Category Archives: Bible Study
Primarily, Jesus didn’t die for you…
In the core of our fallen and sinful nature, we subconsciously elevate ourselves to be more than we really are. Even us Christians, and professing christians equally, we lift ourselves up to think that our cosmic creator molds His eternal will to fit our prayers and needs.
On the contrary, our existence rest upon the foremost purpose of bringing glory to Him, our foremost service is to bring glory to Him, our will and desire must compliment and subscribe to the holy, inerrant and infallible will of God the Father. Anything else – is sin.
Jesus died on the cross, willingly laying down his life, because it was the will of the Father. “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42
Are we the benefactors of His death, indisputably! Was His love for us a motivating factor for His sacrifice, unequivocally! Was our salvation through His death on the cross one of the reasons God sent Him to the cross, absolutely! (Although still, it was not God’s primary reason for sending His Son to die on the cross either.)
My biblical exegesis is not to take away from these things, nor to diminish the work of Christ at Golgotha, rather to exalt all the more His work on Calvary. His purpose, the reason for Jesus’ incarnate birth, the very act of God’s condescension was to demonstrate His holiness and to fulfill His sole will, unto the death of His only Son.
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8
On the surface, and to the casual reader, the words herein blasphemes the average church goer’s religion. Some, maybe such as you, will take offense to all that I’ve written here. Still others, are already offended that a sinner such as I would even be posting on Christian topics. Nevertheless, I am confident that still others, those who feed on the meat of scripture, will as with second nature, be in agreement.
Liken to the writer of Hebrews, (which parenthetically, I believe is Apollos), deliberately he does not minimize the scripture, the angels, nor the prophets in his effort to exalt the Christ. He emboldens the significance of each, hitherto claims the Christ is above them all. There is no need to deduct from the former to realize the preeminence of the latter. Hence, I have undertaken the task to do likewise… obedience is greater than sacrifice.
Albeit, Christ did, in effect, die for our sins on the cross. He did, in effect, do so because of His love for us. However, His key motivation and primary resolve for going to the cross was His obedience to the Father. This obedience to God the Father, is a far greater thing than dying for me, a wretched sinner.
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His [obedient] Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” – Romans 8:29 (parentheses added for emphasis)
Despite all our sin, our rebellious habits, futile intentions, immature behaviors, and disheartened religious acts; He loves us and only wants our hearts. He must be our first love, He left no other option.
The Scriptural definition of debt is the inability to meet obligations agreed upon. In other words, when a person buys something on credit terms that is not necessarily debt, it is a contract. But when the terms of the contract are violated, debt occurs.”
One usually incurs debt through the violation of the contract because he violates Scripture in three other areas.
- He presumes upon the future (James 4:13-15). He assumes things will go just as planned (increased salary, inflation, etc.) and that he will be able to pay back as anticipated. As a result he incurs a lot of debt.
- He is not willing to wait on God to provide his needs within his means to pay. In other words, He borrows to get what he wants now rather than wait until he can afford it. (Psalms 37)
- He incurs debt by over leveraging himself with the motive of getting rich quickly. (Proverbs 37)
Sometimes there is a fine line between borrowing and debt. Let us encourage you to prayerfully consider the following Scriptures and ask God what He would have you do in your situation.
It is God’s plan that if one enters into a financial contract he must pay it.
“The wicked makes contract, and fails to pay: but the righteous shows mercy, and giveth” (Psalms 37:21).
“When you vow a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he has no pleasure in fools: pay that which you commit to. Better is it that you not vow, than that you vow and not pay” (Ecciessiastes 5:4-5).
Not only does this mean that bankruptcy is not an option for a Christian. It also means that if you are committing to a fiscal contract, you are scriptually obligated to fulfill that contract entirely to avoid it becoming sinfulness.
by Larry Brashear
Today, we put a lot of labels on a lot of things, the church is infiltrated with liberalism and new personalities, but the fact remains that using new terminology to describe something old does not change it from what it is. For example, you can call rheumatism arthritis but it hurts just the same, you can put poison in an aspirin bottle but it will still kill you. We can hold positions with titles and have great responsibilities in the church, and tell our wives that we are the ‘head of the house’ too, but these labels no more make us leaders than saying someone with athletes-foot is an athlete. Have you ever seen billboards or neon signs with letters burned out, or maybe some just flickering? That is representative of the average churches membership. Many churches today are teaching that they are to example leadership by standing with Isaiah and saying “Here am I, Send me”. But I submit to you that men burn out and flicker primarily because they have said “Here am I ” before they have ever said “Woe is me!”.
We are not equipped to say “Here am I ” until we have said “Woe is Me!” No where in scripture is a believer to be a ‘lone ranger’.
The Bible teaches that men need one another for encouragement, growth, and accountability (Proverbs 27:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 15:14; Hebrews 10:24). To be the man God purposes, men need to surround themselves with trusted friends who will be honest, transparent and confidential as things are shared. Relationships are crucial and will make or not, any ministry. All of us are more interested in relationship than a program. Authentic Christian piety necessitates we examine ourselves. Here are some suggested areas for looking at our most important relationships. I pray you will take one scripture a day, study it and meditate on it and allow God to change you from the inside out. I pray that my witness and yours is such that people can say of us what the Shumamite woman said of Elisha as recorded in II Kings 4:9 “I perceive this to be a Holy man of God, which passes by us regularly”.
Relationship with other Men: Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Proverbs 27:5-6 “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”. Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend does so by hearty counsel. [A true friend both gives and accepts good counsel.]
Relationship with God: Would the people who know me best say that I am a “slave of righteousness”? (Rom 6:18) Do I seek God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matt 6:33) and am I zealous for the good works He has redeemed me to do (Titus 2:14)? Am I walking in purity before God? (Ex. 20:5-6; Josh 7:15, 22-26; II Sam 12:11; Ps. 112:1-2; Jer. 32:38-39) Integrity before God…? Moral purity before God…?
Relationship with my Wife: Am I (actively) loving her as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25)? Am I jealousy guarding our oneness? (Gen 2:24, Eph 5:31) Am I ruthlessly repenting of anything that may threaten my commitment to that oneness (Mal 2:14-16)? Would she say you are considerate to her and that you respect her? (I Peter 3:7) Do I protect her (Neh. 4:13-14; Numbers 30) Do I lead her? (Josh 24:15) Is she my glory? (I Corinthians 11:7) Do I really nourish and cherish her? (Eph 5:29) Am I ever harsh with her? (Col. 3:19) Does she ask me questions about the Bible and get accurate and humble answers? (I Cor. 14:34-35; Neh 8:13)
Relationship with my children: Am I praying for my children? (Job 1:5) In my prayer and parenting, do I take hold in faith God’s promises to be a God to my children (Gen. 17:7; Isa. 32:14-7; 44:3-4; 59:21; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:39)?
a bondservant of Christ and eternal brother to you, Larry
You may have heard this story before.
It has been said that that because the high priest could be killed by God in Holy of Holies if not properly prepared according to Divine instructions, a rope was routinely tied around his ankle. Then, if he dropped dead, his body could be dragged out. Various versions of this claim have been repeated in Christian and Jewish circles.
As yet, we have not located the original source, but apparently it originated long after the last Jewish Temple was gone. The biblical and historical evidence indicates that there was no rope, at least not in any common use.
Dr. W.E. Nunnally, a professor of Hebrew and early Judaism, has reported:
“The rope on the high priest legend is just that: a legend. It has obscure beginnings in the Middle Ages and keeps getting repeated. It cannot be found anywhere in the Bible, the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, the Pseudepigrapha, the Talmud, Mishna, or any other Jewish source. It just is not there.”
The Biblical Studies Foundation (loosely associated with Dallas Theological Seminary), similarly reports that their research has put the “the rope around the ankle-or-waist-or-maybe-the-leg” legend “to rest.” They also point out that Aaron was to wear a blue ephod with bells on its hem (Exodus 28:31-35), when he entered the Holy Place (not the Holy of Holies) (Leviticus 16:2-4). When he enters the Holy of Holies, he washes and wears special linen garments, not the ephod with bells. “If there are no bells to jingle, there is no need for the rope either.”
A Messianic Jewish Fellowship points out the potential difficulty of dragging a dead priest out of the Holy of Holies:
“You could only drag out the priest if he died in the Holy place. The way the curtains of the temple were designed, the priest could not have been dragged out of the HOLY of HOLIES. The veil was made using many layers of cloth. The thickness was over three feet. The curtains overlapped and made a small maze through which the priest walked…”
When in history was Satan cast out of Heaven?
There are two important passages in the Word of God concerning the origin and fall of Satan. The first passage relating to Satan’s fall is found in Ezekiel 28:12-19 where Ezekiel describes the creation and judgment of a vile and vicious non-human creature whose name we find out later to be Lucifer. The second passage relating to Satan’s fall is found in Isaiah 14:12-14 where the prophet Isaiah presents the origin and fall of Satan. (THE DOCTRINE OF SATAN, by H. L. Willmington, p. 21)
With reference to a “specific” time in history when Satan fell from Heaven, it must be stated that there is no clear revelation as to exactly when Satan fell, but here are limits to the possible time which we may deduce from biblical evidence. “. . . Based upon information gleaned from a comparison of Ezekiel 28:12-19 with Isaiah 14, Jude 6, and II Peter 2:4, and other passages, the following picture of Satan begins to emerge. Satan was created as one of the host of angelic beings . . . an anointed cherub, i.e., the captain of the cherubic hosts. Sometime prior to the creation of the natural order, Satan became vain about his beauty and position, and his heart became rebellious against God. Apparently, he was able to secure a considerable following among the angels, resulting in their expulsion from Heaven (Luke 10:18; II Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:4). Since that day, Satan devotes himself to opposing the work of God in every way possible and to attempting to destroy all of the good that God has created in the natural order. He (Satan) is allowed to continue this way for a period but will ultimately be confined to Hell for eternity” (Revelation 20:10). (THE CRISWELL STUDY BIBLE, p. 948)
If we assume that angels (including Satan) were part of the creation of Genesis 1:1, then their fall (including Satan’s) follows that point. However, it may be that angels were created prior to the creation of the heavens and the earth. In either case, angels (including Satan) were present when God “laid the foundation of the earth” and “set its measurements” (Job 38:4, 5), for it was then that the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7). This involved all the angels rejoicing with God. Satan and his angels fell, then, sometime after the original creation of the heavens and the earth.
It is certain that Satan had fallen before Genesis 3 where the temptation of Adam and Eve is recorded. He fell before man fell; but whether he fell before or after man’s creation, we cannot say for certain. (ANGELS ELECT AND EVIL, by C. Fred Dickason, p. 135)
Satan’s fall was a direct result of his self-exaltation that was manifested in his pride, the first sin (I Timothy 3:6). Motivated by pride, Satan set out on an irrational course to seize for himself God’s authority over the universe (Isaiah 14:12-14). Some commentators believe that this revolt of Satan towards God occurred after the creation week, but before the fall of man (Genesis 1:31; 3:1-6). It appears that the Devil became the prince of this world when he led man (Adam and Eve) to sins against God and thus brought the ruler of earth under his domination (Genesis 1:26:3:1-6; John 12:31; Colossians 1:13; Acts 26:18). (PRACTICAL CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY, by Floyd H. Barackman, p. 176)
Satan has been judged by God for his sins, and will be further judged for his sins. There are at least six judgments associated with Satan:
1. He was barred from his original privileged position in Heaven (Ezekiel 28:16).
2. Judgment for his temptation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14-15).
3. At the cross of Calvary (John 12:31).
4. Satan will be barred from Heaven during the tribulation period (Revelation 12:13).
5. Satan will be confined to the abyss during the millennium (Revelation 20:2).
6. At the conclusion of the millennium, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:10). (Excerpts from A SURVEY OF BIBLE DOCTRINE, by Charles C. Ryrie, p. 94)
The Bible gives reference that there are two occasions where Satan is cast out of Heaven; once with his angels, and once in the future. . . . Since the ultimate fall of Satan is actually yet in the future (Revelation 9:1) . . . Lucifer, himself, shall one day fall under the judgment of God. He, too, will be brought down to Hell in the final judgment of God [Revelation 20:10].
A study of the passage of Revelation 12:7, 8, reveals the beginning of the ultimate doom of Satan. In pre-time (before creation of time), Satan’s early fall was from the immediate presence of God to the second heaven (cf. Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-15; Ephesians 6:10-12). . . . Neither was there place found anymore in Heaven.
The weaker the foe (Satan) will be permanently dislodged, never to regain access to Heaven.
Doubtless, Christ foresaw this in Luke 10:17-18. Satan’s forceful eviction from Heaven is a chief cause of the Great Tribulation (John 12:31). (LIBERTY BIBLE COMENTARY, Vol. I, p. 1325: Vol. II, pp. 821, 822)
This collection of answers was prepared by Jerry Falwell, Harold Willmington, Elmer Towns, and Larrie Schlapman at Liberty University for the questions most commonly asked. These answers have developed over a number of years in answer to questions that have come from many different sources. We appreciate your interest in learning more about the relevancy of Scriptures in today’s world. May you consult these answers with an open Bible and an open heart thus allowing God’s Holy Spirit help you find the truth (John 14:26).
“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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
“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.
IF YOU WANT FORGIVEN
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!
HOW MANY TIMES?
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”