Monday, April 30, 2012


Clarence Larkin, in his book, Dispensational Truth, wrote concerning Bible typology:  "The New is in the Old contained; the Old is by the New explained."  He was referring to the Old and New Testaments.  Larkin continued, "You cannot understand Leviticus without Hebrews, or Daniel without Revelation, or the Passover, or Isaiah 53 without the Gospel account of the Crucifixion."  In other words, the Old foretells what to expect, and the New gives us an explanation of what happened in the past.  Larkin gave for an illustration,  the "Brazen Serpent" (Num. 21:6-9) and the "Cross,"  of which Jesus spoke in John 3:14-15 

 A "type" is an example, a "shadow," a picture of what will occur in the future.  The Apostle Paul put it this way:  "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples (τύπος - examples): and they are written for our admonition (νουθεσία - warning), upon whom the ends of the world (αἰών - age; in this case, the Church Age) are come" (1 Cor. 10:11).

Of all the Old Testament "types," Joseph is, by far, the most typical of Jesus.  Larkin mentioned these:

* Joseph was "beloved" of his father; so was Jesus.

* Joseph was God's gift to his brethren; so was Jesus.

* Joseph's brethren rejected him; so did Jesus'.

* Joseph was falsely accused; so was Jesus.

* Joseph was temporarily entombed in a prison; Jesus was temporarily entombed in the grave.

* Joseph was "resurrected" from the prison; Jesus is "the Resurrection."

* Joseph provided bread for the people; Jesus is "the Bread of Life."

* Joseph was married to a Gentile bride; Jesus' bride will be of the Gentiles.

* Joseph knew his brethren on their first visit; Jesus knew His brethren His First Coming.

* Joseph's brethren did not recognize him; Jesus' brethren did not recognize Him.

* Joseph's brethren recognized him on their second visit; Jesus' brethren will recognize Him at His Second Coming.

* Joseph made his brethren citizens of his kingdom; Jesus makes us citizens of His Kingdom.

We read the Old to know what to expect; 
We read the New to learn what God expects of us.



Sunday, April 29, 2012


Read a really good book lately?  Seen an Academy Award worthy movie?  Discovered an inexpensive restaurant with "out of this world" food?  Know of an outstanding doctor or dentist?  If so, what do you always do?  You tell somebody!  In fact, many times, you cannot wait to see someone, so you call or e-mail them!  You, by nature, love to share with others, right?

One of the most important texts found in the Old Testament, at least to the Jews, is found in Deuteronomy 6:1-9.  It says:

"Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:  that thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.  Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."

God, motivated by love for His children, wants us to know that focusing upon His Word, believing it, and doing it, is the basis for living a life that is not only pleasing to God, but which is the true source of one's own joy (v. 1-5).  And because He wants us to love our children as He loves His, He tells us to give them their proper place in our hearts (v. 6), and share them with our children, our grandchildren (v. 7), and with everyone we meet or who comes to our home (v. 8-9)!

When we look at those who met Jesus in the New Testament, often, the first thing they did was to go tell somebody.  When Andrew met Jesus, he immediately went to tell his brother Peter (Jn. 1:40-41).  When Philip recognized Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, he immediately went and told Nathanael (Jn. 1:43-46).  And when the Samaritan woman met Jesus at the well, she left her water pot and ran to tell those living in her city (Jn. 4:28-30).

When as a twenty-eight year old atheist, I came to trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I immediately began telling my wife, my children, my co-workers, and I called my dad.  Not only was I filled with great joy over discovering Jesus, I wanted everyone else to come to know Him too!  Today, over forty years later, I am writing this blog to tell anyone who will read it, Jesus died for me because He loved me; God raised Him from the dead because He loved me; and the Holy Spirit convinced me, sealed me, and guides me (when I will let Him).  Jesus is everything to me, and more than anything, I want you to experience the joy of knowing Him and of serving Him, and to have the confidence that when you die, you will live eternally with Him!

 Why?  Because I love you!  


(JAMES 1:19)

(PROVERBS 30:10)

(PROVERBS 21:26)



(1 TIMOTHY 6:17)





Friday, April 27, 2012


According to the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which drew primarily on a nationwide survey conducted from May 8 to Aug. 13, 2007, 78.4% of Americans declare themselves to be Christians.  Of those, 51.3% state they are Roman Catholics, and 23.9% report themselves to be Protestants.  Based upon an estimated 300,000,000 population, that would mean there are 235,200,000 Christians living in the U.S., with 153,900,000 being Catholics, and 71,700,000 being Protestants. 

Based upon the morality of Americans as reported in the news media, do those numbers sound right to you?  I don't know about you, but I am surprised at the number of people who claim to be Christians, not only because of the moral decay in society as a whole, but especially when I stop and think about the immorality which goes unchallenged by churches today.  While professing Christians seem to be ignorant of how a believer should behave, those watching us appear to know how a Christian should behave.  It is no wonder that Christians are accused of being hypocrites.

Why do you think there is such disparity in how believers are supposed to behave, and how the professing church actually lives?  I believe it is because the Church has focused on salvation being by grace, being a free gift apart from merit or works, and as a result, it has failed to preach repentance and discipleship.  Repentance is nothing more than realizing one is headed in the wrong direction, and turning around to follow the One who leads us into a right relationship with God.  Discipleship is realizing there is One who not only knows how to be in relationship with God, but being willing to submit to His instruction.

I believe that a student of the Bible can discover the priority God places on things by how often He speaks of them in His Word.  On March 24th of this year, I wrote an article which stated that in the New Testament, Jesus is called "Lord" over 700 times, 200 of which are in the Gospels, and He is called "Savior" a total of only twenty-four times.  My point was that we are to submit to the Lordship of the One who saved us.  The numbers are very clear as to how God wants us to relate to Jesus:  He is Lord!

Today, I noticed that the word "follow" appears an average of twenty-two times, and the word "disciple" appears an average of over fifty-six times in the Gospels.  To me, that would indicate God wants His children to follow the example and commands of His Son.  It means that He expects us to be disciplined (trained as a disciple, a follower) in our manner of life.  Perhaps we need to emphasize all of Luke 24:47 and not just the fact that Jesus "remitted" our sins.

Do the words "disciple" and "follower" describe you?  I certainly hope so!  

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Stephen, one of the seven deacons appointed by the Apostles (Acts 6:1-7), was falsely accused of "speaking blasphemous words against Moses and against God" (Acts 6:8 - 7:1).  I find it interesting that they accused him of rejecting Moses, and then, oh yeah, by the way, he did it to God too.  Stephen, when asked by the high priest if the charges against him were true, responded in one of the longest sermons in the Bible (Acts 7:2-53).

Stephen was polite and respectful toward the religions leaders (Acts 7:2), and then gave his "Reader's Digest Version" of the the history of the Jews.  He began with the call of Abraham and the promise his seed would possess the land (Acts 7:2-5).  Stephen reminded them of those things which transpired to cause the children of Israel to be in bondage to Egypt for 400 years (Acts 7:5-19).  He recounted how God used Moses to free Israel from Egypt, to give them God's Law, and to lead them in the wilderness for forty years (Acts 7:20-45).  He rehearsed how God allowed Israel to have an earthly king, and how Solomon was permitted to built the Temple in Jerusalem, a "dwelling place for God," even though the Creator of the Universe had all of heaven as His habitation (Acts 7:46-50).

Every thing was going fine until he called them "stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears," and that they did "always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51).  Then he accused them of killing the "Just One," a name everyone knew that could only apply to the "Anointed One," Israel's Messiah, also known as the Christ (Isa. 61:1; Matt. 16:16; Jn. 1:41; 4:25).  He must have "struck a nerve," because they surrounded him and "gnashed on him with their teeth" (Acts 7:54).  This was a Jewish colloquialism for they began "to chew him out."

As they were preparing to stone Stephen, the Lord allowed him to see God's throne room, with Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-56).  My pastor asked the question last night at Bible study:  "Jesus is always described as being seated at the right hand of the Father; why do you suppose Stephen saw Him standing?"  My first thought was, if He was anything like me, He was about to come down and "smite" a few guys.  Fortunately, He is not like me!  My pastor asked a second question:  "What do you do when someone enters the room?"  The answer is obvious; you stand out of respect!  Jesus was prepared to welcome Stephen home!  I do not know if He does that with every born again believer, but based upon Stephen's prayer for the forgiveness of his murderers, may have been the answer.  I am sure Jesus was not the only One to celebrate his "graduation" (Ps. 116:15)!

Stephen's defense was not aimed at winning his accusers to the Lord, as he did not present the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4) which is the "power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16).  Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit, preached a salvation message to the Jewish leaders in Acts 2:14-36, but here, Stephen also being filled with the Holy Spirit, was not led to speak of Christ's Resurrection.  The Holy Spirit knew the outcome, and did not have Stephen "cast his pearls before the swine" (Matt. 7:6).  Ironic isn't it?  The self-righteous Jewish leaders, men who would have nothing to do with pork, actually qualified as "swine!"

The moral of the story:  
There is a time for preaching, and there is a time for silence.  
The only One who knows which is which is the Holy Spirit.   


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Every Christmas, I get tickled at how theological "guesses" in the lyrics of our Christmas Carols have come to be accepted as biblical truth.  For instance, in We Three Kings, the writer's assumption that since there were three gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:11),  then there had to be three kings.  In It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, the angels are said to be "touching their harps of gold."  The Bible does not mention that it was midnight, nor does it mention that the angels had harps.

In the second verse of  O Holy Night, while the writer is more accurate in calling them "wisemen" μάγος (magos), rather than "kings" βασιλεύς (basileus), he has them showing up at the manger scene.  There is significant evidence that their arrival was about a year after Christ's birth.  First, in Matthew 2:11, they entered the "οἰκία" (oikia), translated "house" ninety-two times in the New Testament.  Secondly, when Herod wanted to make certain that the Child was killed, he commanded that every male child "from two years old and under," be put to death (Matt. 2:16).  If Jesus had just been born, he needed only have newborns killed.  Thirdly, when the shepherds see Jesus, He is said to be a βρέφος (brephos), a "baby" (Lk. 2:16), but when the wisemen get there (Matt. 2:16), He is said to be a παιδίον (paidion), a young child.

Just as believers tend to accept hymns and carols as being biblical, we tend to attribute everyday idioms as being found in the Bible.  While it is often true that they have their basis in the Word of God, they, themselves, are not Scripture.  For example, "spare the rod; spoil the child" is not a Bible quote, and yet its truth is based upon Proverbs 23:12-14.  "Moderation in all things" is not a quote, but it is based upon Philippians 4:5.  The same is true of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  However, it is clearly taught in Matthew 7:12.  "God works in mysterious ways" is based upon Deuteronomy 29:29.  "The eye is the window to the soul" can be supported from Matthew 6:22. 

"To thine ownself be true" is from Shakespeare and not the Bible; in fact, it is the opposite of biblical teaching.  Man is incapable of living the Christian life without being true to the Lord; man's ways are not God's ways (Isa. 55:8).  "God helps those who help themselves" is also contrary to the Bible's teaching that man is both helpless and hopeless without God (Heb. 11:6).

The oft preached "the lion shall lay down with the lamb," is unbiblical.  The Word says "the wolf will lay down with the lamb" and "the calf with the lion" (Isa. 11:6; 65:25).  And the famous "money is the root of all evil" should say, "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim. 6:10).  Otherwise, would the Lord demand a tithe of one's income?  Certainly not.

While many common sayings are filled with wisdom, 
only God's Word is filled with truth.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


On the first Pentecost following the Lord's Ascension just ten days earlier, the disciples spoke in the languages of those Jews visiting Jerusalem for the feast.  Each heard them speak in the language of their homeland, and that amazed them, but apparently, they also heard them speaking in the languages of the pilgrims from other nations.  As a result of their hearing what must have been "gibberish," they thought the disciples were drunk.  Peter corrected them, and then he preached the Gospel to them (Acts 2:22-36).  Here is his message:

"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.  For David speaketh concerning him, 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:  therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:  because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.'  Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption.  This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.  For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, 'The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, Until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.'  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."

Peter then gave an invitation to those seeking forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God.  He told them to "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation" (Acts 2:38-40).

Two thousand years later, the message is still the same.
Jesus died, was buried, and God raised Him from the dead.
Repent and place your trust in the Risen Lord. 
He offers salvation to whosoever will call upon Him.

Monday, April 23, 2012


John Calvin (1509-1564), a French theologian of the Reformation, is best known for his teaching on salvation which is best remembered by the acronym “T.U.L.I.P.”  The letters represent:  1) Total depravity of man.  2) Unconditional election.  3) Limited atonement.  4) Irresistible grace.  5) Perseverance of the saints.   
Calvin’s views were challenged by Jacob Arminius (1560-1609), a Dutch theologian, who disagreed with Calvin, and had five points of his own.  I have made an acronym for them:  “B.E.A.S.T.”  Arminius believed:  1) Believers are able to lose their salvation.  2) Election was conditioned upon faith.  3) Atonement was made for all men.  4) Salvation is aided by the Holy Spirit.  5) Turning down grace is clearly possible.   
Nearly five centuries later, born again believers are still debating over which of these two theologians were right.  It sort of reminds me of Peter’s failure to wait for the Holy Spirit, and impetuously holding a “church business meeting” (Acts 1:15-26) before the Church was born (Acts 2:1-41).  Peter offered God two choices; Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  Today, the Church is being told to take a stand on which of the two, Calvin or Arminius, was right.  I suggest, just as Jesus chose the twelfth Apostle, Judas’ replacement (Acts 9:1), we error in limiting our choices as to which of two theological positions is correct.  I would even go further and say, I do not believe either of the two is correct.

For example, I disagree with Calvin in that Jesus’ Atonement was for the sins of the whole world (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 2:2).  The fact that God wants none to perish, but for all to be saved, and yet there are those who will die in their sin, shows that God’s grace is resistible.  I disagree with Arminius in that believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of their redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).  I believe that those who have been born again by trusting in the sacrifice of the Lord for them, are now the children of God (1 Jn. 3:2; 5:13), and that absolutely nothing, including our imperfections, can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39)!

Those caught up in the debate over which of the two theologians is correct, often refer to other theologians to support their view.  Basically, what they are doing is “name- dropping,” as though those modern-day “spiritual giants” prove which of the two was correct.  Things have not changed much in the two millennia since the founding of the Church.  The Apostle Paul experienced some name-dropping during his ministry (1 Cor. 1:12; 3:4).  I suppose the Church will continue to argue until the Lord returns; so for the sake of all of God’s children, I cry out “Come, Lord Jesus!”

The true test of what an “expert” says is whether or not it is consistent with the whole Word of God.  The Apostle Paul commended those who listened to him, and then went home to compare his preaching to the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). 

If an apostle, a worker of miracles, needed to be “checked out,”
how much more should Calvin, Arminius, or your favorite biblical authority?

Sunday, April 22, 2012


The Reformation was founded upon what has become known as "The Five Solas."  The reformers believed that in order to be faithful servants of the Lord, one must proclaim that the Bible is the only revelation of God's Word to man (Sola Scriptura); that salvation is the result of trust in Christ alone (Sola Christus); that salvation is a free gift and man can add nothing (Sola Gratia); that the gift of salvation must be accepted by faith alone (Sola Fide); and that the only One deserving of any glory as the result of one's salvation is God (Sola Deo Gloria). 

The Apostle Paul, in writing Ephesians 4:4-6, was saying there are actually Seven Solas; he wrote, "There is one Body (the Church - Col. 1:18), and one Spirit (the Holy Spirit - Eph. 2:18), even as ye are called in one Hope of your calling (the Hope of the Gospel - Col. 1:23); one Lord (Jesus Christ - 2 Cor. 13:14), one Faith (in Christ - Gal. 3:26), one Baptism (into Christ - 1 Cor. 12:13), one God and Father of all, who is above all (the Father - Rom. 4:11), and through all (the Son - Mk. 16:20), and in you all (the Holy Spirit - Jn. 14:17)."

Today, our Pastor was explaining "Sola Christus," emphasizing that we can do or add nothing to our being born again; Christ has done all that needs to be done.  He used the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from Daniel 3:1-30 to illustrate his point.  When they refused to obey Nebuchadnezzar's edict to bow to a golden statue of himself, they were bound and cast into the fiery furnace.  The fire was so hot that the guards who threw them into the furnace were killed by the heat.  Later, when the fire had cooled some, Nebuchadnezzar looked in and saw four men "walking in the midst of the fire."  He even described the Fourth Man as being "like the Son of God."  Amazing, isn't it?  This heathen emperor recognized Jesus as being the Son of God!  It is also interesting that when he called them to come out of the fire, he call the three by name, and said nothing about, or to, the Fourth Man.  Perhaps he feared facing Him.  Or perhaps he felt he had no right to tell Him what to do.  In any case, out of fear, he "promoted them" to be leaders in his empire.

There was only One Son of God in the furnace.  He was not bound, nor was He hurt by the flames.  The three young men had nothing to do with their being protected by the flames, and were not even effected by the smoke.  They did nothing to free themselves.  They did nothing to escape.  It was the Fourth Man who protected them from the flames.  It was the Fourth Man who freed them from their bonds.  It was the Fourth Man who fellowshipped with them as they walked around in the midst of the flames.  They were at His mercy, and He graciously saved them.  They had one faith; "...our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king" (Dan. 3:17).

Your salvation can only come when you place all of your faith in the gracious gift from God, who gave His only begotten Son to die for you!  You cannot free yourself from the penalty of your sin, from the power of sin over you, or from the presence of sin.  Only God can do that, and He offers to do that for "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord."  If you believe God raised the One who died in your place, all you have to do is thank God for Jesus Christ.  That's it (Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9)!  Living like you believe that is gratitude - not works.

You can do nothing, nor can you add anything, or salvation would not be a gift!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Years ago, my youngest daughter accepted Jesus at the age of four.  To be certain that she understood, I asked her what that meant.  She replied, "I want to mind Him."  I cannot tell you how profound that is.  I have never heard an adult express in five words, what every genuinely born again believer feels at the moment of conversion.  We all want to please Him, and since He is our Lord, and should be submitted to as such, pleasing Him requires "minding Him."  The Apostle Peter described Christian growth which not only pleases God, but it can actually draw others to Christ.  He wrote: 

"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:  grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:1-8). 
Notice the progression.  We are saved when we place our faith in the risen Son of God, but our transformation into His likeness, called sanctification, is a process of growth.  Believing in Jesus leads us to want to live a virtuous life; we want to please Him, and we do not want to cause others to reject Him.  That is the first requirement for pleasing Him.

Once we have made that commitment, we are to learn all we can about our Lord, what pleases Him, what He would have us do, and not do.  Knowledge of those things, coupled with determination, leads to temperance, to self-control.  Even though we fail, with each failure, we become more determined to conquer our old sin nature.  Gaining self-control takes time, it takes patience with oneself, and with others.  We need to recognize we begin with a new birth, and are babes in the beginning.  It is so easy to become discouraged and lose patience with ourselves.  That is pride; that is expecting that we should instantly be Christ-like.  That isn't the way it works.  Growth takes time.

When we realize we still have "miles to go before we sleep," we are seeing ourselves as God sees us; we are thinking like God, and that is the beginning of our godliness:  God-likeness.  God-likeness is characterized, not only in thinking like God, but in acting like God; God is love, and when we are like Him, we love.  We are kind to those we love.  We are especially kind to those He loves:  our enemies!

When these characteristics are seen in us by the lost world, then one of two things happens;  we are either hated with the same venomous hatred the world has for Christ, or we are loved with the same love God's children have for Him.  Either way, we have minded our Lord, and He is pleased with us.

Do you really want to please God?  Then mind Him!   

Friday, April 20, 2012


A dictionary definition of a "steward" indicates that it is a person put in charge of the affairs of someone's household or estate; one who administers, oversees, and supervises it; one who is accountable to the owner. The New Testament has a Greek word which is translated "steward" (8x), "stewardship" (3x), and "dispensation" (4x); it is οἰκονομία (oikonomia), from οἶκος, meaning "property," and νόμος, meaning "to dispense." In other words, it is someone who has been chosen by a wealthy person to supervise and administer his or her possessions.

In the Bible, God appointed man to be stewards; He gave Adam the responsibility of tending the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15). After Adam's disobedience, man was given a conscience, and was responsible to live according to God's will; man failed miserably (Gen. 6:5). Following Noah's Flood, God established governments to oversee the nations of the earth, but none of them served God. So God created His own nation, one intended to set an example for the other nations (Gen. 12:2-3; Matt. 5:14). Of course Israel failed, and instead of being a "light to the Gentiles," they ended up becoming slaves to them (Ex. 1:8-11).

Four hundred years later, God raised up Moses, freed Israel, and gave them His Law. Not only did Israel fail to obey God's Law, they Crucified the only One who ever kept it (Acts 2:36; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 9:14; 1 Pet. 2:21-22; 1 Jn. 3:5). By rejecting their Messiah, Israel's stewardship over God's revelation was temporarily handed over to a group consisting of Jews and Gentiles who accepted His Son: the Church (Jn. 1:11-12; 3:16; Rom. 10:9-13; 11:25; etc.). Unfortunately, the Church, too, will fail to accomplish God's will "on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10; 2 Thes. 2:3-12; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:3-4; Rev. 2 - 3).

So, Jesus, Himself, will return to establish His 1000 year reign, and believe it or not, His efforts will also end in rebellion (Rev. 20:1-9)! In the end, there will have been seven stewardships of God's revealed will: Innocence (Adam); Conscience (Adam); Human Government (Noah); Israel (Abraham); the Law (Moses); the Church (the Holy Spirit); and the Millennium (Jesus). These stewardships are known as dispensations.

John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), is given credit for recognizing seven dispensations. Some criticize his paradigm as being artificially superimposed upon Scripture, but it is clear from the Word that revelation has been given to man a little at a time. For instance, the Church is called a mystery because it was not revealed in the Old Testament (Eph. 5:32). Daniel was told to "
seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Dan. 12:4). Hebrews 1:1-2 says, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son...." Man is only held accountable for what God has revealed to him.

Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, nor the Apostles had the New Testament.
We have it, and are accountable as stewards of its Truth - Jesus is Lord!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Religions are designed to tell people they are inferior to their god/gods; what the rules are for appeasing him/her/them; that their god/gods will judge their lives; and depending on how successful they are in abiding by the rules, what will happen to them upon death. Genuine Christianity is unique in that it teaches man is incapable of appeasing God due to man's sin nature, and that God, out of love for man, has shown mercy, and graciously provided a Substitute for the punishment due us. We can't work our way to heaven, because the only way to heaven is a gift, the Son of God, Jesus (Jn. 14:6; Eph. 2:8-9; etc.).

Today I attended the funeral of a thirty-one year old man who spent most of his life in a battle with drugs. His struggle ended last Sunday morning when he apparently succumbed to temptation and lost his life. My pastor confided in those present when we heard the news, that he was not certain as to whether or not the young man was a born again believer. Within four days, his remains were shipped home, funeral arrangements were made, and our church held his funeral service. What my pastor learned about him in those four days gave him, and quite frankly, the grieving family and those of us who loved him, total peace as to where he is now. He is with Jesus!

He had decided several months ago to enter a Christ-centered drug-treatment program in Alabama, and after much counseling, prayer, and determination, he committed himself to Christ. He began a journal of his thoughts, his successes, and his failures, and it was only after reading his journal entries that my pastor was convinced he had become a born again Christian. He shared some of what the young, new believer had written about how much he wanted to overcome his addiction to drug, and those entries he had written after relapses. They were filled with grief, repentance, and the assurance God forgave his weakness. In essence, he began again on the road to recovery every day.

He had also purchased a new Bible for his stay in the program, and had highlighted many passages that were meaningful to him. One was 1 Peter 5:8, which says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." He saw Satan as being behind every temptation, and the words "be sober" held special meaning for him. it meant the only way to defeat the devil was to get sober and stay sober. I am not sure, but I believe he probably took the two preceding verses seriously as well. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you" (1 Pet. 5:6-7).

He had highlighted 2 Corinthians 1:10, which says, "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us." He knew Jesus had freed him from the guilt of sin the very moment in the past when he first trusted in Him. He knew Jesus was working in his life every day to free him from the power of sin. And he knew that whether or not he ever was successful in his battle with the devil, that Jesus would one day free him from the very presence of sin. Four days ago, Jesus took him home to be with Him, where he will never again be tempted. He had lost several battles, but in the end, it is Jesus who won his war! God's promise to every believer is found in 1 John 3:2 - we will be perfect!

Perfection is promised us in Christ, but not until we see Him in all His glory!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The Pharisees were constantly trying to trap Jesus so that they could discredit Him, and thereby justify rejecting Him. Ultimately, their goal was to remove Him as a threat to their lucrative hold on the people. They rejected "the counsel of God against themselves" by refusing John's baptism (Lk. 7:29-35), a point exposed by the Lord's question to the religious leaders later on (Lk. 20:1-8). The following event, unique to Luke's Gospel, takes place immediately after He had rebuked the Pharisees for rejecting John, and for calling Him a glutton and a drunk (v. 34)! It is not the same event that occurred the week of the Crucifixion, as that was at the home of Lazarus (Matt. 26:6-31; Mk. 14:3-9; Jn. 12:1-8).

"And one of the Pharisees desired Him that He would eat with him. And He went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat (better: reclined to eat). And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner (her sin is not stated, but most believe she was a prostitute), when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden Him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him: for she is a sinner (Jesus not only knew what sort of woman she was, but He also knew the thoughts of the Pharisee). And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master (Greek: διδάσκαλος meaning "teacher"), say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell Me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet: but she hath washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest Me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment (the three signs of respect, the washing of a guest's feet - Gen. 18:4; a greeting with a kiss - Gen. 29:13; and the anointing with oil - Ex. 30:31-33). Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And He said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And He said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace" (Lk. 7:36-50). Her sins were forgiven because she had faith in Jesus (Lk. 5:20; Jn. 3:16-18; Acts 10:43; 26:18; Rom. 6:23; etc.).

His great love for me, humbles me; believing He loves me saves me!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I watched a couple of episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond last night, and it was hilarious to see the lead character, played by the shows creator, Ray Romano, get deeper and deeper into trouble by lying to cover up his original deception. He kept "digging himself deeper into the hole," as we say. There is an oft used line from Marmion (an epic poem about the Battle of Flodden written in 1808 by Sir Walter Scott) that says, "Oh! what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" Today, we might say that when one lies, the deceit tends to "snowball" into an unmanageable fiasco. Lies tend to take on a life of their own, ever growing and threatening an ever widening group of people.

This destructive principle is well known, as it has been the plot of both comedies and tragedies from the beginning of time. The Bible is replete with liars. One need only look at Eve's conversation with Satan in the Garden of Eden, to see how a lie can have a devastating effect upon one's family; in this case, the entire human race (Gen. 3:1-24)! Cain lied when he told God he didn't know where his brother was (Gen. 4:9).

Abraham lied to Pharaoh, and again to Abimelech, about his wife's identity (Gen. 12:11-20; 20:1-18). Apparently, Abraham's son, Isaac, did not learn from his father's mistake because he, too, told Abimelech that his wife was his sister (Gen. 26:6-11). Isaac's son, Jacob, lied to his father to get his father's blessing, which by custom, belonged to his brother Esau (Gen. 27:1-30). The result of the enmity which began between the families of Esau (the father of the Arab nations - Gen. 25:12-18) and Jacob (Israel - Gen. 32:28), will continue to have devastating repercussions until the Lord returns to end it (Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 19:11-21). And, according to the Word of God, Satan, the father of lies (Jn. 8:44), has corrupted all men with the "disease of deception" (Ps. 116:11).

Unlike the spider's web which does not entrap its creator, the web of lies woven by man eventually entraps its author. The Bible says, "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Num. 32:23). Liars are warned of the seriousness of their offense:
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:7-8).
Notice that "all" is only attached to liars. I doubt anyone needs to be told that all murderers and all idolaters are destined for eternal punishment, but since all of us are liars, to learn that all liars have the same destiny awaiting them, must come as quite a shock!

Does that mean everyone is going to hell? God forbid! In verse seven, the persons are described as being "unbelieving." Those of us who have believed the Gospel and responded by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, have been forgiven and promised that we would spend eternity with the Lord (Jn. 14:1-6; Rom. 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).

If you do not want to be considered a liar like the "father of lies,"
then place your trust in Jesus Christ, "the Way, the TRUTH, and the life!"

Monday, April 16, 2012


Usually when you hear someone say, "He comes and goes as he pleases," they are being critical of the person for being irresponsible and for failure to submit to authority. That statement should never be made about a born again believer. As such, one is responsible and answerable to the Lord, Jesus Christ. If we are being faithful to Him, we will come when He calls us, and we will go when, and to where, He sends us.

Jesus calls out to a lost world, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). In other words, Jesus is saying, "Quit using the works of religion to try to be worthy of a right-standing with God; in Me, you will find rest from works." Those who respond to the Father's drawing to a saving trust in Jesus, become born again believers (Jn. 3:3-8; 6:44). Salvation is a free gift (Eph. 2:8-9); works can never achieve salvation (Gal. 2:16).

Once a person places their trust in Jesus, he becomes a part of the Church, in the Greek ἐκκλησία (ekklēsia) meaning "a called out assembly to be in the world but not of it" (Jn 17:9-23). There is another Greek word which appears once as "assembly," συναγωγὴν (sunagōgēn), which means "a coming together" (Jam. 2:2). It is translated "synagogue" fifty-five times elsewhere in the New Testament. James was writing to "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" (Jam. 1:1), so perhaps he used the common word the Jewish believers would better understand.

The Church is to assemble for the purpose of worship and praise; testimonies and thanksgiving; Baptism and the Lord's Supper; instruction in the Word; reproof and correction; doctrine and instruction in righteousness (Acts 2:41; 1 Cor. 11:18-26; Eph. 4:11-13; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 10:24-25). The Church is to go out to share the Gospel with the lost; to minister to the hurting, the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the widows, the orphans, and to those in prison (Matt. 25:31-40; 28:19-20; Jam. 1:27; 2:15-17).

My pastor calls Church meetings "refueling" for the work of the ministry. Jesus wants us to come together, but He also wants us to go out with the Gospel and to serve. We don't become Christians by works, but if we have accepted the free gift of salvation, we will want to do His will out of gratitude.

Born again believers come and go as their Lord pleases!

Sunday, April 15, 2012













When a person first becomes a born again believer in Jesus Christ, he is so very grateful to God for offering His Son to pay the penalty for his sins. People often describe the surrender to the Lord as being "like a huge weight being removed from off of their shoulders." That is exactly how I felt on January 31, 1971! To say my life changed would be the ultimate in understatement.

The joy and the peace that filled me was not expressible, although I tried as I told everyone I knew. Some were thrilled, and shared in my exuberance. Others thought I had lost my mind, which in a way, I had; I no longer thought the way I had before. My mind truly was a new creation! Then there were the skeptics who though it was just another fad that would soon wear off. It hasn't! And finally, there were those who could care less as long as I didn't "try to cram my religion down their throats." I discovered early that "cramming" meant everything from wearing witness-wear, or carrying my Bible, or especially if I spoke to them about their views on Jesus Christ. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, I am all about "cramming!"

It didn't take long before I realized that being born again did not change me into being like Christ. My thoughts were still filthy, my speech was often vulgar, and my attitude seemed to be fluctuating between being in and out of "Christ consciousness." I learned, from some faithful believers, I was no different from them; they, too, struggled with their "old sin nature." They taught me that I, like the Apostle Paul, still needed to "walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh" (Rom. 7:14 - 8:4). They showed me Philippians 1:6 which says that God is in the process of making us like His Son. They also showed me what has turned out to be my favorite Bible verse: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 Jn. 3:2).

This morning, I was thinking about a comment one of my daughters recently made to me. She said, "Of course we (she and her two sisters) hated you growing up." I cannot tell you how much that hurt me. I know I wasn't a very good father before I was saved, because most alcoholic atheists are not. But after I accepted the Lord, I thought I had been a pretty good dad. Now, looking back, I realize that I don't like the me of my past forty years much either! And although (some may argue) I am a lot more Christlike now than I was forty years ago when I first trusted in Him, still I struggle with the world, the flesh, and the devil every day, all day long. And as a result, I still don't much care for me; I still disappoint me!

There is irony in the fact that her comment "hurt me." If I don't like me, why should I be hurt when someone else does not like me? Maybe the answer is found in forgiveness. Perhaps the reason is that I have come to grips with my imperfection; I have forgiven myself, but it hurts to discover others have not. Maybe one of the areas I still need to work on is my pride. After all, isn't it pride to want others to have a different picture of you than you have of yourself? Boy, Oh boy, I cannot wait until I am like my Savior! Come Lord Jesus!

We want to see ourselves like Jesus sees us.
We just don't want others to see us like Jesus sees us.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I have chosen to use the New Living Translation for this study. My comments, along with those things I wish to emphasize, will be in bold print, not that my comments are more important than the Word of God, (God forbid that anyone should believe I think that!), but I do so for clarity sake.

Therefore I (Paul), a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God (
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness - 1 Thes. 4:7). Be humble and gentle (Phil. 2:5-8). Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace (Heb. 12:14). We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. There is only one Lord (Jesus), one faith (Jn. 14:6), one baptism (Since there are at least three baptisms, John's - Acts 19:3, the Church ordinance - Matt. 28:19, and Spirit baptism - 1 Cor. 12:13, in context, the one baptism Paul speaks of here is the one which places us into Christ's body - 1 Cor. 12:13), and there is only one God and Father (Notice that the Holy Trinity is shown here!), who is over us all and in us all and living through us all.

However, He has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ (1 Cor. 12:4-11).
That is why the Scriptures say, "When He ascended to the heights (Acts 1:9-10), He led a crowd of captives (I believe He emptied Paradise - Lk. 23:43 - or "Abraham's bosom" - Lk. 16:22) and gave gifts to His people" (Eph. 4:11) Notice that it says "He ascended." This means that Christ first came down to the lowly world in which we live. The same One who came down is the One who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that His rule might fill the entire universe (The very one He created - Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2).

He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: (these are the gifts:) the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Their responsibility is to equip God's people (train them) to do His work and build up the church (win souls to Christ), the body of Christ (Rom. 7:4; 1 Cor. 10:16; 12:27), until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.

Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.
Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ (Rom. 12:1-2; Phil. 1:6; 2:13), who is the head of His body, the Church. Under His direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work (Heb. 10:24-25), it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

With the Lord's authority let me say this:
Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused.

Friday, April 13, 2012


There are two things in God's Word that represent the body of Jesus Christ: the Passover Lamb, and the Unleavened Bread. The Passover Lamb was selected on the tenth day of the first month, and it was to be observed until the fourteenth day, when it was to be killed and eaten (Ex. 12:1-10). It was to be without blemish, that is, without any imperfection (v. 5). A diseased or less than perfect lamb was not acceptable.

Just as the Passover Lamb had to be without blemish, the bread of the feast had to be unleavened. Leaven in the Scriptures always represents sin (Ex. 12:15-19; Matt. 13:33; 16:6-12; 1 Cor. 5:1-6; Gal. 5:9). When you think about it, the results of leaven in bread literally makes it appear to be something that it is not. Leaven simply adds to the bread dough, giving one the false impression that they are getting more sustenance; however, the more leaven, the more "empty space" in the loaf. The Apostle Paul wrote that of Jesus: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. 5:7).

Jesus, declaring Himself to be the "Bread of Life," proclaimed that "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you" (Jn. 6:48-58). The Apostle Paul had this to say about believers partaking of the Lord's Supper:

"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come" (1 Cor. 11:23-26).

There are several verses that describe Jesus as being perfect; that is, without sin: Isaiah 53:9 says "And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth." Luke 23:41 says, "And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man hath don nothing amiss." John 8:46 reads, "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "And He became sin for us Who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Hebrews 4:15 ends by stating that Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." 1 Peter 2:22 says, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." The Apostle John wrote, "And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin" (1 Jn. 3:5).

Jesus, our Passover, is the only Man qualified to reconcile man to God;
That is why He said, "no man cometh unto the Father but by Me!"

Thursday, April 12, 2012


As I mentioned yesterday, I believe the two witnesses of Revelation 11:1-12 are Enoch and Elijah. In this passage, John, having been caught up into heaven "in the spirit" (Rev. 4:1-2), described what he saw as being a vision (Rev. 9:17). He was told to measure the Temple below. Since Revelation was written after Herod's Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 (Dan. 9:26), this Temple must be a new one, perhaps the building of which was facilitated by the Antichrist as part of his seven-year covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:27). The Lord told John that the outer court of the Temple and Jerusalem "shall be tread under foot for forty and two months" by the Gentiles (Rev. 11:1-2). That period is described as the second half of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:29; Matt. 24:15-29; Rev. 12 - 18).

The first half of the Tribulation is described as being "a thousand two hundred and threescore days" (Rev. 11:3). The Jews will be living in the "safe protection" of the Antichrist. They will "hear of wars and rumors of wars" but they, themselves, will not experience them (Matt. 24:6). The Rapture of the Church will have already taken place (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 Thes. 4:13-18), and then, those who realize Jesus was their Messiah, will be persecuted in the Synagogues (Mk. 13:9), not by the Antichrist, but by the Jews.

It is during the first half of the Tribulation that God will send two witnesses to try to convince the world to repent; He will give them power for "a thousand two hundred and threescore days" (Rev. 11:3). Everyone, including Israel, will rejoice when they are killed (Rev. 11:10). I believe these two will be killed at the end of the first half of the Tribulation by the Antichrist (Rev. 13:1-8), taken up into heaven, and then the Abomination of Desolation will take place (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; Rev. 13:5). The blindness that will have kept Israel from recognizing Jesus as their Messiah will be removed (Rom. 11:7, 25; 2 Cor. 3:14), and they will spend the next three and a half years "on the run" (Lk. 21:20-24).

The two witnesses, dressed in sackcloth (Rev. 11:3), will be given the ability to breathe out fire on their enemies (Rev. 11:5), the power to stop the rain for three and one half years, to turn water into blood, and bring plagues upon the earth (Rev. 11:6). Some have suggested that because of their ability to do those things, one of them must be Moses, but nowhere does the Bible say Moses, or Elijah for that matter, breathed fire or wore sackcloth. I believe they read of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13), and assume it is they who are God's two witnesses. However, Moses died, and as I said yesterday, Enoch and Elijah have yet to die. Also notice Jesus said Elijah must come; He said nothing about Moses.

No one knows for sure the identity of the two witnesses who are coming.
But every believer knows the identity of his Lord and Savior who is coming! Amen!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Enoch was one of the greatest men who ever lived, and yet we know so little about him. There are two men named Enoch in the Bible; one had a city named for him, and one barely had anything written about him. Those unfamiliar with the Word of God would believe the "great" Enoch was the first person named "Enoch," and for whom a city was named, and of course, they would be wrong. In Genesis 4:17, we read, "And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch." This Enoch was the first born of Cain and his wife; you know, the one everyone wants to know from where she came. Other than his birth and the fact that he was the father of Irad (Gen. 4:18), we know absolutely nothing about him.

And like the first to be named "Enoch," as I have already said, there is little known about him. Here is all that the Scriptures have to say about him: He was the son of Jared; at the age of sixty-five, he had a son named Methuselah; he walked "with God" for three hundred years, and he "was not," for the Lord "took him" (Gen. 5:18-24). He is listed in the genealogy of Jesus (Lk. 3:37). The writer of Hebrews explains what "took him" means, saying God "translated him," because he pleased Him (Heb. 11:5). I don't know about you, but that explanation didn't do much to explain it for me. Finally, we are told that Enoch was the "seventh from Adam" (the seventh generation including Adam) and that he prophesied "the Lord's coming with ten thousands of His saints" (Jude 1:14). That's it.

The Greek word "translated" is μετατίθημι (metatithēmi), is rendered in the KJV as "carry over," "change," "remove," "turn," and "translated" (Acts 7:16; Gal. 1:6; Heb. 7:12; 11:5; Jude 1:4). The English word that best fits the context of Hebrews 11:5, is "removed." In the Genesis passage, with the exception of Enoch, all are said to have died. "Removed" fits with "God took him."

It is tempting to describe Enoch's departure as being the first "rapture." However, I hesitate to accept that view because of my bias concerning the removal of Enoch and Elijah (2 Kgs. 2:11). They are the only Bible characters to be removed from our world without dying first. Because Malachi 3:23 says that Elijah must precede the Messiah's coming, and because Israel did not accept Jesus First Coming, John the Baptist, who did come in the spirit of Elijah, did not fulfill the prophecy (Matt. 7:10-13). So, he's still coming!

My bias is that the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3-12 are the two prophets, the only two men who did not die, Enoch and Elijah. Hebrews 9:27 states that men are "appointed once to die." Neither died. Since the Tribulation is Daniel's Seventieth Week of those "determined" (appointed) for his people, Israel, and since Elijah must precede their Messiah, I believe the two witnesses are Enoch and Elijah. The only question I have is, where are Enoch and Elijah now? They haven't been raptured; they haven't died. Perhaps the answer is found in the phrase "and he was not" (Gen. 5:24). Strange as it may sound, it is possible that these two men have temporarily ceased to exist. They could not be in heaven, as they have yet to be "changed." Paradise no longer exists, and they certainly are not in hell!. The only thing we can know for sure is they existed, and they will exist again. Period.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


The Ascension of Jesus occurred forty days after His Resurrection from the grave (Acts 1:1-11). It was during this forty-day period that He, "through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen" (Acts 1:2). Luke mentions Him showing "many infallible proofs (of His bodily resurrection), being seen of them forty days" (Acts 1:3). The Apostle Paul, after explaining the Gospel message that Jesus had fulfilled Bible prophecy with His death, burial, and resurrection, wrote of the events that occurred during those forty days:
"And that He was seen of Cephas (Peter), then of the twelve: after that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain (alive) unto this present (c. A.D. 56), but some are fallen asleep (deceased). After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles" (1 Cor. 15:5-7).
"Forty days" appears to be very significant in the Scriptures. There are at least twelve important events which specifically mention that period of time. With the exception of Jesus fasting prior to His "temptation" (Matt. 4:2), and the period between the Resurrection and the Ascension, all of them occurred in the Old Testament. They are:

1) Days the rains fell during the Flood (Gen. 7:4).
2) Days it took to embalm Jacob (Gen. 50:3).
3) Days Moses was on the mount getting the Ten Commandments (Ex. 24:18).
4) Days Moses was on the mount getting the second set (Ex. 34:28).
5) Days the spies searched the Promised Land (Num. 13:25).
6) Days multiplied by years in the wilderness for Israel's lack of faith (Num. 14:34).
7) Days Goliath challenged Israel (1 Sam. 17:16).
8) Days Elijah was sustained by "angel food" (1 Kgs. 19:8).
9) Days added to Israel's judgment during the Tribulation (Ezek. 4:6).
10) Days Nineveh had to repent before God's judgment (Jon. 3:4).

Obviously, these events are of a serious nature, but there is something that puzzles me about the fasts of Jesus and Elijah. In Elijah's case, the Angel of the Lord* provided him with food before the fasting period, while in the case of Jesus' fast, the angels ministered to Him after the fast (1 Kgs. 19:7; Matt. 4:11). Each of the twelve examples have something to do with God teaching man something; He is either teaching about His love for man, or He is teaching about His hatred for the sin of man. In other words, God is merciful, but He is also Just.

If you haven't received His mercy, you will face His justice!

* Many, including myself, believe the Angel of the Lord is a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus, or a Christophany - see

Monday, April 9, 2012


In the 1984 film, The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger tells those counting on him, "I'll be back!" And, true to his word, Schwarzenegger returned in The Terminator: Judgment Day (1991), The Terminator: Rise of the Machines (2003), and The Terminator: Salvation (2009).

Schwarzenegger was not the first to make such a statement, nor, I suppose, will he be the last. In 1942, as Japanese forces tightened their grip on the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to relocate to Australia. Upon arriving in Australia, MacArthur, speaking to reporters, uttered his famous line, "I shall return!" In 1944, MacArthur fulfilled his promise of returning to the Philippines, and in a prepared speech, he said: "People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil — soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people."

While MacArthur's declaration may have somehow inspired Schwarzenegger's line, nineteen centuries earlier, the greatest Man who ever lived made a similar promise. He said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (Jn. 14:1-3). Jesus made this promise to His disciples, and today, we, as His disciples, wait expectantly for Him to come gather us up in the Rapture of the Church to be with our Father in heaven (1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 Thes. 4:13-18). We know He is coming back for us, and we are thrilled to know our eternal future is to be spent with Him!

However, seven years after He has removed His Church from this foul world, He will keep His promise to return and physically establish His 1000 year kingdom on earth called the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-7). Zechariah wrote, not knowing he was writing about His Second Coming, "And His feet shall stand that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south" (Zech. 14:4). This will not be good news for the majority of those who survive the seven year Tribulation (Dan. 9:24-27; Jer. 30:7; Matt. 24:1-29). "That day" will be a time of judgment for the nations of this world. Twenty times, the prophet Zechariah speaks of "that day." Ten of them are good news to those who are His (Zech. 2:11; 3:10; 9:16; 13:1; 14:4, 6, 8, 9, 20, 21). Ten of them are bad news to those who oppose Him and His people (Zech. 11:11; 12:3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11; 13:2, 4; 14:13).

Jesus said, in so many words, "I'll be back!" The question is, are you looking forward to His return, or are you terrified by the thought? There is good news if you are terrified; the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:1). That means you believe in God and His pending judgment. You know you need a Savior. Jesus has offered Himself to be your Savior; all you have to do is take Him at His word.

He will be back!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


The gates and doors were barred, and all the windows fastened down.
I spent the night in sleeplessness and rose at every sound.
Half in hopeless sorrow, half in fear the day,
Would find the soldiers breakin' through to drag us all away!

And just before the sunrise, I heard something at the wall.
The gate began to rattle, a voice began to call.
I hurried to the window, looked down into the street,
Expecting swords and torches, and the sound of soldier's feet.

But there was no one there but Mary, so I went down to let her in.
John stood there beside me as she told us where she'd been.
She said they've moved Him in the night and none of us knows where.
The stone's been rolled away and His body isn't there!

We both ran toward the garden, then John ran on ahead.
We found the stone and the empty tomb, just the way Mary said.
But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in, was just an empty shell.
And how or where they'd taken Him was more than I could tell!

Oh, something strange had happened there, just what I did not know.
John believed a miracle, but I just turned to go.
Circumstance and speculation couldn't lift me very high,
'Cause I'd seen them crucify Him; then I saw Him die!

Back inside the house again, the guilt and anguish came.
Everything I'd promised Him just added to my shame.
When at last it came to choices, I denied I knew His name.
And even if He was alive, it would never be the same.

But suddenly the air was filled with a strange and sweet perfume.
Light that came from everywhere drove shadows from the room!
Jesus stood before me, with His arms held open wide!
I fell down on my knees, I just clung to Him and cried!

Then He raised me to my feet and as I looked into His eyes,
Love was shining out from Him like sunlight from the skies!
Guilt and my confusion disappeared in sweet release.
And every fear I ever had just melted into peace!

He's alive, He's alive! Yes, He's alive and I'm forgiven;
Heaven's gates are opened wide!
He's alive, He's alive! Oh, He's alive and I'm forgiven;
Heaven's gates are opened wide!
He's alive, He's alive! He's alive and I'm forgiven;
Heaven's gates are opened wide!
He's alive, He's alive, He's alive, He's alive!

My version of a "borrowed blessing" from David Phelps' "He's Alive!"

Saturday, April 7, 2012


It's Wednesday
Jesus is prayin'...Peter's sleepin'...Judas is betrayin'
But Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
Pilate's strugglin'...The council is conspirin'...The crowd is vilifyin'
They don't even know...Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
The disciples are runnin'...Mary's cryin'...Peter's denyin'
Even they don't know...Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
The Romans beat my Jesus...They robe Him in scarlet...They crown Him with thorns
But they don't know...Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday...See Jesus walkin' to Calvary
His blood's drippin'...His body's stumblin'...His Spirit's burdened
But you see, it's only Wednesday...Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
The world's winnin'...People are sinnin'...And evil's grinnin'
They'll be shocked...For Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
They nail His hands...They nail His Feet...They raise Him up by criminals
But let me tell you somethin'...Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
The disciples are questionin'...The Pharisee's are celebratin'...The crowd's mockin'
But they still don't know...Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
He's hangin' on the cross...Forsaken by His Father...Left alone and dyin'
Yes!...He knows Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
The earth trembles...The sky grows dark...He yields His Spirit
He has no doubt...Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
The disciples lose hope...Death has won...Sin has conquered and Satan's laughin'
It's only Wednesday...Sunday's comin'

It's Wednesday
Jesus is buried...Soldiers stand guard...The grave is sealed
But it's Wednesday...It's only Wednesday...Sunday's comin'

NOTE: This is my version of a song inspired by the preaching of S. M. Lockridge (1913-2000), a prominent African-American preacher known for his dynamic, passionate, and fervent sermons. Tony Campolo was so impressed by Lockridge’s lesson on “It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming,” that he wrote a book with that title. My contribution is as follows: Wednesday sunset to Thursday sunset, one day. Thursday sunset to Friday sunset, two days. Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, three days. For the writers of the Scriptures, the first day of the week began at sunset on the weekly Sabbath. From Matthew 12:40.

Friday, April 6, 2012


"When Jesus had finished saying all these things, He looked up to heaven and said, Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son so He can give glory back to You. For You have given Him authority over everyone in all the earth. He gives eternal life to each one You have given Him. And this is the way to have eternal life -- to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth.

I brought glory to You here on earth by doing everything You told Me to do.
And now, Father, bring Me into the glory We shared before the world began. "I have told these men about You. They were in the world, but then You gave them to Me. Actually, they were always Yours, and You gave them to Me; and they have kept Your Word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from You, for I have passed on to them the Words You gave Me; and they accepted them and know that I came from You, and they believe You sent Me.

My prayer is not for the world, but for those You have given Me, because they belong to You. And all of them, since they are Mine, belong to You; and You have given them back to Me, so they are My glory! Now I am departing the world; I am leaving them behind and coming to You. Holy Father, keep them and care for them -- all those You have given Me -- so that they will be united just as We are. During My time here, I have kept them safe. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

And now I am coming to You. I have told them many things while I was with them so they would be filled with My joy. I have given them Your Word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not. I'm not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They are not part of this world any more than I am. Make them pure and holy by teaching them Your Words of Truth.

As You sent Me into the world, I am sending them into the world.
And I give Myself entirely to You so they also might be entirely Yours. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony.

My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as You and I are One, Father -- that just as You are in Me and I am in You, so they will be in Us, and the world will believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one, as We are -- I in them and You in Me, all being perfected into One. Then the world will know that You sent Me and will understand that You love them as much as You love Me.

Father, I want these whom You've given Me to be with Me, so they can see My glory. You gave Me the glory because You loved Me even before the world began! O righteous Father, the world doesn't know You, but I do; and these disciples know You sent Me. And I have revealed You to them and will keep on revealing You. I will do this so that Your love for Me may be in them and I in them" (Jn. 17 - PMV of the NLT).

Thursday, April 5, 2012


While speaking to his disciples, John (the Baptizer) saw Jesus coming and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29, 36). This was not a new concept in God's Word, for approximately two thousand years before, Abraham had said, "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (Gen. 22:8). The prophet Isaiah described Him as "as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers" (Isa. 53:7). This verse from Isaiah was the one the Ethiopian eunuch was reading when Phillip joined him in his chariot (Acts. 8:32).

The Apostle Paul, not only recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God, he understood Him to literally be our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7). The Apostle Peter described Jesus as being qualified to be our Passover when he wrote, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things.... But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Ex. 12:3-5). Jesus is also described as the resurrected Lamb of God twenty-seven times in the Book of Revelation. Perhaps the most revealing of those is "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8).

Because Jesus was born before Herod the Great died in 4 B.C., and it is believed He lived at least thirty-three years, theologians estimate His birth to be in 5 B.C. and His death somewhere between A.D. 26 and A.D. 36 (the years Pontius Pilate was the Prefect of the providence of Judea). Their estimate has to do with Jesus being "about thirty" when He began His ministry (Lk. 3:23), and the number of Passovers mentioned in the Gospel of John (Jn. 2:13; 6:4; 11:55; 19:14). Therefore, it is quite possible that Jesus actually was thirty-three when He was crucified, because in the year A.D. 28, the Passover Lamb was slain on a Wednesday.

Because Matthew 12:40 describes Jesus as being dead for three days and three nights, a Friday Crucifixion is impossible. Jesus rose on the first day of the week (Sunday - sometime after sunset on our Saturday); counting backward seventy-two hours, He would have had to die just before sunset on Wednesday. Regardless of tradition, it appears that the Lamb of God was "selected" on the tenth of Nissan, examined by the religious rulers over the next three days, and then sacrificed on Wednesday, the fourteenth of Nissan (Ex. 12:3-6). That would make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Friday, the ninth instead of Sunday as we now celebrate it as Palm Sunday.

The Feast of Passover involved selecting the Lamb, waiting until the fifth day, and then sacrificing it. Because Jesus was our Passover Lamb, and He died as such on the fourteenth of Nissan, a Wednesday, I believe the meal we call the "Last Supper," was simply one of the evening meals between the tenth and the fourteenth of Nissan, specifically, the evening meal of the thirteenth. I do not believe it was a Passover Seder, as many have declared it to be. But, that is just how I see it.

Regardless of the day, Jesus died right on time for the sins of all mankind!
Better yet, He rose right on time to be Lord of all who will believe!