relative) is part of its environment, like a rock or a river or a lump of food. It is something that gets in the way, or something that can be exploited. It differs from a rock or a river in one important respect; it is inclined to hit back. This is because it too is a machine that holds its immortal genes in trust for the future, and it too will stop at nothing to preserve them.21

Dawkins’ ultimate explanation for human behavior is that we do not choose the way we relate to each other, but are driven by our genes to use or exploit other humans to produce the greatest chance to pass on genetic information.

It is often the case that many atheists attempt to distance themselves from the views of Dawkins, Harris, and other free-will-deniers. They contend that, even though they are atheists, they still believe that humans have free will and choose their own behavior. They do this because they know, deep down in their heart of hearts, that they have chosen their behaviors in the past. The problem with their mode of operation, however, is that atheism necessarily implies that free will cannot exist. If humans actually make their own, personal decisions, then something must be at work that is more than nature—which is over and above the natural, physical movement of atoms. There must be a human mind, or soul, or spirit that is supernatural—that controls the movement of the physical body. A person can choose atheism, or he can accept human free will, but not both and still be logically consistent.

Atheist Dan Barker, prolific debater and author, feels the tension between atheism’s denial of free-will and the fact that humans know that they make personal choices. His solution is simply to redefine the term free will. In his debate with Peter Payne, Barker stated: “I happen to think that we have the illusion of freewill…. I’m a strict determinist. We are natural creatures. The material world is all there is. We actually don’t have what we would call libertarian freewill.”22 In his book, godless, Barker stated: “I am a determinist, which means that I don’t think complete libertarian free will exists. Since we don’t know the future…we have the illusion of free will, which to me is what ‘free will’ actually means.” Barker recognizes that humans certainly feel like they make decisions, but his atheism demands that they cannot do so. In order to hang on to his atheism, and allow for “free will,” he changes the definition of free will to “thinking that you are actually making a free will choice when you are not.”23

Barker is not the only atheist that is forced to turn to this “illusion of free will” idea. Anthony Cashmore, biologist at the University of Pennsylvania, penned an article alleging that human free will does not exist. He wrote: “It is my belief that, as more attention is given to the mechanisms that govern human behavior, it will increasingly be seen that the concept of free will is an illusion.”24 According to Cashmore, you are reading this article because your genes and your environment have forced you to. You are not responsible for your decision to read this article, and based on your alleged evolutionary history and your environment, you could not choose to be doing anything different than what you are doing now. You are literally a slave to your genes and your environment. As Cashmore wrote: “[A]n individual cannot be held responsible for either his genes or his environment. From this simple analysis, surely it follows that individuals cannot logically be held responsible for their behavior.”25

One of the most damaging lines of reasoning against the illusion idea put forth by Barker and Cashmore is the way in which these men attempt to convince their readers of its truth. Cashmore used five-and-a-half pages to argue that our society should disregard the outdated concept that humans are responsible for their behavior. Barker has been in more than 80 moderated debates attempting to bring people over to his view. But if Cashmore and Barker are right, then there is no way we can disregard the concept of free will, due to the simple fact that we did not choose it in the first place. If humans are not responsible for their beliefs or behaviors, then the generally held concept of free will is nothing more than an evolutionary, environmental by-product. According to their line of thinking, if we believe in free will at the present, and act on that belief, we are not responsible for it. If they are right, why in the world would they attempt to urge the scientific community to change its mind about free will, if the community does not have the power to change its mind? Why spend time and effort arguing against free will, if your audience does not have the freedom to choose to accept or reject your reasoning anyway? The fatal flaw of the “no free will” argument is that it demands that the person making the argument has the free will to do so, and it tacitly assumes the parties evaluating the argument have the power to accept or reject it.

If humans are survival machines that cannot make any real choices, then all “persuasive” arguments would be worthless. Those who believe in God are programmed and forced by their genes to do so. Those who believe there is no God are equally products of their bodily physics. If humans don’t change their minds, but, as Harris claims, their minds change them, then why attempt to change believers’ minds, since they don’t really have “minds” and their brains are going to “believe” whatever their genes tell them anyway? Atheists actually have to assume free will in order even to discuss the topic. It’s as if they are saying, “I want you to turn your eyes to look at me so that I can show you that you really can’t see anything.”

Television personality Bill Nye the “Science Guy” found himself in a terrible quandary when asked about human free will. In a video on the subject titled, “Hey Bill Nye, Do Humans Have Free Will?” he stated: “But clearly, I know I have made decisions based on things that happened around me that I wouldn’t have made without being informed by history or what I noticed. I know I have. Now if that turns out not to be true, I’d be very surprised.”26 Near the end of the video, however, he then backtracks and claims that our decisions really are the result of the quantum physics at work in our brains. Then he claims: “At some level there is randomness in what we think, because we are made of chemicals that have randomness.” Then he said, “I mean, I don’t mean to skirt your question.”27 Actually, skirting the question was exactly what he was doing. He has to admit that he makes choices, but his atheistic naturalism forces him to back peddle and attribute those “choices” to chemistry and physics. His video is the epitome of atheism’s failure to deal with the fact of human free will.

In June of 2015, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne delivered a lecture at the Imagine No Religion convention in Vancouver, Canada. His speech was titled, “You Don’t Have Free Will.” It is one of the clearest examples of the new age atheistic position. Based on his atheistic beliefs, he argues for a purely deterministic world in which human free will is nothing more than physical processing at work, molecules moving to the beat of the laws of physics. Addressing his primarily atheistic audience, he says, “Now many of you don’t accept that. You don’t believe that you are robots made out of meat, which is what I’m going to try to convince you of today.” He takes this position, because if atheism is true, and there is nothing supernatural, then (as he says), “Our behavior is absolutely determined by the laws of physics.”28

Coyne takes serious issue with his fellow atheists who claim to be naturalists and determinists, but who attempt to say that humans do have some kind of free will. He correctly shows that atheistic naturalism cannot permit any type of free will. Those atheists who are trying to accommodate both ideas, according to Coyne, are simply playing “semantic tricks” trying to convince people “that we are still okay even though we are meat robots.”29 Coyne went on to say, “As Anthony Cashmore said, ‘We have no more free will than a bowl of sugar.’” Coyne then added his own words, “We are bowls of sugar, just very complicated ones.” Coyne does an excellent job of proving that atheism demands that human free will cannot exist. What he fails to do, however, is prove that free will does not exist. He claims it. He asserts it. But he cannot prove his false assertion. The reason for that is simply because humans really do have free will.

At one point in his speech, he attempted to deal with the biggest problem that the “no-free-will” idea encounters. He tried to tackle the question of why he would try to persuade anyone to believe his view, since, according to his view, no one can choose any beliefs. His argument was that, just like kicking a dog teaches the dog to avoid harm, presenting the material he was presenting may “teach” a human to adopt his viewpoint, even though humans would just be reacting to his material, not choosing to believe it. So, Coyne says, “Why did I get out of bed this morning? I thought, I hope to persuade people, and that was determined by the laws of physics.” He goes on to say, “Even our very desire to try to change people’s minds. The fact that I’m up here trying to do this is determined by my own, you know, physical constitution and environment. That is the infinite regress and the sort of annoying thing about determinism. It’s turtles all the way down.”

Let’s analyze Coyne’s statement. Who is “annoyed” by this “infinite regress” of physics? Is it Coyne? Why, if he is just doing what his chemistry is forcing him to do, does he get “annoyed” at this? And who, exactly, is it that is getting annoyed at the situation? Is it Coyne’s physical, meat robot self? Obviously, the fact that he is “annoyed” speaks to there being something more to Coyne than molecules in motion.

No Moral Responsibility

Consider the chain of implications. First, if there is no God, then this material world must be all there is. There can be nothing supernatural. Second, if the physical world is all that exists, then all entities that are made of matter must be driven solely by physical laws. Third, since there is nothing supernatural (according to this view), then there can be nothing more-than-matter inside of humans that can choose anything. Free will cannot exist in an atheistic world. But do not stop there. If humans cannot make decisions, then what is the necessary implication of that belief? What would that mean in regard to morality, crime, punishment, etc.? The necessary implication is that humans are not morally responsible for any of their behavior, any more than a rock, squirrel, or turtle is.

In Coyne’s speech, after making one of his points about most of his audience being determinists, he said, “Almost all of you here don’t believe in moral responsibility. Think about that.” He went on to say that because of his belief in determinism, “I don’t consider myself morally responsible, because I don’t have a choice.” Cashmore said the same when he stated, “From this simple analysis, surely it follows that individuals cannot logically be held responsible for their behavior.”30 While the atheists who deny free will attempt to conjure up a world where no moral responsibility brings about a modern utopia, nothing could be further from the truth. The rapist blames his genes. The murderer blames his chemistry. The adulterer points the finger at his environment. The thief “cannot help himself.” The perjurer acted only in response to molecular motion in his brain. The school shooter followed his urge to kill as many students as possible. The suicide bomber could not have chosen otherwise. An environment saturated with such thinking would hardly be described as a utopia.

Along these lines, Coyne said, “Whether or not you are the kind of person who accepts other people’s notions of morality is something that you have no control over. And if you don’t, that’s something you don’t have any control over either.” Let that sink in. If you think it is “morally” acceptable to fly a plane into a building in an attempt to kill as many people as possible, you could not think otherwise and you are not “morally” responsible for doing anything wrong. Truly, the denial of moral responsibility is one of the most fallacious and harmful implications of the false idea of atheism.

If we are to be “scientific” about these matters, we must take what we know to be the case and find the explanation that best fits the facts. If we are honest, each of us knows that we have freely chosen attitudes and behaviors. We know that we could have chosen differently. And we often feel the guilt of having chosen wrong, or the triumphant feeling of having chosen right. In all honesty, you know that you could choose to quit reading this article right now, or you could continue. Your freedom is not an illusion, but is an actuality: a statement of the way things really are, not the way they only seem to be. Since that is the case, we must take the fact—our free will—and find an explanation that best fits the fact. Atheism cannot account for human free will. Atheists who are consistent with their belief are forced to admit this is a logical implication of it. Therefore, if humans have free will, and atheism implies that they do not, then atheism is false. On the other hand, the idea of a supernatural God endowing humans with a mind, consciousness, and soul fits perfectly with the fact of human free will. Thus, the person who is trying to “follow the evidence where it leads” must conclude that human free will proves a supernatural Creator exists.

Why Choose to Believe that We Have No Choice?

As I have studied atheistic books and writings and watched several videos, I’ve tried to put my finger on why atheists do not want to believe they choose. They all admit that humans think we are free to choose, but they insist that we are not really choosing anything. They maintain that there is really no “Sam Harris” upstairs, or Jerry Coyne “in there somewhere.” They insist that “Richard Dawkins” is just another name for the physical molecules that make up a certain body, and that there is no real soul or personality of a non-material nature “in there.” If there really is such a thing as free will (and there is), why would a group of people choose to deny it in spite of the evidence that proves it exists? Why don’t they want to be viewed as free moral agents who deserve praise for their morally correct actions and who deserve blame for their moral failures? An exhaustive list of possible reasons why this is the cause is impossible, but Coyne did give us one very telling idea.

Near the end of Coyne’s speech, he attempted to explain the benefits he sees in adopting the idea that free will does not exist (not to be tedious, but keep in mind that he does not really think you can adopt it; instead, you are forced to accept whatever your chemistry determines). He said that a benefit of denying free will is that you would have a “lack of regret for bad things that happen. It takes away a certain amount of guilt feelings from you. You don’t have to beat yourself up over, ‘I should have done this instead of that.’” There you have it. Humans, from the beginning of Creation, have looked for ways to plead “not guilty” in the face of their own sins. We have attempted to blame everyone else except ourselves for our moral failures. Humans have tried to blame God, their parents, their genes, their society, their spouses, their circumstances, and everything under the Sun for the selfish, sinful choices they have made. The next step with this approach is to say that, since we cannot choose our behavior, then “punishment is not justified for retribution (people get—or should get—what they deserve).”31

Notice the reasoning. If I can say that I cannot help myself (I cannot choose differently), then I do not have to feel guilty for the things I do wrong. Furthermore, if I did not choose the immoral actions that I committed, then neither society (nor God) can punish me for doing immoral things. Truly, the Proverbs writer accurately stated many years ago, “Evil men do not understand justice” (Proverbs 28:5). The atheistic position not only rejects the concept of free will, but then jettisons the concept of justice as well. Yet how acutely aware we humans are when injustice has been done to us.

In regard to the current situation, Romans 1 reads almost like a prophecy,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is evident in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (1:18-22, emp. added).

“I was just a meat robot.” “My selfish genes drove me to….” “The physical properties in my brain forced me to act that way.” “I could not have chosen differently so I’m not morally responsible.” These and other empty excuses will not be accepted by the Maker on the Day of Judgment. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Endnotes

1 Carl Sagan (1980), Cosmos (New York: Random House), p. 4.

2 American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.

3 Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters (2006), “Theology, Religion, and Intelligent Design,” in Not in Our Classrooms, ed. Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch (Boston, MA: Beacon Press), p. 75, emp. added.

4 Paul Davies (1983), God and the New Physics (New York: Simon & Schuster), p. 82.

5 Richard Lewontin (1997), “Billions and Billions of Demons,” in The New York Review of Books, 44[1]:31, January 9.

6 Sam Harris (2012), Free Will (New York: Free Press), p. 5, italics in orig.

7 Ibid., p. 19.

8 Ibid., p. 24.

9 Ibid., p. 40.

10 Ibid., p. 44.

11 Ibid., p. 63.

12 Ibid., p. 65, italics in orig.

13 Ibid., italics in orig.

14 For an extended discussion of consciousness and Creation, see Bert Thompson and Brad Harrub  (2004), “The Origin of Consciousness: Part 2,” Reason & Revelation, 24[2]:9-15, https://goo.gl/M9Drix.

15 Harris, p. 67.

16 William Provine (1998), “Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life,” http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/DarwinDayProvineAddress.htm, emp. added.

17 Ben Stein and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media), emp. added.

18 Francis Crick (1994), The Astonishing Hypothesis (London: Simon and Schuster), p. 3.

19 Richard Dawkins (2006), The Selfish Gene (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press), 30th Anniversary edition, p. xxi.

20 Ibid., p. 2.

21 Ibid., p. 66.

22 Dan Barker and Peter Payne (2005), “Does Ethics Require God?” http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/ethics_debate.php.

23 Dan Barker (2008),godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press), p. 128.

24 Anthony Cashmore (2010), “The Lucretian Swerve: The Biological Basis of Human Behavior and the Criminal Justice System,” PNAS, 107:10, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/04/0915161107.full.pdf+html.

25 Ibid.

26 Bill Nye (2016), Big Think, “Hey Bill Nye, Do Humans Have Free Will?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITdMa2bCaVc.

27 Ibid.

28 Jerry Coyne (2015), “You Don’t Have Free Will,” Imagine No Religion Convention, Vancouver, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca7i-D4ddaw.

29 Ibid. All other quotes from Coyne’s speech have the same bibliographic information unless otherwise noted.

30 Cashmore.

31 Coyne.

Suggested Resources

Aristotle’s “Unmoved Mover” and Those Who Are “Without Excuse” by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3795

Aristotle’s “Unmoved Mover” and Those Who Are “Without Excuse”

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

In Paul’s discussion of the sins of the Gentiles, the apostle explained that those Gentiles who refused to acknowledge the existence of a higher power (one that is responsible for the origin of the natural order) had no excuse for their failure in this regard:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:18-21).

If it is the case that those who refuse to believe in God (despite evidence He has presented in the material world) are without excuse, then we would expect to learn of people who, while perhaps lacking special revelation from God, nonetheless applied their God-given rationality to develop belief in a being that is responsible for the physical world. We find just such an example in one of the most famous and important philosophers, Aristotle.

In Aristotle’s Physics, the philosopher addresses the question of motion. After a lengthy discussion on the nature of motion and the immediate causes for motion, Aristotle addresses the remote cause for motion:

If everything that is in motion is moved by something that is in motion, either this is an accidental attribute of the things (so that each of them moves something while being itself in motion, but not because it is itself in motion) or it belongs to them in their own right. If, then, it is an accidental attribute, it is not necessary that that which causes motion should be in motion; and if this is so it is clear that there may be a time when nothing that exists is in motion, since the accidental is not necessary but contingent.... But the non-existence of motion is an impossibility (1984, 1:428, parenthetical item in orig.).

Aristotle, exemplary in his philosophical quest at this juncture, simply asks himself why there is motion. His conclusion, after a lengthy discussion, is essentially this: Because it is undeniable that motion exists, then there must be a first cause for the motion—an unmoved mover, whose movement (or causing of movement) is not an accidental property of His, but rather a necessary component of His being. Whereas each item in the created order is in motion because it has been moved by a distinct mover, the unmoved mover must possess the quality of motion (or the causing of motion). Aristotle lived prior to the Christian age, and was not a Hebrew; yet in his quest to understand the natural order, he was not prejudiced against belief in the supernatural.

Thomas Aquinas would adapt Aristotle’s argument to formulate what we know as part of the cosmological argument for the existence of the God of the Bible (see Maurer, 2010; cf. Jeffcoat, n.d.):

Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another.... For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality.... It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e., that it should move itself. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover.... Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God (1952, 19:12,13, emp. added).

Peter Kreeft summarizes Aquinas’ argument: “Since no thing (or series of things) can move (change) itself, there must be a first, Unmoved Mover, source of all motion” (1990, p. 63, parenthetical items in orig.).

The necessity of the unmoved Mover is obvious. Yet, Paul recognized that some had become so calloused by worldly concerns as to prejudice their hearts against the Creator. So, God “gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness” (Romans 1:28-30). Despite the forceful clarity with which God has revealed Himself to His creation, some will misuse their intellectual freedom and reject Him. May we, on the other hand, willingly receive a simple, yet critical, lesson from Aristotle and Aquinas concerning the necessary existence of our Creator.

REFERENCES

Aquinas, Thomas (1952), Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago).

Aristotle (1984), Physics, trans. R.P. Hardie and R.K. Gaye, in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. Jonathan Barnes (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

Jeffcoat, W.D. (no date), “The Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God,” http://apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/Cosmological-Argument-for-Exist.pdf.

Kreeft, Peter (1990), Summa of the Summa (San Francisco: Ignatius Press).

Maurer, Armand (2010), “Medieval Philosophy,” Encyclopaedia Brittanica, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1350843/Western-philosophy/8653/Thomas-Aquinas?anchor=ref365766.

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" The Parable Of The Four Soils (4:1-20) by Mark Copeland

 

                                    "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                        The Parable Of The Four Soils (4:1-20)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom He did not always find a receptive audience...
   a. Some listened only to find reasons to accuse Him - Mk 3:2
   b. Jesus therefore began to teach publicly in parables - Mk 4:1-2
   c. In private, He would explain the parables to His disciples - Mk 4:10,33-34
   d. The main reason:  many had become "hard of hearing" - Mk 4:11-12; cf. Mt 13:10-15

2. One of the most well-known parables illustrates the problem Jesus faced...
   a. Commonly known as "The Parable Of The Sower"
   b. But probably more accurately described as "The Parable Of The Four Soils"
   c. Told by Jesus to illustrate different reactions to the gospel message

[Mark's account of the parable is given in Mk 4:1-20 (please read).  The
significance of this parable is stated in Mk 4:13.  In this study, we
direct our attention to Jesus' explanation of the four soils...]

I. THE WAYSIDE GROUND

   A. EXPLAINED BY JESUS...
      1. Those who have the seed taken from their hearts by Satan - Mk 4:15
      2. Matthew's account says it is because they do not understand - cf. Mt 13:19
      3. Their condition is one of being "blinded" by Satan to the gospel - 2Co 4:3-4
      4. While Satan contributes to their blindness, it is precipitated
         by their own hardness of heart! - cf. Mt 13:15
      -- This soil represents those whose hard hearts are manipulated by Satan to resist

   B. APPLIED TODAY...
      1. Many people have hardened their hearts to the gospel for various reasons
         a. Some because they love darkness more than light - Jn 3:19-20
         b. Some because they love praise from men more than God - Jn 12:42-43
      2. Satan easily takes advantage of such people to blind them
         a. Through appealing doctrines like hedonism, secularism, materialism
         b. Through popular doctrines like humanism, evolution, post-modernism
      -- This soil represents many today who have no interest in spiritual things

[The next soil in the parable is...]

II. THE STONY GROUND

   A. EXPLAINED BY JESUS...
      1. Those who hear the word and immediately receive it with gladness - Mk 4:16
      2. Yet with no root, they do not endure - Mk 4:17a
      3. They stumble when faced with tribulation, persecution, temptation - Mk 4:17b; cf. Lk 8:13
      -- This soil represents those who believe and obey, but do not last long

   B. APPLIED TODAY...
      1. Many hear the Word and received it with great joy
         a. They are quick to obey the gospel
         b. They are enthusiastic, "on fire" for the Lord
      2. But their faith is shallow, their joy the result of emotionalism
         a. They are not grounded in the Word
         b. When troubles arise, there is no endurance and stumbling occurs
      -- This soil represents Christians ruled more by emotion than by the Word of God

[The third soil in the parable is ...]

III. THE THORNY GROUND

   A. EXPLAINED BY JESUS...
      1. Those who hear the Word - Mk 4:18
      2. Whose ability to bear fruit is choked - Mk 4:19
         a. By the cares of this world
         b. By the deceitfulness of riches
         c. By the desires for other things - cf. Lk 8:14 (pleasures of life)
      -- This soil represents those who believe and obey, but then stagnate

   B. APPLIED TODAY...
      1. Many become Christians, but never mature
         a. They may attend church, even participate or lead in the  services
         b. But spiritually they remain "babes" and "carnal" - e.g., 1Co 3:1-3; He 5:12-14
      2. Their spiritual growth is inhibited
         a. By cares and anxieties that detract their minds - cf. Lk 12: 29-32
         b. By riches that deceive them into self-sufficiency - cf. 1 Ti 6:17-19
         c. By pleasures that divert their minds from the things of the Spirit - cf. Ga 5:17; 6:7-9
      -- This soil represents Christians rendered fruitless by materialism

[Finally, the fourth soil in the parable is...]

IV. THE GOOD GROUND

   A. EXPLAINED BY JESUS...
      1. Those who hear the word, accept it, and bear varying amounts of fruit - Mk 4:20
      2. Matthew says they "understand" the Word - Mt 13:23
      3. Luke says they hear the Word "with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience." - Lk 8:15
      -- This soil represents those with good hearts who understand and obey the Word

   B. APPLIED TODAY...
      1. Many become Christians who have this "noble and good heart"
         a. They make the effort to understand the Word
         b. They make the effort to keep it, and with patience produce fruit in their lives!
      2. They are like the Bereans, commended as "fair-minded", manifested by:
         a. How they "received the word will all readiness" - Ac 17:11a
         b. "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" - Ac 17:11b
      3. Note the importance of understanding in relation to bearing fruit...
         a. Jesus made the connection between the two in this parable - Mt 13:23
         b. Paul connects the two when he writes of the gospel producing
            fruit among the Colossians "since the day they heard (NASV
            says "understood") the grace of God in truth" - Col 1:5-6
      4. When one "understands", they will more likely "bear fruit"
         a. But the key to understanding is having a "good and noble heart"
         b. One that is willing to listen and learn!
      5. Note that Jesus said not all will bear the same amount...
         a. "some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred" - Mk 4:20
         b. Some may be given more according to their ability - cf. Mt 25:14-15
         c. Whatever our ability, we should exercise it accordingly - cf. 1Pe 4:10-11
      -- This soil represents Christians who are faithful and fruitful in their service

CONCLUSION

1. "The Parable Of The Four Soils" is fairly easy to understand (with Jesus' help)

2. To truly benefit from the parable, let me ask "What kind of soil are you?"...
   a. Are you like the wayside?
      1) If you have heard the gospel of Christ, but have not obeyed it...
      2) You are in the process of hardening your heart the longer you wait!
      3) You are susceptible to Satan's deception, to blind you to God's Word!
   b. Are you like the stony ground?
      1) If you responded to the gospel, but are not grounded in the faith...
      2) You will likely fall away when persecution or temptation comes your way!
   c. Are you like the thorny ground?
      1) If you responded to the gospel, but are preoccupied with the
         cares, riches, and pleasures of this world, you will not be able to bear much fruit!
      2) Remember what Jesus said about branches that don't bear fruit! - Jn 15:1-6
   d. Are you like the good ground?
      1) If you have responded to the gospel, and are bearing fruit...
      2) Then you have demonstrated several important things:
         a) You have a good and noble heart!
         b) You have come to understand the Word!
         c) You have been keeping it with patience!
      3) And the Word of God produced its intended effect in you!

May this parable and its explanation by Jesus stimulate our thinking and
examine our hearts and lives in relation to the gospel of Christ...!

          "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" - Mk 4:9  
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

305,883 Pageviews

Does God Want America To Be Great Again? by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

https://thepreachersword.com/2016/07/22/does-god-want-america-to-be-great-again/

Does God Want America To Be Great Again?

Make America Great Again

Last night closed the Republican National Convention with the acceptance speech of the nominee, Donald Trump, and the traditional balloon drop.  His campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, was the Convention theme.

Like many of my Christian brother and sisters, I’m in a bit of conundrum regarding this election and the decision whether to even vote. I can’t say this week has moved me any closer. And I doubt next week’s Democratic convention will either.

In the past several months I have read numerous facebook posts practically condemning any Christian for voting for Donald Trump. Or voting for Hillary Clinton. Or for not voting. This year’s election in not only very contentious, but has become a wedge of contention among Christians. Some are adamant that even though Donald Trump has his flaws, he’s better than the alternative. In fact, it’s even been suggested that maybe God is using him to preserve our way of life.

While ruminating on these thoughts, I came across a blog post by Chris Gilmore who describes himself as “a pastor, human, and boundary tester.” He also says he “desires to be reasonable as well as faithful.”

Chris raised some intriguing questions: “What if God doesn’t want to Make America Great Again? Or maybe, what if God’s definition of great looks a lot different from what many of us are hoping for? What if saving our country (whatever is meant by that) is not really what God has in mind?”

Chris’ post speaks to some issues that we have been writing about over the past four years. Values. Morality. Spirituality. Ethics. Honor. Kingdom citizenship. And allegiance to the Lord.

Christianity was born into a wicked world where the Disciples did not enjoy the freedom and material advantages afforded to us. Yet, Christianity not only survived, but thrived. The ministry and message of the Gospel “turned the Roman Empire upside down.

I doubt of God’s idea of greatness is exactly the same as Donald Trump’s. Or even that of many professing Christianity. To the nation of Israel in the Old Testament that frequently strayed away from God and suffering at the hands of their enemies, the Lord issued this challenge.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2chron. 7:14).

I am not equating ancient Israel with modern-day America. I’m simply saying God’s definition of a great nation, may not be the same as many today. How can our country be great again when nearly 60 million babies have been slaughtered on the altar of immorality, selfishness and arrogance?

How can America be great again when behavior that God calls an abomination, is not only tolerated, but celebrated?

How can America be great again when justice is not applied equally regardless of power, position or prestige?

How can America be great again when the ungodly and unprincipled men and women are in power? The wise man was right, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Prov 29:2).

How can America be great again when entire groups of people reject divine guidance, run wild in the streets and promote anarchy? (Prov. 29:18).

We cannot be great apart from goodness and godliness.

What is greatness? Jesus said, “but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” (Mk. 10:43-44). Do we aspire to that kind of greatness?

No doubt we are in for turbulent days ahead. A contentious election. Crime in the streets. Terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists. And, a sharp difference between people of good faith.

Through it all, let’s remember who we are. To whom we belong. And why we are here on earth.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


THE JUDGEMENT SEAT by steve finnell

 

https://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-judgement-seat-by-steve-finnell.html

THE JUDGEMENT SEAT by steve finnell


The Supreme Court can rule that gay marriage is legal. The Supreme Court can judge that the killing of unborn babies is the law of the land, however, when men stand for the final judgement, it will not be before nine men in black robes. All men will stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

Hebrews 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for all men to die once and after that comes judgment,(NASB)

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (NASB)

Acts 10:42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living  and the dead.(NASB)

Is there an escape from the punishment from sin on Judgment Day? Yes.

Acts 10:43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of Sins.(NASB)

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NASB)

Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.(NASB)

Can men reject Faith John 3:16, Repentance Acts 3:19, Confession Romans 10:9, and Immersion in water Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21 and escape the penalty of sins that they have committed?

UNREPENTANT HEART

Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of righteousness judgment of God.(NASB)

Pride is the roadblock to faith for the forgiveness of sins, repentance for the forgiveness of sins, confession for the forgiveness of sins, and baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

PHILEMON by Paul Southern

 

https://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Southern/Paul/1901/philemon.html


PHILEMON

  1. THE TITLE
  2. This letter bears the name of the person addressed.

  3. THE WRITER
  4. The Apostle Paul was the writer of this epistle as we note in verse 1.

  5. THE ADDRESSEE
  6. Philemon lived at Colossae, and was probably converted by the preaching of Paul (Colossians 4:9,17; Phil 2,10,19). A church met in Philemon's house (v. 2). The letter indicates that he was a man of wealth and influence. His humility and liberality toward needy brethren showed his noble Christian character.

  7. TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING
  8. This letter was written about A.D. 62 during Paul's first imprisonment at Rome (1,2; 23;24). Ephesians and Colossians were written about the same time.

  9. THE GOSPEL IN COLOSSAE
  10. It is difficult to determine who established the church in Colossae. Many name Epaphras as the founder (Col 1:6,7; 4:12,13). However, some suppose that Paul visited Colossae and founded the church on his third mission tour (Acts 18:23-19:1). We do know that he kept in close touch with the church, and that he and Philemon were knitted together in the bonds of friendship (Colossians 1:3,4,9; 2:5-7; Philemon 1,2,9,23). It has been supposed that Philemon was an officer in the Colossian church, that Apphia was his wife, and that Archippus was minister of the church. The New Testament gives no definite evidence in support of these assumptions.

  11. PURPOSE AND CONTENTS OF THE LETTER
  12. Onesimus, one of Philemon's household slaves, had robbed his master and fled to Rome where he was converted under Paul's preaching (10-20). How Paul and Onesimus were brought together is nowhere mentioned, but Paul seemed to consider it an act of providence. The purpose of the letter was to effect a reconciliation between Onesimus and Philemon. Hence Paul admonished Onesimus to return home, and asked Philemon to receive him back, "no longer as a servant, but more than a servant, a brother beloved" (12-16). The letter is one of four personal epistles by Paul. It differs from his other letters in that it contains no doctrine and is aesthetical in character. In this book we notice the transforming power of the gospel on society. Although Christianity recognized the existence of slavery, its principles of brotherhood softened the harsh relations between social classes and paved the way for freedom and democracy. The epistle is a wonderful illustration of Paul's delicacy and tenderness of character. It has been called "the polite epistle." Certainly, it is a noble example of Christian love.

  13. EXERCISES FOR STUDENT ACTIVITY
    1. True-False
      1. Paul wrote five personal letters (T F)
      2. The epistle to Philemon is doctrinal (T F)
      3. Philemon was a member of the church at Colossae (T F)
      4. Philemon was probably converted by the preaching of Paul (T F)
      5. Philemon was an unscrupulous business man (T F)
      6. At the time of this letter, Paul was a prisoner at Rome (T F)
      7. Onesimus was a slave of Philemon (T F)
      8. Onesimus had run away to Corinth (T F)
      9. Onesimus was converted by the preaching of Paul (T F)
      10. A church met in Philemon's house (T F)
      11. Paul had hopes of visiting Philemon (T F)
      12. Onesimus had stolen from his master (T F)
      13. Paul urged Onesimus to remain in Rome (T F)
      14. Paul refused to pay Philemon for what Onesimus had stolen (T F)
      15. Archippus was probably Philemon's wife (T F)

    2. Topics for further study
      1. In the light of Philemon explain how Christianity deals with slavery.
      2. Summarize the ethical teaching of Philemon.
      3. Compare Paul's instruction in I Corinthians 7:17-24 with Philemon.
      4. Discuss the proper attitude of Christians toward a penitent person with a bad record behind him.
      5. Learn all that you can concerning each person named in Philemon.
      6. Write a paper on "Slavery in the Roman Empire."

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

Bible Reading for December 21 and 22 by Gary Rose

 

 

Bible Reading for December 21 and 22

World  English  Bible


Dec. 21

Mic 1:1 The word of Yahweh that came to Micah the Morashtite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Mic 1:2 Hear, you peoples, all of you. Listen, O earth, and all that is therein: and let the Lord Yahweh be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.

Mic 1:3 For, behold, Yahweh comes forth out of his place, and will come down and tread on the high places of the earth.

Mic 1:4 The mountains melt under him, and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like waters that are poured down a steep place.

Mic 1:5 "All this is for the disobedience of Jacob, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the disobedience of Jacob? Isn't it Samaria? And what are the high places of Judah? Aren't they Jerusalem?

Mic 1:6 Therefore I will make Samaria like a rubble heap of the field, like places for planting vineyards; and I will pour down its stones into the valley, and I will uncover its foundations.

Mic 1:7 All her idols will be beaten to pieces, and all her temple gifts will be burned with fire, and all her images I will destroy; for of the hire of a prostitute has she gathered them, and to the hire of a prostitute shall they return."

Mic 1:8 For this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked; I will howl like the jackals, and moan like the daughters of owls.

Mic 1:9 For her wounds are incurable; for it has come even to Judah. It reaches to the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.

Mic 1:10 Don't tell it in Gath. Don't weep at all. At Beth Ophrah I have rolled myself in the dust.

Mic 1:11 Pass on, inhabitant of Shaphir, in nakedness and shame. The inhabitant of Zaanan won't come out. The wailing of Beth Ezel will take from you his protection.

Mic 1:12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waits anxiously for good, because evil has come down from Yahweh to the gate of Jerusalem.

Mic 1:13 Harness the chariot to the swift steed, inhabitant of Lachish. She was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion; For the transgressions of Israel were found in you.

Mic 1:14 Therefore you will give a parting gift to Moresheth Gath. The houses of Achzib will be a deceitful thing to the kings of Israel.

Mic 1:15 I will yet bring to you, inhabitant of Mareshah. He who is the glory of Israel will come to Adullam.

Mic 1:16 Shave your heads, and cut off your hair for the children of your delight. Enlarge your baldness like the vulture; for they have gone into captivity from you!


Mic 2:1 Woe to those who devise iniquity and work evil on their beds! When the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.

Mic 2:2 They covet fields, and seize them; and houses, and take them away: and they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.

Mic 2:3 Therefore thus says Yahweh: "Behold, I am planning against these people a disaster, from which you will not remove your necks, neither will you walk haughtily; for it is an evil time.

Mic 2:4 In that day they will take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, saying, 'We are utterly ruined! My people's possession is divided up. Indeed he takes it from me and assigns our fields to traitors!' "

Mic 2:5 Therefore you will have no one who divides the land by lot in the assembly of Yahweh.

Mic 2:6 "Don't prophesy!" They prophesy. "Don't prophesy about these things. Disgrace won't overtake us."

Mic 2:7 Shall it be said, O house of Jacob: "Is the Spirit of Yahweh angry? Are these his doings? Don't my words do good to him who walks blamelessly?"

Mic 2:8 But lately my people have risen up as an enemy. You strip the robe and clothing from those who pass by without a care, returning from battle.

Mic 2:9 You drive the women of my people out from their pleasant houses; from their young children you take away my blessing forever.

Mic 2:10 Arise, and depart! For this is not your resting place, because of uncleanness that destroys, even with a grievous destruction.

Mic 2:11 If a man walking in a spirit of falsehood lies: "I will prophesy to you of wine and of strong drink;" he would be the prophet of this people.

Mic 2:12 I will surely assemble, Jacob, all of you; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as a flock in the midst of their pasture; they will swarm with people.

Mic 2:13 He who breaks open the way goes up before them. They break through the gate, and go out. And their king passes on before them, with Yahweh at their head.


Mic 3:1 I said, "Please listen, you heads of Jacob, and rulers of the house of Israel: Isn't it for you to know justice?

Mic 3:2 You who hate the good, and love the evil; who tear off their skin, and their flesh from off their bones;

Mic 3:3 who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.

Mic 3:4 Then they will cry to Yahweh, but he will not answer them. Yes, he will hide his face from them at that time, because they made their deeds evil."

Mic 3:5 Thus says Yahweh concerning the prophets who lead my people astray; for those who feed their teeth, they proclaim, "Peace!" and whoever doesn't provide for their mouths, they prepare war against him:

Mic 3:6 "Therefore night is over you, with no vision, and it is dark to you, that you may not divine; and the sun will go down on the prophets, and the day will be black over them.

Mic 3:7 The seers shall be disappointed, and the diviners confounded. Yes, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer from God."

Mic 3:8 But as for me, I am full of power by the Spirit of Yahweh, and of judgment, and of might, to declare to Jacob his disobedience, and to Israel his sin.

Mic 3:9 Please listen to this, you heads of the house of Jacob, and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice, and pervert all equity.

Mic 3:10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.

Mic 3:11 Her leaders judge for bribes, and her priests teach for a price, and her prophets of it tell fortunes for money: yet they lean on Yahweh, and say, "Isn't Yahweh in the midst of us? No disaster will come on us."

Mic 3:12 Therefore Zion for your sake will be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem will become heaps of rubble, and the mountain of the temple like the high places of a forest.


Mic 4:1 But in the latter days, it will happen that the mountain of Yahweh's temple will be established on the top of the mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills; and peoples will stream to it.

Mic 4:2 Many nations will go and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For out of Zion will go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem;

Mic 4:3 and he will judge between many peoples, and will decide concerning strong nations afar off. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more.

Mic 4:4 But they will sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and no one will make them afraid: For the mouth of Yahweh of Armies has spoken.

Mic 4:5 Indeed all the nations may walk in the name of their gods; but we will walk in the name of Yahweh our God forever and ever.

Mic 4:6 "In that day," says Yahweh, "I will assemble that which is lame, and I will gather that which is driven away, and that which I have afflicted;

Mic 4:7 and I will make that which was lame a remnant, and that which was cast far off a strong nation: and Yahweh will reign over them on Mount Zion from then on, even forever."

Mic 4:8 You, tower of the flock, the hill of the daughter of Zion, to you it will come, yes, the former dominion will come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.

Mic 4:9 Now why do you cry out aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pains have taken hold of you as of a woman in travail?

Mic 4:10 Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail; for now you will go forth out of the city, and will dwell in the field, and will come even to Babylon. There you will be rescued. There Yahweh will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.

Mic 4:11 Now many nations have assembled against you, that say, "Let her be defiled, and let our eye gloat over Zion."

Mic 4:12 But they don't know the thoughts of Yahweh, neither do they understand his counsel; for he has gathered them like the sheaves to the threshing floor.

Mic 4:13 Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion; for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs brass; and you will beat in pieces many peoples: and I will devote their gain to Yahweh, and their substance to the Lord of the whole earth. 

 

Dec. 22

Micah 5-7

Mic 5:1 Now you shall gather yourself in troops, daughter of troops. He has laid siege against us. They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.

Mic 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, being small among the clans of Judah, out of you one will come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.

Mic 5:3 Therefore he will abandon them until the time that she who is in labor gives birth. Then the rest of his brothers will return to the children of Israel.

Mic 5:4 He shall stand, and shall shepherd in the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh his God: and they will live, for then he will be great to the ends of the earth.

Mic 5:5 He will be our peace when Assyria invades our land, and when he marches through our fortresses, then we will raise against him seven shepherds, and eight leaders of men.

Mic 5:6 They will rule the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in its gates. He will deliver us from the Assyrian, when he invades our land, and when he marches within our border.

Mic 5:7 The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples, like dew from Yahweh, like showers on the grass, that don't wait for man, nor wait for the sons of men.

Mic 5:8 The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the animals of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep; who, if he goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is no one to deliver.

Mic 5:9 Let your hand be lifted up above your adversaries, and let all of your enemies be cut off.

Mic 5:10 "It will happen in that day," says Yahweh, "That I will cut off your horses out of the midst of you, and will destroy your chariots.

Mic 5:11 I will cut off the cities of your land, and will tear down all your strongholds.

Mic 5:12 I will destroy witchcraft from your hand; and you shall have no soothsayers.

Mic 5:13 I will cut off your engraved images and your pillars out of your midst; and you shall no more worship the work of your hands.

Mic 5:14 I will uproot your Asherim out of your midst; and I will destroy your cities.

Mic 5:15 I will execute vengeance in anger, and wrath on the nations that didn't listen."


Mic 6:1 Listen now to what Yahweh says: "Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear what you have to say.

Mic 6:2 Hear, you mountains, Yahweh's controversy, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for Yahweh has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel.

Mic 6:3 My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me!

Mic 6:4 For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage. I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

Mic 6:5 My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of Yahweh."

Mic 6:6 How shall I come before Yahweh, and bow myself before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Mic 6:7 Will Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams? With tens of thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my disobedience? The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

Mic 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Mic 6:9 Yahweh's voice calls to the city, and wisdom sees your name: "Listen to the rod, and he who appointed it.

Mic 6:10 Are there yet treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and a short ephah that is accursed?

Mic 6:11 Shall I be pure with dishonest scales, and with a bag of deceitful weights?

Mic 6:12 Her rich men are full of violence, her inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their speech.

Mic 6:13 Therefore I also have struck you with a grievous wound. I have made you desolate because of your sins.

Mic 6:14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied. Your humiliation will be in your midst. You will store up, but not save; and that which you save I will give up to the sword.

Mic 6:15 You will sow, but won't reap. You will tread the olives, but won't anoint yourself with oil; and crush grapes, but won't drink the wine.

Mic 6:16 For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab. You walk in their counsels, that I may make you a ruin, and her inhabitants a hissing; And you will bear the reproach of my people."


Mic 7:1 Misery is mine! Indeed, I am like one who gathers the summer fruits, as gleanings of the vineyard: There is no cluster of grapes to eat. My soul desires to eat the early fig.

Mic 7:2 The godly man has perished out of the earth, and there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; every man hunts his brother with a net.

Mic 7:3 Their hands are on that which is evil to do it diligently. The ruler and judge ask for a bribe; and the powerful man dictates the evil desire of his soul. Thus they conspire together.

Mic 7:4 The best of them is like a brier. The most upright is worse than a thorn hedge. The day of your watchmen, even your visitation, has come; now is the time of their confusion.

Mic 7:5 Don't trust in a neighbor. Don't put confidence in a friend. With the woman lying in your embrace, be careful of the words of your mouth!

Mic 7:6 For the son dishonors the father, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house. 


Dec. 21

Revelation 3, 4

Rev 3:1 "And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write: "He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: "I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

Rev 3:2 Wake up, and keep the things that remain, which you were about to throw away, for I have found no works of yours perfected before my God.

Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you won't watch, I will come as a thief, and you won't know what hour I will come upon you.

Rev 3:4 Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

Rev 3:5 He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Rev 3:6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

Rev 3:7 "To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: "He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things:

Rev 3:8 "I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word, and didn't deny my name.

Rev 3:9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but lie. Behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.

Rev 3:10 Because you kept my command to endure, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, which is to come on the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

Rev 3:11 I am coming quickly! Hold firmly that which you have, so that no one takes your crown.

Rev 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name.

Rev 3:13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

Rev 3:14 "To the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write: "The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God's creation, says these things:

Rev 3:15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot.

Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.

Rev 3:17 Because you say, 'I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;' and don't know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked;

Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.

Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent.

Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me.

Rev 3:21 He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Rev 3:22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies."


Rev 4:1 After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, "Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this."

Rev 4:2 Immediately I was in the Spirit. Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne

Rev 4:3 that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at.

Rev 4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones. On the thrones were twenty-four elders sitting, dressed in white garments, with crowns of gold on their heads.

Rev 4:5 Out of the throne proceed lightnings, sounds, and thunders. There were seven lamps of fire burning before his throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Rev 4:6 Before the throne was something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal. In the midst of the throne, and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind.

Rev 4:7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle.

Rev 4:8 The four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within. They have no rest day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come!"

Rev 4:9 When the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever,

Rev 4:10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever, and throw their crowns before the throne, saying,

Rev 4:11 "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, the Holy One, to receive the glory, the honor, and the power, for you created all things, and because of your desire they existed, and were created!" 

 

Dec. 22

Revelation 5, 6

Rev 5:1 I saw, in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a book written inside and outside, sealed shut with seven seals.

Rev 5:2 I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book, and to break its seals?"

Rev 5:3 No one in heaven above, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look in it.

Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look in it.

Rev 5:5 One of the elders said to me, "Don't weep. Behold, the Lion who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome; he who opens the book and its seven seals."

Rev 5:6 I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.

Rev 5:7 Then he came, and he took it out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne.

Rev 5:8 Now when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Rev 5:9 They sang a new song, saying, "You are worthy to take the book, and to open its seals: for you were killed, and bought us for God with your blood, out of every tribe, language, people, and nation,

Rev 5:10 and made us kings and priests to our God, and we will reign on earth."

Rev 5:11 I saw, and I heard something like a voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands;

Rev 5:12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing!"

Rev 5:13 I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion, forever and ever! Amen!"

Rev 5:14 The four living creatures said, "Amen!" The elders fell down and worshiped.


Rev 6:1 I saw that the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder, "Come and see!"

Rev 6:2 And behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow. A crown was given to him, and he came forth conquering, and to conquer.

Rev 6:3 When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come!"

Rev 6:4 Another came forth, a red horse. To him who sat on it was given power to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. There was given to him a great sword.

Rev 6:5 When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come and see!" And behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a balance in his hand.

Rev 6:6 I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenix of barley for a denarius! Don't damage the oil and the wine!"

Rev 6:7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see!"

Rev 6:8 And behold, a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. Hades followed with him. Authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to him.

Rev 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed for the Word of God, and for the testimony of the Lamb which they had.

Rev 6:10 They cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, Master, the holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

Rev 6:11 A long white robe was given to each of them. They were told that they should rest yet for a while, until their fellow servants and their brothers, who would also be killed even as they were, should complete their course.

Rev 6:12 I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became as blood.

Rev 6:13 The stars of the sky fell to the earth, like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when it is shaken by a great wind.

Rev 6:14 The sky was removed like a scroll when it is rolled up. Every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

Rev 6:15 The kings of the earth, the princes, the commanding officers, the rich, the strong, and every slave and free person, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains.

Rev 6:16 They told the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,

Rev 6:17 for the great day of his wrath has come; and who is able to stand?"