Saturday, June 30, 2012


When writing yesterday's blog entitled "Progressive Revelation - Progressive Accountability," I was unaware of a false teaching known as "Progressive Dispensationalism," clearly nothing more than the work of a "liberal in a conservative's clothing," attempting to legitimatize Replacement Theology, without setting off theological alarms.  Replacement Theology, simply put, teaches that God has rejected Israel as His chosen people, and has replaced them with the Church.  It teaches that the promises made to Israel, now belong to the Church.  For the life of me, I cannot understand how any serious Bible student could come up with such a heresy, especially in light of the Apostle Paul's teachings to the contrary (Rom. 9 - 11)!

What I was trying to say in yesterday's blog is this:  the more light one has about God's will, the more responsible one is to live accordingly.  Let me use an illustration to try to explain what I mean.  Think of the seven dispensations as a seven-way light bulb.  With each "click," one can see a little more of reality.  In the first dispensation, Innocence, Adam thought so little of God, that he honestly believed by eating a piece of fruit, he could become equal to Him.  Once Adam partook of the forbidden fruit, he not only lost his status of being innocent, he became aware that God was to be feared; he had a conscience (Gen. 3:1-10).  Humans did not cease to have a conscience with the beginning of the third dispensation, Human Government.  Again, men still have a conscience, and human governments continued, as is obvious by our world today. 

In the fourth dispensation, Promise, God chose one family to create a nation of His own; this dispensation has never really ended.  Neither has the fifth dispensation, Law.  Israelites still have a conscience, still have a government, still hold title to the Land of Promise, and are still bound by the Law.  But new light, The Light (Isa. 9:2; Jn. 8:12), has taken out of Israel, and out of every nation, the Church, in what is known as the Dispensation of Grace.  There yet remains one dispensation, the world's final dispensation:  the Dispensation of the Kingdom, which will last for one thousand years (Rev. 20:1-7).

So, as can be seen by the ongoing and accumulative revelation of God in His relationship to man, not only does each "click" add light to that which already existed, with the increased light comes a greater accountability.
1)  INNOCENCE - God is greater than man - Adam sinned (Gen. 3:1-10).
2)  CONSCIENCE - Man should fear God - Human kind was wicked (Gen. 6:5).
3)  GOVERNMENT - Man to govern the earth - Man refused (Gen. 9:1 w/ 11:4).
4)  PROMISE - One family to inhabit God's land - They went to Egypt (Gen. 12:1 w/ 50:22).
5)  LAW - The Law reveals a need for a Savior - They killed Him (Mt. 27:25; Gal. 3:24).
6)  GRACE - God provided for man's lack of righteousness - The Church fails (Rev. 2 - 3).
7)  MILLENNIUM - God tabernacles and governs - Man rebels against Him (Rev. 20:7-9).

How much "light" can the lost soul see when he looks at you?          

Friday, June 29, 2012


One of the most important factors which supports Dispensationalism, can be found in fact that God has been revealing His truth progressively and gradually through the centuries. He did not give man the Bible all at once.  In fact, everything we know about the first four dispensations (Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, and The Promised Land - the first twenty-five hundred years of man's existence), was not documented until Moses, writing around 1500 B.C., gave us the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch, or the Torah.  Over the next eleven hundred years, God gradually revealed the rest of the Old Testament.  Nothing written between the time of Malachi and Jesus, including the Apocrypha, has been accepted by the Jews or by the Church, as the inspired Word of God.

There are basically three ways Moses could have written the Torah:  1) He could have made it up, similar to how Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon; 2) He could have documented the oral tradition passed down through twenty-five centuries; or 3) God could have revealed it to him.  Let's look at these three options to see which makes the most sense.

1)  Moses made it up.  This is not a possibility unless Moses had a far greater intellect than anyone before him or since.  Moses wrote of the perfection of Creation (Gen. 1:31), the Fall of Adam as an explanation of our less-than-perfect world, and of twenty-five hundred years in which God worked toward reconciling the world back to Him.  He wrote of the Messiah who would crush Satan's head (Gen. 3:14-15), and of His lineage from Adam through Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah.  He gave the world the Ten Commandments, instructions on dietary laws, circumcision, religious practices and the seven Feasts of Israel, all which are unique to the Jews.  Moses was not that intelligent!

2)  Moses documented the oral tradition passed down over twenty-five hundred years.  It would be impossible for one man to retain all of the oral history of the world, or even to gather together and collate all the material remembered by what would take thousands to recall.  The complexity of such a vast amount of bits and pieces being organized into a coherent, smooth-flowing document, simply could not be accomplished by one man.

3)  Moses received God's Word through direct revelation.  Scripture says, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Pet. 1:20-21).  Again, the Word says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The dispensational divisions found in the Torah clearly show God's progressive revelation.  Adam was innocent, and then he sinned.  Man increased in his wickedness until God said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them" (Gen 6:7-8).  Up until Abraham, there were only Gentiles on the earth, but God chose him to be the father of His people, the Jews (Gen. 12:1-3).

With each new revelation of God's plan and will, man has been held to a greater accountability (Matt. 11:20-24).  Jesus said it this way, "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more" (Lk. 12:47-48).

Jesus, the Word, has been revealed in the flesh, He Is God (Jn. 1:1, 14). 
Having such a great Light, we ought to trust and obey!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


 Evangelical Christians are always talking about winning the lost to Christ.  Committees are formed, programs are developed, materials are printed, and motivational speakers convince believers to become workers in God's Great Commission.  It all sounds so good.  The only problem is, most often, it is a waste of time, money, and effort.  And because it nearly always leaves out the most important "ingredient," character, one might even call it unbiblical.  

The Word of God tells us what it takes to win the lost.  Proverbs 11:30 says, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."  The word "fruit" has more that one meaning to the born again believer.  First, it is the outworking of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, and the fruit includes:  "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23).  I believe this is what the Lord meant by connecting "fruit" with winning souls in Proverb 11:30.  When a believer is filled with the Spirit, he shows forth fruit that is "pleasant to the eye," and causes the lost to hunger for what he has.  The lost are drawn to a Spirit filled believer like a bee is drawn to a beautiful flower.  This opens the door for the believer to share the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4), which is the "power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16).

A second understanding of the word "fruit," is that of reproduction.  A physical birth requires "seed" which grows into the likeness of the progenitor.  Created plants, animals, and human beings all produce "seeds" which have the potential of producing "after their kind."  An apple tree produces apples containing seeds, which, when planted, produce more apple trees.  For both animals and humans, insemination results in offspring "after their kind."  

The Spiritual birth also requires "seed-bearing fruit."  Salvation is the result of faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8).  Faith in Jesus Christ is the result of hearing the Word of God (Lk. 8:11; Rom. 10:14-17).  When a believer is filled with the Spirit, he shares his faith, and the lost get saved.  Luke wrote that the believers were "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).  But notice it was their behavior which opened the door for the proclaiming of the Gospel, and souls were saved (Acts 2:42-46).  

I have included the "Romans Road" below.  It is an excellent way to share God's Word, but in order to share it, one needs those who will listen.  Pray, be filled with the Spirit, and then share it.

The Romans Road

*  "All have sinned" (Rom. 3:23).
*  "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23a).
*  "But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
*  "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23b).
*  "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17).
*  "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13).
*  "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.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This is commonly known as a belief in a "limited atonement" (some Reformed men prefer to call it "definite atonement"). It is the teaching that Christ died on the cross and paid the penalty only for the sins of the elect. He did not die for the ones who eventually will be in the lake of fire. Often it is worded as follows: "Christ died for all men WITHOUT DISTINCTION but He did not die for all men WITHOUT EXCEPTION." This is a subtle game of semantics which makes it possible for them to say that He died for all without really meaning that He died for all. What they really mean is that Christ died for all kinds of people and all classes of people, but He did not die for every single person. That is, He died for Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, slave and free, male and female, etc., but it is understood that He died for only elect Jews and Gentiles, only elect rich and poor, etc.


1. For all (1 Tim. 2:6; Isa. 53:6).
2. For every man (Heb. 2:9).
3. For the world (John 3:16).
4. For the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
5. For the ungodly (Rom. 5:6).
6. For false teachers (2 Peter 2:1).
7. For many (Matt. 20:28).
8. For Israel (John 11:50–51).
9. For the Church (Eph. 5:25).
10. For "me" (Gal. 2:20).

It is evident that the extreme Calvinist must ignore the clear language and obvious sense of many passages and he must force the Scriptures and make them fit into his own theological mold. Limited atonement may seem logical and reasonable, but the real test is this: IS IT BIBLICAL? "What saith the Scriptures?" (Rom. 4:3). In childlike faith we must simply allow the Bible to say what it says.  Those who promote this erroneous doctrine try to tell us that "world" does not really mean "world" and "all" does not really mean "all" and "every man" does not really mean "every man" and "the whole world" does not really mean "the whole world." We are told that simple verses such as John 3:16 and Isaiah 53:6 must be understood not as a child would understand them but as a theologian would understand them. That is, we must reinterpret such verses in light of our system of theology.
The true doctrine of the atonement could be stated as follows:

The Scriptures teach that the sacrifice of the Lamb of God involved the sin of the world (John 1:29) and that the Savior’s work of redemption (1 Tim. 2:6; 2 Pet. 2:1), reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19) and propitiation (1 John 2:2) was for all men (1 Tim. 4:10), but the cross–work of Christ is efficient, effectual and applicable only for those who believe (1 Tim. 4:10; John 3:16). We could even say it in a simpler way: "Christ’s death was SUFFICIENT FOR ALL but EFFICIENT only for those who believe." The cross–work of Christ is not limited, but the application of that cross–work through the work of the Holy Spirit is limited to believers only. 

Because God did not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance,
He sent His only begotten Son, His Spirit, and His Word to tell us!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I believe that from the creation of our present world (Gen. 1), to the arrival of the new heaven and new earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1), will be approximately 7000 years.  Based upon Bishop Ussher's chronology of Bible events, Creation occurred in 4004 B.C.  Historians believe Herod the Great died in 4 B.C., making the Incarnation, that is, the birth of Jesus, 4000 years after Creation.  The Lord's earthly life, coupled with the approximately 2000 years known as the Church Age (so far), makes the earth about 6016 years old.  We do not know how long it will be until the end of the Church Age with the event known as the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:13-18), but based upon Israel being in control of Jerusalem, the ineffectiveness of the Church, and the condition of the world today, it will not be long; it could happen today! 

Neither does the Bible tell us the amount of time between the Rapture and the seven year Tribulation (Dan. 9:27).  In actuality, there does not need to be any time at all between the two.  What we do know is that the event following the Tribulation, the Millennium, will last for 1000 years, and then, time as we know it, will cease (Rev. 20:1-7).  The seven thousand years will have come to an end, and eternity will have begun.  My belief that the history of the world will be 7000 years is seen in two factors: 

1) God created the world in six days, and He rested on the seventh.  The Bible says that, to God, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years but as a day (Ps. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8).  Many believe the 6000 years our world has existed represent six of God's "days" in which man has had the opportunity to work at bringing it back to God.  Dispensationalists would say we have had six dispensations to do so. 

2) God rested on the seventh day, and according to the theory, the seventh dispensation, the 1000 year reign of Christ, will be a "day of rest" for God's people (Isa. 11:10; Heb. 4:10).  The writer of Hebrews wrote, "For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another dayThere remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Heb. 4:8-10).

Just a side note:  the time after the seventh dispensation is known as the "unending day" (Rev. 21:25).  That would make it sort of like the "eighth dispensation," right?  What is the symbol for eternity?  It is a figure eight on its side, sort of like it is resting!         

Very little is known of God's existence prior to the creation, and precious little is known of what will occur after time, as we know it, comes to an end.  Jesus, the Creator (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2), referred to Himself as the "the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending" (Rev. 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13).  It is obvious that Jesus, the Son of God, being God, is eternal (Deut 33:27; Jn. 10:30).  It should also be obvious that One cannot give to others, that which He, Himself, does not possess (Jn. 10:28; 1 Jn. 5:20).  If you want to live eternally, you need to trust in Jesus (Jn. 6:29)!

Just as Jesus could not give eternal life without possessing it Himself,
Christians can not lead the lost to salvation without having a personal faith in Him!

Monday, June 25, 2012


I would like to make some observations concerning the words "all," and "many" in the following passage, especially as they apply to the consequences of the single act of sin by Adam, and the single act of sacrifice by Jesus. 

[12] Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned . . . .  [15] But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one Man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.  [16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification.  [17] For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ.  [18] Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  [19] For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (Rom. 5:12, 15-19).

This passage uses the literary form of a simile to compare the results of the action of Adam, to the results of the action of Jesus.  Notice the Apostle Paul used the "as / so" combination five times in just these six verses.  Paul also compared Adam to Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:45, where he wrote, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] ("Was made" was not in the original text, but was added by the translators - If anything needs to be added "for clarity," I believe the word "is" would be consistent with the teachings of the rest of Scripture) a quickening spirit."

Verses twelve and eighteen use the word "all" in reference to scope of Adam's sin and Christ's sacrifice, but verses fifteen, sixteen, and nineteen use the word "many."  These two words are not interchangeable.  While "many" may, on occasion, be quite close to "all," it is never equal to 100%.  "All" is always 100%.  Therefore, there must be a reason Paul used both πᾶς (all) and πολύς (many).

ADAM - ALL:  All who sin die spiritually (Gen. 2:17; Jn. 3:3-9; Jn. 8:24).
ADAM - MANY:  Exceptions to all:  the unborn, the new born, and Jesus.
JESUS - ALL:  He died for the sins of the whole world (Jn. 3:16; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Jn. 2:2).
JESUS - MANY:  Exceptions to all:  (Joel 2:32; Ps. 86:5; Jn. 1:11-12; Rom. 10:13).

If you want to be one of "His many," receive His gift offered to "all!"    

Sunday, June 24, 2012


There are some passages in the Word of God which seem to have more than one meaning.  I believe they all need to be taken literally first, but they also may contain other, less obvious, meanings.  For instance, much has been written about the Seven Churches of Asia found in Revelation chapters two and three.  They definitely refer to seven literal churches in what is now called Turkey, and the Apostle John was told to specifically write to those seven.  He was not to write to Rome, Jerusalem, etc., but just those seven.  I am not sure anyone can be dogmatic about why only those seven, but many believe it is because they are pictures of periods of history during the entire Church Age. 

Churches representing the past - Revelation 2:1 - 3:6

Church at Ephesus represents the apostolic period from A.D. 30 - 95, when the Church was concerned about organization and doctrine to the point that it became legalistic.

Church at Smyrna represents the persecuted church which existed from A.D. 95-312.  It was the Church that existed at the time the Book of Revelation was written.

Church at Pergamum represents the apostate church that existed from A.D. 312 to 590. This period developed after the Emperor Constantine was converted, and the Church and the state were welded together.  As is always the case in such unions, the state began to corrupt the Church.

Church at Thyatira represents the dark ages, a pagan period from A.D. 590 - 1517, when the papacy developed, and the Church became full of Babylonian occultic practices. 

Church at Sardis represents the dead church (from A.D. 1517 - 1750) which had a reputation for being alive, but was more a reformation of the old, rather than a literal resurrection of the first century Church.  

Churches representing the present - Revelation 3:7 - 3:22

Church at Philadelphia, the "alive Church," represents a period of Church History from A.D. 1750 until the present, and is known as the Church with a focus on missions to the world. It is also known as the faithful "remnant" which will experience the Rapture of all born again believers.

Church at Laodicea, the visible Church of today, is a church in name only, and due to its worldliness, apathy, and apostasy, it is the church that will not even let Jesus in.  Unless they repent, and allow Jesus Christ His rightful place in their their "country club," they will be left behind after the Rapture, and will face the seven-year Tribulation which follows.

It really does not matter how one interprets this passage!
What does matter is what one believes about Jesus! 
Are you living your life with Jesus at the center of it?
Or, is Jesus still waiting for you to invite Him in?

Saturday, June 23, 2012


There are 66 books, 1,189 chapters, 31,101 verses, 783,137 words, and 3,566,480 letters in the King James Bible. That is a lot of material for a pastor to use to prepare his sermon. And yet, a pastor chose one particular passage on one particular day, and it just happened to be the very chapter I had read the night before. As an atheist, I had opened a Bible for the first time because I was bored, and I needed a good laugh. I expected some primitive, uneducated presentation of superstitious myth. What I found was more beautifully written than the writings of William Shakespeare, which I had always admired. I was astonished.

The following morning, I was telling my wife about it, much to her amazement since I had so strongly opposed any sort of religious thinking by anyone. I had made it my calling to challenge any and all who dared to speak of God. To me, there was no God. As I went on and on about it, our children came down stairs and turned on the TV in the living room. Judy and I were in the dining room, and although I could both hear and see the program that was on, I was so engrossed in my story, that I didn't object to it being a church program. They had gone into the kitchen to get some cereal and left it on the station; they intended to return and switch it to cartoons. Before they had a chance to do that, I told my wife that it would really be something if the preacher spoke on the one chapter I had read. He did! I moved to the living room.

I don't exactly know what I saw for the next three hours, but at the end of the third hour, a preacher pointed at the TV camera and said, "You there in your living room, get down on you knees and accept Jesus Christ as you Savior." I hit the floor. My life was changed forever in that instant as I put my complete trust in Jesus. I felt different. I knew that my sin was forgiven, that the Bible was true, and that God would use me to tell others. Don't ask me how I knew. I just did.

Since that time forty-one years ago, I have enjoyed His presence and His Word. I went to Bible College and then to Seminary trying to quench my thirst for knowledge of Him. Today, I have barely scratched the surface, but I love His Word more than ever. Because of it, I know that I am a sinner, saved only because He had mercy on me. He graciously provided His Son, His Spirit, His Word, and faith so that I could have an everlasting relationship with Him. And I know that one day, very soon, Jesus will return and put an end to the evil that permeates this world. We win! Praise the Lord.

Of the 1,189 chapters in the Bible, Psalm 117, the shortest, is the middle chapter. It's two verses call for all nations to praise the LORD. It tells of His mercy toward His creation. The longest, Psalm 119, contains twenty-two sections of eight verses each, all proclaiming the wonder of God's Word. But right in the middle between the shortest chapter, a call to praise God, and the longest chapter, a call to praise His Word, lies the chapter with the middle verse in the bible:  Psalm 118:8, which says, "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." There it is. The Gospel in a nut shell. Trust the Lord.

Trust Him to forgive. Trust Him to save. Trust Him to return.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Every year, on the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, Israel celebrates the Day of Atonement, which today is known as Yom Kippur.  Moses wrote, "And [this] shall be a statute for ever unto you: [that] in the seventh month, on the tenth [day] of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, [whether it be] one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:  for on that day shall [the priest] make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, [that] ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD" (Lev. 16:28-29).  It was the one day each year which the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies to make a sacrifice for his own sin, and for the sins of his people (Lev. 16:1-34; 23:26-32; Num. 29:7-11; Heb. 9:7-12).

Two kids of the goats were brought to the High Priest, and lots were cast to see which of the two would be killed as a sacrifice for the sins of the people (Lev. 16:15-19).  After the blood sacrifice was completed, the High Priest laid his hands on the other animal's head, he confessed "over him, all the iniquities of the children of Israel," and then it was driven from the camp into the wilderness (Lev. 16:20-28).

The second animal has been called the "scape goat" in the KJV of the Bible, as the translation for the Hebrew עֲזָאזֵל (`aza'zel).  Most of us are familiar with the term "scape goat," but very few know what the Hebrew word means.  Breaking it down (although I could find no support for this), I believe it means "to be gone from the sight and presence of God."  God was present within the camp; the "scapegoat" was literally taken from the camp of Israel into the wilderness (Lev. 16:21-22).  To me, it sounds a great deal like what God told us through Isaiah, who wrote, "I, [even] I, [am] He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (Isa. 43:25 - see also Jer. 50:20; Mic. 7:18; Heb. 8:12; 10:17).  The "blotting out" was the blood of the sacrifice, and the "forgetting" was memory of the sins being removed by the "scape goat."

There is another possible parallel for this Feast of Israel.  Could the slain animal be a picture of "the Lamb of God" who shed His blood for the sins of the world?" (Jn. 1:29, 36; 1 Jn. 2:2; etc.).  If so, the other animal could be a picture of Satan bringing up all our sins "from the books" at the Great White Throne Judgment, where, I believe, all that a man has done in this life are recorded (Rev. 20:11-13).  This makes sense, in that, the Hebrew word aza'zel has been interpreted to represent Satan by many Hebrew scholars.  Since Satan is our adversary, the one who accuses the brethren before God, does it not seem logical that the "books" being opened were opened by him to charge us before God?  Job 31:35 says, "Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire [is, that] the Almighty would answer me, and [that] mine adversary had written a book."  And in 1 Peter 5:8, we read "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

Regardless, there is really only one book that matters:  the "Lamb's Book of Life" (Phil. 4:3; Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:12; 21:27)!  Everyone's name is in "the books," but only the redeemed are in the "Lamb's Book of Life."

Just as one needs two births, one also must be recorded in two books!   


Thursday, June 21, 2012


The word, "propitiation" appears three times in the Bible (Rom. 3:25; 1 Jn. 2:2; 1 Jn. 4:10).  Romans renders it from the Greek, hilastērion, which means "mercy."  This can be clearly seen from the only other time hilastērion is used in the Bible, where it is translated, "mercy seat" (Heb. 9:5).  In the two 1 John references, "propitiation" is from the Greek,  hilasmos, which means "an appeasing," or a "satisfying of a debt."

Taken in context, the Apostle Paul used it thusly:  "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, [I say], at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of Him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:24-26).  

Here is how the Apostle John used it.  "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world" (1 Jn. 2:1-2).   Again, in 1 John 4:9-10, he wrote, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins."

The writer of Hebrews wrote, "Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein [was] the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly (9:4-5).

Paul compared the scope of the consequences of Adam's sin, to the scope of the payment for sin by Jesus in Romans 5:19:  "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."  Some have said that the word "many" does not encompass all, but if Adam's sin brought about death to all, then Jesus' death made righteousness available to all. 

I see it as being like a man walking into a bank and paying off all the loans of every customer.  All the customers are declared debt free.  However, there are many who believe that no one gets anything for nothing.  They see the payment of their debt as being too good to be true, so they continue to make payments, even though the bank repeatedly tells them it is no longer necessary.  Sad, isn't it.

Religious works are man's effort to pay a non-existing debt.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012



            CH 1:19                      The three divisions of Revelation.


            CH 1:1-8                     The source of the vision.
                  1:9-18                   The things which thou hast seen.

            CH 1:20-3:22              The things which are (The Church).


            CH 4:1-22:5                The things which must be hereafter.


            CH 4:1                        The picture of the Rapture (“Come up hither”).

            CH 4:2-5:14                The throne room of God.


            CH 6:1-7:17                The Six Seals (Stage I of the first half of the Tribulation).
            CH 8:1                        The Seventh Seal (Silence in Heaven).
            CH 8:2-11:19              The Seven Trumpets (Stage II first half of the Tribulation).


            CH 12:1-13:6              The Conversion of Israel (The Midst of the Tribulation).


            CH 13:1-18:24            The Seven Vials (The last half of the Tribulation).


            CH 19:1-10                 The preparations for the Second Coming in Heaven.


            CH 19:11-21               The Second Coming of Christ.


            CH 20:1-15                 The Millennium Kingdom of Christ as King and Lord.


            CH 21:1-22:5              The Eternal presence of God.


            CH 22:6-21                 The Command to go warn humanity.         

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


In the ongoing debate concerning the scope of Christ's redemptive work on the cross, some have chosen to ignore the all-inclusiveness of what the Scriptures have to say about His Atonement.  Since His sacrifice is pictured in the Old Testament Feast of the Atonement, that is probably a good place to begin in trying to understand whether or not the sacrifice was for a select group, or for all of Israel.

Leviticus 16:1-34; 23:27-32, Numbers 29:7-11, and Hebrews 9:7-12, discuss the sixth feast of Israel, and we learn several important factors concerning who is covered by the sacrifice.  1) It was for "the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins" (Lev. 16:16).  2) While it involves repentance, it does not allow any work (Lev. 23:31-32; Num. 29:7).  3) The high priest offered a blood sacrifice for the errors of his people (Heb. 9:7).  4) The Old Testament feast was a picture of what Jesus did for our sin (Heb. 9:9).  5) Jesus, "by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb. 9:12).
So, what does that mean?  The sacrifice was for all Israel, but some could reject it by failing to repent (afflict themselves, and do no work - Lev. 16:29).  The Atonement was for all Israel, and the Lord's sacrifice was for all of mankind (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 2:2)!

ALL have sinned (Rom. 3:23).  ALL we like sheep have gone astray, but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us ALL (Isa. 53:6).  The grace of God has appeared unto ALL men (Titus 2:11).  A Saviour has been provided for ALL people (Lk. 2:10-11).  Salvation has been made possible for ALL (Jn. 3:16-17) and Jesus Christ is the Saviour of ALL men (1 Tim. 4:10).  God desires ALL to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4) and the Saviour died for ALL (1 Tim. 2:6; 1 Jn. 2:2).  Thus the Gospel message is for ALL (Mk. 16:15) and God’s gracious invitation is extended to ALL (Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17).  ALL men everywhere are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30).  ALL men from ALL nations are commanded to believe the Gospel (Rom. 1:5; 16:26).  Christians are commanded to go to ALL men and to beseech them to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:19-20).  Yes, the ALL includes you and me.  Will you personally receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, or will you personally reject ALL that the living God has done for you?

"But as many as received Him [Christ], to them gave He power to become the [children] of God, even to them that believe on His Name" (John 1:12).

Monday, June 18, 2012


Yesterday, my wife and I traveled to what was supposed to be a surprise birthday party for our granddaughter.  When we arrived at our daughter's home, I noticed several cars with which I was unfamiliar, so I imagined they belonged to my granddaughter's friends.  When we entered the house, there was the usual kitchen activity one would expect for a party, but I noticed there were no decorations. 

Our daughter said everyone was out back by the pool, and she led us out to join the festivities.  The first thing I saw as I walked out on the deck was what looked like about twenty-five people posing for a group picture.  Much to my surprise, they yelled, "Happy Anniversary!"  They had actually gathered to honor us on our fiftieth wedding anniversary which actually was the day before.

My wife and I were given "luau" attire, complete with a straw hat and leis.  The deck, totally rebuilt for the occasion by our grandsons, was decorated with colorful lighting, tiki torches, and an inflatable palm tree.  It was beautiful.  Even a sudden downpour of rain made the event seem tropical.  Later, the kids, grand kids, and great grand kids had a wonderful time in the pool.

There was enough food for an army of at least one hundred!  I have never seen so much food for a family gathering.  The food, a tropical/oriental menu, was awesome!  There was a beautiful and tasty three-tiered "wedding cake" sans the bride and groom, shish kabobs, smoked pork loin, lumpia, fried rice, oriental salad, and several other delicious items, far too many to list (actually, I don't remember the rest - "half-timers" you know!).  We were surprised, overwhelmed, and over stuffed!

Later, when everyone had finished eating, usually the time us old folks like to take a nap, my son-in-law announced that the theme of the party, being what it was, was a clue to the gift our family had for us.  They are taking us on an all-expenses paid cruise to the Bahamas!  We have never been on a cruise, and although I spent twenty years in the Navy which provided "free cruises," my wife and I had always wanted to go on one. 

In our opinion, our surprise anniversary party was way beyond a success; it was clearly a work of love which I will never forget ("half-timers" or not!).  I thank the Lord for giving our kids poor memories, much patience, and forgiving hearts as we were not the parents we would like to have been.  Still, I thank Him more for working in our lives so that our family can see small glimpses of Christ in us.  Thank you God, for a family made up of imperfect people who love each other!            

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I have an ongoing discussion with a young man from church which is focused upon Calvin's T.U.L.I.P. doctrines.  I will not take the time to explain Calvin's five statements about man's salvation; if you want to know more about them, obviously you can Google them.  What I do want to look at is the relationship between the born again believer and God, as our Father.

God, technically, has only one "only begotten Son":  Jesus (Jn. 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; Heb. 11:17; 1 Jn. 4:9)!  By "technically," I mean God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, literally caused Mary to be "with child," in what is known as the Incarnation, that is, God being born physically as a Man (Matt. 1:18; Jn. 1:1, 14)  By "begotten," I mean the same thing as Matthew meant with all his "begats." (Matt. 1:2-16).  Born again believers are also said to be "begotten of God," but this phrase refers to being born again spiritually (Jn. 3:3-8; Jam. 1:18; 1 Jn. 5:1).

Born again believers are also related to God in the physical sense, in that, we are all adopted by Him.  The Apostle Paul wrote, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:14-16).  Paul continued, "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Rom. 8:23).  Paul also described the children of Israel as being adopted by God.  He wrote:  "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises" (Rom. 9:4).

Paul repeated his teaching on God being our adopted Father in his letter to the Church at Galatia.  He wrote, "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:  but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father"  Gal. 4:3-6).

I believe that we being "spiritually fatherless," live in an "orphanage" known as the world.  What is worse, we don't even realize we are "orphans."  At a time of His choosing, God sends His Spirit to convince us of our status as being dead in sin, and in need of being born again (Jn. 3:6-8; 16:7-15; Eph. 2:5).  The Holy Spirit "offers" us the gift of adoption (salvation - Eph. 2:8), and we must choose to allow God to adopt us (Jn. 1:12; Rom. 10:8-17; etc.).

God offers to be our Father, but we must choose to accept His offer.  Have you?

Saturday, June 16, 2012


  HEBREWS 13:20-21

Now - Behold, today is the day of salvation; now is the time to believe (2 Cor. 6:2)!

the God of peace - With salvation comes the peace of God (2 Thes. 3;16)!

that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus - Our Lord is alive (Acts 2:24)!

that Great Shepherd of the sheep - Jesus is our Provider and our Protector (Isa. 40:11)!

through the blood - Christ shed His blood to be our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7)!

of the everlasting covenant - God's promise to us is eternal life (Ex. 24:8)!

Make you perfect - It is God's role to make us perfect (Phil. 1:6)!

in every good work - We are His workmanship unto good works (Eph. 2:10)!

to do his will - God changes our desires to His desires (Ps. 37:4)!

working in you - God works in us, both to will, and to do His will (Phil. 2:13)!

that which is wellpleasing - God has made His will known to us (Eph. 1:9)!

 in his sight - We are never out of His sight (Heb. 4:13)!

through Jesus Christ - In Jesus, we live and serve God (Acts 17:28)!

to whom [be] glory - Our faith in Jesus glorifies God (Rom. 11:36)!

for ever and ever - Our lives in Christ glorify God for eternity (2 Tim. 4:18)! 

Amen - As you have said, O Lord, so be it (Jer. 11:5)!

Friday, June 15, 2012


The Bible says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10).  Ironically, Adam's desire for wisdom resulted in just that, his fear of God (Gen. 3:1-10).  From that time until the present, man has been aware that he is a sinner, and that he is separated from God.  In his effort to regain a relationship with Him, he has devised all sorts of ways to try to achieve this.  The result?  Religions; lots of religions!  Unfortunately, God hates religion (Deut. 12:31; Isa. 1:10-15; Amos 5:21-24; Col. 2:20-22; etc.).  The Word of God tells us that man's religious efforts are doomed to failure.

MAN'S RELIGION - "There is A WAY that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 16:25).

Today, it is not uncommon to hear "religious leaders" say, "There are many ways to God."  In the book, The Shack, "Jesus" makes the statement, "Those who love me have come from every system that exists.  They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims...." (p. 273).  The lead character, Mack, responds by asking, "Does that mean that all roads will lead to you?"  "Jesus" replied, "Most roads don't lead anywhere.  What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you." (p. 274).  Some have interpreted his use of the word, "most," he is suggesting "some, but not all."  Here is what the Bible says.

GOD'S WAY - "Jesus saith unto him, I am THE WAY, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6).

Unsaved man hates to be told that he is a sinner, but that is what the Bible says (Rom. 3:23; 11:32)! 

Unsaved man hates to be told that all his works to appease God and to be righteous, are useless (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 6:23a; Eph. 2:9)! 

Unsaved man hates to be told there is only one way to regain a relationship with God, and that is to accept God's gift of salvation through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 5:15-18; 6:23b; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:8)! 

Unsaved man hates that he must come humbly before God and acknowledge his need of salvation (Mic. 6:8; Lk. 24:47; Rom. 10:9-10). 

Unsaved man loves to boast, for like Satan, man suffers primarily from the sin of pride; God hates pride (Prov. 8:13; Isa. 14:12-15; Rom. 1:28-32).  Man wants to be able to say he is spiritual, that he has participated in his own salvation; man's pride longs to boast (Eph. 2:9).

Saved man wants to please God, and his new nature wants to please God for God's glory, not his own (1 Cor. 10:31; Eph. 2:10; Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 4:11).

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Heb. 13:20-21).

Thursday, June 14, 2012


In John 6:44, Jesus stated, "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."  This verse clearly indicates that man is incapable of coming to Jesus, in and of himself, but that he must be attracted to Christ by the wooing of the Father.  There are a couple of clear facts we can gain from this.  First, that man is by nature, not inclined to gravitate toward the Savior without the prompting of God (Rom. 3:11).  The very fact that a man does seek to know Christ, is evidence that the Father has drawn him.  Secondly, those who respond to God's drawing, by placing their faith in Christ, will be part of the First Resurrection (Rev. 20:5-6).

In John 12:32, Jesus declared, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men unto Me."  The next verse explains His meaning; "This he said, signifying what death He should die."  Jesus was saying that by His being nailed upon a cross to die for the sins of the whole world (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 2:2; etc.), all men would be drawn to Him (2 Pet. 3:9).

These statements, taken together, do not seem possible.  Literally billions have lived and died without hearing the Gospel, that is, that Jesus "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. 15:3-4).  How then can it be said that God has drawn all men to Jesus?

What I am about to say may get me in serious trouble with many, if not all of my Christian brethren, but please hear me out.  First, Jesus is God (Isa. 9:6; Jn. 1:1, 14; Phil. 2:6; Titus 2:13; 1 Jn. 5:7; etc.)!  So, when someone is drawn to God, it is the same as them being drawn to Jesus; they are One.  That is why the Old Testament saints, most of whom never heard of God's Son or His Passover-like sacrifice of Himself for their sins, are declared righteous by faith in God (Heb. 11:1 - 12:2). 

Man is drawn to faith in God, and hence, in Jesus, by the marvels of natural revelation.  "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. 1:19-20).  In other words, when man sees the works of creation and he worships the Creator, he is worshiping Jesus (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2).

Man is drawn to faith in God, and hence, in Jesus, when God reveals Himself through the super-natural revelation of His Word.  Jesus said, "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me" (Jn. 5:39).   In describing the Lord's conversation with two very despondent travelers on their way back to Emmaus, Luke writes, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Lk. 24:27).

Jesus died and rose again to offer salvation to all who place their trust in God.                


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


As I indicated yesterday, the Day of the Lord refers specifically to the Tribulation (a.k.a. Daniel's Seventieth Week - Dan. 9:24-27, or the Time of Jacob's Trouble - Jer. 30:7).  The Tribulation will last seven years, and will be divided in two halves (Dan. 9:27).   Each half consists of forty-two months (Rev. 11:2; 13:5), 1260 days (Rev. 11:3; 12:6), or a time, times, and a half of a time ("time" = one year - Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 12:14).  This "week" of years is a time appointed for Israel (Dan. 9:24), and is meant to bring them to repentance and faith in Christ.

The Tribulation ends with the Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 19:11-21).  At that time, the eyes of Israel will be opened, and all Israel will be saved (Rom. 11:25-26).  They will then enter into the kingdom promised to David's Offspring (Jesus Christ).  Luke wrote,

"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David:  and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end" (Lk. 1:32-33). 

For the next 1000 years, Christ will rule the earth with "a rod of iron" (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).  During that time, children will be born, and by the end of the Millennium, the world will be mostly populated by people who only obey Christ because they are forced.  That is why, when Satan is loosed for "a little season" at the end of the 1000 years, the nations turn against Christ and move to destroy Israel (Rev. 20:3-9).  As the nations gather to come against Christ and His people, suddenly, fire will come down from heaven and destroy His enemies (Rev. 20:9).

The "never ending kingdom," spoken of by Luke, does not stop with the end of the Millennial reign of Christ on earth.  Jesus Christ is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords forever over the new heaven and new earth (Ps. 89:36; Dan. 2:44; 7:14, 27; Mic. 4:7; Heb. 1:8; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 11:15; 19:16; 22:3-5).

A good way to tell if you are a believer or not, is to think about how you feel about Christ's Second Coming; if you long for it, you are saved; if you dread it, you need to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior while there is still time!         

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This morning, I came upon an excellent article on the subject of the Day of the Lord at a site called Rapture Watch (  As I mentioned yesterday, the Rapture of the Church is a separate event from Israel's seven-year Tribulation.  Here is some of what it had to say.

"1 Thes. 4:13-18 describes the Rapture. . . .  In 1 Thes. 5:1, he changes topics.  This is proven by his use of two little Greek words, peri de. These two words . . . could be translated, "But concerning" or "Now about."  . . . .  Every time Paul uses these two words, they always denote a change in subject matter.  In 1 Thes. 4:13-18, the subject matter is what happens at the Rapture.  But in 1 Thes. 5:1-11, he introduces a new subject, a different event, the Day of the Lord."

It should also be clear that the Day of the Lord differs from the Rapture, in that, the Rapture is a joyous event, and the Day of the Lord is "a time of destruction" (Isa. 13:6); "a day of vengeance" (Jer. 46:10); "a solemn day of terrors" (Lam. 2:22); "the time of the heathen" (Ezek. 30:3); "a destruction from the Almighty" (Joel 1:15); "darkness and not light" (Amos 5:20); a day of recompense (Obed. 1:15); "the fierce anger of the LORD" (Zeph. 2:2); a day of great loss (Zech. 14:1); and in the New Testament, "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" (2 Pet. 3:2).

The Rapture is the removal of God's true believers prior to the certain travail of the rebirth of Israel.  Isaiah wrote, "Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.  We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen" (Isa. 26:17-18).  Jesus spoke of the signs at the beginning of the Tribulation as being "the beginning of sorrows."  The Greek word, ὠδίν (ōdin), means "the pain of childbirth, travail pain, birth pangs."  In essence, this metaphor is describing the birth, or better perhaps, the rebirth of Israel.  For following "the beginning of sorrows" comes the Abomination of Desolation, which occurs half way through the seven-year Tribulation, which is said to be appointed unto Daniel's people (Dan. 9:24-27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14; Rev. 12 -13).  Israel, seeing this event take place, have their blindness to the truth removed, and they realize that Jesus was their Messiah, and all Israel is saved!  Paul wrote,

" For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:25-29).      

The Tribulation, for Israel, will be an eye-opening experience! 

Monday, June 11, 2012


Two days ago, I wrote parts one and two of a short series on "the day of the Lord."  Today, as I begin my study of the Bible texts themselves, I believe it is necessary to view them in light of the sequence of future events, according to God's entire prophetic Word, so that I can understand the apparent contradictions found in the Bible's use of the phrase, "the day of the Lord."  Is "the day of the Lord" something for which to long, or something to dread?  The answer is both.

The next event on God's prophetic calendar is the Rapture of the Church (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:13-18).  Notice verse eighteen speaks of the news of His coming for His own, as being a comfort to born again believers.  The next chapter of Paul's letter to the Thessalonians begins by showing the difference between the event of comfort (the Rapture), and the "day of sudden destruction" which is to follow (5:1-3).  As is often the case, the text, being divided into chapters, causes many to see God's comforting words of chapter four, as being a separate teaching from that found in chapter five.  By simply ignoring the chapter and verse references, it is clear that there will be a joyful event (the Rapture) followed by and awful even (the Tribulation).

  "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thes. 4:13 - 5:6).
Solely based upon the grace of God, the Church will be removed prior to the seven year completion of the Dispensation of the Law known as the Tribulation, Daniel's Seventieth Week, and the Time of Jacob's Trouble.  The Rapture of the Church precedes the Tribulation of Israel and the lost world in which we live today.    

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Today, in church, our pastor completed his five part series on the "Five Solas," five Latin phrases which summarize the Reformers' basic theological beliefs in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.  The Latin word sola means "alone" or "only" in English.  The "Five Solas" articulated five fundamental beliefs of the Protestant Reformation, pillars which the Reformers believed to be the basic essentials of the Christian faith.  All five implicitly rejected or countered the teachings of the then-dominant Catholic Church.  They are:  Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone); Solus Christus (Christ alone); Sola Gratia (Grace alone); Sola Fide (Faith alone); and Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone).

Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura)
The inerrant Scripture (the Bible) is the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin, and it is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.  It is denied that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

Christ alone (Solus Christus)
Our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone.  His sinless life and substitutionary atonement, are alone, sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.  It is denied that the Gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared, and faith in Christ and His work is not solicited.

Grace alone (Sola Gratia)
In salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by His grace alone.  It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.  It is denied that salvation is in any sense a human work.  Human methods, techniques or strategies, by themselves, cannot accomplish this transformation.  Faith is not produced by our unsaved human nature.

Faith alone (Sola Fide)
Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.  In justification, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice.  Our justification does not rest on any merit to be found in us, nor upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, nor that an institution claiming to be a church, that denies or condemns Sola Fide, can be recognized as a legitimate church.

Glory to God alone (Soli Deo Gloria)
It is affirmed that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify Him always.  We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for His glory alone.  It is denied that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.

The Bible reveals Christ, the Spirit gives us faith through the Father's grace.
And it is all done for the glory of God!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I began this study earlier by saying, "When someone speaks of the "day of the Lord," we almost automatically think of a single day, rather than a series of events that take place over a period of several years."  Here are the remainder of the verses containing the phrase "the day of the Lord."
 *  From Zephaniah - "Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, He hath bid His guests.  And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel" (1:7-8). "The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly" (1:14).  "Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land" (1:18).  "Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness:  it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger" (2:2-3). 
 *  From Zechariah - "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee" (14:1).
 *  From 1Corinthians - "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (5:5).
 From 2 Corinthians - "As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1:14).
 From 1 Thessalonians - "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (5:2).
 *   From 2 Peter - "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (3:2).

      These do not include all that the Word of God has to say on the subject.  The fact that nine books of the Old Testament, all written by God's prophets, address the day of the Lord as a terrible, future event is not surprising, in that, prophets typically preached warnings of God's pending judgment on His people, Israel.  This is a very important factor, in that, the day of the Lord is "bad news" to Israel, but "good news" to the Church.  There is ample evidence that the day of the Lord could not refer to a single twenty-four hour day, in that the events referred to (the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Second Coming, the Millennium, the Great White Throne Judgment, the New Heaven and New Earth, etc.) clearly require, at the very minimum, one thousand seven years.



When someone speaks of the "day of the Lord," we almost automatically think of a single day, rather than a series of events that take place over a period of several years.  I will begin this series by providing the Bible references to the phrase itself.  There are twenty-six verses in the Bible which include the phrase, "the day of the Lord."
*  From Isaiah - "For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low" (2:12).  "Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty" (13:6).  "Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it" (13:9).  "For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion" (34:8).
From Jeremiah - "For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates" (46:10).
From Lamentations - "Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors round about, so that in the day of the LORD's anger none escaped nor remained: those that I have swaddled and brought up hath mine enemy consumed" (2:22).
From Ezekiel - "Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD" (13:5).  "For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen" (30:3).
From Joel - "Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come" (1:15).  "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand" (2:1). "And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?" (2:11).  "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision" (3:14).
From Amos - "Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light" (5:18).  "Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?" (5:20).
*  From Obediah - "For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head" (1:15). 
Note:  The remainder of the Old Testament references will continue on the next page.
One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day!

Friday, June 8, 2012


The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, known as "the faith chapter" or "God's hall of faith," has the phrase "by faith" in it sixteen times!  The writer of Hebrews prefaced chapter eleven by saying,

"Now the just shall live (F) by faith: but if any man draw back (A), My soul shall have (P) no pleasure in him.  But we are not (P) of them who draw back (P) unto perdition; but of them that believe (are believing - actually pistis, meaning "faith," a noun, but used here as a present tense verb) to the saving of the soul" (Heb. 10:38-39).  

Notice that I have highlighted the verbs, which are all present (P), future (F), or Aorist (A - both present and future).  From these and other verses, it is clear that salvation is the result of faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9), and that salvation results in an immediate sealing of a child of God by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 6:27; 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30).  In other words, a person's salvation has a beginning (Jn. 3:3-8), and continues forever, as salvation is the status of those possessing eternal life (Jn. 3:16; 10:28; 17:2; Rom. 5:21; 6:23; 1 Jn. 2:25; 5:11, 13).  Salvation, the result of imputed righteousness (Rom. 4:11, 22-24; 2 Cor. 5:21;Jam. 2:23), is "a gift that lasts much more than a lifetime!"

We can learn much about a saving faith from just these fifteen verses.

[4] By faith Abel . . . obtained witness that he was righteous . . . .
[5] By faith Enoch . . . pleased God.
[8] By faith Abraham . . . obeyed . . . .
[9] By faith (Abraham) sojourned in the land of promise . . . .
[17] By faith Abraham . . . offered up Isaac . . . .
[20] By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
[21] By faith Jacob . . . blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped . . . .
[22] By faith Joseph, when he died . . . gave commandment concerning his bones.
[23] By faith Moses . . . was hid three months of his parents . . . .
[24] By faith Moses . . . refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter . . . .
[27] By faith (Moses) forsook Egypt . . . seeing Him who is invisible.
[29] By faith (Israel) passed through the Red sea . . . . 
[30] By faith the walls of Jericho fell down . . . .
[31] By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not . . . .

Notice with the exceptions of Abel and Enoch, all of these listed as great men and women of faith had their "flaws" listed in the Scriptures for all to see, and that they were sinners like you and me.  That is good news, because it tells us that we do not have to be perfect to be saved, but simply need to believe God by faith in His only begotten Son (Jn. 6:29)!

Salvation is based upon a present faith which continues to believe in Jesus!



Thursday, June 7, 2012


There are perhaps thousands of books written by men and women who profess to know the will of God.  Most, if not all, seem to me to be well-meaning, but appear to me to be either somewhat philosophical at best, or arrogant, almost gnostic, at worst.  Therefore, I decided to see what God's Word had to say about God's will.  The phrase appears twenty-two times in the New Testament, none in the Old Testament.  I offer these as the place to start when seeking to understand God's will for your life.  "The will of God" will be TWOG in the KJV quotes below.

*  Mark 3:35 "For whosoever shall do TWOG, the same is My brother, and My sister, and mother."
*  Acts 13:36 "For David, after he had served his own generation by TWOG, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption."
*  Romans 1:10 "Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by TWOG to come unto you."
*  Romans 8:27 "And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to TWOG."
*  Romans 15:32 "That I may come unto you with joy by TWOG, and may with you be refreshed."
*  1 Corinthians 1:1 "Paul, called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ through TWOG, and Sosthenes our brother...."
*  2 Corinthians 1:1 "Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by TWOG, and Timothy our brother, unto the Church of God which is in Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia...."
*  2 Corinthians 8:5 "And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by TWOG."
*  Galatians 1:4 "Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to TWOG and our Father.
*  Ephesians 1:1 "Paul, and Apostle of Jesus Christ by TWOG, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus."
*  Ephesians 6:6 "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing TWOG from the heart."
*  Colossians 1:1 "Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by TWOG, and Timotheus our brother...."
*  Colossians 4:12 "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all TWOG."
*  1 Thessalonians 4:3 "For this is TWOG, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication...."
*  1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In every thing give thanks:  for this is TWOG in Christ Jesus concerning you."
*  2 Timothy 1:1 "Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by TWOG, according to the promise of life which is in Jesus Christ...."
*  Hebrews 10:36 "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done TWOG, ye might receive the promise."
*  1 Peter 2:15 "For so is TWOG, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men...."
*  1 Peter 3:17 "For it is better, if TWOG be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing."
*  1 Peter 4:2 "That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to TWOG."
*  1 Peter 4:19 "Wherefore let them that suffer according to TWOG commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
*  1 John 2:17 "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:  but he that doeth TWOG abideth forever."

Knowing the will of God, and doing it, makes one like Jesus.  
Knowing the will of God, and not doing it, makes one like Satan.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I get so tired of "arguing" about the things of the Lord!  It seems as though the ones who should know what the Bible teaches, are the ones with whom I spend most of my time in various degrees of a "debate mode."  Usually, the topic "under consideration" involves those things the writer of Hebrews said were "givens," and therefore not subject to debate (Heb. 6:1-3).  But unfortunately, it appears many still fall under the category of "babes" when it comes to doctrine (Heb. 5:12-14).  Today's topic - the Deity of Christ!

The Bible addresses Him as God:  John 1:1, 14; 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20!

The Bible addresses Him as the only begotten Son of God:  John 3:16; 5:17-18; 10:33, 36; 19:7!

The Bible addresses Him as Lord:  Jesus is called "Lord" over seven hundred times in the New Testament, and of those, over two hundred appear in the four Gospels.  In contrast, Jesus is only called "Savior" twenty-four times in the entire New Testament.

The Bible addresses Him as "the Lord of Glory:  Compare 1 Corinthians 2:8 with Psalm 24:8-10!

The Bible addresses Him as "the Holy One:  Compare Acts 3:14 with Hosea 11:9 and Isaiah 48:17!

The Bible addresses Him as "I AM":  John 4:26; 6:20; 6:35; 6:41; 6:48; 6:51; 7:28; 7:29; 7:33; 7:34; 7:36; 8:12; 8:16; 8:18; 8:23 (twice); 8:24; 8:28; 8:58; 9:5; 10:7; 10:9; 10:11; 10:14; 10:36; 11:25; 12:26; 13:13; 13:19; 13:33; 14:3; 14:6; 14:9; 15:1; 15:5; 16:32; 17:11; 17:14; 17:16; 17:24; 18:5; 18:6; 18:8; 18:37; 19:21!

The Bible addresses Him as "Immanuel" which is interpreted "God with us":  Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23!

The Bible addresses Him as being equal to God:  John 5:18; 10:30; Philippians 2:6!

Jesus is the Creator:  John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1-2!  Jesus forgave sin:  Matthew 9:1-8!  Jesus received worship:  Matthew 2:11; 8:2; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38; Hebrews 1:6!

"Savior" refers to what He did for us; "Lord" refers to who He is!
We are not saved by believing what He did; we are saved by believing in Him!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


When I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior in my living room on Sunday, January 31, 1971, I immediately began telling everyone I met.  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon one's view, one of the first persons with whom I shared my new faith was a member of the Church of Christ.  After what seemed like hours of debate as to whether or not I was saved, I finally submitted to being baptized just to get him off my back.  So, around midnight on March 1, 1971, I was baptized in an ice cold baptismal in an empty church.  Since that time, forty years ago, I have studied God's Word, and believe I can explain the five New Testament passages which seem to indicate that baptism is necessary before one is saved.  They are Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38; 22:16; and 1 Peter 3:20-21.

The word, "believe," appears 119 times in the Gospels.  The word, "baptize," appears only about half as many times, and of those, 41 speak of the baptizing work of John, 12 speak of the "baptism of the cross," and 8 refer to the Lord's disciples baptizing.  All those baptized in the Gospels were baptized unto repentance, not into the Church, as it did not begin until Acts 2.

Mark 16:16 does not say a person who believes, and yet has not been baptized is damned; it says he is damned if he does not believe.

John 3:5 is referring to the physical birth (as in "my water broke"), in contrast with the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a believer is baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:5).  In other words, be "born again."

Acts 2:38 says that those Jews who believed the Gospel, should repent and be baptized for (because of, or due to) the remission (payment already accomplished by Jesus on the cross). 

Acts 22:16 says ". . . arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."  Ananias, most likely a Jewish proselyte (v. 12-14), was told to ceremonially wash, as did those of John's baptism, including Jesus (who had no sins to wash away - Heb. 4:15).  Notice Paul did not tell us that we were to be baptized in Romans 10:8-13 in order to "wash away our sins," or to be saved.

1 Peter 3:20 speaks of Noah's flood being a type of baptism, speaking of Noah being saved "by" water.  The Greek word is  "διά" (dia), which could, and perhaps should be translated "from," as it is in 2 Thessalonians 2:2.  1 Peter 3:21 says, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ".  Notice that it is not a washing away of sins, but a cleansing of one's conscience.  It does not save, but produces inner peace.

Baptism does not save; saved people are baptized!

Monday, June 4, 2012


Man is neither spiritually nor intellectually capable of choosing to be saved from God's eternal judgment.  Man is spiritually dead the moment he consciously sins, and is therefore unaware of his need for salvation (Rev. 3:17, 20).  Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."  The very day Adam sinned, he died spiritually (Gen. 2:17),  and with the exception of Jesus, every man who has ever lived has sinned and died spiritually (Heb. 4:15; Rom. 3:23; etc.).  That is why it is necessary for a man to be born again of the Spirit (Jn. 3:3-8).  Obliviously, if one is unaware of his need for salvation, he is also ignorant of the importance of accepting God's gracious offer of salvation based upon simply receiving His gift by faith (Jn. 1:11-12; 3:18, 36; Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9; etc).

Fortunately, God is a merciful and loving God, not wishing any to perish, but that all would repent and trust in His Son (2 Pet. 3:9; Lk. 24:47; Jn. 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:4; etc.).  That is why the Word of God says that He, through the death (and by implication, the Resurrection of His son) draws all men unto Jesus that they might believe in Him and be saved.  John 6:44-45 say, "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.  Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father , cometh unto Me" (Rom. 10:9-13).  John 12:32-33 give us the scope of God's drawing of man:  "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.  This He said, signifying what death He should die."  Just as when the "brazen serpent," placed upon the pole for all to look upon and be saved, whosoever is willing to "look upon Jesus," will be saved (Num. 21:5-9; Heb. 12:2).

Because God has said He draws all men to Jesus, and therefore, draws all men unto Himself, man is without excuse, if when he dies, he is judged and sentenced to an eternity in torment.  He can not plead that, as a spiritually dead man, he was not capable of understanding spiritual truth.  He can not plead that, the plan of God is a mystery to unregenerated man, and therefore, he is not guilty.  God will have drawn every man to Jesus.  When His Son was lifted up on that rough hewn cross, nailed openly for the whole world to see, God was making it possible for the world to not only see Him, but that the whole world might see Him and be saved.  His Spirit convicts every man of sin, righteous, and judgment, and he is therefore without excuse (Jn. 16:7-11). 

Religion is the working of man; salvation is the work of God!