Sunday, July 31, 2011


As I wrote yesterday, the name "antichrist" can mean "against Christ," or "instead of Christ." A better name for him is "the man of sin, or "the son of perdition" (2 Thes. 2:3). That is because, as I mentioned yesterday, the Apostle John wrote that there were already many "antichrists" in the world in his day. He described them as being those who "denith that Jesus is the Christ," and "that Jesus is come in the flesh" (1 Jn. 2:22; 4:3; 2 Jn. 1:7).

Here are a few of the ways the antichrist is described in the Word:

He is described as being in the image of Satan (Rev. 12:3; 13:1; 17:3).
He is controlled by demonic spirits (Rev. 16:13-14).
He is like his "father" the devil in that he is a liar (2 Thes. 2:9-10).
He is a master of deceit (Dan. 7:25).
He is called "the lawless one" (2 Thes. 2:8).
He comes in his own name to do his own will (Jn. 5:43; Dan. 11:36).
He exalts himself instead of God (2 Thes. 2:4).
He comes as a destroyer (Dan. 8:24).
He desecrates the temple (2 Thes. 2:4).
He speaks blasphemies (Rev. 13:5-6).
He makes war on the saints (Dan. 7:21).
He takes peace from the earth (Rev. 6:4).

There are at least two persons in the Bible who are a type of the antichrist:

Antiochus Epiphanes, the "little horn" of Daniel 7:8, committed the "Abomination of Desolation" on Kislew (Nov.-Dec.) 25, 168 b.c. (Dan. 11:31). The "abomination of desolation" is believed to have been a pig sacrificed on the altar of burnt offering in the Temple, with the Jews being force to make obeisance to it. (Read more:

The other person was a disciple of Christ, Judas Iscariot. In John 17:12, we read, "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled." In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, the Apostle Paul wrote concerning the antichrist, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will begin listing the passages describing the false messiah, his actions, and ultimately, his end.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Romans 1:20 says, "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." In other words, even though God is invisible to man, all of creation testifies to His power and glory. From the complexity of a single-cell organism to the vastness of the Universe, God has revealed Himself to mankind.

But God's Word teaches us that ever since his fall, man has wanted no part of God. Adam tried to hide from God (Gen. 3:8). Men preferred to worship idols rather than acknowledge the one true God (Ex. 32:4). Modern science, "falsely so called" (1 Tim. 6:20), has now added the "theory of antimatter" to its "theory of the big bang," and the "theory of evolution."

Simply put, the "theory of antimatter" is the opposite of the reality of matter. It suggests that an antimatter atom is composed of protons having a negative charge, and electrons having a positive charge. I could not find mention of antimatter neutrons, but it is likely that they are still "neutral." And, contrary to the First Law of Thermodynamics, the theory suggests that when matter and antimatter meet, both are "annihilated." No one has explained how both could coexist at the same time. Perhaps they think that, just as Christ controls matter (Col. 1:17), the antichrist controls antimatter! Joke, Joke! There is one verse in the Bible that perfectly describes modern science: Romans 1:22!

Speaking of the antichrist, it is amazing how much attention believers give a man who is only mentioned by one apostle, and although the word appears five times in his epistles, only the first specifically mentions the individual man. The others are really describing the spirit of those who deny Christ:

1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

The individual person is better known as "the man of sin" (2 Thes. 2:3), "little horn" (Dan. 3:8), and "the beast" (Rev. 13:1-8). The word, "antichrist," is from the Greek ἀντίχριστος (antichristos). The prefix ἀντί (an-tee') can be defined as: "against," or "opposed to," but it can also mean "instead of," or "in place of." That is why Jesus warned of false christs (Matt. 24:5, 23-28), or men who will come saying "I am Christ" (Lk. 21:8). To be continued, Lord willing.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Today, I would like to conclude this series by presenting the sequence of events that lead to the time when, as true believers, we will spend eternity with our God. I will begin by describing the condition of the Church at this time.

Today, the Church is clearly pictured by the Church of Philadelphia and the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:7-22. Jesus says He will keep the faithful Philadelphia Church "from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (v. 10). The faithful will experience the Rapture, which could occur at any time (Jn. 14:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thes. 4:13-18).

On the other hand, He says that the Laodicean Church is a church in name only, and that it is operating with Him on the outside looking in (v. 20). Because He still loves these folks, He warns them, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (v. 19). Because the Tribulation immediately follows the Rapture, and it is God's seven-year chastening of His chosen people, Israel, I believe the Church of Laodicea, a church in name only, will have to endure the Tribulation, which is also known as the "Time of Jacob's Trouble," or "Daniel's Seventieth Week" (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:24-27).

Although there is a specific time the Tribulation begins, when the antichrist signs a seven-year peace covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:26-27), it is not until Israel sees the "abomination of desolation" take place (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15), that they recognize him. Jesus called the signs leading up to the desecration of the temple the beginning of sorrows, and described it as Israel’s birth pangs or time of travail (Matt. 24:8; Rev. 12:1-17).

Israel will finally understand that their true Messiah had to be Jesus, and having now been “born again,” Israel will spend the last forty-two months of the Tribulation in hiding (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-28; Rom. 11:25-29; Rev. 12:1 - 18:24). Notice Israel now has a testimony concerning Christ: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:17). It is difficult for the Church to understand that “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26), but just as the Church is saved by the grace of God, so likewise, God intends to save Israel by His incomprehensible grace!

Following the Tribulation, Christ's Second Coming occurs (Dan. 2:34-35, 44-45; Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 19:11-21). After the defeat of the antichrist, the Lord begins His one thousand year kingdom known as the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-6). His Kingdom is followed by the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15), and finally, by an Eternity spent with God (Rev. 21:1 - 22:5)!!! WE WIN!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Those who understand the dispensational approach to interpreting God's Word, know that the Parable of the Fig Tree, found in Matthew 24:32-34 and Luke 21:29-32, has nothing to do with the Church. As I explained yesterday, the Rapture of the Church will occur prior to the events described in His Olivet Discourse. Unfortunately, not all dispensationalists understand that Jesus was using a simile (a figure of speech to which one thing is likened to another dissimilar thing by the use of words such as "like," "as," "likewise," etc.) to teach His disciples about the signs indicating the closeness of His Second Coming. Just as the budding of plants indicates that summer is near, the events of the Tribulation, described in Matthew 24:4-28 and Luke 21:8-24, will indicate that His return is near.

The problem is, dispensationalists get distracted by the particular plant Jesus used in His comparison. As I have mentioned previously, the fig tree has historically been seen as a symbol for Israel based upon Hosea 9:10. And while Jesus may have been providing a clue to the timing of His return in relationship to the nation of Israel's "rebirth" in 1948, there is absolutely no doubt that His description of the events of the Tribulation are the "sign of Thy coming and of the end of the age" (Matt. 24:3; Lk. 21:7).

Israel's becoming a nation again took place during the Church Age. The Tribulation will take place after the Church Age. And speaking of clues, there are several which indicate Jesus was intending to warn the nation of Israel, not the Church. It is the Jew that requires a sign (1 Cor. 1:22). His warning in Matthew 24:4-28 is to the Jew:

**Only Jews are still expecting the Christ (v. 4).
**Israel hears of wars but does not experience them (v. 6).
**There are famines, pestilences, and earthquakes elsewhere (v. 7).
**Messianic Jews will be persecuted in synagogues (v. 9).
**His coming is for an earthly kingdom (v. 14).
**The abomination of desolation takes place in the temple (v. 15).
**Those in Judea are warned to flee (v. 16).
**Only the Jews care about the Sabbath (v. 20).
**Only the Jews are still looking for their Messiah (v. 23).
**The Tribulation is Daniel's 70th Week is for Israel (v. 29).
**The "Son of Man" refers to the Messiah of Israel (v. 30).
**Judgment is based upon how nations treated the Jews (Matt. 25:32-46).

So, regardless of the "clue" about Israel, and 1948, and the generation, the message of the Olivet Discourse is not for Christians to anticipate the Rapture, but for Jews to prepare for their Messiah.

I guess we will see if the Lord wants me to continue tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Just in case you have forgotten, we are still trying to figure how long it will be before the Lord returns. In reality, we have been attempting to answer the three-part question of the disciples concerning the timing of "these things" (the destruction of Herod's Temple), "Christ's Second Coming," and "the end of the age (Matt. 24:3). In doing so, we are looking at the events which must occur prior to His return, in reverse order, to find out exactly where we are today in God's timetable. So far, we know that the Second Coming must be preceded by the seven-year Tribulation; Revelation 19 is preceded by Revelation 6 - 18.

The next step is to discover what must occur prior to the Tribulation. The answer is, Revelation 4:1-2, which says, "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne."

John, being called to "come up hither" by Jesus, the first voice John heard in his vision (Rev. 1:8), is immediately caught up to heaven. I believe John represents the Church, and Revelation 4:1-2 are a picture of the Rapture, the transition between the Church Age (Rev. 2 - 3), and the Tribulation (Rev. 6 - 18). Other passages which describe the Rapture of the Church are found in John 14:1-6; in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; and in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

And, what comes before the Rapture of the Church pictured in Revelation 4:1-2? It is obvious from the way John began the two verses with the words "After this." After what? Again the answer is obvious: the Church Age (Rev. 2 - 3). So far, we have the Second Coming, preceded by the Tribulation, preceded by the Rapture, preceded by the Church Age. Since we are presently living during the Church Age, is there anything in the Scriptures which tells us when this age will end with the Rapture? Yes!

Jesus said that we are to be the "salt" of the earth, and the "light" of the world, but when the "salt" loses its ability to prevent corruption, and when the "light" fails to reveal God's glory, they become worthless (Matt. 5:13-16). The Church was given two commands: Love one another (Mt. 5:43-48, 7:12, 22:40; Jn. 17:11, 21-23, etc.), and spread the Gospel (Mt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). However, the Church has ceased to be of value to the Lord due to its response to His commands: it is marked by division (Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 1:10; 3:3; 11:18; Jam. 2:1-9; 4:1-2, 11; 5:9), and by apostasy (2 Thes. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:1-7; 4:3-4; 2 Pet. 2:1; Jude 4; Rev. 3:15-16). And while we look forward to the Rapture which could occur at any time, the Lord might see it as the removal of His rebellious children who have brought shame upon the His name.

I am not sure I need to say more, but if I do, Lord willing, I will continue tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2011


"Now learn a Parable of the Fig Tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt.24:32-34).

In teaching the Parable of the Fig Tree (Matt. 24:32-34), Jesus used a simile to show the relationship between the signs He had just described (Matt. 24:4-31), and the timing of His Second Coming. Just as (B) always follows (A), so also (D) will follow (C). Since (A), the fig tree putting forth its leaves in the springtime, is always followed by (B), summertime, therefore, (D) Christ's return will follow (C) the signs of which He had just spoken.

As I mentioned previously, the fig tree was used to symbolize Israel by the prophet Hosea (9:10). The ninth and tenth chapters of Hosea predict God's retribution upon Israel. As a result, theologians, knowing that Christ's Second Coming (Rev. 19) will be preceded by the seven-year Tribulation, God's judgment upon Israel (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 6 - 18), have put two and two together and come to the conclusion that the Parable of the Fig Tree is describing the relationship of the rebirth of Israel in 1948, with the Second Coming of Christ.

In Matthew 24:34, Jesus says that the generation living when the signs occur will not die before He returns. Therefore, the theologians, knowing the Word says that a generation is seventy years (Ps. 90:10), having already decided that the fig tree "budding" is Israel's rebirth, have calculated the Second Coming of Christ will be sometime prior to the end of 2018. Since the Tribulation will begin seven years prior to His return, that would mean the antichrist has to be in position to make the covenant with Israel (Isa. 28:15, 18; Dan. 9:27; 1 Thes 5:3; Rev. 6 -18) by 2011. Is that possible?

What unites people? Unity comes from having a common enemy or a common goal. Today, the economy of the nations of the world is literally collapsing. Fixing the world economy is a goal. There is worldwide hostility, much of which is the result of terrorism. The threat of nuclear war has escalated between India and Pakistan, between North and South Korea, between Israel and Iran, and only God knows where else. Israel's former allies in the West are courting the Islamic nations, hoping to end hostilities and insure the continual flow of oil. As a result Israel is a sitting duck unless someone comes to their rescue, unless someone can unite the world with a peace plan, unless someone can take control over the nations of the world. Is there someone in our world today who has the influence, the support, and the audacity to assume that role?

It may not be President Obama, but he sure fits the bill. After all, he is the only Nobel Peace Prize winner before having done a single thing. Stay tuned.


"Now learn a Parable of the Fig Tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt.24:32-34).

I ended part one by saying that, Lord willing, I hoped to present more Scriptural support for the Parable of the Fig Tree being the main clue to the time of Christ's Second Coming. I guess the Lord is not willing, because what I am about to write needs to be considered first.

The disciples were impressed with the glory of "Herod's Temple," and thought it appropriate to boast of it to Jesus (Matt. 24:1-2). The Lord's response was to say that it would be destroyed (v. 2). The disciples then mistakenly assumed that when that happened, Jesus would return and end the age (the times of the Gentiles - Lk. 21:24). They erred, not understanding there would be a gap of approximately two thousand years between the temple's destruction, which would take place in 70 A.D., and His return. The Parable of the Fig Tree is, in actuality, the Lord's illustration of His answer to the last part of the disciples' questions in Matthew 24:3, which says, "... what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the age?"

Let me begin by saying that I know the Parable of the Fig Tree does not specifically mention Israel. I know that Jesus was using a simile in His teaching from His use of the word "likewise." I know that Jesus was saying the signs of His Second Coming are to be found in what He had just told them in Matthew 24:4-31; that is, the Tribulation's first half (v. 4-14), the Tribulation's mid-point (the abomination of desolation - Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15), and the Tribulation's second half (v. 16-28). So, the obvious question is, why do so many modern theologians claim that the Parable of the Fig Tree has to do with Israel's becoming a nation again in 1948?

My first thought is, Christians could not have interpreted it that way for the first nineteen centuries since His discussion with the disciples took place, because Israel was not a nation. Yet, believers have longed for the Lord's return ever since the day of His Ascension when the angels promised He would "come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:10-11).

My second thought is that the Church should not be anticipating Christ's Second Coming, because we will not be here when it occurs. Therefore, since the Tribulation ("The Time of Jacob's Trouble" - Jer. 30:7, and "Daniel's Seventieth Week" - Dan. 9:24-27) is the only sign of His return, is there anything that tells the Church the Rapture is about to occur?

I would like to address that tomorrow. Although the title will still be the same, the Rapture of the Church has little to do with figs, fights, or figures.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Someone posted a short film on Facebook entitled "HEAVEN AWAITS 2011 PART 1" (, and I hope everyone who reads this will watch it. Much of what was presented has been discussed over the years, but this presentation puts the information together in a clear and concise way. So I thought this might be a good time to look at what the Bible says about the fig tree. When I looked up "fig tree" in my concordance, I noticed there are only three words in all the Bible that begin with "fig," and the alphabetic order is interesting; the three are "fig," "fight," and "figure."

Hosea wrote that the fig tree is a symbol for the nation of Israel: "I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time..." (Hos. 9:10). And if there was ever a nation on this planet known to be constantly fighting, it is Israel. They have been fighting someone from the day they crossed the Jordan, until this very moment. Their plight has been so bad for so long that for at least three thousand years, believers have been admonished to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem..." (Ps. 122:6).

"Figure," in the Bible, can have various meanings, from "an antitype," "an idol," "a type," or "a carving." And although the Word of God does not use the term "figure" to mean "to calculate," nevertheless, it is the fig tree that Jesus uses to teach how to calculate His return. The Parable of the Fig Tree says:

"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt. 24:32-34).

Since Israel is symbolized by the fig tree, and Jesus said the generation of Jews which sees the events described in Matthew 24:3-31 will still be living when He returns, we can figure about when the Second Coming will occur, and Christ will fulfill the prophecies concerning His Millennial Kingdom. Psalm 90:10 says that a generation is seventy years, although some individuals could live longer. So, since Israel became a nation in 1948, and some of those who were alive when that occurred will live to see Christ's return, He should be back somewhere between 1948 and 2018. If we subtract the seven year Tribulation, which has yet to begin, that suggests the Tribulation should begin in 2011. If we take the Word of God literally (all previous prophecies have been fulfilled literally), the Rapture of the Church should take place sometime in 2011.

I hope to present more Scriptural support for this theory tomorrow, Lord willing.


This series probably could go on forever, due to the fact that there are so many examples in the Bible of the division or separation of things being good. Just in the creation week alone, there are several examples: God divided the light from the darkness (Gen. 1:3-5); God made the firmament, and divided the waters (Gen. 1:6-8); God divided the land from the seas (Gen. 1:9-10); God created lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night (Gen. 1:14-18); God officially declared there is a division between what is good, and what is evil (Gen. 2:17); God separated Adam from his rib and made a wife for him (Gen. 2:20-23); and finally, it was God's will that a man should leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife (Gen. 2:24).

A separation that was the ultimate in being anything but good, was due to Satan deceiving Adam by saying he was not like God, and that God did not want man to become like Him. The negative result was that Adam recognized he was now separated from God (compare Genesis 1:26 with Genesis 3:5-8). Adams decision to believe Satan rather than God was followed by another separation; God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:23-24).

God told Noah to build an ark to separate him and his family from those He intended to destroy (Gen. 6:13-22). God told Abram to separate himself from his land and his family (Gen. 12:1-3). God separated Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:13-25). Etc., Etc., Etc.

More than six thousand generations later, believers await another "good division." We look forward to being separated from our corruptible, mortal bodies and to receiving our incorruptible, immortal bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-57). And at the time of Christ's return, there will be another division that is good. Believers will be separated from unbelievers. The Lord will separate the wheat from the tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-40), and the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:31-46).

Yes, those of us who have trusted in the Father Who sent His Son to die for our sin (Jn. 3:16; Gal. 3:6), those of us who have trusted in the Son Who willingly took our sin upon Himself that we would not have to pay for them (Acts 16:31; Rom. 5:8), and those of us who have trusted in the direction of the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to God (Jn. 16:13; Gal. 5:16, 18, 22-25), will one day be separated from sorrow, death, pain, and sin (Rev. 21:4; 1 Jn. 3:2)! Now that is what I call the epitome of a good division! Praise God!

Unity is absolutely necessary for the winning of souls (Jn. 17:21-23), but unity must never be at the expense of compromising on the Word of God. The Apostle Paul wrote, “If any man preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9). We are to be one body, and a people set apart for God’s glory.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I began this series by expressing the importance of Christian unity as a powerful witness to the authenticity of the message of the Gospel (Jn. 17:21-23). I then mentioned the necessity of separation in order to spread the Word throughout "Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). I also said that the Church must break fellowship with an unrepentant brother (Matt. 18:15; 1 Cor. 5:1-13, etc.). And then, for the rest of the eight posts in the series, I tried to show the importance of "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). Today, I would like to give another example of when division is a necessary thing.

Just as the Church is to "excommunicate" unrepentant sinners from its fellowship, it is also important to remember that the Church is to be a light unto the world, and is to have no fellowship with darkness (Matt. 5:14; Eph 5:3-14). We are to be in the world, but not of the world:

"And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (John 17:13-19).

The Greek word translated, "sanctified," is ἁγιάζω (hagiazō), which means "to be set apart for God's service." The Apostle Paul had this to say in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will share a few more ways the Bible says division is necessary.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


To summarize, in order to correctly understand God's Word, one must recognize where a particular verse or passage fits in the context of the overall Scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells the believer to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. In other words, there are natural divisions in Scripture, such as the seven dispensations, the five judgments, the two resurrections, etc., and if the student does not recognize what God is saying, and to whom He is saying it, the result is error. The context of 2 Timothy 2:15 is clear if one reads the next three verses:

"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some" (2 Tim. 2:16-18).

In order for believers to protect themselves from worthless teachings (vain babblings), and from false doctrine being taught by teachers within the Church, they need to faithfully compare what is being taught with where it fits within the divisions of God's Word. The Apostle Paul commended those at Berea because they "received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily," to see if what he was teaching matched the Word (Acts 17:11). Remember, every cult claiming to follow Christ misuses the Bible to support their error.

So, I ask you, did God tell Enoch to avoid the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Did He say to Abraham, "you must keep the Ten Commandments?" Did God tell Jeremiah to build an Ark? Were some of the animals, named by Adam, carnivorous? Was Melchizedek part of the Levitical priesthood? Was David the Messiah? Will born again believers be judged for their sins? Must members of the Body of Christ avoid pork and worship on the Sabbath?

The answer to these questions is NO! Enoch never saw the tree. The Commandments had not yet been given during Abraham's lifetime. God told Noah there would never be a need for another Ark, and the animals were herbivores until after the Ark landed. Melchizedek lived long before the tribe of Levi existed. Jesus is Israel's Messiah. Because we believe, our sins were judged on the cross, and we will be rewarded for our works at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Members of the Church can eat whatever we choose, and we have worshiped on the first day of the week from the birth of the Church, at Pentecost, a Sunday.

Praise the Lord, but also be sure to study His Word; He wants praise to be from faithful students. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will address another kind of division that is necessary.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


First, there is a huge difference between someone being raised from the dead, and someone being resurrected. Those who were miraculously raised from the dead to continue their lives as though they had not died, eventually did die. The Bible mentions several: the widow of Zarephath's son raised by Elijah (I Kgs. 17:17-24); the boy raised by Elisha (2 Kgs. 4:20-37); the man tossed into Elisha's tomb (2 Kgs. 13:21); Jesus raised the widow of Nain's son (Lk. 7:11-16); Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus (Mk. 5:35-43); Jesus raised Lazarus (Jn. 11:1-44); Peter raised Tabitha, also known as Dorcas (Acts 9:36-41); and Paul raised Eutychus (Acts 20:7-12).

The resurrection of someone, on the other hand, involves them being raised from the dead, never to die again (1 Cor. 15:53-54; 2 Tim. 1:10). Resurrections of the dead did not occurred prior to Christ's Resurrection. Jesus, Who was pictured in the Feast of First Fruits (Lev. 23:10-14), is identified as such in 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23. Following the Lord's Resurrection, the Word of God tells us that "the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many" (Matt. 27:52-53).

There are two resurrections mentioned in the Bible: the resurrection of the saved, and the resurrection of the lost (Dan. 12:2; Jn. 5:29; Acts 24:15). The resurrection of the saved is known as the First Resurrection (Lk. 14:14). The First Resurrection is not a single event, but involves many specific events, which taken together, make up the First Resurrection. These include the Lord and the Old Testament saints raised after He was raised (Matt. 27:52-53), the dead in Christ at the Rapture (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thes. 4:16), the Tribulation martyrs following the Tribulation (Dan.12:1-2; Rev. 20:12), and although not specifically mentioned in Scripture, it is obvious that those saved during the Millennium will be resurrected as well.

The Second Resurrection is mentioned in Revelation 20:12, and it includes all the unsaved who ever lived. For them, it is called the resurrection of everlasting contempt (Dan. 12:2), the resurrection of damnation (Jn. 5:29), and the resurrection of the unjust (Acts 24:15). With the exception of the Church Age saints who were judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:10), both the saved and the lost will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). Those whose names are not found in the Lamb's Book of Life (Rev. 21:27) will be cast into the Lake of Fire, and experience "the Second Death" (Rev. 20:14).

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I hope to summarize the many divisions of God's Word, and explain the importance of interpreting the Scriptures in their context.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So far, I have shared my understanding of some of the divisions in God's Word that must be made if we want to be "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). I have addressed the seven dispensations, the eight covenants, the two Advents of Christ, and the two phases of His Second Advent. Today, I want to cover the different judgments of God. There are many judgments of God mentioned throughout the Word, but there are five that need our special attention:

1. The Cross of Christ
Isaiah 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. John 1:29 says, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, (Who) taketh away the sin of the world." 1 John 2:2 says, "And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

2. The Self-judgment of Believers
1 Corinthians 11:31-32 reads, "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." 1 John 1:8-9 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

3. The Judgment Seat of Christ
The Book of 2 Corinthians was written to believers, and we read in 2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." This judgment is described in more detail in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.

4. The Judgment of the Nations
This judgment occurs when the Lord returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom, right after the Tribulation, and is based upon how each nation treated Israel during their seven-years trial. We know this because this period is also known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer. 30:7). This judgment is described in Matthew 25:14-46. First, Israel itself will be judged for their faithfulness (v. 14-30), and then the rest of the nations (v. 31-46).

5. The Great White Throne Judgment
This is the final judgment of all unsaved people who have ever lived. It is described in Revelation 20:11-15 and in 2 Peter 3:7. The books (the records of one's life) are opened and all are found guilty, but if their name is found in another book, the Lamb's Book of Life, their sins have been forgiven. Those not found in the Lamb's Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire.

Tomorrow, I hope to discuss the two resurrections found in the Bible, if the Lord wills it.

Monday, July 18, 2011


During His First Advent, Jesus used the phrase, "I am come" nine times (Matt. 5:17; 10:34-35; Lk. 12:49, 51; Jn. 5:43; 9:39; 10:10; 12:46). He also told His disciples that He would "come again" six times (Jn. 14:3, 18; Rev. 2:5, 16; 3:3, 20). Christ's Second Advent was also foretold by the Prophets (Dan. 7:13; Jude 1:14); by the Apostles (Acts 3:20; 1 Tim. 6:14); and by the Angels (Acts 1:10-11). As I stated yesterday, all of the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ's First Advent were fulfilled literally. The remaining unfulfilled prophecies concerning Him, in both Old and New Testaments, will be fulfilled literally.

The verses concerning Christ's Second Coming also need to be divided to be understood. Some verses describe Christ's return to remove His Church prior to the Tribulation; these are said to refer to the Rapture of the Church (Jn. 14:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; etc.). and others refer to His return following the seven-year Tribulation, to establish His Millennial Kingdom (Matt. 24:29 - 25:1-46; Rev. 19:11 - 20:6; etc.).

Here are some of the differences between the two phases of His Second Coming:

RAPTURE--Only the Father knows when (Mk. 13:32).
SECOND ADVENT--It will occur seven years later (Dan. 9:27).

RAPTURE--There are no preceding signs (Titus 2:13; Rev. 22:20).
SECOND ADVENT--There are many preceding signs (Matt. 24:3-28; Rev. 6-18).

RAPTURE--Christ will only be seen by the church (1 Thes. 4:17; 1 Jn. 3:2;).
SECOND ADVENT--Every eye will see Christ's return (Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:24-27).

RAPTURE--Christians will meet Christ in the air (1 Thes. 4:17).
SECOND ADVENT--Christ will set foot upon the earth (Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:11).

RAPTURE--Believers are removed (1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; John 14:3).
SECOND ADVENT--Unbelievers are removed (Matt. 24:37-41; Lk. 17:34-37).

RAPTURE--Christ is coming to receive His Bride (Jn. 14:3; 1 Thes. 4:17).
SECOND ADVENT--He is coming to receive His Kingdom (Lk.19:22; Rev. ch. 19-20).

RAPTURE--Church Age believers are given glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:52-53; 1 Thes. 4:17).
SECOND ADVENT--Survivors of the Tribulation enter the kingdom in their natural bodies (Matt. 25:23).

To be continued, Lord willing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


It is clear from reading the Old Testament and the Gospels that Israel longed for their Messiah, their King, the Anointed One to come (Isa. 9:6-7; 33:17, 22; 40:3-11; Matt. 21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-11; Lk. 19:29-44; Jn. 12:12-19; etc.),. What they apparently did not realize was that He would come twice. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 describes the events of His First Coming: "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures." That is the Gospel message which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).

HE DIED ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES: At His First Advent, He was rejected and killed because He had come as the sacrificial Passover Lamb (Ps. 22:1-21; Isa. 53:1-12; Dan. 9:25-26; Matt. 27:35; Mk. 15:24; Lk. 23:33; Jn. 1:11, 29, 36;19:18; 1 Cor. 5:7; etc.).

HE WAS BURIED ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES: He was buried (Matt. 27:57-61; Mk. 15:42-47; Lk. 23:50-56; Jn. 19:38-42; etc.).

HE ROSE AGAIN ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES: He was resurrected from the grave (Matt. 28:1-10; Mk. 16:1-11; Lk. 23:56 - 24:12; Jn. 20:1-18). And, He ascended to heaven and remains there until it is time for His Second Coming (Mk. 16:19-20; Lk. 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-11; etc.).

The obvious question is, what Scriptures? Jesus answered that for us after His Resurrection while speaking with the two travelers on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:27, says, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." In other words, He explained what Israel had totally missed; He would come as a Lamb the first time, and He will come as "the Lion of the tribe of Juda" the second time (Rev. 5:5). To the Jew, Jesus coming to die and to establish His Church before He would come as their King, was a mystery (Mk. 4:11; Rom. 11:25; 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:4, 9; 5:32; 6:19; Col. 1:26-27; etc.).

All of the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ's First Coming were fulfilled literally. But there are many prophecies concerning His Second Coming that have yet to be fulfilled. They will also be fulfilled literally in the future. The error the people of Israel made was that they failed to divide the prophecies concerning the Suffering Servant from those addressing Christ's coming as King of kings, and Lord of lords. They failed to "rightly divide the Word of God."

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will try to show how prophecies concerning Christ's Second Coming also need to be divided in order to understand future events.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Yesterday, I presented the seven dispensations or stewardships addressed to specific groups, having differing responsibilities, and all seven end in man failing to obey God. I like to point out some obvious differences in these seven to help others understand the importance of recognizing each as unique from the others.

My favorite example is the dietary restrictions that apply. In Innocence, there was only one tree that was "off limits" to Adam (Gen. 2:17). The first indication that man and some of the beasts became carnivorous was in the third dispensation, after Noah stepped off of the Ark (Gen. 9:1-3). It was during the fifth dispensation that the Kosher Laws came into being (Lev. 11:1-47). During the present dispensation, called either Grace or The Church Age, the only restrictions on what man can eat are things strangled, or with the blood still in them (Acts 10:10-16; 15:20). Sometimes, even within a dispensation, the dietary restrictions change. In Acts 15, James says believers should not eat what has been offered to idols, but later, Paul appears to have received God's permission to eat even that (1 Cor. 10:23-33).

In theology, the word "covenant" principally refers to solemn agreements made between God and man in the Bible. The first seven are presented in the Old Testament, and the eighth is found in the New Testament. In order to rightly divide God's Word, the student needs to recognize these eight covenants between God and man: Edenic (Gen. 1:28), Adamic (Gen. 3:15), Noahic (Gen. 9:1), Abrahamic (Gen. 15:18, Mosaic (Ex. 19:25), Palestinian (Deut. 30:3), Davidic (2 Sam. 7:16), and the New Covenant (Heb. 8:8). [These references are for footnotes addressing each covenant in the Scofield Reference Bible.]

Bible covenants can either be conditional or unconditional. Conditional covenants appear to have the form of a contract or treaty, in which there are clear stipulations to be upheld by both parties involved, such as the Mosaic Covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant is an example of an unconditional covenant which does not have stipulations and represent a divine charter or gift.

Dispensations, on the other hand are always conditional. God tells man what He wants man to do, but with the command, He always warns man of the consequences should he fail to obey. All dispensations end with the failure of man to do as God commands, and as a result, man is disciplined. Only conditional covenants can be broken, and always by man; unconditional covenants depend solely upon the character of God, and therefore are never broken.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will present Christ's First Advent, and His Second Advent which involves two events: the Rapture of born again believers, and His Second Coming.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Today, I want to begin giving references for the divisions that need to be recognized in order to understand God's Word. First of all, the stewardship of God's overall revelation must be divided into seven ages or dispensations. Each dispensation is addressed to specific people, who are told what God expects of them. They are given a command, man fails to obey, and God sends judgment upon them. They are:

The entire human race in the person of Adam (Rom. 5:15-19; 1 Cor. 15:22)
Command: Do not eat of tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9, 16-17)
Judgment: THE FALL

The entire human race (Gen. 6:1-7)
Command: Do the right thing (Gen. 4:1-7)
Judgment: THE FLOOD

The entire human race (Gen. 9-6)
Command: Be fruitful and replenish the Earth (Gen. 9:1)

The descendants of Abraham through Sarah (Gen. 17:19)
Command: Go live in the land I shall show you (Gen. 12:1-3)

5. THE LAW (Includes all of Daniel's Seventy Weeks)
The nation of Israel (Ex. 6:1-8 through Jn 19:30)
Command: Obey the law or repent and sacrifice (Ex. through Deut.)

6. GRACE (Parenthetical Gap between 69th and 70th week of Daniel)
Whosoever will receive Christ (Rom. 10:9-13)
Command: Love one another (Jn. 17:11, 21-23); Spread the Gospel (Mt. 28:19-20)

All mortals living on Earth
Command: Obey (Rev. 19:15)

To be continued, Lord willing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


It is clear from the Lord's final recorded prayer before going to the Cross (Jn. 17), that Jesus wanted believers to be in unity, in harmony, to be one (v 11, 21-23). After all, the oneness of the Body of Christ is what Jesus said would convince the world that God sent His Son (v. 21), "and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me" (v. 23). Not only does God love the world enough to send His Son to die for it (Jn. 3:16), He loves the world with the same love He has for His Son!" I guess when the Word says that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), He really isn't! God doesn't play favorites, even when it comes to His Son. When the sin of mankind was placed upon Him, He had to die!

The Apostle Paul emphasized unity in Ephesians 4:1-13. He gave the formula for maintaining unity (v. 1-3). He presented seven examples of oneness, and included the Body of Christ (v. 4-6). Finally, he explained that the duty of the leaders of the Church was to teach until "we come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God" (v. 11-13).

So, if it is God's will that believers be one, when is division of any kind good? Separation of believers is good when it involves sending out soul-winners into a lost world (Acts 13:2). Separation of believers is good when a brother is walking in sin (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thes. 3:6, 14), but this separation must be motivated by a desire for his repentance, and reconciliation with the Church (Matt. 18:15).

There is another division that is not only good, it is absolutely necessary if there is to be unity in the Body of Christ. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul wrote, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." The main reason for division in the Body of Christ is sin. We pridefully need to be right, we are too lazy to do the work of study, and we definitely lack love for the brethren.

God's Word needs to be rightly divided in order to make sense out of what some believe to be contradictions. For example, there are eight covenants in the Scriptures. There are seven dispensations. There are two resurrections, the first being divided by specific times. There are two Advents of Jesus Christ, the second being divided into two parts: the Rapture, and the Glorious Appearing. There are also five judgments.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will give the references for each of these divisions.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Yesterday, I published a controversial post which was originally entitled "I HATE CHRISTIANITY." Based upon the response by a dozen or so readers, I decided to change the title to "I HATE RELIGION." Amazingly, I began getting positive responses. The only other change was, instead of beginning with "Christianity is nothing more than a tool of the devil," I said, "Much of today's Christianity is nothing more...." I really hate to say this, but for those of you who were ready to "write me off as a heretic," I am not at all certain that you understood what I was attempting to say.

Religion, regardless of the label, is man's effort to appease a deity by governing one's own behavior. Webster's New World Dictionary lists as its first definition, "a belief in a divine or superhuman power or powers to be obeyed and worshiped as the creator(s) and ruler(s) of the universe." What the dictionary did not say, but clearly implied by this definition is that man's motive for his obedience and worship is his desire to earn favor, and/or to avoid wrath. Born again believers already know we have God's favor (another word for grace - Rom. 3:24), and that He gave His Son so that true we will never experience His wrath (1 Thes.1:10; 5:9).

Another difference, and definitely the most import of all, born again believers understand that their behavior has absolutely nothing to do with their salvation. We know we are sinners, and regardless of how hard we try, we will continue to sin as long as we are in our mortal bodies (Rom. 7; 1 Jn. 1:8-10). We didn't have to stop sinning in order to be saved, because God saved us while we were sinners (Rom. 5:8). That does not mean a believer's behavior will not change once he is born again. The Apostle Paul addresses how believers should behave in Romans chapter six, which could be entitled, "God Forbid!" Of the fifteen times the phrase "God forbid" appears in the New Testament, ten of them are in Romans (3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11). Should a believer continue in sin, God forbid. However, as I mentioned earlier, we will, and God, knowing that, gave us the remedy in 1 John 1:9).

Born again believers are changed; we have become new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17). God has begun the process of changing us into His Son's image (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 1:6; Col. 3:10). The process will be complete when we see Jesus (1 Jn. 3:2)! That God understood born again believers would still sin is in the imagery of the two wave loaves used at the Feast of Pentecost which was a picture of the mystery that was to be the Church. In Leviticus 23:17, God's Word says, "Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals (the Church is made up of two groups: Jews and Gentiles): they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven (leaven represents sin throughout the Bible); they are the firstfruits unto the LORD."

Based upon these facts, I strongly suggest that born again believers are not members of a religion, but have become members of God's family; He is our Father and we are His children. We are not trying to impress Him, nor or we afraid of Him. We are simply loved by Him because that is Who He is!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Much of today's Christianity is nothing more than a tool of the devil. It, like every other religion, presents itself as the solution to man's heart-felt desire to be good. And it, like all religions, has a formula whereby goodness can be achieved. For the majority of those claiming to be Christians, their solution to self-loathing due to our inability to live a sinless life, is to simply believe the Bible, pray the "sinner's prayer," and to publicly proclaim Jesus is our Lord. From that point on, we call ourselves "saints." We used to be "sinners," but we have "switched teams." Right?

The only problem is, Jesus warned that not everyone who believes the Bible, who says a ritualistic prayer, who publicly claims to be a believer in Jesus as Lord, is actually born again. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity."

Notice, the people of whom Jesus was speaking acknowledged Him to be the Lord; not only the Lord, but their Lord. That would mean they believed the Bible was true, that Jesus was in fact the Christ, and they had spent their lives doing "wonderful works." In other words, they felt they had the right to be part of His kingdom. They felt they were no longer to be considered unworthy (sinners), but that they did what was necessary to be accepted (saints). They were wrong! But why? How had they been deceived? The answer is, they were religious, not born again! Like Nicodemus, they did not understand that salvation is the work of God; it has nothing to do with religion (Jn. 3:1-21). Nicodemus believed the Bible (the O.T.), and he recognized Jesus was "a teacher come from God" (v. 2). What he did not know was that Jesus IS God!

So how does a person become "born again?" First, he must realize that his sin nature has absolutely no desire to trust in God (Rom. 3:10-12). It is the work of the Father that gives man the "want to." John 6:44 says, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." The Holy Spirit uses the Word to produce the faith he needs to trust Him enough to approach Him (Rom. 10:17). He uses the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16), to graciously give him faith in the finished work of Christ on his behalf (1 Cor. 15:1-8; Eph 2:8-9). Before he is born again, he was a lost sinner; and now that he has accepted that fact, believed the Father sent His Son to suffer in his place, turned from walking away from God to following Jesus (repented and surrendered to His Lordship), he is still a sinner! Only now, he is a "saved sinner" (Rom. ch. 7; 1 Jn. 1:8-10). He has not become religious; he has entered a relationship with his Father. And, just as we have absolutely nothing to do with being born physically, we have nothing to do with being born spiritually (being born again). We are His child because He chose to give us life. To God be all the glory!

Monday, July 11, 2011


The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, passed in 2004, defines a fetus as "a child in uterus" and "a person" as being "a legal crime victim," if a fetal injury or death occurs during the commission of a federal violent crime. In the U.S., 36 states have laws with more harsh penalties if the victim is murdered while pregnant. Some of these laws define the fetus as being "a person," for the purpose of criminal prosecution of the offender (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2008).

Even when the death of an unborn child is due to an automobile accident, if the driver of either car is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that drive can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. One newspaper article read, "Intoxication manslaughter charges have been filed against a driver who crashed into a car being driven by a pregnant woman, causing her to lose her baby."

And yet, the same federal and state courts have ruled a pregnant woman has the right to have an abortion. When asked about the inconsistency, one person responded by saying, "The difference is, in the case of a woman having an abortion, the woman is consenting to the termination." So, apparently the choice to terminate an unborn child is strictly up to the mother, right? Of course, my question is, if a woman deliberately ends her pregnancy, is she really a mother? Webster's New World Dictionary defines a mother as "a woman who has borne a child." Notice it didn't say, "a woman who has borne a fetus," but a "child!"

When a woman discovers she is pregnant, she is said to be "with child." When a mother is asked if she knows what she carrying, she responds with "it's a girl" or "it's a boy." She does not say "it's a fetus." The Bible is replete with examples of the unborn being called a child. Here are a few examples:

* "And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child..." (Gen. 16:11).
* "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her..." (Ex. 21:22).
* "Phinehas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered..." (1 Sam. 4:19).
* "And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do... and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child" (2 Kg. 8:12).
* "Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs" (Isa. 26:17).
* "Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 1:18).
* "Behold, a virgin shall be with Child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matt. 1:23).

Since 1973, there have been approximately 57,000,000 babies "legally" murdered in the United States!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Modern secular psychologists, have for their "bible," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is a volume of 886 pages containing lists of symptoms for literally hundreds of mental disorders. Yet many Christian psychologists deny the existence of a large proportion of the DSM's plethora of mental illnesses. Jay Adams, one of the most notable of all Christian psychologists writes, “Organic malfunctions affecting the brain that are caused by brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders, validly may be termed mental illnesses. But at the same time a vast number of other human problems have been classified as mental illnesses for which there is no evidence that they have been engendered by disease or illness at all." Why is Adams so suspicious of problems that cannot be directly linked to organic causes being termed mental illness? He writes, “The fundamental bent of fallen human nature is away from God . . . . Apart from organically generated difficulties, the ‘mentally ill’ are really people with unsolved personal problems.”

As I pointed out earlier in this series, abnormal/maladaptive behavior is the direct result of God permitting man to do what his sinful human nature is bent upon doing (Rom. 1:22-32). In Genesis 6:5, Moses wrote, "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 evil continually." And again in Genesis 8:21, he wrote, "And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done." The Apostle Paul wrote, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). Paul is referring to his own sinful nature when he states, "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing" (Rom. 7:18).

So, in light of the fact that every human being is a sinner by nature, how should a Christian respond to manifestations of inappropriate behavior? It should be obvious that we should not react in a condescending way (Rom. 12:3). If a Christian sins against you, the Word provides clear instruction on how to deal with the offense (Matt.18:15-17). If a non-believer offends you, you are to "go the extra mile" (Matt. 5:10-12; 5:39-41). And, if per chance the person causing you difficulty has a history of disruptive or confrontational behavior with others, the loving thing to do would be to encourage him to speak with a Christian psychologist for testing and/or counseling. Years ago, the television networks ran a public service announcement that said, "Troublesome people are often people in trouble." It is quite possible that the individual may be suffering from some organic malfunction affecting the brain (brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders). The Christian's motive for confronting inappropriate behavior must always be to help the individual become more Christ-like. In so doing, you might become more like Him yourself.


The Bible depicts several instances of "madness." Some examples are: feigned (1 Sam. 21:13-15); demoniacal (1 Sam. 16:14; 18:10); and instances of people being cured (Matt. 4:24; 17:15). Jesus and other men of God were accused of "madness" (Mk. 3:21; Jn. 10:20; Acts 26:24-25; etc.). Of course, Jesus and His messengers, especially the prophets, were viewed as being mad because their message was not received by faith, but by indignation. Can you just imagine what Noah's neighbors thought of "the boat?" Not a whole lot has changed; we are often considered to be "mad" when we believe the Bible from cover to cover instead of believing the challenges of "science falsely so called" (1 Tim. 6:20).

Because we believe what God's Word says, we know that He is good, and therefore, all that He does is good (Ps. 86:5; Matt. 19:17). However, God often allows the agents of evil to do what comes natural to them; He allows Satan to harm mankind, and in some cases, to even kill (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Lk. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 5:5; Heb. 2:14). By faith, we understand that the final outcome of all that God does or allows is motivated by His love for mankind (Rom. 8:28-29; 1 Jn. 4:8, 16). But the Word also says, "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Gen. 6:3). Again, the Scripture says, "He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever" (Ps. 103:9). When God has had enough, He allows man to "do his thing."

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Rom. 1:22-32).

The word, "reprobate," according to the Webster's New World Dictionary, means: "to disapprove of strongly; to condemn; to reject and abandon; etc." The Greek word for reprobate is ἀδόκιμος (adokimos) means: "not standing the test, not approved." It is translated "castaway" (1), "rejected" (1), and "reprobate" (6) in the King James Version.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will suggest ways Christians should respond to "madness" in others.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Yesterday, I mentioned that the preferred term for mental problems, typically called "insanity," "craziness," or "madness," is "psychopathology." "Pathology" is the study and diagnosis of disease. The word "pathology" is from Greek πάθος (pathos) meaning "feeling, suffering"; and -λογία, (-logia) meaning "the study of." Pathologization, (to pathologize), refers to the process of defining a condition or behavior as pathological, e.g. a pathological gambler, or a pathological liar. "Pathologies" are synonymous with diseases. Therefore, Psychopathology is the study of mental illness, mental distress, and abnormal/maladaptive behavior. The term is most commonly used within psychiatry where pathology refers to disease processes. Abnormal psychology is a similar term used more frequently in the non-medical field of psychology.

Mental illness, or disease, may be caused by food allergies, brain tumors, a chemical imbalance in the brain, head trauma, or by recognized diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, a group of brain disorders that cause progressive loss of intellectual and social skills. Another well know mental disease, Schizophrenia, is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking and behavior. The ability of people with Schizophrenia to function normally and to care for themselves tends to deteriorate over time.

Most Theologians agree with much of what the mental health professionals have to say on the subject, but they hold somewhat different views on the cause of mental illnesses. The Bible teaches us that mankind chooses to live contrary to the teachings of God's Word; that is, man chooses to sin. Sinful behavior that is repeated over and over again, produces "cognitive dissonance." Cognitive dissonance is a stressful feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. In other words, in order for man to continue to do what his conscience tells him is wrong, he "overrides" it. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 has this to say on the matter: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron."

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will discuss Romans 1:23-32 as it relates to the "madness" we see in our world today.

Friday, July 8, 2011


When discussing mental illness in general terms, such as "Insanity," "craziness," or "madness," "psychopathology" is considered the preferred term. It covers a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns that are illogical and counter-productive. Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including becoming a danger to themselves and others.

Many modern theologians believe that demon possession in the Bible was actually a manifestation of mental illness. However, their view cannot explain the "insanity" leaving two men "possessed with devils" from the country of the Gergesenes, and entering into the swine (Matt. 8:28-34). King Saul was another example of having fits of rage attributed to an evil spirit from God (1 Sam. 18:10-11). Matthew's Gospel says, "...Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all...possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick...and He healed them" (Matt. 4:23-25).

"Madness," oftentimes attributed to the work of Satan's minions, can be seen from John 10:20, which says, "And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye Him?" Another example of madness, albeit faked, is found in 1 Samuel 21:12-15. However, there are also several verses that speak of "madness" being the work of the Lord:

*"The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart" (Deut. 28:28).

*"And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will" (Dan. 4:3).

*"The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred" (Hos. 9:7).

*"In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness..." (Zech. 12:4)

*"And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness" (Acts 26:24-25).

To be continued, Lord willing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I believe it is safe to say that, if asked "Do you want the lost to be saved," every born again believer would answer in the affirmative. That is, every Christian would say they honestly want all those who are not children of God by faith in Jesus Christ alone, to turn to Him and place their total trust in Him. Many believers are also aware that although men view some sinners as being more deserving of God's judgment than others, sin is sin, and "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). But unfortunately, not all of God's children have God's attitude when it comes to child molesters, rapists, murders, etc.; God does not want any to perish, but that every single lost person would be saved (2 Pet. 3:9). So, when it comes right down to it, many believers do not actually want "everyone to be saved."

Many of us have our own list of "unpardonable" sins, but to God, there is only one unpardonable sin. In Matthew 12:31-32, and in Mark 3:28-29, Jesus told those who rejected the Holy Spirit's witness to His identity (Matt. 12:22-23; Mk. 3:22), that by saying the evidence was the work of the devil, they had blasphemed the Holy Spirit, and they were guilty of the only sin God would not pardon. When a person rejects the Holy Spirit's conviction that they should put their faith in Jesus, they are, for all practical purposes, calling His witness a lie; and Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44; 16:8-11).

Unlike some of my brethren, I do not believe the unpardonable sin was limited to the rejection of the miracles of Jesus while He was on earth. Jesus still works miracles, and the Holy Spirit still brings conviction. Rejection of the Holy Spirit's work today, just as it was during the time of Jesus, is paramount to calling Him a liar. Jesus died for the sin of the whole world (Jn. 3:14-17; 1 Jn. 2:2). The Spirit attempts to convince each person of that truth. To reject Jesus is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

That being said, Christians are to preach the Gospel to "every creature" regardless of what they have done (Mk. 16:15). If we exclude those who are guilty of the most horrible sins, we are being disobedient to the Lord's command. If we do share the Gospel with them but do not really want them to be saved, God will deal with us like he did Jonah (Jon. 3:10 - 4:11). We need to love the "unlovable."

Another difficulty when praying for the lost is, who are they? Christians who are walking in the flesh cannot be distinguished from the lost (Rom. 7:1-25; 1 Cor. 3:1-3). And, even though Jesus said you can recognize "wolves" by their fruit (Matt. 7:16, 20), many religious unbelievers appear to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). It is almost impossible to know who is saved and who is not. The solution? Pray for the souls of every man. If you ask God to draw each one closer to Himself, you are praying for both, the brethren, and the lost (Eph. 6:18; 1 Tim. 2:4).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


The Word of God indicates that the Holy Spirit endows every believer with at least one spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:1-7). These are the supernatural graces which individual Christians need to fulfill the mission of the Church. They are described in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.

The spiritual gift of teaching is listed in all three. In the Ephesians passage, the Apostle Paul lists the offices of the Church: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers" (Eph. 12:11). Because of the sentence structure does not include the word "some" before the word "teachers," most scholars see the word "teacher" sort of like a hyphenated word connected with the office of Pastor. However, it is quite possible that the word "some" missing between them is because Pastors and Teachers are members of a specific assembly, whereas Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelists tend to be "traveling ministers." The Bible presents some clear guidelines on how those with the spiritual gift of teaching should behave:

First and foremost, Bible teachers should be appointed by those in authority (2 Tim. 1:11).

Second, Bible teachers must not be hypocrites; what they teach, they should do (Ezra 7:10; Rom. 2:21).

Third, Bible teachers should only teach what they have received from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13).

Fourth, Bible teachers should use their gift to build maturity and unity in the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:12-13: Col. 1:28).

Fifth, Bible teachers should not waste their time teaching those who will not faithfully pass on what they learned to other faithful men (2 Tim. 2:2).

Sixth, Bible teachers should teach the flock through as many ways as possible; through psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, etc. (Col. 3:16).

Seventh, Bible teachers should realize there will come a time when they are no longer needed (Heb. 8:11; 1 Jn. 2:27; 3:2).

And perhaps the most important thing a Bible teacher should remember is that he is nothing special. His ability is a gift from God. His source, the Word of God, is a gift from God. His students are a gift from God. And his calling is a gift from God. "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (Rom. 12:3).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I received a pamphlet from Radio Bible Class Ministries entitled "Self-Esteem: What Does The Bible Say?" In it, Mart De Haan presented the vast difference between the way God views man's self image, and the way modern psychologists see it. Psychologists want man to "love himself," "promote himself," and "live for himself." God wants man to "love others," to "humble himself," and to "die to self."

De Haan also contrasted how man sees his nature, and what God says about it. Man views the individual as being born "a blank slate" with a broad spectrum of possible ways to be useful to mankind, where as God sees each of us as His creation, designed for His specific purpose. One says man is born innocent, and the Other declares him born in sin. One says man is basically good, and the Other says man is inherently evil. One says man evolved, and the Other says he was created in His image.

The author also describes the significance of man from the two perspectives. Psychologists say man can eventually know all the answers through scientific inquiry into the mysteries of nature, but only through special or supernatural revelation, God's Word, can man discover what is really true. Man can do what he sets his mind to do, but he ought to be doing the will of God. Man has limited strength, but God recognizes man's weakness, and He offers us His strength as our "back-up."

I looked up "self" in the dictionary, and the many definitions were too long to include here. To sum them up, the "self" is who we are as individuals. The definitions failed to describe the "self" in contrast with other created beings such as animals and angels, nor did they acknowledge man in relation to his Creator. The Bible indicates that the "self" is trinitarian in nature, and is comprised of a body, a soul, and a spirit (1 Thes. 5:23). It says that man is spiritually dead due to sin; "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22). In Ephesians 2:1, we read, "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." That is why Jesus told a man who was a living soul that he had to be born again spiritually (Jn. 3:3-8).

Not a single one of the self-help sections of all the libraries and book stores in the world contains a book that can produce spiritual life. Only the Bible has that ability. 1 Peter 1:23 says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." The dictionary has over a hundred hyphenated words such as "self-esteem," "self-promotion," and "self-righteous," but the term that best describes an unregenerate man is "self-centered." Until a man becomes "God-centered," he is a "dead man walking."

Monday, July 4, 2011


The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth's Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country. In its original form it read: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Changes in 1923, and again in 1954 resulted in the Pledge as we know it today: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Recently, NBC "inadvertently" left out the words "under God" from a recitation of the Pledge, and they have been inundated with complaints from folks from every race, religion, social-economic status, political persuasion, and geographic region of our country. The only people who seemed to approve of their omission are atheists. The bottom line is, NBC, while clearly a left-wing media giant, needs the revenue from its advertisers, and because they fear a boycott of those businesses, they were quick to make a public apology. Sadly, NBC realizes that America is not "one nation under God," but is “one nation under gold.”

And as for it being "indivisible," there is more division among our "leaders" than ever before. There have even been threats by some states to secede from the Union. Over the past few decades, religious freedoms have been gradually and systematically eroded by local school boards, the courts, and the "enlightened elite" who want to impose political correctness upon us all. However, all of their efforts combined have not had nearly as destructive of an effect as has the Laodicean Church (Rev. 3:14-22). Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men" (Matt. 5:13).

Yes, I am far less worried about our nation failing to view itself as being "under God," failing to be united without the threat of being divided, than I am about the Lord's Church failing to "preserve" our nation due to its apathy and its own lack of unity. The Bible repeatedly speaks of the power of unity. Genesis 11:6 says, "And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Amos 3:3 says, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Matthew 18:19 says, "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." Jesus emphasized the importance of unity in John 17:11, 21-23. And the work of the Holy Spirit is to produce unity in the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:1-13). I am not calling for "one world religion," but I am calling for the Church, the Body of Christ, to unite and to come together under its Head. If we really want to preserve our nation, we have to be “worth our own salt.”

Sunday, July 3, 2011


So far, I have tried to establish the fact that Peter (Petros, a masculine noun for "a small rock or stone") is not the rock (Petra, a feminine noun for "a large rock or boulder"), but that Jesus was speaking of Peter's statement of faith (Pistis, a feminine noun) in Him as the Son of God, which is the foundation for the Church. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11). I have also said that I believe the key Jesus gave to Peter to open heaven's one and only door (Jesus - Jn. 10:7, 9) was the Gospel. The other key open the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18) for the spreading of the Gospel to those who belong to Satan, so "that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will" (2 Tim. 2:26).

Today, I want to share what I believe Jesus meant when He said, "...and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:19). Jesus was speaking to Peter. And contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, Jesus was not making Peter the first Pope. In fact, most theologians believe that James was the head of the Jerusalem Church (Acts 15:13-18; Gal. 2:12). At that time, to the early Church, there were three groups of unsaved people on earth: Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. The first century Church believed that they were to convert Jews to Christ, and convert Samaritans and Gentiles into Jews first and then into Christians (Acts 15:1-5). Paul challenged that (Acts 15:2-5; 12), and Peter reasoned against it as well (Acts 15:6-11), but it was James that made the final decision on what the Church would do (Acts 15:13-21).

And yet it was Peter who would ultimately determine who were to be considered Christians. Moments before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His disciples to "be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost to Jews from everywhere (including Jerusalem and Judaea), and they were filled with the Spirit and becoming members of the Body of Christ (Acts 2:14-41).

In Acts 8:1-13, Philip preached the Gospel to the Samaritans and many accepted Christ. But it wasn't until Peter had witnessed the converted Samaritan's evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit, that the Church in Jerusalem accepted them as part of the Church (Acts 8:14-25).

And finally, in Acts 10:1 - 11:18, the Lord used a vision (10:9-16), a visit from three messengers (10:17-18), and the Spirit's voice (10:19-20) to get Peter to go to the Gentiles. And when he preached the Gospel to them, he witnessed the Holy Spirit fall upon them (10:34-48). In Acts 11:1-18, Peter convinced the Apostles in Jerusalem that Gentiles were to be part of the Church, as well. The steward of the keys had done his job!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Matthew 16:18-19 "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Before I attempt to explain this passage, I would like to make an observation that is not based upon what is specifically stated in the text, but what I believe Jesus meant. Peter's statement of faith in the true identity of Jesus (v. 16), is the rock. It is the foundation for upon which the Lord is building His Church. The Apostle Paul described the Church as a building having Christ as its foundation (1 Cor. 3:9-11). Jesus said, "Whosoever cometh to Me, and heareth My sayings, and doeth them (evidence of true faith), I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock" (Lk. 6:47-48).

Notice that those who, by faith, recognize Jesus as their Lord, obey Him, unlike those who say, "Lord, Lord..." and yet are busy being religious (Matt. 7:21-22; 25:11; Lk. 6:46; 13:25). It is faith in Jesus that is the foundation of one's salvation (Eph. 2:8-9), and it is faith in Jesus that results in doing the Lord's will (Eph. 2:10). It is also interesting to note that "faith," πίστις (pistis) in the Greek, like the word "rock," is a feminine noun. So, in other words, faith (Matt. 16:16) is the foundation (Lk. 6:47-48; 1 Cor. 3:9-11) upon which Christ is building His Church.

In Matthew 16:19, Jesus said to Peter, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Notice that "keys" is plural. Does that mean there is more than one door to heaven? No, there is only one and that is Jesus (Jn. 10:7. 9). So one of the "keys" has to be faith in Jesus, the only Door to heaven.

The other "key" has to be to the "gates of hell" (Matt. 16:18). The sole purpose of a gate is to control who enters and who exits a specific property. The "gates of hell" are obviously intended to keep the lost from escaping. The fact that the word is plural indicates that there are many ways to enter, but in the case of hell, none are intended to allow those residing there to exit. Satan apparently has his gates locked. However, Jesus gave Peter the "keys." The Church can open the gates and free those who are willing to come out. The "key" to the gates of hell is the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it is the power of salvation (Rom. 1:16)! More on Peter and the keys tomorrow, Lord willing.

Friday, July 1, 2011


There is a sad irony in the way Christians spend more time arguing over the meaning of what Jesus said about Peter, than they spend proclaiming what Peter said about Jesus. After all, the most important facts presented in Matthew 16:16-19 are: 1) Jesus is the Christ (Israel's Messianic King); 2) He is the Son of God (Deity); and 3) Peter's answer was not learned from man's teaching, but was knowledge given to him by the Father. Nevertheless, the Church has clashed for nearly two thousand years over the fact that Peter's name in the Greek is similar to the word used for the foundation upon which Jesus would build His Church. I doubt that what I have to say on the matter will have much effect upon those deeply entrenched in their dogma, but perhaps I can shed a little light on the subject for those who are still learning as I am.

In the Greek - English New Testament, Matthew 16:18 reads as follows: "And I also to thee say thou art Peter and on this rock I will build of Me the Church and gates of hades will not prevail against it." The Greek is: κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι ἅ|δου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.

The Greek word translated "Peter" is Πέτρος (Petros), a masculine noun meaning "a small rock or a stone." The Greek word translated "rock" is πέτρα (petra), a feminine noun which means "a large rock or boulder."

Another interesting fact found in these verses is that this is the only time Peter is called "Simon Barjona," his Hebrew name. The word "Simon" in the Hebrew, and "Peter" in the Greek are both defined as "a small rock or stone." "Barjona" means "the son of Jonah." However, if the word "Simon" is a derivative of "Simeon," as many commentaries suggest, there are clearly other considerations. The Hebrew word translated "Simeon," שמעון (Shim`own), is defined as "heard." This seems to support the connection in that Peter "heard" what God, the Father, had told him (Matt. 16:17).

Simeon was the second son born to Jacob, and is therefore listed as one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Does that mean Peter was from the Tribe of Simeon? Not necessarily. According to John 1:44, Peter lived in Bethsaida which was located on the very top shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was in the most northern area of Israel, originally allocated to the tribe of Naphtali. The Tribe of Simeon was assigned the land south of Judah, the opposite end of the nation. None of this makes much difference, because by the time of Christ, the only tribes remaining in their original locations were Judah and Benjamin. The rest were taken captive by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. and never repatriated.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will attempt to explain the connection between Peter, the keys, and who does and who does not have access to heaven.