Desertion (apostate, runaway, traitor)

World War II
Over 21,000 military personnel were convicted and sentenced for desertion during the 3.5 years of American involvement in World War II. Of these 21,000, 49 were given the death penalty, but only Eddie Slovik was actually executed for desertion.

Iraq War
According to the Pentagon, more than 5500 military personnel deserted in 2003–2004, following the Iraq invasion and occupation. The number had reached about 8000 by the first quarter of 2006. Another report stated that since 2000, about 40,000 troops from all branches of the military have deserted, also according to the Pentagon. More than half of these served in the US Army. Almost all of these soldiers deserted within the USA. There has only been one reported case of a desertion in Iraq. However, “Desertion numbers have dropped since 9/11. The Army, Navy and Air Force reported 7,978 desertions in 2001, compared with 3,456 in 2005. The Marine Corps showed 1,603 Marines in desertion status in 2001. That had declined by 148 in 2005.”
The UK military has reported over 1000 deserters since the beginning of the war in Iraq, with 566 deserting since 2005.

According to a report from Focus on the Family, an estimated 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failures, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches. (1998)

Judas Iscariot– (Matthew 26:14-16)
Was Judas merely a “follower” of convenience and comfort? Once he discovered that “his king” was not there to give him position or prestige, suddenly it wasn’t worth it.

Hymenaeus & Philetus – (II Timothy 2:17-18)
Perhaps surprisingly to some, these two are preaching next week in a local church near you. That’s right! Honestly, such saintly congregates may be some of your best friends or possibly a family member. What! Do you find this hard to believe? Look at who these two were and what, according to Paul, they were doing. They would be welcomed in most churches and are tolerated in many committees or inner circles; they preach the Gospel of Christ with fervor, but never mention the resurrection. They had surrendered the truth for something people wanted to hear. People are too quick to surrender the truth for superficial tranquility. The truth is the truth and it is not convenient, comfortable, complimentary to our flesh, and most certainly divides. Those who boast “love” apart from the truth are babes at best or false prophets at worst. In the positive, we can must proclaim truth in love, but never abandon truth for love.

This is the most apparent defector of a faithful follower in all of scripture, but you would hardly notice it if you’re not careful. Demas’ desertion was done with such subtleness and gradual progression, that he himself was likely surprised at how easily it came.

We can look at scripture and observe what his relationship with the Apostle Paul was really like, come with me, back to early A.D. 62, about the time Paul was under house arrest in Rome. We’ll start in the letter to Philemon verse 23. The apostle Paul is writing to Philemon and asking him to consider his slave Onesimus as a brother in Christ and to forgive him his running away and stealing. After Paul asks Philemon to prepare for his anticipated visit, he mentions those who are with him in Rome. Paul was under persistent discrimination and life was anything but comfortable and easy. But notice the relationships conveyed in his mentioning of Epaphras. A faithful preacher in the city of Colosse, and fellow prisoner. Paul goes on to share with Philemon the good company he has around him, introducing Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow laborers.

Did you see it, the Apostle Paul noted these men as “fellow laborers”. This is no small commendation from the likes of Paul. These men had been serving along side Paul, witnessing Christ and enduring faithfully the same things that Paul experienced. Obviously, these men were significant and co-laborers of the Apostle Paul during this period of his imprisonment.

A few months later, Paul still imprisoned in Rome in late A.D. 62, he pens this circular epistle to the Colossians. In the closing of this epistle we find yet again the closing remarks of the Apostle Paul and his gratitude for those who faithfully co-labor with him. In chapter 4 verse 14 we find that Luke and Demas are with him still. He does not mention the others (Epaphras, Mark, or Aristarchus) at all, but more importantly his affirmation of these men pale to that of previous letters. He is careful to identify with Luke being not only a physician, but beloved. This speaks to his feelings toward Dr. Luke; evidently he had strong affection for the man that most likely aided him not just medicinally, but spiritually also.

On the other hand, Paul only mentions Demas’ name here. It would appear that in a span of only a few weeks Demas has gone from “fellow laborers” to a mere mention. Wow! Have you gone to someone’s house and or seen someone out someplace and sensed that they were not the same person you experienced earlier. Sometimes we ourselves get this way with our close friends and family. Once in a blue moon, ok, now and again, my wife and I get that way too. She or I will be offended or upset about something and as a result our communication is hampered. Anyone who had observed us earlier would have noticed the difference; a distinct temperature change having taken place. This is exactly what we see here between the Apostle Paul and Demas. Subtle it may be, but clearly less affectionate than before.

Finally, we find one more reference to Paul’s companion Demas, this time in his pastoral epistle to Timothy. Here we find that Paul, who apparently thought he would be visiting Philemon only a few weeks or months earlier, now finds himself aware of his impending fate. This second epistle to Timothy is Paul’s last letter, he acknowledged that his life is being poured out as a drink offering (quite literally now). In this letter, his swan song, we can know that what Paul is here writing from his death bed. Still, it is here, while in his climax of persecution and harm, Demas abandons him. Chapter 4 verse 9 tells us clearly that Demas had forsaken his friend and departed. It doesn’t take a biblical scholar or learned theologian to recognize that Demas abandoned more than a friend, he simply walked away from his cross for something less costly.

You and I are called to pick up our cross and follow Him. Doing so will cost and we shall be persecuted for His names sake. Many of the pews in our churches are empty as a direct result of two types of people, those we have been wounded by other church members (an entirely different message) and those who have abandoned their faith for something less costly. The apostle Paul reminds us in verse 8 that his treasure and gaze was “on that day”, whereas Demas was more concerned with getting his reward “today”.

Can your pastor or eternal brother and sister depend on you? Fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith!

A bondservant of Christ and eternal brother to you


The Importance of Men’s Bible Study

I read once that: ‘a man will not believe more than he knows and that he would not live higher than his beliefs’. This is a profound statement, one that is unequivocally scriptural. From the prophet Hosea we know that the cause of Israel’s punishment was ‘a lack of their knowledge of God’.

“Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches who marginalize biblical knowledge” – Dr. Albert Mohler, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President

What is biblical knowledge?
Not trivia or intellectual knowledge, rather, Biblical understanding:

‘Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a life time’

Let’s randomly review our understanding of God’s word:
Origin of the Bible – Inspired? Translation. (Salvation is contingent upon this book!)
Creation Account – Wasn’t the stars and Moon created before Genesis 1:1?
Woman was made from more than a single boney structure “rib”
When did the Devil “fall”?
What’s wrong with Theistic-Evolution?
Heavens – Three heavens? – what are they like and where are they?
Before Genesis – What does the bible tell us about the time before Genesis 1:1?
Jesus’ siblings – Did he have Brothers and/or Sisters?
Jesus’ Birth – How important is the virgin birth?
Doctrines – God, Holy Spirit, Christ, Man, Sin, Salvation, Satan, Church, Hell
Dinosaurs – Where in the bible do they exist?
Fasting – What exactly is it? Is it required?
Suicide – Does a person who commits suicide go to Heaven or Hell?
Israel – Are they still chosen people?
Tongues – What is it and does it still exist today?
Unpardonable Sin – What exactly is this and where is it in the bible?
Predestination – a biblical approach to understanding this most misunderstood subject?
I John 1:9 – Did Jesus not already forgive of past, present and future sins?
Lottery – Not opinion, what does the Bible say about playing the lottery?
Divorce – God hates divorce. What does it say about time apart?
Masturbation – Sin? What do you think? Do you know?
(Anyone who lacks wisdom; let him ask of God…’)
Babies at death – I’ve heard the opinions, but I want to know myself what the bible says
Debt – Credit cards versus a Mortgage – when is “debt” sinful?
Voting – Why? Who? On what should I base my vote?
Defending the Bible Is it necessary for us to defend the gospel?
Relationships – God’s; as a Husband; as a Father [HAND OUT TONIGHT]

Why are these things important?
Men must know for themselves what the bible says about these things (…and more); otherwise they will never take a stand when it is required because their knowledge and understanding is built upon the faith and knowledge of another. (We can see what it is like to do something in someone’s strength and knowledge – Acts 19)

Greatest problem in our culture today, including our churches, is adult biblical illiteracy.

Deuteronomy 6:7 – obey all these things, teach them to your children
II Timothy 2:15 – Show yourself approved, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word
Luke 1 – Something surprised Zacharias, are we expecting His presence?

Isaiah 66:2 “For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. (NASB)

Do I tremble when God speaks?
Let’s ask ourselves:
When was the last time I was physically affected by the reality that God spoke to me?

John lost all physical strength – Rev 1:17
Paul fell to the ground upon meeting Christ on the road to Damascus – Acts 9:4
Moses trembled when God spoke to him – Acts 7:32
Peter realizing who Jesus was, “fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, Depart from me for I am a sinful Man” – Luke 5:8

His word is His revelation to us, scripture tells us that in the beginning was the word, and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. We must not loose our sense of awe that the Creator speaks to us! When we open the bible, come to church, or seek Him elsewhere – we must expect to encounter Him and tremble.

‘Fear is the beginning of wisdom’ – Proverbs 9:10

He who calmed the storm, healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out demons, also speaks to us. And the possibilities of His majesty, intellectual capacity, love, power and kindness – is cause to tremble.

Imagine with me those disciples in the boat, seasoned fisherman. They had been on the sea many times before over the years, they had undoubtedly experienced many storms along the way, some pretty rough I am sure. The fear they experienced from the storm that arose while Jesus was in the boat, pales against the fear that came over them when Jesus spoke – and calmed the sea and winds.

Read again, Isaiah 66:2 “For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. (NASB)

Let’s look briefly at Romans 6:18 and examine ourselves.
“And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

And whom the Son sets from is free indeed.

A Time of Celebration!

“Run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (HCSB©)

Our church recently completed this years vacation bible school and it was a great success. It is such an enjoyment to be a part of serving Him and doing so in such a joyful manner. At risk of being wrong and harmed bodily by this years VBS director, I believe we had somewhere over 175 each night. With many of those being neighbors and friends.

I never commit to isolation, I want to be available to meet every parent and mingle among the kids throughout the week. I usually boast that my duty is to instigate, getting the kids energized just before they go into their classes. (The teachers just love me for that!!)

The highlight of this years VBS was having the opportunity to lead a ten year old girl in the sinners pray. Each time I get a chance to minister with children of this age I am reminded of the decision I made many years ago, at about that same age. As I talk with them and ask them about Jesus and what He did for us, my mind goes back to that time when I too professed Him as Lord and desired soley to serve Him. In these momentary reflections and times of introspect, I thank Him for His continued mercy and grace!

This young lady, 10, was among seven who made professions of faith during this years VBS. Borrowing from John MacArthur, each sinner who repents sustains joy in heaven. And certainly, heaven rejoiced in the presence of God this past week, as salvation of man is the joy of the Lord.

Had only one little ten year old girl come to Christ through this years VBS, it would have made it all worth any sacrifice or effort. VBS is important, and the children that participate are important.

It is for that reason that He came.

Matthew 4:1-11 – Exegesis of Jesus’ Temptations

Christ was repeatedly tempted during his ministry (Luke 4:13, 22:28; Mark 8:11), and these temptations in Matthew 4 and parallels. His temptations are for demonstration of His purity and sinlessness (Hebrew 4:15) without possibility of enticement to evil (James 1:13.)

Generally there are two schools of thought among theologians concerning Jesus’ temptations:

Peccability: Liability to sin. (Christ could have sinned)
Typically an Armenian view

Impeccability: The absence of sin. (Christ could not have sinned)
Typically a Calvinistic view

The first was for Jesus to distrust the provisional care of His Father and to use His own divine powers to serve Himself. The second was to presume on the Father’s care by putting Him to the test. The third was for Him to renounce the way of His Father and to substitute the way of Satan.

V3 – should you starve in the wilderness if you are really God’s Son? 1st temptation need already existed

V6 – prove to yourself and the world that you really are the Son of God. 2nd temptation need to be created
If you won’t use your own divine power to help yourself, let you Father use His divine power

V9 – why should you have to wait for what is already rightfully yours? Why submit like a servant when you can be king?


The first Adam – The second Adam (Jesus)
Plunged us into sin – Paved way for us out of sin
Plush garden w/food – Desert without food
Genesis temptation was to eat – Temptation began with eating
Temptation to be like God by disobeying God – Temptation to be king without obeying God
Adam & Eve weren’t real sure what God said – Jesus knew because he knew scripture
After sinning angels guarded the gate to the garden – After victory angels came to minister to him

Look at the fruit – lust of the eye Kingdoms of the earth
Fruit – lust of the flesh Turn these stones to bread
Be like God – pride of life Throw yourself off


It’s a Luau …


What is ‘Heaven’ like?

Hebrew word usually translated heaven is, shamayim, is a plural noun form that literally means “the heights”. The Greek word translated heaven is ouranos. It refers to that which is raised up or lofty. Scripture uses both to refer to three different places.

First Heaven
“Atmospheric Heaven”

Genesis 7:11-12 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Daniel 4:12 It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree.

Matthew 6:26: Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.

Psalms 147:8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.

In the above verses, the word heaven refers to the blanketed atmosphere surrounding the earth. This heaven contains the air that we breath.

Second Heaven
“Planetary Heaven”

Psalms 19:1 The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.

Genesis 1:14-17 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

The second heaven is where the stars, moon, and planets are.

Third Heaven
“Third Heaven”

II Corinthians 12:2 I (Paul) was caught up into the third heaven fourteen years ago.

I Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

This is the heaven that Paul speaks of in II Corinthians 12, it is the heaven where God dwells with His holy angels and those saints who have died. The other two heavens will pass away (2 Peter 3:10); this heaven is eternal. This heaven is NOT limited by height, width or dimension. This paradise of eternity is revealed as a magnificent kingdom where both heaven and earth unite in a glory that surpasses the limits of the human imagination and the boundaries of earthly dimensions. Heaven transcends all known and normal limits. Perhaps this is best described by saying that God inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15).

The Father is there (“ Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” Matthew 6:9) Jesus himself is at the Father’s right side, Hebrews 9:24 says “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands… but into heaven itself”. So Jesus is there as our intercessor (Hebrews 7:25) and God the Father is there.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ are there also (Hebrews 12:23).
Our names are recorded there (Luke 10:20).
This is our inheritance (I Peter 1:4)
Our citizenship is there (Philippians 3:20)
There will be no crying, tears, pain, sorrow in heaven (Revelation 21:3-7)
There will be no death there (I Corinthians 15:26)
There will be no more night (Revelation 21:23)
The walls and streets are made up of precious jewels (Revelation 21:17-21)
The river and tree of life are there (Revelation 22:1-2)
There will be no marriage there (Matthew 22:30, Luke 20:35)
There will be a great feast there (Matthew 8:11, Luke 22:30)

Fellowship of the Unashamed

I am part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.”
I have Holy Spirit power.
The die has been cast.
I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.
I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals!

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.
I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded.
I now live by presence, lean by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I must go until Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.
And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
My colors will be clear.

-by Pastor Bob Moorehead

Abba Father

“Father” = Alpha Bet

The very first word, the alpha word, in the alphabetical listing of all the words of the Hebrew Old Testament is ab or “Father.” This Hebrew word may sound familiar because of the cry of Jesus, “abba, Father,” as recorded in the New Testament. (Mark 14:13; see also Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6.)

This Hebrew word for Father, Ab, is spelled aleph , bet , which are the first two letters of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet.
Aleph is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek alpha , which is the first letter of that alphabet as well. Aleph and Alpha are the equivalent of the first letter, A, in the Enlgish alphabet. The Hebrew Bet is equivalent to the Greek Beta which is equivalent to the English B.
Combining these languages, the Hebrew word for “Father,” Ab, spelled aleph, bet, could also be represented as the Greek alpha and the Hebrew bet, creating the English word: ALPHABET.
Therefore, another name for “Father” is Alphabet — and interesting synonym of “THE WORD.” Do not the scriptures say, “In the beginning was the word…” (John 1:1; I John 1:1; D&C 93:8.) And are not words made up of letters of the alphabet?

Indeed, in the very alphabetical sequence of the words is found a prophetic testimony of the work of the Father in these latter days. This phenomenon is what can be called Alphabetics. It holds particularly true of the words of scripture, especially in the Hebrew Old Testament, the Greek New Testament, and the English King James Bible (which was the touchstone of the original Webster’s Dictionary).


You must forgive others. No matter what they have done.
It is the command of God.
To not forgive hurts you. If you desire God’s blessing, you must forgive.
You may think it is impossible to forgive someone who has deeply wronged you. With God it is possible. He never asks us to do something we cannot do.

MATTHEW 6:12,14,15 NKJ 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
MATTHEW 18:35 NKJ 35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
MARK 11:25-26 NKJ 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
LUKE 6:35-38 NKJ 35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Whatever we measure out is what will be measured back to us. If we want others to show mercy to us and forgive us — we must do that first.
LUKE 11:4 NKJ 4 and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
It is not enough to forgive only those people who have wronged us a little. We must forgive everyone!

MATTHEW 18:21-22 NKJ 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Surely Jesus was not setting a maximum limit on the number of times we should forgive. He gave an absurdly high number so we would realize He meant for us to forgive without limit.
LUKE 17:3-4 NKJ 3 “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, `I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

LUKE 23:33-34 NKJ 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
This kind of forgiveness is certainly beyond normal human ability or experience. It takes the power of God to do it.
EPHESIANS 4:32-5:2 NKJ 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you. 1 Therefore be followers of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling aroma.
We are commanded to forgive others just as God has forgiven us! Having God’s help is necessary to do that.
COLOSSIANS 3:12-13 NKJ 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
It is not optional. If we desire God’s blessing and fellowship — we must forgive others as He forgave us.
Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision to quit holding something against someone. When we forgive we must release them and forget it.
God, help me to forgive ________. You know what they did. With Your help, I choose to forgive and release them from it. Thank You for giving me Your love for them. I ask You to forgive them, too, and set them free by Your power and love. Thank You for helping me forget this and treat them as You would have me to.



Christopher Brashear & Christy Stock

Jeremiah 8:20

We are living in the last days… shortly the harvest will be over, the laborers will see the lights of home and head off over the horizon. When the summer ends and harvest is over… there will be many cry out WAIT! STOP! You missed us, over here… WE ARE NOT SAVED!

Is that one of your loved ones?
Pray the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into the harvest.

Chronology of Israel

Larry Brashear
Old Testament Survey I
Dr. Glenn Connor

Chronology of Israel

In compiling this history of ancient Israel, it was necessary to consider many resources, notwithstanding materials and writings acquired through the ‘Old Testament Survey I’ course of study.

The Kingdom of Israel (מַלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל), according to the Bible, was the nation founded around 1050BC from the descendents of Jacob (יַעֲקֹב), son of Isaac. Isaac (יִצְחָק) was given the name Israel by God. However, when God promised Israel to Abram (Genesis 11:27) approximately 2100BC – 2000BC, God showed Abram that his descendents could not have the land promised for another four-hundred years, not until the Canaanite sin had reached its flower.

Sarah (שָׂרָה) and Abraham (אַבְרָהָם) begat Isaac (2066BC – 1886BC), heir of Abraham. Isaac was the only son born Abraham, by Sarah and the longest lived of the three patriarchs. The next eventful period in the life of Isaac was that of his father’s obedience to God, in sacrificing his son Isaac on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22). When he was forty years of age Rebekah (רִבְקָה) was chosen for his wife (Genesis 24). Jacob was the second born of the twins of Isaac, by Rebekah. During the pregnancy “the children struggled together within her” (Genesis 25:22). God told Rebekah that there were two very different nations within her, and that the elder would serve the younger.

When Abraham was one-hundred thirty-six years old (sixty at Jacob’s birth and Jacob’s age of seventy-six), Rebekah learned that Abraham was about to give his blessing to the wrong son, Esau (עֵשָׂו) (Genesis 27). Indeed Abraham did bless Jacob, and he inherited his father’s blessings. Jacob would continue to find a wife, he eventually found Rachel. Following their marriage, sometime after he served fourteen years, they begat Joseph (יוֹסֵף). Jacob desired to return to “mine own place and my country”, and did set out to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan (Genesis 31:18).

Isaac died at the age of one-hundred-eighty, approximately forty-four years after he had blessed Jacob and sent him to Haran to find a wife, and at the time when Joseph (יוֹסֵף) was raised from prison and made ruler of that land. Jacob and his family had been back in the Promised Land some twenty-four years at this point. At the death of Jacob, Jacob’s body was embalmed and carried with great pomp into the land of Canaan by Joseph, and buried beside his wife Leah in the Cave of Machpelah, according to his dying charge
Joseph is one of the most prominent figures in Israel history. His rise from prison to ruler of the land (1600BC), a result of his brothers having sold him into slavery. The Red Sea crossing and the Jordon crossing were virtue of Joseph.
Joseph dwelt with his family in Egypt and died at the age of one-hundred-ten years. Joseph advised his brethren before his death that God would surely visit them and deliver them from this land. (Genesis 50:23).

Generations pass before the Hebrew child Moses (מֹשֶׁה) is born, the one that God would use to deliver His people from the very land that held them in bondage. This delivery would be the prophetic answer to that which God had told Abraham almost four-hundred years earlier. The escape of the Jews from Egypt is remembered by Jews every year in the festival of Passover. The Jews were helped on their journey by God; the same God who’d promised Abraham that he would look after the Jews. God parted the Red Sea to help them escape, and helped them in many other ways.When they reached Mount Sinai, in present day Egypt, God spoke to Moses high on the mountain slopes and made a deal (called a covenant) with the Jews that renewed the one he had made with Abraham. At the same time, God gave the Jews a set of rules that they should live by. The most famous of these rules are the Ten Commandments. But there are actually 613 commandments covering every aspect of life including law, family, and personal hygiene and diet. Moses would die before entering into the Promised Land (Canaan), and Joshua would become their leader.

About 1200BC Israel was lead by a series of Judges, before their establishing a true Kingdom. During this period Israel would rebel greatly against the God that delivered them and would practice religions and worship gods other than the one true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Samuel (שְׁמוּאֵל), the last prophet of Israel and during the period that Israel asks for a King, Samuel would be the one that God used to appoint Saul as their King.

Israel’s first God appointed King was Saul (שָׁאוּל), of the tribe of Benjamin (בִּנְיָמִין) In I Samuel 9, 10; King Saul reigned over Israel from 1050BC – 1010BC. Under the leadership of King Saul, Israel’s greatest threat was the Philistines. Israel was not large at this time; mostly the central and northern hill country, Galilee, and parts of Transjordon.

During Saul’s reign, and as a result of his disobedience to God, Samuel would be used of God yet again to appoint another King over Israel. This time it would be David, youngest son of Jesse, a humble citizen of Bethlehem. King David would wage several successful military campaigns, annexing Philista, Edom, Moab, Ammon, and parts of ancient Syria. Too, it was David that established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and would later move the Ark of the Covenant to Mount Moriah and intended to build a temple there. However, although he was success in many things, he was a man of war, scripture calls him a “man of blood”, and because of this God would not allow him to build the temple, a place of peace and reverence.

Solomon would succeed David as King of Israel (1030BC), his second son by Bathsheba. Solomon’s (שְׁלֹמֹה) elevation to the throne took place before the death of David, and it was during his reign that Israel gained its highest splendor. King Solomon completed the temple, and lead Israel to have a great commercial prosperity. People came from far and near “to hear the wisdom of Solomon”. His eventual idol worship and polygamy caused the visit of a prophet that would convey to Solomon that after his death the kingdom would be split. This division was prophesied in 1 Kings 11:31-35 by the prophet Ahijah, great grandson of Judah (I Chronicles 2:25) and scribe of Solomon (I Kings 4:3). Following a reign of forty years, the death of King Solomon came about 922BC; Israel was divided into a Northern Kingdom, known as Israel, and a Southern Kingdom known as Judah.

In the divided Kingdom, Rehoboam lost most of his kingdom to Jeroboam due to his pride and stubbornness (920BC). It was populated by the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon (and some of tribe of Levi). Simeon and Judea later merged together, and Simeon lost its separate identity. Jeroboam led the revolt of the northern tribes and established the Kingdom of Israel, which consisted of nine tribes: Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Menasseh, Ephraim, Reuben and Gad (and some of Levi), with Samaria as its capital. By 721BC Israel fell to the Assyrians; Judah fell to the Babylonians a little over a century later in 597BC.

In 722 BC, the Assyrians, under Shalmaneser, and then under Sargon, conquered Israel (the northern Kingdom), destroyed its capital Samaria, and sent many of the Israelites into exile and captivity. The ruling class of the northern kingdom (a small portion of the overall population) were deported to other lands in the Assyrian empire and new nobility was imported by the Assyrians.
About 729-687BC, the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah began. He is noted for initiating reforms that eliminated idolatry. Later, approximately 637-607BC the reign of King Josiah was accompanied by a religious reformation, while repairs were made on the Temple, the Book of the Law was discovered (probably the book of Deuteronomy). The attack of King Nabopalassar of Babylonia came in 612BC, destroying the Assyrian capitol city of Nineveh and regained Babylonia’s independence. The Assyrian empire was destroyed. Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar II, seized Jerusalem. The First Temple was destroyed. 586 BC. Conquest of Judah (Southern Kingdom) by Babylon. A large part of Judea’s population was exiled to Babylon.

In 550-333BC the Persian Empire ruled over Israel, by 537BC Cyrus allowed Sheshbazzar, a prince from the tribe of Judah, to bring Babylonian Jews back to Jerusalem. Jews were allowed to return with the Temple vessels that the Babylonians had taken. Then, by 520BC construction of the Second Temple began, and under the spiritual leadership of the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the Temple was completed. At this time the Holy Land is a subdistrict of a Persian province.

Then, about the year 444BC the reformation of Israel was led by the Jewish scribes Nehemiah and Ezra. Ezra instituted synagogue and prayer services, and canonized the Torah by reading it publicly to the Great Assembly in Jerusalem, which he set up. The Empire of Alexander the Great included Israel; the Persian Empire was defeated by Alexander. During 323BC Alexander the Great died, and in the power struggle after his death, that part of his empire, which included Israel, changed hands at least five times in just over twenty years. Babylonia and Syria were ruled by the Seleucids and Egypt by the Ptolemies. The beginning of the Pharisees (rabbinic, or modern, Jews), and other Jewish sects such as the Sadducees and Essenes in 253BC.

All the promises by God to David, would be fulfilled, and through Saul and David God would provide for an eternal King (II Samuel 7:1-17). And this, as we now know, has been fulfilled through the Messiah.


Luke 23:32-47

Surrounding His cross were sinners, criminals, soldiers, religious people, family and a few friends.
Two very special people were there that day:
1. A criminal who had come to Calvary to die.
2. The other a Roman Centurion who had come to Calvary that day to put men to death.

We can suppose the thief was compelled to believe, but what convinced the Centurion?

I. (v. 32-33) WAS IT HIS COMPOSURE (Calmness, self-control)?
A. The Bible tells us that Jesus went to the cross to suffer and die as the Lamb of God:
John 1:29 – Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Rev. 13:8 and 1 Pet. 1:18-19.

Isaiah. 53:7 – He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

B. This Centurion had seen countless men die by crucifixion. Most of them were like the two thieves – cursing and screaming


A. Maybe it was the sign that hung over His cross:
Matthew, writing to the Jews, gives the Hebrew: “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS”
Mark, staying to form, gives quickest/shortest summary of the others: “THE KING OF THE JEWS”
Luke, being highly educations addresses the Greek: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS”
This sign proclaimed Jesus to be the Jewish King, the Messiah.

III. (v. 34, 39-43)

WAS IT HIS COMPASSION (sympathy, kindness)?
A. While Jesus was dying on the cross, He exhibited grace and love and compassion for others
1. He Showed Compassion
a. The crowds mocked Him, ridiculed Him and tormented Him even as He died.
Yet, He did not condemn them. He did not rebuke them. He prayed for them (v. 34)
2. He Showed Compassion To The Criminal – (v. 39-43) –
When this man asked for help concerning his spiritual condition, Jesus showed: grace, love, compassion.

B. Was it this compassion?

IV. (v. 34, 43, 46) WAS IT HIS CRIES?
A. In the Gospels there are seven occasions Jesus opened His mouth and spoke while He was on the cross.
Not all are record in Luke, but the Centurion heard them all!
1. The Cry Of Love – Luke 23:34 – Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.
2. The Cry Of Forgiveness – Luke 23:43 – Assuredly, I say, you will be with me in Paradise
3. The Cry Of Fulfillment – Matt. 27:46 – My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me
4. The Cry Of Provision – John 19:26-27 – (To Mary) Behold thy Son, (to John) Behold thy Mother.
5. The Cry Of Agony – John 19:28 – I thirst!
6. The Cry Of Victory – John 19:30 – It is finished
7. The Cry Of Departure – Luke 23:46 – Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit

B. Surely, these statements from the Lord Jesus moved the heart of this soldier!

In his own words:
Luke 23:47 – Certainly this was a righteous man!
Matthew & Mark– Truly this Man was the Son of God

Are you convinced? Do these things prick your heart?

– Sermon outline by Larry Brashear

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride
Forbid it Lord that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrificed them to His blood

See from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ere such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Were the whole realm of nature mine
that were a present far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Written: Isaac Watts – Music: Lowell Mason


“What does the bible say about Lottery money”

I – The act of Gambling:

I Timothy 4:6 Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. 7 After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Isaiah 65:11 “But because the rest of you have forsaken the LORD and his Temple and worship the gods of Fate (troop) and Destiny (number), 12 I will `destine’ you to the sword. All of you will bow before the executioner, for when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned-before my very eyes-and chose to do what you know I despise.” 13 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “You will starve, but my servants will eat. You will be thirsty, but they will drink. You will be sad and ashamed, but they will rejoice.

Note: The hebrew words translated “troop(fate)” and “number(destiny)” were names of the heathen gods “Gad” and “Meni”. To the heathen, Gad was the giver of good luck. Meni was the god of bad luck.

Is “gambling” considered SIN? Trusting in ‘luck’ rather than God.

Primarily, it evidences an irresponsible stewardship.

1. The Bible teaches that all things belong to God:
Psalms 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

2. Since all things belong to God, man is placed in the position of a steward who must give a proper accounting for everything given to him in trust.

3. The first thing that we give to God in faithful stewardship is ourselves. Life is a stewardship to be administered for the glory of God.

READ: 1Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

READ: Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

4. People who dedicate themselves to God will also recognize that all they possess must be handled as a stewardship. The parable of the talents show us this. (Matt. 25:14-30)

5. The wicked and slothful servant failed in his administration and suffered the appropriate consequences.

READ: Matt 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

6. Gambling is a total disregard of the principle of stewardship. It is prostitution of God-given assets which should be used to glorify God and advance His kingdom.

7. The persistent appeal to covetousness is opposed to the unselfishness which Jesus taught in the New Test.

READ: Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

A. All through the Bible the importance of work is emphasized.

READ: Prov 12:11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

READ: 2Thes 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

B. Not only does the Bible require that man should work for the necessities of life, but it also warns against the something-for-nothing, get- rich-quick approach.

READ: Prov 28:20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent… 22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

READ: Prov 13:11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

C. Anytime man tries to avoid the work ethic of the Bible the only result can be failure.

D. Gambling, whether to secure wealth in a hurry or to place food on the table, is not consistent with what the Bible teaches about work.

8. People who Gamble are people, instead of being servants of God, are servants of a desire they cannot handle. Paul warned about this:

READ: Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

9. Because of the possibility of addiction, gambling should be considered an evil.

10. Notice the Word once again. God is not glorified in our gambling.

READ: 1Cor 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

11. READ: 1Thes 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

II – Is using the Fruit of sin (“Lottery winnings”), sin?

I submit to you two perspectives on this matter, and present them in no certain order.

Consideration A:
READ: I Thessalonians 5:22 The beginning of any sin is the first yielding to its intoxicating influence and therefore we are faithfully warned to abstain from the very appearance of evil.

READ: Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death”

Sins outward prosperity, produces decline of one’s inward piety. Truly, there is no safety from the power of sin except in a close and constant walk with God, and a resolute purpose to continually avoid and resist the intoxicating influences of the spirit of the world. To allow its pride or vain glory or desire for self -gratification to actuate us in any measure is to bring our moral perceptions to that extent under its stupefying influence. And when any one is intoxicated with the spirit of the world (which in large measure is the spirit of Satan), he will blindly do many things which in his sober senses he would shun and despise.

“Is it ethically okay to use college scholarship money from the state lottery?” No. The injury done by lotteries on the body politic and the people who buy lottery tickets cannot be redeemed by the putative good claimed to be done by using a fourth to 30 percent of the revenue for tuition assistance. Lotteries are massive welfare programs for the well-to-do, transferring enormous sums of money from the poor to the middle and upper middle classes. There is no right reason to do a wrong thing. Any analysis that fails to see realistically state lotteries as instruments that repress their most vulnerable citizens fails to comprehend fully the magnitude of the issue.

We are followers of Jesus. He had no place to lay His head and did not accept the demonic temptation to jump off the temple for the jackpot of instant recognition. The Calvary road is not paved with Powerball tickets, but with blood. The church was bought once by One who refused the short-cut of instant triumph. It will never be bought by those who dream of riches.

Consideration B:

Romans 14:4, “I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”
. …
12Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God. 13 So don’t condemn each other anymore. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian’s path.
14 I know and am perfectly sure on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another Christian is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be condemned for doing something you know is all right.
17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God.
. …
20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, there is nothing wrong with these things in themselves. But it is wrong to eat anything if it makes another person stumble. 21 Don’t eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another Christian to stumble. 22 You may have the faith to believe that there is nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who do not condemn themselves by doing something they know is all right. 23 But if people have doubts about whether they should eat something, they shouldn’t eat it. They would be condemned for not acting in faith before God. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.


Personally, my previous examination of this matter and a predetermined position on the subject remains non-negotiable. Conversely, you are cautioned not to interpret my position based on a firm commitment. Rather, it is abundantly necessary that you conclude your own understanding and position based solely on the Word of God. ACTS 19 talks about people who try to act or stand on another’s belief or faith, be a man that stands on what you know of the Word and not on the witness of another.

My primary motivation for presenting this topic for evaluation, was to get each of us in the Word and to facilitate the environment where we can each stand on what we know of God’s Word rather than what we have been told of God’s Word.

It is the desire of my life, and a desire that I share with you, that we be men of confidence. Leading our lives and families in the truths of God’s Word, standing firm for our beliefs, and standing confidently because we know first hand what God’s position is.

The Word of God, not man, is our measure of truth, our guide, and our promise.


Urim and Thummim

Question: “What were the Urim and Thummim?”

Answer: The Urim “lights” and Thummim “perfections” were gemstones that were carried by the High Priest of Israel on the ephod / priestly garments. They were used by the High Priest to determine God’s will in some situations. Some propose that God would cause the Urim and Thummim to light up in varying patterns to reveal His decision. Others propose that the Urim and Thummim were kept in a pouch and were engraved with symbols identifying yes / no and true / false.

It is unclear whether the Urim and Thummim were on, by, or in the High Priest’s ephod. No one knows the precise nature of the Urim and Thummim or exactly how they were used. The Bible simply does not give us enough information. References to the Urim and Thummim are rare in the Bible. They are first mentioned in the description of the breastplate of judgment (Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8). When Joshua succeeded Moses as leader over Israel, he was to receive answers from God by means of the Urim through Eleazar the High Priest (Numbers 27:21). The Urim and Thummim are next mentioned in Moses’ dying blessing upon Levi (Deuteronomy 33:8). The following Scripture likely also speak of the Urim and Thummim: Joshua 7:14-18; 1 Samuel 14:37-45; and 2 Samuel 21:1.

Frankly, I believe the Urim and Thummim were liken to the “Magic Eight-Ball”. The High Priest simply reached into his ephod and pulled out one, and it somehow determined a yea or nae.


What is the seven-year Tribulation period?

After millions of blood-washed saints have been raptured from the earth to be with the Lord, there begins a seven-year period called the Tribulation. The Bible uses various names for this period such as the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12), The Time of the End (Daniel 12:9), and The End of this World (Matthew 13:40, 49).
The Tribulation Period is divided into three eras, the first era being approximately three and a half years; the brief middle period being perhaps only a few weeks; and the last era, called the Great Tribulation, being approximately three and a half years.

A powerful ruler, led by Satan and referred to as the antichrist, will rise to power. After leading the nations to form an alliance to help preserve the world system, he will break the treaty and be responsible for persecuting the nation of Israel and leading the last great battle against the forces of God in the battle of Armageddon.

During this time, God will be pouring out His wrath upon the earth and mankind unlike anything that has ever taken place before. It will be a terrible time of persecution and suffering. The antichrist will gain ascendance and will lead into sin the vast majority of the people who were left behind when Christ appeared in the clouds to take out all the Christians. Those who become Christians will be terribly persecuted. Judgments from God upon the natural elements of the earth and upon the inhabitants of the earth will be severe. Even in the midst of it men will still be unwilling to turn to God and will blaspheme Him (Revelation 16:21). See other Scripture passages: Matthew 24: 11 Thessalonians 2:3-9; and Revelation 13:16-18; 14:14-20.

Will the church go through the seven-year Tribulation period?
The answer to this question is “NO.” Although the word “Rapture” is not found in the Bible, this is indeed an event in prophecy which is taught in the Scriptures. The passage in I Thessalonians 4:14-17 is actually the next prophecy that shall be fulfilled (see also I Corinthians 15:51-57). I Thessalonians 5:9 tells us: God hath not appointed us unto wrath. Revelation 3:10 is also an indication that the church will not suffer the terrible days of the Tribulation. From the first chapter through the third chapter of Revelation, there are several references to the church. However, from the fourth chapter until the nineteenth chapter, the church is not mentioned at all, as the times of the Tribulation are discussed. However, there will be many people converted and saved during the Tribulation. These are the Christians who will have to suffer for the Lord during the days of the Tribulation and about whom the Bible speaks of in Revelation 20:4. These Christians will suffer terrible persecution and will have to refuse the mark of the beast. However, this will not affect Christians who are living today. There are many events in the Near East, and in other places in the world, which cause many of us to feel the stage is being set for end-time events, which, of course, would include the rise and worldwide rule of the antichrist, the rise and destruction of a one-world church, and the terrible Divine judgment destruction. In Revelation, however, the actual end-time events just mentioned cannot and will not come to pass until the rapture of the saints, and the time of this glorious event is not known. The trumpet may sound and Christ may call out His saints any time. It may be today; it may be tomorrow; it may be many years from now.

What should our response be to these truths?

Although the Christians living today will not have to go through the Tribulation, it is wrong for us to assume we will have an easy life to live. The Lord may yet call upon us to suffer for His sake in these days. Christians in Africa, Russia, and China are no doubt having great persecutions because of their faith. So we, too, must stand prepared to face whatever trials may come.

The trials and persecutions of heathen nations against Christians today and in years gone by will be much less severe than those which will come in the days of the Tribulation. God will pour out His wrath in such a way we cannot even begin to imagine it. But, praise God, He promises to shorten the time for the sake of the Christians won during that time, for the elect’s sake.

The clock is running.

Make the most of today.

To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to apremature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet!
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE-SECOND, ask a person who just avoided anaccident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silvermedal in the Olympics.

Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you sharedit with someone special, special enough to spend your time. And remember that time waits for no one.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present!!!

The Bible’s Importance to America

Throughout our nation’s history, many great American leaders have recognized the significance the Bible has played in developing and preserving our freedoms. We present just a few examples:

George Washington: “No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

James Madison: “We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all our heart.”

John Quincy Adams: “So great is my veneration of the Bible, that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society.”

Andrew Jackson: “That Book, sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.”

Samuel Adams: “The rights of the colonists as Christians…may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament” (from “The Rights of Colonists,” 1772).

Noah Webster: “The moral principles and precepts contained in Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Patrick Henry: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

John Jay (first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice): “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

Abraham Lincoln: “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to men. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.”

William McKinley: “The more profoundly we study this wonderful Book, and the more closely we observe its divine precepts, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation.”

Theodore Roosevelt: “Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally — I do not mean figuratively, but literally — impossible for us to figure what that loss would be if these teachings were removed. We would lose all the standards by which we now judge both public and private morals; all the standards towards which we, with more or less resolution, strive to raise ourselves.”

Ronald Reagan: “Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face. The Bible can touch hearts, order minds and refresh souls.”

Where Is Heaven?

What is ‘Heaven’ like?

Hebrew word usually translated heaven is, shamayim, is a plural noun form that literally means “the heights”. The Greek word translated heaven is ouranos. It refers to that which is raised up or lofty. Scripture uses both to refer to three different places.

First Heaven
“Atmospheric Heaven”

Genesis 7:11-12 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Daniel 4:12 It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree.

Matthew 6:26: Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.

Psalms 147:8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.

In the above verses, the word heaven refers to the blanketed atmosphere surrounding the earth. This heaven contains the air that we breath.

Second Heaven
“Planetary Heaven”

Psalms 19:1 The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.

Genesis 1:14-17 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

The second heaven is where the stars, moon, and planets are.

Third Heaven
“Third Heaven”

II Corinthians 12:2 I (Paul) was caught up into the third heaven fourteen years ago.

I Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

This is the heaven that Paul speaks of in II Corinthians 12, it is the heaven where God dwells with His holy angels and those saints who have died. The other two heavens will pass away (2 Peter 3:10); this heaven is eternal. This heaven is NOT limited by height, width or dimension. This paradise of eternity is revealed as a magnificent kingdom where both heaven and earth unite in a glory that surpasses the limits of the human imagination and the boundaries of earthly dimensions. Heaven transcends all known and normal limits. Perhaps this is best described by saying that God inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15).

The Father is there (“ Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” Matthew 6:9) Jesus himself is at the Father’s right side, Hebrews 9:24 says “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands… but into heaven itself”. So Jesus is there as our intercessor (Hebrews 7:25) and God the Father is there.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ are there also (Hebrews 12:23).
Our names are recorded there (Luke 10:20).
This is our inheritance (I Peter 1:4)
Our citizenship is there (Philippians 3:20)
There will be no crying, tears, pain, sorrow in heaven (Revelation 21:3-7)
There will be no death there (I Corinthians 15:26)
There will be no more night (Revelation 21:23)
The walls and streets are made up of precious jewels (Revelation 21:17-21)
The river and tree of life are there (Revelation 22:1-2)
There will be no marriage there (Matthew 22:30, Luke 20:35)
There will be a great feast there (Matthew 8:11, Luke 22:30)

Spiritual Gifts

Gifts Of The Spirit
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:4).

There are eighteen “gifts of the Spirit” listed in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. These spiritual gifts may be listed by two categories –temporary “sign” gifts and “stationary” permanent gifts.

The seven temporary “sign” gifts (given during the first century and then phased out) are as follows:
1. The Gift of Apostleship (Ephesians 4:11)
This is a reference to certain men called by Christ Himself and endued with special power to function as official “charter members” of the newly organized New Testament church. One special requirement of apostleship was that one must have actually seen the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:22).
2. The Gift of Prophecy (I Corinthians 12:10; Romans 12:6)
This was the supernatural ability to receive and transmit a revelation from God. This was the manner in which the Bible was written (II Peter 1:20,21).
3. The Gift of Miracles (I Corinthians 12:28)
The gift of miracles was a supernatural ability to perform those events outside and beyond the realm of nature– the ability to set aside for a time the regular laws of nature.
The purpose of miracles was to prove the God-sent authority of the one doing the miracle (John 3:2; John 20:30,31).
During the three periods of miracles there was a real need for the miracles, to awaken Israel from her indifference and immorality.
4. The Gift of Healing (I Corinthians 12:9,28,30)
This was a supernatural ability to cure human ills, whether of physical, mental, or demonic origin.
This gift was given apparently, as in the case of miracles, to attest the authority and power of the one doing the healing.
At this point you may have a question in your mind concerning the gifts of miracles and healing. You may ask, if the gifts of miracles and healing were temporary, does this mean that God does not heal today? No, it certainly does not. It simply means that the gift of healing through an individual is no longer in existence.
5. The Gift of Tongues (I Corinthians 12:10)
Until the completion of the New Testament, God used the gift of tongues to act as a sign to the unbeliever (both Jew and Gentile) and as a means to edify the believer. The conclusion concerning tongues is that while one cannot dogmatically point to one particular verse which proves the gift of tongues was temporary, there are, nevertheless, strong indications that this gift of tongues has indeed ceased.
6. The Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues (I Corinthians 12:10)
This was the supernatural ability to clarify and interpret those messages uttered in an unknown language.
My denomination (Southern Baptist) hold to the position that the outward manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit (the six temporary gifts) ceased with the advent of the completed canon of Scriptures.
“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” (I Corinthians 13:8).
The explanation of this passage is: Charity never faileth (Greek ekpipto, falls off, see Luke 16:17). Unlike the leaf of the flower, love never fades and falls off (see James 1:11; I Peter 1:24). Prophecies they shall fail (“be abolished”). Tongues, they shall cease. The significance of the Greek word pauo indicates that tongues would soon be “cut off” as their necessity in the process of the New Testament revelation ceased. It is important to note that tongues are never mentioned again in the New Testament after this warning. Knowledge, it shall vanish away (“be abolished”). This is the same word used in reference to prophecy above. This is not knowledge in general, but the “gift” of knowledge by direct revelation (see I Corinthians 12:8, 13:2). (LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY, Vol. II, p. 455)
7. The Gift of Knowledge (I Corinthians 12:8)
This gift is most likely connected with prophecy and may involve the ability to receive and record God’s Word.

The permanent gifts:
1. The Gift of Wisdom (I Corinthians 12:8)
The gift of wisdom would refer to that supernatural ability to rightfully apply and spiritually employ both human and divine knowledge.
2. The Gift of the Discerning of_Spirits (I Corinthians 12:10; 1 John 4:1)
This gift is the supernatural ability to distinguish between demonic, human and divine spirits in another person. (Both Peter and Paul possessed this gift. Many pastors possess this gift.)
3. The Gift of Giving (Romans 12:8)
The gift of giving is the supernatural ability to accumulate and give large amounts of one’s finances to the glory of God.
4. The Gift of Exhortation (Romans 12:8; Proverbs 25:11)
This is the supernatural ability to deliver challenging words. Ministers certainly should possess this gift.
5. The Gift of Ministering. (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28)
This is the supernatural ability to render practical help in both physical and spiritual matters. Many people (both professionally and individually) possess this gift. Some seem to be led by the Holy Spirit in knowing just when to offer comfort, material help, advice, guidance, etc., and when to refrain.
6. The Gift of Showing Mercy (Romans 12:8)
This is the supernatural ability with which some are endowed to minister to those sick and afflicted.
7. The Gift of Ruling (or Administration) (Romans 12:8)
This is the supernatural ability to organize, administer and promote the various affairs in a local church.
8. The Gift of Faith (I Corinthians 12:9; Romans 12:3)
The Bible describes three kinds of faith: (1) saving faith, given to all repenting sinners; (2) sanctifying faith, available to all believers, and (3)stewardship faith, given to some believers. Stewardship faith is the gift kind of faith, and is a supernatural ability to believe and expect great things from God.
9. The Gift of Teaching (Romans 12:7; I Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11)
The gift of teaching is the supernatural ability to communicate and clarify the details of the Word of God. Anyone who teaches the Word of God should possess this gift.
10. The Gift of Evangelism (Ephesians 4:11; II Timothy 4:5)
This is the supernatural ability to point sinners to Christ and to burden Christians about soul-winning. All believers, of course, are to witness for Christ, whether they have this special gift or not!
11. The Gift of Pastor-Teacher (Ephesians 4:11)
This is the supernatural ability to preach and teach the Word of God and to feed and lead the flock of God. This is the only “double-portion” gift of the 18 gifts. Thus, all teachers are not called to be pastors, but all pastors are called to be teachers!

Gospel of John

The Gospel of John is the only non-synoptic gospel of the canon and is a gospel that plainly and boldly conveys Jesus’ as deity. The author believed to have written it is himself a theologian and eyewitness to the life and events of Jesus, and has written it as it was presented to a largely Jewish community. The author’s writing style and vocabulary conceals great depth and encourages study and reflection. It is widely held that the Apostle John is indeed the author, this based in part on external evidences by Polycarp. Consequently, we must consider also the issue concerning authorship to be the identification “the beloved disciple”. Frequent use of this term (i.e. John 13:23-25, 19:26-27, 20:2-9) we understand to be making reference to the Apostle John, and within this same text John 21:24-25 identifies him as the one who “wrote these things”. Through a logical process of elimination, most scholars concur that this gospel was in fact written by the former ‘son of thunder’. His father’s name was Zebedee, whose business was fishing in the Sea of Galilee. He seems to have been in comfortable circumstances, for he owned a boat and employed men to assist him (Matthew. 4:21; Mark. 1:20), and Salome (“Peace”), his wife, the mother of John, was one of the band of women who ministered to Jesus (Mark. 15:40; 16:1).
His birthplace and early home was Bethsaida (House of Fish, Fishtown), on the northern shore of the lake, near where the Jordan flows into it; or perhaps Capernaum. Business led them often to be at Capernaum, the populous commercial emporium (Luke. 5:10; John. 1:44). It would be in Capernaum, while fishing with their father, that Jesus would call both James and John to follow Him.

This gospel was in all probability written within the last fifteen years of the first century. If indeed John the Apostle is the writer, then this gospel joins his other writings of the three epistles, and the Revelation. In five New Testament books the Holy Spirit inspired John to write the word “love” (‘agape’), one hundred and one times. It is no wonder that John is called “the apostle of love.” Love is the greatest word in existence (1 Corinthians. 13:13; 1 John. 4:8, 16); the most difficult, most divine, most manly and virile. All his writings were evidently written in the last ten or so years of his life (85B.C. – 100B.C.).

The Apostle John delves right into the pre-existence and incarnation of Jesus as the word of God (John 1:1-18). The Gospel of John also develops a Christology that is unique from the other Gospels. One of the overriding themes throughout the New Testament is that Jesus is the Messiah. Immediately he identifies Jesus as having always been even from the beginning, before the world began. John says “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31). Eusebius (First historian of Christianity after Luke) argued that John wrote in order to complement the Synoptics where they were lacking, while the Muratorian Canon suggested that his fellow disciples in Asia Minor urged him to write an account. In either case, we have supporting historical evidence that the Apostle John is the author. Additionally, it is clear that the chief aim was to encourage faith among its readers. This must signify that the work was designed as an evangelistic instrument. Obviously, John offers no genealogy for his central character, Jesus. Even the casual reader can interpret from the text that the rationale for this absence is because deity has none. Its truth and teachings are not limited to those of Jewish faith but to the world. Readers today ought not to be quick in identifying the books language with today’s culture, though all its content and truths are timeless.

Someone once compared the Fourth Gospel to a pool of water, so shallow at the edges that a child could wade, and yet so deep at the center that an elephant could swim. This is a fitting illustration because the Gospel of John is easy to comprehend at the surface, but has a depth that scholars who have spent their entire lives in the study of it have not fully exhausted.

A derived emphasis seems to be on the miraculous works of Jesus, further identifying His divine origin. The Gospel in total supplements the Synoptic gospels with an emphasis on the Judean ministry of Jesus. Uniquely, this gospel contains no parables, although metaphoric stories, like John 15, are still found in the gospel.

Some of the key verses found in the writing are “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14). “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'” (John 1:29).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent'” (John 6:29). “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?'”(John 11:25-26). “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me'” (John 14:6). “Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, “Show us the Father”?'” (John 14:9). “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). “Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'” (John 20:29).

The reader is compelled to consider some of the miraculous works witnessed by John and how these influenced his reader’s belief. Initially, he introduces the turning of water into wine (2:1), an event not mentioned in the synoptic gospels. Here Jesus and his disciples are in attendance of a wedding in Cana, where the hosts run out of wine. Jesus’ (unnamed) mother asks him to help with a miracle. He does perform the miracle of turning water into wine which the guests call the best wine.

Following, John unfolds an, by finite measure, much larger miracle of feeding more than five thousand people with only five loaves and two fish. Theatrical it may sound, but John colorfully tells how Jesus asked the rhetorical question “where shall we buy bread that these may eat?” One could only imagine the personal grief and exhibition of jovial kindness as Jesus watched his closest followers scramble in bewilderment and skepticism. Afterward Andrew would come announcing that five loaves and two fish were found in the hands of a lad, from whom Jesus would take and multiple greatly to feed the many thousands. When everyone was filled, his disciples gathered enough fragments to fill twelve baskets full. The smallest of things matter to Him.

The supernatural occurrences continued as Jesus bore evidence of His divine power; surpassing his act of walking on water He actually raised a man from the dead! Yes, a man named Lazarus who lived in the town of Bethany, fell ill and died. It would be four days before Jesus arrived to find Lazarus deceased and four days buried. But, what is four days to a man who turned water into wine, walked on water and feed over five thousand with only five loaves and two fish. He had the men roll the stone from the opening of the tomb, and with the authority of heaven and earth commanded Lazarus to come out! Amazingly, he did, still wrapped in his grave clothes!
This was astounding, this had never been seen before, and actually this had never been done before. Yet, John includes too the sad reaction by a number of witnesses and their parting to enlighten the Pharisees.

What mind can fathom a demonstration of power and authority above that of bringing another back from the dead? John, as does the synoptic gospels, gives an unequivocal portrayal of the trail, mistreatment, and crucifixion of this Jesus. Eyewitnesses, reporting detail that our minds can not grasp as bearable. Jesus experienced and endured the cross for a solitary purpose, to seek and save that which was lost. His Father, accepting His Son as the willing sacrifice, raised Him up after three days in the tomb. Our author waste no time conveying to his readers that this same Jesus, who was crucified and resurrected, has revealed himself to many people in the days and weeks following. One of the most notable persons to whom Jesus showed himself was the Apostle Thomas, the very man that John’s gospel gave personality to beyond his mere name (“Doubting Thomas”, 20:27). Maybe scarcely noticeable to the new convert, but this gospel has no apocalyptic teachings, stories of Satan, demonic or exorcisms. It seems to rest solely upon the pillars of Jesus’ deity, His love, sacrifice, and ultimate resurrection.

One of the earliest known manuscripts of the New Testament is a fragment from John. A scrap of papyrus discovered in Egypt in 1920, now at the John Rylands Library, Manchester, bears parts of John 18:31-33 on one side and 18:37-38 on the other. If C. F. Roberts is correct, it is dated to the first half of the second century and ranks as the earliest known fragment of the New Testament in any language.

One can only read the gospel and find within its scripture an eye witness account of the greatest deity, only perfect man that ever lived, and most abundant love the world ever saw. We know from the Gospels the destiny of Jesus, but what about the fate of our author, John?

According to John’s Gospel (John 19:26-27), it was probably John who took Mary, the mother of Jesus as his adopted mother. He preached in Jerusalem, and later, as bishop of Ephesus, south of Izmir in western Turkey, worked among the churches of Asia Minor. During the reigns of either Emperor Nero (AD54-68) or Domitian (AD81-96), he was banished to the nearby island of Patmos, now one of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. He was subsequently freed and died a natural death at Ephesus c AD100.

Origin of New Testament

The New Testament derived from a review of Christian writings to determine what was “scripture”; that is valid, authoritative and holy. This ‘New Testament’ became called a ‘canon’. Canon comes from the Greek word ‘kanon’ meaning measuring rule. Only certain books passed the measuring rules required for ‘canonization’

The Christian writings, or ‘books’ of the New Testament were written in Greek and dated from 50-150 A.D. The process of canonization was complex and lengthy. It was around 200 A.D. when the Muratorian fragment was written, listing the accepted works. Some books of this canon were questioned in the 16th century by Protestants, which led to the Council of Trent reaffirming the traditional canon.

In its present form the New Testament comprises twenty-seven books, the main part of which is comprised by the four Gospels, telling of the life and teachings of Jesus. In addition, the NT includes a book called The Acts of the Apostles, which tells the story of the first Christians, and the The Revelation of John.

The criteria for determining what writings went in to the New Testament are Apostolic Origin, major Christian communities Acceptance, and consistent theology complementary to already accepted Christian writings. The basic factor for recognizing a book’s canonicity for the New Testament was divine inspiration, with the primary basis being apostolicity. Some of the books at the end of the New Testament survived substantial doubt after the middle of the second century. Origen (185-254) mentions the four Gospels, the Acts, the thirteen Paulines, I Peter, 1 John and Revelation as acknowledged by all; he says that Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James and Jude, with the ‘Epistle of Barnabas’, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, and the ‘Gospel according to the Hebrews’, were questioned by some. Eusebius (265-340) mentions as generally acknowledged all the books of our New Testament except James, Jude, Peter, 2 and 3 John, although questioned by some, recognized by the majority.’ Athanasius in 367 A.D. lays down the twenty seven books of our New Testament as canonical; shortly afterwards Jerome and Augustine followed his example in the West.

Notably, it is emphatically clear that The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list. Conversely, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them divinely inspired, recognizing their innate worth and apostolic authority, direct or indirect.

The first ecclesiastical councils to classify the canonical books were both held in North Africa-at Hippo Regius in 393 and at Carthage in 397. These councils did not impose something new upon the Christian communities, but to arrange what was already the general practice of those communities.


At Christmas we celebrate the Fourth greatest day of all time!

Third greatest day – The Crucifixion of Jesus
Second greatest day – The Resurrection of Jesus
The greatest day – The Glorious Appearing of our Lord Jesus

(As matter of fact, the fifth greatest day was only 34 years ago, the day He saved me!)

Merry Christmas

Analysis Of Kenosis

The following was submitted as my end of semester paper, Seminary class ‘Survey of the New Testament II’

Analysis of Kenosis
By Larry W. Brashear

New Testament Survey II December 2006

In Christian theology, Kenosis (Ancient Greek κένωσις kénōsis) is the concept of the ‘self-emptying’ of one’s own will and becoming entirely open to God and his perfect will. It is used both as an explanation of the incarnation, and an indication of the nature of God’s activity and condescension. An apparent dilemma arises when Christian theology positions a God outside of time and space, who enters into time and space to become incarnate.

The doctrine of Kenosis tries to explain the incarnate Jesus in hypostatic union (Greek: ὑπόστασις, “hypostasis,” meaning essence); Kenosis holds that these changes were temporarily assumed by God in his incarnation, and that when Jesus ascended back into heaven following the resurrection, he fully resumed all of his attributes of divinity. Specifically it refers to attributes of God that are thought to be incompatible with becoming fully human. For example, God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, as well as infinity, impassibility, and immutability.

Christian theology brand hypostatic union as the dual nature of Jesus Christ being simultaneously God and Man. Hypostatic union is a theological term used with reference to the Incarnation to express the revealed truth that in Christ one person (ὑπόστασις, hypostasis) subsists in two natures (φύσεις, physeis); the divine and the human. Hypostasis means, literally, “that which stands beneath”; as the basis or foundation. It consequently came to be used by the Greek philosophers to designate reality as distinguished from mere appearance (Aristotle, “Mund.”, IV, 21). The two natures are not united in a moral or accidental union, nor mixed, but nonetheless they are substantially unified. The particular nature of this union is held to challenge human comprehension, for this reason an alternative term of “mystical union” was coined.

During the dispensation (divine order) of the hypostatic union, Jesus Christ eagerly limited the use of His divine attributes in obedience with the Father’s will. This means that Jesus Christ did not use the attributes of His divine nature to benefit Himself, to provide for Him self, to glorify Him self, or to act autonomously from the plan of God for the dispensation by any compromise of the spiritual life.

The objectives of the dispensation in the hypostatic union are specifically related to the human nature of Jesus Christ. To resist temptation, the human nature of Jesus could not call on the divine nature for help. He had to use the workings of the spiritual life to maintain His human faultlessness and to be qualified to go to the Cross and serve as our propitiation.

Jesus voluntarily lay aside all prerogative use of His divine attributes, but certain functions of His deity continued to function, such as holding the universe together (Colossians 1:17). Jesus Christ simply did not apply His divine attributes during this dispensational period. He did not give up His divine attributes – to say that He did is heresy.

It was perhaps possible for God to create Jesus as a complete human being in heaven and send him to descend from heaven to earth without the benefit of any human parent. But it would have been very hard for us to see how Jesus could be fully human as we are, nor would he be a part of the human race that physically descended from Adam. Alternatively, it may have been possible for God to have Jesus come into the world through two human parents, both a father and mother, and with his full divine nature miraculously united to his human nature at some point early in his life. But then it too would have been hard for us to understand how Jesus was fully God, since his origin was like ours in every way. Giving thought to these two other possibilities, we can better understand how God, in His infinite wisdom, ordained a combination of human and divine balance in the birth of Christ, so that his genuine humanity would be evident to us from the fact of his ordinary human birth from a human mother, and His sovereign deity would be clear from the fact of his conception in Mary’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit.

During this dispensation Jesus veiled the pre-incarnate glory of His deity in His outward appearance of God and voluntarily took on Himself the form of man (Philippians 2:7). This means that the glory of Christ was veiled, but never surrendered. In fact, this glory was temporarily exposed on the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-5 And six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” and at Gethsemane there was just a flash of that glory. John 18:6 “When therefore He
said to them, I am He, they drew back, and fell to the ground.”
Even though the humanity of Jesus in this union was ideal and sinless, nonetheless, the deity of Christ was united with un-glorified humanity. While the deity of Christ was united to a wonderfully true humanity, He was still subject to distress, weakness, pain, sorrow, limitation, and to more temptations than we will ever face. Hebrew 4:15 says, This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin.

The nucleus of our Lord’s deity is composed of the summation of His divine attributes, so that a change of quality would unavoidably involve a change of His fundamental nature, and this is impossible since Jesus is absolute. Therefore, during the hypostatic union, no attribute of Jesus’ divine nature was altered or distant or restricted. There was no containment of fundamental nature. In the hypostatic union, the divine and human natures are united without exchange of attributes. The divine nature of Christ was not changed by the Incarnation, and was not changed by voluntarily not exercising the whole of this nature. No divine attributes were transferred to His humanity and no attributes of humanity were transferred to His deity.

Infinity cannot be transferred into the finite without upsetting infinity. The attributes of divinity cannot bleed over into humanity and the attributes of humanity cannot bleed over into divinity. To rob God of a single quality of His deity would diminish His divine nature. To rob the humanity of Christ of a single attribute of humanity would destroy His humanity in the hypostatic union. Kenosis is based on the fact that the union of the deity of Christ to un-glorified humanity is a necessary factor in His humiliation. This is why He taught us in John 15:20 “A slave is not greater than his master.” He said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (1John 3:16-17) “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

The doctrine of Kenosis recognizes that during this hypostatic union, our Lord voluntarily withheld the autonomous use of His divine attributes for the carrying out of the Father’s plan, will, and purpose of the Incarnate Son. He did so in obedience to the Father’s plan for the strategic victory of the angelic conflict. For the plan of the Incarnation not only called for the conclusion of our sins penalty, providing for the eternal salvation of all members of the human race, but simultaneously for the strategic victory over the angelic departures. Under the doctrine of Kenosis, our redeemer became true humanity in order to fulfill the Father’s plan for the hypostatic union. The Lord voluntarily took on Himself true humanity in order to redeem mankind from sin, a complete propitiation to God the Father, for reconciliation of mankind to God. During the Incarnation, Jesus Christ did not exercise the use of His own divine attributes even once, neither to benefit Himself, to provide for Himself, or to glorify Himself.

Again, Christ gave up the outward appearance of God, but not the essence of God. Christ voluntarily took upon Himself “the likeness of mankind,” (Philippians 2:7). For this reason He prayed for glorification of His true humanity. (John 17:4-5) “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” Jesus Christ had not emptied His deity or His divine glory of any measure, and at the point in John 17:4-5, He had not yet achieved the victory for which He was sent of the Father. Thus in John 17:5, Christ is praying for victory for His humanity, not for restoration of His divine glory, which had never been taken from Him in the first place.

In effect, let us look in at what He gave up according to the Holy Scriptures. First, He veiled His glory. He veiled the manifestation of His glory. He veiled the radiance of His eternal effulgence and brightness, the full manifestation of all of His attributes in glory. That’s why in John 17:5 He says, “And now, Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” Give me back the glory which I had. This means at that point He didn’t have it. He had veiled His glory in human flesh. He set aside the full expression of His glory. Secondly, He gave up His riches. He gave up His honor. Isaiah 53 says, “He was despised. He was rejected.” The New Testament tells us He was hated, He was mocked, He was spat on. His beard was plucked. He was defamed. He was dishonored. He was discredited. He was accused. He was murdered. He gave up His honor clearly. And the prophet Isaiah said in His despising and rejecting there was no beauty in Him that men should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2).

Thirdly, in Second Corinthians 8:9 Pauline writes, “He who was rich for our sakes became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich.” Fourthly, He gave up His favorable relation to the Father. And He did that only in the moment of time when He died on the cross and said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Meaning, the Father had withdrawn the light of His countenance, the supports and comforts of His spirit, and filled Christ (humanity) with the terrors of thy wrath. Additionally, He gave up the independent exercise of authority. He said, “I will do only that which the Father shows Me. My meat is to do the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 4:34) Although He veiled His divine privileges, He was whole deity and fully God throughout this dispensation and from eternity to eternity.

In the doctrine of Kenosis it is important to note that the two natures of Christ maintain their complete identity through being joined in personal union forever. The characteristics of His human nature belong to the human part of Him; the characteristics of His divine nature belong to the God-part of Him. Each nature has its own attributes that adhere to that nature. In plain language, there is no commingling of the two natures.

He is never half-God and half-man or half-man and half-God (Nestorianism). Sometimes He operates from His human nature only. Sometimes He operates from His divine nature only. And sometimes He operates from both natures together, but not mixed. For example, in His humanity He became hungry (Matthew 4:2), but in His deity He never hungers, (John 6:35). In His humanity, He became thirsty (John 19:28), but in His deity He is the water of life, (Revelation 22:17).

In His humanity, He would say such things as John 14:28 “For the Father is greater than I.” And then in His deity He would say John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.” John 5:23 “in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” Too, He operates from both natures together but not mixed when He says such things like John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” This is why we can refer to Him as the God-man. Too, scripture says, He “increased in wisdom” (Luke 2:52), He learned how to eat, how to talk, how to read and write, and how to be obedient to His parents (Hebrew 5:8).

In His deity He has omniscience, (John 2:25), but His limitation of knowledge is concluded from the fact that Christ could be amazed, (Matthew 8:10). In His deity He could not be tempted, (James 1:13); in His humanity He could be tempted, (Hebrew 4:15). In His deity He is the giver of faith; in His humanity He possessed faith, (Hebrew 12:2). He has all knowledge, yet He is said to have learned in Luke 2:52 & Hebrew 5:8. In Mark 13:32 and Matthew 24:36, Christ states categorically that He is ignorant of the exact time of the Second Coming, but as God He knows.

The Word of the living God says, “In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:19), and “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9).