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Benefits of Keeping the Commandments of the LORD

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:21-26 NKJV

 

The person who has my commandments and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him."

"Lord," Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "what has happened that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him. The person who does not love me does not obey my words. And the word you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.

"I have spoken these things while staying with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.

We learn from these verses that keeping Christ's commandments is the best test of love to Christ. This is a lesson of vast importance and one that needs continually pressing on the attention of Christians. It is not talking about religion, and talking fluently and well too, but steadily doing Christ's will and walking in Christ's ways, that is the proof of our being true believers. Good feelings and desires are useless if they are not accompanied by action. They may even become mischievous to the soul, induce hardness of conscience, and do certain harm. Passive impressions which do not lead to action, gradually deaden and paralyze the heart. Living and doing are the only real evidence of grace. Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be a holy life. A jealous watchfulness over tempers, words, and deeds, a constant endeavor to live by the rule of the Sermon on the Mount, this is the best proof that we love Christ.

Of course such maxims as these must not be wrested and misunderstood. We are not to suppose for a moment that "keeping Christ's commandments" can save us. Our best works are full of imperfection. When we have done all we can, we are feeble and unprofitable servants. "By grace are you saved through faith--not of works." (Ephesians 2:8.) But while we hold one class of truths, we must not forget another. Faith in the blood of Christ must always be attended by loving obedience to the will of Christ. What the Master has joined together, the disciple must not put asunder. Do we profess to love Christ? Then let us show it by our lives. The Apostle who said, "You know that I love You!" received the charge, "Feed my lambs." That meant, "Do something. Be useful--follow my example." (John 21:17.)

We learn, secondly, from these verses, that there are special comforts laid up for those who love Christ, and prove it by keeping His words. This, at any rate, seems the general sense of our Lord's language--"My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

The full meaning of this promise, no doubt, is a deep thing. We have no line to fathom it. It is a thing which no man can understand except he that receives and experiences it. But we need not shrink from believing that eminent holiness brings eminent comfort with it, and that no man has such sensible enjoyment of his religion as the man who, like Enoch and Abraham, walks closely with God. There is more of heaven on earth to be obtained than most Christians are aware of. "The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant." "If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him, and he with Me." (Psalm 25:14; Reveleation 3:20.) Promises like these, we may be sure, mean something, and were not written in vain.

How is it, people often ask, that so many professing believers have so little happiness in their religion? How is it that so many know little of "joy and peace in believing," and go mourning and heavy-hearted towards heaven? The answer to these questions is a sorrowful one, but it must be given. Few believers attend as strictly as they should to Christ's practical sayings and words. There is far too much loose and careless obedience to Christ's commandments. There is far too much forgetfulness, that while good works cannot justify us they are not to be despised. Let these things sink down into our hearts. If we want to be eminently happy, we must strive to be eminently holy.

We learn, lastly, from these verses, that one part of the Holy Spirit's work is to teach, and to bring things to remembrance. It is written, "The Comforter shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance."

To confine this promise to the eleven Apostles, as some do, seems a narrow and unsatisfactory mode of interpreting Scripture. It appears to reach far beyond the day of Pentecost, and the gift of writing inspired books of God's Holy Word. It is safer, wiser, and more consistent with the whole tone of our Lord's last discourse, to regard the promise as the common property of all believers, in every age of the world. Our Lord knows the ignorance and forgetfulness of our nature in spiritual things. He graciously declares that when He leaves the world, His people shall have a teacher and remembrancer.

Are we sensible of spiritual ignorance? Do we feel that at best we know in part and see in part? Do we desire to understand more clearly the doctrines of the Gospel? Let us pray daily for the help of the "teaching" Spirit. It is His office to illuminate the soul, to open the eyes of the understanding, and to guide us into all truth. He can make dark places light, and rough places smooth.

Do we find our memory of spiritual things defective? Do we complain that though we read and hear, we seem to lose as fast as we gain? Let us pray daily for the help of the Holy Spirit. He can bring things to our remembrance. He can make us remember "old things and new." He can keep in our minds the whole system of truth and duty, and make us ready for every good word and work.

 

Reference:

J.C. Ryle's works on the gospels, in particular John are most instructive. These works are available both as books or on line, such as at GraceGems http://gracegems.org/Ryle/books.htm > (Accessed 12 July 2015).

 

J C Ryle (1816 - 1900) The Gospel Of John (Chapter 14)
Updated: 12 Jul 2015

 

There is a fountain filled with blood

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

Refrain
I do believe, I will believe,
That Jesus died for me:
That on the cross He shed His blood
From sin to set me free.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I though vile, as he,
Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its pow'r,
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more.

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

When this poor lisping, stamm'ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song
I'll sing Thy pow'r to save.

William Cowper (1731 – 1800)
Updated: 05 Jul 2015

 

Israel Has Not Been Replaced by the Church

Romans 11:25-27

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

Main Idea

Much of the church appears to believe that Israel has been replaced by the church, that is superseded it. This erroneous doctrine, termed replacement theology or the doctrine of supersessionism by some (sounds more scientific, but isn’t), states the original promise to Abraham of land, seed and blessing cannot be fulfilled for the people of Israel. This is wrong. The illogical nature of this doctrine, if true, would make the gospel unstable and unreliable.

Paul in verses 25 & 26 states categorically that Israel has not been lost.

Background

Paul, in chapters 9-11 of Romans is answering a great soteriological question: if God is able to save us, as he says he is, what evidence is there that he indeed keeps his promises? Paul proves God is able to because God has not forgotten Israel. God will complete the work he set out to do (Philippians 1:6), and Paul answers emphatically, to the question – has God cast off Israel? “God forbid” (11:1) – the most pronounced negative exclamation a Jew can offer. Chapter 11 sets out the fact that Israel has not been cast off in five parts:

1.       Rejection of Israel is not total – it is partial

2.       Israel’s rejection is to bless the gentiles

3.       Israel’s covenants are guaranteed

4.       Israel is certain of restoration

5.       Doxology

Gentiles are like wild olive branches graphed into the true olive tree (11:16-21)

In Chapter 11 Paul gives the example of the Olive Tree because Israel is represented by the olive tree throughout Scripture. Gentiles certainly have been revealed the mystery of the church in that “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). However, he warns gentile believers not to be proud or boastful of the fact they have been grafted into the olive tree. This is because gentiles are aliens to the Kingdom of God, and are like wild olive, and contrary to nature have been grafted into the olive tree (11:17). That is, it is against the gentile nature to want to be partakers of Yeshua, the messiah; however, through the work of the Christ, this is accomplishable by faith in Jesus Christ. And it is this latter point Paul is getting across. The gentiles cannot boast, because it is not the wild grafted in branch that supports the root but the root of the tree that supports the wild grafted branch – Jesus Christ, who is a Jew. And if God is able to graft in branches contrary to nature, how much easier will it be for Him to graft in olive branches – that is Jews. Israel therefore is not lost or forgotten – they have been cut from the root (Jesus Christ), so provoke them to action (11:14-17).

 

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The fact that Israel’s promises are on hold is a mystery, now revealed (11:25)

Why the promises of Israel were withheld was hidden from Israel through their blindness. Jesus clearly stated they would be cast out, but the leaders of Israel did not listen:

“‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Note the underlined portion of the verse. The rejection of Yeshua as the Messiah doomed Israel to being left desolate as outline in Matthew 12:41 when the Jews blasphemed the Holy Spirit, a prophecy fulfilled in A.D. 70. Paul speaks of this as being a mystery – where the term mystery is explained in Romans 16:25,26 – as something that has been hidden, like a curtain that hides a precious stone, but is drawn back revealing it. Hence the mystery has been revealed as to why the promises made to Abraham have not been fulfilled.

Promises of God are Irrevocable

Before examining the reason why Israel has not received her promises, we need to state that God’s promises are irrevocable. Paul states: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (11:29). That is due to God’s unchanging love, grace and the sovereign will; his promises are sure, secure, firm and inviolable. If there were not, as 1 Corinthians 15 points out, we would be people “most miserable” because we could not have hope - for faith in something that is unsure is a false hope. God’s promises therefore are immutable and unalterable.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Romans 11:25 NKJV

Israel seeks not the Messiah because of blindness or hardening

Only a small remnant seeks Yeshua and have found him. These Messianic Jews are very small in number – most Jews reject Yeshua and God. Their hearts are hardened, they are blind to the fact Yeshua has died for their sin as well as those of the gentiles.

The blindness is only in part, that is temporary

There is a time limit on the partial blindness, because the next word indicates that the action continues until something else happens.

The blindness is until

This word is missed by too many. The blindness is temporary – until something else happens.

When the predetermined number of gentiles have been saved, their blindness will be lifted.

The phrase “until fullness of the Gentiles has come in” means that until the last remaining gentile who will be saved is saved, the condition on Israel remains. Only after this, will, Israel will be saved.

If Israel is to be saved (11:26,27), then Israel cannot have been replaced by something else

Paul writes: And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

These are quotes from Isaiah 59:20 indicating the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16) will be fulfilled – Yeshua, is the deliverer and will occupy Mount Zion; Isaiah 59:21 indicating the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17 etc., Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26) will be fulfilled (Land, Seed and Blessing) and Jeremiah 31:31-34 indicate a new covenant will be established; “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people”.

Conclusion

Israel has been knocked down so they look up

It looks as Israel is no longer in view of God, but this is the plan of God! He is using the gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy (11:11), meaning salvation has come to the gentiles, forcing Israel to look to God for salvation.

The Church is NOT Israel: National Israel will be restored, and the promises made good after all the time of the gentiles has be fulfilled.

References

Arnold Fruchtenbaum (2010) Replacement Theology and the Epistle of I Peter Ariel Ministries http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Fruchtenbaum-ReplacementTheologya.pdf

David L Simon
Updated: 21 Jun 2015

 

Three Women of Shunem

The Bible mentions three women from the town of Shunem and one of the important resurrections of a boy took place there, in the days of Elisha. Shunem is now an Arab city located 50 km south east of Haifa in the lower east Galilee and 10 km south west from Mount Tabor. It was originally allotted to the Tribe of Issachar (Joshua 19:18), but due to failure of Israel to take the land was the camp of the Philistines during the time of Saul (1 Samuel 28:4).

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1. Abishag (1 Kings 1:3, 2:17, 21-22)

We first come upon Shunem when King David is very old, and due to the cold weather, and no method to heat beds, a young virgin is sought to keep him warm and to care for him in is old age (1 Kings 1:2). To a modern westerner this sounds perhaps odd if not bizarre, but was common practice in the days of King David. The woman's name was Abishag and she was very beautiful; selected after searching out the whole land of Israel for a "lovely" or "beautiful" young woman (1 Kings 1:3). She was not only beautiful, but both intelligent and diligent, as all three women of Shunem were. 1 Kings 1:4 states that she was of service to the king. And verse 15 of the same chapter indicates her service was to him in his bedroom. David being very old (v.15) and infirmed probably needed help in matters related to his personal hygiene, getting ready for bed, and getting up in the morning – in some respects Abishag was his personal nurse (v. 2). But note Abishag was not a prostitute and indeed this was not her role. Verse 4b of 1 Kings 1 states that sexual union did not take place, and in any case, David probably was too old for sex. Notwithstanding, it is evident she was considered to be David's wife, or at least his concubine, in view of the law, because she remained in David's palace after he died being found there during the early days of Solomon's reigned (2 Kings 2:17, 21-22). If she was merely a servant of the king she would have returned to her father's house. Evidence that she had more formal ties to King David is that Adonijah, the oldest living son of David, wanted to marry Abishag in order to better secure the right to the throne, which was promised Solomon (2 Kings 2). He ordered his mother to petition Solomon to give Abishag to him as his wife. Other than being illegal Solomon saw through Adonijah's request, knowing that this would be a direct threat to his reign, and ordered Adonijah's execution (1 Kings 2:24)[1].

Little more is known of Abishag. Given the period, Abishag probably had little say in any of these matters, and therefore making the most of her situation, diligently carried out her duties. So what can we learn from this episode? A couple of things come to mind. Although a person saved is predestined for heaven, it does not necessarily change or enhance one's life on this earth in terms of wealth or status – salvation has nothing to do with prosperity, a heretical gospel preached by modern liberal churches. Indeed Jesus comments that those who follow him are likely to suffer, and life is not likely to be easy. He also said: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23). We are to be content in all things, knowing that our short life ends with our elevation to be with the Father – which is exceeding greater than all we can achieve on earth. The JND version puts it "Be… satisfied with your present circumstances" (Hebrews 13:5b). Abishag is taken from her parents and placed into the king's house and ordered to do one of the most difficult tasks one can do for another – attending to the personal hygiene of the person, toileting, washing and bathing, and perhaps dealing with incontinence and other bodily malfunctions, then sleeping with him to keep him warm. Yet we do not find Abishag complaining, but she is found quietly doing her allotted job (1 Kings 1:15). As believers we to should be found quietly doing what God has willed, whatever it may be, and be willing to say, as Paul said: "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV).

2. The Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4)

Unlike Abishag, we know a little more about the Shunammite woman of 2 Kings 4, but not her name, which is important. The Shunammite woman was a prosperous woman who had a heart for serving those that she came upon, when the narrative of her life begins in the Bible. Again the custom is typical of the time, and although less so now, the art of hospitality has not been lost entirely in the Middle East. The Shunammite woman saw Elisha, realised he had not eaten and urged him to have a meal with her and her husband. Evidently she did a good job, and formed a friendship with Elisha, for in 2 Kings 4:8 we read that whenever Elisha passed through Shunem he would eat at the Shunammite's home. In this we see this woman was one who understood practical application of love.

We know little of her husband, but in each case, although she took the initiative, as a loving wife, and knowing her God given place (role), deferred any decisions to him. This is something t western world hates. Yet God has given defined roles to men and women. The man is the head of the family; final decisions must be made by him: "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV). This also illustrates the humbleness of the Shunammite woman, who appears to be the stronger of the two spiritually, and in doing so obeys God.

It was evident to her that Elisha did long journeys, being a prophet, much used of God, and Shunem was a place of transit. Elisha was from Abel-meholah, halfway between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee in the Jordan Valley, some 35 km from Shunem, thus requiring a stopover. The Shunammite also recognised Elisha's status as a "holy man of God" who would require a quiet place to be in communion with God. She had the ability to recognise people's needs and their place before God. Her practical love was played out in the hospitable way she treated Elisha. So she urged her husband to build a room on the house so whenever Elisha came past, he could not only eat with them, but could sleep in the privacy of his own room, and have a place to write and study. 2 Kings 4:10 indicates the room had a bed, chair, table and lamp. This custom is rare – most homes of the time only had two rooms – the animals slept in one and the household the other.

We do know at the time the narrative began, her husband was old and she had no children. Whether the Shunammite woman was old is unknown, but having no children was a curse for families in those days, especially for Jews, who connected the notion of disgrace with that of being childless[2]. Elijah after seeing what the Shunammite woman had done for him, he wanted to repay the woman and seeks out what he can do to recompense her (2 Kings 4:13), and learns she is childless. It is interesting to see that being childless was a greater burden to her than status or position, in that her response to Elisha's servant, who questioned the Shunammite on behalf of Elisha, was that she was in need of nothing in terms of position in society. She "dwelt among her own people" and clearly did not want to dwell among any other, however rich. It is clear Elisha had connections to the King of Israel (Jehoshaphat, eg 2 Kings 3:13) and high ranking officials, and could have elevated this family's status by bringing the family into the King's court. However, she did not want this and replies "I dwell amount mine own people" (2 Kings 4:13b). What does she mean? She means that she was content and satisfied with her lot – she was happy being with her own people, and did not want any status. What about you? Are you always seeking to 'elevate' yourself, to become more important than those around? This is pride at work, which Scripture reminds thus: "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18. This woman was meek and epitomises the type of person Jesus speaks of in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7), "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5. Indeed it appears Scripture does not name her because it would have seriously embarrassed her – her life's goal was to please others, not to make a name for herself.

Of importance to this woman was having a family to raise. It is something our modern western society needs to relearn. Having and raising children has infinitely more satisfaction and joy than all the riches and status a career or connections can bring. Material things cannot, and should never replace people – our modern women (and men) do not want children but a career, which only satisfies self. This is an act of defiant selfishness that reduces the riches of the community. A career rarely leaves a legacy, and in most cases is soon forgotten, but children create a lasting legacy. The Bible states "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth." (Psalm 127:3-4). Not only are the modern generation hurting society as a whole, they are denying the pleasures of their parents of seeing grandchildren – a natural delight for all with children. Proverb 17:6 states "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers." The evil of satisfying self with material wealth and momentary pleasures has invaded the churches; it needs to be rooted out and banished. It is much better to die poor with children than die rich having a prosperous career: ""Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19-20).

The Shunammite woman was the antithesis of the modern woman: humble, gracious and happy with her lot, obedient to her husband, yet had initiative especially for helping others. Elisha had the ear of the King and ministers, but the Shunammite wanted nothing of their glory or prestige; she just wanted a child.

By God's grace, Elisha sees the hurt of the Shunammite, promises her a son within a year, which Jehovah makes good. However, when the boy had grown enough to be of use around the farm (2 Kings 4:19), and was out working, he suffered a major headache, returned home and died in the arms of his mother (2 Kings 4:20). Obviously the Shunammite woman was extremely upset, but realising the man of God, Elisha, would be able to help, places the boy's body in Elisha's bed, and takes a donkey to where Elisha was – Mount Carmel and finds Elisha. Scripture records this as an exercise of faith (Hebrews 11:35). Elisha eventually goes to the boy, prays to Jehovah who raises the boy. Some believe Elisha performed CPR on the child and he was revived, but scripture clearly states he was dead, and the Carmel Range is some way from Shunem – the exact location of Elisha is unknown, but at best some 24 km away. CPR would not have raised the boy, for given the time of travel and the procrastination of Elisha, the body would have commenced decomposition – in the same manner Lazarus's body decomposed (John 11).

This episode is also recorded in scripture for the purpose of demonstrating faith. Her faith is not ill placed. God had given her a son; would he be taken away (2 Kings 4:28)? Not only was her only child dead, but Elisha was far away. However, this woman did not fall down in total despair howling and weeping her eyes out, although no doubt she wept. Her faith is demonstrated in that she did not begin burial preparations, which her culture demanded (those that died have, even to this day, to be buried within 24 hours). Nor did she complain to God, but rather approached her husband, as a wife aught, and sought permission to go to Elisha (2 Kings 4:22). Her husband's response also tests this woman's faith. His walk and hers although joined, where spiritually disconnected. He thinks she wants to perform some religious service (2 Kings 4:23), when in fact she seeks faithfully for an avenue to have her son restored. Of interest in this narrative is the father's distinct lack of interest in the welfare of the boy. There is no "how is he doing?", since the boy was with the father when he first fell ill. His wife's silence on his son's death perhaps points to a discordant relationship between the two – perhaps she wanted a son, and he had no real opinion. Such a marriage is difficult to bear, which all the more demonstrates this woman's pious and humble nature, for each step she seeks her husband's permission.

So, although clearly dead, she mounts a donkey and seeks the man of God, who she knows has access to God. Her logic is complete and unambiguous: Elijah had raised the woman of Zarephath's son (1 Kings 17) and Elijah's spirit now rested on Elisha. Indeed a double potion now rested on Elisha (2 King 2:9, 15). In keeping with the narrative of 2 Kings, the Shunammite woman is not named in Hebrews 11 but her action is recorded in the annuals of the faithful: "women [who] received their dead raised to life again" (Hebrews 11:35) stating that these women, including the woman of Shunem, obtained a good report through faith (Hebrews 11:39). There is nothing greater than this the Father wants – faithful servants, who obtain a good report through their actions. Faith without works is dead, states James.

The book of Hebrews also demonstrates we now have a new and living way to the Father; so rather than seeking out a holy man of God, we can approach the Lord Jesus Christ boldly (Hebrews 10:19-23) and directly. There is no need for a priest – Jesus Christ is our priest, indeed out Great High Priest, with access to God the Father. We can therefore approach Jesus Christ directly, in prayer. We also see the narrative is also descriptive of the resurrection found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25). If one reads 2 Kings 4 carefully you will see that the actions of man fail. Resurrection is entirely of God. Gehazi, servant of Elisha is sent to the boy with a rod, and he fails to revive the boy (2 Kings 4:31). Elisha teaches that any resurrection of the boy will be the will of the Father. It is when Elisha prays that the power of God is evident. A less for all people; effective fervent pray must always be the first recourse to any situation.

Note however this resurrection was not to a new life, in that the boy eventually died. One could better describe what happened as a restoration. There is another type of resurrection, first demonstrated by Jesus Christ – in this case the person raised is no longer subject to physical death: "knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him." (Romans 6:9). A person raised to resurrection life whether saved or not (believer or non-believer) cannot die again – their physical body is changed from natural (as humans experience the physical world) to spiritual.

The response of the Shunammite woman is most natural (2 Kings 4:37): (1) she falls down at Elisha's feet in profound gratitude and reverence for the "Holy man of God" and (2) she picks up her son in upmost joy and gladness – the boy who was once dead is now alive. This should be our response to the Lord Jesus Christ – we need to bow before the Father in humble reverence, and we need to, in upmost joy and gladness fix our eyes on Jesus Christ.

This unnamed woman was humble, meek, obedient and faithful.

3. The Bride of Song of Solomon

We learn from the sixth chapter of the Song of Solomon that the Bride (often referred to as she) in the poem, is a Shunammite, that is a woman from Shunem, also known as Shulnem. Some suggest this woman is Abishag, a beautiful girl, and at David's death the most important woman in the palace. However, this is conjecture.

It is most sad that Christians do not read this beautiful book. Indeed once, after preaching from this book, a pastor in the congregation stated that he had never heard a sermon from the Song of Solomon, and he was more than 70 years old! Yet it is full of beautiful imagery, illustrating the thoughts and actions of two people who have absolute and full love for each other. We allow our young folk to watch TV, see movies and interact over the internet, whose media all portraits a warped, lustful and evil side of sexuality and love. If you really want to understand love and sex, read carefully the Song of Solomon. If you want to understand the love of Christ for his Church, read the Song of Solomon. For young people guidance may be required, but the teaching is clear – the body of a woman belongs to her husband, and the body of a husband belongs to his wife. It is not shameful, as some Christians would have it, to gaze upon the naked body of a spouse. It is sinful to gaze with lust upon the naked body of someone who is not your spouse. That is, sex can only be exercised in all its fulness between a married man and woman who are truly in love with each other. The Song of Solomon poignantly expresses this in song. Often miss-interpreted, the Song of Solomon is about love not sex; but as the Bible points out, one cannot speak about love in a marriage without speaking about sex.

 The ballad is about love, union and communion between two people: the bridegroom and his bride, being a metaphor for Christ and his Church. In essence it is an allegory, which Paul uses in Ephesians to remind Christians of what the Church is: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'" (Ephesians 5:22-31 ESV).

In this song the Shunammite woman understands deeply the full meaning of love. Her first response – and she is given the first word – is one of demanding peace. One cannot kiss an enemy. The tenderest affection is afforded when a woman kisses her spouse on his mouth. This is truly an intimate action. She has kept herself for him; her focus is on him and what please him. She is a virgin, undefiled, perfect (6:9). "Virgin" is a word expunged from modern English, but it symbolises purity, where one has kept oneself from sex and kept one's body for one's spouse only. She has kept herself for him (5:2).

She has studied him, and sees the beautiful and lovely in him. "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." (2:3). Her spouse has conquered with his love; in his victory he brings her into his house, victorious: "He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." (2:4). The victory was due to his love for her; his love rallies around her, lifting her up, protecting her, filling her with ecstasy and joy. She is safe and fulfilled.

They are not yet married, but engaged - espoused. She wants him and longs for him, in the same way a Believer wants and longs for the coming of Christ. We are espoused to Christ, the head of the Church, the bridegroom, and someday He will come for his bride – we should be waiting with the same values, notions, thoughts and feelings for Christ as the Shunammite is for her beloved. And as in traditional Middle Eastern culture, the bride knows not when the bridegroom comes (although the Father does).

She is graceful, beautiful, perfect in all ways; clean and bright like sheep shorn and washed - white (4:2). Her love is much more than lust: it encompasses the whole mind, body and soul. This is where many Christians get it wrong. Song of Solomon is not about sex, but about agape: love that causes a man to give his life for another. It is about sacrificial love; indeed "love is strong as death" (8:6); a fervent zeal (not a word we use much today) for each other. As Christ died for the Church so should the depth of love of a man be for his wife (Ephesians 5). Death conquers all; such was the love of Christ. Such love brings about a response. She sees him as more than a lover. He is her friend, her beloved (e.g. 5:16). A woman's spouse needs to be her best friend. She sees him as altogether lovely: in his actions, word, work and interaction and communion with those around him – she sees nothing lacking, as a Believer sees nothing lacking in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This Shunammite woman perfectly illustrates the woman in love with the man she will marry. The illustration is beautiful to behold and a lesson to all. The love expressed by this woman should not cease, but grows upon marriage.

Modern day Shunem (Sulam) an Arab village in Israel (31 May 2015) (click for enlarged view)

[1] Leviticus 18:8 forbids a man marrying his father's wife, even if the father dies – such a sexual union is forbidden.

[2] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset & David Brown (1871) Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible: 2 Kings 4:13-16. This volume can be found on-ine in many places e.g. < http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/jamieson-fausset-brown/ > accessed 10 June 2015.

 

Full text including PDF

 

David L Simon
Updated: 14 Jun 2015

 

Christ's gospel is the wisdom of God

Charles Spurgeon writes on wisdom: "Christ's gospel is the wisdom of God. Look at the gospel itself and you will see it to be wisdom. The man who scoffs and sneers at the gospel does so for no other reason but because he does not understand it. We have two of the richest books of theology extant that were written by professed infidels—by men that were so, I mean, before they wrote the books. You may have heard the story of Lord Lyttleton and West. I believe they determined to refute Christianity; one of them took up the subject of Paul's conversion, and the other, the subject of the resurrection; they sat down, both of them, to write books to ridicule those two events, and the effect was, that in studying the subject, they, both of them, became Christians, and wrote books which are now bulwarks to the church they hoped to have overthrown. Every man who looks the gospel fairly in the face, and gives it the study it ought to have, will discover that it is no false gospel, but a gospel that is replete with wisdom, and full of the knowledge of Christ. If any man will cavil at the Bible, be must cavil. There are some men who can find no wisdom anywhere, except in their own heads. Such men, however, are no judges of wisdom. We should not set a mouse to explain the phenomena of astronomy, nor should we set a man who is so foolish as to do nothing but cavil to understand the wisdom of the gospel. It needs that a man should at least be honest, and have some share of sense, or we can not dispute with him at all. Christ's gospel, to any man who believes it, is the wisdom of God.
    Allow me just to hint that to be a believer in the gospel is no dishonor to a man's intellect. While the gospel can be understood by the poorest and the most illiterate, while there are shallows in it where a lamb may wade, there are depths where leviathan may swim. The intellect of Locke found ample space in the gospel; the mind of Newton submitted to receive the truth of inspiration as a little child, and found a something in its majestic being higher than itself, unto which it could not attain. The rudest and most untaught have been enabled, by the study of the holy Scripture of God's truth to enter the kingdom; and the most erudite have said of the gospel, it surpasses thought. I was thinking the other day what a vast amount of literature must be lost if the gospel be not true. No book was ever so suggestive as the Bible. Large tomes we have in our libraries which it takes all our strength to lift, all upon holy Scripture; myriads upon myriads of smaller volumes, tens of thousands of every shape and size, all written upon the Bible; and I have thought that the very suggestiveness of Scripture, the supernatural suggestiveness of holy Writ, may be in itself a proof of its divine wisdom, since no man has ever been able to write a book which could have so many commentators and so many writers upon its text as the Bible has received, by so much as one millionth part."

Charles H Spurgeon Sermon "Christ—The Power and Wisdom of God" 17 May 1857
Updated: 22 May 2015

 

Lessons of Obedience

The Scripture sets forth some great lessons of obedience, something the modern person avoids, and those of this nation testify. The maverick Australian is “laid back” when it comes to obeying superiors. Christendom no longer calls the Scripture authoritative, or indeed the Canon – which means measure. Without a Standard, by which all measures are compared, chaos reigns – we only need look at the newspaper or web newscasts so observe this fact. In doing so, each person creates a standard that please him or her, and does what is right in his or her own eyes – which is sin at its greatest.

King Saul failed to obey the Lord and the kingdom was taken from him. Samuel the prophet informs King Saul: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22). In the name of social conscience the Western world attempts to do good, in the same way Saul did. Saul had led an army to deal with an enemy that had terrorised the Israelites, wearing them down. The Amalekites harassed the Israelites sending raiding parties to pillage the villages and towns and God had finally called upon Saul to deal with them – to utterly destroy them and all that they had. (This was just – God gave them 500 years to repent, but not one did). But rather than destroying the livestock, Saul took them and gave the excuse of being in possession of tainted plunder because he wanted to sacrifice to the Lord. Reading between the lines this was a lie – Saul and the people wanted to enrich themselves with the plunder which the Lord had marked for total destruction. Lacking faith in God for his provisions, he takes from an evil enemy, disobeying God, although God had blessed Saul beyond anything he could imagine.

In the name of social justice the church disobeys God, giving the excuse that justice is more importance than obedience when in fact justice only comes from obedience. Failing to faithfully do what pleases God, sexual immorality is embraced rather condemned. Position and place has become more important than humbleness; church leaders desire to at the important tables, speaking from important and visible podiums, rather than invisibly helping the poor, providing for the fatherless and "keeping oneself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27).

The antithesis of Saul is David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. David knows that God does not want sacrifice and offering but desires obedience, that is, he desires to do the will of Jehovah (YEWAH). Of Jesus it is written: "Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: 'Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. Then I said, 'behold, I have come-in the volume of the book it is written of me- to do your will, O God.'" (Hebrews 10:5-7). The Messiah came to fulfil the law, but it was his obedience that pleased the Father: the heart of the one that wishes to please the Father is that crys aloud: "behold, I have come to do your will, O God." (Hebrews 10:9a).

Saul’s actions stemmed from lack of faith – the people wanted the plunder, Saul failed to obey God and sanction the people. Obedience takes courage; the world laughs at obedience to God and can become angry, indeed, violent, as happened at Sodom. The perverted men wanted to rape Lot’s guests (two men) and resorted to violence in their attempt to have them. In this case God intervened. In this decade standing fast on sexual immorality, euthanasia, abortion and the roles and responsibilities of men and women in a family takes courage and may lead to violence against us. But as David could say, and what we need to learn; Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. Psalms 56:3

David L Simon
Updated: 26 Apr 2015

 

Jesus the Messiah Rose from the Dead Three Days After He Died

The Resurrection: Hoax or History

Introduction

...because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
1 Corinthians 15:13-19

If there is no resurrection:

  • Christ is not risen
  • Faith is empty
  • Faith is futile
  • We are still in our sins
  • Death and hades will overtake us
  • We will all die because the wages of sin is death and be cast into hell
  • And if Christ be not risen, …... we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ is risen from the dead

Jesus a Man

1.    The Bible says so - John's gospel etc

2.    Secular history records it so

3.    Jewish writers say so

4.    The writings of antiquity say so

5.    The Early church fathers say so

Jesus Christ the Messiah (Yeshu יהושׁע)?

1.    Jesus was truly an historical person

2.    Jesus lived in the land of Canaan (Palestine) in the 1st century

3.    He claimed to be equal with God (John 10:25-30)

4.    He claimed to be eternal (John 8:58)

5.    He was worshipped as God (Matthed 8:2) - the leper (Matthew 8:2),
the man born blind (John 9:35-39), disciples (Matt 14:33, John 20:27-29), Woman with flow of blood (Mark 5:25).

6.    He was prophesied about and all came true (e.g. Genesis 3:18; Psalm 22, 31, 69, 110 etc; Isaiah 52, 53; Micah 5:2 Bethlehem; Isaiah 40:3 John the Baptist; Isaiah 9:1,2 The region of Jesus' ministry; Isaiah 42:1-4 Jesus the son of Man; Zechariah 9:9 Jesus on a donkey rides into Jerusalem etc

Jesus was Condemned to Death

1.    The Jewish leadership using false allegations orchestrated his death

2.    At the trial he condemned himself: he was king

3.    Jesus was crucified by the Romans

4.    Jesus rose from the dead on the third day

5.    Jesus spoke to many people after rising

6.    Jesus returned to heaven 50 days after death

From oral narrative, secular history and the Bible we know Jesus was truly an historical person. Few would deny this, including opponents such as the Muslims. If Jesus wasn't God he deserves an Oscar.[1]

Jesus died!

1.    He was severely wounded prior to the crucifixion (Mat 27:26)

2.    He was unable to carry his cross (Mat 27:32)

3.    If he wasn't dead his legs would have been broken (John 19:33)

4.    His blood was drained by a spear piecing his side witnessed by John (John 19:34)

  • He was dead - no one doubted it, not the Sanhedrin, the Praetorium, or those on Calvary.
  • Pilate alone was astonished about how fast it had taken for Jesus to die.
  • Embalming a live body probably would have suffocated it.
  • The Swoon theory has no credence - no one could have survived the ordeal Christ went through. Evidence of a burial indicates Jesus had died. The theory assumes these folk did not know what a dead person was - the Egyptians and Babylonians had defined death thousands of years previously, and the Jews had a strict definition of death. Jesus was definitely dead

The Body

1.    Was taken down - hence was dead

2.    Was buried in the custom of the Jews

3.    Was bound it in strips of cloth

4.    Embalmed in a great quantity of myrrh and aloes (John 19:40)

5.    Was placed in a tomb (John 19:42)

The Tomb

1.    The tomb belonged to a rich man (John 19:38)

2.    Jesus was laid in the Tomb

3.    Great emphasis was made to ensure he did not "rise" from the dead

     Why did the Jews have the tomb guarded if

                                i.   the tomb did not exist

                               ii.    a body was not in it?

4.    A great stone was place over the entrance (Matthew 27:60, assumed by John 20:1)

5.    It was guarded (Matt 27:62-66)

6.    It was sealed (Matt 27:66)

The Empty Tomb

1.    The guards saw an unearthly sight and the stone rolled away (Matt 28:3-4)

2.    There was an earthquake (op cit.)

3.    The guards, took money and were given a story, punishable by death if true (Matt 28:11)

4.    The angels stated the tomb was empty (Luke 24:6)

5.    The empty tomb was first seen by Mary Magdalene (John 20:1-2, 11)

6.    The empty tomb was seen by Peter and John - Peter went in (John 20)

7.    The grave clothes were "lying there" (John 19:6,7)

Jesus Risen

1.    Jesus' appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20)

2.    Jesus' appearance to Peter alone (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:15)

3.    Jesus' appearance to the women (Matt 28:9)

4.    Jesus' on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24)

5.    Jesus' appearance to 10 at one time

6.    Jesus' appearance to 11 at one time

7.    Jesus' breakfast with 7 near lake (John 21)

8.    Jesus' appearance to brother James (1 Corinthians 157)

9.    Jesus' appearance to 500 (1 Corinthians 15:6)

The Resurrected Jesus Preached – was not Refuted

1.    Peter (Acts 2) - no Jewish refutation

2.    Paul (Acts 25) - accusations could not be proved

3.    Unbelief of resurrection found in Athens not Jerusalem

4.    Paul (Acts 26) was brought before Agrippa Acts 5:33-39 - the judge stated; Let them go! For if their [the disciples] purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God

Jesus Resurrection seen in the Testimony of the Church

1.    It grew daily (Acts 2:41&47, Acts 5:14, Acts 12:24, Acts 19:20)

2.    Grew in the face of persecution

3.    It encompassed not only Jews but also gentiles, bondman and free (Gal 3:28)

4.    The testimony cut to the heart - it affects the conscience of man, it changes lives (Acts 7:54)

Jesus' Resurrection seen in society1

  • Hospitals
  • Universities
  • Literacy and education of the masses
  • Representative government
  • Civil liberties
  • Separation of political powers
  • Benevolence and charity
  • Justice
  • Regard for human life
  • Language interpretation and writing
  • Eternal salvation of Jews and Gentiles!

Christianity stands or falls on the Resurrection

Acts 10: 39 – 43

And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

1 Peter 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Conclusion

Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God - He is risen, risen indeed>

It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Rom. 8:34 (NKJV)

So what do you believe?

Appendix

Inadequate theories

The Theft Theory

Began by the Jews, as recorded in Matthew 28:1-15.

This was clearly a cover story - the Jews evidently believed he had risen else there would have been no need for this elaborate story. Furthermore the guards would have reported it as such.

The grave clothes were found - logically the embalmed body in 45kg of sticky fluid would not have been stripped off in the tomb while the guards were outside! The story is not plausible.

In any case this tomb was better guarded and better watched than other in history!

(If the soldiers were asleep how did they know the disciples took it?)

The Jews moved the body

This is totally implausible as the most logical way to refute the resurrection was to produce the body - this they did not do, because they could not do!

[1] Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1999

 

David L Simon
Updated: 12 Apr 2015

 

But now is Christ risen from the dead

"But now is Christ risen from the dead."—1 Corinthians 15:20.

The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that "Christ is risen from the dead;" for, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain: ye are yet in your sins." The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in His resurrection, since He was "Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." It would not be unreasonable to doubt His Deity if He had not risen. Moreover, Christ's sovereignty depends upon His resurrection, "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living." Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ's triumphant victory over death and the grave; for "He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Nay, more, our very regeneration is connected with His resurrection, for we are "Begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And most certainly our ultimate resurrection rests here, for, "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." If Christ be not risen, then shall we not rise; but if He be risen then they who are asleep in Christ have not perished, but in their flesh shall surely behold their God. Thus, the silver thread of resurrection runs through all the believer's blessings, from his regeneration onwards to his eternal glory, and binds them together. How important then will this glorious fact be in his estimation, and how will he rejoice that beyond a doubt it is established, that "now is Christ risen from the dead."

"The promise is fulfill'd,
Redemption's work is done,
Justice with mercy's reconciled,
For God has raised His Son."

Charles H Spurgeon Morning by Morning - January
Updated: 05 Apr 2015

 

The Messiah Crucified

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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name off the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
(John 3:16-19)

Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward
(Matthew 26:59-60)

And Pilate asked him [Jesus Christ], "Are you the King of the Jews?" And he answered him, "You have said so." Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no guilt in this man." But they were urgent, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place."
(Luke 23:3-5)

For he [Pilate] knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.
(Matthew 27:18)

So he [Pilate] delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."
(John 19:16-19)

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"
(Matthew 27:50-54)

Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness--his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth--that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken." And again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they have pierced."
(John 19:31-37)

Bible
Updated: 03 Apr 2015

 

In Heavenly Love Abiding

In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here;
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?

Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack;
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.

Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o'er me,
Where the dark clouds have been:
My hope I cannot measure,
My path to life is free,
My Saviour has my treasure,
And He will walk with me.

We'll see Thee soon, Lord Jesus,
Amid the ransomed throng,
Its glory, joy and beauty,
Its never-ending song:
Oh, day of wondrous promise,
The Bridegroom and the bride
Are seen in glory ever,
For ever satisfied!

Anna Letitia Waring Waring (1850)
Updated: 29 Mar 2015

 

Myth: The Jews Killed the Messiah also called Jesus the Christ

A Bible Perspective

Anti-Semitism is on the rise and therefore a number of myths about Jews are being spread in mainstream western culture. One, often propagated by so called Christians, is that the Jews killed Jesus Christ; which allows the development of notions that Jews need to be expelled from society. If the myth was indeed true, the Bible could not be true, nor could Jesus who clearly stated the truth, which he did!

In John’s gospel, Jesus states “I am the good shepherd”, and therefore, “I lay down my life for the sheep”. Noting the first person singular, we can see it is Christ himself that lays down his life for the sheep. Satan wants all for himself; the ransom is Christ’s life – a ransom from the slavery of sin – the bondage of the law and from the grave (Shoel) and death and hell. From Matthew we see that “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28). This is fully explained by Paul to Timothy: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). If there was a ransom, there was a price, for every ransom has a price, such a price that could not be paid with corruptible things like silver or gold as Peter states “but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:19).

That Christ himself laid down his own life is repeated by Jesus in the same passage: “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:14-18). Note that Jesus states:

1. He has the power to lay down his life, and he will do so.
2. He has the power to take it up again, ie rise from being dead, and he will do so.
3. No one would take his life from him.
4. The action was in response to a command from God the Father. That is the death of Jesus Christ was commended by God.

The preceding passage is a predictive passage, that is, prophecy. One can then turn to Scriptures to see if this eventuated. A cursory glance at Scripture reveals the following sequence of events unfolded, exactly as prophesied by Christ: “"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” (Mark 10:33-34).

The Jews certainly were involved: they falsely accused him using treacherous evidence from a disciple named Judas, and the high officials concocted a web of deceit in order to demand a death sentence, but it was not within their power to actually kill him. Jesus was turned over to Pontius Pilate, who had the power to let him loose, but chose not to and under pressure from the Jews, gave Jesus over to the Roman soldiers to crucify him. Note that it was the Romans who rightly named the position of Christ “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:28, John 19:20). And therefore the second part of the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled – the Jews turned Jesus over to the Gentiles who mocked and scourged him and killed him.

However, we need to note carefully the words of the Apostle. The Holy Spirit reveals that Jesus “gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30, Matthew 27:50). Indeed the Romans were bothered by this when they came the next day to break the legs of those being crucified to hasten death, to find that Jesus was already dead (John 19:31 – 33). Luke records that Jesus’s last words were: “Father, ‘into your hands I commit my spirit.’” and immediately “he breathed His last” (Luke 23:46). The implications are clear – Jesus Christ gave up his own life.  No-one could take his life, but he came to give up his life. This aligns with Jesus words recorded in John 10:18 and the gospel recorded in Galatians 2:20, where Paul speaks: “…I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

So although taken to the Romans to be killed, Jesus could not have his life taken away from him, unless the Father had allowed it. It was not within the power of humans to kill Jesus, but it was within the power of God to allow humans – both Jew and Gentile – to have their hands bloodied by crucifying the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus had already warned the chief priests and elders of the people that they had no power of their own in this matter – Christ the Son of God had access to, but choose not to avail himself, of the power of heaven and warns Peter who wanted to fight off with a sword the chief priests and elders of the people who came to arrest him on false charges saying; “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52-53). Twelve legions of Roman soldiers would have been 12 times 6000 (same suggest higher numbers), yet a single angel was able to kill 850,000 Syrian soldiers one evening (2 Kings 19:35) indicating the strength of power Jesus could have mustered if he so desired, yet he, like a lamb led to slaughter and as sheep before the its shearers, was silent, and meekly went before his false accusers. John Gill writes on the John 10:18 passage: “nor did any man, take away his life from him, without his own consent; he voluntarily surrendered himself, or he could never have been taken; he went freely to the cross, or he could never have been led there; he suffered himself to be nailed to the accursed tree, and when he hung on it, he could easily have disengaged himself, and come down; and when they had him there, they could not have taken away his life, had he not of himself given up the ghost, and breathed out his life and soul”.

In conclusion, both Jew and Gentile are accused of the death of Christ. All sinners are responsible yet it was the love of God that led his Son to give his life for us, willingly, like a shepherd laying down his life in the face of a wolf for the sake of his sheep, Jesus Christ laid down his life for our sakes so that any who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is saved:

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

David L Simon
Updated: 22 Mar 2015

 

Rise, my soul! behold 'tis Jesus,

Rise, my soul! behold 'tis Jesus,
Jesus fills thy wondering eyes;
See Him now in glory seated,
Where thy sins no more can rise.

There in righteousness transcendent,
Lo! He doth in heaven appear,
And the blood of His atonement
Is thy title to be there.

All thy sins were laid upon Him,
Jesus bore them on the tree;
God, who knew them, laid them on Him,
And, believing, thou art free.

God now brings thee to His dwelling,
Spreads for thee His feast divine,
Bids thee welcome, ever telling,
What a portion there is thine.

Blessed circle of His favour,
Circle of the Father's love!
Blessed to be there for ever
In His perfect rest above!

Blessed, glorious word, "for ever"!
Yea, "for ever" is the word;
Nothing can the ransomed sever,
Nought divide them from the Lord.

J Denham Smith (1817-1889)
Updated: 17 Mar 2015

 

Quickened Together with Christ.

The life which we have through Adam is of a sinful stock; it cannot produce good fruit for God. The eternal life we have in Christ is holy and divine; each is distinct from the other.

We must reiterate, every child of God has the life of God, and is a partaker of the divine nature. This life is in Christ, apart from whom every human being remains in the state of spiritual death. The notion that here or hereafter eternal life can issue out of man's fallen nature, either through his good works or his suffering for sin, is utterly foreign to the truth of God. The presence of every kind of life proclaims divine power, the presence of the eternal life proves the gracious work of the Son of God for those who possess it. Christ's dying for and giving life to His people are truths which cannot be disassociated.


The eternal life, therefore, comes to us from Christ subsequent to His work of redemption, from Him after His sacrifice of Himself and His putting away of our sins. We receive the life from Him where He is, and in His victory over death.


When we were dead in our sins God quickened us together with His Christ. The power of God toward us in our dead state is according to His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. (Eph. 1: 20.) In sovereign grace God made us alive with His Christ; as issuing from His grave our life, as it were, begins. Our state being death, God brought us into life with Christ.

Man's state was that of spiritual death from the fall. Now, while man's state of spiritual death is a broad truth, extending over all ages and dispensations, reaching up to the time of Adam and down to the last days of this world's history, we have another truth, which relates to God's dealings with His people, namely, that He has been pleased to unfold to them by degrees the reality of man's condition. The condition existed from the day of man's departure from God, from the fall, when his nature became corrupt and he became dead in sins; but this condition of spiritual death was not made fully manifest until the cross of Christ.


Wherefore these teachings? Man in innocency has come to an end — man left to himself has been tried and found wanting — man under the law being commanded to do good has produced no fruit, and only received the laws' cursing — at length, after many centuries, Jesus the Son of God has come, and at the close of His ministry declares that if the corn of wheat falls not into the ground and die, He must abide alone.

By His death, at His grave, we have by faith at length reached our end as men in the flesh. Christ has died, and though the world prosper and nations flourish, the end of all flesh is come; "If one died for all, then were all dead." (2 Cor. 5.) And the believer, accepting what the judgment and the death of the cross signify, has come by faith to his end, and thus has learned God's beginning, and he praises the God of resurrection.


In the cross of Jesus the end of all flesh has come indeed in the sight of God; there "God condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3 ); there He made His sinless Son what man is by nature — sin (2 Cor. 5:21); there He forsook His Son, who was made sin for us (Matt. 27:46.) After judgment came death, for the enduring of the judgment being completed, Jesus said, "It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30.) But God is the God of resurrection, and where He manifests to man what is the end for man in the flesh, He shows in grace what is His beginning for the children of faith.

Quickened together with Christ! "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses." (Col. 2:13.) Sins are all gone and out of sight in His death, and we are made alive with a Saviour who bore our sins, to whom the question of sin cannot again be addressed. The believer is quickened together with Christ, has life with Christ — His life in the condition subsequent to His enduring judgment and death.

We have eternal life given to us by Christ and God, but we are also quickened together with Christ after He took our place on the cross and died for us. The eternal life, as we have already shown, emanates from Himself, who is the Life, and every believer of all ages has the life; but the life in its present condition of liberty is characteristic of christianity. And we may say he, who is so established in the work of God that he is in Christian liberty, who enters into the fact of the Lord's coming from glory, becoming a man, and going down into death, and being raised out of death and living a man in glory, after having in His own person, and by His work, brought judgment and death for His people to an end. But he who has no right thoughts of a risen Saviour, who is in spirit as were the disciples, who believed on the Son up to the cross, but did not know Him alive beyond death, is still in bondage.

"Quickened together with Christ," leads on our hearts to God's power, and to Christ's work in redemption; to God's power in raising His Son as a man from among the dead, after He had endured divine judgment on account of human sin; and to our Lord's so perfect work, that we are brought by God in its perfection into association with Him as the risen Man. He has died to sin (Rom. 6:10); He lives to die no more (Rom. 6:9). We are brought into association with Him where He is; we have life given by God together with Christ raised from among the dead. As this holy One is before us by faith, we shall better lay hold of our end as having died with Him to sin (Rom. 6:2), and having become dead by His body to the law (Rom. 7:4), and also to the rudiments of the world (Col. 2:20).

Not only is the Son of God our life, and we have eternal life in Him, but we have life given us with Him, the risen Son of Man. Because He lives on the far side of death we live also as He lives, and in God's time shall be glorified with Him. Our life is hid in God with Christ, we shall be manifested with Christ in glory.

Once more let us enquire, has our faith laid hold of God's fact of man's state by nature, and of the new standing of His people in Christ? Do we really believe that the cross of Christ is our end in the flesh before God, and can we rejoice that God has quickened us together with His Son?

 

 

Harry Forbes Witherby The Child of God His Liberty: Chapter 11
Updated: 08 Mar 2015

 

Overview of the Epistle to the Colossians

Title: The Epistle (letter) to the church at Colossae, also known as "Pros Colossaeis", and in English the Epistle to the Colossians.

Place in bible: New Testament, 51st book, the 7th Pauline epistle, written to Christians in general and those of the Church of Colossae (1:2) and Laodicea (4:16) in particular.

Author: Paul, as an Apostle of Jesus Christ (See 1:1, 4:18), with Timothy (1:1), who also wrote at the same time to Philemon and the church at Ephesus: the letter was taken to Colossae by Tychicus (4:7).

Date: The letter was written during Paul's imprisonment in Rome in 61 or 62 AD after being visited by Epaphras (1:7) who brought good and bad tidings of the church.

Genre: Epistle or letter to a group of people, a letter of 1) doctrine of the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, 2) encouragement to Christians.

Main idea:

This letter to the Colossians is a counterpart to the Letter to the Ephesians. Ephesians has a focus on the body of Christ, the Church. This letter sets out clearly and unambiguously that:

  1. Christ is God as he claimed to be – e.g. John 14:6, John 10:33-38 etc, and,
  2. Christ is true Divinity (2:9) because "in him dwells the fulness of the Godhead". This is more than what Romans 1 verse 20 has to say, where Paul indicates Christ revealed the divine nature of the Godhead to all of creation. In Colossians, it is the essence and nature of the Godhead revealed in Christ, not merely the attributes (perfections) of the divinity revealed.

Colossians has a focus on the head of the Church, Christ. In essence the letter covers four points.

  1. The supremacy and majesty of Christ (1:13 etc.)
  2. The absurdity of the false teaching that attempted to add various notions to the perfect Godhead, in particular mysticism, asceticism[8] and Judaism, which is also known as Gnosticism, where an 'additional mystical knowledge' is combined with the gospel.
  3. Encouragement to the Church at Colossae (or Colosse) and Laodicea
  4. The return of Onesimus (4:9), of whom the letter to Philemon is written (Philemon 1:10) – some suggest Philemon was a Colossian.

Read more

Divisions

1. The person of Christ, his glory and work

  • a. Salutation 1:1-2
  • b. Thanks giving and Prayer 1:3-12
  • c. The Supremacy of Christ Jesus, the head of creation 1:13-18
  • d. The work of reconciliation and ministry: reconciliation of all things, and reconciliation of believers (1:19 – 29)

2. The Mystery of the Father and of Christ, warnings

  • a. The mystery of God (2:1-8)
  • b. Completeness in Christ (2:9-15)
  • c. Warnings and exhortations (2:16-23)

3. Being Christ like: living as risen with Christ

  • a. Life hidden with Christ in God (3:1-4)
  • b. The old man and the new man (3:5-11)
  • c. Showing forth Christ in conduct (3:12-17)
  • d. Conducting relationships properly (3:18-4:1)

4. Final greetings

  • a. Prayer and ministry (4:2-4)
  • b. Walk in wisdom (4:5-6)
  • c. The fellowship of the saints in their service (4:7-17)
  • d. Salutation (4:18)

Key events/themes:

The key theme is the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ: "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead (θεοτητος) bodily" (2:9). In relation to the believer, it examines a Christian risen with Christ; who has his or her hope laid up in heaven, with affections on things above not on things of this earth. And there lay a grave danger that the things of this earth, namely false doctrine, earthy philosophy and deceit, were about to shipwreck (e.g. 1 Timothy 1:19) the faith of the Colossians and Laodicians. The things of this word died when a Christian accepted Christ.

Words of importance:

The book is full of imperatives: "Beware" (2:8), "Let", "Continue", "Walk"

Christ: Since the book portraits the supremacy of Christ, His name is mentioned in 24 out of 95 verses; as the Lord Jesus Christ in three verses, Jesus Christ in 6 verses and the Lord Jesus in one verse, never as "Jesus".

Heaven (or "above") compared with earth: earth has no future, for it is wicked (3:5); heaven is the place a believers mind needs to be (3:2).

Let: no one judge you; no one cheat you; the peace of God rule; let your speech always be with peace.

Key prophecies:  

None except the Book is heaven looking. Eg 3:24 assumes the coming of Christ, for it indicates our reward may not be evident on this earth, indeed will be absent, but will be compensated by the reward in heaven.

Key verse: 2:6-10 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

The crux to Gnosticism is to know that we are complete in Christ because Christ is all in all. All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ; there is no need for any other, whether spiritual or mystical. "This we have received, being taught for there is no other gospel." Note the verse gives the Son his full title – Christ Jesus the Lord. We are, to the exclusion of all others, walk in Him. There is no need for any other – our roots are in him, he nourishes us, he builds us up, and he has confirmed our faith. In all this we are to walk with thankfulness. The gospel is the good news – there is no need for any other, else it would not be good at all; and in any case we will be amply rewarded in heaven (3:24).

Key characters:

Christ Jesus the Lord: mentioned in 24 out of the 95 verses. The letter shows that Christ is superior in all ways (see also Hebrews for a similar theme). It gives the fullest understanding of the perfection, beauty and place of Christ in the Godhead and his work.

Archippus

A member of Philemon's family, perhaps a son (4:17).

Aristarchus

Referred by Paul as "my fellow prisoner" (4:10), is a native of Thessalonica, and companion of Paul, a missionary of Christ.

Demas

Probably the contracted form of Demachus or Demetrius (Fausset), a fellow missionary with Paul, Mark and Luke (4:14). He left Paul, returning to Thessalonica, rather than staying and helping Paul on his missionary journeys (2 Timothy 4:8).

Epaphras:

A servant of Christ (missionary) who works with Paul, and indeed, is imprisoned with Paul (Philemon 1:23), whose father was Greek, and mother, Eunice, was Jewish and grand-mother, Lois, both Christian and who taught him the scriptures. (1:7, 4:12)

Onesimus

A "useful" (after his name) slave who, after robbing his master Philemon at Colossae, fled to  Rome, where he was converted by the apostle Paul, who sent him back to his Philemon (see this epistle for the details) (4:9).

Nymphas

How had a house church in his home (4:15), a disciple of Christ living in Laodicea. Some suggest this person is a woman.

Paul

An apostle of Jesus Christ, a missionary to the Gentiles, a Jew, taught by the Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), a Pharisee, who was converted by Christ, by an encounter with the Lord. A full account of his genealogy is given by Paul in Romans 11:1, Philippians 3:9 and 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.

Timothy

A young Christian church leader and close friend of Paul's who was given the task of dealing with the troubled church at Ephesus (1:1).

Tychicus

A true friend and companion of Paul, who went with him on his missionary journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem (4:7). He was in Rome with Paul and was sent to Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12).

Key Places:

Colossae:

Easton's Revised Bible Dictionary: Colossae, a city of Phrygia, on the Lycus, which is a tributary of the Maeander. It was about 19 kilometres above Laodicea, and near the great road that ran from Ephesus to the Euphrates, and was consequently of some mercantile importance.

Laodicea:

Easton's Revised Bible Dictionary: The city that lay on the confines of Phrygia and Lydia, about 40 miles east of Ephesus (Rev 3:14), on the banks of the Lycus. It was originally called Diospolis and then Rhoas, but afterwards Laodicea, from Laodice, the wife of Antiochus II., king of Syria, who rebuilt it. It was one of the most important and flourishing cities of Asia Minor. At a very early period it became one of the chief seats of Christianity but is now a deserted place, called by the Turks Eski-hissar or "old castle."

[1] 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse.

[2] 4:16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

[3] 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God

4:18 This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen

[4] 4:7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me.

[5] John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

[6] John 10:33-38 The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I SAID, "YOU ARE GODS" '? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."

[7] Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead

[8] The practice of selfdenial where the person seek righteousness through works of denying self or training. It is a self-centred method of spirituality that replaces God with self-achievement and self-worth (2:16).

[9] 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

 

David L Simon
Updated: 22 Feb 2015

 

Hold fast the pattern of sound words

Paul exhorts Timothy to hold fast to the pattern of words, which he had heard (2 Timothy 1:13). A writer to The Bible Treasury: New Series (Volume 2 - 2 Timothy 1:13) writes on this verse:

Form is not limited to material things, but appertains to spiritual truth, and only when it degenerates into formality does it become offensive to God. It is true we must recollect that God's word is not a matter of gradual evolution. God speaks with authority, and it is for us to hear. Science may be, and is, laboriously built up; not so scripture, however slow our apprehension of its meaning, its unity being all the more marvellous, because it was written by so many different hands across a period of 1500 years.

Hence we find the apostle Paul bidding his son in the faith to "have an outline of sound words." No doubt error was already creeping in which made it all the more incumbent on Timothy to preach the truth in the most definite terms, learnt, as we read, from apostolic lips. For Christianity is no system of shadowy dreams. Such were the speculations of the Gnostics, even then starting into unhealthy life; who, while pretending to a more spiritual conception of truth, were really undermining and explaining away the truth itself. To them apparently such a form was naught: mystical reveries shrink from distinct and definite signification; though doubtless the same words possess implicitly a potency of meaning beyond what the most spiritual mind can fathom.

Such is divine revelation which, in its last and fullest form, comes to us embodied in language of transcendent precision. No doubt it was providentially ruled that its medium should be so copious, that it should be written in the most flexible, as it is the most beautiful, of human tongues. God of course could have moulded any language to His purpose, even that massive yet child language which embodied His law. But infinite Wisdom, "unresting, unhasting," ever has the right instrument at hand for the right work, be it the man or the tongue in which he speaks. May we esteem it a privilege so to be used, in however humble a service. R.B.

Anon (RB) The Bible Treasury: New Series (Volume 2 - 2 Timothy 1:13)
Updated: 15 Feb 2015

 

Death: A Bible Perspective

Main Idea

Death is a manifestation of sin, whereby the soul is separated from the body which rots away into its components parts; the soul is sent to paradise or Sheol waiting the coming of Christ.

Have you thought about death

Have you ever thought about death? Some have had a love one die and have thought about death, but what about your own death - have you thought about that?

Do you know what a dead person looks like? Would you touch a dead body? In Australia we shier away from death, don’t we? Few have seen a dead body and fewer have handled a dead body, yet not so many years ago, it was part of life – a dead relative would be brought into your home where the body was viewed by all, and handled by the immediate elder family member. That is, death was a public act in the life of a person – now it is a hidden act. Your body is whisked away to the morgue, the body is made up to look life-like, and a few will view the body, perhaps speak to it, not realising the soul is somewhere else.

Although death is inevitable – all will die – we don’t talk about it. Have any of you taken a class in death? How many discussed your own death at school, or work or club? Indeed we tend to cover up death don’t we? When old great aunt Sally was diagnosed with cancer, we whispered amongst ourselves – spoke often about Sally, about everything else but never her impending death – yet at her life’s end, she needed to face up to the fact her soul was about to be judged and passed into hades or into heaven. Why didn’t we speak to her about her impending death, and why didn’t we speak about her death between ourselves? We are even worse with children – yet don’t they have the right to know they will die at some point, and can make a decision for Jesus – even at a young age? This is not always the case. I have seen strong Christians who were dying speak often of their impending death – much to the discomfort of those around. A cousin actually arranged her entire funeral; but all these were confident of what was to happen post death – they believed that Jesus Christ had saved them.

Indeed a cursory glance at modern media or scholarly journals shows the world has not come to terms with death. It replaces the words death and die with euphemisms, where these words are replaced with something else which sounds more acceptable, more pleasant, or they cover up the reality of what death is. I marvel at the unbelieving world that hold fast to the theory of evolution which teaches that death is inevitable, and is the returning of your chemicals to nature, yet it cannot face death itself. It believes that your thoughts are but mere chemical reactions, but does not refer to a person as dying, but some euphemism. We don’t even talk about our dead Aunt Sally, but the fact she ‘past away’ – “passed away where to?” I ask.

There is a view that our great grandparents had a much more robust view of death than our modern sophisticated world today – for they had Christianity, which deals more with death than birth – indeed the gospel is about the choice we have of what happens to our soul upon death. This view of course requires the truth of humans having a soul. The rule is unambiguous; the wages of sin is death; all have sinned, therefore all will die. Death is more than separation of soul from body. All souls – that includes yours - are judged. If found wanting, the soul will be cast into hell – this is the final death or true death, as you are separated for all eternity from God (and anyone else for that matter). Initially an unsaved soul is placed in Sheol (Hebrew: שׁאלה), also called Hades (Greek: ἅδου), and from there you will be judged in the last days, then cast into hell, if found wanting. You cannot be found wanting if your sins have been paid for – this only the Lord Jesus Christ can do, as it requires one who is perfect to do so.

Death

For those that believe in Jesus Christ, they will be taken to Paradise upon death. One of the criminals crucified with Jesus and who confessed to him was told he would, that day, be in paradise (Luke 23:43) – indicating on death one is translated to paradise immediately. We know little about paradise, for Paul who had a glimpse of it in a vision was forbidden to speak about it (2 Corinthians 12:4). We do know that within the place called Paradise, there is a tree which is the ‘tree of life’ (Revelation 2:7), which also was in Eden at the time of Adam and Eve. A reference in Genesis indicates the tree of life does exactly that – its fruit prevents a person from dying – one eating the fruit of it would live for ever (Genesis 3:22). The tree of life is also referenced in Revelation chapter 22 which speaks of the new heaven. "On either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Revelation 22:2

Paradise is also a resting place – on this earth we have no rest, but in paradise we will – "So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God" Hebrews 4:9.

Life

Life is living with God the Father after our body dies. To do so you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. An example given in the bible by a man enquiring about being saved: Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31.

References

Promise of punishment for sinners

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who "WILL RENDER TO EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS": eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honour, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; Romans 2:5-9

Last judgement – those in Sheol (Hades) will be judged: then Hades itself will be cast into Hell

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:10-14

All humans will die

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28

 

David L Simon
Updated: 04 Jan 2015

 

I know whom I have believed

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

Refrain

But I know Whom I have believèd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

Daniel W Whittle (1893) Reference
Updated: 02 Nov 2014

 

Is Israel Rejected?

The question not asked by the modern church, was asked by the early church – is Israel rejected? The answer is very important, as it sets out the answer to the most important question of Romans – how is one imputed righteousness by grace alone? That is, Paul in chapters 9-11 of Romans, (forgotten by most Christians today), demonstrates that God is trustworthy in his promises. These chapters are a defence of God’s sovereignty. That is, if the sovereign God promises to save Christians based on his mercy and grace towards us (Romans 3:23-25), is this a trustworthy promise? It appears Israel has been abandoned – so are the promises to Abraham not going to be fulfilled, and if these aren’t going to be fulfilled, what hope do we have of God’s promise to us – “believe on me and you will be saved”?

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The answer to "Is Israel rejected?" is NO! Indeed the Greek is emphatic: μὴ γένοιτο and usually transliterated  “God Forbid”. John Darby writes: “Hereupon the question is immediately raised, has God then rejected His people? To this Chapter 11 is the answer. The apostle gives three proofs that it is by no means the case.

  1. Firstly, he is himself is an Israelite; [proving] there is a remnant whom God has reserved, as in the days of [Elijah] — a proof of the constant favour of the Lord, of the interest He takes in His people, even when they are unfaithful; so that when the prophet, the most faithful and energetic among them, knew not where to find one who was true to God besides himself, God had His eyes upon the remnant who had not bowed the knee to Baal.
  2. Secondly, the call of the Gentiles, and their substitution for Israel, was not the definitive rejection of the latter in the counsels of God; for God had done it to provoke Israel to jealousy. It was not, then, for their rejection.
  3. Thirdly, the Lord would come forth out of Zion and turn away the iniquities of Jacob” (Romans, JN Darby).

What is Paul saying?

  1. If Israel was cast off or put aside by God forever, Paul could not possibly have been saved, being a 'Jew of the Jews' (Romans 11:1, Philippians 3:9) and persecuting Christians; yet he was miraculously saved.
  2. As in the days of Elijah, so today [2014] there is exists a remnant of saved Jews, who have believed that Jesua is the Son of God. We often get into a state of believing we are the only righteous in a church, community or town, yet God always has a remnant. We may not see them, but they exist and are working. There is a remnant in Israel – hard to see – but present. (Noting that most of the nation of Israel are unbelievers).
  3. God’s call to the Gentiles is not a rejection of Israel, but a method to provoke Israel to action, through jealousy (Romans 11:14). Seeing the blessings of the Gentiles, some Israel will respond, and put their faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
  4. The deliver would come from Zion (Jerusalem) which surely happened over 2000 years ago. Peter spoke of this in Acts 2, and a remnant of Jews, who believed on the name of Christ (3000), went out to evangelise the world. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:36

Note the failure of Israel was due to ‘lack of knowledge’. Paul uses repetitively the phrase: "‘do you not know’ what the Scripture says"? The question I ask you is: do you know the Bible?

  • Those that believe the Church is Israel have this problem: they do not know the Bible, and certainly do not know the Old Testament. Most have never read it, except perhaps a few psalms or proverbs. The Church is not Israel; God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be fulfilled, because God does not lie.
  • Those who want to add works to the grace afforded to them by God have this problem: they do not know the gospel. We are saved by grace ONLY through faith. Righteousness cannot be gained by anything a human can do – we can never do enough perfectly to reach the standard required by God. Indeed working for righteousness is accounted as a debt not credit!
  • Those that reject God have this problem: Death, for the wages of sin is death.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm of David 32:1-2

David L Simon
Updated: 13 Jul 2014

 

Only Belief in Jesus Christ can Save

Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labour for the food which perishes [and you need this bread every day], but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent. [that is there is nothing you can do]" John 6:26-29

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." John 6:40

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." John 14:6-7

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; Philippians 3:8-9

But these [book of John] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His.

ταῦτα δὲ γέγραπται ἵνα πιστεύσητε ὅτι ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ἵνα πιστεύοντες ζωὴν ἔχητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ.

David L Simon
Updated: 15 Jun 2014

 

What is the Cross of Christ all About?

The deepest note of the Cross is not what our Lord suffered as seeing the sin and degradation of men, great as that was, but what He suffered in His own person at the hands of a holy God when, to accomplish propitiation (which means "God, be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18: 13) ed.), "His soul" was made "an offering for sin." He saw indeed how men opposed the light He brought and ruined themselves, but far beyond that. He "poured out His soul unto death. He was numbered with the transgressors and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." THAT IS THE CROSS.

F B Hole Scripture Truth, 1916, Vol. 8.
Updated: 02 May 2014

 

Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer

I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no saviour. (Isaiah 43:11)

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:14 ESV)

 

Introduction

We note four things:

  1. There is one God. He is the Lord God Jehovah who is also called The Lord God Saves . If you are a Jew, His name is I Am . If you are not a Jew, “He is the God who made the world and everything in it”: He is the Lord of heaven and earth.
  2. God is Holy: And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.'” Leviticus 10:3 (NKJV)
  3. Adam (and Eve) sinned and from this everyone has sinned, even the most holy pious person.
  4. The punishment for Sin is death: for the wages of sin is death. God demands holiness.

There is need of salvation

Hence we have a problem: All of humanity was destined for death after Adam sinned. The hardest thing for any person to accept is that there is nothing good whatsoever in him or her. That is if we compare ourselves with God, His glory would so overwhelm us that we would die looking at Him.

  1. The Old Testament shows the principle of the acceptable method to deal with sin.
  2. The Bible teaches that sin cannot be glossed over: God has to deal with it because he is holy.
  3. Once you have sinned you have been stained for ever: stained by corrupt flesh as the book of Jude put it. Hence sin must be dealt with; both intentional sin and un-intentional sin.
  4. Sin can only be dealt with by the shedding of blood.

And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Hebrews 9:22 (NKJV)

Satan's biggest lie these days is the notion that there is no here-after: that at death we are turned into dust. Yet we all have souls – the very nature of each one us resides in the soul. At death your soul (that is the bit this is really you) is either lost to an eternity separated from God, or saved:

.. cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:50 (NKJV)

God came in the flesh

Human's required a sacrifice that could be the substitute for himself. This was Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.

If God became flesh, there are some very special characteristics about Him. We are not left in the dark concerning his nature and character: in the old testament there are at least two, if not three characters what are types of Christ: these are shadows of what and who the Messiah actually was , but nevertheless gives us evidence of the character of the person of Jesus

God came in the flesh as the Son

God was manifested in the flesh (KJV) or He appeared in a body, (NIV)

  1. Jesus is the Son of God
  2. Jesus Christ is the Messiah
  3. Jesus is God who came in flesh. (we will know He came and was crucified because He still bares the marks of the Cross - see The Revelation))
  4. Jesus Christ the Messiah came to save us from our sins
  5. He redeemed us from the curse of the law, which we could never keep
  6. He has died for our sin, and hence if will allow him to bear our punishment we are saved.
  7. Jesus Christ the risen Son of God is acting as our mediator between us and God, if you accept him as our mediator

 Salvation is only in Jesus

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NKJV)

But there is a hope in Christ Jesus. No-one need fall into the clutches of hell. Hell was built for Satan and his angels, not humans – but billions will be cast into hell because they have rejected the Lord God Jehovah (Yahweh).

  • You need to submit: if you rule your life you have no hope, because a ruler of his own life must provide the means to deal with sin, and the wages of sin is death.
  • You need to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
  • You need to let Christ rule your life – because as rule he provides, through his own suffering, the passage to salvation.

 

For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of [rule over] both the dead and the living. Romans 14:9 (NKJV)

What must I do to be saved?

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31 (NKJV)

If you are saved

and He [Christ] died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:15 (NKJV)

Jesus Christ Our Saviour

David L Simon
Updated: 21 Dec 2013

 

One-sided Theology: Calvinism and Arminianism

We have lately received a long letter, furnishing a very striking proof of the bewildering effect of one-sided theology. Our correspondent is evidently under the influence of what is styled the high school of doctrine. Hence, he cannot see the rightness of calling upon the unconverted to "come," to "hear," to "repent," or to "believe." It seems to him like telling a crab-tree to bear some apples in order that it may become an apple-tree.

Now, we thoroughly believe that faith is the gift of God, and that it is not according to man's will or by human power. And further, we believe that not a single soul would ever come to Christ if not drawn, yea, compelled by divine grace so to do; and therefore all who are saved have to thank the free and sovereign grace of God for it; their song is, and ever shall be, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth's sake."

And this we believe not as part of a certain system of doctrine, but as the revealed truth of God. But, on the other hand, we believe, just as fully, in the solemn truth of man's moral responsibility, inasmuch as it is plainly taught in Scripture, though we do not find it amongst what are called "the five points of the faith of God's elect." We believe these five points, so far as they go; but they are very far indeed from containing the faith of God's elect. There are wide fields of divine revelation which this stunted and one-sided system does not touch upon, or even hint at, in the most remote manner. Where do we find the heavenly calling? Where, the glorious truth of the Church as the body and bride of Christ? Where, the precious sanctifying hope of the coming of Christ to receive His people to Himself? Where have we the grand scope of prophecy opened to the vision of our souls, in that which is so pompously styled "the faith of God's elect"? We look in vain for a single trace of them in the entire system to which our friend is attached.

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Now, can we suppose for a moment that the blessed apostle Paul would accept as "the faith of God's elect" a system which leaves out that glorious mystery of the Church of which he was specially made the minister? Suppose any one had shown Paul "the five points" of Calvinism, as a statement of the truth of God, what would he have said? What! "The whole truth of God;" "the faith of God's elect;" "all that is essential to be believed;" and yet not a syllable about the real position of the Church — its calling, its standing, its hopes, its privileges! And not a word about Israel's future! A complete ignoring, or at best a thorough alienation, of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David! The whole body of prophetic teaching subjected to a system of spiritualizing, falsely so called, whereby Israel is robbed of its proper portion, and Christians dragged down to an earthly level — and this presented to us with the lofty pretension of "The faith of God's elect!"

Thank God it is not so. He, blessed be His name, has not confined Himself within the narrow limits of any school of doctrine, high, low, or moderate. He has revealed Himself. He has told out the deep and precious secrets of His heart. He has unfolded His eternal counsels, as to the Church, as to Israel, the Gentiles, and the wide creation. Men might as well attempt to confine the ocean in buckets of their own formation as to confine the vast range of divine revelation within the feeble enclosures of human systems of doctrine. It cannot be done, and it ought not to be attempted. Better far to set aside the systems of theology and schools of divinity, and come like a little child to the eternal fountain of Holy Scripture, and there drink in the living teachings of God's Spirit.

Nothing is more damaging to the truth of God, more withering to the soul, or more subversive of all spiritual growth and progress than mere theology, high or low — Calvinistic or Arminian. It is impossible for the soul to make progress beyond the boundaries of the system to which it is attached. If I am taught to regard "the five points" as "the faith of God's elect," I shall not think of looking beyond them; and then a most glorious field of heavenly truth is shut out from the vision of my soul. I am stunted, narrowed, one-sided; and I am in danger of getting into that hard, dry state of soul which results from being occupied with mere points of doctrine instead of with Christ. A disciple of the high school of doctrine will not hear of a world-wide gospel — of God's love to the world — of glad tidings to every creature under Heaven. He has only gotten a gospel for the elect. On the other hand, a disciple of the low or Arminian school will not hear of the eternal security of God's people. Their salvation depends partly upon Christ, and partly upon themselves. According to this system, the song of the redeemed should be changed. Instead of "Worthy is the Lamb," we should have to add, "and worthy are we." We may be saved today, and lost tomorrow. All this dishonours God, and robs the Christian of all true peace.

We do not write to offend the reader. Nothing is further from our thoughts. We are dealing not with persons, but with schools of doctrine and systems of divinity which we would, most earnestly, entreat our beloved readers to abandon, at once, and for ever. Not one of them contains the full, entire truth of God. There are certain elements of truth in all of them; but the truth is often neutralized by the error; and even if we could find a system which contains, so far is it goes, nothing but the truth, yet if it does not contain the whole truth, its effect upon the soul is most pernicious, because it leads a person to plume himself on having the truth of God when, in reality, he has only laid hold of a one-sided system of man.

Then again we rarely find a mere disciple of any school of doctrine who can face scripture as a whole. Favourite texts will be quoted, and continually reiterated; but a large body of scripture is left almost wholly unappropriated. For example; take such passages as the following, "But now God commandeth all men everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30.) And again, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2.) So also, in 2 Peter, "The Lord .... is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9.) And, in the very closing section of the volume, we read, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

Are these passages to be taken as they stand? or are we to introduce qualifying or modifying words to make them fit in with our system? The fact is, they set forth the largeness of the heart of God, the gracious activities of His nature, the wide aspect of His love. It is not according to the loving heart of God that any of His creatures should perish. There is no such thing set forth in scripture as any decree of God consigning a certain number of the human race to eternal damnation. Some may be judicially given over to blindness because of deliberate rejection of the light. (See Rom. 9:17; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26, 27; 2 Thess. 2:11, 12; 1 Peter 2:8.) All who perish will have only themselves to blame. All who reach heaven will have to thank God.

If we are to be taught by scripture we must believe that every man is responsible according to his light. The Gentile is responsible to listen to the voice of creation. The Jew is responsible on the ground of the law. Christendom is responsible on the ground of the full-orbed revelation contained in the whole word of God. If God commands all men, everywhere to repent, does He mean what He says, or merely all the elect? What right have we to add to, or alter, to pare down, or to accommodate the word of God? None whatever. Let us face scripture as it stands, and reject everything which will not stand the test. We may well call in question the soundness of a system which cannot meet the full force of the word of God as a whole. If passages of scripture seem to clash, it is only because of our ignorance. Let us humbly own this, and wait on God for further light. This, we may depend upon it, is safe moral ground to occupy. Instead of endeavouring to reconcile apparent discrepancies, let us bow at the Master's feet and justify Him in all His sayings. Thus shall we reap a harvest of blessing and grow in the knowledge of God and His word as a whole.

A few days since, a friend put into our hands a sermon recently preached by an eminent clergyman belonging to the high school of doctrine. We have found in this sermon, quite as much as in the letter of our American correspondent, the effects of one-sided theology. For instance, in referring to that magnificent statement of the Baptist in John 1:29, the preacher quotes it thus, "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the whole world of God's chosen people."

Reader, think of this. "The world of God's chosen people!" There is not a word about people in the passage. It refers to the great propitiatory work of Christ, in virtue of which every trace of sin shall yet be obliterated from the wide creation of God. We shall only see the full application of that blessed scripture in the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. To confine it to the sin of God's elect can only be viewed as the fruit of theological bias. There is no such expression in scripture as "Taking away the sin of God's elect." Whenever God's people are referred to we have the bearing of sins — the propitiation for our sins — the forgiveness of sins. Scripture never confounds these things; and nothing can be more important for our souls than to be exclusively taught by scripture itself, and not by the warping, stunting, withering dogmas of one-sided theology.

We sometimes hear John 1:29 quoted, or rather misquoted by disciples of the low school of doctrine in this way, "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world." If this were so, no one could ever be lost. Such a statement would furnish a basis for the terrible heresy of universal salvation. The same may be said of the rendering of 1 John 2:2, "The sins of the whole world." This is not scripture but fatally false doctrine, which we doubt not our translators would have repudiated as strongly as any. Whenever the word "sins" occurs, it refers to persons. Christ is a propitiation for the whole world. He was the substitute for His people.

NOTE It is deeply interesting to mark the way in which scripture guards against the repulsive doctrine of reprobation. Look, for example, at Matthew 25:34. Here, the King, in addressing those on His right hand, says, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Contrast with this the address to those on his left hand: "Depart from me ye cursed [He does not say 'of my Father'] into everlasting fire, prepared [not for you, but]for the devil and his angels." So also, in Romans 9. In speaking of the "vessels of wrath," He says "fitted to destruction" — fitted not by God surely, but by themselves. On the other hand, when He speaks of the "vessels of mercy," he says, "which He had afore prepared unto glory." The grand truth of election is fully established; the repulsive error of reprobation, sedulously avoided.

 

C H Mackintosh
Updated: 26 Oct 2014

 

Contact the author

If you find a grammatical error, spelling error, broken hyperlink or some other error on these pages please contact me mentioning the page title and location.


Updated: 08 Jun 2015

 

Using this website

The weakness of any Christian website is the failure of the author to truly know the mind of God - his weakness due to sin (and there will be weaknesses) can always be revealed if checked against the Bible. Therefore, it is urged that anyone using this web site must check the information against the Holy Scriptures - for the test of any such information, by any person, is against the Canon. For this reason the Canon is called simply that - deriving its name from 'cane' meaning measuring stick. Even the early Christians checked what the Apostle Paul had spoken against Scripture in order to test its veracity. You need to do the same.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11 (NIV)

Furthermore, we must test all things:

Test [prove] all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22


Updated: 11 Jan 2015

 

What's in the title of this website

The heading comes from John 3:16, perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible. It indicates that salvation is by faith and not by works. That is, one cannot ever achieve rightness before God by one's own effort. What one cannot forget is the rest of the text - John 3:16 does not stand alone:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light [Jesus Christ] is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


Updated: 16 Apr 2011

 

Bibles used in this website

KJV = King James Version of the Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible original work copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
NKJV = New King James Version original work copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc

ESV = The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles

Others used

JND = New Translation by John Nelson Darby (1890)
Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Literal, Textus Receptus, King James Version), Baker Books, Michigan, 1980
Strong's = Strong's Concordance, Hebrew and Greek Lexicon (either Riverside Book and Bible House, or an on-line version)


Updated: 16 Apr 2011