Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Those of you who have read my blog over the years, know that I have the utmost respect for the contributors of material for the Our Daily Bread devotional. The Lord has used it to guide me, to rebuke me, and to encourage me for nearly forty years. But like all Christians, occasionally, their writers get things wrong. Today's devotion is an example. And while the error is not really a big deal, nevertheless, it could be interpreted as supporting Replacement Theology.

Replacement Theology is a theological perspective that teaches that the Jews have been rejected by God, and are no longer God’s Chosen People. Those who hold to this view disavow any ethnic future for the Jewish people in connection with the biblical covenants, believing that their spiritual destiny is either to perish or become a part of Christianity. While it is true that in order for a Jew to be saved during the Church Age, he must accept Jesus as his Messiah, as his Lord and Savior, the Church has not replaced the Jews as His chosen people.

The age in which we now live, the Church Age, is a parenthetical period that falls between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week of Daniel's Seventy Weeks Prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27). The sixty-ninth week ended with the Crucifixion of Israel's Messiah, and the seventieth week will be the Tribulation, which is described as the "Time of Jacob's Trouble" in Jeremiah 30:7. It is my understanding that Israel will "regain its sight" (Rom. 11:25) when the Antichrist commits the Abomination of Desolation midway through the seven year Tribulation (Dan. 9:27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; etc.). It is at that time the Lord will give His people, Israel, a new heart (Rom. 11:26-29).

During the Church Age, Jews have the opportunity to repent and receive the gift of salvation the same way non-Jews (Greeks, Gentiles) do. Romans 10:9-13 says:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
That is what the Apostle Paul meant by a Christian becoming a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24). However, the passage in Ezekiel refers to God changing the hearts of all Jews during the Tribulation. The Church has not replaced Israel in God's plan, but has been "created" in order to make the Jews jealous (Rom. 11:11). God's love for Israel is the same as His love for His Church: never ending!

The Jews do not need to wait to accept Jesus Christ;
The Gentiles had better not wait to accept Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Why on earth would the nations of our world yield their sovereignty to one man? The answer must be found in the only two things that unite people: a common enemy, or a common goal. History has proven that both have a way of bringing people who hate each other together into strange alliances. We even have an idiom describing such partnerships: "Politics makes strange bedfellows." An example of both can be viewed in the alliances formed during World War II. Many democracies, including the United States, joined forces with Communist Russia to defeat Germany. On the other side, Italy joined Germany in an effort to create a world empire, perhaps to revive Rome. That being said, under what circumstances would nations submit to the Antichrist? What enemy do the nations of the world have in common, or for what purpose would they be willing to join together?

Their enemy is obvious: Judaism and Christianity. Both have been given the responsibility of shining light on evil and standing against moral decay. Jesus, speaking to the Jews, said they were light and salt to the world (Est. 8:16; Prov. 6:23; Matt. 5:13-14). Because the Jews rejected the True Light (Jn. 1:11; 9:5), the task has been given to the Church (2 Cor. 4:6; Phil. 2:15). So in a sense, Jews and Christians have both, a common enemy, sin, and a common goal, revealing the God of the Bible.

This world will continue to face war, famine, disease, poverty, etc., but on a much greater scale. Why? Because of the character of man in the last days. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 as being:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
In other words, man will hate the things of God because they interfere with his desires. He will prefer lawlessness. The word "wicked (one)" mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 actually means "the lawless one." The Antichrist will not only be the man of sin, but the man of lawlessness. He will have no regard for the law of God. He will be a rebel against all that represents God and His standards. That is why he appeals to man. Unfortunately for them, he has his own religion and his own set of laws (Rev. 13:7-8); and while attractive to man, they bring nothing but world-wide Tribulation!

Be very careful; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Monday, February 27, 2012


There are approximately 2500 prophecies in the Bible, and about 2000 of them have already been literally fulfilled. In other words, those 2000 Bible prophecies have happened exactly as the Bible foretold they would. Born again Bible scholars point out that the accurate fulfillment of 2000 prophecies proves the Bible is the inspired Word of God. However, there are many "Christian" Bible scholars who question the authorship, the content, and the stated dates of the writing of its contents. I spent four years in seminary classes, "being taught" by such "wise and learned men." Thank God I had been given a solid foundation of Bible doctrine before my faith was challenged by "professors" (pun intended). Many of them said the Bible was little more than religious myth, and compared it to the Epic of Gilgamesh. One actually said that there was no such thing as a miracle, but that they were "a mystic exaggeration of coincidence."

Many base their objection to the authenticity of God's Word on the belief that prophecies were recorded after the events had occurred. The most common example was the date of the writing of the Book of Daniel, because he named the empires of Medo-Persia and Greece (Dan. 5:28; 10:20), and identified the Roman Empire as conquering Greece and being the one that would kill Israel's Messiah (Dan. 9:24-27), they say it was written after the Crucifixion of Christ. Of course, since Daniel is in the Septuagint, which was written approximately 200 B.C., their argument is ludicrous.

Many Jewish Bible scholars point to the fact that Jesus did not fulfill those prophecies which foretell of the Son of David reestablishing His throne. Like those at the time of Christ's appearing, they are still looking for an earthly king to come defeat their enemies. What they have yet to comprehend is that the Christ, God's Anointed, would come twice. He would come, first as their Savior, their "Passover Lamb" (Jn. 1:29, 35; 1 Cor. 5:7), and He would come again as their Lord, as their "Lion of the Tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5:5; 19:11-21).

Even His disciples questioned His determination to be sacrificed (Matt. 16:21-23). And again, after His Resurrection, they still believed He would establish His Kingdom during their lifetime (Acts 1:6). Two of His disciples did not believe He had risen, and were headed home to Emmaus. Jesus joined them, "and said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Lk. 24:25-27).

There are approximately 500 prophecies left to be fulfilled. They address the Rapture of the Church, the Tribulation of Israel, the Second Coming of Christ, His Millennial Kingdom, etc. And, just as the first 2000 were fulfilled literally, born again believers know that they too will be fulfilled literally! We also know that after that, the doubters, skeptics, and scoffers will be silenced, once and for all! Praise God!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Six thousand years from Adam's fall, which ended the First Dispensation (Innocence), there remains one dispensation (a time period in which God reveals new information, and man's subsequent responsibility of stewardship of that information). God has required man to be accountable to Him through six dispensations: Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, and the Church. All six end in failure of man to comply with God's instructions. Innocence ended with Adam's Fall; Conscience ended with the Flood; Human Government ended with the Tower of Babel; Promise ended with Egyptian Bondage; Law ended with the Crucifixion; and the Church will end with Apostasy. The Seventh Dispensation, the Millennial Reign of Christ, will also end in Rebellion.

It is almost incomprehensible that they all end in man's failure to be good stewards of God's revealed truth, especially the Seventh Dispensation in which the Creator will literally "tabernacle with man." Jesus, raised and glorified by His Father, will rule over our world Himself (Dan. 2:35; Zech. 14:9; Rev. 20:1-7)! The Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Eternal God will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords, ruling with "a rod of iron" (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15). The King will be the perfect, sinless, holy Son of God. The King will have perfect wisdom and understanding (Isa. 11:2-3). He will do that which is right and just (Isa. 11:4-5; Jer. 23:5). The whole world will know of His glory (Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34).

The Millennial Kingdom of Christ will be free from the influences of Satan. John wrote:
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season" (Rev. 20:1-3).
The character of man, although forcefully restrained for the thousand years, is consistent with his nature throughout history, and it manifests itself when Satan is "loosed a little season" (Rev. 20:3, 7-8).

The Seventh Dispensation will be safe from crime because the Lord, Himself, will govern with His saints. John wrote:
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4).
There will be no sickness (Isa. 29:18; 33:24), nor will there be any animals that threaten man (Is. 11:6-9; 65:25). The land will be garden-like with plenty of water (Isa. 32:15; 35:1-7). You would think with those conditions, man would love the Lord and desire to serve Him for eternity. You would think! But that is not the case. Satan deceives the world into rebelling against Christ, and He defeats them with fire coming down from heaven (Rev. 20:9). Man's seventh failure ends with the Great White Thrown Judgment (Rev. 20:8-12).

The bad news is, mankind is a total failure no matter what he knows.
The good news is, the Risen Lord has provided for man's victory!
For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved through faith - believe it or not!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


In Galatians 1:6-12, the Apostle Paul declares that there is only one true Gospel, and that anyone who preaches a different gospel is to be anathema, that is, accursed! Although many adjectives are attached to the word in the New Testament, such as "Christ's," "glorious," "everlasting," "my," "our," etc., the word "Gospel" never appears in the plural form. In addition, the definite article is used every time. It is "the" Gospel, not "a" Gospel.

The Greek word translated "Gospel" is εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion), which means "good news." In other words, when a believer shares the Gospel with someone, he is giving him the "good news" about Jesus. In four places in the New Testament, Jesus speaks of the Gospel as being "the Gospel of the Kingdom" (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mk. 1:14). The "good news" the disciples were to proclaim was that the King had arrived. He was Israel's long-awaited Messiah; He was the King of the Jews. However, when the Jews rejected Him as their King, and He was crucified, the disciples discovered that the "good news" did not die with Him. Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and He will return someday soon to establish His Kingdom (Matt. 28:1-6; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rev. 20:1-7).

In 1 Samuel 8, the people of Israel had made a serious mistake. They wanted a human king like the rest of the nations of the world. God warned them through Samuel that they were, for all practical purposes, saying that they did not want God to be their authority, and He warned them that a human king would abuse them as his subjects. It did not deter them; they insisted on having a human king. Hundreds of years later, after having been conquered by the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Grecians, and the Romans, they still wanted to be rescued by a human king. But when a "human" King offered Himself to them, they rejected Him (Jn. 1:11). That is because Jesus did not preach the overthrow of Rome. In fact, in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5 - 7). He preached submission to authority, including to Rome.

The Jews did not consider a Suffering Messiah to be "good news," so they rejected the Gospel. They persecuted those who shared Jesus as the Christ, and that opened the door for the Gentile nations to hear the Gospel. John wrote that the Jews rejection was really "good news" for the rest of the world (Jn. 1:11-12). Paul wrote the same thing by saying that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13). Christians are to continue proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16), because the crucified, buried, and risen King promised to return and rule the whole world for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-7). Even so, come Lord Jesus!

The "good news" of the Gospel message proclaims
Jesus as the "Lamb of God" (Jn. 1:29, 36) coming to die for our sins, AND
Jesus as the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5:5) coming to rule as King!

Friday, February 24, 2012


What happens to faith when tragedy strikes? Strangely, nothing happens to it; it is simply revealed for what it is. Trials, like temptations, expose for all the world to see, including ourselves, just how much or how little faith we have. Today, Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor sentenced to hang for refusing to recant his faith in Christ, will face the ultimate test. I, like many all over the world, am praying that Iran will release him. But are we praying according to God's will? To be quite honest, I don't know. I think we should be praying that the Lord will give Youcef the faith he needs, regardless of his circumstances. May his life, and his death if need be, bring many to faith in Christ, and much glory to the Father. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

The character of a believer has been pictured as being like a tree. The psalmist wrote,
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon" (Ps. 92:12). As I interpret this verse, I think of a new believer being like a palm tree. He is righteous because he is deeply rooted in Christ. But, because he is a babe in Christ, still being nourished by "the milk of the Word" (1 Pet. 2:2), Satan throws all that he has against him. And, being like a palm tree, he is able to bend and not be broken. Paul, in describing this, wrote, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph. 4:14).

I interpret the cedar tree to represent a mature believer, strong, and again righteous due to deep roots in Christ. Cedar wood is soft, pliable, aromatic, and beautiful. It was used in the building of Solomon's Temple, and the Church is described as a temple (2 Sam. 7:7; 1 Kgs. 5:6; Eph. 2:19-22). The mature believer is made soft by God (Job 23:16). Those who have graduated to eating "meat" (Heb. 5:14), do not bend in the face of strong opposition, but are pliable only in the hands of the Lord (1 Cor. 16:13). To God, we are a sweet smell (Phil. 4:18), and beautiful in our sharing of His Gospel (Rom. 10:15).

Unlike the cedars and the palms which are useful unto the Lord, there are "dead trees" which are only good for firewood and for an example of the ungodly. The unrighteous speak words of death and produce no new life. Jude wrote, "...trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots" to describe them (Jude 1:12). Jesus said that trees which produced no fruit were suitable only for being burned (Matt. 3:10; 7:19; 21:19). And isn't it ironic that when Judas hung himself on a tree, it being dead, broke, and he plummeted to his death (Matt. 27:5; Acts 1:18)?

Then, of course, there is the "tree" upon which the Son of God willingly sacrificed His life for us. In five verses, the word translated "cross," is actually from the Greek ξύλον meaning "wood" (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24). "Wood" is another word for "lumber." That means it is no longer living: it is from a dead tree. It was at the Cross of Christ that there were "palms" (those who ran away), "cedars" (those who stood by Him at the foot of the cross), and the dead trees (those who rejected Christ and their instrument of His death).

What kind of tree are you?

Thursday, February 23, 2012


It is absolutely amazing to me that there are so many details about the life of Christ which are either debated, or simply unknown. For instance, what did Jesus experience between the ages of twelve and thirty? In what year was Jesus born? What happened to Joseph? In what year did they crucify Him? On which day of the week was He crucified? Yes, there are those who dogmatically state the answers to some or, God forbid, to all of these questions. But the longer I study His Word, the less dogmatic I am. The Word is simple enough to save a child, and complex enough to humble the greatest of theological minds!

When figuring the dates of His birth, His baptism, and His death/resurrection, the experts count the number of Passovers mentioned in the Gospels, like a botanist counts the number of rings in a tree to tell its age. Unfortunately, counting the Passovers does not work.

The Synoptic Gospel writers used the word "Passover" fifteen times: four in Matthew, four in Mark, and seven in Luke. With the exception of Luke 2:41, where the family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover when Jesus was twelve, all refer to the Feast of Passover at which Jesus was crucified (Matt. 26; Mk. 14; Lk. 22; cp. 1 Cor. 5:7).

In contrast, John's Gospel uses the word "Passover" nine times, and it is commonly believed that they refer to the three Passover Feasts which occurred during the ministry of Jesus, beginning with His "temptation in the wilderness," at about thirty years of age (Lk. 3:23; 4:14). The first is mentioned in John 2:13 and 23. It was on that occasion that He, for the first time, rebuked the money-changers in the Temple (cp. Matt. 21:12). His second visit is mentioned in John 6:4, which was about the time of the "Feeding of the Five Thousand." The third visit mentioned, is the same event as is described in the Synoptic Gospels. But in John's Gospel, he details it through nine chapters, with the word "Passover" appearing in John 11:55; 12:1; 13:1; 18:28, 39; and 19:14.

However, it is quite possible that the Lord's ministry lasted more than three years. Based upon the date of Herod's death, circa 4 B.C., which occurred after Jesus was born, and the date of the Crucifixion, which is said to have occurred circa A.D. 30-33, Jesus must have lived between thirty-five to thirty-eight years. If He began at thirty, then He was crucified between thirty-five and thirty-eight years of age; His ministry could have been close to nine years in length. And while John's Gospel gives us the events of three Passovers, he concludes his Gospel by saying, " And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen" (Jn. 21:25). That certainly suggests the possibility that John was aware of Jesus celebrating the Passover more that three times during His ministry. Since the Synoptic Gospel writers only focused upon one Passover during the ministry of Jesus, it is not unreasonable to believe that John might not have written concerning all of the Passovers.

One of the main objections non-believers have concerning Christians, in addition to their viewing us as hypocrites based upon a misconception that Christians are supposed to be perfect, is that our "Bible facts" do not match historical data. That is because the "Bible experts" take dogmatic positions on issues which are not supported by the Bible. Perhaps it would be wise to present only those things which are clearly detailed in the Scriptures, and leave the "Bible theories" for Jesus to explain upon His return!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what God's Word says is true. Faith is the knowledge of things we cannot yet see. God declares people to be righteous because of their faith. A great example is the faith we have that the entire universe was formed at God's command, and yet, what we now see with our eyes is not the sum-total of all creation; there is a reality beyond the physical universe.

It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. God accepted Abel's offering declaring him to be a righteous man. And although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us because of his faith. It was by faith that Enoch pleased God, and he was taken up to heaven without dying. So, you see, it is impossible to please God without the faith that He is God, and that He accepts all who seek Him.

It was by faith that Noah built an ark to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about something that had never happened before. Because of his faith, he was considered righteous, and he was not condemned with the rest of the world.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed God, leaving his home to possess an unknown land. Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23). W
hen he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith, as did Isaac and Jacob, to whom God gave the same promise. Abraham did this because he foresaw a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. And, it was by faith that Sarah and Abraham were able to have a child, even though they were too old and Sarah was barren. And so a whole nation came from this one man, a nation with so many people that, like the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. All these faithful ones died without receiving what God had promised them, but they saw it all from a distance and believed the promises of God.

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac because
God had promised him, "Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted." It was by faith that Isaac blessed his two sons, Jacob and Esau. He had confidence in what God was going to do in the future. It was by faith that Jacob blessed Joseph's sons. And it was by faith that Joseph confidently spoke of God's bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt. He was so sure of it that he commanded them to carry his bones with them when they left!

It was by faith that Moses chose to identify himself with God's people. He was not afraid of the king, but by faith, he commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover. It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho and the walls came crashing down. It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute gave assistance to the Hebrew spies, and she was spared.

Faith is simply trusting God's Word

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, on my knees in my living room, on January 31, 1971. I immediately "knew" three things: my sins were forgiven, the Bible was the Word of God, and that I would become a preacher. I cannot explain how I knew these things, but I did. Little did I know that it would take twenty years for God to call me to a little Southern Baptist Church in Western Kentucky. And, little did I know that it was to be the only church, so far, to which He would call me.

Following my surrender to the Lord, I began telling everyone I met that I had gone from being an atheist to being a born again believer in Christ. Some rejoiced, most seemed that they could care less, and one decided I was not yet saved as I had not yet been baptized. Although I had never read the Bible, I knew I was saved! But, after several hours of "discussing the matter," I decided to let him baptize me just to get him off my back. (Later, I was baptized for the right reason by my new pastor.)

Two of the passages of Scripture he used, or I should say, misused were, Mk. 16:16, and 1 Pet. 3:21. These verses, taken within the context of the entire New Testament, can not mean baptism is required for salvation. Here are some reasons why:

* If baptism were required for salvation, Jesus would have baptized, and yet He did not (Lk. 19:10; Jn. 4:2).
* John the Baptist told his audience that he baptized in water, but Jesus would baptize in the Holy Spirit (Jn. 1:33; Acts 11:16).
* There are many verses that say salvation is by faith in Christ and not works (Jn. 3:36; 6:29, 35, 40; Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9; etc.).
* Water baptism was not yet given to those who were already said to be saved (Acts 10:47).
* According to Ephesians there is only one baptism having to do with salvation (Eph. 4:5). Baptism is described as a spiritual baptism into Christ (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).

In light of those examples, we must conclude that in Mark 16:16, the difference between one being saved and one being condemned is whether or not one believes in Jesus. If he does, he will want to follow through in baptism. Notice, it does not say, "he that believes but is not baptized is condemned." No, it is one's faith, or lack thereof, which determines one's spiritual condition.

In 1 Peter 3:21, the verse is not describing salvation in the sense it is referring to eternal life, but it refers to Noah and his family being "saved from drowning." It is a simile which actually contrasts one's "experiencing water baptism (cleansing of the flesh), with being baptized in the Spirit, thus producing a clear conscience.

Being baptized is what saved people do!

Monday, February 20, 2012


Today's Our Daily Bread began by quoting F.D.R.'s famous statement, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” The writer went on to say that we experience fear because we do not trust God. We are unable to rest in the knowledge that He is in control of our wealth, health, reputation, position, safety, family, friends, etc., and that all those things are in "good hands." Our fear of losing any or all of those things, lets us know that God's will is not our priority. That is a good thing. Knowing we have misplaced our priorities can result in our repentance and the realigning of our will with His.

Our fears, in essence, reveal that we are sort of "anti-Jobs." When everything he had was taken away from him, Job's response was "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). Not only are we "anti-Jobs," in reality, when we fail to follow the Lord's example, we are, in essence, "antichrists." The Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus willingly gave up far more than you, I, or the whole world put together for that matter. Jesus "made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil 2:7-8).

Here are just a few of the benefits of the fear of the Lord from Psalms and Proverbs: He gives knowledge and wisdom to those who fear Him (Ps. 25:14; 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 15:33). He watches over those who fear Him (Ps. 33:18). His angels protect those who fear Him (Ps. 34:7). He shows mercy to those who fear Him (Ps. 103:17). He gives confidence to those who fear Him (Prov. 14:26). He is the source of life to those who fear Him (Prov. 14:27). And perhaps the most important to believers is the fact that it is our fear of Him that causes us to flee from sin (Prov. 16:6). Some say believers avoid sin out of love for God, but that is true of only our spiritual man; our natural man loves only himself (Rom. 7:14 - 8:1).

But ultimately, fear is nothing more than a lack of faith in the Lord. It is our fear which tells us that we have not arrived. It tells us that we still have "miles to go before we sleep." The remedy for fear, of course, is trust Him. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? But as I understand the Word of God, we will not be "all that we can be" until we look into the loving eyes of the One who died for us (1 Jn. 3:2).

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow;
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds my future;
Life is worth the living just because He lives!

Fear brings us to Christ, but faith brings us to salvation!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I am sure that just about everyone has heard the joke about the man who was warned to evacuate his home because of a pending flood, but due to his stubbornness and pride, he took a lawn chair and sat on his roof waiting for God to rescue him. When a rescue boat came, he refused to get in, saying, "No need, the Lord will save me." A little later, a helicopter hovered over his home, and he waved them off because he just knew the Lord would rescue him. The man drowned, and in heaven, he asked why God had not saved him. He was told that God had sent a warning, a boat, and a helicopter, what more did he expect God to do?

All joking aside, a similar scenario has been occurring ever since mankind decided to do things his own way. Man is in danger of eternal punishment for his sin, and God has repeatedly warned that unless he accepts God's attempt to rescue him, he will "drown eternally in the lake of fire." The difference between the joke and reality, God sent three warnings, and made only one "rescue attempt."

The first warning is found in the Creation itself. The Apostle Paul wrote, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men...because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 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" (Rom. 1:18-20). But instead of recognizing how awesome the Creator is, man began worshiping the creation rather than the Creator.

God's second warning to man came through the Word of the Old Testament prophets, and the New Testament apostles. They repeatedly warned of the pending judgment of God on those who trusted in religion instead of trusting in God's mercy. God's messengers were laughed at, physically assaulted, and even killed (2 Chron. 36:16; Matt. 21:35; 23:34, 37; Acts 7:52). When the religious leaders rejected Jesus because He didn't match their own idolatrous image of what the Messiah would be like, Jesus told them, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me' (Jn. 5:39).

The Holy Spirit's primary job is to warn, to convict us of our sin, of His righteousness, and of the certainty of judgment of evil (Jn. 16:8-11). He testifies, that is, directs man's attention to Jesus (Jn. 15:23). He not only is the Agent of the new birth (Jn. 3:3-8), but He seals believers until the day of our final redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). And it is the Holy Spirit who reminds believers of the teachings of Jesus (Jn. 14:26).

God has given us three warnings of our need of "rescue." However, He did not offer us three means of escape. He gave His only begotten Son as the propitiation, or payment in full for our sins (Rom. 3:25; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10). Jesus said, "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father except by Me" (Jn. 14:6). "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Trust the "Rescuer" today while there is time!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


In John's Gospel, he speaks of two groups of people who were invited to become His children by faith. These would form a "new group," described as being composed of individuals from each, and forming what would be called the Church, or the Body of Christ (Eph. 2:1-22). John speaks of the three when he says,
"He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn. 1:10-13).
Up until the time of Christ, there were only two divisions of mankind: Gentiles (the world), and Jews (His own). But when God's chosen people, the Jews, rejected God's invitation to accept Jesus as their Lord, God chose "whosoever will" (Rom. 10:9-10, 13), to become His children; a new division was formed: the Church. Today, there are three: Jews, Gentiles, and born again believers. Notice I did not say Jews, Gentiles, and Christians. That is because I believe the majority of those who call themselves Christians, in actuality, have a relationship with an organization, and not a relationship with God.

From the Creation until God chose Abraham to be the "father" of His chosen nation, a period of about 2000 years, God offered Himself to a world populated by only Gentiles. They rejected His offer. From the time of Abraham until the Crucifixion of Christ, another period of about 2000 years, God attempted to have a "Father-child" relationship with the Jews. They, too, rejected His offer. It has been about 2000 years since the birth of the Church, and based upon the parables of Matthew 13, the Church has been taken over by "tares, leaven, birds, and bad fish." Like Israel throughout its history, today, God has within Christianity a "remnant" called the "Body of Christ" (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:12).

God offered Himself as God to the Gentiles (Gen. 35:11), as King to the Jews (1 Sam. 8:20), and as Savior to any and all who would accept Him (Lk. 2:10-11). In His parable in Luke 14:16-24, Jesus shows how all three groups have been offered to sup with Him in His Kingdom:
"So that servant came, and shewed his Lord these things. Then the Master of the house being angry said to His servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as Thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled" (Lk. 14:21-23).
It is clear that by grace,
God has invited Gentiles, Jews, and "whosever will,"
to come to His Kingdom and feast.

Friday, February 17, 2012


In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus explains the Judgment of the Nations, which will occur at His Second Coming. This is not to be confused with the Judgment Seat of Christ (born again believers in heaven during the Tribulation - Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3: 8-15; 2 Cor. 5:10), or with the Great White Throne Judgment (those whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life at the end of the Millennium - Rev. 20:11-15). I would like to make a few observations about the identity of the "sheep" and the "goats."

First of all, there are four groups mentioned at this judgment: His holy angels (v. 31); the "nations" make up two groups (v. 32-33); and the Lord's "brethren" (v. 40, 45). It is extremely important to the interpretation of this passage, that we understand it is the Gentile "nations" which are being judged. The "sheep" are not Jews, nor or they the Church.

Secondly, Matthew 25:32, "And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats." In this verse, the antecedent "nations" is neuter, and the pronoun, "them," is masculine. In addition, the word "nations" cannot mean actual nations because the Word says that ALL nations will hate the Lord's brethren (Joel 3:1-2; Matt. 24:9). Therefore, a better translation would be "Gentiles," which would allow for individual Gentiles to minister to His brethren.

Thirdly, as far as I can tell, the argument that only the "saved" can enter the Millennium is not supported by Scripture or logic. If the "sheep" were saved individuals, Jesus would not need to separate them from the "lost goats" based upon their works; works do not save. And yet, the passage clearly states that His decision as to which group the individual belongs, is based upon their works.

Fourthly, the "logic" that declares the unsaved cannot enter into the Lord's 1000 year Kingdom, but by the end, nearly the entire population is lost (Rev. 19:19-20). Of course, there are those who say that the saved who lived through the Tribulation, are procreating children who are not saved. That would imply that Jesus need not rule with "a rod of iron" until those entering the Millennium had children (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 12:5; 19:15).

And finally, to those who point out that the Kingdom was "prepared for (them) from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34), and say that proves all entering will be saved. I would point out that lots of things were prepared "before the foundation of the world." Christ was crucified before it (Heb. 4:3; Rev. 13:8). The Mystery of the Church was hidden (Matt. 13:35). And the prophets of old were determined to be made martyrs before the world was formed (Lk. 11:50). It is quite possible that God planned to have both saved and unsaved Gentiles in the Kingdom He planned for His Son.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Many groups deny the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment, claiming that Luke 16:19-31 is a parable, because they do not like what it teaches about Hell, the place of conscious torment and suffering for the wicked dead. However, if it were a parable, it would be the only one to use an individual's name. It would be the only parable that calls "Paradise," "Abraham's bosom" (v. 23). Note that Jesus stated the thief on the cross would be with Him in the place of the righteous "dead" (Lk. 23:43). And, since a "parable is an earthly story with a heavenly significance, it cannot be a parable, for it transcends man's earthly experience."

The Hebrew Sheol, and the Greek
Hades, Ghenna and Tartarus, are all translated "Hell" in the King James Version. Sheol simply means the "unseen state" of the dead, as does Hades. Ghenna is more of a description of the place of torment; it is named for the Valley of Hinnom, the place where the residents of Jerusalem burned their trash. Tartarus is the "prison-like abode" of the fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4). In Luke 16:23, "Hell" is translated from the Greek word "Hades," but based upon its context, it could just as easily have been Ghenna (v. 24).

The word "Paradise," appears only three times in the Bible (Lk. 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7). It is from the Greek Paradeisos, which describes a garden-like place. By comparing its use in the New Testament, we can see that the place called "Abraham's bosom" was much like the Garden of Eden, and the "Garden of Heaven" (Gen. 2:8-10; Rev. 22:2). While the Lord's body lie in the grave for three days and three nights (Matt. 12:40), His soul went and preached to those in Paradise, and after the three days, He "emptied Paradise," and it no longer exists; today, the saved immediately are in Heaven (2 Cor. 5:8; Eph. 4:8-10).

So, it seems, that prior to Christ's Resurrection, the souls of the dead went to a divided place; a place where the righteous dead, those who trusted and believed God (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23), were on one side of an impassable gulf, and the unrighteous, those who failed to put their trust in God, were on the other side. One side was "garden like," and the other was a place of fiery torment. Today, only the "torment side" remains. It will remain until all of those sentenced to spend eternity in it, are cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14). Hell will be joined by the Beast and False Prophet (Rev. 19:20), and Satan (Rev. 20:10); in other words, all whose names are not found in the Lamb's Book of Life (Rev. 20:15).

Today, you cannot go to Paradise, but you can go to Heaven (Rom. 10:9-10)!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Although I have posted this material several times, I continually meet folks who either hold the view that the Rapture of the Church is a myth, or they believe it will occur sometime after the Tribulation begins. So, I will state again my reasons for holding to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position. In other words, born again believers will be removed, and the Lord will gather Israel for seven years of chastisement.

1. This period is described as a time of: Wrath: Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:19; 15:1,7; 16:1,19; 1 Th. 1:9-10, 5:9; Zeph. 1:15,18. Judgment: Rev. 14:7; 15:4; 16:5-7; 19:2. Indignation: Isa. 26:20-21, 34:1-3. Punishment: Isa. 24:20-21. The Hour of Trial: Rev. 3:10. Destruction: Joel 1;15. Darkness: Joel 2:2; Zeph. 1;14-18; Amos 5:18.

2. The seventieth week of Daniel 9:24-27, has to do with Israel.

3. The Doctrine of Imminence requires that no prophetic events can occur before the Rapture (see

4. The Restrainer of 2 Th. 2:7-8 prevents Satan from beginning his diabolical work. The Church is the light of the world; darkness cannot go where there is light (Phil. 2:15).

5. There are many proofs that there is a difference between the Rapture and Christ’s second coming (see www,

6. The message of the two witnesses of Revelation 11:1-11 (see

7. The Church at Philadelphia (possessors of Christ) will be spared the wrath to come, while the Church at Laodicea (professing Christians) will not be spared (Rev. 3:7-22).

8. The Lord’s dealing with Israel will begin at the end of the “times of the Gentiles.” In Luke 21:24, we are told that the Gentile control of Jerusalem is a key to when He will again deal with Israel.

9. The 144,000 of Israel, sealed during the tribulation, are saved Jews and are not said to be part of the church (Rev. 7:4; 14:1-5).

10. The chronology of the book of Revelation speaks of the Church in the second and third chapters, but not in chapters six through nineteen, which describe the Tribulation.

11. God has not appointed the church to wrath (1 Th. 1:9-10; 5:2-11).

12. The Church Age is described as an age of GRACE. We don’t deserve to be exempt, but thanks be to God, we are.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


"For God so loVed the world,
that He gAve His onLy bEgotten SoN,
thaT whosoever belIeveth In Him,
should Not perish,
but have Everlasting life." (Jn. 3:16)

"But God commendeth His love toward us,
in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8)

"Herein is love,
not that we loved God,
but that He loved us,
and sent His Son to be
the propitiation for our sins." (1 Jn. 4:10)

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ
is born of God:
and every one that loveth Him that begat,
loveth Him also that is begotten of Him."
(1 Jn. 5:1)

Monday, February 13, 2012


Before anyone becomes alarmed by the title, let me assure you that I am not recommending a state church, nor am I suggesting we should worship government. Think of this as a "State of the Union" presentation, only instead of analyzing the condition of our country, I am sharing my views on the condition of the Church. And regardless of whether or not the seven churches of Revelation represent periods of Church History, or are referring to seven literal churches existing at the time of John wrote the book, or both, makes no difference. What I hope to show may be applied to literal churches in John's day, periods of Church History, and can be found in the Church today.

In Chapter One, Jesus is described in His glorified body (v. 12-15), holding the "seven angels of the seven churches" (v. 16, 20), while standing in the middle of the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 1:11, 13, 20). He tells John to write A book and send it to "the angels" of each of the seven churches (v. 9). Chapters Two and Three present Christ's evaluation of the state of each of the seven churches.

Ephesus (2:1-7) - False Priorities - They replaced their worship with works.

Smyrna (2:8-11) - False Accusers - Jewish hypocrites and Satan persecute them.

Pergamos (2:12-17) - False Doctrine - They were infiltrated by false teachers.

Thyatira (2:18-29) - False Prophets - They were mixing in false religious beliefs.

Sardis (3:1-6) - False Spirituality - Their works were for show.

Philadelphia (3:7-13) - Genuine Faith - Their works were focused on soul-winning.

Laodicea (3:14-22) - False Profession - Their religion did not include Jesus.

Today, just as in John's day, there are churches which can be described as being like one mentioned above. Some believe in salvation by works, such as the Roman Catholic Church. Some believe and follow false leaders, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, and the Unification Church. There are some which are faithfully trying to spread the Gospel to the far reaches of the earth, such as the Church of Christ, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Plymouth Brethren, and the Southern Baptists. Then, there are some groups which are churches in name only, such as Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Like the K.K.K., Westboro uses the name of Jesus, but there is zero fruit of the Spirit to show Jesus has influenced their organizations.

What is the state of your church?

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I do not know when the "Ecumenical Movement" actually began, but I suspect it has been around ever since the Eastern Orthodox Church split from Rome in A.D. 1054. And today, there are those who wish to unite all of the Protestant Denominations, all Independent Churches, and Roman Catholicism, because they have mistakenly misinterpreted the Lord's prayer for the Church. In John 17:11, 21-23, Jesus prays for His disciples to be united, to be one, so that the world would see our unity, and know that the Father sent Jesus, because He loves mankind as much as He loves His own Son. What they fail to comprehend is that Jesus is not praying that all professing Christians would be united, but that all those whom His Father had given Him would be one (Jn. 17:11). His parables on the Church clearly indicate that there will be "tares," "birds," "leaven," and "bad fish" mingled within (Matt. 13:24-50).

Even though there are very few individual churches where the membership is made up of nearly 100% born again believers, I believe God's children can be found in ALL the divisions of Christendom. I have often been amazed when I would meet someone from another affiliation, and immediately be aware of a spiritual bond between us. Our fellowship is possible because we have accepted the gift of salvation based upon the finished work of Christ, and not on our own works (Eph. 2:8-10). We believe what Titus 3:5-6 says: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour."

We have fellowship with, and are united with ALL those who believe:

1) the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are ALL one God; " Hear, O Israel: The LORD (singular) our God (plural) is one LORD (singular)." (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19).

2) that Jesus, being God manifest in the flesh, born of a virgin, having lived a sinless life, died for man's sin, was buried, and He was raised from the dead to be Lord over ALL (Jn. 1:1, 14; Matt. 1:18-25; Heb. 4:15; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Phil. 2:10).

3) that God loves ALL of mankind, and sent His Son to die for ALL (Isa. 53:6; Jn. 3:16; 6:33, 51; Rom. 5:8, 18; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 2:9; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 Jn. 2:2).

4) that ALL men are sinners, and need salvation (Rom. 3:23).

5) that ALL who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13).

6) that ALL who accept Jesus as Lord, receive the new birth which is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 3:3-9; 14:17; Acts 2:4).

7) that ALL of God's children are gifted for service (1 Cor. 12, 6, 11-13, 18).

God is no respecter of persons; what He has done for me, He is willing to do for ALL of you!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


George Zeller wrote an excellent response to the question, "Can people be saved after the Rapture?" The question was asked in light of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17, which many take to support an answer of "No!" Zeller gave seven reasons as to why the answer should be "Yes." Here is my take on his view.

1) The context of 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9 is during the Tribulation, not prior to the Rapture of the Church. The Antichrist has been revealed, which could mean the seven year "treaty" exposed his identity, or it could mean at the eye-opening event called the Abomination of Desolation occurring three and a half years after the beginning of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27).

2) The "deceivableness" and "delusion" mentioned (2 Thes. 2:10-11), involve "the signs and lying wonders" (v. 9) done by the Antichrist and False Prophet during the Tribulation (Rev. 13:13).

3) There is not a time in the entire Word of God that states a man cannot be saved. However, during the Tribulation, there is a group, a majority, who will by choice, receive the mark of the Beast (Rev. 14:9-11).

4) Those who willing take the mark during the Tribulation, have rejected the witness of the Two Witnesses (Rev. 11:3 - the first half of the Tribulation), of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:4 - the first half of the Tribulation), and by an angel (Rev. 14:6 - even after the mid-point of the Tribulation).

5) It is God, during the Tribulation, who finally closes the door to salvation for those who have rejected His witnesses, and who, by accepting the mark, have made a final commitment to oppose Him and submit to the Antichrist (Rev. 14:9-11).

6) It is during the Tribulation that those receiving the mark will, by rejecting the witness of God's agents, will be the final generation to believe the lie that Satan, which he has told from the very beginning; denying the Father (Gen. 3:5); denying the Son (Matt. 16:23); and denying the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31-32).

7) Zeller concludes by saying that those who reject the Gospel before the Rapture of the Church, will continue to reject it during the Tribulation.

I would add that I believe that many of those in today's church, the Church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22), a group that professes to be Christians prior to the Rapture, will be left behind, but will realize they need to be saved and receive Him as their Lord during the Tribulation. They will have to "overcome" Satan by the Blood of the Lamb (faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ - 1 Cor. 15:1-4), by word of their testimony (confessing Christ - Rom. 10:9-10), and they will be willing to die for Him (Rev. 12:11).

Friday, February 10, 2012


According to my understanding, something biblically significant takes place at the beginning of each millennium of our planet's history. According to Bishop Ussher's calculations, in about 4000 B.C., God created Adam. In about 3000 B.C., the tenth generation of man, Noah, was born. Ten generations later, in about 2000 B.C., Abram (Abraham) was born. Approximately one thousand years later, 1000 B.C., David ruled the Nation of Israel. And of course it goes without saying, approximately one thousand years passed, and Jesus was born.

The Virgin Birth of Jesus, His Crucifixion, His burial, and His Resurrection, are collectively the subject of the Gospels of the New Testament. They were also predicted in the Old Testament (Isa. 7:14; Isa. 53:7; Zech. 9:9; Isa. 53:9; Ps. 16:10; 49:15; etc.). But what wasn't revealed in the Old Testament is the period known as the Church Age; it was a mystery prior to the Holy Spirit founding it on the Day of Pentecost, just ten days after Christ's Ascension (Eph. 5:32; Acts 1:3-9). Jesus had mentioned He would build His Church (Matt. 16:18), but His disciples did not understand until they were filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).

The Church has existed for about two thousand years, and if there is a significant event that takes place at the beginning of every millennium, what major event occurred around A.D. 1000? The Roman and Eastern Orthodox churches officially split in A.D. 1054. Perhaps Pope Benedict IX was the main cause for the Eastern church to leave the authority of Rome, and declared Constantinople to be their "Rome." Pope Benedict IX (c. 1012 – c. 1056), was declared Pope on three occasions between 1032 and 1048. One of the youngest popes, he was the only man to have been Pope on more than one occasion, and the only man ever to have sold the papacy. Regardless of the reasons, the fact that Rome was no longer seen as the only bearer of the truth, set the stage for further division during the Reformation.

Based upon the above material, is it any wonder that born again believers are expecting the Rapture of the Church at any moment (Jn. 14:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:50-54; 1 Thes. 4:13-18)? There was a period of about two thousand years between Creation and the beginning of God's dealing with the "family" of Abraham, or what we now know as Israel. A second two thousand years was complete when Israel rejected their Messiah, and God "put them on the shelf" until the times of the Gentiles was over (Lk. 21:24; Rom. 9 - 11). The Church has been in existence for about two thousand years! According to God's apparent timetable, we are due to exit; we are waiting for the Rapture, which could happen any day.

Six thousand years have come and gone, and since God has a way of doing things in sevens (Gen. 1), there is another one thousand year period mentioned before the end of time as we know it. Christ will return with His Bride, the Church, and will establish His Kingdom known as the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-7). That makes sense. The Psalmist and Peter wrote that to God, a thousand years is as a day, and a day is as a thousand years (Ps. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8). God created the world in six days, and then He "rested." The Millennium, then, is known as "the day of God's rest" (Heb. 3:11, 18; 4:1-10). Come Lord Jesus!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is John Chapter Nine. The thing I find so fascinating about it is how the man who received his sight progresses in his understanding "the Light" standing before him (v. 5). The incident happens with Jesus initiating the meeting; Jesus saw a man who had been born blind; we are not told how Jesus knew that (v. 1). The blind man knew only that the person who healed him was a Man named Jesus (v. 11).

The man's neighbors were not satisfied with the man's answer, so they took him to the Pharisees (v. 13), who debated over whether or not his healing was done by a sinner, or that it was the work of God (v. 16). When they ask the man his opinion of Jesus, he responded this time by saying "He is a Prophet" (v. 17).

The Jews, not believing the man's testimony, asked his parents to verify that their son had been born blind, and how it was that he could now see (v. 19). Out of fear of retribution if they told the Pharisees that they believed Jesus was the Christ (Israel's Messiah), the parents told the Pharisees to ask their son (v. 20-23).

When the Pharisees asked the man again how he was healed by a sinner, he replied that he didn't know if Jesus was a sinner or not (Israel's Messiah was thought to be a man like all men, and therefore one capable of sin), but he knew that whoever had healed him, now had him for a disciple (note that he responded by saying, "will ye also be His disciples?" (v. 24-27).

The man's sarcasm was not appreciated, and after they had rebuked him, he responded by saying, "If this man were not of God, He could do nothing" (v. 28-33). He was confirming Jesus was a Man of God. They again rebuked him, and, as his parents had predicted, they cast him out of the synagogue (v. 22, 34).

When Jesus heard about what had happened, He went to the man and asked him, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" (v. 35). The man replied, "Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?" (v. 36). Jesus identified Himself as the Lord by saying, "Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee" (v. 37). The man replied to the Lord that he believed He was the Son of God, and he worshiped Him (v. 38)!

This man went from being blind, both physically and spiritually, to receiving "seeing the Light!" To him, Jesus went from being just a man, to being a prophet, to being the Christ, to being his Teacher, to being a Man of God, to being both Son of God and Lord! The result, whenever a person "sees the Light," is he worships Him!

Have you seen the Light?
Then become His disciple, allow Him to be Lord, and worship Him!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I woke this morning with some thoughts about eating, and contrary to what most of those who know me might think, I wasn't even hungry. For you who do not know me, I am nearly "twice the man" I was on our wedding day over forty-nine years ago. "Skip sure do like dem vittles." Unlike the many addictions from which the Lord freed me, had He freed me from eating, I would not be writing this. You see, when man fails to eat, he dies. And, when he refuses to "eat again," he remains dead!

Ironically, there is one time when man eats, that he dies. It is when he "joins Adam" in partaking of the "forbidden fruit." The Word of God says that God put Adam and Eve in the garden/orchard to "till the ground from whence he was taken" (Gen. 3:23). The Apostle Paul wrote, " man (Adam) came death, by Man (Jesus) came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21-22). So when Adam partook of the "forbidden fruit," he brought the curse of death upon all of humanity. That is, physical death. Those who are "in Christ," will be resurrected.

However, the Bible indicates that unless man is "in Christ," he is dead spiritually. Adam did not die physically the day he ate, but he did die that very day: spiritually (Gen. 2:17). Some say that man is born spiritually dead due to Adam's sin, claiming that we are cursed with "original sin." However, I believe that, like Adam, we die spiritually the moment we choose to knowingly sin; our spiritual condition is not due to Adam's, but is the result of our own sin. Paul did not write that we are dead in Adam's sin, but in our own "trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1, 5), and refers to it again in Colossians 2:13, which says, "And you, being dead in your sins...." Notice Paul says they are our sins, plural, and not Adam's sin, singular. "Eating," in this context then, is symbolic of our sinning, and in so doing, dieing spiritually.

But as the title indicates, we have an opportunity to "eat again," that is, to live again spiritually. In John Chapter Three, there is the familiar passage about Nicodemus needing to be "born again" (Jn. 3:1-8). Then, in John 6:48-58, we read something which is mind-boggling; Jesus tells His disciples He is the "Bread of Life" (Jn. 6:48), and that "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you" (Jn. 6:53). We know He is speaking symbolically because He said, "This is that Bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this Bread shall live for ever" (Jn. 6:58). This is made much clearer by Paul, who spoke of the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-27. It is obvious Paul is speaking to born again believers because he says that those who are unworthy to partake of the Bread and the Cup, are condemned if they do (1 Cor. 11:29-32).

In summary, when we "eat" in the likeness of Adam's sin, we die spiritually. When we "eat" the Bread of Life (accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior), we are born again.

"Eat" once, die twice; "eat" twice, die once!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


For all those who have a problem identifying Jesus as God, consider this; the "I AM" of Exodus 3:14, is from the Hebrew יְהוָה (read from right to left = YHVH), which is translated as both "Jehovah" and "LORD" in the Scriptures. Here are several reasons why "Jehovah" and "LORD" have to be referring to Jesus:

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are described as having been pierced - Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37; Revelation 1:7.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are called the "First and the Last" - Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:11-12; Revelation 1:8, 11, 17-18; 22:13.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are called "the Shepard of the sheep" - Psalm 23:1; John 10:11, 14; Hebrews 12:20.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are called "the Rock" - Deuteronomy 32:3-4, 18; Psalm 18:2; 62:1-2; 1 Corinthians 10:4.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are the "I AM" - Exodus 3:14-15; John 6:35; 8:12, 24, 58; 10:9, 11; 11:25; 14:6; 18:5-6.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are "Savior" - Isaiah 43:10-11; 45:21; Acts 4:10-12.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are to be "looked upon" - Isaiah 45:22; John 3:14-16.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are to be "bowed down to" - Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:9-11.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus will rule during the Kingdom Age - Isaiah 24:23; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-7.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus will have "Elijah lead the way" - Isaiah 40:3; Mark 1:1-3.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are called "the Stone of stumbling and the Rock of offence" - Isaiah 8:13-14; 1 Peter 2:7-8.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus are to be called upon by sinners - Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21, 36; Romans 10:9, 13.

* Both Jehovah and Jesus were "seen by Isaiah" - Isaiah 6:5; John 12:41. Since the Bible says that no man has ever seen the God (that is the Father - John 1:18; 6:46; 1 John 4:12), and men saw Jehovah, who is also God (Genesis 32:30; Judges 13:22), it is clear that Jehovah was the Pre-Incarnate Son of God. Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58). It should not be difficult for a Christian to believe that Jesus is Jehovah of the Old Testament; after all, He is the God who spoke creation into existence (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1-2)!

Monday, February 6, 2012


As I indicated yesterday, all religions, including false Christianity, offer man a list of works necessary for one to be assured of going to heaven. Here is just some of what the Word says about man's works.


* "...This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (Jn. 6:29).


* "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal. 2:16).

* "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9).

* "...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us..." (Titus 3:5).


* "But shewed first unto them...that they should repent and turn to God, and (then) do works meet (suitable) for repentance" (Acts 26:20). Notice the order: repent and turn to God - then - do works that show it.

* "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we (the saved) should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10).

* "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works..." (Titus 3:8).

* "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (Jam. 2:26). In other words, "James is from Missouri - Talk is cheap, but our works speak volumes!"

Sunday, February 5, 2012


If you want to know what the Bible has to say about righteousness, focus your study on Psalms, Isaiah, and Romans. "Righteousness" appears 207 times in the Old Testament, with Psalms having a third of them (70), and Isaiah having about a fourth of them (51). The word appears 91 times in the New Testament, with over half of them being in Romans (33). "Righteousness" may be defined as "a state of being in which a man is morally perfect, that is, without sin."

Man inherently knows that he fails to meet God's "standards for admission to heaven," and he is continually coming up with schemes to "qualify" himself. We call these schemes, religions. A religion consists of a list of things required for "admission," coupled with a list of things which "disqualify" an "applicant." The list of requirements is called "Works," and the list of "deal-breakers" is called "Sins."

The Bible agrees concerning the state of man, saying "there is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). The Word of God, in describing man's righteousness, says, "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). If a man could become righteous through religious works, he would receive the glory (Rom. 3:27; Eph. 2:9), but he cannot earn his way into heaven. The Scriptures say that by the works of the law shall no man be justified (Gal. 2:16).

So how is man supposed to get into God's heaven if he cannot earn it? He must trust what the Gospel tells us; Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead, for us, according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Like Abraham, we must believe God, and we, like him, will be counted as righteous (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23). God, through His awesome love for us, has poured out His grace on us, and provided us with the free gift of righteousness. Paul wrote, "For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus)" (2 Cor. 5:21). Allow me to use a quote from Paul's letter to the Romans to summarize:
"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered" (Rom. 4:2-7).

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Matthew 7:15-20 tells believers how to recognize the difference between a genuine prophet of God, and a false prophet of Satan. Matthew summarizes by saying, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (v.20). The passage makes it clear that each produces a fruit that identifies what kind of "tree" they are. In other words, a spokesperson for God speaks words that produce life in those who are spiritual dead, while a messenger of Satan simply "adds nails to the coffins of the lost." In his letter to the Church of Ephesus, the Apostle Paul wrote of the contrast between the two:
"And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (for) by grace ye are saved" (Eph. 2:1-5).
Notice the difference. Walking in the lust of our flesh, according to the way of the world, that is, under the influence of Satan and his prophets, we were spiritually dead. Thanks be to God, for because of His grace, He has sent His prophets with His Gospel which has the power to save us (Rom. 1:16), to give us a new birth, a spiritual birth (Jn. 3:3-8); He has "quickened us!"

When one is born again, or has been brought to life spiritually, there is evidence that we have become a "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17). God's children bear spiritual fruit, fruit which reveals who and what we are. Paul wrote, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance...." (Gal. 5:22-23). Genuine Christians should be easily identifiable, because when we are walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25), "our fruit will be showing."

It is of the utmost importance that believers walk in the Spirit and produce fruit that will draw the lost to listen to our testimony. God is in the "multiplying business." In the Parable of the Sower or Soils, Jesus spoke of a different kind of fruit, a fruit that results in reproducing others after their own kind (Matt. 13:23; Mk. 4:20; Lk. 8:15). The good soil brought forth fruit-producing plants, which grew, matured, and produced "seed" that resulted in reproduction. Remember, the "seed" that produced living, reproducing plants was the Word of God (Matt. 13:19; Mk. 4:14; Lk. 8:11). That means that if we want to win the lost to Christ, we need to do two things: we need to produce fruit to draw the hungry, and we need to have for seed, the Word of God.

Friday, February 3, 2012


There are seven parables in Matthew Chapter Thirteen which describe "the Kingdom of Heaven," a phrase which appears thirty-two times in the Bible, all of which are in the Gospel of Matthew. To understand what Matthew meant by the phrase, let's look at what we can glean from how he used it elsewhere in his Gospel.

* It was at hand, or near, because the King was near (3:2; 4:17; 10:7).
* Admission will be restricted (16:19).
* It's inhabitants will be the poor in spirit (5:3); the persecuted for righteousness sake (5:10); all who do the Commandments (5:19); all who do God's will (7:21); some Gentiles and some Jews (8:11); John the Baptist (11:11); the child-like (18:1-4; 19:14); those who show mercy (18:23-35); faithful workers, Gentiles and Jews (20:1-16); wedding guests dressed properly (22:1-16); reception guests who have the light (25:1-13): the faithful (25:14-30).

In Chapter Thirteen, all seven parables describe the Church Age.

The Parable of the Sower or Soils describes Jesus (v. 3, 37) sowing the Gospel (v. 19) over the whole world (13:1-9; 18-23). Whoever receives it, Jews or Gentiles, will share "the seed" with others (v. 23).

The Parable of the Tares reveals that Satan's wolves (7:15; 13:38-39) will infiltrate the Church, and they will remain within it until the end of the Church Age (v. 30).

The Parable of the Mustard Seed describes the Church's small beginnings, and its growth into a massive tree in which Satan's "birds live" (v. 32).

The Parable of the Leaven pictures how sin will eventually permeate the whole Church, to the point that Jesus is left standing outside its door (v. 33; Rev. 3:14-20).

The Parable of the Buried Treasure speaks of the Church as being purposely hidden. The fact that the Gentiles would be a part of God's Kingdom was kept a mystery (v. 44; Eph. 5:32). The field is the world, and the man is Jesus, who gave all that He had to purchase the field (v. 44; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:14). Notice He didn't take the treasure out of the field once He had purchased it (Jn. 17:11).

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price tells us that the Church, is like a pearl worth so much that the man (Jesus) gave His all to purchase it (v. 45-46). A pearl is created by an oyster continually trying to cover an irritating grain of sand. The Remnant of Israel, those who accept Jesus, will have survived being enslaved by Gentile empires, and in so doing, will be all the more precious as members of the Body of Christ. In the Book of Revelation, the Jews who accept Jesus are described as pearls (Rev. 21:12, 21).

The Parable of the Net shows that although the Church has been infiltrated by Satan's agents, as do the Parable of the Tares, the Parable of the Mustard Seed, and the Parable of the Leaven, in the end, there will be a separation of the good from the bad (v. 30, 48-50).

Thursday, February 2, 2012


The older I get, the more frustrated I get with people, especially those who call themselves Christians! According to my understanding from the Bible on how the Body of Christ is to function, those who are older and gifted to teach are supposed to instruct the younger. But from my experience of forty plus years of being a child of God, nearly all born again believers think they already know everything. The least common characteristics found among Christians are humility and teachableness (if that is even a word)!

I am going to be seventy this September, if the Lord chooses to keep me here that long, and I have a wealth of knowledge to share from both life and from the Word of God. The problem is, there are few who desire to listen to what I have to say. Maybe one or two members of my family occasionally read my blog, but none seems to be effected enough to discuss it with me. In fact, I am not sure any of them actually read it. Maybe that is because I have lived a less-than-perfect life, and they have lost respect for me. To be honest, looking at my seventy years, I find little to respect in myself.

My pastor and I were just discussing how far beyond comprehension it is that God would waste His time saving such worthless folks like us. It is mind-boggling! And yet, when I look at those in the Bible that He used, I see something very strange. God chooses liars like Abraham, adulterers like David, harlots like Hagar, and murderers like Saul (Paul), to do great things for Him. He picks from the foolish and the weak, to confound the wise and the mighty (1 Cor. 1:26-27). He chose a small people, Israel, to reveal Himself to the great empires of Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. For His Son, He chose the role of a Lamb being led to the slaughter, rather than that of a mighty, liberating King (which, by the way, He also has chosen for Him later, when the fullness of the times of the Gentiles has come - Lk. 21:24).

Perhaps there is another reason believers are generally unteachable. Our human nature is to only listen to someone with whom we are confident that he knows everything (that shows how ignorant we are; no one knows everything, or anywhere close to it). How many folks have you known who have left a church because their Pastor did not agree with them on every doctrine? Unfortunately, I have. Or better yet, how many Pastors have you seen "fired" because some powerful person in the congregation decided he was wrong about this or that? Instead of learning from God's man, every week, we often set ourselves up as judges of the suitability of the man to be our Pastor. God help him if he makes the mistake of saying "Noah" when he meant "Lot!"

I have been through Bible College, Seminary, and have served as Pastor, Sunday School Teacher, Nursing Home Chaplain, as Outreach Chairman, and I have worked in the prison ministry. I study God's Word for three or four hours each day, have raised three daughters (poorly, as I look back), and been married to the same poor woman for fifty years. I know stuff! And perhaps the things I know best are those things believers should not do! Someone once said, "A fool learns from his own mistakes; A wise man learns from the mistakes of others." I do not know everything, but what I do know, I want to share. One day, I will know it all (1 Jn. 3:2)! Come Lord Jesus!

A special thanks to the thirty-two folks who have chosen to be "followers" of my blog. Spread the Word!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


When one reads Galatians 1:6-9, he realizes that the Apostle Paul is very clear that there is but one true Gospel. Paul says those who preach a false gospel, another gospel, should be cursed by God. The problem is, not everyone agrees on the definition of the true Gospel. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that 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" (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
According to this passage, Jesus fulfilled all of the Scripture that spoke of His coming to die as our Passover Lamb (Lk. 24:25-27; Jn. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7). Most evangelicals believe the Gospel has to do with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and while that is true, there is much more to the true Gospel. The Gospel has many facets which can be seen in the way God's Word describes it. It is called:

The Gospel of the Kingdom (Matt. 24:14).
The Gospel of Christ (Mk. 1:14).
The Gospel of Grace (Acts 20:24).
The Gospel of God (Rom. 15:16).
The Gospel of the Son (Rom. 1:9).
The Gospel of Peace (Rom. 10:15).
The Gospel of the Circumcision (Gal. 2:7).
The Gospel of Salvation (Eph. 1:13).

Jesus Christ, when the time for this age ends, will completely fulfill the Scriptures that address His Second Coming. The Good News (the Gospel) is: Jesus will return as King (of the Kingdom), the Anointed One (Messiah/Christ), the Free Gift (Grace), God (God manifest in the flesh), the Son (of God), the Prince (of Peace), the Good News (to the Jews), and as the Savior (Author of our Salvation).

There is a group of sincere Christians who worry about the Gospel being corrupted by churches which add works to how one "qualifies" for salvation. As a result, they argue that baptism, church attendance, giving, "soul-winning," the sacraments, etc. are what a believer does out of gratitude once he is saved. And while I totally agree with them that adding works of any kind corrupts the true Gospel, I think they are missing a very important point. Genuine born again believers do not simply do those things out of gratitude; they do them because they have accepted the true Gospel which declares Jesus to be much more than our Passover Lamb: He is the King of the Kingdom and He is God in the flesh.

The Jesus we accept as our personal Savior, must be accepted for who He is: He is Lord!