Category Archives: Bible

What is a "Godly Man"?

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

Satan Cast Out Of Heaven

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).

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.

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

Overview
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

Temptations
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?

Comparisons

Contrast
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

Similarity
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

Lottery?

“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.

Conclusion:

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.

Tribulation

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 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.”

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.