Sunday, February 28, 2010


The first three parts of my series on Politics and Religion have had to do with Politics. The next three parts will focus upon Religion. Let me begin by saying I am not an expert on either subject, nor can I say my present position will remain set in stone. I am open and willing to hear opposing views, although It is highly unlikely that I will change my position, but miracles do happen.

Webster's New World dictionary defines religion as follows: a reverence for the god(s), a system of religious beliefs to bind together followers who believe in a divine or superhuman power(s) to be obeyed and worshiped as the creator(s) and ruler(s) of the universe. As such, a religion includes a code of ethics, a philosophy of values, and forms the framework for a social group's way of life.

In other words, a religion tells its followers what they have to do, and what they have to avoid doing, to have eternal life. Religion, therefore, defines the prerequisites necessary to earn admission into the afterlife. The Gospels tell of people wanting to know what they had to do to have eternal life. Matthew 18:16-22 tells of a rich man who asked Jesus "what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life." The very question demonstrates that the man was religious. Again, in John 6:28-29, the crowd that followed Jesus wanted to know "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" Presumably these were Jews steeped in the religion of the Law. But Gentiles also asked the same question in Acts 16:30. The Philippian jailer asked Paul "what must I do to be saved?" The answer is always the same: believe in Jesus. Notice that the answer does not list actions necessary to do or to avoid, but simply says to believe. Believing is not what someone does; it is something they trust to be true.

If I were to tell you that the board I placed across the creek was strong enough to hold you, how would you demonstrate that you believed me? You could tell me you believed me, but I would not know if you were being honest or not. No, the result of believing is action that demonstrates one's faith. You would cross the creek on the board without hesitation. So it is with being a Christian. There are no requirements or qualifications to be one, and nothing a Christian can do or fail to do, that would alter the fact that they are a believer. You can't say to the person who crosses the board that they aren't really on the other side until they do something. They are there, period.

When my pastor led my wife to Christ nearly forty years ago, he illustrated God's offer of salvation by using a penny. He said he would give her the penny, and he held it out to her. When she took it, he asked her when did it become hers. She said when she took it. He said that Jesus offers eternal life to any who will accept it. It becomes ours when we believe He has it to give, that He is willing to give it, and that all we have to do is trust Him to give it to us. True Christianity does not meet the definition of being a religion. It is something quite different from religion. More tomorrow, Lord willing.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I am proud to be an American, and as I said last time, I believe our form of government is the best man can do. Unfortunately, mankind is corrupted with a sin nature, and as long as humans are involved in anything, it will be screwed up. That includes religion as well, but I will address that disaster later. Suffice it to say, anyone who reads or watches the news will attest to politician's flawed nature. I saw yesterday that the Governor of New York and a very senior congressman from there, are in danger of going to prison for corrupt behavior. Somehow, we naively expect them to be better at overcoming their human nature.

Recently, Indiana Senator Evan Bahy (D) announced that he would not seek reelection because he didn't enjoy being in the Senate. He listed many issues he had with his colleagues, and of course blamed much of his discontent on the opposition party. Isn't it funny how the behavior of Republicans displeases one that used the very same tactics when the Democrats were a minority? But I digress. His announcement was because he could see the handwriting on the wall; Democrats are going to lose many seats due to Obama's policies, which his party is obligated to support, like it or not. He conveniently made his announcement the day before the deadline to qualify to run for his seat. Because no one had time to prepare, the Governor will have to pick his replacement. It is not inconceivable that the Governor could pick him. Political suicide, in national politics has been known to occur.

Recently, Kentucky State Troopers were filmed at a cock fight. Their explanation for being there was that they were looking for a felon, and that was their priority. What I have not heard reported yet, was why those participating in the event saw no reason to run for them there hills. Perhaps they were used to them being there and saw no threat to their "fowl" behavior (pun intended). I watch a lot of crime shows on TV, and I constantly hear complaints from the police and prosecutors about how the courts "tie their hands" in dealing with criminals. I very rarely hear someone telling them that those rules are in place to prevent a repeat of past abuse. Of course, the shows may have someone bring that up, but they are portrayed as being unprincipled lawyers who would go to any length to get their client off. Thank God for Mattlock.

So, how are Christians supposed to react to a less than perfect government? You are not going to like the answer. We are to pay taxes (Matthew 22:17-21), and we are to submit (Romans 13:1-7). The only time a Christian can disobey the government God has placed over him or her, is when it requires you to go against what God tells us to do (Acts 5:28-29). The Romans passage above tells us that God is the One Who places government officials in office (and you thought you elected them). And we are not just talking about America; God empowered Rome, which would one day crucify His Son. While His intent is for leaders to rule justly, the fact that they don't is not a surprise to Him. Trust Him, it will all work out in the end. After all, He works all things for good to them that trust Him, to them that are called by His name (Romans 8:28).

Friday, February 26, 2010


As I said yesterday, there is no shortage of opinions when it comes to the subjects of politics and religion. But oddly enough, few care to share their views, and even fewer care to hear yours. I play games on the internet at a site called POGO, and you should hear the responses to comments concerning these two subjects. On second thought, you shouldn't. I thank God people don't know where I live, because I am afraid that many would like to do me harm. Fortunately, the gun control lobby has been unable to change the Constitution. Which reminds me, my gun cleaning has been kind of lax lately.

Most people believe our country is a democracy, but it is not. In a democracy, every decision is voted upon by every voter. Ours is a republic. In a republic, voters elect people to represent them. The legislative and the executive branches of our government are elected by popular vote. The judicial branch is appointed by elected officials on the federal level. State and local officials are usually elected the same way, but some states vary. While it would be impossible to get anything done if there had to be a national election on every issue, that idea certainly has merit. With representatives, two sayings apply: "You get what you pay for," and "Buyer beware!" Once you elect a scoundrel, you are stuck with him or her until the next election. Of course, there is always the possibility of impeachment, but like capital punishment, it takes forever. By the time all of the legal debate is finished, it would be time to elect a replacement. Illinois is an exception.

Because running for political office requires so much money, our representatives need to befriend the wealthy for support. The result is that politicians owe allegiance to their contributors, especially if they want to stay in office. So, when they vote on bills, they are most likely to vote the way their financial supporters would if they themselves had a vote. Where does that leave the vast majority who are unable to contribute enough to persuade their representative to vote in their best interest? It leaves them unrepresented.

That brings me to another point. In order to get elected, politicians need to ride the fence between the "fat cats" and the rest of us. Politicians are said to "speak out of both sides of their mouth." They tell each audience what they want to hear. When the two views are diametrically opposed to one another, they lie.
They lie about what they are going to do; they lie about their opponent; they lie about their past; they lie.
In a country that votes for their representatives based upon what they know about them, lying is tantamount to treason. It is literally stealing the votes by deception. As a result, our government is not really ours.

While the United States of America has the best government on the planet, it is certainly flawed by having elected officials that are often less than honorable. As long as human beings are involved, there will be corruption. My choice of government is a Theocracy. When Jesus returns, the Millennium Kingdom will be totally run by God. Bribes, lies, and threats will no longer be an issue. Come Lord Jesus!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


If there is one thing that is quite obvious about human nature, it is that every man has an opinion. I have no problem with those whose opinions differ from mine, as long as they are expressed in a civilized manner. I do object to those who freely express their views, while attempting to silence the opposition. The two main areas in which the "silencers" are most often found are in the areas of politics and religion. The problem is so wide spread that many want nothing to do with discussing either. Unfortunately for me, those are my two favorite subjects. Maybe that is why I get invited to so few functions.

My political views are very simple. I believe government should defend our nation from enemies foreign and domestic, should maintain social order, and take care of the infrastructure. I do not believe it should educate, feed, house, subsidize, or interfere in any other way with the free market economy. Nor do I believe it should interfere in the governments of other nations, neither by threat nor by bribe.

It is clear that our educational system turns out students who are undereducated, improperly educated, and even brain-washed. Our kids cannot compete in the areas of Math and Science with other students. It presents bias material in History and in the social sciences. It brain-washes kids into believing that Man evolved from "lower animals," thereby teaching that the Bible is mythological, superstitious, and an ignorantly contrived tool to control people. I would like to see the government either stop collecting taxes for education, or for it to provide vouchers so that people could send their children to the school of their choice. That would make schools compete for students, and therefore strive for excellence in educating them.

Our welfare system creates dependents, rather than helping people be independent. Why work when Uncle will provide you with food, housing, and medical treatment? The welfare mentality carries over into a "big brother" relationship with business, as well. Rather than have companies become successful or fail, it props up companies that make inferior products and have poor marketing skills. In doing so, it makes the companies which are turning out good products charge more because they do not receive subsidies. They, in turn, become unable to compete, and thereby require governmental help. Eventually, government will control production, sales, and prices, and we end up with socialism. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, the depression and World War II, resulted in great unemployment, resulting in big government becoming the sole provider for millions. And, the more people who depend upon government to provide the necessities of life, the more power the politicians have to control us. Unfortunately, government cannot stop providing, now that so many are dependent upon it. It isn't a slippery slop; it is more like a pit out of which people cannot climb.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The Great Commission for the Church, found in Matthew 28:19-20, consists of three parts: 1) Teach all nations. 2) Baptize those who believe. 3) Teach the new believers Christ's will for their lives.

1) The only message that the lost world needs to hear is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It begins with the fact that God loves each one of us. He demonstrated His love by sending His Son (John 3:16) to die for us, to be buried, and to rise again, all according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). But, Christ paying for the sins of the world does not end the Gospel message. At the moment a person recognizes Christ's love for him, a change of attitude occurs called repentance. Salvation has two parts: the acceptance of Christ having paid for one's sin (Remission), and the change in attitude regarding obedience (Repentance). Jesus said that both were to be preached in Luke 24:47. When a person accepts the Lord, he has admitted that he is a sinner and needs a Savior; he acknowledges that Jesus paid for his sin, and he commits his life to serving Him as Lord.

2) The first step in obedience to Christ involves being baptized. The Church began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the first believers in Christ (Acts 2:1-3). Peter preached the Gospel to the crowd and three thousand accepted Christ, and were immediately baptized (Acts 2:41). The Ethiopian Eunuch was presented the Gospel and immediately was baptized (Acts 8:35-38). Notice baptism follows Salvation. Belief in Christ results in Salvation (John 1:11-13), and all who believed were baptized.

3) The next part of the Great Commission is a little more difficult to sum up in a short paragraph. It involves Christ's teaching on how one is to live in relationship with God, in relationship with other believers, and in relationship with the lost of the world. We are to love God with our whole being (Matthew 22:37). We are to love other Christians, our Brethren (1 John 3:14). We are to love the lost who are enemies of God, and therefore, our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 5:10; John 15:18-23). All of these admonitions are covered by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians. He said, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (5:14). In order to love everyone, one must first love God. The evidence that one is filled with God's Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). That is the whole truth.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Every once in a while, I will receive an e-mail listing things from the "good old days." Sometimes it has to do with how we were raised, and sometimes it focuses upon things that no longer exist. The common theme is that we were supposedly better off back then. I must admit that music was certainly better, but other than that, I don't miss anything but the people who are gone. Nostalgia has a way of forgetting the negatives and that creates a dissatisfaction with today. Perhaps if I had had a happier childhood, I would be more inclined to long for the past. I do remember fondly my days on the porch swing swatting flies with my grandpa Cory.

At sixty-seven, my memories go back to a time before television, interstate highways, computers, polio vaccine, microwaves, and anything described as being digital. Women worked round the clock on taking care of their family. Wringer washers, clothes lines, long meal preparation, coal furnaces, and a lack of air conditioning made women old before their time. I do not miss the subjugation of women. I also remember segregation of just about everything including schools, stores, restaurants, hotels, transportation, theaters, sports, and even hospitals. I remember having a crush on a black girl, but being afraid to tell anyone. I do not miss segregation.

I don't miss living with poor self esteem, and fear of the future. I don't miss having impulses to lie, steal, and kill. Thoughts would pop into my head that were awful, and I thank God that before I even belonged to Him, He would warn me to fear the possible consequences. I don't really think my conscience was much help, but fear certainly was. Even with fear, I still managed to get into trouble with the law. I was an alcoholic and an atheist. I don't miss any of these things.

Memories of failures do serve a good purpose. They remind us that we didn't, nor do we now, deserve to be a child of God. They help keep us humble, and help us forgive others who have yet to overcome. And, they serve as a warning that at anytime, Satan will plant evil thoughts to tempt us. So, we pray more, and read His Word more, and put on our spiritual armor more. Memories of receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior help give us confidence about our daily life, and our eternal future. Our memories are a gift from God. He told the people of Israel to build altars in remembrance of great events in which He rescued them. He had them celebrate feast as memorials. And He gave the Church an ordinance to remember the Lord's death, and His promise of returning (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

I guess the thing I like most about memories is that God has a "poor one" (Jeremiah 31:34; Psalm 103:12). He forgives and forgets our sins because they are paid for in full by the blood of the Lamb! Of course, Satan likes to bring our failures to our memory, because it takes our focus off Jesus and makes us feel unworthy to live as a witness. I heard a cute response to Satan; the next time Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. God bless.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Every Christian gets offended by people, just as every Christian offends others. When a believer is walking in the Spirit, he is a Galatians 5:22-25 kind of Christian. When a believer is walking in the flesh, he is a Galatians 5:16-21 tool of Satan. The Romans 7 battle is a constant problem. Unfortunately, Spirit-filled Christians leak.

God's Word seems a little unfair, because He requires a believer to make things right regardless of who is guilty. In Matthew 5:23-26, the believer is to be reconciled to an offended person before he participates in worship. Paul warns believers to deal with sin before partaking of the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:26-30). In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus tells His followers to make every effort to get things right with someone who has offended them. Of course, it is not always possible to get forgiveness (Romans 12:18), and it is often very difficult to give it.

Forgiveness was very difficult for me. When I was about six, my mother took me and went into hiding from my dad. We went from St. Louis to Denver, and then to Cheyenne before he bribed a mailman to get a return address from a letter written to my grandparents. He showed up with a gun, although I am not sure Mother knew he had it, and took me from her. When I was sixteen, my stepmother demanded that he sent me away or she was taking the other seven kids and leaving. He took me to the Navy Recruiter, and put me in the Navy. I was devastated. For the next twelve years, I suffered severe depression from being rejected by him and from believing the lies he told me about my mother. At twenty-six, I decided to go see her. She told me the truth (at least as she saw it), and I called my dad to see what he had to say for himself. Although it about killed him, he admitted what he had done. My bitterness consumed me.

When I was twenty-eight, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but even as a Christian, it took another twenty or so years for me to forgive my dad. One day, in Chapel at the seminary, the speaker was teaching about the seven last recorded sayings of Jesus while He was on the cross. I had heard it and read it many times, but on that particular occasion, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes. Jesus had said, "Father, forgive them for they no not what they do." At that instance, I felt as though He was speaking directly to me. If I can forgive those who, in ignorance, have nailed Me to this cross, you can forgive your dad. After all, if he would have known the devastation his decision would cause you, he would never have done so. I suddenly felt so much love for my dad, and couldn't wait to call him. I also knew that I had failed as a father to my three daughters and as a husband to my wife. I asked them to forgive me, and I hope, for their sakes, they have. Forgiveness of others will set you free to forgive yourself. Thank God He forgave me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


If one watches or listens to the news, it is quite easy to become discouraged, and worse yet, fearful!  But I have good news for all who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior:  according to the Bible, of the ten future events which are about to occur, beginning with the Rapture of the Church, and "ending" with born again believers spending eternity with God, none are to be feared by God's children!   They are:

1)  The Rapture - The Church will be taken up into heaven before God sends judgment upon the earth (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Th. 4:13-18; Ti. 2:13; Rev. 4:1).
2)  The Judgment Seat of Christ - This will occur in heaven, where born again individuals will be judged and rewarded for their faithfulness (Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3:9-15; 9:25; 2 Cor. 5:5-10;1 Th. 2:19-20; 2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet. 5:2-4; Rev. 2:10).
3)  The Tribulation - It is also known as "The Time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jer. 30:7), and "Daniel's Seventieth Week" (Dan. 9:24-27).  It is a seven year judgment of Israel on earth (Mt. 24:4-28; Rev. 6:16 - 19:15).
4)  The Marriage of the "Lamb" - The Church, as the Bride of Christ, will be married to Christ in heaven (Jn 3:29; Rev. 19:7-8).  The wedding super will occur later on earth (Mt. 25:1-13).
5)  The Second Coming of Christ - Jesus will return to earth to destroy His enemies (Mt. 24:29-25:46; Acts. 1:11; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21).
6)  The Marriage Supper of the "Lamb" - Jesus and His bride, the Church, will celebrate at the wedding feast on earth (Mt. 25:1-13; Lk. 14:15-24; Rev. 19:9).
7)  The Millennial Kingdom - Jesus, as The Christ, will rule on earth for 1000 years (there are many reference to His kingdom throughout the Word of God, especially Rev. 20:1-10).
8)  The Great White Throne Judgment - This will be the final judgment of those who reject Jesus Christ (Rev. 20:11-15).
9)  The New Heaven and New Earth - There will be a new heaven and the new earth, and its description is a great deal like the Garden of Eden in many ways (Gen. 2:4-15; Rev. 21:1-22:5).
10) Eternity with Almighty God - All whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, will live in peace with God forever (Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:17; 22:19).

Fear not; our all knowing and all powerful God says, "I'VE GOT THIS!" 

Saturday, February 20, 2010


My wife has become very found of white puffy clouds. Her bedroom wall, our screen saver, and her camera all attest to her new obsession. I admit they are pretty and restful, but one can only fixate on them for so long. There are other things to see and do which, in my opinion, are much more important. And, she isn't gettin' any younger.

The Bible has a lot to say about clouds. God placed His bow in the clouds for a sign that He will never again destroy the world with a flood (Genesis 9:13). To the wandering Hebrew children in Exodus 13:21-22, the cloud gave assurance that God was present with them. God used the cloud to direct them in their journey during the day, and He used a pillar of fire to guide them at night. If you think about it, God's cloud and pillar were not only their "gps," they had additional benefits. The desert is hot during the day, so a cloud would provide shade. The desert is cold during the night, so a pillar of fire would provide both light and warmth. Moses received the Law in a cloud (Exodus 24:18). And, He still uses clouds to water His creation (Proverbs 3:20).

While the New Testament has little to say about clouds, what it does say is astounding. At His Ascension, Jesus was taken up into the clouds; He will return in the clouds to claim His Bride, and seven years later, to claim His kingdom (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 21:27; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 1:7). It was from out of a cloud that the voice of God spoke at the transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17:5). We are told that the Hebrew children were "baptized unto Moses in a cloud, and all passed through the sea" (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). An angel came to John, clothed in a cloud, to tell him to seal up the message of the seven thunders (Revelation 10:1-4). At His Second Coming, Christ will be seated on a cloud, and He will remove those who will not be permitted to enter His earthly kingdom (Revelation 19:14-16).

As long as earth has existed, there has been a water cycle. The Bible tells us about evaporation, springs, dew point, rain, rivers, and oceans all being the work of God (Psalm 135:7; Ecclesiastes 1:7). But strangely enough, the water cycle apparently will not remain as it is on the new earth. There is no mention of clouds, dew, or rain. The Word says that there will be no more seas (Revelation 21:1). There is the "pure river of water of life" flowing out of the throne of God, but that is all that has been revealed (Revelation 22:1). There is on old hymn that talks of an "uncloudy day," but I really prefer to get my knowledge from the Word, rather than songs. For my wife's sake, I hope the hymn is wrong. Then again, I am sure that spending eternity with the Creator of the Universe will be sufficient enough to keep her happy.

Friday, February 19, 2010


A few years ago, when they still used it in the court room, witnesses were asked to place their hand on the Bible and "swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God." Ignoring the fact that swearing an oath is forbidden in the Bible, I find it strange that people seemed to need God's help telling the truth. And, by wording the pledge in such a way, it infers that one could embellish the truth, or leave out pertinent facts, both intended to mislead the jury. Yesterday, I asked "Are Mormons Christians?" You might have noticed that I didn't really answer the question. I believe some Mormons are saved, but it is in spite of their church. It is possible to believe the Gospel and still be confused by the church's doctrines. Being ignorant of all the Bible teaches is not the unpardonable sin. I believe that when a person realizes that Jesus died for them, He was buried and rose again for them, and they place their trust in Him, they are born again. What the organized churches add does not unsave a person.

The early Church required Gentiles to be circumcised before being accepted into fellowship, but a conference in Jerusalem decided they had been wrong (Acts 15:1-27). Since that time, some churches have added their own requirements. They teach that one must be a member of their church and be in good standing (whatever that means), in order to maintain salvation. Another teaches that one needs to be filled with the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues in order to be fully His. Still another requires baptism (often by a member of their church, and always by immersion) before a person is accepted as saved. And, nearly all of them believe the person has to attend church, avoid sin, and "support the church," before they are recognized as a believer. While it is true that a genuine believer in Christ's finished work on their behalf desires to do all of these things, it neither proves or disproves their sincerity. A backslidden Christian very often appears to be unsaved.

What churches generally do is "judge another man's servant" (Romans 14:4). Unfortunately, most churches believe that a person possessing everlasting life, can somehow lose it. However, when one considers that all Christians still sin, and that the Christian will be at war within himself until the day he joins the Lord (Romans 7:all), no one by their standards could remain saved. By their reasoning, it seems ludicrous to call what the Christian has as everlasting. And yet, that is exactly how Jesus described it in John 3:16.

The truth is, placing one's faith in Jesus Christ results in eternal life. Adding to, or taking from the simple Gospel, makes it a false gospel. Paul had some harsh words for those guilty of such (Galatians 1:6-9). Mormonism, like so many mainstream denominations, fails to teach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The Creator of the Universe, Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose again according to the Scriptures (the Bible). Faith in Him results in eternal life. God will finish what He has started in the believer (Philippians 1:6; 2:13; Hebrews 12:1-8).

Thursday, February 18, 2010


For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed beginning my day by reading "Our Daily Bread," a devotional published by Radio Bible Class Ministries. It is amazing how often God has used it to speak to me. Skeptics would say that the timing of the devotion just happened to meet my need by pure coincidence. If it happened once or twice, I might agree, but it has happened so often that I am beginning to wonder. Am I the only person getting the monthly publication, or are there thousands of folks who have the same need as I do on the same day? Since God is no respecter of persons, I am certain that He hasn't guided the publisher just for me. In any case, I praise God for how He has seen fit for me to be blessed according to my need.

On Tuesday, February 17th, He did it again. I have been concerned about my granddaughter and her husband. He has been a Mormon all his life, and she met him through attending their meetings. He and I have had many discussions about his beliefs, and while we seem to be able to do so in a civil manner, I feel that there is some anxiety on both our parts. I try not to criticize their beliefs, but mainly try to keep him focused upon the Bible. Unfortunately, their definition of Christian terminology differs greatly from that of the mainstream Christian beliefs.

Mormons believe that "As we are, God once was; as God is, we shall be." In essence, Mormons see God as having evolved from being a man. The irony is, Jesus, Who was (and still is) God, became a man in order to die for the sins of humanity. In the devotion, I read Isaiah 43:10 which says, "...Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me." Even though we will one day be like Jesus (1 John 3:2), we will not be a god. The verse made me think of the creation of Adam. In 1 Corinthians 15:45, Adam is called the first man. Since God created Adam, and Adam was the first man, it is not possible that God was once a man. A cross-reference to the above verse is Isaiah 44:6 which says, "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and His redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God." There was no God to create our God, and our God will not create another God.

It also appears that the Mormon view of Jesus varies greatly from that of Christianity. They do not believe God is a Trinity or Triunity. They see Jesus as a man who became elevated into a god. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Creator (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2). He is not a part of the Trinity; there is no Trinity in Mormonism. There are three Gods, with an infinite number of Gods to follow. In addition, salvation is by ritual and works, rather than by the gift purchased by Jesus on the cross. According to Joseph Smith, an angel told him all denominations are wrong, and that he should begin the true church. Smith also viewed the Bible as inadequate for revealing God's truth, and offered the Book of Mormon to complete God's revelation to man. Just as my grandson-in-law and I do not agree concerning the truth, neither do the Bible and the Book of Mormon agree. I thank God we are able to talk about it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Over fifty percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. The sad thing is, divorce occurs at relatively the same rate within the Church. That ought not to be. God's Word is clear; God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Jesus said, "Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery" (Luke 16:18). Notice He does not allow for exceptions. However, in Matthew 5:31-32, Jesus seems to be saying that fornication is an exception, but fornication, in that sense, has to do with sexual immorality prior to marriage; otherwise, it would be adultery. The penalty for adultery was death, not divorce.

It is clear from Matthew 19:6 that Jesus did not agree with divorce, for once a couple is married, God viewed them as "one flesh." The Pharisees challenged Him by pointing out Moses taught that a man could simply give his wife a bill of divorcement, thus permitting divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1-2). Obviously this had to occur before the marriage was consummated, because she was permitted to go marry another. When the Pharisees asked the question, Jesus responded by saying Moses was permitted to allow divorce because God knew that men were stubborn. "He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered (allowed) you to put away your wives; but from the beginning, it was not so."

God uses His relationship with Israel as a picture of how He views marriage. In the Book of Hosea, we find a metaphor for the marriage relationship. In it, God is represented by Hosea, who is told to marry a prostitute, who represents Israel (Hosea 1:2). Each time the wife (Israel) is unfaithful, Hosea (God) does whatever it takes to get her back. Here is a clear picture of how God views marriage. He is clearly "...longsuffering...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

Everything I have written so far has to do with the Dispensation of the Law. While I am certain that God is consistent throughout all seven dispensations, there does seem to be a possible exception in the Dispensation of the Church. Paul makes it very clear that Christians are not to marry unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). If a man or woman becomes a believer after they are married, Paul states they are not to leave their partner (1 Corinthians 7:10-24). But, if a Christian is married to an unbeliever, and the unbeliever chooses to leave, the believer is not to cause a problem, but do everything possible to maintain peace. Paul tells the Christian that they are no longer under bondage in such cases. This appears to allow for the Christian to remarry, but the context repeatedly suggests Christians remain single (verses 1, 7-8, 20, 24, 26, 32-34, 37-40). God does not hold us accountable for past actions done in ignorance, but once we know His will on a matter, to disobey is simply rebellion. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


As a member of the Body of Christ, I have already received an immeasurable amount of grace (unmerited favor) from God. I was drawn to Christ by the Father (John 6:44). I was convicted of my sin and my need of a Savior by the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11). I was given the ability to believe the Gospel (Jesus died, was buried, and rose again according to the Scriptures - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) by God (Ephesians 2:8-9). I was born again by the will of God in the power of the Holy Spirit (John 1:13; 3:5-8). I have become a new creature; one who is reconciled to God by Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:13-19). God has begun changing me into the likeness of His Son, and given me the will to please Him (Philippians 1:6; 2:13; Romans 12:1-2). He will finish the task as we enter into His presence (Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 15:49; Ephesians 2:10; 1 John 3:2).

On top of all that, He has allowed us to understand the mystery that Christ would make two appearances on earth, rather than one (Mark 4:11; Romans 11:25; 16:25; Ephesians 3:9). We know what the Old Testament prophets and the angels of God did not know (1 Peter 1:10-12). Jesus was called the "Lamb of God Who takest away the sin of the world" by John the Baptist (John 1:29), and Paul called Him "our Passover" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Because we understand the mysteries of God, we recognize that the first three feasts of Israel represent the first coming of Christ, and the last three represent the second coming of Christ. We also understand that the middle feast, the Wave Offering using two loaves of leavened bread, represents the Church made up of sinners saved from the Jews and the Gentiles.

Jesus truly was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, for what God ordained was as good as if it had already been done (Revelation 13:8). But the Book of Revelation has another name for Christ. It represents His second coming to rule for a thousand years with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15; 20:1-6). This name for Christ is "The Lion of the Tribe of Juda" (Revelation 5:5). It not only identifies Him with the nation of Israel and the tribe of Judah, it signifies His royalty and kingship. But Christ being the humble servant of God that He is, is only called by this name once in all of Scripture. He is referred to as the Lamb twenty-seven times in Revelation alone.

Not only are we a part of His Body, and we are going to be changed into His likeness one day, we have the Word of God in its entirety. We can understand just how wonderful and loving God is, and can spend the rest of our days on this earth worshiping Him and sharing Him with others. I pray that this blog will serve that purpose, and that all who read it will tell others about it. The more readers, the better!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Much of the confusion about the timing of the Rapture of the Church has to do with a failure to recognize the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. There is a very clear clue that can only be seen by those who are convinced that the Rapture occurs prior to the Tribulation, and that the Second Coming happens following the Tribulation. In Titus 2:13, a verse which evidences the imminence of Christ's return, a single word provides further support that there are two phases of His return: and. The verse says, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." As the Church, our hope is His return for His Bride, when we shall meet our Lord in the air (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 John 3:2). On the other hand, His glorious appearing will be seen by the entire world (Matthew 24:24-27).

Another difference is that no one knows when the Rapture will occur. But, those converted during the seven year Tribulation will know that exactly seven years after the Antichrist signs the peace treaty with Israel, the Lord will return to establish His kingdom. Daniel's Seventieth Week is divided into two equal halves of 1260 days, 42 months, or "a time, times, and half a time" (Revelation 12:6; 11:2; 12:14). Israel will experience peace for three and a half years, before they suddenly recognize that their "peace maker" is not the Christ, but is the Antichrist (Matthew 24:15-16).

Still another difference is the location of each event. The Rapture occurs in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) while the Second Coming occurs on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:11). There are also two separate judgments associated with these two events: The Judgment Seat of Christ occurs during the Tribulation in heaven where the Christian's works are judged (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). The other is the judgment of the Gentiles based upon their treatment of His brethren following the Tribulation (Matthew 24:31-46).

At the Rapture, believers are removed from the world while unbelievers remain (John 14:3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). At the Second Coming, unbelievers are removed and the Bride returns with Christ (Matthew 13:30, 30-43, 49-50; 25:36-51). This last passage has mistakenly been understood as being about the Rapture. However, Christ, in using the illustration of Noah, is picturing the "faithful" remaining alive on earth, while the rest are removed by the flood. The ones left on earth will remain alive, in their physical bodies, to enter the Millennium Kingdom of Christ (Matthew 25:21, 23).

Study of the Bible requires work. And, just as Jesus used parables to teach those who were His and confuse those belonging to the Enemy, He has made His Word to be understood by faithful stewards who are willing to study to show themselves approved of God (2 Timothy 2:15). I have been studying it for nearly forty years, and have barely scratched the surface. It is making new discoveries in His Word that keeps me joyful and humbles me, at the same time. Praise God for His infinite wisdom.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Most Bible believing Christians understand that 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 teach that Jesus will remove the Church sometime before He destroys His enemies at the battle of Armegeddon. Those who believe in this event often refer to it as the Rapture (the Latin word for "to be caught up"). They all generally agree that the Rapture will occur in some connection to the Tribulation also known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble and Daniel's Seventieth Week. Those who hold the view that this event will occur at the end of the Tribulation, known as the Post-tribulation Rapture View, base their view on the idea of "meeting the Lord in the air" as He returns. This would immediately require a U-turn, as Christ is descending to begin His Millennial Kingdom. It also would allow no time for the Judgment Seat of Christ, or the Marriage of the Lamb to His bride (the Church), both of which occur in heaven prior to His Second Coming.

Another interpretation is known as the Mid-tribulation Rapture View. It results from misunderstanding two areas of Scripture. One area is that only those Christians who are good enough, or who are seen as being faithful at the moment Christ returns, will be removed. Who is ever good enough? Since the middle of the Tribulation begins the Great Tribulation or the Wrath of God, and the Church is not appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 5:9), God will remove us at that time. Also, Jesus told His disciples that they would face tribulation (John 16:33). But, there are two reasons He did not refer to the seven year period known as the Tribulation: the disciples are already dead, and the Church has always suffered tribulation.

The other area of misunderstanding has to do with "the last trump" in 1 Corinthians 15:52. This trump is the last that the Church will hear on earth as it is being called up to heaven. The last, or seventh trump of Revelation 11:15 is in the middle of the Tribulation, and is part of God's judgment on Israel. It is absolutely essential that one views the Church and Israel as two separate entities. Remember, the Tribulation is the judgment ending the fifth dispensation, and the Church, or the sixth dispensation is a parenthetical period within the fifth. All seven trumps in Revelation sound during the Tribulation.

Perhaps the best reason for believing that the Rapture of the Church occurs before the tribulation (Pre-tribulation Rapture View) is that both Jesus and Paul teach that the Church should not worry about His coming for us. In parallel teachings (John 14:1-3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), they tell the Church "Let not your heart be troubled" and "Comfort one another with these words." Take the time to compare these two passages and marvel in their similarities. Christ's return is the hope of the Church, and seen as His glorious appearing (1 John 3:2-3 and Titus 2:13). Those expecting the Church to go through any or all of the Tribulation certainly have a dim view of their future. One could hardly comfort others with that view. So keep looking up; your Redemption draweth neigh!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God...." (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). Nearly forty years ago, when April first was my favorite holiday, a man by the name of Hal Judd felt compelled to tell me about Jesus. He had heard that I was an atheist, and he had a burden from God to witness to me. I don't remember the conversation, but I remember it ended with Hal being extremely frustrated. I had made a fool of him in front of others. I felt really good about myself. I found out later that he had his church pray for my soul every prayer meeting for the next six months. I won the argument, but he would eventually win the "war."

Nothing special happened for nearly five months when out of the blue, Tim, a former neighbor of less than stellar character, wrote me. He had accepted Christ, and although he had not contacted me since I moved three years earlier, he also felt the need to share his faith. I politely answered his letter and, wouldn't you know, he sent me a pocket New Testament. I remember throwing it across the room and writing him to stop talking about religion in the future. I did not hear from him again.

About a month passed and I decided to get a good laugh. I opened that little Bible at random to Matthew 25, and read about ten virgins, about some servants, and about the judgment of some men for their treatment of the guy's brethren. What amazed me was the brilliance of the writing. It was far better than Shakespeare. While talking with my wife about it, my kids turned on a church show and the preacher's sermon was on the same thing. Needless to say, he got my attention. After watching three hours of people talking about Jesus, I knelt in my living room and accepted Christ. I can't explain how, but I immediately knew three things: the Bible was true, my sins were forgiven, and that I was to preach the Gospel.

Hal Judd in Florida, Tim Coffman in California, a preacher in Alabama, and finally a preacher in Ohio, all had been used over a period of six months to bring me to Jesus Christ. Three colleges, a seminary, and forty years later, I am still amazed at the complex way in which God works to change hearts. 2 Peter 3:9 says that God does not want anyone to have to go to hell, and John 3:16 tells us just how badly He wants to save us. He allowed His Son to die an excruciating death for us. While He showed Him no mercy, He had mercy on the entire human race. The "whosoevers" of John 3:16 and Romans 10:13 are now the children of God. Hal Judd, while imperfect as we all are, believed in Jesus, and he wanted everyone else to believe as well. I thank God for Hal Judd and Tim Coffman; I have told them so, much to their overwhelming joy.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I do not profess to know when Satan decided that he no longer wanted to serve God, but the Bible is clear that when he did, a third of the angels foolishly followed him (Ezekiel 28:12-20; Revelation 12:4). It appears that he went from being Lucifer, the anointed cherub and light bearer of God (Isaiah 14:12), to being the serpent, the tempter of man (Genesis 3:1-16). The Bible uses no less than eighteen names to describe the enemy of God and man. In Revelation 12:9 alone, he is called the great dragon, that old serpent, the Devil, and Satan. He is called "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" and he controls "principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 2-2;6:12). He is called, "the accuser of the brethren" in Revelation12:10. Other ominous names for him are: the evil one, Abaddon, Apollyon, roaring lion, Beelzebub, Belial, God of this world, enemy, murderer, and liar.

In Hebrews 2:14, we are told that the devil has the power of death. In 1 Corinthians 5:5, he has the power to destroy physical life, and in 10:10, he is "credited" for destroying thousands of lives in the wilderness when the people murmured against God. In Job 2:6, Satan was permitted to kill his children and inflict pain on Job, but was forbidden to take his life. The fact that God told him not to kill Job, clearly shows that Satan could have, and certainly would have if God had not restricted him. We can get a glimpse of his thirst for the souls of men from the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:4 and 19); the effort of God to plant seeds of faith was immediately hindered by Satan removing them.

When I think of Satan, I picture him being like a large reservoir of water being held back by a huge dam. The dam is God, and He allows some of the power to be released to accomplish His purposes with man. Satan is allowed to tempt us, but he is limited, even in that (1 Corinthians 10:13). He is allowed to take lives, but only when it will ultimately work out for good for His children (Romans 8:28). He has the ability and the will to destroy everyone and everything, but not without God's permission. There is a key word in First Peter 5:8, which really sums it all up. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." We all learned early in school that when wanting to do something, we were not to say, "Can I ..." but were to say, "May I ..." The use of the word may implies that the one asking is under the control of the one being asked. The action requires permission. Thank God that He loves us and limits such an evil entity! And thank God He does not give us what we deserve!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Bible Prophecy is defined as the speaking forth what is the mind and counsel of God. It is a declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means. The study of Biblical Prophecy (Eschatology) tells us about future events. Because the Bible is God's Word, and God knows the beginning from the end, BIBLICAL PROPHECY IS HISTORY WRITTEN IN ADVANCE.

If you watch religious programs on TV, or get literature (solicited or not) from religious organizations, you may have noticed that the subject of Bible Prophecy is high on the list of topics. There are some obvious reasons why prophecy is often center stage. For one, prophecy sells. Most people want to know the future, especially when it comes to the things of God. If you want to build a mega church, the focus on prophecy is a great way to start. Another reason prophecy is so prominent in the media, broadcast and written, is that people watch the news. If they have the least bit of knowledge about Bible Prophecy, they see the "signs of the times." Just like everything else in the Universe, the second law of thermal dynamics is true for man's social institutions. Governments, economies, religions, etc. are in a state of decay. Rather than evolution, man is actually devolving into something akin to what it must have been like just prior to the Flood. Homosexual marriage, abortion, narcissism, religious division, broken families, drugs abuse (both prescription and illegal), Black on Black crime, racism, etc. fill the air waves until our minds become numb and apathetic. People desperately want to be optimistic about the future, if for no other reason, than to just cope with life.

Well, if you are a Christian, I have great news. It won't be long before Jesus Christ returns to gather His Church out of this putrid mess. Then, following a seven years intermission, the Church will return with Christ to establish His kingdom on Earth. I know, some might say that Christians have been saying that for two thousand years. That is true, but even doubters saying that is a sign of His imminent return. Scripture predicts that very response to Christian witnesses in 2 Peter 3:3 and in Jude 18. "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).

Why then, should we study Bible Prophecy? There are four very good reasons. One, God does not want ignorant children (Romans 11:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13). Two, God does not want gullible children, and warns of dangerous men (Matthew 7:15; 24:4-5, 11; Ephesians 4:14), and He warns of Satan's tricks (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9). Three, God does not want fearful children (Luke 1:74; Romans 8:35-39; 1 Thessalonians 4:18). Four, God does want His children to know His plan (Genesis 3:14-15; Psalms 22:1, 8, 16, 18; Isaiah 53; John 1:29; Ephesians 3:1-12; Revelation 13:8). To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed to stand firm upon the Truth and stand strong against God's enemies. For the Christian, Bible Prophecy provides peace and hope for our future with Him. It is so very important.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The Bible is God's Word, and therefore, it is true. But critics like to point to apparent contradictions in order to reject it. One of their favorite "proofs" that the Bible is man-made, is that it says in one place that men have seen God, and in another, that no man has seen God. Jesus, Himself, said that no man had ever seen God (John 1:18) and He clarifies it by saying that no man has seen the Father (John 6:46). The Apostle John also made it clear in 1 John 4:12 and 4:20. But, in Genesis 32:30, Jacob claims to have seen God face to face. And in Judges 6:22 and 13:1-22, people see the Angel of the Lord, and believe He is God Himself. However, a thorough study of the Angel of the Lord will reveal that it is, in fact, a Christophany.

A Christophany is a preincarnate (before becoming flesh) appearance of Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity. Because Jesus is God, these appearances are often mistakenly called Theophanies (Theo being Greek for God). In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul tells us that Jesus, Who was equal to the Father, humbled Himself and took on the form of a man, for the sole purpose of dying for humanity. As God, He could not die, but as the God-Man, He was ready, willing, and able. As the Creator of the Universe (John 1:1-3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; Revelation 4:11), Jesus obviously preexisted His human incarnation. He astounded His critics in John 8:58 by saying, "Before Abraham was, I Am." He not only told them He preexisted, but He was claiming to be the "I Am" of Exodus 3:14. Their response to His claim was predictable; they sought to kill Him for blasphemy.

In addition to Christophanies, I believe that Jesus was the YHVH of the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 6:4, the concept of the Trinity is revealed. It says, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD." In the Hebrew, the word "LORD" is YHVH, and the word "God" is elohim. "LORD" in the Bible is "Jehovah," which is YHVH with the vowels of "adonai" added. However, God Himself translated YHVH in Exodus 3:14 as "I AM THAT I AM." When Jesus referred to Himself as "I Am" the Bread of life, the Light of the world, the Door, the Good Shepherd, etc., He was identifying with the LORD of the Old Testament. Since Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, it seems obvious that Jesus is LORD from beginning to the end. Therefore, Jesus=I AM=Jehovah=LORD.

So, to you critics of the Bible, I suggest you quit looking for excuses to reject Jesus, and admit that you don't want to submit to anyone known as LORD. If you spent as much energy studying the Word as you do criticising it, you would soon become a genuine believer. This I pray for you in Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


The term "Rapture" does not appear in the King James Version of the Bible. It actually comes from the Douay Version translated by Jerome in the fifth century. Jerome, when translating 1 Thessalonians 4:17, used the Latin word "Rapture" to express the idea of being caught up. We use the word today when describing one "being caught up in the moment." A person is said to "enraptured" when being overwhelmed by great art or music. In a sense, it is something that happens to a person rather than one choosing to experience it.

The Church, for the most part, agrees that the Church will be removed to meet the Lord in the air. The only question is, when. There are three views all related to the time of the Tribulation: before, during, and after. I would like to give ten reasons why I believe it will occur prior to the Tribulation.

1. Daniel's Seventieth Week has to do with Israel, not the Church (Daniel 9:24-27).
2. The period is a time of wrath, judgment, punishment, destruction, darkness, trial, and Jacob's trouble.
3. The Church was not present during the first sixty-nine weeks, so why would it be here then?
4. The doctrine of imminence teaches that nothing need occur before Christ returns for His Church.
5. There are numerous signs preceding Christ's return to begin His thousand year reign.
6. The Church is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Who is the Restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8.
7. The two witnesses in Revelation 11:1-12 are to warn Israel during the first half of the Tribulation.
8. The Church of Philadelphia will be removed; the Laodiceans are not saved and will remain on earth.
9. The Church is not mentioned after Chapter Three of Revelation.
10. The Church is not appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 and 5:2-11).

The Rapture is part of the sixth dispensation, and the Tribulation is the judgment of the fifth dispensation. As I have tried to say in earlier posts, one needs to rightly divide the Word of God to understand it.

Monday, February 8, 2010


As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Replacement Theology has gained popularity, even among Evangelicals. I am convinced that Satan knows his fate, and because his time is short, he is desperately trying to confuse the Church. Many believe that the Church will go through the Tribulation, or at least part of it. There are several views on when and if the Rapture will occur, which is understandable for those who fail to keep the Church and Israel separate. The Tribulation is God's judgment on the stewards of the fifth dispensation (the Law).

Here are some differences between the two:
*Not every Jew will be saved, but every member of the Body of Christ is.
*Israel began with Abraham, while the Church began on the day of Pentecost.
*God's program for Israel is centered in Jerusalem, while the Church began there.
*Israel longs for Christ's first appearing, while the Church longs for His second.
*Israel was revealed in the Old Testament, while the Church was not.
*Israel will offer animal sacrifices during the Tribulation; the Church has never offered them.
*Israel needs a physical temple; Christians are the temple.
*Israel has a priesthood; Christians are all priests.
*The fifth dispensation consisted of Jews and Gentiles; the sixth, Jews, Gentiles, and Christians.
*The Jews required circumcision while the Church does not.
*Unbelieving Jews were children of Abraham and of the devil. Christians are children of Abraham and God.
*One became a Jew by birth, while one becomes a Christian by the new birth.
*Apart from during the Church Age, believing Jews are not part of the Body of Christ.
*For Israel, God was in the temple; for the Christian, God is where two or three are gathered in His name.
*God's reward for the Jew is in this world; His reward for the Church is above.

Paul taught that Israel had been partially blinded so that Gentiles could be saved. Our salvation has two purposes. One, that God's redemption through Christ would be available to all mankind. Two, that the Gentiles being accepted by God, would provoke Israel to jealousy, that they might repent and be saved (Romans 11:8-26). Israel has not been replaced by the Church; the Church is being used of God to change the hearts of the Jews so that they might come to know Christ. If one fails to understand that the Church does not replaced Israel, then the Tribulation becomes God's judgment upon the Church. The promise to the Church of Philadelphia (Revelation 3:10) and numerous passages telling the Church that Christ will return for it, have to do with comfort and not of warning (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:52; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14; and 1 John 3:1-3). Christ is our blessed hope. He "paid it forward" at the cross. The sixth dispensation has no judgment for sin. Praise God.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


In order to understand the Bible, one needs to be mindful of the text and the context. For the most part, the text reveals God's point of view; He is either directing or correcting those with whom He is working. For example, He told Adam what he could and could not do. Then, He corrected him, disciplined him, and gave him "new marching orders." In this case, the context consists of two people in a garden. God's instructions to Adam do not apply to the rest of humanity, because none of us have lived as innocents in God's garden. It is true, however, that man can learn valuable lessons from the mistakes or poor choices of others. We are told in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that all scripture is valuable for a Christian's growth.

Today, Christians don't go out to find manna to eat. We don't offer animal sacrifices for our sins. We aren't expected to possess the Promised Land. We are not required to be vegetarians or eat kosher foods. The period known as the Church Age is unique from all other dispensations. In knowing Jesus, we have been given new understanding (light). It is as though God has a lamp with a seven-way light bulb. With each dispensation, He turns up the light one notch, until His whole truth is clearly seen. Each dispensation of God's people is to be a steward of the light He has revealed to it.

The best example I know of how failing to keep the dispensations separate hinders our understanding the teachings of Jesus, is in Matthew Chapter Twenty-four. When His disciples ask Him when the temple will be destroyed, what will be the sign of His return, and what will be the sign of the end of the world (better "age" or dispensation), Jesus responded to the second and third questions, but not the first. They should have known from Daniel 9:26 that it will occur after He has left. The second and third question are not in the order they will occur. Jesus answered the third by describing the Tribulation in Matthew 24:4-28. He next taught them of His return in Matthew 24:29-46. Because the Church is not present on earth during the Tribulation, the passage does not speak of the Rapture of the Church. The Tribulation has absolutely nothing to do with the Church. Those taken away, are taken for judgment, and those remaining are allowed to enter into Christ's kingdom when He comes.

Today, the false teaching called "Replacement Theology" is widespread throughout Christendom. It says that since the Jews rejected their King, God has now applied the promises to the Church. One need only read Romans Chapters Nine through Eleven, to see that Israel was blinded in part so that Gentiles could be saved. When the last member of the Body of Christ believes, the time of the Church Age will be complete, and God will begin Daniel's Seventieth Week of judgment upon Israel. They will repent and the rest of the prophecies concerning Christ's Kingdom will then be fulfilled. The dispensations of The Law and The Church must be understood separately to prevent misinterpreting God's Word.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


The first five dispensations could be characterized as an increasing longing for the presence of the Lord as King of kings, and Lord of lords. Adam went from hiding to reminiscing about the good old days with God. As time passed, man's stewardship responsibilities involved an increasing amount of "light," or understanding. By the time Jesus appeared, the entire Old Testament had been written. Paul wrote that "...the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24). The religious leaders even had an awareness that the Messiah was due (Daniel 9:24-29). And yet, when He was standing in their very presence, they rejected Him.

The sixth dispensation added more light with the writing of the Gospels, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the rest of the New Testament as a guide for Christian living, and to offer hope for Christ's imminent return. But, two thousand years has been a long time, and the voices of the apostates are getting louder (2 Peter 3:3-4). For true believers, Jesus promised to return to take us to be with Him in heaven (John 14:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). His return to collect us is called The Rapture, and it occurs prior to the Tribulation, which is the judgment of the fifth dispensation. Following the Tribulation, Christians return with Christ to rule with Him for one thousand years (Revelation 20:6).

The thousand year reign of Christ, also called the Millennium, is the very kingdom of which the prophets spoke (Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 33:14-22; Ezekiel 37:24-25; Daniel 7:13-14; Hosea 3:4-5; Amos 9:11; and Zachariah 14:4-9; etc.). In it, all of the yet unfulfilled prophecies regarding the land, Israel, and the Christ, will be fulfilled. The kingdom His disciples longed for in Acts 1:6 has come at last.

Christ will rule by delegating responsibility, or stewardship, just as He did for the first six dispensations. This time, He will Tabernacle with mankind. As I said before, the last three feasts of Israel occur together, and they picture Christ's second coming. Trumpets is a call to return to the Lord. Atonement is a call to repentance for Israel's Christ is coming. Tabernacles describes Christ as Immanuel, God living with man.

The seventh dispensation of the Millennium might be described as:

Stewardship: Govern with Christ (Revelation 20:6)
Foods: Plants (Isaiah 65:21-25; 66:3)
Command: Obey Christ and His chosen leaders (Revelation 19:15; 20:6)
Response: Rebellion when Satan released (Revelation 20:7-9)
Judgment: Physical death and the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20: 9-15)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Even though the fifth dispensation, The Law, is not complete, a new dispensation has begun. The judgment ending the fifth will not occur until the Tribulation, or the Seventieth Week of Daniel's prophecy. In Daniel 9:24-27, God reveals the future judgment upon Israel. Beginning with the command to rebuild Jerusalem, there would be seventy "weeks" or four hundred ninety years until God's judgment upon Israel would be complete. At the end of the sixty-nine weeks (483 years), the Messiah would be killed, and the people, from whom the Antichrist will one day come, would destroy the city and the temple. Of course, the Messiah was Jesus Christ, and the Roman army completed the destruction mentioned about forty years later (A.D. 70). That leaves one "week" or seven year period yet to be fulfilled. Daniel wrote that the future Antichrist would make a treaty with Israel for seven years, but would break it after only three and a half years. The latter half of the Seventieth Week of Daniel would be known as the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).

The sixth dispensation also begins with God speaking to man, but this time it as the second person of the trinity, Jesus. The Lord came to offer Himself to Israel's Messiah, but Israel rejected Him. As a result, Jesus offered Himself to any and all who would believe in Him (John 1:11-12). God's new group He would hold accountable as stewards was the Church. Jesus spoke of the Church as being a mystery to Israel. He told His disciples that He would establish it in Matthew 16:18, and it officially began on the Day of Pentecost, just ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 2:1-4). The major difference between the believers of the Old Testament and those of the New, was the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples that the Spirit was with them, but that He would be in them (John 14:17).

I mentioned last time that the first coming of Jesus was pictured in the first three feasts of Israel, and that His second coming was pictured in the last three feasts. Of the seven feasts Israel was to celebrate, only one was set apart from the others. The fourth feast was known as the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Loaves. Unlike the first three feasts which were to be celebrated without leaven, this feast included two loaves of leavened bread. Because the Church began on the day of this feast, because the Church is made up of both Jews and Gentiles, and because leaven in the Bible refers to sin, the fourth feast clearly is a picture of the Church. In addition, because it is between the first three (His first coming), and the last three (His second coming), it has to represent the Church. The Church is a parenthetical period within the dispensation of The Law.

The Dispensation of the Church might be described as:

Stewardship: Spread the Gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)
Foods: All plants and animals (Acts 10:10-15)
Command: Love one another in unity (John 17: 11, 21-23)
Response: Division and apostasy (1 Corinthians 1:10-23; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 4:3-4)
Judgment: The Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


In each of the first four dispensations, God spoke directly to man. He spoke to Adam at the beginning of the first two, and He spoke to Noah and Abraham to begin the next two. The fifth dispensation is no different in its beginning: God spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:4). As far as anyone knows for sure, up until this point in man's history, there was no written record. This definitely changed with Moses. God inspired him to write the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch or the Torah. Another name for these books is The Law. The first four dispensations are all found in Genesis. The fifth will involve the rest of the Old Testament and parts of the New Testament. It covers a period of time that is at least 3,500 years long (there is a parenthetical period of two thousand years, the sixth dispensation, within the fifth).

There are several significant changes during the dispensation known as The Law. There are 613 laws that cover everyday living, worship, and sacrifices. There are seven holy days called the Feasts of Israel, all of which are a pictures of events involving the Messiah. It is The Law that solidifies Israel as a unique nation. In addition to circumcision, Israel had special dietary laws and recognized the sacredness of the Sabbath. Included in the fifth dispensation are books of the Bible known as The Prophets, and The Writings, or in other words, the rest of the Old Testament. Within the thirty-nine books, there is one central theme: The coming of the Messiah. The Hebrew people were constantly being subjugated by world empires (Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome). They longed for the day when their King would conquer the world and rule forever. They would have a long wait.

Another major factor that makes the fifth dispensation unique from all others, is that it is divided into two parts: the years that lead up to the arrival of their Messiah, and a short period known as the Tribulation. This seven year period, also know as the Tribulation, the time of Jacob's Trouble, and Daniel's Seventieth Week, serves as God's judgment for this dispensation. In between the two is a period that was a mystery to Israel (Romans 11:25; 16:25; Colossians 2:2; etc.), known as The Church. What Israel could not see was that the Messiah would come twice. He came as the Lamb of God to fulfill the picture of the The feasts of the Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. He will return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah to fulfill the picture of the feast of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. I will cover this in the sixth dispensation.

The Dispensation of the Law might be described as:

Stewardship: Israel to govern by the Law (numerous passages)
Foods: Kosher foods only (numerous passages)
Command: Obey the Law or sacrifice when failing to do so (numerous passages)
Response: Disobeyed God in both the spirit and letter of the Law (numerous passages)
Judgment: The Tribulation (Daniel 24-27; Jeremiah 30:7; etc.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


The first four dispensations are all found in Genesis. In the first three, God held the entire human race accountable for its stewardship. The fourth brought dramatic change. God chose Abraham and Sarah to begin the family line which would one day include His Son. The change included a unique practice known as circumcision. Abraham's male family members and his male servants were required to submit themselves in order to be accounted faithful. The rest of the human race became identified as Gentiles, and they remained responsible to their governments. The nations no longer had equal standing with God, but were now expected to recognize Abraham's People as God's chosen.

God told Abraham to go from his home in Ur of the Chaldees, to a land God determined to be for His chosen people. Abraham saw two major problems with His plan. For one, the land was already occupied, and another, there was a famine at the time of his arrival. Abraham knew nothing of a God Who could create manna, multiply loaves and fishes, provide water from a rock, or turn water into wine. So he decided to pass on through the land God had chosen for him, and go to Egypt, where there was no famine. This seemed to become a pattern for Abraham and his descendants, because they repeated the demonstration of a lack of faith in God (Genesis 12:10; 26:2-3; 39:1; 48:27; and 50:15). It would eventually cost them dearly. The one exception to a family member going to Egypt that turned out to be a good thing was when Joseph took Jesus and Mary there to escape Herod's diabolical plan (Matthew 2:13-15). Not much else changed. They were still permitted to eat their choice from all animal and plant life. The only significant difference was that, for the first time, there were two distinct types of people: Jews and Gentiles.

It took only four generations before God had His fill of Abraham's family placing their trust in the bounty of Egypt, rather than trusting Him for their needs. His great, great grandson became an Egyptian slave. He lived there the rest of his life. God used another perfectly timed famine to say that He had had enough. If they loved Egypt so much, He would see to it that they got their fill of it. Following the death of Joseph, the Egyptians overpowered the Hebrew people and made them slaves for the next four hundred years.

The Dispensation of the Promised Land might be described as:

Stewardship: Abraham and Sarah's family to possess the land (Genesis 12:7; 17:19)
Foods: There was no change.
Command: Abraham's family was to dwell in the land God gave them (Genesis 12:1-3)
Response: They repeatedly trusted in Egypt (see verses in the second paragraph above)
Judgment: The Bondage They became Egyptian slaves (Genesis 15:13; Exodus 1:8-14)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


As can be seen from the first two dispensations, God was granting stewardship of the world to every human being alive from the time the dispensation began, to those He held accountable when it ended. Adam and Eve constituted the entire human race and when Adam sinned, they died spiritually. After The Fall, responsibility for following one's conscience failed for a lack of standards, and man ceased to fear God. This resulted in the physical death of all of humanity, except for eight persons who were granted mercy. God sent The Flood.

The third dispensation was also a stewardship given to the entire human race. Beginning with Noah's family, man was instructed to multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 9:1). For the first time, man was told he could eat both plants and animals (Genesis 9:3). Again, man failed to fear God, and instead of spreading out over the face of the earth, he decided to disobey Him. Man chose to remain in one place, and build a tower that would reach heaven (Genesis 11:1-4). The Bible doesn't say what they hoped to achieve, but from the days of Adam, man wanted to be like God. Perhaps they imagined they could become equal with God (Genesis 11:4-6). Things are not much different today. Man feels he has the right to decide which baby lives, and which is to be murdered. He wants to be equal with God (if he even believes there is a God), and is desperately seeking to create a one-world government. Even the symbols chosen betray their evil intent. The European Union has chosen a rendering of the Tower of Babel, pentagrams, and a slogan, "EUROPE: MANY TONGUES ONE VOICE." If you don't believe this, go to

The judgment of God on humanity did not immediately result in a spiritual or physical death. Death would later be the result of wars between the divided peoples of the world. God knew that if people couldn't plan and scheme together, they would ultimately be forced to disperse and repopulate the earth (Genesis 11:7-8). I have named the judgment of this third dispensation, The Scattering. In a sense, there was a death that resulted: a death to unity. Mankind became divided into family groups led by the patriarch of each. It was not long before these leaders began calling themselves kings over nations, the closest a man could get to being God.

The Dispensation of Human Government might be described as:

Stewardship: Govern over all the face of the earth (Genesis 11:7-8)
Foods: All animal and plant life (Genesis 9:23)
Command: Be fruitful and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1)
Response: Refused to disperse (Genesis 11:4)
Judgment: THE SCATTERING Man was divided by language groups (Genesis 11:7-8)


On what was an exceptionally cold winter day, a young man traveled by city bus to a nursing home to visit his grandfather, who at the age of seventy-three, had suffered a severe stroke. His wife had suggested he wait until the cold snap was over or at least until the roads were clear enough to drive. He had told her he had a dream about Pap Pap, his dad’s father, the night before, and he felt the Lord wanted him to go right away. As he stepped off of the bus onto a large pile of snow left by the plow, he said a prayer that God would help him communicate with Pap Pap. As he neared the nursing home, he saw a police car, with its lights flashing, parked at the entrance. He quickly said another prayer as he entered the building. When he got to the counter where he had to sign-in, he asked the receptionist what was going on. When she saw the name of the resident he was visiting, she asked him if he would please follow her. She led him to the Director’s office, where he was met with the kind of handshake one would get when receiving condolences. The solemn look on her face added to his angst.

She told him that an intruder had entered his grandfather’s room and killed his grandfather’s roommate. His body was discovered about an hour later by the morning aide. She told him the police were unsuccessfully trying to question his grandfather about the incident. She asked him if he would like to try. He said, “Of course. I will do what I can.”

As he entered his grandfather’s room, he was amazed at how many people were crammed into a two bed room. When he asked who they all were, he was told, but all he heard was noise. He could think of nothing but Pap Pap, and how horrible it must have been for him to witness such a hideous act. As he rushed to hug him, the officers parted as though he had the same power that parted the Red Sea. As he held him, he heard what he would later describe as a moan or possibly humming. Whatever it was, he did not recognize it. When he stood back up, he saw a single tear slowly moving toward Pap Pap’s ear.

One of the detectives asked if he could, in some way, communicate with his grandfather. He remembered his dad telling him that Pap Pap had tried to write something with his left hand, but no one could make sense of it. The officer immediately called for someone to bring him a pad and a pencil. After what seemed like hours of questions, and his grandfather making a mark for yes answers, they pieced together what Pap Pap had witnessed. The killer, a white man in his fifties or sixties, turned out to be the son of the murdered man. Pap Pap had recognized him. As they reasoned among themselves, they decided another piece of evidence was the fact that the killer must have known of Pap Pap’s inability to speak, and therefore, did not see his witnessing of the cruel betrayal to be a problem. After all, how was a paralyzed mute going to identify him? They agreed that his medical condition was what saved his life. Pap Pap groaned loudly, and moved his hand as though he wanted the pad and pencil again. When he was finally finished writing, he had written, what appeared to be, “flcip.” The young man remembered his dad had also seen the mysterious “word.”

After the police left and the nurse’s aide bathed and dressed his grandfather, the young man pushed his wheelchair to the little chapel. Pap Pap had faithfully gone to church three times a week for as long as anyone could remember, so he was sure he wanted to be there to pray. As they entered the room, his grandfather began moving his left hand, and did not stop until he realized that he wanted to write something. He quickly rushed back to the room and got the pad and pencil. When he returned, he found Pap Pap looking at a picture of Jesus on the cross, and tears flowing down his cheeks. He held the pad for him to write, and he wrote “flcip.” In his damaged mind, he was writing the name of his Lord. He had done so for his father, and also upon hearing the police say his illness saved him. Now he understood, Pap Pap wanted Jesus to get the credit for his good fortune. When he told Pap Pap that he knew what he was trying to say, he would have bet the farm that he saw him smile.

Pap Pap died the following winter, and both his obituary and his headstone began with “flcip!”

Monday, February 1, 2010


At the moment that Adam decided to disobey God, he was no longer innocent. He experienced, for the first time, shame, guilt, and fear. When He ate of the forbidden fruit, he proved that the tree was as "advertised." He gained knowledge which produced evidence of wisdom. Psalms 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, and 9:10 teach us that fear is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. The tree in question didn't make Adam smarter or wiser; what it did do was cause him to fear God. His response demonstrated that he now had a conscience. Every human born since that day has a conscience. A conscience is a good thing, in that it produces awareness of sin of which one needs to repent. A conscience is also able to affirm one's actions (Acts 24:16). Even unbelievers benefit from having a conscience, because it makes them aware of right and wrong (Romans 2:15). The problem with one's conscience being their guide, as is so often recommended, it can become seared or made impotent, so that nothing is beyond them concerning sin.

The Dispensation of Conscience began because of sin, and it ended for the same reason. Not long after the Fall, the first murder occurred. Cain killed his brother (Genesis 4:8). It was all down hill from there. By the time Noah was born, man had become so evil that God repented of having created them (Genesis 6:6). "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only on evil continually." (Genesis 6:5). It was obvious that one's conscience was not sufficient to prevent sin. God was gracious toward Noah, and decided to show mercy on a remnant of eight souls. God waited long enough for Noah to build the "escape module" and then He destroyed every living, breathing creature on the planet. This judgment is known as The Flood.

The Dispensation of Conscience might be described as follows:

Stewardship: Provide for the needs of one's family (Genesis 3:17-19)
Foods: Crops and wild plants (compare Genesis 3:17-19 with Genesis 6:21)
Command: Do the right thing (Genesis 4:1-7)
Response: Total depravity (Genesis 6:5)
Judgment: THE FLOOD At least the physical death of all but eight souls (1 Peter 3:20)