Monday, May 31, 2010


The fickleness of the American public is amazing. The twelve-year non-war called Vietnam happened right in the middle of my twenty year naval career. By the time the "conflict" ended, fifty-eight thousand service men and women were dead, and the rest of us were called "baby killers" and treated like human scum. Only twenty or so years before, our troops came home from Germany and Japan as heroes. Today, Americans, for the most part, go out of their way to show support for our military. And ironically, since 9/11, many people have made an effort to thank me for my service. Think about it.

This same mentality can be seen in the way sports fans show their appreciation for the coach of their favorite team. As long as the team is improving each year, and there is optimism about the chance of a title, the coach is a genius. But let them have a bad season and the same coach is an idiot. It is funny that injuries are not considered. It is funny that the same management that acquires the players is the one who fires a coach when the players are not as good as those of the opposition. Think about it.

Not much has changed when it comes to human nature. Americans are no different than the Hebrew people who were freed from Egyptian bondage thirty-five hundred years ago. As long as seas were parting, and Egyptians were drowning, God was worthy of their worship and trust. But let Moses stay a little too long up on the mountain, and they decided to worship a golden calf instead. They spent forty years grumbling and complaining about everything even though they were fed, had abundant water, had clothing that did not wear out, and had the presence of the Lord in a cloud and pillar of fire. Think about it.

The Lord told Moses that His name should be a memorial forever (Ex. 3:15), and yet today, no one actually knows how to pronounce it. He told Moses that the events of Passover were to be memorialized in the Passover Feast forever (Ex. 12:14), and yet, when the true Passover Lamb came, they had Him crucified (1 Cor. 5:7). Think about it.

Jesus told His disciples the bread and the wine represented His body and blood, and that they were to eat the Passover in remembrance of Him till He comes back (Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24-25). Today, Churches around the world remember what God has done for us by celebrating the Lord's Supper. Unfortunately, there will be many professing Christians who will still be celebrating the Lord's Supper long after He has come for His bride, the true Church. And for them, it will be too late to think about it.


Sunday, May 30, 2010


To hear some folks talk, you would think that "Christian Judges" was at best an oxymoron, and at worst, the unpardonable sin. Most Christians and non-Christians alike are quick to quote the Lord Who said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matt. 7:1). And, I must admit that there are several places in the New Testament that clearly say we are not to judge others. There are also verses that tell the Christian to judge wisely. Since I know the Word of God is perfect and therefore can not contradict itself, what is the explanation for the confusion?

Perhaps it has to do with the motivation of the judge. The same passage that tell us not to judge, also tells us we will be held accountable to the same standard (Matt. 7:2). It tells us that we are to be living a righteous life ourselves before we attempt to correct others (Matt. 7:3-5). Notice it does not say "don't judge," but it says we are to be qualified (living by the same standard we are demanding for others). The Apostle Paul judged a situation he had heard about and even sentenced the offender to death (physical, not spiritual - 1 Cor. 5:3-5).

In the following chapter, he admonishes Christians to judge improper behavior of other Christians, apparently to maintain fellowship amongst the brethren (1 Cor. 6:1-5). Although he does not say so, he seems to be suggesting that Christians taking their grievances to unbelievers to judge is harmful to our witness. Remember, Jesus said it was our unity that testified to the lost world that Jesus was sent by His Father, and that God loves mankind with the same love He has for Jesus (Jn. 17:21-23).

Unity is the goal, and love should be the motivation when it comes to Christians judging the brethren. In Matthew 18:15-19, we are told of steps Christians should take to resolve conflicts. The final step requires Christians to judge one's behavior and banish him from the assembly if he does not repent. Galatians 6:1 tells the brethren to go to a brother who is involved in sin and attempt to restore him to fellowship; again, it is the motive. John 7:24 says, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." So our judgment must not only be motivated by love, it must be according to the Word of God, our standard for righteousness.

How is a Christian supposed to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing and those who cause division if we do not judge? If we are supposed to have nothing to do with the unrepentant (Matt. 18:17) and the divisive (Rom. 16:17), how will we know who they are if we are not to judge? We must judge but we must judge ourselves to make sure our goal is reconciliation and our motive is love.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 16:25). I will attempt to interpret this verse in light of the verbs being of mixed number. Each man thinks his way is the right way. The results of all the individual paths are described as ways that lead to death. I would paraphrase the verse to say, "There are ways that seem right unto men, but each ends up in death." But, who am I to try to improve the KJV?

The phrase, the way, is used to denote a path of travel. Due to space, I will limit my examples to Matthew. There is a good path (Matt. 3:3; 7:14; 21:32; 22:16), and there are bad paths (Matt. 7:13; 10:5; 13:4; 20:30). It is used nine other times in Matthew, all of which should be interpreted as being neither bad nor good; they simply describe "a road." A road is used to get from one place to another. That is what Jesus meant when He described Himself as "the Way" (Jn. 14:6). It is very clear when one takes it in context. John 14:1-6 speaks of God dwelling in another place. Jesus intended to go there and make it ready for His followers. He said He would return and receive them to Himself (sounds a lot like the Rapture to me). He concludes by saying that He is "THE ONLY WAY" to the Father. I like the bridge illustration: man is on one side of a great chasm and God is on the other side. The chasm is built by man "doing his own thing" (sin). Man must trust Jesus to get over sin to the other side. He is the Way. There are no other bridges that reach the other side. Man attempts to build all sorts of bridges (religions) but ultimately, they simply lead to death because they cannot reach the other side. Those attempts are themselves sin.

In the Book of Acts, followers of Jesus were known as people of "the Way" (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22). Today, believers in Christ are known as Christians. I find it strange that the name "Christian" only appears three times in the Bible (Act 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). When you think about it, the term "Christian" focuses upon the believer; it identifies him or her. On the other hand, "the Way" focuses upon Jesus. With all the denominations and cults claiming to be the true Church, perhaps true believers should consider themselves "people of the Way." That may be a good idea, but unfortunately, there is already a cult known as "The Way."

In conclusion, there is ONLY ONE WAY that leads to salvation, the new birth, and ultimately to heaven: faith in God's provision for our salvation due to the finished work of His Son Who died, was buried, was raised to life, and ascended to be with His Father. "Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself even as He is pure" (1 Jn. 3:2-3).

Friday, May 28, 2010


Years ago, Kenny Rogers had a hit song entitled, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town." The last line said, "Oh Ruby, for God's sake, turn around!" The line summed up the desperation of the character in the song, and it fit so well, that I am not sure anyone has ever commented on it. In studying God's Word, I have noticed "for God's sake" used on more than one occasion. According to the dictionary, the word "sake" means "for the benefit of." It is hard to imagine how God would benefit from anything man can do, but He does. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing things in His name (Matt. 19:29; 3 Jn. 1:7; Rev. 2:3). We bring Him honor.

Apparently, when a person declares himself to be a believer, his words and actions effect the reputation of God. When he fails to live in the Spirit, the world loses respect for the One he represents. After all, Christians are ambassadors for the Lord (2 Cor. 5:20). As such, we are to take His message to the lost world. Israel's prophets, like many Christian ambassadors, were killed for their efforts (Matt.23:31; Acts 7:54-60). And many will continue to die for their testimony for the Lord (Matt. 24:9; Rev. 6:9; 11:7; 12:11). Our willingness to die to self, and die physically if need be, validates our message.

Not only do our words and actions bear on the reputation of the One Whom we represent, they either help or hinder our efforts on His behalf. While some Christians have a world-wide reputation as faithful ambassadors for Christ, such as Billy Graham, the same world looks at the majority of Christians as hypocrites. Our words and actions determine whether or not we are respected or rejected. Life-style evangelism is absolutely necessary for evangelism of any kind to be successful. Christians are to live their lives in such a way that God receives glory (Matt. 5:16; Jn. 15:8).

James is one of my favorite books in the Bible, and I like to think of him as being "from Missouri." People who are said to be "from Missouri," are known for wanting to see evidence of the validity of what they are being told. I suppose that in a way, they are much like the Jews who always wanted proof (1 Cor. 1:22). James wrote that he needed to see evidence that a person was a true believer in Christ (Jam. 2:14-20). In fact, based upon my observations, the whole world wants to see evidence that we speak the truth. Failing to see that evidence, they are quick to label us hypocrites.

So, if you are not living a life that glorifies God and gains the respect of those to whom you are sent as ambassadors, repent. FOR GOD'S SAKE, TURN AROUND

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Having been a Bible College and Seminary graduate, a pastor, and a Christian for almost forty years, you would think that I would be the person to ask when it comes to the things of God. I will grant you that there are a few doctrinal truths of which I have become certain, but there are far more that I have yet to understand. Oh, by the way, the number of certainties has dwindled over the years rather than get longer. Just about the time I think I have mastered a topic, God humbles me by my "discovery of additional light." Here are just a few items that make me aware of just how little I know:

1. Why God loves me.
2. The Trinity.
3. One hundred percent God; one hundred percent man.
4. Where God is and was (now and before creation).
5. Where God was before He made the place He now inhabits.
6. Why a perfect, omniscient, omnipotent God created Satan and man.
7. Why the Holy Spirit chooses not to make us all like Jesus right away.
8. Why the Bible is subject to so many interpretations.
9. Based upon human nature, why God calls for Christian unity.
10. How to tell who is saved and who is not.

Obviously, the list is extremely abbreviated for the sake of time and space. Suffice it to say, there are millions of things I do not know compared to the few I do. Here is a list of some of the things I do know:

1. God loves me because He saved me.
2. The God-head consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
3. Jesus was fully human and Jesus was fully God.
4. The Bible is the Word of God.
5. Satan is subject to God and requires permission to do evil.
6. God allows Satan to do "his thing" but in the end, everything works for good.
7. My desire to be present with the Lord is not being suicidal.
8. The Church is made up of "leavened" Christians.
9. I am required to love everyone.
10. All who accept and confess Jesus as Lord are the children of God.

The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of a person's salvation, but humility is his birth certificate.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The fad has apparently worn off, but not long ago, many Christians displayed the letters "WWJD." It was to be a reminder for believers to live their lives as Jesus would if He was in the same situation. Back then, I told my daughter that I would prefer a sticker that had "WDJD" (What Did Jesus Do). After all, the Gospel is the good news about what Jesus has done. Instead of focusing upon what I should do, which can save no one, I should focus on the finished work of the only One Who can save the lost.

Christians are admonished to live as Jesus did by "walking in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:16, 25). His entire human life was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was the source of His human life in Mary (Matt. 1:20; Lk. 1:35). The Holy Spirit is the source of our new birth (Jn. 3:3-8). The Spirit was evidence of His identity at His baptism (Isa. 11:2; Lk. 3:22). The Spirit is the evidence of the identity of new converts (Acts 2:4; 8:17; 10:44; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 3:2). The Spirit anointed Jesus to preach (Isa. 61:1-2; Lk. 4:17-19; Jn. 6:63). The Spirit guides the believer in what to say (Jn. 14:26; 16:13). He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness (Matt. 4:1). Believers are to pray not to be led into temptation (Matt. 6:13). His power was from the Spirit (Jn. 5:19, 30). Our source of power is the Spirit (Acts 1:8). He was raised again to life by the Spirit just as we shall be (Rom. 8:11).

A NOTE TO ALL NON-TRINITARIANS OUT THERE: the Holy Spirit is God Acts 2:24; 3:15; 5:4).

But how is a Christian to know if he is being led by the Spirit of God? The answer is quite easy. Is what I am thinking, saying, or doing something I believe Jesus would think, say, or do? We are told that the evidence of the Spirit working in Christians is the "fruit" produced. Galatians 5:22-23 lists a description of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. Do my thoughts, words, and deeds meet those criteria? If so, then I am walking in the Spirit. Another passage that speaks of the work of the Spirit is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 where it is described as love. Because the Spirit guides us to conform to the Lord's Commandments, and love fulfills His Law, the Spirit, being God, is Love (Mt. 5:43-48; 7:12; 22:40; Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Thes. 3:11-13; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Jn. 3:23; 4:8, 16). Therefore, walking in the Spirit is walking in love. Guard each step carefully. Amen.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Psalm 1:1 says, "Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." The English word "blessed" is almost always understood as one benefiting from the good will of others. In Numbers 6:22-27, the Lord told Moses to pray for Israel and ask Him that Israel would be blessed, would be kept, would find favor and receive God's grace, and would receive God's peace. Jesus told His disciples to be a blessing to those who cursed them (Matt. 5:44). They were to love their enemies, and show it by their words and actions.

However, in the context of this verse, "Blessed" means happy. The Psalmist is telling his readers that the way to be happy is to avoid some things. Believers will be happier if they take the advice of wise Christians on which path they should take. Believers will be happier if they spend time with other believers. Believers will be happier if they sit and fellowship with those who have a positive attitude and who spend their time encouraging others. This use of the word is found in Matthew 5:3-11, but He clarifies His meaning in verse twelve. It is when we are persecuted for our faith in Jesus Christ that we are to rejoice or be happy. But when the car breaks down, the kids are rebellious, money runs out, etc., we are allowed to be sad. Paul said we were to rejoice and weep with others (Rom. 12:15). Solomon said there was a time when each was appropriate (Eccl. 3:4). For years I felt guilty because I wasn't like the "TV Christians" who are always saying God wants us to be rich, healthy, and full of joy. But the Spirit of God has reminded me in my lowest times that "Jesus wept" (Jn. 11:35).

Christians are to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25). Christians are to stand and fight when Satan tries to defeat us (Eph. 6:10-17). Paul says we are to stand and face the enemy and not retreat; our armor is protecting our front side, not our back side. James 4:7 tells us to resist the devil and he will be forced to flee. Jesus told His disciples that the gates of hell could not withstand the advance of the Church (Matt. 16:18). Satan's gates are meant to keep the Gospel from rescuing those souls who are still being deceived by him. We are not only supposed to withstand him, we are to attack him. Jesus said for us to go into all the world and make disciples out of those still belonging to Satan (if you don't belong to Jesus, you belong to Satan).

Psalm 1:1 reminds me of my journey in Christ. When I was a young man, I walked about spreading the Gospel. When I got a little older, I would stand in the pulpit or before Bible classes. Now that my health has rendered me unable to stand very long, I sit at this computer for hours and write to those whom the Spirit leads to read my witness. But no matter whether we are able to walk, stand, or merely sit, we are to "charge the gates of hell" using every ounce of strength and whatever weapons we have. So my charge to you is: CHARGE!

Monday, May 24, 2010


I am old enough to remember the Mama's and the Papa's singing, "Monday, Monday." But somehow, my memory is slightly flawed because I thought the song's first line was "Monday, Monday, how I hate that day." It wasn't. It was "Monday, Monday, so good to me." How on Earth did I superimpose my words on such a classic song? It almost scares me to think I could be so wrong about something of which I was so sure. I wonder what else I have distorted over the years. I wonder how many of my friends have suffered the same malady.

I frequently get e-mails from "old" friends ("old" in years known and years lived) reminding me of how good we had it fifty years ago. Those were the days, they pine. I have smiled as I read about old songs, old cars, old soda shops, etc., and for a minute, I have a longing to return to the simpler times. As a great grandfather, I have so many about whom I worry. Back then, it was just me worrying about whether or not "(insert girl's name here)" liked me. Yes, those were the days!

But it does not take long before I remember the things that weren't so great. Abuse, fear, rejection, low self-esteem, dropping out of school, etc. were not such good memories. Hang-overs, cold jail cell floors, a wife and children who were afraid of me. Seeing drinking fountains with a large signs that said, "For Whites Only!" Seeing American cities blazing when a great American hero was assassinated. Seeing my President's head explode and his wife splattered in blood. Seeing family members suffering long agonizing deaths. Seeing the country you love refuse to win wars. Seeing a monument that is supposed to make up for the senseless loss of 58,000 lives. I could continue, but I am becoming so depressed that I might not finish.

I don't miss the days before air conditioning, microwaves, color TV's with remotes, power lawn mowers, interstate highways, Christian television, etc. These are the "good ole days!" I am retired, my wife and children have apparently forgiven me, I no longer drink, I have all those things mentioned above, and best of all, I have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: I am a Christian! My sins are forgiven! I understand life, I have purpose, I have value (we are worth what He was willing to pay), and I am absolutely certain where I will spend eternity. Oh, this is a great Monday! The only thing that I can think of that would make it a better day, is that if readers all over the world read this and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. And if they are already Christians, that they would use my blog post to share Christ with others. Wow! That would be a Monday that would be celebrated for eternity!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


When I first decided to surrender my life to Christ as my Lord and Savior, I had never read the Bible. I ignorantly thought I would spend the rest of my life loving God and serving my fellow man. After all, that was what Jesus wanted me to do, and doing His will was my number one priority. I thought my marriage would become what it should be, my kids would behave as they should, and that I would no longer be the jerk I had been. It didn't take long before I realized that nothing had change except my relationship with God. The marriage was still a disaster, the kids were still rebellious, and I was still a jerk.

As I studied the Word with an insatiable hunger, I began to understand that God had begun a good work in me but the work was not yet complete (Phil. 1:6; 1 Jn. 3:2). I learned from Romans Seven that even the great Apostle Paul struggled with sin. That was thirty-nine years ago, and very little has changed. My marriage is still a struggle, my kids, my grand kids, and my great grand kids are still rebellious, and I am still a jerk.

Another thing that became obvious to me early on was that even though my life was now being lived with the desire to please God and serve the brethren, others did not seem to be able to separate the old me from the new. I made the mistake of attempting to implement the Joshua 24:15 approach to family relationships and immediately received "negative feedback." Actually, it was more like laughter than distain, but the result was the same. I decided to try modeling Christ-like behavior but unfortunately, my old nature would often win the battle, and the jerk ruined it.

Paul wrote, "This I say then, 'Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh'" (Gal. 5:16). When we walk, we place one foot ahead of the other. It is a deliberate exercise of the will. With each step, we find ourselves at a cross-road, a place of decision. What should I do or say at that particular point in time? Where should I direct my next step? When should I take that step? The Christian life is a life of decisions. If we realize that our nature wants to do "its own thing," and it almost always is the opposite of what the Spirit would have us do, we at least have a fighting chance to choose correctly. We must decide to behave like either the list in Galatians 5:19-21 or like the list in Galatians 5:22-23. Life is nothing but decisions for the Christian. The lost can, and often do whatever they like, but we actually want to do whatever He likes.

The fact that I have to make decisions is evidence that I am a Child of God. Hallelujah! Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Lord help me to make the right decisions this day in Jesus' name. Amen!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


It has often been said that God has no grandchildren. Those who say it are trying to make the point that each person needs to become God's child by exercising the faith in Christ given them by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:8). I did not become a child of God until I recognized that Christ died for me, for my sin, and I accepted the risen Christ as my Lord and Savior. That occurred in my living room on January 31, 1971 at approximately noon. I awoke that morning as an atheist, but God became my Father when I place my Holy Spirit-given faith in Jesus Christ. John 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the (children) of God, even to them that believe on His name."

The Book of Hebrews begins by telling its readers that God, Who formerly spoke to the fathers of our faith through the prophets, had at last spoken to mankind by His Son. We learn from 2 Timothy 3:16 that God inspired the writers of Scripture. The inspiration of Scripture is also found in the Old Testament passages (2 Sam. 23:2-3; Isa. 59:21; Jer. 1:9). The longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, is entirely devoted to the author of the Word of God.

Salvation is the result of believing God's Word and being willing to tell others (Rom. 10:9-11). But believing the Word implies that one has been exposed to it. Romans 10:14-17 makes it clear that God uses believers to spread the Good News. Salvation is a gift because it is the result of God's grace (Eph. 2:8). It is the will of God that everyone who places his God-given faith in the Jesus Christ of the Word of God, pass it on.

But God didn't save us just to receive our praise. He saved us to do work (Eph. 2:10). Ephesians 4:11-12 says that God made a gift to mankind of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers, to prepare believers to do the work of ministry. Notice that these are to train you and me to build the Church. Since their job is to prepare us to do the work of ministry, we are those "preachers" in Romans 10:14-17. So, in that sense, God has given us as a gift to the lost world. Whether or not we become a "cherished" gift highly prized by those to whom we are given, has a great deal to do with our character. If we are argumentative, arrogant, judgmental, or hypocritical, we will be of little value. However, if we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and are humble when we speak of God to others, we will be "priceless." So I guess the bottom line is: Is Jesus my Lord and my God? If He is, then I have work to do.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Yesterday, I entitled my post "Cain and Abel," for my focus was upon Cain. Today's post is called "Abel and Cain" because my focus is upon Abel. It is amazing how little there is in the Word about either of them. Other than chapter four of Genesis, Cain is mentioned three times and Abel four in the entire Bible. And yet, what is said speaks volumes. Although it is obvious that Cain inherited a sin nature, there is nothing that shows Abel did apart from the Word in Romans 5:12. There might be a clue in that what they brought to God was called a "sacrifice" in Hebrews 11:4, and sacrifices throughout scripture refer to a propitiation for sin (to appease God). It is also likely they knew that God offered an animal sacrifice for their parents' sin.

The Bible does not record one word spoken by Abel, and yet the writer of Hebrews says that his obedience remains as a witness for all (Heb. 11:4). That chapter is a list of many whose lives serve as a testimony of faith. It is not clear to which category Abel belonged, but Jesus obviously recognized him as a prophet, a wise man, or a scribe, in Matthew 23:34-35. The concept of life-style evangelism may have Abel as its inspiration. People watch Christians to see if they actually live their lives as true disciples of Christ. While the Word says that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God," getting someone to listen to the Word requires that they respect the speaker enough to consider what he is saying. Life-style evangelism is not really evangelism unless it is accompanied by the Word of God. There are obviously more people "from Missouri" than just those who have lived there.

Abel's life is not only a testimony for a right relationship with God, but it is also a testimony that God will use in judging Israel. Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that they were just as guilty of the blood of all His witnesses from Abel to Zechariah as those who killed them (Matt. 23:13-35). I never understood why Jesus did not include people after Zechariah. There were others who were rejected and killed by Israel after him, so why only from Abel to Zechariah? I thought maybe it was because Abel's name began with an A, and Zechariah's with a Z, but that is in English. I am not sure who it was, but I heard a sermon explaining that Abel was the first person martyred for his faith, and that Zechariah was the last before Christ came. The speaker rightly pointed out that the Old Testament, the Bible Israel had at that point in time, was arranged differently than ours is today. In the Hebrew Bible, Genesis is the first book and 2 Chronicles is the last.

NOTE: Although Barachiah is listed as the father of Zechariah in Matthew, Jehoiada is said to be his father in 2 Chronicles 24:20. Jesus knew that Barachiah was actually Zechariah's father because He knew Jehoiada was his grandfather (cp. 2 Chron. 24:15, 20-22; 36:16; Lk. 11:51). The best example of Hebrew thought concerning ancestry is Jesus as the Son of David. So in the statement by Jesus as a condemnation of the religious leaders of Israel, He was holding them responsible for the deaths of everyone from the first, Abel, to the last, Zechariah. Because they were rejecting the Messiah just as those who killed the prophets, that made them partakers in their murder.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


"Where did Cain get his wife?" might be the most asked question unbelievers use when challenging the authenticity of the Bible. Those who bother answering it, do so using logic and not Scripture; the Bible does not say. Some suggest that God provided Cain with a wife the same way He did for Adam, but they are wrong. Genesis 3:20 says that Eve "was the mother of all living." Again, a little logic is needed to explain why she was not the mother of Adam, of animals, and of plants (those wanting to reject God's Word seem desperate at times). Cain either had to marry a sister, or he had to marry the offspring of the union of a brother and sister (Gen. 5:4). Either way, the questioner usually responds, "Yuk!"

Another question that even believers ask is, "Why didn't God accept the sacrifice of Cain?" Again, the answer requires logic. Ironically, it is logic that produces the question itself. If Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd, and if Abel offered the best he had, a fat firstling, what was so wrong with Cain bringing "the fruit of the ground"? Some postulate that because God had sacrificed animals to provide clothing for Adam and Eve, He had given them instructions on making offerings; the Word does not say that. Others suggest that God knew the heart of Cain "was not in it," or that the "veggies" were not the first fruit or the best that he had to offer; again, the Word is silent. However, there are some clues. 1 John 3:12 tells us that Cain's works were evil but that Abel's were righteous. There are two kinds of evil works or sin: failing to do the right thing, or doing doubtful things (Jam. 4:17; Rom. 14:23). If Cain's offering was done knowing God wanted something else, it was sin. If Cain did not offer his sacrifice in faith, it was sin. Notice that Abel's sacrifice was offered "by faith." Perhaps Cain was logical, and Abel was faithful.

There may be some connection with the family of Isaac, but it is really a stretch. Isaac had two sons; one was a man who produced meat by hunting, and the other appears to have been a cook who had made vegetable soup (Gen. 25:27-30). Isaac was pleased with the offering of venison, but didn't seem to be too fond of soup. To accept this theory, two assumptions would have to be made: God eats the sacrifices man offers, and His appetite changed later when He required offerings of bread, mutton, and wine (Lev. 23:12-13). But I digress.

There are actually more questions about Cain than there are Bible verses which speak of him. Other than Genesis Four, there are only three verses that refer to him (Heb. 11:4; 1 Jn. 3:12; Jude 1:11). Other unanswered questions are: "What was the mark God put on him for protection?" "Why was there a name for the land Cain settled in?" "Why did Cain build a city when he was a farmer?" "From where did the large number of people come that required a city?" And one that I would like to ask, "Why did God allow the first person raptured to be named after Cain's first son (Gen. 4:16 w/ 5:18-24)?" I would like to say, "Tune in tomorrow for the answers," but I haven't got a clue. Lord willing, I will continue discussing the "first family."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Lot was a problem from the very beginning. Abraham should have been obedient and left Lot behind, but true to form, he disobeyed (Gen. 12:1-4). It wasn't long before Abraham would discover that Lot was bad news. Lot showed his lack of respect for Abraham by allowing his herdsmen to quarrel with those of his benefactor. When given the opportunity, instead of choosing an inferior place for his flock so that Abraham could have the best place, he showed his character by his choice (Gen. 13:5-12). He showed his lack of wisdom in choosing a place filled with wicked sinners (Gen. 13:13). He apparently fit right in because he rose to a position of authority in Sodom as one who sat in the gate (cp. Gen. 19:1 w/ Deut. 21:19-21).

Later, when Lot was taken captive, Abraham risked his life to rescue him (Gen. 14:12-16). Lot went right back to Sodom, a decision that would ultimately result in his offering his daughters to a large mob of homosexuals to prevent them from attacking his "guests" (Gen. 19:4-8). He soon discovered that those same daughters, obviously now widows with little respect for their dad, bore his children (Gen. 19:14, 30-38). Lot's offspring finally end up living in Moab and it is not clear whether or not they ever entered the Promised Land (Deut. 2:9). Psalm 83:8 tells us Lot's descendants were closely tied to the enemies of Israel.

Abraham's problems brought on by failing to leave Lot behind, Lot's continuing to dwell among the enemies of God, and his disaster of a family, did not alter the fact that Lot was a man of God. Apparently he was in the world, but not of the world. 2 Peter 2:7-8 reveals that Lot was a just or righteous man, and that he was troubled deeply by the sin that surrounded he and his family. Just as Noah and Abraham were considered righteous because they accepted the gift of faith they received, fearing and believing God, Lot had to have responded to the grace of God in order to be declared righteous (see the entire first paragraph of yesterday's post).

The main reason that I see Lot as a picture of the Church is because God does. Both Noah and Lot are presented as examples of people who, though certainly unworthy, were lifted up above the destruction of the wrath of God below. Jesus used Lot and Noah to describe the suddenness of the mystery of the Rapture and the Tribulation to follow (Matt. 24:36-39; Lk. 17:25-30; 1 Cor. 15:51-57; 1 Thes. 4:13-18). Noah and Lot were sinners saved by the grace of God. They committed awful sin following their coming to understand God's willingness to save them. They were not worthy to escape and neither is the Church. But, praise God, His Word assures His children that we are not to fear the future, but to look forward to it in the comfort of hope (Titus 2:13). Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Noah's was the tenth generation from Adam. By the time of the flood in 2348 B.C. (based upon Ussher's chronology), all nine of his ancestors were gone. Eight had died and Enoch "was not for God took him" (Gen. 5:24). In Genesis 6:7-8, we are told that mankind was so evil that God decided to "start over." Out of all the wicked men on Earth, He chose to begin with Noah, who most mistakenly think of as a righteous man. That is understandable because he is called "just" (Gen. 6:9); "righteous" (Gen. 7:1; Ezek. 14:14, 20); and "a preacher of righteousness" (2 Pet. 2:5). Because "there is none righteous, no not one" (Rom. 3:10), God's Word teaches that Noah acquired the status of being righteous the same way Abraham did. Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Rom. 4:3, 9, 13; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23). In Ephesians 2:8, we see that even the faith to believe in God is a gift from God. Notice Noah is called "just" after he had "found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (cp. Gen. 6:8 and 6:9). "Grace" is unmerited favor. Noah's righteousness was received just as you and I received it when we placed our trust in Christ (Heb. 11:7).

When we realize that Noah was unworthy to escape the judgment of God upon the Earth, it makes it easier to understand why his experience is a good picture of the Rapture of the Church. First of all, none of us deserves to be a born again Christian, let alone be raptured. All believers from all dispensations have been given the faith that results in them being considered righteous. Jesus used Noah's example to explain how it will be when the Tribulation occurs (Matt. 24:37-39). Noah and his family were lifted up above the judgment taking place below. Sinners were and are saved from God's judgment by grace: Noah in the ark and Christians in the Rapture.

Noah is a good picture or type for the Church in another way. Christians are not perfect. We are far from it. Noah, following being saved from the flood, planted a vineyard, got drunk, had a run-in with his son, and cursed his grandson (Gen. 9:20-27). Like him, we will not be what we should be until "we be (sic) like Him" (1 Jn. 3:2)! Why Noah cursed his grandson, Canaan, I cannot tell you. But I do have a theory about Ham's transgression. It appears that Ham sinned because he saw his father naked. That always puzzled me because I do not see a problem with family members of the same gender seeing each other naked. Perhaps their culture was different, I don't know, but I found a passage of Scripture that helped me make some sense of it. In Leviticus 18:6-19, there is a long list of people who are not to be seen naked. In each case where a male is mentioned, he is married and the prohibition is against looking upon the male's wife. When a person sees the nakedness of the wife, it is deemed disrespect for the husband, for married couples are considered to be one. The nakedness Ham may have seen could have been that of his mother. However, it was Noah who was drunk, so who knows.

The ark and the Rapture: sinners being lifted up above God's wrath below. "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Th. 5:9). So be comforted (1 Th. 4:18; 5:11). Hallelujah!

Monday, May 17, 2010


God is unique in many ways, so it is not surprising that His Word would have "a unique style." I am told that a good literary critic can read a single paragraph from an established writer's work, and immediately identify the author. Bible students used to be able to do the same, but now there are so many Bible versions that it is difficult to recognize the Word even when I am following along with my trusty KJV. The Word of God contains parables, "pictures," and "puzzles," designed to limit the understanding of some, and to produce humility in all. Parables were intended to prevent religionists from understanding (Matt. 13:10-17). "Puzzles" is my way of describing my limited capacity to comprehend His revelation. For instance, It puzzles me that there is one God, but God is three Persons. It puzzles me how there could be something, or Someone before matter existed. And perhaps the greatest puzzle is that the Creator of the Universe would die for such a mess like me.

"Pictures" in the Bible are known as "types." The Feasts of Israel are perfect examples of biblical types. Christ's first advent is pictured in the first three feasts, His second advent is pictured in the last three, and the fourth, the Feast of Loaves (Pentecost), is a picture of the Church, which only exists upon Earth between the first and second advents of Christ. That in itself is evidence of the Rapture. There are no Christians on Earth at that time.

There are four Bible characters that provide types for the Rapture. The first is Enoch, who was the great-grandfather of Noah. Genesis 5:24 tells us that Enoch did not die, but that he was taken up to be with God. I believe the reason he was removed was so that He could be one of the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3-12. I believe the other witness will be Elijah. We are told in 2 Kg. 2:11 that he did not die, but was taken up to heaven. Enoch would be a witness to the Gentiles, and Elijah would be a witness to the Jews. There are no Christians on Earth at that time.

The other two individuals would later die, but when God's judgment was about to fall upon man, they were taken up to safety above the carnage below. Noah was permitted to take seven members of his family and to escape the flood below the ark (Gen. 7:17). Lot was permitted to take three members of his family out of Sodom to a mountain overlooking the destruction below (Gen. 19:17). So two of the four removed from God's pending judgment did not die at all, and two died long after the event from which they were rescued. Isn't that a picture of the Rapture? We are told in 1 Th. 4:116-17 that "the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them...." What follows is the seven year Tribulation; the judgment of God upon the Gentiles and the Jews. There are no Christians on Earth at that time. Hallelujah!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


As I stated yesterday, the sixth dispensation, the Church Age, takes place within the fifth dispensation, the Law. The Law will again be the focus of God's plan for the seven years following the Church's departure, known as the Rapture. The seven year period completes Daniel's prophecy concerning Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). Because this period, known as Daniel's Seventieth Week, the Tribulation, or the Time of Jacob's Trouble is the final week of years determined specifically as judgment upon Israel, the Church will no longer be living on Earth. This is supported by fact that the Church is not mentioned in any passages dealing with the Tribulation.

The word "Rapture" comes from the English translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 in the Latin Vulgate. The original Greek word harpazo was translated into the Latin raptio, which in turn was translated into "caught up" in the English. Why we chose to use the Latin word to describe the event is beyond me. Perhaps it is because the definition of "rapture" is "to be carried away with joy." That actually may be the ideal word for the experience knowledgeable Christians eagerly await.

Jesus spoke of His return to take believers to the place He would go to prepare for them; since He ascended into heaven, the logical assumption is that He was referring to the Rapture (Acts 1:10-11; Jn. 14:1-3. Paul spoke of the event in 1 Th. 1:10 as did John in Rev. 3:10; both taught of the Lord returning to deliver us from the wrath to come (the Tribulation is known as God's wrath). Paul described the event in 1 Th. 4:15-17 and in 2 Th. 2:1 as a gathering us together to meet Christ in the air. The fact that Jesus brings us back with Him at the Second Coming indicates we will already be in heaven before He establishes His Millennial Kingdom (compare 1 Th. 3:13 with Jude 1:14).

Who gets to go? Born again believers in Jesus Christ. When will they go in relation to the Tribulation? They will be gone before the Antichrist makes his seven year covenant with Israel. Otherwise, Christians would know before he commits the abomination of desolation, which is how the Word says he will become known (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; Matt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14; Lk. 16:15).

Does the Church Age have a judgment like the other six dispensations? No. The judgment for the sins committed by Christians was paid in full at Calvary. Believers truly are blessed beyond measure, and this age is truly the Age of Grace.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


6. THE CHURCH AGE - Acts 2:2 - Revelation 4:1
There are some very important things to know about the transition from the dispensation of the Law to the dispensation of the Church. The most obvious is that the Bible references to the Church Age fall within the references to the Law. The Church Age is the only dispensation that was hidden from Old Testament Bible scholars. The Church is described as a mystery (Mk. 4:11; Rom. 11:25; Eph. 5:32; Col. 1:26-27; etc.). As a result, even the Apostles had a difficult time recognizing they were no longer to focus upon converts becoming Jews, but upon new believers becoming members of the Body of Christ (Acts 15:1-29; Rom. 9-11; Gal. 1:1 - 5:1). Peter, as holder of the keys to the Kingdom (Matt. 16:19), was the Apostle who ushered into their fellowship the Samaritans and the Gentiles (Acts 8:14; 10:1- 48). Ironically, many denominations and cults still fail to recognize that the Church is not bound by the Old Testament Law. The most obvious example is Sabbath worship.

Also, a study of the Book of Acts will show the gradual transition between the two dispensations. The Old Testament was quoted over and over again in the first fifteen chapters, but only twice after (23:5; 28:26-27). The reason it ceased to be as significant in reaching the lost for Christ had to do with their audience. The Gospel, having been preached in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, was now being preached to the uttermost part of the world (Acts 1:8). The Apostle Paul had been recognized as the Apostle to the Gentiles at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:22; 2 Pet. 3:15-16). Paul also makes his apostleship abundantly clear in the beginning of all of his epistles except Second Thessalonians and Philemon.

Probably the most significant reason that the Church Age falls within the dispensation of the Law is that the Lord is using Israel's jealousy to prepare her for conversion (Rom. 10:19; 11:11, 26). As noted yesterday, the Tribulation is the judgment ending the dispensation of the Law. It is also known as Daniel's Seventieth Week and the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Dan. 9:24-27; Jer. 30:7). It is therefore appointed for Israel and not the Church. With the exception of the Church Age, every dispensation ends with God's judgment, His motive being to persuade those who follow to trust and obey Him. However, the Church Age is known by many as the Age of Grace because salvation is no longer by obedience, but it is by accepting Christ through the gift of faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Judgment for the Church took place at Calvary. Christ offered Himself once for us, and there is therefore no condemnation or judgment for the Church (Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 3:18; Rom. 8:1). Praise God for His magnificent grace!

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will discuss the end of the Church Age: the Rapture.

Friday, May 14, 2010


1. FROM INNOCENCE TO THE FALL - Genesis 1:1-3:7
When Adam ceased to be innocent, he was evicted. It did not take years of gradual change. Adam and Eve hurried to make "aprons" of leaves because they not only knew they were naked, they knew the LORD God would be taking His "evening stroll" soon and discover their transgression. They had learned to fear God.

When man's consciences were ineffective and God had had enough, the transition to the next dispensation took thirty-nine days longer. The forty days of rain reinforced man's fear of God, at least for eight people.

When man failed to spread out and govern Earth, God instantly altered man's ability to communicate. It didn't take long before groups began separating. Distrust and paranoia took care of the dispersal. They not only feared God, they feared each other.

4. FROM THE PROMISE TO THE BONDAGE - Genesis 12:1 - Exodus 19:2
Once the tribal groups had settled, God chose one man from one group and promised him that his offspring would have their own land. But his family, like Abraham, continued to go elsewhere for provision. When they decided to move there, four hundred years of bondage taught them to fear God.

5. FROM THE LAW TO THE TRIBULATION - Exodus 19:8 - Revelation 19:11
Before they would be allowed to reenter their promised land, they spent forty years discovering the One they had failed to trust to provide was able to make food and water suddenly appear. All but two died before they were permitted back into the land. When they entered, they did so with clear instructions on how they were to dwell there; the Law was meant to teach them to fear the Lord.

The overview of this dispensation will be the covered tomorrow, Lord willing.

The one thousand year reign of Jesus Christ upon Earth is mentioned six times in the first seven verses of Revelation Twenty. Even with Christ present and being in total control of humanity, man is consistent: he prefers to believe Satan rather than believing God. Even before Satan is loosed to sway man against Christ, the Lord must rule "with a rod of iron." Man's fallen nature will not submit without a fight, and it will cost him dearly. He will spend eternity realizing that he had every reason to fear the Lord.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Most Bible students recognize the word Pentateuch as referring to the first five books of the Bible, which are also known as the Torah, the Law, and the Books of Moses. Muslims, Samaritans, Jews, and Christians have historically credited Moses with being the human instrument God used to write them. If that is not enough evidence, Jesus referred to the Law as being the work of Moses many times (Matthew 19:7; 22:24; etc.). Anyone denying the books as being from Moses probably denies the entire Bible, and quite frankly, I doubt that they would be reading this.

Although I have never heard anyone refer to the first five books of the New Testament as a Pentateuch, in many ways, they resemble that of the Old Testament. For instance, both contain a book that begins, "In the beginning..." (Genesis and John). Both contain genealogies of the same family (Genesis, Matthew, and Luke). Both speak of man's need for a Savior (all five). Both view the Law as being paramount (all). Both refer to the Lamb as being God (Genesis 22:8 and John 1:29, 36). Both speak of Noah, Lot, Abraham, etc. Both depict miracles. There are probably hundreds of other similarities, but I am limited by space and memory.

There are differences that even suggest a similarity. There are two covenants: Law and Grace. Two kinds of sacrifice for sin: animal and that of Christ. Two appearances awaited: one for His coming and the other for His second coming. Two histories: one of Israel and one of the Church. Two extremes of time: one depicts the beginning of time and the other the end of it. Two events of world destruction: one by water and the other by fire. Two groups of twelve: the son's of Jacob and the Apostles. Again, space and memory.

Jesus is alluded to as the Creator in the Pentateuch [compare Genesis 1:1 (Elohim - plural form for the one God) and John 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1;16; and Hebrews 1:1-2)]. The Corinthian reference clarifies that creation occurred for the Father, and by the Son. The Father wanted creation, the Son created, and the Holy Spirit gave all living things life (Genesis 2:7 and John 3:5-8). Remember, the Greek and Hebrew words translated Spirit also means breath and wind.

I would never suggest that we name them Pentateuch One and Pentateuch Two, but their obvious relationship clearly shows they are from One Author. They reinforce the authenticity of the Word of God. We are so blessed to have His Word, and hopefully all of my readers have Him as their Lord and Savior. Amen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


From the beginning when God created Adam until today, man has wanted to do things his way. Adam and Eve, wanting to be wise, proved their ignorance by believing Satan instead of God. The father of lies told them God had lied to them about the fruit of the forbidden tree. The irony is, Adam and Eve were already like God, for He had made them in His own image and likeness. By deciding to "take a short-cut to God-like knowledge," the opposite happened. They ceased to be like God and as a result, even a saved man will not be like God again until he is face-to-face with Him (1 John 3:2).

Cain, the first murderer, had the same problem. God had apparently instructed Adam's family on animal sacrifice, because when Cain made an offering of produce, it was rejected. Perhaps Cain had reasoned that if Abel, who was a shepherd, could offer the product of his work, then he could offer the product of his. "The apple didn't fall far from the tree" (pun intended).

Not much has changed. Man is still trying to please or placate his creator; the first motivated by respect, and the last by fear. Religion is man's effort to make himself worthy of spending eternity with God. By doing good works and by avoiding "bad works" (sin), man believes he will be acceptable. Unfortunately, all those who are "religious" are in for a disappointing eternity. Religion will inevitably lead to hell.

Biblical Christianity is not a religion. True Christianity teaches that man is incapable of earning salvation through good works (Romans 9:32; Galatians 2:16; 3:11). In fact, the Bible teaches that man's desire to earn their way to heaven is the result of pride; they want to be able to brag about how good they are (Ephesians 2:9). Man becomes "worthy" of heaven when he places his faith in the crucified, buried, raised, and glorified Son of God (John 6:29). Righteousness is by faith in His finished work on our behalf, and not by our works (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23). True Christianity is not a religion, but is a relationship with God. He becomes our Father and we become His child.

There is a Christianity that is not taught in the Bible. It is a religion of works and fear. It is no different than any other religion. It is as evil as all the rest of the religions; it promises eternity, but its promises are empty lies. If you want to be pleasing to God and to avoid His wrath, place your faith in Jesus Christ. Period. Amen.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


For the past seven days, I wrote about the Bible being the autobiography of God (I Am). I referred to the seven dispensations or ages that encompass the past, present, and future of man on Earth. Though not all conservative Bible scholars agree with the number being seven, because of the importance of the number throughout the Bible, most do. The Bible itself has seven distinct divisions. The Old Testament has: Law (Gen. - Deut.); History (Josh. - Est.); Poetry (Job - S of S); and Prophecy (Isa. - Mal.). The New Testament has: History (Matt. - Acts); Epistles (Rom. - Jude); and Prophecy (Rev.).

Creation, which took place in seven days, included a Sabbath day of rest. The Law required Israel to rest on the Sabbath. Manna was collected six days, but a double portion was given on the sixth day so that Israel could rest on the seventh day. Israel had seven feasts: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits (these being a picture of Christ's first coming), Wave Loaves (Pentecost, a picture of the Church), and Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles (these being a picture of Christ's second coming). Seven priests blew seven trumpets on the seventh day to bring down the walls of Jericho. Noah took seven pairs of clean animals on the ark.

Jesus referred to Himself metaphorically seven times as "I Am." While He was on the cross, Jesus is quoted as speaking seven times. The Apostles appointed seven deacons. In the Book of Revelation alone, there are seven churches, seven stars, seven spirits, seven candlesticks, seven lamps, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven plagues, seven thunders, and seven angels. And the Lord will be praised by angels, beasts, and elders saying, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing" (Rev. 5:12).

While I understand that none of this proves there will be a total of seven dispensations or ages, having seven different requirements and judgments, I believe it to be true. Another piece of evidence of its validity is found by comparing 2 Pet. 3:8 with Rev. 20:1-7. Since the seventh dispensation is one thousand years long and since the biblical scholar, Bishop James Ussher, postulated that creation occurred in 4004 B.C., the first six dispensations had to occur in the first six thousand years of history. Even if none of the above information had convinced me, the fact is that only a dispensational approach to the Word of God makes sense. It prevents misinterpretation and it alone allows for a literal interpretation. Remember, every prophecy concerning the first appearing of the Christ was fulfilled literally.

Monday, May 10, 2010


God's "autobiography" is like all autobiographies: it is written by Someone Who wants His readers to understand Him. While they all tell of the things the author has thought, said, and done, God's is unique in some very important ways. The Author reveals only the truth without bias or embellishment. All others list the author's family heritage, but God's lists no family tree. And most importantly, God's "autobiography" is focused upon the future of others rather than on His past. Beginning in Genesis 1:1, God sets the stage for what is to come, and He concludes His writing with Revelation Chapter Twenty-two which speaks of our eternal future (verse five).

Most conservative Bible scholars recognize seven divisions of His revelation to us. Each begins with His instructions, followed by man's failure to obey, and concludes with His judgment. The divisions are:

1. INNOCENCE - Do not eat of one tree - They ate - THE FALL (Gen. 1:1-3:7).
2. CONSCIENCE - Do the right thing - They were wicked - THE FLOOD (Gen. 3:7-9:6).
3. GOVERNMENT - Fill and rule Earth - They would not disperse - THE SCATTERING (Gen. 9:6-11:9).
4. THE LAND - Trust in Me - They trusted in Egypt - THE BONDAGE (Gen. 12:1-Ex. 19:2).
5. THE LAW - Everyone needs a Savior - Everyone killed the Savior for all have sinned - TIMES OF THE GENTILES (Ex. 19:2-Rev. 19:11).
6. [THE CHURCH - Love others (unity) - Loved themselves (division) - THE CROSS (Acts 2:2-Rev. 4:1)].
7. THE KINGDOM - Submit to the Lord - Rebelled - THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT (Rev. 20:1-15).
NOTE: The Church Age is a parenthetical period within the Age of the Law. Following the Rapture of the Church, the remaining seven years of God's judgment on Israel, known as Daniel's Seventieth Week, The Time of Jacob's Trouble, and the Tribulation, will take place.

With each of the periods of man's stewardship of God's revelation (dispensations), the Lord increased man's knowledge of Himself, and He also increased man's accountability. By the end of His "autobiography," God will have done everything He could to bring about righteousness in man. Only the filling of the Holy Spirit worked, but unfortunately Christians "leaked" (Rom. 7). His final attempt will have been His return to personally govern with a "rod of iron" (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15). From the perfect conditions of the Garden of Eden where man made his first decision, to the very presence of Christ ruling in His Kingdom, man's likeness has been like Satan rather than like God. And yet none of it surprised God, nor did it alter His love for us. In the end, He will once again make man as he was intended to be: like Himself (1 Jn. 3:2).

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Adam experienced a unique place in the plan of God. Only he was created in the image and likeness of God. He was formed out of the dust of the Earth, while Eve was formed from Adam's rib (Genesis 2:7; 2:21-22). The Father's plan was accomplished by the Son and by the Spirit's breath (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7; Colossians 1:16). Adam and Eve were innocent when they began life in the perfect image and likeness of God, but it was not long (how long, no one knows) before Adam sinned and ceased to be in His likeness. Just as God had warned, Adam died spiritually the moment he sinned, and no longer had fellowship with God (Genesis 2:17; 3:8; compare John 3:3-8; Ephesians 2:1). From that point on, man is described as being both in the image and likeness of Adam, but only in the image of God (Genesis 5:3; 9:6). The period of innocence was gone. But God stilled loved Him. GRACE!

Noah, a member of the human race that was continuously evil, found grace in God's sight, so obviously He loved him (Genesis 6:8). Abraham, a liar and disobedient, was considered righteous because he believed God; faith is motivated by God's grace and is a gift (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). David, a murderer, was considered a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). Our God is truly a gracious God. It really is AMAZING GRACE!

The nation of Israel was continuously in a state of rebellion that included the murder of their Messiah, and yet, God has never stopped loving them. He is using the salvation of the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy. He has allowed Israel to be partially blinded so that the rest of the human race will have an opportunity to receive Christ (Romans 11:7-25). Following the "times of the Gentiles," all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26-32). GRACE!

The Church has not been any more faithful to Christ than Israel. What started out as a body that was one hundred percent filled with the Spirit, soon became anything but perfect (Acts 2; Matthew 13). The parables of the Church age describe it as being infiltrated by tares, birds, and bad fish (13:24, 32, 48). It is hidden and therefore difficult to find (13:33, 44). Revelation Chapters Two and Three are very critical of five of the churches, and other passages describe the Church as becoming apostate (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:3-4). And yet God loves us. GRACE!

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will try to conclude His "autobiography." For a more complete presentation of tomorrow's post, read my posts dated 1-31-10 to 2-6-10. Each progressive dispensation (period of man's stewardship of the revelation of God) has revealed a clearer understanding of the "Author." What an awesome God we serve!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Noah was the tenth generation of mankind. Just as God knew before creation began that Adam would sin, He knew that man would progressively grow more evil until He had to "put the fear of God in them" (Revelation 13:8). In the first six chapters of Genesis, we see God's image and likeness in man change and become continually evil (Genesis 1:26; 6:5). This pattern repeats itself again and again. God instructs man, man disobeys, God judges man, and God blesses man with new instructions. Man was created innocent of sin, but fell. By the tenth generation, man had fallen so far in sin that God eradicated all but a remnant. He instructed Noah's family to disperse and replenish the earth, but he and his descendants decided to build a huge city to keep from spreading out; so God scattered them (Genesis 9:1; 11:4, 9).

The pattern continued. Ten generations after Noah, when humanity was divided by language groups into nations, God chose Abraham's family to be His people, His nation (Genesis 12:1-3). All Abraham had to do was to dwell in the land that God gave him, but of course true to the nature of man, Abraham and his descendants trusted in Egypt rather than God. Five generations later, his family became slaves to the very people in whom they had trusted (Exodus 1:7-14:30). Four hundred years later, God fed, instructed, and guided Israel in the wilderness of Arabia for the next forty years, a period that would have been much shorter if God didn't wait until all but two who left Egyptian bondage had died (Numbers 26:65).

Moses had also died, but before he did, God inspired him to write the Torah (aka. the Pentateuch, or the Law of Moses). The nation, in its own land at last, was under the Law which was given to reveal man's need for a savior (Galatians 3:19-24). Israel, failing to understand the purpose of the Law, sought to save themselves through legalism rather than admit their need. Over the next fourteen hundred years, Israel repeatedly disobeyed God and was conquered by nation after nation. Again, God judged Israel and took the land from them. Beginning with the Babylonian captivity until this very day, the land God gave Israel has been "shared" with Gentiles.

The Babylonian captivity (c. 600 B.C.) ended with Israel almost immediately becoming the subjects of Medo-Persia, then Greece, then Rome. After rejecting their Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Rome put an end to Israel as a nation with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. God's people had repeated the cycle once too many times, with the final straw being the crucifixion of His Son. But that is not the end of the His autobiography, (which will actually never end) because His plan to reveal Himself to his creation is to be continued.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I have been thinking about the concept of the Bible being God's autobiography, and I realized that only God could have an autobiography that included an emphatic declaration of what He will do in the future. It is unique in that, even after time has ceased to exist, the Author is still "I AM." It is very difficult to grasp the concept of the fourth verse of Amazing Grace; "When we've been there ten thousand years...we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun!" The Bible, by necessity, will have innumerable sequels. I am so glad that we begin eternity knowing the past; otherwise, we could never catch up "on our reading" (1 John 3:2).

The first thing we learn about God from the Bible is that He had a plan. He saw what He intended to create, and He prepared a place for it. On days one, two, and three, God set the stage for what He intended to create on days four, five, and six. He made heaven (the Universe) on day one, and then He made the heavenly bodies He wanted to place in it on day four. He made another heaven (the atmosphere) and the seas on day two, and then the birds and fish on day five. On day three, God created land and plant life for the animals and for man which He created on day six. Creationists view the order of the Universe as being the result of design; God exists because every design requires a Designer. Bode's Law, a mathematical formula for the location of the planets in our solar system, clearly supports the creationist's evidence for "Intelligent Design" (see my post of 12-03-09).

God's plan was, and still is, centered upon mankind. Unfortunately, what He described as "very good" in Genesis 1:31, would become just the opposite: wicked, and full of evil (Genesis 6:5-7). God was not surprised by fallen man, for He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He had already prepared for what He was about to do: demonstrate that His patience has a limit, and that His righteousness demands action. He also revealed that His plan did not end with the flood. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8). What does that mean? Was Noah good? Was he the only "good" person out of the entire human race? No! Noah was just like the rest of us. Noah needed grace. God, who up to this point was presented as being austere, would reveal His ability to love the unlovable. Grace, charis in the Greek, means both "favor" and "a gift." Grace is unmerited favor, unearned, undeserved, and unsolicited by the recipient (one only comes to know that God is gracious after receiving grace). Perhaps if God had only rescued Noah, the loneliness and grief from being alone would have seemed like anything but grace. That is why God had Noah build an ark. After all, He said so Himself, "It is not good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18).

To be continued.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


We are so very blessed today because we possess a relationship with the Father through His Son Jesus (John 1:12). We are blessed in that the Spirit of God has given us the Word of God. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we are told that all Scripture is the product of God's inspiration of the writers. "Inspiration" comes from the Greek theopneustos, which means "God breathed." Because the word used to identify the third Person of the Trinity means "Breath," it is safe to say that our Bible is the work of the Holy Spirit through human instruments. The Spirit also inspires the children of God to share the Word with others. The gift of faith and the Word of God, received and believed, results in salvation (Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:8). Jesus told His disciples that the Spirit of God would no longer be with them, but would be in them (John 14:17). Paul told the Galatians that their relationship with God began with the indwelling of the Spirit, and he told the Philippians that the work the Spirit had begun in them would be completed (Galatians 3:2-3; Philippians 1:6). The Father loved us and sent His Son. The Son loved us and died for our sin. The Spirit loved us and gave us the Word, the ability to believe, and made us a new creation. Being a Christian is the work of the Trinity.

The concept of three in one is not without example in our world. Man is said to have a body, a soul, and a spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Time exists in past, present, and future. Our Universe is made up of time, space, and matter. A timepiece tells us the hour, the minute, and the second. Space is measured in length, width, and height. Matter exists in three states: solid, liquid, and gas. A specific amount of water can be divided into ice, water, and steam, yet it remains exactly the same amount. If I think of the Trinity as being water, the Son Who has a physical body might be viewed as "ice." The Spirit, being described as breath or wind, would be seen as "steam." The Father remains "liquid." All three are water, and yet all three are unique in their manifestation to man. Water itself is made up of three atoms.

The Bible, God's autobiography, begins with creation which involved all three members of the Trinity. The Father spoke (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, etc.), the Son created (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), and the Spirit moved (like the wind) over the deep, and gave life to every living thing (Genesis 1:2; 2:7; 7:22). However, we know that God is eternal and existed prior to creation. Jesus shared the Father's glory (John 17:24), He chose us in Christ (Ephesians 1:4), His work was finished (Hebrews 4:3), the saved had their names written in the Book of Life (Revelation 13:8), all before the foundation of the world. While time may be an example of the Trinity, God is not bound by time. He created time so that we could understand the outworking of His plan.

That plan for mankind began with creation, but it is everlasting, in that we are everlasting (John 3:16). And, just as we often understand others by what they say and do, we can understand Him by reading His "autobiography." Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will begin to show how man's understanding of God has increased throughout time, as God revealed a little more of Himself with every encounter with man.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I mentioned yesterday that perhaps a great place to start this series would be with the Holy Trinity. If you think the names of God are confusing, the "Trinity" which might better be described as the "Tri-unity," is beyond our human ability to comprehend. But before I attempt to explain what I myself do not understand, I should mention the name of the "Third Person" of the Trinity. YHVH (I AM; aka. Jehovah, God, The Father, LORD, etc.) and Iesous (Jesus; aka. YHSH, Yashua, The Son, Christ, etc.) are considered the First and the Second Persons of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is usually the name we give to the Third Person. I believe the adjective was appropriately added to differentiate between the "good" and the "evil" spirits.

In the Old Testament, the Spirit was written rvh. Later, when vowels were added, it was spelled ruach. The same Hebrew word is also translated "air" (1), "anger" (1), "blast" (4), "breath" (28), "cool" (1), "courage" (1), "mind" (5), "quarters" (1), "side" (6), "spirit" (232), "tempest" (1), "wind" (90), "vain" (2), and "windy" (1). As with the names of the Father and the Son, context determines how the word should be translated. That being said, it is hard to believe there are that many different contexts where it is found. In the New Testament, the Greek word translated spirit is pneuma. It is translated "ghost" (2), "Ghost" (with Holy) (89), "life" (1), "spirit" (151), "Spirit" (137), "Spirit" (with Holy) (4), and "spiritual gift" (1). Again, it depends upon the context.

Jews and Christians have no trouble accepting the God of the Old Testament as being the One True God. However, those who claim to be Christian do not necessarily believe Jesus is God. While it is true that the disciples did not recognize the deity of Christ until after His resurrection, it is clear that Thomas did once he had seen the risen Lord (John 20:28). The Holy Spirit is recognized as God in Acts 5:3-4. The fact that all three Persons of the Trinity combine as one God is seen in Matthew 28:19 which uses the singular for "the name" and then lists the Three. In John 1:1, Jesus is called God. In John 10:30, Jesus said that He and the Father are one. In John 14:9, He told Phillip that if he had seen Him, he had seen the Father. In John 14:16, Jesus tells His disciples that the Father will honor His Son's request and send another Comforter; "another" indicates one of like kind. In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul says that Jesus was not only in the form of God, but was equal to God. And the fact that Jesus accepted worship is proof He understood His own deity (compare what just one of the Gospels has to say: Matthew 4:10 with Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 28:9; 28:17).

It seems to me that if someone was intending to write a fake "autobiography," they would certainly want to make the identity and nature of the subject very clear to the reader. Perhaps this is the greatest evidence that the Bible is no ordinary book of fiction. Man can not create what man can not comprehend. The Bible is God revealing Himself and His plan to His creation. I believe we will find that He has revealed Himself to man gradually over time. We do not totally know Him yet, but we will, praise God (1 John 3:2). More about the "Author" tomorrow, Lord willing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


"In the beginning ELOHIM...." What a strange way to begin what might best be called an autobiography. God has revealed to us everything He wishes us to know about Himself in the Bible, and yet I am not certain that I even know His name. Elohim, translated "God" in Genesis 1:1 and in hundreds of other places, is also translated "angels" (1), "goddess" (2), "gods" (240), "judges" (5), "great" (1), "mighty" (2), and "very great" (1). To make things more confusing, the word is obviously not His name because it is a plural. Jews and Christians know very well that there is only one God. The verse Israel holds dearest is Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The YHVH (always written in all caps as LORD) our Elohim (God) is one YHVH (LORD)." Perhaps a study on the Holy Trinity would be helpful.

Even more confusing is the fact that YHVH translated "I AM" in Exodus 3:14 and "LORD" elsewhere, is the actual name God has chosen to use, but to us, "LORD" is viewed as His title. Unless we are addressing Him directly, we almost always use the adjective "the" with the word. An example is found in Psalm 110:1, "The LORD said unto my Lord, 'Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.'" Then there is the fact that Biblical Hebrew had no vowels, so the Jews did not know how to pronounce God's name. They were and are still afraid to mispronounce His name. There is irony in that. Jews hold the sacred name of God with so much reverence that they are afraid to use it, but they have always misused His Word. God says His Word is greater than His name (Psalm 138:2). If they are afraid to misuse His name, isn't it reasonable to expect them to be even more respectful of His Word?

Today, it is rare that we use the words "I am" without "completing the sentence." With one exception, neither did Jesus (John 8:58). He often referred to Himself as "I am" but in the form of a metaphor: Door, Light, etc. And speaking of Jesus, that is not His name either! The Hebrew and Greek languages have no "J" in them. In Hebrew, "J" is the common English translation of the letter "Y" (yodh). And in Greek, the English "J" is used for "I" (iota). His Hebrew name is "YHSH," The same word is translated "Joshua." In Greek, it is "Iesous."

I will not even attempt to explain how God has become known as "Jehovah" or how Christ has become known as "Jesus." In fact, I am not certain I could if I tried. What I am very certain about is that on January 31, 1971, I became a child of God by placing my total faith and trust in Jesus. One might ask how I could know that I was accepted by the Creator. The answer is that I have seen, heard, and felt the Living God in my everyday life. He has guided me, corrected me, encouraged me, blessed me, provided for me, and ultimately, He has loved me. The Lord's death on the cross helped me come to know how much He loved me, but the daily evidence is overwhelming, at least to me. I pray that you have experienced the same.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Yesterday, I wrote about the discomfort I experienced while sitting in Sunday School. The teacher, my pastor of several years and friend for even longer, interpreted a section of Scripture in a way I saw as contrary to its meaning. It was from the Olivet Discourse, a passage about which I had taught for years as being basic to a correct understanding of future prophecy. Normally, he teaches a verse or two and then takes questions and comments. But yesterday, he spoke the entire time which left no opportunity for me to present my view. To make matters even more difficult, he bounced around the Synoptic Gospels and Revelation like a man possessed, attempting to cover in one class what would ordinarily take several weeks of daily study. I couldn't have objected if I wanted to, and I assure you, I wanted to.

After thinking about it for over twenty-four hours (part of which was a night-mare about his possible reaction to my concerns), and spending a couple of hours discussing it with him, I am rejoicing that I was silent for several reasons. I mentioned yesterday the importance of maintaining the spirit of unity in the fellowship. Paul had a lot to say about it when he taught the Corinthians concerning their manifestation of spiritual gifts. He ended Chapter Twelve by saying, "I have a better way - read the next chapter" (my paraphrase). Thirteen is filled with admonitions to maintain decorum and unity motivated by love. Then in Chapter Fourteen, he begins by saying, "Follow after love...." and ends with a command, "Let all things be done decently and in order."

I rejoice today because his explanation was well worth considering. His alternate view, may in fact, be right. Not being sure has done two things for me: it has made me hunger again for understanding of an area I had considered "learned," and it humbled me. His patience and hospitable attitude added to the height of the pedestal I have placed him on (if you knew him, you would understand that a little added height might be in order).

Ironically, the Olivet Discourse is two chapters long, and yet, I was concerned about his interpretation of five verses in Luke. Regardless of which interpretation is correct, if in fact either is, the verses are not essential to the understanding of the text as a whole. We agree that the Olivet Discourse is intended to describe the seven year tribulation period which completes a four hundred ninety year prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27. We both agree that the antichrist will break the treaty with Israel after forty-two months, bringing in the last forty-two months of persecution of the Jews, and of the world as well. We both agree that Christ will return at the end of the seven year period, that He will destroy His enemies, and He will then begin His thousand year reign. I rejoice that the glass is 99% full! I rejoice he is my pastor and friend.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


After sixteen years attending a small southern Indiana church, and having known and loved the pastor for so long, what should I do when I find out he is not perfect? During the entire time he has served as Pastor, I have never found a single flaw in his theology. Then it happened. During Sunday School today, Pastor, while explaining the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; and Luke 21), presented an interpretation that I felt was inaccurate. Inwardly, my reaction was to scream "Nooooo," and attempt to straighten him out. Instead, I sat silently in shock. Here is what has crossed my mind since.

One reason I did not respond during the class, was my concern for his credibility, and for the disruptive confusion my response would have caused. God is not the author of confusion, nor does He approve of His children rebuking an elder, especially in public. Had He denied the Trinity, the substitutionary death of Christ for us, the Resurrection, etc., I would not have hesitated, but he was simply teaching a biblical interpretation that is not essential to the faith, and that is widely debated among many sincere, respected Theologians. Perhaps no other area of Bible interpretation is so widely viewed as Eschatology. And while I find it very difficult to believe it possible that others would fail to see it as I do, I would not deny that they were my brothers.

Another reason I did not react is that it has taken me nearly forty years to arrive at my current understanding of prophecy, and I am sure I have not arrived at the absolute truth yet. Heaven forbid, but I could be the one who is wrong. So, since it is not an essential doctrine, I could be wrong, and my "correction and disruption" were certainly not of the Lord, I was silent.

Because I have always had O.C.D. (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), it was very difficult for me to contain myself. I guess what helped me most was years of being taught by the Lord that Christian unity was paramount in loving the brethren and reaching the lost for Christ (John 17:21-23). I am not saying one should compromise on the foundational truths of the faith, but when it comes to such things as Tongues, the frequency of celebrating the Lord's Supper, the mode of believer's baptism, the order of service, the type of music, the understanding of prophecy, etc., we should make every effort to maintain fellowship. I like the old "Barney Fife Rule" which had to do with Sheriff Andy giving Barney only one bullet because he was trigger-happy, and would more likely shoot himself in the foot than he would shoot a criminal. Andy's philosophy was that if he only had one, he would be very careful how he used it. Life as a Christian is a lot like that. If we are going to take a stand over areas of disagreement, we had better be sure we choose the right "fight." We had better make sure that our stand is worth the risk of broken fellowship and possible church division. That being said, I believe that I should share my thoughts with my pastor in private, and pray that we come to a mutual understanding. If we cannot, then I will accept it. I will continue to support him and love him as I have always been led to do.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


April First is widely known as April Fool's Day, or what I like to call "The Atheist's Holiday" (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). It is a day in which folks are supposed to lie in order to trick others. Once the "sucker" has been fooled by the lie, the perpetrator shouts, "April Fools!" It reminds me of Halloween, in that it encourages sin. "Trick or treat," does not commonly mean what it implies: "either give me a treat, or I will do something you will not like." It is usually not understood as a threat, but there are always those who look for any chance to be destructive and hurtful.

In the early 1900's, a man named Goldberg tried to counter the day of trickery. He suggested that since April began with lying, April should end with a day dedicated to honesty. He called it "National Honesty Day." Obviously, it never caught on. I suspect that since the general public tends to like darkness rather than light, it did not have much appeal (John 3:19). It is possible that Christians ignored it due to the fact that they are expected to be honest every day. That kind of makes me wonder why Thanksgiving and Easter are revered so highly. Christians who understand that every day is a day in which God has blessed us, should find being thankful on one specific day equally ridiculous. And Easter, which is the name most Christians give to the day we celebrate Christ's resurrection from the grave, seems a little strange in that Jesus is still alive; the grave is still empty.

God's Word has a great deal to say about lying. God calls the telling of lies an abomination (Proverbs 12:22). Jesus called Satan "the father of lies" (John 8:44). The first sin was the result of a lie (Genesis 3:1). Jesus was tempted by Satan who, twisting the truth, tried to deceive Him into sinning (Matthew 4:1-11). Lying is evidence that the liar is living in the flesh, and not walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Lying indicates that one's heart is defiled by his sin nature (Matthew 15:18-20). Lying exposes the nature of man's unregenerate heart: it is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Lying is viewed by God as one of the "ten most unwanted" (Exodus 20:16). Judas betrayed Jesus with a lie; he kissed the Lord pretending to love Him (Luke 22:48). The "religious" leaders bribed the soldiers to lie about Christ's resurrection (Matthew 28:11-15). The last example I will give is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, where Paul is warning them about false teachers. He describes the antichrist as being empowered by Satan and that deceit is his greatest weapon in controlling mankind (God allows those who reject the truth to be fooled by his "silver tongue").

The truth without love is brutality; love without truth is sentimentality. Those who believe the truth should only speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6)!